R  is for Renegade.

My first novel is finished, queries are emailed. Now what? I have several ideas on the back burner but, honestly, they aren’t what I want to write. Not at this moment.

So, I’m wondering – should I give in and write a contemporary adult fiction novel – a story of life right outside the front door with no paranormal creatures or sexy space guys. Don’t get me wrong. Some of the best books I’ve read are about normal people solving problems, but I have the feeling these stories are not mine to tell. Once you’ve written something you really enjoy, something that makes you laugh, cry, or wish you could be in the story, you can’t ever go back.

I’ve always considered myself a bit of a renegade but when it comes to this, I fall down the predictable rabbit hole. I do want to snag an agent, and I want to be traditionally published. If I create a mainstream novel at least I would have more agents to query. Another novel (possibly a sequel) with an interstellar setting, humor, and sexual content reduces my potential agent base.

So, I’m faced with a dilemma. Creativity verses $.  Write what might sell or write what you love? Slog on with the popular stuff or be a renegade writer, out for a good time, fearless and foolish?

The song Girls Just Want to Have Fun keeps running through my mind. Well, so do writers!

What does your renegade self tell you to write?stars-th

Synopsis Success

Finally, my novel synopsis is complete. After struggling, revising, and obsessing for two weeks, I came up something I can live with. Writer friends helped me tremendously, and blogger friends encouraged me along the way. Thanks, everyone.stars-th I’m still not sure a synopsis, no matter how carefully crafted, ever does justice to a novel. For now, I look at a synopsis as a simple tool for prospective agents. My last barrier to querying is gone, and I’m ready. In fact, I emailed my first query today. I pressed the send button and, like a photon torpedo, the letter was off to cyber-land. Yikes! This takes guts, girls and boys!
mail-message-new-thOh, and I have a post revision reader. She’s an any genre gal, and I figure if she enjoys my novel then I’ve achieved my goal – creating an adventure that appeals to a variety of readers.

Tell me about your novel. Is it for general consumption or for a select audience?

Next Page of the Electric Book

OK! I’ve had it. I went to Amazon with the intention of downloading an older novel from a favorite author. OMG. The PRICE. Amazon is quick to say the publishers are boosting these e-book prices. And, yes, authors should make money, but for an e-book this is ridiculous. I can still buy a used copy from an Amazon seller for half the price, if I want to wait for the mail.

And, yes, I’ve looked at the thousands of free or 99 cent fiction ebooks available.  I understand this sounds wimpy but, honestly, I don’t have time to mess with this overload of choices.

So, that brings me to my questions for you all.

What do you think of epublishing? Most of you are fiction writers, and some of you have epublished. Tell me why you chose the cyber path. Was it the difficulty of capturing a traditional agent? Or, did you just want your story out there, without waiting? Are there e-book only publishing houses that actually draw readers? Do you know something I don’t know?

Now, with the recent debate about John Locke and his 5 star review purchases, I have to wonder about the whole thing. Check out Holly Lisle’s website for more on this.

Lots of questions, lots of answers.

Let’s hear them.

Oh, yeah. Ok. I did buy download the book I wanted. The too impatient to wait on the mail bug has bitten me, too. How well those publishers know us!


Colorado Sunset






Anyone remember a TV show from the mid-late 80s called Amazing Stories?

The intro showed cave people sitting around a campfire at sunset, shadows flickering on their faces,  listening with great anticipation  as one of the group began a tale of wonder.

This is why we write. We try to capture that campfire moment, the instant the story-teller looks at her listeners and says, “You may not believe this, but I swear it happened…”

At another time in my life, I loved siting across the kitchen table from my roommate  and say, “Girl, you won’t believe what just happened to me.”
Now I want my readers  at the table saying, “Tell me everything!”

Spinning lies and truths with words is a great joy, and opening the worlds in my head still takes a lot of nerve. I hyperventilate a bit when I read out loud at Word Wizards, my writer’s critique group. But, they are my campfire listeners and if they lean forward as I read, with the tell me everything look on their faces, I know I’m doing something right.

Think about the last time you told a story. Then write it, exactly like you told it.

Oh, and if I’m wrong about the name of the show, somebody please tell me.


What a week!

I  word counted my novel, and I have too many words! I never thought I’d end up with more than 120,000 of the little buggers. Uh-oh.

What should I cut? What are the parameters for cutting? (Back to HTRYN directions.) How long should a debut space opera novel be, anyway? Should I play the game in my query letter and follow the rules set by publishers? Could I divide my monster into two books? Is self-publishing an option?

Honestly, I did think about all this when I started the novel, I really did.  According to my plan, I estimated I’d barely make 100,000. Because my writing is so lean, I sold myself short. Keeping the balls in the air, chapter to chapter, page to page, and scene to scene obliterated all but the most immediate problems from my frazzled mind.

Panic overwhelmed me, but TX from the HTRYN forum  comforted me with an upbeat and encouraging discussion about agents, editors, and publishers. I’ve made my decision, and now I’m working revision again. Turns out it’s not as bad as I thought, and there’s something reassuring about writing tight and struggling to cut. I’m telling the story with grace and clarity. I am where I want to be as a rookie writer.

Sort of.

How about you, fellow Word Wizards? Are you over or under, or do you care?


A co-worker asked me today if I had excerpts from my novel posted on my blog. While flattered he wanted to read my work,  I wondered what I would post. How about a few paragraphs from a story I decided not to send to Fantasy and Science Fiction? Would the short contemplative paragraphs I wrote several years ago suffice? What did I have filed away I was willing sacrifice to the internet community?

Sacrifice. Operative word. Anything a writer slings out into pixel land is immediately absorbed and lost. While I’m not saying my plot, theme, and characters are particularly valuable, they could be stolen, copied, or reinterpreted. The way I write is unique, it is mine. I won’t share it. Not yet.

Being published is an affirmation many writers, myself included, seek. After publication sharing my work doesn’t seem threatening, but before publication it’s out of the question. For me.

I‘ve heard J. K. Rowling kept her first manuscript and ideas in a box. The contents of the box were off-limits to everyone. Everyone.  Maybe this is just a myth about a famous author, but maybe she still protects her writing this way.

If she does, I understand.

So, those of you who want a sneak peek, please be patient. Someday my novel will be available in a book store near you or on your kindle. And, I’ll be thrilled to autograph it for you!

Chapter 14 revision completed.



My characters are crossing the galaxy and it’s the let’s go for fifteen hours before we stop for gas, food, and bathroom kind of trip, repeated over again and again and again.

So, what the heck are they doing all this time, and how do I keep my readers enthralled?

This is a tough one. Until now, every chapter has been fast paced, full of action, emotion, and menace. Suddenly, seven people are cooped up in a tiny ship the size of a Greyhound bus (yes, they still have Greyhound buses), travelling X 2 infinity miles an hour (I love space opera — relativity be damned!). Things are going to slow down, whether I like it or not.

It came to me today these chapters are created in the same way I paint an oil painting.

First, I fill  the canvas with a delicate  background tone. The viewer doesn’t see this color when the painting is finished (unless the artist wants her to) but, without this background, the painting will be flat. It’s the  same for a slower paced chapter. The background color is the world these characters inhabit, the food they eat, the segments of their days, the blackness of space filling the observation ports, the paint peeling off the bulkheads — you get the idea.

Next, I paint my scene, using broad stokes, bold colors, white space, dark space. The viewer’s eye travels the canvas to the point of interest. And, in my chapters, the point of interest is the lives of these characters. They share broad strokes of memory with each other, tales of bold actions, admissions of the white space of triumph and confessions of the dark spaces of despair.

So, in other words, they talk to each other. This talk has to hold the reader, keep him wondering and hoping for a good outcome for the heros. And fearing their unknown fate.


%d bloggers like this: