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Interview with Missy Jane

February 3, 2011

I had the opportunity to dissect—I mean interview—romance author Missy Jane (@msmissyjane on Twitter) back in November for my magazine Forever Nocturne. She’s quite personable and an amazing writer, so here she is to give you some insights on writing and the publishing world.

What genre of books do you write, and do you read the same genre?

So far I’ve written paranormal romance that borderlines urban fantasy, and erotic romance. I do read those genres as well as other genres of romance. Plus I read horror, literary fiction and historical fiction.

What was your inspiration for They Call Me Death?

The main character, Alexia, popped into my head as a female soldier standing guard atop a wall and looking out over a bleak land. That scene came so vividly into my head I couldn’t shake it and her story was born.

I understand there will be a sequel to this one. Can you give us any indication on its release date?

Actually, though the sequel has been written, there is no release date. I’m sorry to say it was rejected by my editor with no hope for a rewrite. At the moment my shifters are in limbo but I’m working to resolve that.

What are some other books you’ve written?

I’ve written two other novellas and a short story and they are all erotic. Resignation and Two Week Trial are available through Sapphire Blue Publishing. Two Week Trial is available through Ellora’s Cave.

Can you name any authors that you absolutely MUST read the moment you see a new book of theirs out?

Oh yeah, there are a few. Lora Leigh, Kerrelyn Sparks, Lindsay Sands and Kresley Cole. Also, Stephen King and Stephen Lawhead. I’d say Laurell K. Hamilton is on that list for her Merry Gentry series, but I think I’m Anita Blaked out right now. I bought Bullet and even had it autographed, but haven’t read it yet.

Why do you write in general? What motivates or inspires you to write or is inspiration for your stories?

I began writing when a series I liked ended and I wasn’t ready to let go yet. That inspired me to write something akin to that world and those characters, though not exactly the same. I’m often inspired by what I read, though ideas hit me at odd times and sometimes for no reason. I thoroughly enjoy writing. I don’t know how a story is going to pan out until I’ve written it, so a lot of times I feel the urge to write just to know what happens.

How did you get started in the publishing industry? Contests, conferences, writing groups, etc.?

I hadn’t seriously considered getting published until I attended the Romantic Times magazine Romance Writer’s Convention in 2008. I took a beginning writer’s class led by Judi McCoy and she answered so many questions I didn’t even realize I had. She was awesome and very inspiring. It was just the kick in the butt I needed to get a submission ready.

Can you give any hints as to what’s in store for future books?

Absolutely. I’m gearing up for NaNoWriMo and this year I’m working on a gargoyle story. It’s paranormal romance all the way. I’ve also begun two other shifter stories (Katori and Sandulf) that I may or may not submit to Samhain. Plus I’ve completed a story about an arch angel. It needs some tweaking but may be ready for submission before anything else.

Tell our readers what books of yours are available and where they can purchase them.

They Call Me Death is the paranormal story of shape-shifters versus humans. It’s available in print as well as e-book format (click on the book for the link)

Resignation is an erotic tale of love found at the office.

Love in Disguise is an erotic short story set on Halloween.

Two Week Trial is a contemporary, erotic, fairy-tale type story of unrequited desire sparking up again after a few years of separation.

There are excerpts available for all of the books at the given links.


Any advice to aspiring authors out there on where to start in publishing?

Right now I’m with three different publishers and they all have pros and cons. My advice is to do your homework. Make sure you read up on a publisher’s particular tastes before spending the time on a submission. And most importantly, don’t give up. It’s not hard to get discouraged after a rejection but don’t let it keep you down. There are millions of readers out there. Your work will find a home.


Educating Macey is Missy’s latest release (click on the cover for the link).

Sex has taken a backseat on my priorities list for a while now—being a single mother never allowed me the chance to dwell on it. But then my daughter grew up and Max moved in next door. Just seeing his sexy-as-hell body and hearing the way he growls my full name, Macey Lane, gets me all hot and bothered. I am not a woman of experience, but Max is more than willing to teach me. His lesson plans may be too delicious to pass on, but is hot sex worth the risk of becoming another of his conquests?


Thank you, Missy, for stopping by. I wish you the best of luck and *ahem* I’d really like to read the sequel to They Call Me Death. *winks*


It’s All in the Spam

December 9, 2010

This is the email that arrived in my spam folder the other day. I thought I’d share it with you all. Perhaps you’ll be just as amused as I was.


Hi“\ babyw\, I saw you 7Z\weeks ago and Ie\can’tj\stopy\thinking/\abouto\you. So I finally asked a friend of mine who knows you for your email. I just want to know if you want to hook up. I do not know if youremember me but i was the one staring at you while you were talking to my friend. I just got out of a 2 year relationship and I feel like i’ve just wasted a lot of time, I just wanna play and have a fun time with you. Im\workW\mondayb\thru:\fridayF\mornings, so maybe we can get together at night. I don’t need to know ifyou’re single or not. All I want is you. I will not dissappoint you. I am gorgeous.I want to send you a picture but I don’t have one on this computer.But I do have a profile with my sexy pictures at = Look for naughtygirl69 and I’m the blond on the right. I just got that picture taken with a friend of mine. Just make sure that your profile is 25 years and older because you won’t be able to search me if you don’t. I accidentallymade a mistake when I was creating my profile. I tried it myself to make sure and its free because I didn’t want you to get charged just to meet me, like they do on some other sites. I made sure and yes it is definitely free. Once you verify send me a message through there. I should be online right now.


So … do you think she knows I’m a woman? And who wants to click on that link? Not. Me! 😀


How PayPal Failed Me

December 1, 2010

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This is my letter to PayPal after once again having to deal with their shipping labels not printing and costing me more money than I care to spend on such things when I have other places to spend said money. They have cost me nearly $200 in the past month just in purchasing and voiding shipping labels, and having to pay for the shipping twice so my buyers aren’t ticked that they haven’t received their items.




To Whom It May Concern,

I have been a customer for some time now and lately, your option for printing shipping labels has me seriously reconsidering using PayPal for business or personal transactions. Let me explain why: when I print a label, you immediately deduct the amount from my PayPal account. This, I do not have an issue with. My issue is that when the label doesn’t appear (and after several attempts to include rebooting my laptop and YES, the pop-up blocker is turned off) and I can’t print it by the day it is intended to ship out, I have to VOID the label and reprint a new one (IF it will allow me to do so) OR go to the Post Office to have them handle it, which will likely cost me more money somehow. On top of this, you take 15 days to refund what you took immediately. How is that fair? How is it that you receive your money right away, but I have to wait for mine when your site messes up?

Here is the error it’s giving:

This webpage is not available.

The webpage at… (some of this URL was deleted) might be temporarily down or it may have moved permanently to a new web address.

More information on this error

Below is the original error message

Error 100 (net::ERR_CONNECTION_CLOSED): Unknown error.

Fix this, please, and even though you state you take 15 days to refund my money, I’m still waiting for the last two labels to be refunded and if it hasn’t been 15 days yet, it’s damn close. Now, I’ll have to go to the Post Office to ship these items, where, as I said, it will likely cost me more money somehow, which will result in me losing more money along with the fact that I’m losing money by voiding these two labels and essentially being double-charged within a very short amount of time. Doing this will now take what I have left in this account at this time, for the most part, and that does not please me one bit. On top of that, I am not well and can’t walk or carry boxes into the Post Office. Having them picked up would have been nice, but now I’ll have to figure out how to get the boxes inside. Thank you for the pain it will cause me.

I’ve tried patience. I attempted to print several times last night and this afternoon. My patience with your services has dried up.


NL Gervasio


I’m extremely annoyed by this lack of customer service and just outright disgusted that it would take almost an entire month to return my money to me. PayPal, you have failed on a nuclear level with me this year, especially since it’s Christmas shipping time. One of these items has to ship to Turkey. Thank you so very much for making it difficult for me!

On NaNoWriMo & Editing Nemesis

November 24, 2010

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Yes, I know, I haven’t posted in a while. Life’s been hectic … and that’s only the beginning.

However …

I began NaNoWriMo with the best intentions this year … again. And once again, I have failed miserably. You’d think I’d be able to pull this feat off – writing a novel in a month – considering that I’ve written a novel in one weekend during the 3-day Novel contest that takes place every year over Labor Day weekend. But no. Last year, I’d started a YA novel. This year, it was fantasy/paranormal fantasy/something like that based on an idea I’d played around with a few months ago with the short story Fallen. Then I discovered that I could do a 3-book series with this wonderful shiny new idea, which isn’t really new because I’ve actually written the second book already. I wrote it a few years ago. I had a feeling it would belong to a series, but I really had no clue of the magnitude of potential it could become. The first book is tentatively titled Gods of War. The second, Dusk of Death. And the third, Dawn of Life. Pretty cool titles, huh? I’m the freakin’ title queen, except when it comes to Nemesis, which I’ll get to discussing in a moment. My point is that while I once again started NaNoWriMo, I’ve decided once more to shelve the project for a later date. Why? Keep reading.

What I need to finish is Nemesis, my main project for the past two years. I began writing this one almost exactly two years ago and finished it in two and a half months. Not too shabby. Life interrupted, which it really likes to do with me not on any small level, and I’ve been editing it for the last year and a half. You wouldn’t think it should take this long, but may I remind you —> Life. Now, I’m in the final edit and it’s looking good so far. I found a major plot hole last year when I took CJ Redwine‘s How to Write a Killer Synopsis workshop, and I’m happy to say that half the book has been adjusted. Now to finish it.

Which is what I’m doing right now.

So I just wanted to put up a quick post to let you know how I’m doing and what I’m doing. I hope to soon have some more helpful writing posts up. If you’re subscribed to my blog, you’ll get an email regarding those.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Thanksgiving!

Skip a Starbucks Day is Here!

August 23, 2010

Follow the link below to help out with this cause, please.

Jinxie’s World

Thank you!

It’s All About Dialog…or Dialogue

July 29, 2010

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Dialog or dialogue? Actually, the former is correct and the latter has become the norm due to our ever-changing English language, but we’re not here to discuss how to spell the word. We’re going to talk about writing dialog.

I’ve never really thought about the process of writing dialog until HC Palmquist asked me to do a guest post on a different blog that shall remain nameless unless she wishes to announce the link in the comments. It’s a blog that’s going bye-bye, and she can’t keep up with me and all of my blogs anyway. Hell, I can’t keep up with my blogs!

For me, writing dialog just comes naturally, I suppose. I mean, after all, it’s a conversation, right? It makes sense for me because dialog is usually the first thing I “hear” when a new story begins–someone either monologuing or two characters having a conversation. And that’s what it should be – natural conversation, as though you’re having the discussion with your best friend. Those types of conversations always lead to something, somewhere. Unless you’re like me – I can talk for hours about nothing. 🙂

Okay, that was a bad joke. Moving on …

I know some writers stress over having to write dialog. If it isn’t done correctly, it just doesn’t work for the characters or the story. Dialog needs to tell us something about the characters and it needs to move the story along. I mean, you certainly don’t want your characters debating the finer points of knitting or the like unless it’s pertinent to the story, maybe somehow used as a metaphor for something greater. Yeah, I’m having trouble picturing that one myself, but I’d love to see somebody try it. If I knew anything about knitting, I’d give it a shot.

Let’s look at an example of dialog from my own work, Nemesis:

My fingers slip into the ice bin as I walk by and I quickly toss the piece over my shoulder. I hear a faint clink and a splash before Clancy laughs again, drowning out the crescendo of music that begins the next song.

“Damn,” he says. “Was that just a one-time shot or what?”

I turn and lean against the bar, and then give him a nod upward, silently asking, “What of it?”

He smiles, and it weakens my knees. It’s a good thing I’m leaning against the bar.

“Can you do it again? I bet you can’t.”

My lips curve up and I push away from the bar with all the strength I can muster. “What’s the bet?”

“If you miss, you strip for me,” he says, that wicked grin of his stretching across his handsome face. This is always the first thing he offers in our bets. I never take it, but it’s not like the man is serious. It’s just a game we play.

“I told you I only strip in the bedroom, Clancy,” I say, just like I do every time he suggests me stripping. “Not gonna happen.”

“Someday you’re gonna say yes.”

“Bet’cha I won’t.” His eyes have gone pure, delicious evil at this point, and damn it if that isn’t a weakness for me because my legs are about to go Jell-O. “Well?” I say, trying to banish the visual of that man with his hands all over me, because those eyes are already there.

He concedes and bows his head. “Okay, if you can hit my glass again, I’ll give you a raise.”

I let out a short laugh because by now I’m making twelve bucks an hour due to these lovely little bets of his. Most bartenders make much less. “How much?”

Those fine brows go up. “Another dollar?”

“And if I miss?”

His eyes scan the bar, and then move out to the rest of the club. They return to me and have taken on the evil glint once more. Oh, God help me. “Take charge of the girls.”

“Fuck you, no bet,” I say and toss another piece of ice at him, a small one, which hits him right in the center of his forehead.

He jumps from his seat. “Damn it, you could’ve hit me in the eye!”

I cross my arms over my chest and lean against the bar once more. “I wasn’t aiming for your eyes.”

So, what’s happening in this scene? For one, we learn a little bit about both Nemy and Clancy. We know that they like each other. We know that Clancy has mentioned the stripping many times, and that he’s talking about a private dance, not one in the club. We also know that these types of bets have happened quite a bit due to the amount of money Nemy is making. We also see some foreshadowing. Do you see it? It’s fairly obvious, at least to me, but I wrote the damn thing. What else can you find in this little snippet of dialog? We can see that Nemy is very confident, especially with that last line. It’s what makes her so appealing as a character, particularly to men. I’ve had several men read parts of Nemesis, and every one of them has fallen in love with Nemy. That makes me giggle, but also tells me I’ve done a good job with setting her character up and with the language. Dialog is extremely important here. It shows us who she is by the words she uses when she speaks.

The devil of it is in the details that surround the dialog. This shows us what’s happening. It’s the action that’s taking place during the conversation. It can be tricky at times. Sometimes what’s going through my head while writing the dialog is precisely this: “Okay, what is he doing when he says this, and what is her reaction to it, physically?” Other times, I just write out all of the dialog and come back later to fill in the details and description. There are times when I’m in description overload and I have to write it down NOW, but most of the time it’s just the conversation that I write first with minimal detail, just enough to move the story along for me until I can go back and add more.

Let’s see what this excerpt looks like without the physical details:

“Damn,” he says. “Was that just a one-time shot or what?”

“What of it?”

“Can you do it again? I bet you can’t.”

“What’s the bet?”

“If you miss, you strip for me,” he says.

“I told you I only strip in the bedroom, Clancy,” I say. “Not gonna happen.”

“Someday you’re gonna say yes.”

“Bet’cha I won’t.”

“Well?” I say.

“Okay, if you can hit my glass again, I’ll give you a raise.”

“How much?”

“Another dollar?”

“And if I miss?”

“Take charge of the girls.”

“Fuck you, no bet,” I say.

“Damn it, you could’ve hit me in the eye!”

“I wasn’t aiming for your eyes.”

Now, with the last two lines, we have no idea what’s happened because the physical detail isn’t there, so they don’t make sense. In fact, we don’t know what happened in the beginning either. While dialog is important in the way the characters interact with one another, the detail is also very important because it shows us what’s happening.

Let’s see if we can find another example. This time we’ll use my book Dusk of Death. I’ve recently changed the POV in this book from 3rd person to 1st person. Not sure which I’m going to use, but we’ll go with this for now:

“Good evening, sunshine,” was Terry’s response at seeing me climb out of my Jeep, disgruntled and shivering. Terry was a detective with the Phoenix Police Department, and a pain in my ass since the day I met him.

“Why’s it so freakin’ cold?” I asked.

“Um, it’s wintertime, Armen,” Terry replied.

“It’s a desert!”

“Where are you from again?” he asked, a comical grin spreading across his face. It suited him. Terry was tall with short-cropped light brown hair and sideburns, otherwise known as ‘chops,’ down to his jaw line. He had several tattoos covering his muscular arms and, I suspected, other places, as well. I thought he was insane for wearing only a t-shirt under his Kevlar vest.

“Hell!” I spat. To call it by any other name would only confuse him.

Terry laughed. “With that snippy attitude of yours, it wouldn’t surprise me.” He stepped closer to me. “Where’s your coat?”

“I left it at home,” I answered. “I didn’t think it’d be this damn cold.”

“Wait here, I’ll get one for you,” he said before stepping away while I shivered uncontrollably. He came back to me and held out a coat dangling from his fingers. I slipped it on and he handed me a cup. “Here, I thought you might like this, too.”

The scent of the brew reached my nostrils before my hand took the cup. “Thanks, Terry.”

“Not a problem for my favorite forensic scientist,” he replied. I rolled my eyes.

“What are you buttering me up for?” I asked, right brow up in a sardonic arch.

“Nothing,” he replied. “I can’t say you’re my favorite forensic scientist?”

My head tilted to the side. “You all think I’m some freak of nature; the pretty girl who plays with dead people. Why in the world would I be your favorite forensic scientist? Better yet, why would you even have a favorite forensic scientist?”

He laughed again. “My, you’re touchy tonight,” he said. “Didn’t sleep well today?”

I shook my head. “The days are too short,” I replied, then sipped my coffee. My nose crinkled as the burnt caffeinated beverage slid over my tongue.

He nodded. “Then you must love summer.”

Again, my head shifted from left to right, swishing my long blonde ponytail as though it were a pendulum. “The nights are too short.”

His boisterous laugh echoed in the surrounding area. “A no-win situation for you, then?”

“Pretty much,” I replied. “I’m screwed either way.”

“Come on,” he said. “If you want to see this before he gets here, we’d better hurry.” He took my elbow and started to lead the way.

I jerked my arm from his grasp. “I am not a child who needs to be coaxed into the mouth of Hell, Terry.”

He looked back at me with a blank stare, unhurt by my remark. “Your choice of words always amazes me, you know,” he said as we neared the building. “I mean, who says something like that, really?”

“Apparently, I’m alone in my vernacular.”

Terry chuckled. “Is that your word of the day?”

I grinned. “No, actually the word of the day was smartass, and it amazingly had your picture next to it.”

“Ah yes, well, I am quite photogenic,” he replied with a toothy grin.

I giggled and immediately slapped a hand over my mouth. Only Terry could make me giggle and I despised him for it sometimes. “So, tell me what I’m about to see.”

He shook his head. “Nah, I’d much rather see the look on your face when you see it without prior description.”

“Damn, it must be bad.” Especially if he wasn’t telling me because sometimes he got a kick out of watching my face twist into different expressions. The more grotesque the description, the higher my brows went until they cinched nearly together in the center of my forehead.

“No, unique would be more appropriate a word,” he replied as he stepped through the door.

I love the way these two characters converse. It makes me want to write a second book, which could be a strong possibility once I edit this first book.

What do we get from this conversation? We can kind of figure out that Armen isn’t exactly human, or at least hasn’t always been human. I don’t need to write: “Armen is a fallen demon.” It’ll come out in her thoughts, the events that take place, and some of it even in the dialog she uses. We know that Terry has a thing for her, and that she wants nothing to do with that. Again, physical detail surrounds the conversation. Can you see Terry with that big toothy grin? I can, vividly. And with the next line, we can tell he just looks ridiculous because it makes Armen giggle – something she obviously doesn’t do very often, since he’s the only one who can do that to her.

We learn a lot about the characters during these conversations because of what they’re saying, how they’re saying it, and what the physical reactions are that surround it. We also learn about what’s coming next, and with the last few lines in this example, we know it isn’t going to be pretty. That’s what moves the story forward. If the dialog isn’t moving the story forward, it shouldn’t be there in the first place. It’s like dead air on a radio. Dialog is story, and it should all move forward.

Both of these excerpts are from the first chapter of each book. The difference between these two examples is that Nemesis is written in first-person point-of-view (POV) present tense, and Dusk of Death is written in first-person POV past tense when it used to be third-person POV. I’ve changed it recently as a test. The other difference is the genre: one is contemporary romance and the other is a horror thriller. In fact, both can be considered as ALL dialog because of their POV. That’s how I see it, anyway. As you may notice, the POV doesn’t matter really when it comes to the actual dialog within the text. I could change either of these excerpts to a different POV and yet, the dialog will remain the same. The only change would be in how I show the description surrounding the dialog.

As a matter of fact, let’s try that with the first one:

Nemy’s fingers slip into the ice bin as she walks by and she quickly tosses the piece over her shoulder. She hears a faint clink and a splash before Clancy laughs again, drowning out the crescendo of music that begins the next song.

“Damn,” he says. “Was that just a one-time shot or what?”

She turns and leans against the bar, and then gives him a nod upward, silently asking, “What of it?”

He smiles, and it weakens her knees. It’s a good thing she’s leaning against the bar.

“Can you do it again? I bet you can’t.”

Her lips curve up and she pushes away from the bar with all the strength she can muster. “What’s the bet?”

“If you miss, you strip for me,” he says, that wicked grin of his stretching across his handsome face. This is always the first thing he offers in their bets. She never takes it, but it’s not like the man is serious. It’s just a game they play.

“I told you I only strip in the bedroom, Clancy,” she says, just like she does every time he suggests her stripping. “Not gonna happen.”

“Someday you’re gonna say yes.”

“Bet’cha I won’t.” His eyes have gone pure, delicious evil at this point, and damn it if that isn’t a weakness for her because her legs are about to go Jell-O. “Well?” she says, trying to banish the visual of that man with his hands all over her, because those eyes are already there.

He concedes and bows his head. “Okay, if you can hit my glass again, I’ll give you a raise.”

She lets out a short laugh because by now she’s making twelve bucks an hour due to these lovely little bets of his. Most bartenders make much less. “How much?”

Those fine brows go up. “Another dollar?”

“And if I miss?”

His eyes scan the bar, and then move out to the rest of the club. They return to her and have taken on the evil glint once more. Oh, God help me. “Take charge of the girls.”

“Fuck you, no bet,” she says and tosses another piece of ice at him, a small one, which hits him right in the center of his forehead.

He jumps from his seat. “Damn it, you could’ve hit me in the eye!”

She crosses her arms over her chest and leans against the bar once more. “I wasn’t aiming for your eyes.”

As we can see, not much difference in the dialog. In fact, I didn’t change the dialog at all. The only real change I had to make was with “Oh, God help me” because I needed her to have the thought in her head, or I could have just deleted it, but it wouldn’t have had the same effect. It’s a subtle difference, but an important one for the character due to her personality.

So, you need to write some dialog for your characters and you’re not exactly sure how to go about it. Well, get inside their heads, pretend you’re one of them or both of them, whatever works for you. We all know that being a “writer” is just an excuse for split personality disorder or schizophrenia anyway. I’m kidding, but you have all those voices in your head. Hone in on them, figure out which ones you want to listen to, and write down what they’re saying. But here’s a suggestion: say it aloud. Yes, if you’re writing in a coffee shop, you may look a little insane, but who the hell cares. Get a Bluetooth if you’re worried about that. This way, it looks like you’re on the phone with someone. You’re writing your story down and working out the kinks by reading it aloud. The story always sounds different when you speak it, and with dialog, it needs to sound real.

That’s the best I can do on this topic right now. I’ll take questions anyone may have and try to answer them the best I can, or other authors/writers are more than welcome to chime in. 🙂

Ready… set… GO!

Queries & the Dreaded Synopsis

July 22, 2010

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Are you struggling with your query letter? Can’t quite figure out what’s wrong with it, or how to write it so the Query Shark doesn’t chomp you to bits? Believe me, I understand completely. Madam Shark won’t even touch my queries, leaving me in the Land of the Lost on whether it’s good or bad. I have no clue. I write books, not queries. The query letter is not an easy thing to write because essentially you’re condensing your 300-page novel into a 1-page blurb. It’s really not even a full page. We’re talking around 250 words. Okay, that’s a full page double-spaced, but whatever. There are several agents out there who give great advice on how to write a query–from Janet Reid and Colleen Lindsay to Nathan Bransford, Rachelle Gardner and many others. Books and websites too. I’ve looked at a good portion of them, read the blogs and have spoken with other writers about how to write a query, but here’s the thing with me – I learn a bit differently than others do. I’m a kinesthetic learner who needs some visual and a little auditory backing it up. In other words, I need to see it, hear it, and do it all at the same time. I need immediate feedback on what I’m doing or doing wrong, and I think a good portion of you writers out there are similar. Writing a query letter, then sending it out for multiple rejections, and then rewriting the query letter to send it out for more rejections, and repeating this process over and over takes entirely too much time for my patience, or lack thereof. By the time I figure it out, someone else has a similar book going to print and I’m gasping. “I’ve worked on this for two years!” Okay, not really that long, but I’m making a point here. It’s not a quick and easy process, writing the query, much like writing your book isn’t going to happen overnight. Then begins the other questions: is it my query, or is it my novel? Oh noes! If it’s my novel, I have to write a new one! Actually, you should be writing your next book anyway. I’ve heard a professor once say, “You’re going to write a lot of crap before you get to the gems.” That’s very true for a lot of people, I think. I haven’t been writing all of my life. I didn’t start college until 13 years after I graduated high school, and when I was in high school, all I wrote was emoetry–Yes, I was emo before emo had a name. Not that I’m proud of that, so let’s move on …

Of course, Life interrupting with multiple explosions around you doesn’t help to speed up this process, and Life is the reason I didn’t start really writing until I was 28. Since then, I’ve completed five manuscripts. I’ll admit to being hasty and self-publishing the first two, the first of which should have never seen the light of day. Actually, the second wasn’t that great either. But right now, it’s the fifth book I’m working on editing and querying while I rewrite the third and fourth books to bring them up to par with my current writing skills. I’ll have a future post on the whole self-publishing thing too.

Then we have the dreaded synopsis. I hate this. Let me clarify that. I HATE writing a synopsis, no matter if it’s one page, two pages, or 10 pages. And I hate that I have to have more than one synopsis too! Can’t all the agents get together and decide on a 1-page or 2-page synopsis? This would be so much easier on us. I know, it’s not going to happen, but a girl can dream, can’t she? That leaves us with the agents’ clients–authors who are willing to help. Not all of them have time for this, so don’t approach them on the subject. That’s just rude. But if they offer, it’s a different story.

Author Gary Corby, and all-around great guy, whose book The Pericles Commission releases this fall, was a great deal of help when I complained about this on Twitter one night, and I’ve thanked him immensely for it. But I still hated the process. He was able to push me in the right direction on where to focus and how to “just write it,” but it still proved a daunting task that had me pulling my hair out and drinking copious amounts of wine. It’s okay, I have really thick hair. Now, I’m not telling you this so you can go bug the bejeezus out of Gary. I’m illustrating an example of one author’s kindness whom I know because I’ve published a short story of his in my magazine. He’s not the only one who has offered help to me, but his book is about to release and I needed an excuse to throw it into a post so I can promote his genius. 🙂

However, I don’t hate writing the synopsis or query so much anymore. The reason? Her name is CJ Redwine and she runs a Workshop for writers specifically covering queries and synopses. I met CJ when I ran across her query on the Query Shark. Hers was the very first GOOD EXAMPLE posted on the new blog run by Janet Reid of Fineprint Literary Agency. I commented, I believe, and realized CJ had a blog, which I raced off to read. I cracked up … a lot, because her query cracked me up. I commented on her blog, more than once–different posts, of course–and a few days or so later, CJ commented on one of my blog posts. When I discovered this, my hand flew up to cover my mouth as I shouted “OH MY GOD! CJ read my blog!” Normally, I wouldn’t be so eager to tell you about my starstruckedness that I like to do only in private–I never go gaga over a celebrity in public. I mean, after all, I was at the same Vegas party as Chester Bennington and didn’t even get to meet him–but I find this hilarious because while CJ wasn’t published or didn’t even had an agent yet, she carried herself in the blogosphere and interwebz like she was. That’s extremely important to understand, but I’ll reserve it for another post.

When I signed up for Twitter, CJ was one of my first “tweeps,” and when I finally gave in to Facebook, CJ was my very first friend on the social network because she’d invited me. She introduced me to her sister HC Palmquist a little over a year ago, who has since become one of my best friends and roommate. I had the recent opportunity to meet CJ in person earlier this year, though the circumstances weren’t the best, and she’s even more wonderful “live” than online. She’s a walking comedienne. You think she’s funny online? You’ll fall over laughing with her in person.

I took CJ’s query workshop before I took the synopsis workshop. The query turned out great and part of it can be found here, but I desperately needed help trying to figure out how to write the synopsis for this book. HC and I decided to take the synopsis workshop together, and from the first day, we were “passing notes” in class and shooting spitwads (wait, that wasn’t us, it was Sara McClung). But in all seriousness, taking the synopsis workshop helped me find a huge plot hole in my MS Nemesis. I mean HUGE. I also ended up on the phone with CJ for a quick plotting session, only because I happened to be visiting her sister. Learning how to write the synopsis for my book also helped me write book reviews, and has the potential to helping me plot this epic fantasy swirling around in my head.

CJ’s query workshop is without a doubt amazing and you will graduate with a wonderful query that will help you on your road to publication. Just take a look at her testimonials. I was in a synopsis workshop with some of those ladies and remember when they hit “send” and it worked for them, it got them an agent. They are well on their way to book deal-dom.

This is when I realize that I’m next. My time is coming soon. Once I finish the edits and fix the plot holes on Nemesis, I can query using the one CJ helped me sculpt. I can use the synopsis she helped me perfect. Then I can finish my next project, which involves one of these:

Okay, that’s not the best-looking werewolf. Caleb’s better looking, but yeah, total urban fantasy/paranormal romance heading straight for one of the e-publishers in the near future, whether I have an agent or not.

I highly recommend CJ’s workshops, and I’ll keep you updated on my progress as I get ready to finally query Nemesis, which will be very soon.