Archive for July, 2011

We all know that querying can feel like pulling teeth–I happen to think first dates often feel the same way. So I was thrilled when Ollin Morales asked me to do a guest post on his wonderful blog, Courage 2 Create, on querying.

For those of you who know Ollin’s blog, you already know how he offers terrific and original insights into all aspects of writing (and living, while we’re at it!)–and for those of you who haven’t yet met up with Ollin in your internet travels, you’re in for a treat.

I hope you’ll come on over and give my thoughts (and tips) on querying a read and that you’ll make Ollin’s blog a place you return to often.

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I’m a sucker for a heist movie. Always have been. On any day, give me The Thomas Crown Affair, The Score, and certainly, Ocean’s Eleven. Recently I stumbled on a gem (pun intended there, oh you bet) called The Hot Rock from 1972. With an all-star cast headed up by Robert Redford and George Segal, and directed by Peter Yates of Bullitt fame, it’s a winner. Well-written and well-played, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

And I think I finally understand WHY I am so enamored with heist movies. At one point toward the end of the movie, there is a scene where Robert Redford is tasked with, not surprisingly, having to construct the plan for a doozie of a heist. He knows he has to figure out a way. The camera pans to his face and he is angst-ridden, you can see it. Then he begins to write. Scribbles fly out of him, one idea, then another. Finally he returns to his crew and shows them his notes, one scrap of paper here, a napkin there, explaining as he hands them out why this one won’t work, or this one, or this one.

I think you all know where I’m going with this.

Now I’ll go out on a limb here and say none of us are professional thieves accustomed to constructing heist and getaway plans. We’re even better than that: we’re writers.

When Robert Redford was sitting there, burning holes in his notepaper with his eyes, I knew EXACTLY how he felt (well, minus the danger of incarceration). So many times as a writer I’ve known I had to get from point A to point B–I had to get the gem–but how? On a later draft of LITTLE GALE GUMBO, I had to rethink a key plot point. It simply didn’t work. It was too harsh and frankly it didn’t fit with the mood and spirit of the story. But the ending was to remain the same. Like Mr. Redford, I was faced with a set-in-stone ending, but I needed to find out how to get there. I went around and around. I scribbled. I charted and graphed. But no matter what, the safety deposit box was too thick, the bank guard was too alert, the alarm system was too foolproof. What I mean to say is: there was always a sticking point that kept my “heist” from working.

Until, one day, there wasn’t. Eventually, after enough huffing and puffing and scribbling, the solution was there. And it worked.

So how do you all “plan your heists?” Do you take long walks and let the ideas percolate?

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When I first started blogging last year, one of the very first writers I got to know was Teresa Frohock who just happened to be living in NC like myself. So I was thrilled for her when I learned she had not only secured herself an agent (the highly awesome Weronika Janczuk) but that she and Weronika had received a contract for Teresa’s debut novel MISERERE with Night Shade Books.

Now, months later, I have the pleasure of hosting Teresa on her One Question Blog Tour as MISERERE is released into the universe. Already deep into this novel, I can report that Teresa is one of those gifted writers who makes writing look easy. And I couldn’t be more thrilled for her much-deserved success. Teresa is also someone who makes using the tool of social media look effortless. So I felt compelled to ask her:

Knowing what you know now about using social media as a writer, is there anything you would do differently just starting out?

 Thanks for hosting me here, Erika. I always enjoy the special insights that you share here at your blog, so I’m really excited to be a part of it today.

For those of you who don’t know, I had the pleasure of meeting Erika in Charlotte in June, and she is just as genuine and lovely in person as she is here. We had lunch and during our conversation, we discussed social media, what works and what doesn’t. I was delighted when Erika asked me to share some thoughts with all of you, especially about things I might have done differently.

When I decided I wanted to pursue writing for publication, as opposed to writing simply for the fun of it, I knew I would need a blog. I wanted one for two reasons: 1) to hone my writing skills; and 2) to get my name out there.

My only problem was that I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about. In the end, I geared my first blog helluo librorum toward the craft of writing. I felt it would be a way for me to connect with other writers and get my name out there for agents and editors.

It was a great experience.

Since my visibility was low, I felt comfortable making mistakes while I learned how to write blog posts that would get me noticed. However, while I did interview quite a few authors, I didn’t talk a lot about genre fiction. Nor did I connect with a very important part of this equation–the reader.

Not everyone who reads, writes, and in my desire to craft a well-written novel, I really neglected ways I could have been making impact with my readers of genre fiction. Oh, sure, I visited all the big name blogs, followed them on FaceBook and Twitter, but I rarely commented or engaged in any of the conversations, because I thought no one would care what I thought.

By neglecting to do so, I missed a huge opportunity to engage with other genre readers prior to being published.

Don’t get me wrong: I needed all the input and advice that I found through my writing contacts, but at the same time, I wasn’t writing just for me. Engaging with your future readers is just as important as engaging with other writers.

So if I had to go back and do something different, I would spend more time engaging with genre readers through their various blogs and web sites.

What about you? Do you know where your readers are hanging out? Do you lurk or are you openly engaging your future readers?

Thanks so much for stopping by, Teresa–and friends, please click away on all the great links attached below to hear/see/read more about Teresa and her writing.

* * * *
Raised in a small town, Teresa Frohock learned to escape to other worlds through the fiction collection of her local library. She eventually moved away from Reidsville and lived in Virginia and South Carolina before returning to North Carolina, where she currently resides with her husband and daughter.
Teresa has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying. Miserere: An Autumn Tale is her debut novel.

Teresa can be found most often at her blog and website http://www.teresafrohock.com. Every now and then, she heads over to Tumblr and sends out Dark Thoughts http://teresafrohock.tumblr.com, links to movies and reviews that catch her eye. You can also follow Teresa on Twitter http://twitter.com/TeresaFrohock and join her author page on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Teresa-Frohock/134892453223242.

Miserere: An Autumn Tale (http://www.nightshadebooks.com / July 1, 2011)

Exiled exorcist Lucian Negru deserted his lover in Hell in exchange for saving his sister Catarina’s soul, but Catarina doesn’t want salvation. She wants Lucian to help her fulfill her dark covenant with the Fallen Angels by using his power to open the Hell Gates. Catarina intends to lead the Fallen’s hordes out of Hell and into the parallel dimension of Woerld, Heaven’s frontline of defense between Earth and Hell.
When Lucian refuses to help his sister, she imprisons and cripples him, but Lucian learns that Rachael, the lover he betrayed and abandoned in Hell, is dying from a demonic possession. Determined to rescue Rachael from the demon he unleashed on her soul, Lucian flees his sister, but Catarina’s wrath isn’t so easy to escape. In the end, she will force him once more to choose between losing Rachael or opening the Hell Gates so the Fallen’s hordes may overrun Earth, their last obstacle before reaching Heaven’s Gates.

Read the first four chapters of Miserere FREE here http://www.nightshadebooks.com/Downloads/Miserere_%20An%20Autumm%20Tale%20%28Sampler%29%20-%20Teresa%20Frohock.pdf

Book Trailer Link: http://youtu.be/3MvCHEp0EVA


All Things Books http://speedyreader-allthingsbooks.blogspot.com/2011/05/interview-with-author-teresa-frohock.html

Down at Lucky Town with Alex Bledsoe http://downinluckytown.blogspot.com/2011/06/interview-with-teresa-frohock-author-of.html

Layers of Thought http://www.layersofthought.net/2011/06/interview-with-teresa-frohock-debut.html

MuseTracks http://musetracks.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/its-pitch-day-at-agent-shop-with-weronika-janczuk/

The Written Connection http://www.uninvoked.com/writingblogs/wordpress/?p=75

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Summer is here–and as I am the fortunate bride of a high-school biology teacher, summer means even more time with my beloved and our family–and the first part of the summer usually finds us returning to Maine which we did indeed get to do again for a brief but bountiful trip.

Highlights included my New Orleanian husband boiling his first lobster (I was off in a corner, whispering my apologies to the dear crustacean. Yes, I am a card-carrying hypocrite who eats meat on occasion but can’t bear to take responsibility for the process of ending its life for my belly. Even writing this, I’m feeling latent guilt.) Now even though we were in Maine and Mainers boil lobster in salted water, my husband felt compelled to New Orleans-ify the boil, and so in went the bay leaves, the thyme, the onion, the garlic and the celery. Yup, it was out of this world.

We walked the beach every chance we could. Even Olive combed.

There was some research on my WIP. Hint: lighthouses.

And there was even a very special opportunity to visit a small island off the coast of Maine for a weekend, and you know as I was standing on the deck of the ferry watching the shoreline draw ever closer, I couldn’t help thinking of the Bergeron women of LITTLE GALE GUMBO, drawing closer to their new home, their brave, new world. With that novel long out of my hands now, I can’t tell you how wonderful it felt to be connected to my dear characters again. I’ve missed them.

And speaking of missing…I’ve missed my blogging friends hugely. Before this hiatus, being “off the grid” never seemed strange. I was wondering how summer is treating Averil (whose luscious novel THE KEY was my very first Kindle purchase!). I wondered how Teri is savoring her post-graduate days, what Downith is reading, what Amy is writing, what Melissa is seeing, what Julia is thinking, where Jackie and Reggie are walking, and what is making Amanda laugh.

Not to mention I wondered what Sarah is making, what Tom is finding, what MSB, Sherry, Lizi, Jenny and Lyra are discovering now that school’s out, and how Teresa’s feeling with her debut’s release finally here. And what about Elena‘s newest projects,  Roz‘s novel that is on submission as we speak/write, Barb‘s newest art, and Linda‘s WIP?

Simply put, I am thrilled to be catching up with you all.

Happy, happy summer everyone.

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