Realities of the Writing LIfe

16 03 2015

writingMost writers rack up rejection slips as they dream of the day that they’ll sign with an agent. Once they get the call and sign with their dream agent, most authors discover they’ll need additional edits on the manuscript they’ve already worked to death. And except for a lucky few, a long wait follows while the book goes out on sub. Then there’s the wait for the book to make it past the acquisitions committee.

Finally comes that glorious day of signing a book contract–one of the pinnacles of an author’s life. But wait…

You can’t tell anyone your fabulous news until it’s officially announced. So you spill the secret to a few trusted friends and family members and wait impatiently for the day you can shout it to the world. Then you bask in the congratulations and eagerly await the day your book heads to publication. Soon you’ll hold your baby in your hands! Yay! Um, no…

monkey reading

Although some days it may feel as though a team of monkeys is tearing apart your baby, in the end you’ll find the book has greatly improved.

It’s time for more waiting… For the editorial letter(s). And the REAL work begins. You thought your gem was finished? Sorry, the editor has plenty of requested changes. Then the copy editor. Then the proofreaders. And then is it ready yet?

Not yet. Next is waiting for the illustrator if it’s a children’s book. Then galleys, F&Gs, ARCs, final printing. Is it a book yet? Finally, yes. But there’s still waiting for release day.

And if you thought you were done working when you turned in your final draft, you’re discovering you’re working harder than ever — promoting your book, working on the next book, setting up school/library visits and bookstore signings…

But the upside of all this is that at least you can quit your day job and totally focus on your writing. Um, no…

Is This What Librarians Are Really Like?

Noooo!!!

Even if you got a six-figure advance (which most authors only dream of), you haven’t made much money yet. Don’t believe me? Check out agent Jennifer Laughran’s post about author advances, REAL TALK: $ix Figure Book Deal$, for the truth.

So you’ve gone through all of this and still need to keep your day job? Wouldn’t you have been better off working a second job for minimum wage? Probably. But why did you do this in the first place?  If it was for LOVE or to touch lives or to increase literacy, you’ll have the joy of seeing your book in reader’s hands. And nothing is more valuable than that.Children

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SCBWI Carolinas Offers Conference

23 06 2010

Want to learn more about writing? Meet editors? Get a professional critique of your work? Work closely with an editor or art director? All of these and more will be available at the conference held September 24-26, 2010 at the
Marriott Hotel Executive Park in Charlotte, NC. Lots more info here:

2010 Conference Brochure[1]-1





Kid Lit Contest

17 10 2009

Kidlit Contest

Check out Mary Kole’s blog for more details. She’s an Associate Agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, and she’s running a query contest until October 31.

The winner gets a 30-page critique of a manuscript. Sounds great! Guess as long as I’m blogging about it, I should send in an entry. Good luck with yours!





Leprechauns and Shamrocks

16 08 2009
Clare Austin

Clare Austin

I’m thrilled to have author Clare Austin here with us today. If you can’t guess by the lovely pic, her book is set in the land of leprechauns and shamrocks. And Clare’s relaxing in the gorgeous green fields of Ireland. So I’m off to the Emerald Isle to interview her.

Thank you for inviting me to your blog today. I have been rushing from place to place on this virtual book tour. I am flying by the seat of my pants most of the time now. Things will settle in I’m certain and I will get back to my usual writing routine. It’s fun promoting my book Butterfly, but I am starting to yearn for the days when most of my time was spent on my current work in progress.

How do I find time to write? Whether it is a chapter of the next book, a blog or email…I love to write. Now, for the disclaimer…I have no children at home.  My sons are all grown up and I am truly enjoying the “empty nest.” When they were little, I read constantly, but I didn’t write. For those of you who do, you have my admiration.

I write every day. Sometimes it is simply to jot down notes between other pressing daily tasks, but I can’t help but write. Stories come to me at odd times, my characters speak out loud while I drive my car, ride my horse and  go to sleep at night meditating on a scene or character. I’ve always told stories in my head. When I was a child I lived where I had plenty of room to ride a pony, swim in the sea or go hill-walking with my dogs as my only companions. I told them stories, made up rhymes, sang silly songs. It never occurred to me that other kids didn’t do the same.

When people find out I write, many of them want to give me their ideas for a story. I always tell them the story is theirs and would be best written by them. I have so many stories in my head and on my computer desk, I could live to be quite old and never get all of them written.

Stories are all around us. We often fail to open our minds and hearts to let them in. I read constantly: history, narrative non-fiction, science, autobiographies and always read fiction outside my own genre. I’m a naturally shy person, so I have had to learn to be bold about approaching people in social situations and asking them to tell me about themselves. Especially in Ireland where folks love to talk, the stories abound. Ask directions and you will get a story. I was walking in the marina in Howth Harbor, just the north side of Dublin Bay recently and a man was working on his boat. I stopped to ask him about the boats name…Róis Aris…which I know in Irish means Rosy Again. He told me the story of the boat and why her name was Rosy. I am now working on a love story…Rosy Again…with bits and pieces of this man’s musings as my inspiration.

That is how it happens…a news article, a stranger’s reminiscences, a song that sticks in my head and causes me to wonder what pain or joy the composer felt when it was written.

Writers all go about the process in different ways. I truly believe I had to banish my inner editor—that still small voice who tells you your writing sucks—and just spill words all over my computer screen. My writing is character driven. They tell me where to go and I rarely argue. Sometimes that means a character I thought was going in one book even ends up in another because she or he isn’t going to tell the story I want to write at the time. That works for me. The first year of my writing, I wrote four full length novels. I had a critique partner for a short while who kept saying I should perfect one and then think about another. I couldn’t do it. The faster I wrote, the happier I was. And it was all about having fun.  It still is for me.

Butterfly_final large Butterfly is the first book in The Fad Trilogy and is available now. The second book in this trilogy is Angel’s Share, a romantic suspense that takes the reader from the pubs of Dublin to the dark and dangerous streets of South Boston. It is set to release March 2010.

Hot Flash is a stand-alone story of loves lost and a second chance at happiness. It  will be available in paperback edition early in 2010 published by The Wild Rose Press.

Please go to my website www.clareaustin.com for excerpts and cover art for all my upcoming books.

If you go to http://www.myspace.com/clare_austin you can see some of my pictures of Ireland and hear some of my favorite music.

I also promised another excerpt (if you missed the first one, scroll down the page a bit; I promise it’ll be worth it):

Flannery swung through the door into the dining room with a flourish but nearly tripped over a bar stool when she saw the now familiar profile, broad shoulders, and curly dark hair of the man who had come to see her sister.

“Sufferin’ ducks, and if it isn’t himself come to brighten the day at O’Fallon’s.” Cade was as compelling as she remembered. Today he was dressed in jeans, a black knit shirt, leather bomber jacket, and a slow smile that would stop a saint in her tracks.

“What can I get you?” She thought a couple of shots of good Irish whiskey would sort him out.

“I’d try the fish an’ chips if you would join me?”

She gave him one of her best smiles, turned toward the kitchen, and yelled, “Hey, Jamie, I’m taking my break. Give us a one an’ one, a serving of the bangers and mushy peas, a couple o’ Harps, and an Inishowen, would you there?”

“Anything for the love of my life,” Jamie called from behind the door.

“Stow it, Jamie Mac!” Flannery shot back, then turned to Cade. “He’s always good fer craic, our Jamie.”

“Craic? Inishowen? One and one? Would you like to translate?”

“Whatta ya mean ‘translate’? You speak English don’tcha?” she teased. “Okay…I’m just giving you a time. ‘Craic’ is fun, ‘Inishowen’ is a whiskey from County Donegal, and a ‘one and one’ is what we, the feckin’ Irish, call fish ‘n chips.”

Flannery’s pulse quickened at the way his dark eyes, shaded by long lashes, swept lazily over her, undressing her, right here in a public place. Yes, as her girlfriends back home liked to say, “He was a ride.”





Prom Mania

1 05 2009

My publisher, Wild Rose Press, is promoting their YA line throughout the month of May 2009. All books are discounted, and Prom Mania has begun. Join us for prizes, quizzes, craft ideas, funny & embarrassing prom stories, and more.

If you comment on the blog and mention you saw the Prom Mania logo here, your name will be entered into the drawings for fabulous prizes.  Check out the excitement at http://twrpclimbingrose.blogspot.com/. Where else can you find info on free prom dresses?

For authors interested in writing for the YA line, stop by between 9-10 p.m. EST tonight, May 1, 2009. Meet the Climbing Rose editors on the editor blog at http://www.behindthegardengate.blogspot.com/. Or drop into the chat room http://client0.addonchat.com/sc.php?id=160587 on Thursday, May 14, 8-9 p.m. EST.