Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ally Carter!

Went to see Ally Carter at the county library last night dressed as Gallagher Girls (me, my friend and my daughter). She was awesome! Got free key chains. Love those freebies. She said my hubby's Blackthorn t-shirt was her favorite. I mean, it's not every tour that she meets a guy so in love with his wife that he will consent to wearing a t-shirt for a school that exists only in YA chick lit!

Ally was friendly, personable, and speaks with a charming slight Midwest accent. She is touring and signing as her new book Uncommon Criminals has come out this month. I waited, ever so patiently to buy it from Puddnhead Books (an indy bookshop that helps fund author tours.) We went an hour early, hoping for good seats. I took a friends' daughter's book for her to get signed.

So she said she didn't tell anyone at her day job that she was writing until she was published. She didn't want to be one of those writers that talked and never wrote. I was so ashamed then to tell her, (but I did) that I had just sent a query to her literary agency for a novel I had written, citing in my query that my novel is written for older sisters and moms of Ally Carter fans. She said that will impress her agents. We'll see. I still haven't heard back from them.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Making Female Friends

Now that I'm happily married and I no longer have to worry about how to deal with dating, I found a new problem has arisen: making female friends. It's like I'm back at the dating stage only it's with girls instead of guys and instead of hashing with my roommates, I'm hashing with my husband.

Typical Conversation at my house:

"She said to call her sometime this week," I say to my hubby as I unload sippies from the dishwasher. "When should I call her? Is today too early?"

"Call her," says my husband, sweeping the floor.

"But will that look too stalkerish, if I call her the day after she says to call?"

"No. I'm sure she'll be happy to hear from you." He bends to sweep up the pile.

"I just don't want to appear over-anxious and therefore needy. Nothing scares away friends more than needy."

He empties the dustpan into the trash, banging it on the side to make sure it all comes out. "She's probably needy, too. That's why she told you to call."

"Do you think she likes me?" He's heard this question fifteen times, already.

"If she didn't like you, she wouldn't have told you to call."

"Should I invite her to do something? Or is it too early in the friendship? I don't want to blow this."

"Invite her to the park. Then your kids can play and you two can talk."

"Okay, I'm going to do it. I'm going to give her a call." I pause holding the phone. "Will you call for me?"

I'm probably thinking about this since a large chunk of my friends are moving this summer. Their husbands done with schooling, they are moving on to bigger and greener pastures, the green meaning actually making some! For the last few years I've been in my little comfort zone of friends, ones I can call in the middle of the night for babysitting, ones I borrow stuff from, friends of my kids. I'm going to have to proactive in making new friends this summer. I hope my husband can handle it!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Stong vs. Weak Female Protagonist

Girls want to read books about girls like themselves. So why do all the agents say they want stories with a strong female protagonist? I understand from a plotting point of view that a girl who's making decisions and going places is much more interesting to read about. But then I think of Bella. Why was she so effective? First she was coupled with a vampire. Let's face it, Edward is the star of the show, right? But Meyer does something interesting, whether intentional or not--Bella is every girl. Who hasn't felt stupid, clutzy, even the cheerleaders. (See True Story below.) It's like the reader morphs into Bella, she disappears. We are living the story.

True Story: I sat next to a girl in high school in one of my classes. She was toned, she was tanned, she was, in a word, H-O-T. Ok, that was three letters. Her hair was high lighted, her nails were done. I never saw her wear the same thing twice. Plus, she hung out with all the popular crowd aka "Jock Hall." K, now you know what type of girl she is, crowned Prom Royalty and all that. Zoom forward ten or so years. My sister runs into her at a church function. My sister remembers her (that's what sets the popular from the unpopular, the unpopular are not memorable.) Of course she doesn't remember my sister because we only went to that high school for two years--a small blip in the high school yearbook. So, my sister asks her if she remembers me. (I sat next to her remember? I think we shared papers once!) Not that we're self-absorbed, but I'd like to think we're memorable. Ok, long story even longer, when she says no, she didn't didn't remember us, my sister humbly responds that we were sort of nerds (therefore unmemorable) and here's the kicker! This tanned beauty queen says, "Oh, so was I!"

WHAAAAAAAAA? I'm telling you folks, she was not a nerd. My point is, we all feel like nerds in high school!

So back to Bella. If we all feel like nerds shouldn't agents be looking for "relatable" female protagonists ie ones that feel nerdy? Maybe people would buy more books? Or maybe it's just the vampires.

Friday, June 17, 2011

5 Signs It Might Be Over

So, I read this article stating five signs a relationship might be over because I love reading news about relationships, wondering if there is any truth to them. So I clicked on this article about the five signs and laughed. One of the signs it maybe be over is one of the partners losing weight and getting into shape.

Why is that funny? Because for me, if this were true, my husband would worry every time I have a baby and obsess over loosing the baby weight. (#3 baby is one and I still have ten pounds to go!) It's not because I'm playing the field or even looking around. (I've been happily married almost 9 years now, and with three kids in tow--you don't leave that easily!) I just want to get my pre-baby body back! But maybe it's different for guys.

Maybe I should worry when my husband folds down his Bowflex, and pumps up the bike tires in the morning. Is he trying to tone up for the next relationship? When he works out, I must say, he is one handsome hunk of a man. But if this is a sign that my hubby's starting to look around, well, I should feel nice and comforted. The bike hasn't been outside in a while and the Bowflex is getting dusty. Thanks honey. I think he's not working out, just to make me feel secure. What a sacrifice!

So gals when you see your hubby's gut and you are tempted to complain about his lack of personal discipline, will power or whatever, just remember, it could be a sign that both he and his love handles are here to stay.

Monday, June 13, 2011

What do women want in a Male Protagonist? And Sample Pages from SWISS MISS

If you're looking to read the first three pages of SWISS MISS, here's your chance!

Sample Pages

Okay, now's the time to hear from you. What do you women want in a male protagonist? Here are some of my favorite heroes from my favorite books:

1. Mr. Darcy, the rich powerful, stoic, but handsome man who loves the heroine even though she treats him like dirt.

2. Rhett Butler, also rich, but he and Scarlet have some funky chemistry. He wants her and will stop at nothing to get her. (Then leaves her in the end. Eek, I hope that wasn't a spoiler for anyone!)

3. Wesley aka Farmboy aka the Dread Pirate Roberts, he will survive anything for true love, torture, ROUSes, fireswamp. He comes back to life to save her, even if she did leave him in the fireswamp. Swashbuckling comedy.

You get the idea.

So what do you want? Sexy? Goofy? Funky chemistry? Emotional connection? Does he have to be rich? Powerful? Must he love the female protagonist, pine for her? Tell me your favorite male protags, and I better hear more than just Edward or Jacob!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Why I'm trying for Traditional Publishing

So many people have suggested since I've told them I've written a book that I should e-pub. Lots of reasons to go with e-publishing, you get to keep all your own rights, you don't have to pay any percentage of the profits to agents or editors, immediate and world-wide distribution. But there are some good reasons to go the traditional route of getting an agent and trying to traditionally publish. I thought I'd write a post about why I'm going the way of the good ol' glue and paper publishing. Reasons below:

1. I don't know enough people. If I were famous or already had a team of marketing geniuses on my payroll, I'd totally go e-pub. But truth be told, it's easy to get lost in the sea of e-pub when nobody has heard of you/heard of your book.
2. Having an agent is like having a real estate agent, yes, you can sell your house without one, but how long would it take you?
3. I'm self absorbed. I'd like to see my name in print.
4. I like something physical. I love the feel, the smell and taste, (yes sometimes I bite my pages) of real books. Plus, it's easier to give away copies of your book for Christmas when they're in print.
5. Can't sign a e-pub copy. Book tours just wouldn't be as much fun.
6. An agent brings a whole set of networking and tools that are indispensable to a writer.
7. If it goes through traditional publishing channels, I know I've produced the very best work I've ever written. Much too easy to say "good enough" and then e-pub.
8. Author photograph on flap. Need I say more?
9. Not being able to get an agent is NOT a good reason to e-pub. Means, I need to write better.
10. Ego fluff. I know, but it'd be really great to have someone validate your work as a writer. I said it. It's true. There.

Monday I'm going to ask reader questions about what women like in a male protagonist, so be ready to give your opinions! Thanks!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Started Number Four

No, I didn't read I Am Four. I started writing my fourth novel. It's about a girl who meets this guy... Hey, isn't that how all my stories go? My next novel after this one will be a YA fantasy. I promise I will deviate from my formula just a bit. After writing 14,000 words in this new story, I noticed that, as in Swiss Miss, my main character girl faints with hunger. I'm like, what is that all about? As the king says in the Richard Chamberlain Slipper and the Rose, "All girls faint, they know it's expected of them."

Working on a query letter to send to Sara Megibow of Nelson literary agency. I am having some friends read over my draft first, just to make sure it's all good.

Just another thought. I read in one of my writing books that Isaac Asimov said that if a doctor gave him six minutes to live, he wouldn't slow down, he'd type faster. I sometimes feel the same way, a story begging to be told, that I wake in the night and take furious notes. Sometimes I beg them to let me sleep, (uh, that might not be a good idea to silence my muse.)

Last thought, Ally Carter of Gallagher Girl fame is coming out with her second Heist Society this summer. And she's coming here! My friend and I are dressing up like Gallagher girls, so if you're in town and want to join us, grab a plaid skirt and join us June 25th at the county library.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Query Class

I'm in the process of self-teaching myself how to be a writer/how to get published. So, I started taking classes. My husband is okay with this because eighty bucks for a webinar is waaaaaaaaaay cheaper than spending twelve grand on a real estate seminar. (By the way gals, the best way to get what you want is to want something even more expensive first, when your husband balks, just say fine, I really want X [less expensive, more desired thing.] Works every time.)

Anyway, back to my class. So, yet-to-be-published authors should have a website up and running and probably giving away free chocolate or something to attract hits. Hmmmm....not a bad idea. So I set up my website. Thought you guys might want to take a peek: http://ameyzeigler.com Aack! Did I just do that? I just posted my website. Ok, calm down. It's okay. Breathe, breathe.

Also started a twitter account. Yup, you guessed it. @ameyzeigler Man, I'm glad I have a weird name. I can always get it.

Yes, and the last thing the agent said, who was teaching this class was to post bi- or tri- weekly! What am I going to say? So little to say, so much time.

Third Place from Book Buyer's Best Contest

A sweet romance wins third place Sweet romances can compete and win! I'm super excited for this honor.  I want to tell you, please keep ...