Here’s to 2013!

First off all, have one: 

Source
HAPPY NEW YEAR! 
Overall, 2012 was a zinger of a year, filled with blessing and successes. In fact, I got a substantial amount of this year’s goals done. 
Here’s what I want to do in 2013: 
Writing: 
Continue querying Doorways
Finish the draft to Guardian
Rewrite: 
Don’t Look Back
(Working Title) Otto
(Working Title) Guardian
Maybe finish the draft sequel to Doorways: Unlocking
Reading: 
Just to read more. I’m going to go easy on myself and aim for 25 books for the whole year. Any genre or classification. Crits not included because I consistently fail to keep count of them. 
Life: 
Keep working on my voice. 
Get back to guitar lessons. 
REALLY to take French and Italian, since it will be useful to my day job. 
Exercise regularly. This includes activities like gymming, fencing, dancing, yoga or any combination of such activities. 
Eat and cook healthier food. 
Make a point to meet more people with whom I have things in common. Sort of feeling tired of having my real life conversations ending in blank stares. 
I also want to paint more. Maybe even finish an exhibition’s worth of art?
That’s it for me this year. I’m all about simplifying this coming year, so I’m looking forward to seeing how much of it I get done. 
What about you? What do you want to achieve in 2013? 
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Here I am again

Amazingly, I’m still in one piece, despite a busy Christmas season. And it’s not over yet.

You see, my December looks like this:

Mom’s Birthday: 22nd
Christmas Eve (opening gifts): 24th
Christmas Day (Church and lunch): 25th
Uncle’s birthday: 26th
My Birthday: 28th (Money transfers welcome. ;-P)
New Year’s eve: 31st.

So as you can see, I’m not really getting time to sit still to blog without appearing to be anti-social.

Still, I’ve written a synopsis and revised my query again and again. I’m thinking I should send it to Query Shark before contacting agents, but that’s a story for IWSG.

In the mean time, I’m reading my friend Michael Offutt’s novel, Slipstream, at the moment, although the above-mentioned makes for some slow going. Ooh! Speaking of which, Oculus, the sequel to Slipstream is out, in case you’ve been living under a rock or missed all the posts about it this month. Go check these books out, if you haven’t yet. Mike’s one of my best CPs and he definitely knows the craft.

Alrighty then! I better get going again before my family sends out a search party.

See you again soon!

Who else have some important birthdays coming up between now and New Year’s eve? Anyone else still have family visiting?

Interview with Shah Wharton (and a Giveaway!)

Hey all! Today I’m sharing a short chat I had with Shah on the release of her new book: Finding Esta. Before I hop to that, I just want to let you know that there’s a copy to be given away.

But first, the interview:
Welcome to MFB, Shah. For those of my bloggy friends who haven’t met you yet, please share a bit about yourself? Who are you and what makes you tick?

Well, I’m a housewife and mum to a huge German Shepherd pup (10 months old, 36kg and still growing!). I used to work in mental health, and have bipolar disorder, although that’s not what makes me tick. That would have to be my love of stories. Reading them, writing them and watching them. I enjoy living in my head 🙂
It’s wonderful that you don’t let your bipolar disorder define who you are or keep you from doing what you want. What’s the best part about a story for you? Writing, reading or watching.

You know what, that’s a difficult one. I suppose as a writer, I should say writing. And when in the first flush of creating the first draft, I’d agree. But then I do love the theatre and cinema, or being submerged in a warm bed, glass of wine at my side, fabulous book on my Kindle.
So true. A fabulous book on a Kindle is often a lot less stressful than drafting. Speaking of which… what inspired you to start with Finding Esta? 

Finding Esta began as a short story about a journalist investigating a haunted house. It grew and grew and within a week it became a monster, within a year it went from my first novel to a series. I fell in love with Luna and the world she discovers. What can I say? 
Hahahaha oh yes I know all about short stories becoming monsters. What is your favorite thing about writing Luna?

She’s young, fragile, complicated. There’s a lot of me in her in the first book (not youth – I’m 40!), but she slowly matures, blooms into a woman of strength, despite the rotten start to her life, despite the freaky genetics which rule her, and despite her own insecurities. But my favourite thing about her is that she is both magical and normal.
She sounds amazing. Want to tell us a bit more about where the book can be bought?

Well, I published it on Amazon a few days ago. It went to Review stage (which is normal and can last anything from 12 hours to a few days). But when I checked excitedly earlier today, it had reverted back to Draft? So I had to begin the review process again! Grr! Anyway, you’ll find it once it’s gone live (any day now) on my Amazon Author Page for $2.99. It’s a pretty large book at 330 pages. But for those who are lucky enough to win one of five free e-copies, you’ll get yours for Christmas. 🙂 X
There you have it, lovely people! Here’s some more info on Shah, the book, and the giveaway. 
Blurb:
An unusual young woman and fledgling journalist, Luna has various restrictive oddities, all of which prevent any kind of physical intimacy. Abusive parents take pleasure in Luna’s misery and isolation, yet Luna strives to make them proud, to finally earn their elusive love – something she craves almost as much as the painless touch of a lover.
When she learns of a tragic story involving the kidnapping of baby Esta, she jumps at the chance to investigate, dragging her Shadows along for the ride within the murky depths of her mind.
Meanwhile, a dark stranger visits Luna’s dreams and stalks her reality. In lieu of the real thing, their intimate moments excite rather than terrify. Nestled within his presence, she begins to sense an urgent message of danger – a message she struggles to interpret, until they finally meet….
Her investigations lead Luna to a vibrant seaside town, hiding copycat aliens and an underworld of Supernaturals. Here, she comes face-to-face with her own, terrifying identity. Confronted with life-changing decisions and the harshest of truths, Luna questions her sanity, searching for logic, feeling deceived by both.
Is Luna trapped in a newfound supernatural world, or within her own delusions? And will anyone care enough to save her?
Author Biography:

She uses her imagination to write short stories as well as the poetry, but stumbled into her first novel, but falling in love with the character Luna in a short story she wrote 2010. It became grew into Finding Esta, the beginning of Luna’s journey to self-discovery. Finding Esta is her début novel and the first of The Supes Series. Shah began meeting authors and bookworms galore when she began blogging back in 2010. She’s learned a lot about blogging and writing on her adventure, mostly from the awesome advice of her online peer-group.
Her passions include blogging, writing, reading, movies, photography and picture enhancement, music, theatre, travel, and fine dining. Her qualifications include BSc(Hons) psychology, counselling, mentoring.
She also has one short story published ‘The Dead Party’ & two poems published in anthologies.
Her favourite genres include anything dark with fangs and/or that will make her squirm or jump or scream out an expletive. She is an avid Kindle abuser and adores the indie writing community and being part of the e-publishing revolution.
Get Social With Shah
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What’s your favorite part about writing, reading and/or watching a story? 

Things seem to be coming together

Well… I finished summarizing Doorways, so I guess that the only thing that’s needed is to sit down and do a synopsis. 

Problem is, I’m not dead sure as to what a synopsis entails, so I guess it’s a ton of research waiting for me. 
In the meantime, my painting ended up coming together as I painted. It’s actually very close to finished, now. I’m hoping to finish it by tomorrow. 
But, now we have visitors who’ll be here for a few weeks, so I’m not sure about exactly how much I’ll be able to get done. 
Maybe that’s good, because it means that I’ll actually get some rest. 
Or… it means I’ll be waking up by 5 a.m. to get some stuff done. 
Could go either way. 
Do you also struggle to turn off, even when you know you should? 

You know it’s bad when procrastinating means you write a query instead.

Thanks so much for the comments to yesterday’s post. I decided to stop whining and look at the query again.

Mistake I’d made this time: I put too much importance on it. You see… I’m not excluding any publishing method at this stage. The only reason why I’m querying now is so that I can say I tried it. If it fails, I’m not going to worry about it too much.

It just means I wasn’t meant to go the traditional route. I’ll take another.

In the mean time, I looked at my most recently drafted query. It sucked.

So I decided to take a completely new approach to the query and I think it’s pretty dang good. Just waiting for the dust to settle, then I’ll be editing it again.

In the mean time, I started the monumental task of summarizing Doorways so that I can write the synopsis. I have 70 chapters. So far, I’ve finished 13.

That’s not the only monumental task I have in front of me. It’s not even the most urgent  I have to finish my grandmother’s painting. You know… the one that’s supposed to be her Christmas gift.

I’m filled with jitters about it. It’s all good and well to do one for myself, but this is for my Grandmother’s Christmas present, so I really don’t want to mess it up. But I only have 6 days and so much detail work to do that I’m terrified.

Sigh. Sorry if today’s post is mixed up. I have a few too many things vying for my attention today.

Anyone else as messed up as me this time of the year? What do you need to get done and soon?

Query woes

I’m meeeeeltiiing!

Yeah… really. I wanted to do this post hours ago, but it was so hot that my only option was to stay in the pool until I resembled a raisin.

And then I remained in the water for an hour longer.

Which means, of course, that nothing I want to do is getting done. But while I’m there, I’m swimming and doing some resistance stuff, so at least I’m getting a bit fitter.

Other than that, I’m basically resisting the siren’s call that is the Doorways sequel. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with writing it per se… but it’s a problem when I still haven’t worked on the query or the synopsis like I’m supposed to.

That’s a problem.

Thing is. I don’t really know what to do with the query. Even an agent said that I should have people look it over, but all I get when I do that is more contradiction. How am I supposed to learn what I’m doing wrong when all I’m getting is some people saying add more and others saying take more away?

It just really annoys me. Then there’s this situation where some agents insist that my sub-genre is unsellable, but when asked directly, agents say that there’s no such thing.

So yeah… me wondering if it’s even WORTH the effort isn’t helping me get a new query done.

It’s all just one big procrastination exercise right now.

Anyone else getting frustrated with queries?

I mean, I don’t mind getting no’s. But getting no’s when I don’t know what’s turning the agents off really is starting to annoy me.

Just some heads-ups (and to explain my sucky day)

Thanks so much for the encouragement and hugs I received on Friday.

I kind of spilled my heart on this subject today on TCoML, so I won’t be writing much of a post here, except to say that the reason for my really shitty day and what I realized about it is in that post, if you want to go check it out.

Before you head over, though, I want to say thank you to everyone who expressed a willingess to help make next year awesome on this blog. I will definitely be putting out more details towards the start of the blogging season next year, since a lot of people who might love to take part will be away spending time with their families. But let me say, that if we get it right, this will be awesome for everyone who reads MFB.

See you tomorrow!