Courting the Muse

20 06 2014

girl in chiffonMany people long to be writers; few follow through. In every writers’ group, you’ll find that often it’s not the most talented writers who get published, but the most persistent. This persistence doesn’t only apply to submitting work, it also applies to showing up at the page. Recently I was pondering this as I signed books at BEA and met CPs and fellow SCBWI members who were also signing. How did we, out of the many writers we know, end up with published books while other more talented friends have yet to achieve publication? It obviously had little to do with talent. The writers I have in mind have plenty of talent. The only secret ingredients I could find were persistence, dedication, and determination.

The published authors I know have one thing in common — they show up at the page. They don’t wait for the muse to strike, they go to her (or him). They write often, usually daily. They’re disciplined. That “D” words sounds so anti-creative, so structured, so boxed in. It seems antithetical to the word all writers dream of: FLOW. heart

Then I ran across this quote by Mary Oliver in A Poetry Handbook and realized she’d put that truth into words. She compared writing to a love affair between the heart and the practical, learned skills of the conscious mind. So many writers wait for the heart, the creativity, the muse to direct their pens, but in truth, the conscious mind must initiate the courtship. As Oliver says:

[The muse] learns quickly what sort of courtship it is going to be, Say you promise to be at your desk in the evenings, from seven to nine. It waits, it watches. If you are reliably there, it begins to show itself–soon it begins to arrive when you do. But if you are only there sometimes and are frequently late or inattentive, it will appear fleetingly, or it will not appear at all.

She values this act of being present at the page more highly than technique. And I agree. Only those who prove they are dependable lovers will find their shy, reluctant muse waiting to greet them. How do you court your muse?

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Recapping BEA

14 06 2014

Switch Press Display with Grace and the GuiltlessAs a librarian, I spent many years going to BEA, but 2014 was the first year that I went to sign books. A few years ago, I had the thrill of seeing one of my books in a publisher’s display. But this time my book was prominently displayed (Yes, that’s Grace and the Guiltless on the top shelf of the Switch Press display.) It was fun seeing the ARCS of Grace between all the other books coming out from Switch Press, Capstone‘s newest venture into fiction., and getting autographed copies from fellow authors.

Capstone boothAnd my book was not only part of the publisher’s display, it was also blown up large (almost the same height as me) on the publisher’s display wall. What fun! And I was amazed by the fabulous covers surrounding it.

To keep with the Western theme, I dressed in cowgirl regalia. It was fun strolling through the streets of NY and clomping down subway stairs in boots, fringed suede jacket, billowy skirts, and a Stetson. I have my wonderful CPs to thank for my costume. When they heard I’d be signing, they dug through their closets and outfitted me in their gorgeous Western duds. So it was as if they were right there with me.

Between my signings and meeting friends and CPs (who were also signing books or checking out their publishers’ booths), I still had plenty of time to be a total fangirl and stand in long lines for autographed copies of books from many of my favorite authors. Knowing I had little room in my suitcase and a 50-pound limit on the trip home, I tried to limit myself to my absolute favorites. The booklover in me sighed as I passed up many books I ordinarily would have snatched up. As disciplined as I thought I was, I still ended up with way more than I could carry home. I rued my addiction as I struggled to the subway each night with 20+ pounds of books in each hand. (Thank heavens for the wonderful free totes!), and I also regretted it later as I mailed home my clothes (to make more room in my suitcase for books) along with boxes of books. But how can you pass up free books? By mega-talented authors?

Globe Pequot signAnd I squeezed in time to meet the awesome editor of our nonfiction book coming out in October with Lyon’s Press. So nice to finally put a face with the name. And I was there when they posted the announcement that the parent press, Globe Pequot, had been bought by Rowman & Littlefield. I snapped a (rather out-of-focus) photo of the sign.

In addition to signing, meeting and greeting, and book collecting, I also attended the Switch launch party (snapshot of them setting up for the event below) and went out to dinner with the Capstone staff, which turned out to be an evening filled with awesome book discussions, lots of laughter, and delicious Italian food, marred only by the trek home afterwards with my 40+ pounds or so of books.

Globe Pequot Launch PartyIt was lovely to be a part of so many awesome book-related events and amazing to once again be in the midst of the pulsing book-energy that is BEA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Today’s Release Day for Grace Alone

8 05 2014
WANTED: Book 2 (UK edition)

I WANTED: Book 2 (UK edition)

I’m celebrating a book birthday today!

Grace Alone, Book 2 in the WANTED series, that I wrote as Erin Johnson released today in the UK. It’s available in the US on Amazon or from the publisher’s website, Curious Fox.

BLURB

To help track down the Guiltless Gang, Grace decides to become a bounty hunter, despite it being ‘no life for a woman’. Her first test is a criminal known as the Black Coat, who’s been preying on vulnerable women. She’s about to put a dangerous plan into action when Joe comes into her life again, showing her what life could be like if she let go of revenge. Then, as she struggles with her feelings, the Guiltless Gang appear tantalizingly close…

 

THE SERIES

YA series set in the Wild West…

After her family is slaughtered by outlaws, sixteen-year-old Grace Milton goes on a vendetta to capture the gang who did it. But once she meets a rugged range rider, she’s torn between revenge and love.

WANTED: Book 1 (UK edition)

WANTED: Book 1 (UK edition)

WANTED: Book 3 (UK edition)

WANTED: Book 3 (UK edition)

WANTED: Book 4 (UK edition)

WANTED: Book 4 (UK edition)

 

 

 

 

 
 

I’ll be signing copies of Book 1, Grace and the Guiltless (US edition with the cover below), at BEA on Friday, May 30 at 2 pm at the Capstone booth. Hope to see you there!

Grace and the Guiltless (US)

Book 1 WANTED (US edition)

 

 

 





New Release: Grace Alone

30 04 2014
WANTED: Book 2 (UK edition)

I WANTED: Book 2 (UK edition)

I’m celebrating a book birthday today!

Grace Alone, Book 2 in the WANTED series, that I wrote as Erin Johnson released today in the UK. It’s available in the US on Amazon or from the publisher’s website, Curious Fox.

BLURB

To help track down the Guiltless Gang, Grace decides to become a bounty hunter, despite it being ‘no life for a woman’. Her first test is a criminal known as the Black Coat, who’s been preying on vulnerable women. She’s about to put a dangerous plan into action when Joe comes into her life again, showing her what life could be like if she let go of revenge. Then, as she struggles with her feelings, the Guiltless Gang appear tantalizingly close…

 

THE SERIES

YA series set in the Wild West…

After her family is slaughtered by outlaws, sixteen-year-old Grace Milton goes on a vendetta to capture the gang who did it. But once she meets a rugged range rider, she’s torn between revenge and love.

WANTED: Book 1 (UK edition)

WANTED: Book 1 (UK edition)

WANTED: Book 3 (UK edition)

WANTED: Book 3 (UK edition)

WANTED: Book 4 (UK edition)

WANTED: Book 4 (UK edition)

 

 

 

 

I’ll be signing copies of Book 1, Grace and the Guiltless (US edition with the cover below), at BEA on Friday, May 30 at 2 pm at the Capstone booth. Hope to see you there!

Grace and the Guiltless (US)

Book 1 WANTED (US edition)

 

 

 





Heading to the Big Apple?

22 05 2010

Let’s meet. I know so many of you  from Facebook and SCBWI and author conferences… I can’t wait to see old friends and make new ones.

One person I’m dying to reconnect with is Maria V. Snyder. A former critique partner, Maria has now made it big in the book world. A New York Times Bestselling author, she’s been churning out books faster than I can count. And they’re getting great reviews. It’s exciting to watch books that I saw in early drafts become finished products. I have a soft spot in my heart for Inside Out. I loved the “Study” books as they took shape and cheered on Yelena, who’s the kind of character I love–a courageous female protagonist with hidden talents who sets out to win every battle she faces.

Inside Out has a similar protagonist, but younger, and the world Maria has built for her is fascinating. I won’t give any spoilers, but just say it’s a fast-paced read with a heroine who will tug at your heart. I’m sure it’s changed a lot from the earlier version I read, but the world and the main character, Trella, I’m sure will stay true. Can’t wait to read the finished version.

I’m hoping to pop by her autographing table to snag a copy of this and and ARC of Spyglass (Don’t you just LOVE that cover??), her two latest books, to add to my autographed collection.

Of course if you don’t have the other books in the series, you’ll have to grab copies of Storm Glass and Sea Glass to complete your collection.

I’ve attached the trailer for Inside Out below, so you can get a sneak peek if you haven’t seen it already during the blitz on the Internet. And even if you’ve already seen it, it’s well worth watching again. Right?