Thursday, September 22, 2011

Would You Like Your Scene With Or Without Music?

So yesterday, I spent six hours editing, and while I recall quite vividly writing this manuscript with music, I realized that editing it with music didn't fly.

That was weird.

I like to write to music, and I often have a soundtrack for each book I write. Music is a wonderful inspiration, especially for an avid moviegoer like myself, who can't imagine a movie without its soundtrack. So it was with some surprise that I realized my fruitless first half hour editing was because the music distracted me. Thus, I turned it off. Voila - three chapters, polished and ready to roll.

I have a large music library at my disposal, but the more I write, the more I realize that as much as a good song can help a scene, a bad one can kill it. I'm a little pickier than I used to be about whether or not to write to music, but still ready and willing to jot down a song that makes me go "Ooh!" (Pandora's great for that, by the way.)

Do you write to music? Do you prefer silence? Some other ritual that gets you into the groove? Every writer is different, and I love hearing what makes other scribblers tick. Let me know!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Literary Agent Chelsea Gilmore!

A Chat With Chelsea

Yesterday at the CNY Romance Writers meeting, we were treated to a chat with literary agent Chelsea Gilmore of the Maria Carvainis Agency. Chelsea presented an information-packed Q&A with our authors that ran the gambit from the world of self-publishing (no longer the stigma that it used to be) to the future of the industry (still unfolding, but we were assured that there will always be a place for good stories, and agents will always be there to promote us).

The first thing that struck me about Chelsea is her willingness to encourage a potential client. She opened the conversation by saying "We wouldn't be here without you." Chelsea firmly believes that her job wouldn't exist if it were not for writers, and she goes that extra mile to help her clients, whether it be career guidance, editorial feedback, or simply the knowledge that there's a cheerleader in their corner.

Love You, Love Your Writing ... And She Will Too

Chelsea told us that "ego" is important in the world of publishing. She likes it when her authors know their story is good. We need to love our work, she said, because that enthusiasm shows when we're pitching. (And there's no need to get intimidated by the pitch. Pick a few things that stand out in your book and talk about those! She wants to hear what excites you about your work.) She advised us that if an agent turns us down, that it may be a very good thing. After all, if your agent doesn't absolutely love your work, why would you want them to represent it?

Chelsea also shows a wonderfully supportive attitude toward the writers she doesn't sign. She is willing to work with an author whose story has potential, but isn't quite "there" yet. She will often provide some commentary on manuscripts she decides not to accept. If your manuscript isn't right for her, she's willing to explain why.

If she does sign you, she will champion your work as well as your artistic vision. If an editor asks for changes to your manuscript, she will help you ensure that those changes are for the better of your story (and your intent with it) before making them.

Looking For A Few Good Manuscripts

Chelsea looks for cleanly written stories with strong voices. Humor is a bonus! She likes new takes on old stories, and well-written characters are a must. She accepts the following genres: young adult, romance, women's fiction, literary fiction, mysteries (including cozies), commercial thrillers, pop culture, or historical fiction. She does not accept science fiction, children's picture books, or inspirationals.

Chelsea prefers paper submissions including a query letter (don't forget to include your word count), a two- to three-page synopsis, and either the first thirty pages or three chapters of your manuscript, whichever is longer. Previously published work is accepted, as long as the author has received his or her rights back. Submissions should be directed to:

Maria Carvainis Agency, Inc.
Attn: Chelsea Gilmore
1270 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

Thank you so much to Chelsea for coming to the CNY Romance Writers meeting and sharing your insight with us!

Friday, September 16, 2011

WATER Now Available For Pre-Order!

WATER is now available for pre-order through The Wild Rose Press! If you'd like to order a copy in digital or paperback, please click this link. Make your summer last!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering Our Heroes

Today I am posting to honor those who died on 9/11/01. Please keep them and their families in your hearts and minds today, and never forget that our freedoms have always come with a sacrifice. Thank you to all who have served and died for our country to keep it free of terrorism.