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Showing posts from February, 2010

Winner!

The winner of the free Query Workshop registration is Larissa! Congratulations. Please let me know your email address so I can add you to the class loop. :)

If you didn't win the registration but would still like to have help learning how to write an amazing query letter, there are currently 5 spots left in Monday's workshop.

Win A Free Registration For The Next Query Workshop!

Do you need help crafting an amazing query letter? Do you long to have the mysteries of querying unlocked for you? How would you like to have a professional critique your query until you get it right?

That's exactly what my two week online (do on your own time schedule!) query workshop offers. It's a $40 value, though my former clients tell me the results they get are priceless. See for yourself.

Now, for the first time ever, I'm going to give away one free query workshop registration. Already took the course? You can give it to a writer friend as a gift. Here's how to enter.

1. Tweet the link to this post and include my user name so I can give you credit. (@cjredwine) = 2 entries

2. Link to this post (with a quick explanation of the contest) on your blog. Include the link to my workshop site as well. (http://queryworkshop.blogspot.com) Comment here with the link. = 2 entries

3. Comment here with a 1-3 sentence pitch for your manuscript (I'm not judging on how awesome …

Winner of Bree Despain's Giveaway

I used a random number generator for the Bree Despain THE DARK DIVINE goodies giveaway and the winner is Catie S (Book Bound). Congratulations, Catie! Check your inbox for a message from me so I can get your address to Bree. Enjoy your goodies!

Next Wednesday, my Awesomesauce Agent Holly Root will be interviewed by the Spork of Doom. You don't want to miss it! Why? Because she's awesomesauce. And because she's giving away a free book FROM HER STASH. Trust me, she has a STASH. And because the cupcake she requested from Clint might just be the end of him.

The Art of Revision

(The above pic is the only known photo of Lester, the Revision Duck Mafia's highest paid assassin.)


Between receiving a revision letter from Holly for CASTING STONES and handing out plenty of revision notes myself in my synopsis workshop this week, revising has been on my mind. There are several ways a writer can approach the task of taking someone else's critique and applying it to her work without losing the precious sense of ownership that comes from wringing every single word out of that lively, secret space in her imagination.

I can't tell you how YOU should go about it. I can only tell you what works (and doesn't work) for me. And I can assure you, if you intend to pursue writing as a career, revising will be just as much a way of life as the initial writing itself.

What works for me:

1. Let it sink in: The first 24 hours after getting a critique can be difficult. Not just because I feel like changing my name to Silas and moving to the outer reaches of Mongolia, but…

Interview With Bree Despain, Author of THE DARK DIVINE

When I opened the pages of THE DARK DIVINE, I had no idea I would be so instantly and thoroughly absorbed by the story. I devoured this book, soaked up a story that was at once haunting, engaging, and fun, and loved sliding beneath the skin of Bree's characters. This was one of those rare books where I finished the last page and wished I had the time to immediately read it all over again. The story lingered with me for days. Days. With all the books I read, all the manuscripts I critique, all the chapters I write, it's rare for a story to take root so deeply for me. I promise you, if you read this book, you won't be disappointed.

Here is a quick peek at the premise of TDD:

Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared—the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood—but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.

The memories her family has tried to…

Yes, I Did

I have depths of untapped talent the likes of which you will, very shortly, envy.

Envy.

Why? Because tonight, while I was minding my own business walking through the grocery store, I took a deep breath and snorted one of the curls of hair that frames my face right up my nose.

You see? Skillz, I haz them.

Your jealousy, it burns.

Just Like Riding A Bike

1. I got some sort of virus last night (kids passed it around this weekend) and had to call out of work this morning. Instead, I'm spending the day in bed (more or less) and am focusing on being uber-productive with writing-related stuff while I rest.

2. I'll be critiquing synopsises for my synopsis workshop clients, reading a few critique partner/client chapters, and continuing work on CASTING STONES revisions.

3. The revisions Holly asked for aren't huge, but there are three scenes that will take some thought, plus I need to layer in something, so while it's a bit time-consuming, I won't be at this for months. More like a week or two.

4. You hear that Revision Duck Mafia? A week or two. Get off my back. *goes after closest beady-eyed hate monger with a spork*

5. Duck. It's what's for dinner.

6. I don't understand how Spastic Kitten can roll across a wet shower floor, carry dirty socks around in her mouth, and chew up erasers and still pretend she has too …

The Etiquette of Contest Judging

The writing contest circuit is alive and kicking this time of year with the Golden Hearts, the Ritas, and various chapter contests all approaching the judging deadline. I judged in the Golden Heart this year, and I also judged our chapter's contest this past summer.

I enjoy it for a variety of reasons. For one, sometimes I read really cool writing that I know I'll be able to find on my Books A Million shelf in a couple years. For another, judging a contest (if one judges well) gives me the opportunity to encourage an up and coming writer who needs to know where they can improve, but also desperately needs to hear what they're doing right.

I never thought about writing a contest judging etiquette post until I recently saw some stuff on Twitter and Facebook that was an awful example of judging at its worst. I'll get to that in a minute. For now, I give you my (less than comprehensive, I'm sure!) list of what to do as a contest judge.

What To Do:

1. Remember you hold so…

Coming Up (Or "Why You Should Keep Tuning In)

No, the car doesn't have anything to do with what's coming up on the blog. It's Jonathan's car (hero from CASTING STONES) and as I'm diving head first (hopefully NOT a euphemism for "face plant") into CS revisions this weekend, it seemed appropriate.

Plus, it's sexy.

The list of items coming up on the blog can be broken down into two categories: Things you will definitely see and things you might see if my life doesn't unravel, my children don't succeed in their bid for anarchy, and I don't run out of crazy.

Definitely See:

*A list compiling the random, ridiculous, and rotfl things happening on a daily basis in my life. (Dad, rotfl means "roll on the floor laughing.")

*An interview with Bree Despain, author of the incredibly awesome THE DARK DIVINE, who has chosen to be interviewed by our blog's mascot, the Were-llama.

*A cupcake character made in honor of Bree and TDD.

*The beginning of another installment of "Get Me Started…

Living With Doubt

I had a super pompous (and uber-verbose) title for this post. Something that would seem at once both clever and wise with undercurrents of hidden depths.

I deleted it.

Because sometimes simple is best.

I'll be honest, though. Some days I don't know what's best. I look at my writing, and I wonder if maybe I'm delusional. Maybe I drank the Kool Aid at a writer's conference somewhere along the line and became convinced I had a great and shining gift when really all I had was a fleeting piece of inspiration--here one day, gone without so much as a by-your-leave the next. Maybe I'm not the real deal.

Or if I am, maybe I'm not enough of the real deal.

Doubt is a real and present companion to me as a writer. The good news is, I go months without feeling it. Months where I feverishly spill yet another idea onto the page. Months where the cold light of reality has yet to poke its unwelcome nose into my glorious story. Those are grand months.

But then, there are the mont…

Agent Holly's Revision Duck Mafia Strikes Again!

Myra and I long ago realized our agent, Holly Root, had a secret weapon in her rather impressive arsenal: the Revision Duck Mafia. A visit from the RDM goes something like this:

1. First, a missive arrives in your inbox, cleverly disguised as a letter from Agent Holly, bearing the news that, while most of your book was The Awesome, the following fifteen things were verging on The Suckage and must be changed.

2. Second, you take a few days to absorb the news, examine the Suckage parts, and hope you weren't misreading the Awesome bits because if you were, you might as well just give in to your secret longing to go out in a blaze of Cheese Puffs and vodka.

3. Third, you begin revising. Sort of. You revise the easy parts. The ones that you looked at in your initial read-through of the RDM's letter and thought "Hello, genius, how did you miss that?"

4. Fourth, you sort of let the difficult parts simmer. This is the point where Holly's RDM begins flexing its muscle. The RD…

Billy Goat!

1. School is cancelled. Again.

2. That sound you heard last night? The collective screams of hundreds of mothers across middle Tennessee.

3. If you're counting (and I am!), that makes six days this month. Six.

4. Plus President's Day, so my kids barely remember what the inside of a classroom looks like.

5. And why is the school district cancelling school so often?

6. Snow. Yesterday, we got an entire inch.

7. ZOMGHOLYCOWRUN! Apparently, an inch is all it takes for a Snopocalypse here.

8. Yesterday, we took the kids to see the Percy Jackson film.

9. They loved it. I enjoyed it for what it was. I wasn't wowed like I was with Harry Potter, and I haven't yet read the books so I'm sure my reaction would be different, but it was awesome to hear all the kids cheering and screaming the second the title came on the screen.

10. What was even more awesome?

11. Some lady decided "Hey! I'm going to be sitting in a packed theater! I should use half a bottle of really strong flora…

Spork of Doom Needs YOU

As I told you in a previous post, I'll be interviewing authors and agents using the blog's Usual Suspects as my interviewers. Guests can choose to be questioned by Captain Jack Sparrow, the Were-llama blog mascot, or the Spork of Doom.

Upcoming interviews include:

Author Kelly Gay: Captain Jack
Author Bree Despain: Were-llama
Agent Holly Root: Spork of Doom

Captain Jack was more than forthcoming in giving me his list of questions. The Were-llama had some issues getting past his own Awesomeness, but in the end, he gave me a list of questions.

The Spork of Doom is so obsessed with world domination and pie, he hardly gives me the time of day.

That's where you come in. What question(s) would you like the Spork of Doom to ask its hapless victims?

Presenting: Wally The Were-Platypus!

You've waited with bated breath for two whole weeks, salivating at the thought of a one-of-a-kind Were-platypus cupcake. You loved the idea soooo much, you voted for Wally over the incomparable Captain Jack Sparrow, driving the good Captain to his rum bottle and this writer to the edge of Crazydom.

A Were-platypus is, of course, far more kick-butt than its more tame counterpart--the simple platypus. The Were-platypus is a vicious creature, consumed with blood lust and driven by the need to teach all would-be-water-villains a lesson they would never have forgotten had the Were-platypus been gracious enough to let them live.

He isn't.

He's on a mission. Think Jaws is the worst that can happen to an unwary swimmer? Think the Anaconda is the stuff of nightmares? Think again.

Without further ado, I give you Wally, the Were-platypus.



He looks good from every angle.



What Wally sees.



I can only take credit for baking the cupcake and providing the chocolate sprinkles for fur. My incredib…

Holla!

1. First, let me just get the whole Wally the Were-Platypus thing out of the way.

2. Yes, I made cupcakes today.

3. Yes, I have Were-Platypus supplies at the ready.

4. No, it wasn't easy to find Were-Platypus supplies at ANY of the stores in my town.

5. Shocking oversight, really.

6. At some point tomorrow, in between work and my hubby's attendance at the local city council meeting, we'll be putting together a Were-Platypus cupcake.

7. Shannon has already made and posted hers.

8. Kerry has been conspicuously silent in the face of my blatant challenge.

9. But I think I dragged Shannon's friend Frankie into the fray.

10. I hope so. I hate to suffer alone.

11. Today, as we drove home from church, the Scientist began discussing the band Nirvana which lead to him giving us a startlingly accurate dictionary definition for the word "nirvana" which lead to him explaining it was generally a term one associated with the Buddha.

12. We asked him if he even knew what the Buddha wa…

Were-Platypus For The Win

So, the Were-platypus cupcake character won by a landslide. Captain Jack has guzzled three cases of rum to drown his sorrow and humiliation.

FYI - I'm still going to make a Captain Jack Sparrow cupcake.

Because it's MY blog.

However, I will bow to the will of my blog readers and make the Were-Platypus cupcake first. But why should I have all the fun?

I've got a stash of books (ranging from YA to paranormal to historical to suspense) to give away! You know you want one. Plus, you get Were-Platypus bragging rights. Apparently, there are over 100 of you who desperately WANT Were-Platypus bragging rights.

Far be it from me to stand in your way. I hereby announce the Were-Platypus Cupcake Character Contest! (And I fully expect those of you who tormented me with votes for Wally to jump on this opportunity to prove your choice was the worthier choice. Yes, Shannon and Kerry, I'm looking at YOU.)

Rules:

1. Make a Were-Platypus cupcake and post a pic of it on your blog.
2. Link that …