Monday, December 24, 2012

The Jackpot - FREE December 24 & 25

Merry Christmas Eve to all.

My book, The Jackpot, will be free December 24 and 25 on Kindle.

Click the cover over to the right to go to my Amazon page.

Happy holidays!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

It Wasn't Supposed to be the Transitional House! It Was Supposed to be the One!

Three years ago, my wife and I sold our first home, where we had lived since 2003. We loved that house.

It was a white colonial with a big, open kitchen, an enormous backyard, and a wrap-around country porch. The lot backed up to a large tract of land, part of a common area for the neighboring subdivision, that will never be developed. The downstairs had a great flow to it and made it seem larger than it actually was. Over the years, we put in new windows, new HVAC, some new appliances. It was home. You hear me. It was the place you wanted to be when everything else has gone to shit. The place you want to eat the Chinese food and watch The Sopranos on DVD.

The only problem was that the upstairs was about the size of a paperback book and with the addition of a second child, we decided we could use a fourth bedroom so we could have a dedicated office/guest-room space. We also wanted a neighborhood with a little bit more of a community feel to it -- as much as we loved our house, in all the years we lived there, we progressed to more than a hello-in-passing with only one neighbor. And it seemed like our kids (then 4 and 1) were the only ones under the age of 12 in the entire subdivision.

We put the house on the market in May 2009, and it sold in six days for close to asking price. Remember, this was when the housing market was in total shambles, which should tell you something about how nice a little house it was.

Selling that house broke my heart a little (actually a LOT), but we felt like it was time to move on and find the house we'd spend a decade or more in.

So with our house under contract, we started looking for a new home in the spring of 2009. We wrote an offer on one promising place, but within an hour, I started to regret it. Namely, we thought the kitchen was too small. Other things about it that seemed acceptable earlier that afternoon suddenly seemed mind-blowingly terrible. We pulled the offer before the sellers, who, luckily for us, were out of town, had a chance to accept. With the panic of pulling the offer still fresh in our minds, we saw a second house in a neighborhood we liked the very next day. 

It SEEMED like the right house (which I started calling Winterfell from Game of Thrones, since one of the home's previous owners’ was named Stark). The house showed well. It was (and still is) a very fine house, well-built, no issues. It was in a great neighborhood with lots of young families, running paths, a clubhouse, and a pool. Great school district. And we gained the extra bedroom that we wanted. There was a trade-off, though. A kitchen with a much different layout that I was used to, and a far smaller yard on a less private lot. But after six years of mowing a huge yard, I was ready for a smaller one.

Or so I thought.

We put in an offer that afternoon, which the sellers happily accepted. It passed inspection, and there were just a few things we asked the sellers to fix, which they readily agreed to. And I never felt that twinge of buyers' regret like I felt with the house we pulled the offer on. But the weird thing was, as the weeks ticked by toward closing, not only did I not feel any regret, I didn’t really think much about the new house at all. I was very busy at work, and I was struggling with the mind-blowing pain of a herniated disk in my neck. And I was having a hard time letting go of the first house. I REALLY didn’t like the idea that someone else was going to be living in my house. I kept thinking about all the great times we'd had there.

Moving day arrived. Everything went smoothly. And just like that, there we were, in the new place.

Within a couple days of moving in, something started to nag at me. A sense of unease. Little things I hadn't thought through began to haunt me. The layout bothered me. .And guess who doesn't like small yards? Small kids! Eventually, I started to wonder if we'd bought the wrong house for our family. But I kept quiet. My wife seemed to like it, and I didn’t want to rock the boat. I hoped the feeling would pass, that it would just take a little time to get over moving out of our first home. After all, the house itself was fine. Nothing physically wrong with it. Plenty of space. And it was in a fantastic neighborhood. I was being unreasonable, right?

But the feeling didn’t pass. In fact, it grew stronger. I'd wake up early and lie in bed, wondering how I was going broach the subject with my wife. Would she kill me quickly, or would she make me suffer? A few months later, I finally admitted to her that I didn’t like the house and didn't see us living there long-term. Not the most joyous conversation we've ever had. But the damndest thing happened. She agreed with me. Renovation wasn’t an option -- the configuration of the house wasn’t conducive to a renovation job that we could ever have afforded. And I longed for my large private backyard.

And so we waited. And saved. And kept the place spruced up, not with an eye on making it more ours, but on getting ready for the day we'd put it on the market. We put in some carpeting. We put in a new HVAC system, which killed me to do, since I wasn't planning to be around for most of its useful life. And we watched interest rates and home values continue to drop, wondering which one would have the biggest impact on our decision.

Finally, in March of this year, we put Winterfell on the market and began looking for a new house. This time, we were ready. We made a long list of every single thing we’d liked and disliked about both homes we’d owned. (You'd think we would've done this when we bought Winterfell, right? Oops). It took six weeks this time, but Winterfell finally sold for a price we could live with. And we found ourselves in the same position that we’d been in three years earlier. House sold. No prospects on the horizon. But we refused to let ourselves panic. We were ready to move to an apartment if need be. No way were we going through this ever again.

About three weeks later, on our way to another showing, we stumbled across a house in our price range in one of our target neighborhoods that had just gone on the market a few hours earlier; it hadn't even gone into the big MLS database yet. It looked really promising. Our agent got us in to look at it that evening. The downstairs was spectacular – everything I could’ve hoped for. Awesome kitchen. Screened-in porch, a deck, AND a patio. Huge family room with a wood-burning fireplace (which we’d had at our first home, and had given up for a gas fireplace at Winterfell – for God’s sake, Winter is Coming!). The yard, huge and private. A quiet cul de sac. The same school district for the kids. Plus a bunch of other features I couldn’t believe we’d found in our price range. And the house had obviously been immaculately cared for.

Then we went upstairs, simply hoping it was half as good as the downstairs. Quite frankly, unless the upstairs had been engulfed in flames while we were there, I was ready to buy. And the upstairs was just as nice as the downstairs. We went down our super-obsessive list, and the house passed every test. We made an offer on the house that night, and it was accepted the next day (on one of my kids’ birthdays). As it turned out, we had a connection to the sellers – I had briefly worked with the woman in 2010. I didn’t get to know her very well before she left for another job, but she was very nice, and exactly the kind of person you’d want to buy a house from.

We closed on both houses a few months ago (on my other kid’s birthday), and the difference is like night and day. For one thing, I spent the month leading up to closing terrified that either our sale or our purchase would fall apart. Quite a bit different than 2009, when I didn't really think about the transaction at all. I freaking love this new house. It felt like home the minute the moving truck groaned its way out of our neighborhood, leaving us alone there for the first time.

We did make two sacrifices for this house, although I'm realizing that they're far less of an issue than I thought they might have been. First, we don't have a fenced-in yard for the first time in a decade. This means taking our dog out on the leash, but it also means immediate poop cleanup.

Second, we don't have a garage, which we had at Winterfell (but didn't have in the first house). But we rarely parked in the garage. Maybe a few dozen times in three years. And I never found myself wanting for one when we were in the market in 2009. It just so happened that Winterfell had one. And with each passing day, I grow more and more convinced we made the right call, just as with each passing day in Winterfell, I became more confident we'd made the wrong call.

I do feel bad that things didn’t work out with our now-former house. Buying and selling a house is a hell of a big deal, financially, emotionally, and mentally, and going through it much, much sooner than we’d anticipated made it that much harder. Especially since we'd been hoping to make it our long-term family home. Part of me wonders if it would’ve been impossible for any house to measure up to our first house. After all, that’s the one we brought our kids home to from the hospital. It’s where we spent our first anniversary. It’s where we hosted our first big Thanksgiving.

Don’t get me wrong, our family thrived at Winterfell. I made great strides in my writing career. My wife was promoted at work and continues to be a superstar. My kids are doing well (and truthfully, kids don’t seem to care too much where they live). We loved the neighborhood. We had fantastic neighbors, and I will miss the dads’ crew at the morning school bus stop.

But I can’t help but think that Winterfell was a rebound, a transitional house, something to bridge the gap between our beloved first house, and the one that I hope will be our family’s legacy home. Winterfell was fine, it served its purpose, but it was never quite home. I never became attached to it.

(Yes, I realize I’m writing about first-world problems here, so SHUT UP. NO YOU SHUT UP!)

Have you moved a lot? Have you ever moved much sooner than you originally planned? Do you believe in the idea of a rebound house?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Writer's Paradise

In honor of all writers, here's a parody of Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise I wrote called Writer's Paradise.

Or maybe it's a parody of Weird Al's Amish Paradise, which itself is a parody of Gangsta's Paradise.

Either way, it's a parody.

P.S. - Being a lawyer, I actually went and did legal research to make sure it was OK to do a parody. Turns out parody enjoys a great deal of legal protection. Thank you, 2 Live Crew!

I actually thought about making a video of myself performing this, wearing a hoodie and whatnot, but trust me, I've done the world a HUGE favor by not doing so. Who knows. Maybe if this blog post gets 100,000 hits or something.

P.S. If anyone wants to perform this, feel free -- all I ask is that you give me credit for the lyrics.

As I click through the Twitter and the blog-o-sphere
I put down my iPhone but there's nobody else here
'Cause I've been Tweetin' and bloggin' so long
That my wife texted me and said that she was gone
But I ain't never read a blogger that didn't deserve it
Me, be treated like a spammer, no, sir, uh-uh

Better watch how you query, and you better not rush
Or you and your book might be lying in slush
I really hate to edit, but I gotta cut
As the word count grew, I saw the purple prose, dude
I'm the kinda writer MFA students wanna be like;
Eating Cheetos late at night,
Sunburned by my Mac's light;

Drinking a large coffee, living in the Writer's Paradise
E-mailing my book to me, living in the Writer's Paradise
Psyched about new mail, living in the Writer's Paradise
Sad face when I see it's from me, living in the Writer's Paradise

I got the dialogue, I got the backstory,
I got lotsa online friends, I'm going for the glory,
So I wanna be on the couch watching television
Too much House Hunters keep me from revision
I'm a deluded writer with book signings on my mind
Got red pen in my hand and red veins in my eyes,

I'm a desperate author, weekly blogger
And my Internet is down, so I jack my neighbor's FIOS,
Form rejection ain't nothing but an e-mail away,
Submitting to a small pub, what should my letter say?
I've written three books, but will I make it to number four?
The way my laptop is grinding I don't know.

I wear thick glasses, I'm so blind you see,
The typos we write, right there on screen...

Drinking a large coffee, living in the Writer's Paradise
Emailing my book to me, living in the Writer's Paradise
Getting psyched about new mail, living in the Writer's Paradise
Sad face when I see it's from me, living in the Writer's Paradise

E-books and the print books, print books and the E-books
Plot points, index cards and opening hooks,
Everybody's writing, but half of them self-pubbing
I read Pub Lunch, but I don't know what's selling,

They say I got to learn, all those agent blogs to teach me,
If their guidelines all conflicting, how can they reach me?
I guess they can't; I guess they won't,
They form reject; that's why I gotta keep the day job, muse!

Drinking a large coffee, living in the Writer's Paradise
Emailing my book to me, living in the Writer's Paradise
Getting psyched about new mail, living in the Writer's Paradise
Sad face when I see it's from me, living in the Writer's Paradise

I wear thick glasses, I'm so blind you see,
the typos we write, right there on screen...
I've got thick glasses, I'm so blind you see,
The typos we write, right there on screen...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Why it Sort of Doesn't Matter Who's President. Sort of.

I paid very little attention to the 2000 Presidential election. I did not stay up late watching election returns, and I did not really care which candidate won. To be honest, it’s entirely possible I voted for George Bush. Looking back, I’m sort of glad that Virginia was safely a red state back then, meaning that the Electoral College system saved me from myself.

I was 27 years old, at the dawn of my career as an attorney, with no idea of what kind of lawyer I was going to become. I was in my longest long-term relationship (not that there had been that many, but this one seemed like it was going to last, and it has). I had this vague dream of someday becoming a novelist. I’d gotten a couple short stories published.

Several weeks later, George Bush was declared the winner, and we all know how that went. I voted for John Kerry in 2004, but you could see a Bush re-election coming from a mile away.

Against a terrible backdrop of 9/11 and two wars, the truth is that a lot of stuff happened to me during those eight Bush years, a lot of good stuff that far outweighed my disgust with what Georgie-Porgy was doing at the controls, and some bad stuff that I'd rather not go through again but made me wiser.

I ran a triathlon. Got down on one knee and proposed marriage. I wrote my first manuscript. Shattered my right arm and wrist playing softball. I got married. Went to Hawaii. I couldn’t find a literary agent. We bought our first house. I wrote my second manuscript. I still couldn’t find an agent. We had a kid and fell in love with him. Quit writing completely. Had a complete career meltdown. I wrote another book. I tried several different areas of law. Some jobs were good. Some were not so good. We learned how to host a big family Thanksgiving. We had another kid and fell in love with her.

A few months after our daughter was born, Barack Obama swept into the White House.

More stuff happened to us since then, although, admittedly, at a slower pace than during Bush’s presidency. We sold House #1. Bought House #2, regretted it almost immediately. I had some success writing. Found an agent. Sold House #2. Bought House #3. Found a lawyering job I liked (this took a long time). Still working on becoming a better writer, better dad, better husband, better cook.

And so on.

Look, I sincerely hope that Barack Obama hangs on for a second term. I’m no fan of Mitt Romney, and I am astonished that he’s made up all this ground in three weeks after floundering for SIX YEARS as a candidate. But whatever. If he wins, he wins. I hate that the right-wing extremists and wingnuts and birthers and racists and homophobes will feel validated if they boot Obama to the curb. That said, if Obama wins, we’ll still know they’re out there, and we’re still going to hear from them. And I truly hope that if Romney wins, we get the moderate version we saw at the first debate.

Yes, things will happen in this country. Some things will be good. Some things will suck. Decisions I vehemently disagree with will be made, and those decisions will hurt people. But I’m guessing not many people look back on their life and say, “things would’ve been so much better for me if Mr. X had been President.”

Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, “the arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Despite the wingnuts, we live in a better, more just society today than we ever have before, largely due to the work of many, many people who were never President and would never want to be President. The economy, well, it’s going to do what it’s going to do. It’s always been that way, and it will always be that way. A hundred Harvard-trained economists probably have a hundred different theories about how to grow the economy, and yet we go through recessions and booms, and no one can seem to agree on how either begin or end. You think Mitt Romney alone has the silver bullet? Or President Obama?

Perhaps I'm being naive. Perhaps I'm just steeling myself for President Obama snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

On the other hand, maybe I'm not being naive at all. I’ve got a life to live. I’ve got dreams to chase, kids to be stupid with, and a wife to make laugh. There are chicken wings to be eaten, trips to be taken, beers to be tasted, and music to be heard.

So come November 6, sure, let’s all vote. Have your voice heard. And then let’s get back to our lives. (And thankfully, I can stop looking at poll numbers).

Friday, September 7, 2012

Insanity, Interrupted

I've decided to shut down my Insanity experience for now for a couple of reasons.

A few days ago, I started noticing an absence of oomph, for lack of a better term, in my legs, which get brutalized during the Insanity workouts. 

I took one day off, then two, then three out of four. My legs still felt dead. 

And the workouts only get harder and longer from here.

Quite frankly, I just don't have time for it right now. I've got too many other things going on to accommodate the workouts and the time and rest needed it takes to recover from each workout. Although the workouts are only 40 minutes are so, it takes easily that long before you feel like you can function again afterwards. 

I suppose I feel leaner, although amazingly, the scale has not budged an ounce. I find this remarkable, given how intense the workouts are, given that up until my recent hiatus, I'd done heavy cardio and plyometric exercises virtually every day for the better part of a month. My shirt and shorts, even my shoes, were soaked with sweat at the end of each workout. 

OK, I'm rambling. 

Here's what you need to know about Insanity, if you were thinking about trying it. First, the Insanity materials include a bunch of disclaimers, including a warning to check with your physician before beginning the program.

You need to be in relatively good cardiovascular shape. This can't be the first thing you do after a long layoff from exercise. You won't make it through the workouts.

Upper body strength is nice, but it's the least important thing to bring to the table. 

You need a lot of free time. A couple hours per day for workouts and recovery. You also will need to sleep at least eight hours a night. I'll say this -- I slept damn good in these last weeks. The problem is that it's rare that I get 8 hours of sleep. I usually get by with 6 or so. It's not enough for Insanity. Eventually, your body will start to quit on you.

With kids, the day job, the writing at night, and all the other stuff, I just can't devote the recovery time needed to make it through. 

I'm going to switch back to another Beachbody program (the makers of Insanity) called 10-Minute Trainer. This set contains 5 different workouts, each 10 minutes in length, and you can do 1, 2, or 3 workouts per day, depending on your schedule. They're tough, but doable. Not nearly as crazy as Insanity.

I hate cutting this program short, but there are only so many hours in each day.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Death of a Manuscript

Last fall, I came up with a really cool idea for a post-apocalyptic novel. 

As I've mentioned before, I love that genre, and am fully aware that the market is pretty saturated with stories of zombies, plagues, vampires, Earth-bound asteroids, armies of Sta-Puft Marshmallow Men, and so on and so forth. 

But THIS idea. 

This was a twist on the genre I hadn't seen yet out there. 

I talked to my agent, my first readers, and my wife about it. They all seemed excited by it. I worked on the outline, set out the major plot points. I did have a bit of a hard time deciding on what the main character's ultimate quest would be, but I didn't worry too much about it. The idea was so damn good, I figured it would work itself out (see where this is going?) 

So I got to work on the manuscript in December. And wrote and wrote and wrote. By the end of April, I had myself a complete manuscript, nearly 100,000 words in length. I was pretty proud of myself. 

I took a week or two off from it, did a couple pass-through reads to clean some things up and shipped it off to my readers. 

While  I waited for them to get back to me, something started to nag at me. Something felt wrong. The story didn't pop out at me. I compared it to The Jackpot, which had a very simple, very clearly-defined quest -- Samantha working to return a stolen lottery ticket back to its rightful owner while resisting the temptation to keep it for herself. It's the narrative thread. But what was this book about? Why did it feel so flat? 

The first reader got back to me with his notes: He liked the premise a lot, but, uh, um, what's it ABOUT? 

My second reader came back with his notes: "The writing is really good, but I'm having a hard time rooting for the main character." To me, this is very similar to my first reader's note. Guess what my agent said when she read it? 


I read through it again. They were right. One hundred percent right.  

The book was sick. Very sick. I rushed it into surgery and began looking for where things went off the rails. Early, it turns out. Very early. And the infection spread rapidly throughout the rest of the manuscript. I made the fatal mistake of confusing a good idea with a story. I didn't know what the main character was pursuing, what his ultimate goal was, who he even was, and the novel is fatally flawed because of it.  The main character does pursue something, but he was backed into it by circumstance, not because he  was actively trying to solve a problem that affected him directly. That's not to say that there aren't novels that succeed in this paradigm -- it's just that mine doesn't, because this quest he's on isn't clearly defined. He doesn't even know what it is until the last 20 pages of the book. 


As Gertrude Stein famously said: "There's no there there." 

Fixing the book isn't going to be a simple matter of revising a few sections, adding some character depth or anything like that. It's going to require a complete re-write. I'll have to throw out some 300 pages.

So there it is. I forgot the key storytelling principles. What is the book about? What does the main character want? Why does he want it? And how will your main character's true nature drive his or her approach to pursuing the goal? 

I think about my three favorite books, and how simple the stories are at their core. The Stand is about our heroes' quest to defeat Randall Flagg. Mystic River is about Sean Devine's quest to find Katie Marcus' killer. Lonesome Dove is about Woodrow and Gus leading the cattle drive north from Texas. In all of these books, it's character that drives how each of the quests is pursued. 

So let my tale be a warning to you, fellow writers. Make sure you know these things before you start writing. Don't confuse a good idea with a good story. A good idea is merely a starting point. You have to hammer it down like a blacksmith forging a sword from steel. 

If you don't, you could find yourself in the same pickle as me. And believe me, it ain't a fun place to be. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Insanity - Two Weeks In

So I've hit the first milestone of Insanity, which is Fitness Test #2. As I mentioned in my last post, the Fitness Test is a series of seven exercises that you do over the course of 30 minutes, and recording the number of repetitions you can do for each exercise. We do this four times over the course of the 60-day program, so we can see our overall progress.

I've definitely made huge improvements in all the exercises. In virtually all of them, I was able to do 25-30 percent more repetitions.

Interestingly, I have not dropped any weight yet, but I do feel a lot leaner (and I think I look leaner when I look in the mirror.). I've stuck to the workout schedule pretty closely, so I guess it's the whole lean-muscle-weighs-more-than-cheese-fry-and-Oreos thing.. Or maybe I'm still taking in too many calories (although I think I've been pretty good about that). 

It's still a tough program, and I will be glad not do it six times a week when it's over. However, until then, I will try to stick to the program as closely as possible.

For those curious, I think it's harder, overall, than P90X, although I think P90X does put more emphasis on upper body work. Also, Tony Horton is a better instructor than Shawn T (yes, he calls himself Shawn T, so I don't know what his last name is). 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Insanity Workout

So I've started the 60-day Insanity workout program. I'm 4 days in. 

I did the P90X program two years ago (which really did wonders for me), and since then I'd focused on running 3 or 4 days a week. But running, as great as it is, doesn't do much for your upper body or the core. And I don't log enough miles to really do much but maintain my current level of fitness. 

So, I'm taking this program on in the hopes it will get me back to the same level of fitness I had after finishing P90X. I'm confident that better all-around fitness will help me in all aspects of my life, from baby-daddyhood, to marriage, to work, and, of course, to writing.

It's a pretty grueling program, but I'm happy with it so far. I've done the fitness test (which you do 4 times during the 60 days so you can measure your progress), and three of the primary workouts. There's  a lot of cardio and core in there, mixed in with a little upper-body work. I don't know much, but I know I'm dripping with sweat within 10 minutes of each workout. By the end of the workout, my legs are shaking with fatigue. 

Ideally, I'll lose 10 pounds on this program, but I'd be happy with 7. I lost 18 on P90X, but I had a lot more to lose then. I've kept most of that weight off, but I have given back about two pounds. 

Anyone else out there tried Insanity?  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Interview with Author Leigh Moore (Miss Snark's First Victim Blog Tour)

Welcome to what will hopefully be the first of the Annual Authoress' Success Story blog tours! Those of us who have owed our publishing successes, at least in part, to the Miss Snark's First Victim contests and blog have decided to come together and help cross promote each other's work.  Every day in the first two weeks of August, a different author will be posting an interview of one of our fellow Success Stories, so make sure to tune in to everyone's blogs (there's a list below the questions).

And now, I've got the great pleasure of interviewing Leigh Moore.

Hi, David! Thanks for having me here, and thanks to Authoress for all she does for aspiring authors!

Tell us a little about how you got here. 

I started writing as a kid, but I never seriously tried to write books until the fall of 2009. Before that I'd worked as a high school English teacher, as an editor in the public relations department at Louisiana State University (Geaux, Tigers!), as an editor for national associations, then when I had my two daughters, I started doing freelance news writing and editing.

In Fall 2009, for whatever reason, I started sneaking off night after night trying to write my first book. After a month of that, hubs accused me of having an online affair--LOL!--and I confessed. I'd fallen in love with a story.

Four completed manuscripts later, I entered the MSFV contest in April 2011 (for the second time). My entry ROUGE won, and from there, I was offered representation for that book by Kate McKean of Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. It's due out through Pocket Star in Nov/Dec 2012.

Who are your biggest literary influences, and what are a couple of your favorite reads?

I don't know about influences, but as a writer, I'm aiming to be something like Judy Blume meets Charles Dickens--totally commercial fiction, but with relatable characters dealing with common problems who find themselves in the middle of Dickensian-style adventures. That way I hope one of them, one day, might turn into a classic. (A girl can dream, right?)

Oh, I have so many favorite books, but two recent reads I absolutely loved were Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Franny Billingsley's Chime. Then last week I read Easy by indie author Tammara Webber, and I just swooned. I actually sent Tammara a fan email. She's great, btw.

You recently announced your three-book deal with Pocket Star (a Simon & Schuster imprint). Congratulations! I was really intrigued by the fact that your deal is, as you described, “first and foremost” for an e-book. Can you talk a little about how your deal came to be, and how it’s different from a print deal?

Thank you so much! I'm still getting used to saying out loud that I have a book deal. It was a pretty fast development, and the timeline is equally fast. Pocket Star is a new imprint that was launched in March 2012, and in April, Abby Ziddle, my editor, talked to my agent Kate about acquiring ROUGE for it. Then the three of us talked on the telephone about it, and it grew to a three-book deal. 

This is my first book deal, so I can't really compare it to other deals, but Kate said it's pretty much identical to a traditional print deal in every way except format. It will be marketed the same as their print books, and PS reserves the option to bring it out in print if they decide to do that. But the primary format is electronic.

You also work as an freelance editor. What are some of the most common mistakes you come across as you review other people’s work?

Honestly, I don't see common mistakes--other than some grammar issues. It seems every writer's different. Some have trouble with pacing, some have primarily grammar/mechanics issues, and some just need a good eye for consistency from start to finish. I love my authors, though. All of them are such great storytellers, and I'm lucky to get to know them and help make their books as good as they can be.

In addition to writing and editing, you also have a family – how are you able to balance everything and maintain some shred of sanity?

Oh, man. I don't think I do this very well, but I try. The hardest part--especially in the thick of summer vacation--is stepping away from the computer, knowing that idea or that email will keep, making good notes, and counting on my brain (or muse) to hold on until school starts back up in a few weeks.

Thanks, Leigh!

Tomorrow's post is at Leigh's blog, where she'll be interviewing J. Anderson Coats. Make sure you swing by to check out their interview.  

Visit the whole crew:

Posting Date
@angelaackerman & @writerthesaurus

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Miss Snark's First Victim Blog Tour

Hello, readers!
Guess what? We’re just about to begin what will hopefully be the first of the Annual Authoress’ Success Story blog tours!
Authoress Anonymous has built a strong and supportive community on her blog Miss Snark’s First Victim: a community of writers, critiques, hopefuls, agents, editors, and readers. There, writers can participate in contests designed to help them practice giving and receiving critiques, polish their hooks, spiffy up query letters, and gain exposure to literary agents… and, in the case of some writers, get offered representation or publishing deals!
Over twenty professional authors now owe some part of their successes to Authoress, the incredibly generous people who participate in her contests, and her blog. Those of us who have owed our publishing successes to MSFV have decided to come together to celebrate both MSFV, Authoress, and to help cross promote each other’s work.
Every day in the first two weeks of August, a different author will be posting an interview of one of our fellow Success Stories. There might even be some giveaways, so don’t miss a single blog post! Make sure to tune in to everyone’s blogs from August 1st to the 15th, and to follow the hash tag #MSFVSuccessStory this month for more details, tidbits, and info. See you there!
NameWebsiteTwitterPosting Date
David Kazzie

Leigh Talbert Moore

J.Anderson Coats

J.M. Frey

Elissa Cruz

Amanda Sun

Kristi Helvig

Leah Petersen

Monica Bustamante Wagner @Monica_BW9-Aug

Emily Kokie

Monica Goulet


Sarah Brand

Angela Ackerman &

Tara Dairman @TaraDairman 15-Aug