Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Now Available FREE from Kindle Direct: Amazon Prime!

Hello Readers,
Do You Believe In Magick? is now available for free lending from Kindle if you have Amazon Prime! Lots of benefits for very little money. You can "check out" books from the Kindle library absolutely free - good for authors, good for readers!
Check it out!

You can get a free one-month trial of Amazon Prime. Here's the info:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Holidays Coupon!

Hello Dear Readers~
Here are coupons for Do You Believe In Magick?, available for redemption from Smashwords until December 24 (just in time for all of you getting or giving new Kindles, iPads, Nooks, etc).

Do You Believe In Magick?: coupon code JA58X
Do You Believe In Magick? Teen Version: coupon code  WQ65B

Enjoy - if you like the book, please write a review. If you don't like it, message me and tell me why. I value all feedback.

Have a lovely holiday season, everyone. Don't forget to be grateful for all you have and all you can offer to the world.

Friday, November 4, 2011

To Agent or Not to Agent?

Been thinking a lot about this. In the olden days, 5 years ago (or even 4 or 3), having an agent was a necessity for a writer who wanted to be published and successful. I signed with an agent in New York about ten years ago, but he passed away unexpectedly before selling my novel, Moonshine (which I'll release later this year, much edited and improved). I sent inquiries to nearly every agent and publishing house listed in the Romance genre. I had a few bites - those who said they'd consider representing me if I made changes in the novels I sent them. Maybe I should have done that, but at the time, I opted not to, so no regrets. And that's where it ended. Life and a new job became more demanding, and the search for an agent (and even writing itself) got put on hold for a looong time.

Unlike some folks, for me, writing is painless. It's meditation, it's fun. I love conceiving of stories, outlining them, writing them and then editing and editing them. But trying to get published, or even signing with an agent, is an emotionally taxing thing; not for sissies, that's for sure. I know I'm not alone in collecting rejection letters, keeping careful lists of those I sent manuscripts and those still on the Hopeful List. You develop a thick skin pretty quickly doing this. Of course, agents don't want to see entire manuscripts from unpublished writers, so I didn't send out a lot of those (a handful of times I did, back when you had to print the whole thing out, box it up and go to the post office to wave it goodbye). Most of the time I was invited to submit only small snippets of my novels, praying that someone would recognize the quality of my work through a tiny keyhole.

I'm sure you all know this feeling. It's hard to summarize the brilliance of your novel, its skilled and sensitive use of language, nuanced emotional artistry, its ability to transport readers to a vivid imaginary realm and give them a delicious experience, in a one-page query letter.

Once in a while, you're invited to submit the Whole Darn Thing, and you try not to get your hopes up but you do anyway, it's impossible not to. Once your beloved manuscript, the offspring you lovingly conceived and gestated, nurtured and sculpted, has the good fortune to land on an agent's desk, it then enters a sort of Survivor: Agent Island contest with a vast field of competitors. Quality notwithstanding, the chances of being chosen for representation sometimes seems determined more by the alignment of the stars, what the prospective agent had for lunch and the resultant level of gastric distress, the agency's latest acquisitions or the size of the current slush pile. So your offspring gets rejected out of hand, thrown on the midden heap, often with a frosty form letter or, worse, your own letter to the agent with a stamp or brief note jotted hastily at the top and returned to you. I have a few of those, which always made me feel like: They didn't even want my letter. Ouch.

No one can blame the agents, of course. They're in the industry because they love books. It's just that the numbers work against anyone trying to make a serious go of it. With the planet's population approaching 7 billion, how could it be any other way?

Anyone reading this in a management position, like I used to be? Do you have to screen job applicants or interview candidates in this desperate economy? Pretty soon, your eyes glaze over and you're putting ninety-nine percent of the hopefuls into the rejection pile, because there are just so damn many of them you can't possibly sift out all the good stuff. And while you're doing it,  you know you're doing it and hate it but accept it because you have to. You may have just thrown out Gone With the Wind or Harry Potter, but there's not much you can do about it. You're dealing with an avalanche. Another stack of hopefuls will land on top of you the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that. It's no one's fault, except perhaps the family planning folks who haven't been able to convince our humble race to police its procreative tendencies.

So, is the effort to be a successful writer any different now, in the age of ePublishing, when an agent isn't absolutely necessary - or is it, perhaps, even more difficult? Are the numbers even more stacked against us as writers?

I think so.

Publishing electronically is something anyone can do - and believe me, anyone does. The amount of garbage now available from ePublishers is staggering and suffocating to serious writers. It feels like we're swimming upstream, trying to create well-written, entertaining art in a world increasingly unable or unmotivated to distinguish trash from treasure. Five minutes surfing the current television menu proves that our collective standards have taken a plunge, to a depth nearly impossible to believe if I didn't see it with my own eyes (I gave up subsidizing television providers years ago; these surreal experiences have happened to me in hotel rooms in recent years - but that's another story).

Agents have their own worries about this whole situation, of course. The role of agents and editors and traditional publishers is changing faster than anyone can keep up with. Finding promising writers and cultivating them, then hanging on to them in this razor-thin-profit margin world, is getting more and more difficult for agents. This in turn fuels the drive to find that One Big Writer or One Big Blockbuster - and let's face it, there can't be too many of those, by definition. It feels like an impasse - with writers on one side, the traditional publishing world on the other. It's possible that writers in This New World can function and become successful without representation, but it's darn tough to get known, to really be successful, without someone who really knows the business guiding the way.

So what to do?

Well, I'll tell you. As a writer who would love to be in print, even if it means handing over a big chunk of profit, I'm going back on the hunt for an agent. I'm putting my books out there electronically, but if Harlequin or Avon or Penguin would like to share the love, I'm game.

Time is short, but then, I've never had enough time for anything. I have a very demanding full time job plus a part-time gig (neither of which is remotely related to writing), and take care of a chaotic family. I don't even have time to fold the laundry half the time, so we live out of the laundry basket - clean but wrinkled! For that reason, five minutes here and there, compiling lists and composing letters to prospective agents will have to do.

When - not if - I find another agent, I'm going to forge an alliance that will benefit both of us and be used as a springboard into the multi-platform world of publishing in the twenty-first century.

Back to editing Moonshine.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Deep End of the Pool

Well, I'm still swimming as fast as I can to finish the edits on my next novel, Moonshine. It's proving more challenging than I'd thought it would be but I think the process and effort will end up being worth it. Already, I'm feeling better than ever about the story.

I'm chagrined to think back, let's see, about 11 years, to when I first approached agents with this novel. Believe it or not, I did sign with someone, a very kind and successful older man based in NYC. Unfortunately, he passed away unexpectedly before the novel sold. Maybe it was providence, because the novel is in such better shape now. I like to think of PB up in heaven, maybe looking down on me, smiling and cheering me on. He certainly was very important to my confidence 11 years ago and gave a real boost to my motivation to keep writing in spite of the obstacles.At that time, we didn't anticipate the explosion of electronic publishing or the possibility that this book would become available, no matter what print publishers said.

So, to all aspiring writers out there - don't give up. Remember that your writing is first and foremost your Letter To Yourself, an expression of your innermost thoughts and feelings. Seeing a story metamorphose over time can be extremely satisfying and gratifying. Of course, it's also possible to over-edit. Sort of like kneading bread, you have to know when to stop.

So, all that said, Moonshine WILL BE DONE and available by the end of the year. That's my promise to myself and to me prospective readers.

Au revoir!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Editing Furiously!

Working like crazy to get Moonshine ready to publish by the end of this fall. Dilemmas: leave in POV of villain or not? Instinct says to remove and somehow work the info into the heroine's experience, but this is a challenge! Reading Sol STein's How to Write the Breakout Novel (for the 100th time!) - he points out that modern readers are more and more interested in the ongoing stream of consciousness of characters, the individual emotional and mental experience. Exposition is  more or less out unless you're a literary genius... Do I give the hero more scenes of his own? Original version contained little of his POV but the more I've added, the more interesting I've found him, so this might be an easier problem to solve.
Anyone have any wisdom to impart?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Some Free Magick!

Check out Smashwords during July! Lots of authors - including me - are making their books free for a limited time.
My book, Do You Believe In Magick? is a fun, romantic, suspenseful, sexy read. Who could ask for more??? Witches, you say? Well, I have those, too. Animal guides? Clairvoyant old ladies? You know it. Evil psychiatrist? Yep! Pagan rituals? Yeah, baby. Oh, and a Teen Version of the book for them that prefers such'uns.
Enjoy a FREE READ on me this month, to celebrate summer!

More soon about my writing.