Tuesday, December 9, 2014


I'm happy to say that the six winners I critiqued from the Baker's Dozen Contest got bid on by agents-most received a full manuscript request. Congrats! Out of the thirty-five YA & MG winners, 27 were YA and only 9 were MG and approx. 85% were Sci-Fi or Fantasy which made sense since these are the Authoress' favored genres. Whether it be agent, editor or writer, everyone has their sweet spot. It would of been nice to have seen more MGs on the winner list. Maybe next year, if she decides to run the contest again. Along with kicking me in gear to get my pitch down for my MG, the Baker's Dozen Contest got me to sign up on Twitter. Though I failed to follow the contest live, I now have a twitter presence. I'm up to seven tweets-Woo-Hoo and I have one submission sent.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Baker's Dozen Contest Over and Agent Submissions Begin

My logline and my first two hundred and fifty words of my MG was ready to be submitted for the Baker's Dozen Contest on Tues. the 4th. I got online at 8am that morning and found myself copy/paste challenged on the blog form. When I figured that out, I found myself revising. Ugh! Clock ticking...I finally finished and hit the  submit button and...nothing. I was too late. The cut off number was 150 manuscripts. I had another chance on Thursday to make it in the next batch of 150, and this time, I took in account the three hours ahead submission time. I had everything completed a few minutes before six and at 6am, I hit "submit" and I got in, which made me feel like a winner. Hey, for me, being functional at 5:45am deserved the blue ribbon!
Friday the 21st I found out I wasn't part of the thirty-five manuscripts that were chosen for the agent auction block. I wasn't that disappointed. I got a critique out of it, I dove into revisions on my pitch and my first page for both my YA and MG, and I got  to be a part of an online writer's community. I look forward to seeing the winners posted and critiquing some of them. It's always a gift to see other writer's work. Our imaginations and experiences are so diverse which makes it exciting and fun.
I'm preparing to submit to the agents from SCBWI OC's Agents Day October's conference and I'll research the agents from the Baker's Dozen Contest list and perhaps submit to a few of them as well. I'm happy to say all my major revisions are completed, though the chapter I added will need to be reworked. Now, if I could only bake a pie : )

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Butterflies and Feathers-YA signs

I love signs and reading into them. Synchronicity of life awakens when you pay attention to them. Animal Wise by Ted Andrews is my main reference book. It gives the behavior of various animals, birds, bugs and sea life and what they mean/symbolize. While snorkeling last week, I observed for the first time a moray eel disappearing into the sea grass. Moray eels form symbiotic relationships with certain kinds of shrimp. The eel swimming into my life may mean an unusual symbiotic relationship is on the horizon and like the eel, I must be observant to recognize this opportunity. I'll let you know how that unfolds.

Butterflies and feathers were the signs that the protagonist paid attention to in these novels that I meant to blog about awhile ago. Love in the Time of Global Warming by Frances Lia Block has Penelope's decisions confirmed by the presence of butterflies. After an earthquake and tsunami hits southern California, leaving Penelope alone in her waterlogged house, a butterfly(transformation) leads her on a Homer influenced odyssey. I loved the characters she hooked up with a long the way and the relationship that evolved with the transsexual. But the giants and antagonist added a sci-fi/super hero-villain vibe that I couldn't connect to. The biological father revealed, fell short. "I am your father," might as well be a Star Wars copy right. Because of the well-defined characters and relationships and signs, I'd definitely read the sequel, if there's one.

The feather was a sign that kept reappearing for Cameron in Going Bovine by Libba Bray. This YA has one of the best first lines I've read. I'll admit it took me several pages before I realized Cameron was a boy, probably because he uses so many words.Women use twice as many words than men do. (something I learned late in life ). Besides the brilliant first line, I loved the irony. The fast food joint that Cameron works at, a Buddha Burger in Texashad me laughing. Cameron is diagnosed with mad cow disease and so, the odyssey here, begins. It's basically Wizard of Oz goes YA complete with teen angst and sarcasm with a punk rock angel to soften the edges. Libba is an amazing weaver of story. At this point, Going Bovine is YA classic- a must read.

Remember: when you follow the signs, like Penelope, Cameron and me, magic happens.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sea of Agents-Part II

I should have posted this yesterday, but I decided my hands needed a break; Saturday was a no-computer day. This other opportunity is coming up fast to have a chance of landing an agent."Miss Snark's First Victim" is a writer's blog; the bloggerette (feminine for blogger :) goes by Authoress. Through her love and devotion to writing and fellow writers, she has created an awesome community. The Baker's Dozen is a contest she has ran for the past two years, and I'm experiencing it for the first time. For the contest, you submit your pitch/logline and your first 250 words from a completed work. Wait a minute, there's an end to revisions? Then she and a fellow author read over the submissions and choose 35 winners in the YA/MG category out of 300. There's also a NA/Adult category this year. The winners are posted for twenty-two agents to bid on. You may end up getting a request for a partial or full manuscript, and perhaps, land an agent.

In the month leading up to the contest, Authoress has posted success stories, the list of agents, authors and editors involved, and she has ran three rounds of logline critiques. The last round, my logline was randomly picked. Yes, it was exciting! Holly Bodger, a published YA author, critiqued it along with a few fellow writers. It was helpful and I spent two days in rewrites/edits. I highly recommend becoming a follower of Miss Snark's First Victim. Click on the Baker's Dozen Guidelines, and read everything before entering the contest. It starts this week and for a nominal fee of $15, it's way worth a try!

In the sea of agents, we must swim through various waterways to increase our chances of catching the right one.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sea of Agents

In a sea of agents, swimming up to the right one is a challenge. Thanks to SCBWI, it can be easier. Earlier this month I attended the OC SCBWI Agents Day where I got to hear Lori Kilkelly of the Rodeen Literary Management, Sean McCarthy of the Sean McCarthy Agency, Christa Heschke of McIntosh and Otis Inc., and Charlie Olsen of Inkwell Management speak about his/her agency, the business, what they're looking for, and writing topics i.e. the beloved query. And I was lucky to have my name picked to lunch with Christa Heschke along with four other attendees. From listening to their presentations and speaking with most of them one on one, I got a sense of which ones to submit my work to.
Rule of thumb: Do not judge on presentation/lecture alone. Some agents aren't good speakers, and why should they be? They spend most of their time on the phone and computer. Get over your shyness, introduce yourself, and talk to them; note: it doesn't have to be about writing. Through the stormy sea of agents, a rainbow eventually shines above. I'll be posting other agent opportunities soon like tomorrow : )

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Power Revision Breakfast ; )

Dove back into my revisions last Sunday with my power breakfast. It's been years since I've had our local, infamous Heidelberg cinnamon roll and it was better than I remembered. I also thought I'd advertise the awesome coffee I buy at Trader Joe's. "This ultra dark roast coffee has a full body that is complimented by medium acidity and dark chocolaty sweet overtones." This pitch left me wanting more, how about you? I admit I'm a coffee snob. I'm still powering through revisions-amazing how one cinnamon roll can keep you going for days! ; )

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Reading distracts from Revising, or Does It?

Skipped September, so make-up blog time for October. These are my feet and yes I often read, daydream and receive inspiration here on this hammock in my backyard. My latest two MG book reads starred a squirrel in one, and two raccoons in the other(star status is reserved for talking/thinking animals and bugs only). Flora & Ulysses...The Illuminated Adventures, by Kate DiCamillo combines a graphic novel and novel in one-brilliant! I adored all her quirky characters, especially the labeled cynic, Flora and the "unassuming" squirrel, Ulysses. I wonder how many fourth graders had to Google the word "cynic." Congrats to Kate DiCamillo for receiving 2014 Newberry Award for this fun and touching novel.
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt had quite a few animal characters, but the true stars were the scouts-two raccoon brothers, Bingo and J'miah. And who couldn't love Chap Brayburn? A twelve year-old boy devoted to his mother's sugar pie business and the the swampland who struggles becoming a man after losing his grandfather. It's bitter-sweet like coffee and fried sugar pies. I was pleasantly surprised by the "save the environment" theme which is one of my themes in my book that came to me eight years ago. Until about two years ago, it was a rare find to come across an MG with this theme. I'm happy to see this niche in the market growing and having Kathi Appelt, a Newberry Honor award author to be a part of it, is awesome! Though I'm not a fan of a narrator being a character, this one did set a nice tone and rhythm. I definitely would have edited some of the details on the Desoto and instead, a point of view might of been fun. I did enjoy reading the several points of view that was in this book. Both of these MGs are a must read.
As for my question, yes, the reading did take time away from writing, but what I learned fueled my revisions. Stay tune for my latest YA reads.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

WriteOnCon 2014-Addictive

The past two days was the WriteOnCon annual FREE online conference and it rocked. I was addicted-up late reading,watching and posting since my work interfered with me seeing and reading some of the events live. Elana Johnson and all the organizers truly blow me way. I wish I had more time to prepare, and gotten my butt on twitter. I hope to brave that next week and be ready next year.

YA writers pitched on twitter, 140 characters, and I watched the reactions of the Spencer Hill Press Gals- Patricia Riley-managing editor, Danielle Ellison-senior editor, and Asja Parrish-senior editor on the Writeoncon site. You got to see what they're a sucker for, learn what they're looking and not looking for, and most important, experience they're enthusiasm. It was insightful and fun to watch. And there were a lot of requests for full manuscripts! The Forum is a great opportunity to connect with other writers, post your work & receive critiques, and possibly get noticed by a "ninja" agent or editor. Though late on the draw, I posted my MG, The Firefly Field, which was a technical feat after several attempts, ye! The forum will remain up for few days which I'll be revisiting after I jump in the ocean : )

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Sub-Mission Accomplished

It was late night, Thursday, deadline pulsating like a neon sign in a window of diner. It read open. Time was still on my side. I hit send at exactly 8:50pm; Sub-Mission accomplished with the ultimate weapon, a typewriter gun. This process will never mess with me again. You too, can arm yourself. Available at LGOCA. Artist: Eric Nadeau.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Blowing off the Dust

Following advice from so many in the writing world and needing a break, I put my middle grade novel away to collect dust while I worked on my YA before the conference. Months later, I've blown the dust off. And with new eyes, I read it out loud, did some edits, and printed it. Mistakes and questions really pop out when holding the pages in your hand, don't they? After more research I discovered a huge mistake in my story that left me dumbfounded! How could I miss this? Ugh! Thank the gods for showers-my place for creative solutions. What came to me yesterday morning while water rained down on my head will strengthen my story. I'm diving back into that vast sea of revision with a deadline floating above. I may need a life preserver ; )

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day or Interdependence Day?

Today we celebrate our independence, but I prefer interdependence. Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate what our founding fathers established-an independent country with freedoms that other countries don't have. Becoming independent, like when we leave our parents nest and strike out on our own, is empowering. I'll never forget moving into my little apartment in Hollywood Hills at age twenty-two. It was exciting; a time when anything was possible. But in creative and business endeavors, independence can be a lonely road. Interdependence you're never alone. Here, your unique talents are recognized and used for the betterment of the whole-cooperation.

When people ask me why don't you self-publish? My answer: I prefer to go beyond "self." A mutual symbiotic relationship is much more powerful. The almighty triad WAE-writer, agent & editor where we use our individual talents to obtain a common goal.
Happy Interdependence Day!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Wind Died

The writing wind died for a month! Ugh! Family and work stresses left me dead in the water. Is that really an excuse not to write? I recently learned that Stephen King wrote every day for nine years before he was published and Ernest Hemingway wrote every morning for four hours before he hit the bar. I'm sure there were stressful times for them, especially Ernest escaping to drink. I've heard several authors speak about being a full time moms, and having full time jobs along with volunteer work and they still write everyday. What? Really?
The wind has picked up.This morning I woke up with an idea for a middle grade novel with a female protagonist and I got down the title and the first paragraph. I love how ideas come into my consciousness. That creative spark has got me diving back into my other novels. So, maybe it's not writing every day as much as what you accomplish when you do sit down to write, right?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Wine Country Writers Wetreat (lisp intended)

The wino country conference held by SCBWI OC goes down as my fave so far. And not because of the wine. The editors, Noa Wheeler from Henry Holt, Laura Whitaker from Bloomsbury Children's Books, Martha Mihalick from Green Willow Books- Harper Collins, and Angie Chen of Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers rocked the house. Their presentations were interactive before the Q & A. The round table critique session gave me a lot to work with, and I loved that everyone read their 500 words out loud. I have to work on that speed critique technique; ). The setting allowed for intimacy among the writers, editors and staff. To walk up to or sit with an editor and ask a question was golden.

I was on the fence whether to make my YA into a MG. After Lin Oliver's insights on my pitch in her YA/MG workshop, I leaned toward MG. I later pitched my novel to every editor and asked whether it sounded YA or MG. They all said MG. So, higher MG it is. I didn't end up needing a glass of wine during first pages-the critiques were constructive and nice. Lastly, the grounds were gorgeous and I got to enjoy some music and dancing with some of my fellow writers.
I'm still assimilating all the information and I have set course to sail down the Strait of Revision this week.
p.s the blog title just came to me and made me laugh. A tribute to Michael Palin's Pontius Pilate in "Life of Bryan", LoL!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Page Turners

My YA rewrites have interfered with my page turners! Definitely a challenge to come up with new ones when I was so pleased with what I had, Ugh! Diving back in.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Swimming through Rewrites- SCBWI Conference on the Horizon

I just kicked my backstory out of the front seat in my YA after reading Writing Irresistible Kidlit by Mary Kole. I've weaved some of it in her journal and through dialogue and wondered if it was still too much for the first chapter. But after reading Julia give the history of her friendship with Amy, in Jan-Phillip Sendker's A Well-Tempered Heart,I think it's okay. 

I wrote the first draft before editing with my MG novel. My magical realism YA, in first person, is not going that route. I keep swimming back for more rewrites. I have to set limits or my first draft will never reach shore. This is what I'll be working on at SCBWI Spring Writer's Retreat in the Wino country ; ) Temecula. I wonder if everyone will have a glass during first pages? I think it's a good idea, don't you?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Preparing to Dive Back In

I'm beached for the moment while I read Mary Kole's Writing Irresistible Kidlit-The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers. I'm halfway through it and so far, it's two pens up. Chapter 3, What's the Big Idea inspired me to rewrite my elevator pitches. Lover of cats and Audrey Hepburn movies, it was fun to learn about the Save the Cat Moment in chapter 5. It was derived from Breakfast at Tiffany's. It's an action that makes you feel for the character. When you have an unlikable character, it's important to have a strong "save the cat moment." In the book I just read, Lost Voices, by Sara Porter, fourteen year old Luce turns into a mermaid. Her adversary, Anais, is horrible. I kept hoping for that solid "save the cat" moment, but it never surfaced and I felt Anais shouldn't have either.

Challenged to dive back into my YA, this beach time is giving me what I need to do so.    

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Tibetan monks have been coming to my town yearly for the past couple of years. They set up in one of our local churches where they ceremoniously create a sand mandala within a week. The last day the monks chant as they destroy it with a paint brush. The philosophy behind this: Nothing on this earth is forever-detachment is the path to peace. I was there for the last day and each of us got some of the sand and followed the monks to the beach to release into the ocean. This resonates with me now as I detach to outcomes- being published, growth in my business, and all things in the future. I have put energy into my passions and now I choose to simply enjoy the process, overcome the challenges, and live in the moment.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Pugaltine's Day

I hope this made you laugh. I've never been big on Valentine's Day and neither was this Pug, as you can tell! Scratch that, there was a time. It was in grade school when you celebrated V-day eating cupcakes that a fellow middlegrader's mother actually baked, and giving and receiving Valentines (20 in a box) that mom bought from the supermarket. Ah yes, and the giggles over the sayings on those little heart candies. Now, it's a day without cupcakes, but maybe a little dark chocolate, and knowing expessions of love can happen every day.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Wondering the Internet Sea

Last Saturday I decided to take a surfing break in between my edits. As I sailed across the Internet sea, bugs being the topic, I discovered this little treasure: a Green Orchid Bee. Stunning, right? I wondered for hours gazing at exotic, gem-like insects. I eventually got back to my editing.
My rewrites landed, one submission set sail, and a new course has to be mapped for my PB after receiving a wise critique from my children's book librarian friend, Rebecca today. This evening I read the latest newsletter from Children's Book Insider that gave me some great tools to implement when I dive back into my YA tomorrow. And beyond the horizon, an outline for my middle grade novel's sequel awaits.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Calm waters and creative waves

Calm day at the beach at the end of 2013. With the calm waters, comes clarity. After my last meeting with my critique partner, I've made a decision on my middle grade novel. The holidays took me off course into a new "cea"  of creativity. A first draft to an ocean-life inspired picture book and an outline for another. You never know what those tides will bring in. It was a nice break from my endless editing, and I even got out my drawing pad! Now the deadline wave for submissions is about to crash. Gotta kick-out to catch that wave.