May 27, 2010 | By: Tracy

Ain't No Party Like a West Coast Party...

I'm pretty sure there isn't going to be a whole lot of time for partying while I'm in Cali. That's the problem with these darn business trips, they always want you to WORK while you're there. What's up with that?

Got another rejection on a query last night, though it was one of the remainders from the last batch I sent out. I really do feel like it's best to take a little step back, adjust my first chapter, let the lovely Miss Jessica read it over for me (and anyone else who's interested -- I'm not a snob) for a little extra help and then jump back into query hell.

Though I know it probably means nothing in the grand scheme of things, I feel better that only one of my ten rejections (including the partial) was address "Dear Author" everyone else actually included my name and the story title. Easy enough to do, but at least I feel like they did read it, even if the rejections themselves are most likely really nice forms.

Oh and I think that I'm having another round of "What's My Genre Again" happening. This would be the 3rd time I've changed it -- for those of you following along at home -- if I do in fact decide to lean that way.

A friend who's recently read my ms suggested that my story is more paranormal women's fiction, than paranormal romance. (See, this is what happens when you just write the story first without giving a thought as to what you're actually writing).

There is a large portion of the story that revolves around the romance of the main character and the love of her life ... but as was pointed out to me, since the story covers a larger arc -- including her becoming a mother, etc. -- it's a little more women's fiction than straight romance. Not to mention my story is written in first person (which is a tough sell in adult romance -- though YA is cool with it, go figure) AND written from the female protag's point of view only (so again, not very romancy).

Dammit! THIS is why I need an agent. I can't even decide what genre I really belong to. I'm just going to start telling agents that my story is what happens when you combine Nicholas Sparks and Anne Rice, and let them figure out where it belongs!  ;o)
May 25, 2010 | By: Tracy

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby, Right Round

I swear I’m starting to sound like a broken record repeating myself -- though now that I think about it, broken records don’t repeat. In fact, broken records don’t play at all. I wonder why the saying isn’t “sounding like a skipping record” instead?!?


I do realize I’ve been terribly neglectful of my blogging friends, as well as the blog itself. Nothing is wrong with me . . . other than I’m desperately trying to discover a loophole for this whole there are only 24 hours in a day deal we have going on.

The new job is going well. I think this place might be a really good fit for me and my personality. It’s nice & quiet in the office for the majority of the day, but it’s a laid-back quiet which works well for me. In case you haven’t noticed, I have a tendency to be a little hyper-aware of . . .  well, just about everything. There are so many less distractions to my concentration (I’m convinced I’m borderline ADHD anyway) that I’m looking forward to the time when things get – as I’ve been warned – noticeably slower. Might turn out to be a good place to get some writing done.

I’m leaving on Friday to head to San Francisco.

They say this is where I'm staying. The room looks nice and spacious, but I’m worried about the traffic noise and gusting winds. *shrugs*

Don’t know how much time (if any) I’ll have to get on the computer. So if you don’t hear from me at ALL after Friday don’t panic. If you don’t hear from me by the 7th at the latest, please call Alcatraz to make sure I wasn’t accidently left behind on the boat tour.

Other than that I have nothing to announce …. except that LOST is officially over and I’m officially in mourning. Please send copious amounts of chocolate!
May 19, 2010 | By: Tracy


Before I get into things -- I wanted to thank you all for your suggestions on books to check out on my Nook!! I've already added a couple to my "wish list" and I'll be checking more out before I leave next weekend.

Okay, now on to this post . . . 

I received two more query rejections this week, which brings my overall tally to:

Queries Sent: 12
Rejections: 9
Still Pending: 3
Partials Requested: 1
Partials Rejected: 1
Fulls Requested: 0
Fulls Rejected: 0

Given that I'm what I like to call a Tweaker, I've been taking a look at both my query and first chapter. I'm not talking a complete overhaul, but looking for ways to brighten. I think my query is tight, but it might be a little too straight forward and missing a bit of the ever-talked-about VOICE.

The overwriting comes in on the first chapter. It's the only part of my story that I'm not 100% happy with.

For the most part I love my story, and I've read the thing from end to end more than a dozen times over (yeah, shocks me too). The story starts where it's supposed to, and it has all the information I need to move the plot forward . . . but there's something about Chapter 1 that doesn't feel quite right to me.

I'm starting to believe what's wrong with it is that it is OVERWRITTEN.

So much emphasis is placed on how important our first chapter --  page --  paragraph -- line -- is to capturing the reader/agent's attention that we sometimes have a tendency to overwrite the damn beginnings in an attempt to make them spectacularly interesting. The problem with this is that it comes off as sounding too much like someone begging to get your attention . . . and it can be about as charming as the guy at the party who doesn't seem to understand what "not interested" means.

Now, I don't think my first chapter is guilty of gross overwriting, but I'm starting to think that I was trying to be too coy or intriguing while writing (or re-writing it). So now I've identified the problem, but can I fix it?

Anyone have any tips, tricks or thoughts for how to write the ever-elusive first chapter that sings, without crossing into overwriting? Anyone find themselves in the same situation? 

May 16, 2010 | By: Tracy

Just Another Manic Sunday

Yeah, I fudged the lyrics a little, because I decided not to wait until the morning to post.  Shh, let's keep it between us.

So, I didn’t get anywhere near the amount of stuff done this weekend as I’d intended. You know, this whole work thing is seriously going to put a crimp in my social calendar. Especially since I’m expecting it to take a couple weeks before I learn whether I can covertly sneak onto the internet from time to time. (Yeah, like you don't)

Anyway, I need some help from my loverly blog buddies. Pretty Please.

With my new job comes a trip to San Francisco, at the end of the month. I’ve never been to California, and I’m excited . . .  though I’m half convinced the Big One is going to happen while I’m there. So if California slides into the ocean any time between May 28th - June 3rd, you can feel free to blame me.

If you haven’t noticed, I have a bit of a fatalistic sense of myself. I’m fairly certain I booked a room on the Titanic in a previous life, but I digress. 

One of the good things about six hours on a plane, with a layover – okay the ONLY good thing about six hours on a plane, with a layover – is the excess time I’m going to have to dedicate to reading!!

Since I don’t feel like carting along a stack of books in my carry-on bag, only one of my trade paperback “To Read” pile is going on the trip.  But Nookie is going with me, and he can hold umpteen (it’s a real number) books, and I need help filling him with good reading ideas. 

So what I’m asking from y’all is to point me in the direction of your favorite book or two. Not saying I’m going to read them all, but I like the idea of being turned on to books I might not otherwise have come across on my own. So here’s what I’m after, if you’re so obliged:

What’s the general story line? 

My taste in books is pretty eclectic, so no worries there. The only types of stories I’m not crazy about are hardcore Science Fiction, Literary with no real plot & Westerns.  Otherwise, throw it at me!
May 14, 2010 | By: Tracy

Bueller? ... Bueller? ... Bueller?

I completely missed out on the blogging "roll call" this week, and I'm soooo far behind I won't attempt to get caught up, because it will never happen. For those who've left awards for me (figures, I get more of those suckers when I'm not around!!)  I'll definitely be sure to get around and check them out before the weekend is through. And even though I don't know what they are yet -- Thank You!!

It was a crazy, emotional week (hence the reason for my vacantness). Not all good. Not all bad. Just a highly draining rollercoaster ride these last 7 days. BUT I think I've got myself back on a bit of an even keel  -- for now, at least.

Quest for Publication Update :  The agent who requested my partial ultimately decided to pass on requesting the full. 

She was complimentary. She thought the idea was marketable and well-written, but the dreaded "I just didn't fall in love with it" reasoning won out in the end. 

Is it a bummer? Of course it is, but I don't feel crushed ... as much as confused, I guess.I choose to look at the positives first. 

1) This agent is one of the bigger names out there, and she's constantly swamped with queries. Simply having her request a partial, means I got farther than 95% of those who submit to her.

2) She responded to both my query and my requested partial super quick --- less than 24 hours on the query, and less than 3 weeks on the partial. Both of those response times were well under her stated "expected" times. 

So I do believe I have something there on the marketability side, she just wasn't overwhelmed by my writing style. That's how I'm choosing to look at it, so shhhh, don't try to talk me out of my delusions.

The only thing that leaves me feeling kinda unsettled -- and I know I'm not alone in this boat -- is the fact that she didn't "fall in love with it"

Understandably, most agents are far too busy to read full submissions for all the story ideas that intrigue them. They truly are doing the best they can! They're in the business to make money, so they ARE on the lookout for the next best selling author, because it is in their best interest too. 

But it is extremely difficult (and I'm saying this as a reader, not just a writer) to find a book/manuscript that makes a person fall in love from the first chapter -- or even three -- alone. 

Just for my own curiosity I did a mental checklist in my head of a bunch of my most favorite books, and I can honestly say that I didn't fall in love with any of them THAT early on.  I found them interesting . . .  or funny . . . or  entertaining . . .  or there was a character I wanted to know more about, etc. Not once however, did I know I was in LOVE with the story until I'd gotten at least 100 pages in.  I've only devoured, in one sitting, books that were further along in a series -- never the first one.

So, I think now I really understand, it IS an uphill battle to find an agent who connects with your story and wants to read enough of it to get TO the falling in love point. It's a necessary challenge, but a tricky one that sometimes requires nothing more than luck.

With that said: I'm going to try my best not to stress out over the things I have no control over!!

That doesn't mean that I haven't already had -- or won't still continue to have -- those moments of crippling self doubt when it comes to the world of publishing and my eventual place in it. I've just come to realize that I will suck all the fun out of this whole journey if I allow myself to live and die with every request and/or rejection. Being a writer is a marathon-type lifestyle. I'll burn out if I try to tackle it at a sprinter's speed.

Okay, I'm done being all philosophical and introspective. Next week I start my new job, so bare with me if I'm still a little erratic, until I get accustomed to my new schedule!

For now, let's party and have a wicked-awesome weekend, shall we?!?

May 6, 2010 | By: Tracy

I Totally Caved In!!

Good news: Tracy is no longer wandering amongst the ranks of the unemployed!!

As long as the required background check doesn't pull up my cameo on the "Writers Gone Wild" video, I've got the position! Happy Dance time!
Of course, this also leads me to some insecurity about the future of my writing.

The ONE thing I've been diligent about during the last 10 months was writing. I'd actually gotten myself into the habit several months back of getting down 2K every day. I KNOW I can do it -- even with the time & energy required for a new job -- I just hope I can keep my internal procrastinator in check.

Anyway, as a gift to myself for landing the new job (like I really need a reason to shop for myself ... it's what I do), I broke down and shelled out the moolah to get the Nook from Barnes & Noble.

I've been enviously eyeing that sucker every week, when I walk past the in-store display and I could resist the desire no more.

I'm prepared for the "TRAITOR!" comments. It's okay. Throw it at me. I understand the venting. I swear, Nookie (that's what I named him) doesn't mean I've lost my love of actual BOOKS. Going forward, any story I like well enough to want to read AGAIN will be purchased in trade paperback version, promise.

I do need to remind myself, however, that my lovely new device is attached to a credit card. One I'm required to pay the bill on, so my book binge shopping sprees are going to need to be addressed in short order!
May 5, 2010 | By: Tracy

Damn You, Fellow Writer, Damn You!

Forgive me for my post title outburst. I swear, it is not directed at any of my lovely writerly friends. Unless someone here happens to secretly be a writer of LOST, because then -- Yes, I am most definitely directing my emotional unrest at you!

It's been a while since I talked about my obsession with LOST on my blog, since I know most of you aren't watchers. However, if you know anyone who's a fan by now you've probably heard how last night -- with 3 shows left until the final episode ever -- the writers killed off three long-standing characters. Not just killed them, but in a most heart-wrenching, I-have-to-watch-my-true-love-die fashion. Seriously, it was like watching the scene in Titanic where Jack makes Rose promise she'll never give up. *tear*

So yeah, anyway, last night's episode did not leave me with the warm & fuzzies -- and I'm still not over it.

Contest Alert:  If you're not already following The Alliterate Allomorph head on over to Jessica's blog (after you finish reading mine, of course). She is well on her way to 200 followers. When she gets there she's planning to give away some pretty cool stuff, involving critiques & ish like that.

Speaking of which -- I am a blogging slacker compared to some of my buddies. To be honest, I often don't even notice that I've picked up a new follower until they comment. And I've noticed that some of the blogs I follow don't show up in my blogger feed. So anyway, if you've followed me and I haven't reciprocated, or if I've not been by to drop you a comment every now & again, don't be afraid to bring it to my attention -- because, I assure you, it is not intentional!

Question Alert: Do any of you all belong to the Absolute Write forums? I mentioned a while back, that I'm kind of slow when it comes to "joining" things. So I just registered for the forum last night. I'm feeling shy though -- don't laugh. Just curious to know if anyone else I know is on there and if you go by the same names as here or say the BransForums. If not Absolute Write, are there other forums & MBs you enjoy visiting? I'm trying to diversify. :o)

Last, but not least -- Big THANKS to Slushpile Slut (which I happen to think is the coolest blog name, EVER!) for mentioning that the hated red,dotted underline on blogger isn't a dead end. If you right click on said red, dotted underline you get a list of possible alternatives for the word you muffed up. It is a wondrous bit of news for us not-so-perfect spellers!!
May 3, 2010 | By: Tracy

Tag! I'm it

This weekend, I was tagged by Amparo. Not only does she have a cool blog, but she also has a major soft spot for Jensen Ackles, which makes her a girl after my own heart. Yummy!  ----------->

The rules: Answer five questions, five times each. Then tag five other super awesome blogging friends.

So here goes:

Question 1 - Where were you five years ago?
1) Living in Orlando, FL
2) Broker than I am now ... though not by much
3) Stuck in the mortgage industry (career hell, I tell you!)
4) A lot more worried about what other people think of me than I am now
5) Thinking I'd have my life more figured out by now

Question 2 - Where would you like to be in five years?
1) Working as a published author (self-supporting, not necessarily rich)
2) Married
3) Mother to a rug-rat or two
4) Wearing that ever-elusive size 6 I can't seem to reach
5) Queen of my own castle (see question #5.2)

Question 3 - What is on your to-do list today?
1) Send out at least 2 queries
2) Buy groceries
3) Read 10 pages of "Neverwhere" (first attempt reading Neil Gaiman)
4) Write 2K on WIP
5) Workout (uggh!)

Question 4 - What snacks do you enjoy?
1) Pizza with lots and lots of pepperoni
2) Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha (Starbucks only, please)
3) Mozzarella Sticks
4) Peanut Butter M&M's
5) Thin Mint cookies from the Girl Scouts

Question 5 - What five things would you do if you were a billionare?
1) Take a cruise to Australia
2) Buy a castle in Ireland (or build one if I can't find one I like)
3) Take in a baseball game at every Major League ballpark
4) Bribe Aston Kutcher to follow me on Twitter
5) Stalk Henry Cavill, because I *heart* him.  ------------>

Now it's my turn to tag some folks.



Jessica  (My beloved Allomorph)