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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Because 3AM Is As Good a Time As Any to Write

When's the last time you had a really terrifying nightmare? I'm talking about the type that wakes you out of a sound sleep, forces you to turn on the lights and check every shadowy nook and cranny of your room before you can even think of going back to sleep. For most people, I'll assume that event was more common in childhood than as a completely rational adult with often boring or unremembered dreams. That's the way it was for me anyway, until tonight. I'd only been asleep for about two hours when a sequence of horrendous and blood-chilling visions snapped my eyes wide awake. I feebly attempted to roll over and head back to sleep but no, no that was not happening. So I did what any writer would do: hopped on the computer and started jotting down notes and details. Not only did this particular nightmare produce a fantastic idea for a story, it spawned its own title as well! Crawl on to find out more.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Gender Divide in Contemporary Fiction

Last week, I was bummed when my two submissions didn't make the cut for Miss Snark's First Victim's 2013 Bakers Dozen Auction. The 60 results (35 YA/MG, 25 Adult) that will be looked over by agents and editors were posted early this morning. So of course I had a look. Expectations were high. I mean, if my loglines and samples weren't good enough to pass muster, that's fine; but I expect to see some really solid stuff up there. For the most part, my expectations were met. There are a few entries that caused me to shake my head in disbelief, but that's the nature of the subjective gate-keeping process. Know what's interesting thought? The selected samples featured an obvious imbalance in protagonists' genders, favoring one much more than the other. The causes behind this range in complexity but I think it's worth taking a look. Crawl on for a breakdown of the entries, the apparent gender divide and possible explanations for it.

Something Shiny

A quick post on something which was delightfully distracting this morning. I had full intentions of getting some writing done, but an email from an up-and-coming author diverted me from those plans. Over at Victoria Schwab's blog, there's a scavenger hunt of sorts going on, one that will net the lucky winner 25 signed books! Courtesy of YA Scavenger Hunt, the contest runs this weekend only and features some authors who might just be the next big thing, including: Jessica Khoury, Beth Revis and Schwab herself, whose "Near Witch" was an excellent debut, if I do say so myself. If you're into the current state of YA books, do yourself a favor and get in on the hunt!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Baking Fail

Ever have one of those days when all of your planning and preparation and hard work seem to go up in smoke? A day when it's much, much easier to just throw your hands up in submission and resign to try again another day? I liken these particular days to preparing a much-anticipated recipe that goes horribly wrong. You've got your instructions, you've gathered your ingredients, you've weighed and measured your necessary portions and you've got the oven set to the proper pre-heated temperature. What could possibly go wrong? Read more after the break.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'm Baaaaaaack!

Well now, it's been quite some time since last we talked,  hasn't it?  Rest assured, faithful readers, I'm alive and well.  What exactly have I been up to all this time?  Let's take a look:

Previously, my alter ego was employed at a small biotech company, having trained in the arcane practices of microbiology.  In the free time allowed outside of those 40 hours a week, I managed to crank out a few novels over the years and enjoyed every second of it.  Then, in October of 2010, an opportunity came up that would allow me to broaden my writing experience AND get involved with the world of entertainment, movies, Hollywood and the like.  Fantastic, right?  The only downsides were that the job paid only in experience and took a big chunk of my free time.

Fast forward to almost exactly a year ago.  My alter ego was still grinding away at the day job, spending nights and weekends at the entertainment job and attempting to be a normal, functioning member of society, whilst poor Vincent Kale was shunted into a dark corner to brood and weep and lick his wounds.  There he remained for the better part of the last year, for Alter Ego had even more ambitious plans.

Early 2012 saw the packing up of Alter Ego's belongings for a cross-country trip to attend a school teaching, of all the things, a master brewing course.  Not only did that mean the end of the regular, comfortable, profitable and somewhat-secure day job, but a continued hold on my own creative productivity.  You see, Alter Ego was now attending classes from near 9-5 every day and using the free time to keep up with the unbelievable amount of information concerned with the delicious art of beer-making, but was also putting in 30+ hours of work at the entertainment writing position, which had blissfully turned into a paying opportunity.

All well and good for Alter Ego; not so great for yours truly.  So while my other half pursued his academic ambitions, I languished, wondering if I'd ever see the light of day or the white of a new document page, broken only by that hypnotic blinking cursor.  Then, something happened.  Alter Ego was presented with a one-week break from class, free time which he spent researching brewery positions, filling out job applications and contemplating a career in the industry.  He stopped short.  He thought to himself, "If I start on this path now, I'll be in it from the ground up all over again.  If I decide in five or ten years time that it's not for me, I'll have spent the majority of my thirties in an industry that doesn't fulfill me...though free beer is a helluva perk.  Do I really want to do this?"

The answer, apparently, was "no."  Thankfully, the fates were aligned and Alter Ego was offered a full-time position doing entertainment writing.  In his infinite wisdom/foolishness, he decided to leave the home he'd known for 11 years and the state he'd lived in all his life for a small, over-priced studio apartment in the greater Los Angeles area.  (Because that's where dreams are born...!) So we spent one long summer all over Hell's creation: Davis, CA; Detroit; Las Vegas; Denver; San Diego; Pittsburgh; Easton, PA; Dover, DE; Grafton, WV; Washington, D.C.; Skaneateles, NY; Hershey, PA and a 2,700 mile road trip from Easton, PA to Van Nuys, CA...all that in about three months!

That brings us up to the present day.  Alter Ego and myself have been settling in to the new place and are already coming up on one month here in sunny California.  We don't get out much (what was your first hint, the split-personality talk?), but we're making attempts to do so.  The best part of all of this is that Alter Ego only  has one full-time job to worry about now, with a laughable amount of free time to occupy however he sees fit.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is where I come in.  As of this writing, I've submitted "Indigo" to an awesome  competition of sorts known as the "Baker's Dozen Auction."  Hosted by the tireless Authoress over at Miss Snark's First Victim, the event allows authors to submit manuscripts for review by not only other authors, but respected editors and bona fide literary agents.  These agents then place bids on particular submissions, say for an exclusive read of the first 10 pages; those same agents can then be outbidded by others if the property strikes their fancy.  It's a win/win situation (even those without bids receive critiques).  I also plan on submitting "Blackwatch: The Mainspring" for the contest's YA/MG submission window next week. 

But that's not all, friends!  With the past behind me and the future ahead (which is where they both belong), I've got plans to get started on a whole new project.  What that is, I haven't the faintest idea at the moment.  The hopper is full of half-starts and loglines; I just have to pick one!  I make no promise on the regularity of these posts because I've tried that in the past and was simply not able to stick to it.  I'm still getting settled into a routine.  Rest assured that, should any disastrous/wonderful news occur, you lot will be the first to know!

Best wishes and an early happy Halloween!


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Well, here we are, another year in the books. I hope 2011 was great for you. I hope you took some chances and discovered new talents, I hope you laughed a lot and cried a little, I hope you're ending this year in a better place than you began. It's certainly been a crazy year for me (and 2012 is undoubtedly going to start off even crazier)! I just wanted to get one last blog post in for the year and wish you all happy holidays! I'll be back soon to fill you in on what has happened, what is happening and what will happen in 2012, but until then...

Best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year!