Uh…No. You Can’t Publish An Unfinished Book.

Thing 2 has been trying her hand at writing. She had been working on a book for about six months then decided, before finishing, she was going to restart it.

She restarted the book, then once she got to Chapter 4, got an idea for another book and started on that one.

Then, a few days ago, got an idea for yet another book and started on that one too.

She’s asked me about publishing to which I explained she needs to first finish a book. She laughed and said she has so many ideas in her head that once she gets another idea, she has to start on that one. I tried telling her to write her ideas down but then go back to the original book, but alas, she’s working on her current idea now.

She told me she’s a multitasker and can work on two at the same time…this coming from a girl with ADD who normally has a hard time listening to two instructions at the same time.

Yeah,  okay.

I guess we’ll see how that’s working out for her, won’t we?

Blast From The Past: Character Grid

I was going through my old posts and found a popular one that apparently helped a lot of people, so I’m reposting again. I first posted this back in March of 2012 and still was getting searches for it quite a few months later, so I reposted in 2013 and am now doing it again in 2015. If you want to read the original post, click on the links below. If you just want the character grid, scroll down.

I made character sheets and a character grid, but I found more people liked the character grid. I also posted instructions on how to use the grid.

Here is a blank character grid. It’s an Excel grid; you can copy it and make your own or print it out. Where I have dates, you can put chapters or scenes instead. You can put more than one chapter in each row. It’s very good for placing characters. You can look right at the grid and know what’s happening in a book without having to search for it. You can tell right away if a character is in the book too much or not enough.  And, you can add clues in for future books and know right where the clue is for future reference when needed, again without having to read the entire book to find it.

Blank grid

Blank grid

Here is a grid to show how it’s used.

Example Grid

Example Grid

Random Acts of Crazy

I absolutely loved this book! I originally posted it on my other site, Reviews by Tonya.

Reviews by Tonya

I got hooked on Julia Kent’s books when Random Acts of Crazy was free on Bookbub. This book was like crack for me, so I once I was finished, I immediately had to read the second in the series, then the third…well, you get the picture. It’s a new adult story of a young woman, Darla, a redneck Ohioan, who picks up Trevor, the hitchhiking gorgeous, well-to-do savvy lead singer of the band Random Acts of Crazy from Boston who is high as a kite and wearing a spiked collar and a guitar…and that’s it. Trevor’s friend and bandmate, Joe, comes to rescue Trevor to take him back home and ends up falling for Darla as well, and so begins their threesome. It’s a hilarious read. Between Darla’s blunt vocabulary and way with words along with Trevor’s engagement to a chicken, I almost peed myself numerous times laughing so hard. Seriously, make sure you’re wearing Depends when…

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Is There A Lot Of Gratuitous Sex?

Hehe, I gotcha with that title, didn’t I? Well, let me explain. It all starts with an anniversary lunch with the president of the hospital I work at.

There were about 15 of us sitting around this very long table. We each introduced ourselves, what department we worked in, how long we’ve worked there, blah, blah. The second time around we had to explain what we do when we’re not at work, our hobbies, etc. So, I mentioned my book I’ve been working on for like five years now, how it’s an urban fantasy, and is for adults only.

That’s when the president, who was sitting next to me, asked me the above question. “Is there a lot of gratuitous sex?”

At this lunch is when I discovered a few things about our president, one being she loves erotica. Who knew? I explained that no, I wouldn’t say gratuitous, that’s it’s not erotica though it is very steamy. Then I got on the subject of the writing process, like how I’d written out a sex scene, realized it bordered on pornographic and dialed it down a bit. Also, I mentioned the stuff we writers do for research.

For example, I’ve attended a BDSM writer’s workshop. Let me tell ya, that was interesting and boy did I learn a lot! Also, when my niece got married, she didn’t have a regular bridal shower. Oh, no. She had a sex toy party which, of course, I attended, one reason being she’s my niece, so of course I’d go, the second reason being it made for very good research.

Seriously, people. Research. I’m telling you, I went for the research. -snerk-. Okay, maybe I did buy a few items. Ahem. Again, for research. Really.

So, while I don’t write BDSM or erotica, I may in the future since I’ve been doing all this researchy stuff.

Also, it turned out one of the ladies once owned a bookstore-who just happens to love urban fantasy-so I might have to hit her up as a beta reader. And, the president can’t wait for my book to be published…I’m assuming for the steamy sex. But first, I have to get an agent.

All in all, it was a very nice lunch. I learned more about the hospital president than I would’ve before, others now know way more about me, and I might have a new beta reader. Score!

Holy Shit. A Full Freakin’ Year?!

I realized my last post was in August of last year! I went over a year since my last post! Damn.

I have no excuse.

Okay, now I’m going to list all of my excuses. -snerk-

Most of it has to do with Thing 3’s health issues. They haven’t gotten better but worse. In fact, I’m now working full-time from home because I was having to take her to the doctor so much, the hospital decided to let me work from home. They gave me a laptop and the rest is history.

Last July she was diagnosed with pain amplification syndrome and hyperflexibility and told to do intense physical therapy. She started the physical therapy and…got worse. In fact, exercising seemed to bring on a fever, more body aches, sore throat…and then, she actually passed out during one of her sessions. Since then, she’s been going to the Chicago Children’s Hospital’s pain clinic, which they no longer think she has the pain amplification syndrome but autonomic dysfunction, Ehlers- Danlos syndrome, and POTS disease. Next month she goes to more specialists to see if she has those conditions, and if so, then it’s on to Mayo Clinic for a few weeks to figure out exactly what type of autonomic dysfunction, what kind of exercises she can do, and what foods she can eat. Her condition has worsened quite a bit since a year ago, and now simply standing for 20 minutes to bake a cake is almost too much for her to do. Her body seems to be set on a setting of pain, so she’s in constant pain–it never lets up. A good day for her is a pain rating of 6. A bad day for her is to be in such excruciating pain that simply touching her makes her scream. The last time that happened she had been swimming for an hour and apparently it sent her body into such a mess that she was pretty much comatose for five days.

In the meantime, I’ve been working odd hours, taking her to school when she can go, and trying to keep up with housework, yard work, and writing. Last year she tried going to school for 4 hours a day, but that got to be too much so that she ended up missing six weeks straight. For second semester, she went three days a week for an hour each time with one-on-one sessions with a teacher.

This year the school started up a new blended learning which is a combined online/onsite schooling. Some kids do all of their schooling online, others might only do a class or two online and do the rest of their schooling in the classroom. She goes in when she can, but she does most of her schooling at home online. It’s great because she gets to be around other kids who are doing the same program, and when she needs extra help, she can go in and a teacher is there to help her. The classroom is pretty cool too. There are lounge chairs with tables, a high table with barstools, and a worktable with chairs and desktops. There are laptops for the kids to use and a fridge for drinks, lunches and snacks, or the kids have the option to eat lunch with their grade.

Other than that, I’m working on revising my query letter. Mine is pretty good, but I’m sure I can make it better. I feel like I’ve been working on this book for forever and I just want it done!


It’s been awfully quiet here for a long time, and for that I apologize. I was going to keep up with the Chicago Writer’s Conference posts but they sort of fell by the wayside. Thing 3 has a lot of health issues and the last few months have been a whirlwind. In May alone she had seven doc appointments and two MRIs. On top of that, I was trying to finish up my WIP to get it sent out to agents, finally started querying and have had a few responses so far. This is just the first wave of queries, so we shall see how things go.

School starts next Wednesday, but for me things will simply get busier. Thing 3 will only be in school half days and I’ll be working from home part of the time. I’ll be starting work at home at 5 a.m., work until 9, get myself ready for the office and Thing 3 ready for school, leave at 10 to drop her off at school, head in to the office, work until 2:40, pick up Thing 3 at school, and then head home. Once she starts physical therapy, then we’ll have to add that in after school plus visits to the pain specialist.

Hopefully I can find time in there to write.

Publishing 101: Acquisitions

I meant to get this out last Friday, but, alas, it didn’t happen. For those of you waiting with bated breath, here it is….(drum roll, please).

Adding on to my last post From Query to Shelf ,today I’m writing about acquisitions.

Once you’ve landed your rock-start agent, that agent will work with you to make your WIP into an amazing MS and then send your baby out into the world.

First off, in order for your MS to be bought, it must first be loved by multiple people. Not just you, your mother, your sister, your brother, and your agent, but others…namely the acquisitions editor. That’s the second hurdle. The first hurdle was landing your rock-star agent.

If the house already has a number of titles similar to yours, then no matter how awesome your MS is and no matter how much they love it, they still won’t buy it. Why? Because, they’re in the business to make money. They don’t want to compete against themselves. There is an exception to this rule, though. If you’re a heavy-hitter with a large platform (celebrity, successful author), then they’ll make an exception for you. This is why you want to make sure your work is fresh and new. Don’t follow the trend. Remember, the trend was bought 18-24 months ago. Make your own trend.

So what happens next after your agent sends your baby to different publishing houses and an editor falls in love with it?

The senior editor has to approve of the concept. Can you say, crap? Unless, of course, the publishing house is one like Bantam which, last I knew, didn’t have to go through that whole board meeting thing but an editor who liked your MS could buy it on the spot. But seeing as how most publishing houses aren’t like that, we’ll go back to the senior editor being sold on your MS’s concept.

If the senior editor says it’s a go, then there’s a board meeting where the editor who really wants the house to buy your MS has maybe two minutes to pitch your story. This is where the high concept, market placement, and word count come in. If you’re unsure of any of those things, go back to my previous post From Query to Shelf where I describe them.

During this meeting, the finance/marketing director will create a profit and loss statement. If you have a super agent who asks for a high advance, then more books will need to be sold to make up for the advance. A couple things the finance director will ask are whether or not the house already has books like this one, if the market placement is strong enough for your book, how high of an advance your agent is asking for, how much marketing is going to cost, etc. If the profit and loss statement shows a profit, then things are a go and your book is sold! If it shows a loss, then things are a no. Unfortunately this happens, a lot. I heard of one writer whose MS got to this point three times at three different houses, and each time it was a no. Sucks, doesn’t it? Again, this is why you need to make your own trend.

Next week (hopefully I’ll get the post done on time), sales conferences! This is what the houses attend to get your book in the stores.

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