Genre Hopping

I was so excited for this spring's course with Gotham Writers. My parents bought it for me as a Christmas gift. I have zero experience in the suspense / mystery realm, so this seemed like the best possible way to immerse myself in a new way of thinking and ensure I started to keep that in mind before I got too far down the writing path. Good idea in theory, right?

And then life happens. It always has a way of doing that -- and oftentimes in the most unexpected of ways. In January, I got engaged! Such a wonderful way to start the new year and in that regard, it's been such a wonderful several months. I soon found myself happily picking up a part-time gig (in theory) wedding planning. Add to that a bit of a personal crisis and moving and -- well -- let's just say this didn't all go according to plan, but for very good reasons.

NotMyWeddingShoes.jpg

The upside is that I have started my new novel. I'm excited about the layers -- the characters and this new world to explore. It was a small "audience", but my group of classmates really loved what I did pull together during the course and were more excited about this new material than the older pieces I shared during the course. All good signs.

I'm not walking away from the class with a large portion of this first draft as I'd originally hoped, but I have a start and a bit of confidence for the project ahead -- and that's very exciting as well. With the wedding fast approaching, I'm feeling a bit sentimental and reflective. These are all good things -- in life and in writing. 

I'm looking forward to getting more into this new novel -- of course with most writing likely to happen after the wedding. All that 2015 has been so far can only help to bring even better perspective to this new work.

New Year, New Goals

Happy New Year! Hope you had a great start to the year. I started mine with a fabulous dinner in Brooklyn and surrounded by friends and all things shimmery to ring in 2015 in fine yet not-too-crazy fashion. 

 

With a New Year comes new resolutions  - or, as the case seems to be, recommitting to some old ones. Last year, I kept it simple and opted to go with three broad resolutions:

  1. Worry less.
  2. Read all of the things.
  3. Finish.

 The first one though not directly writing-related definitely isn't too far from it. This one I definitely accomplished, even beginning most days listening to the very song I linked to in that blog post. I found that by starting my commute in to work concentrated on my thoughts and what I wanted to focus my energy on made all of the difference. This is something I plan to continue this year, perhaps even to a new extreme.

The second one, well, I can see Stephen King giving me the stink eye. Sadly I didn't read nearly as much as I wanted to. With an increased amount of writing I didn't manage to keep my attention on this one as much as I would have liked. 

As for my third one, finish I did! I didn't keep to my summertime deadline, as I decided not to take advantage of the self publishing route, but I did finish. I've been hard at work on refining and refining and pitching and submitting my novel, BLOWN OUT. I'll continue to share about that journey here and hopefully some good news soon.

So a New Year means some new goals. I didn't want to rush into a new list before I really thought about last year's accomplishments and what I want to focus on in the 365 days (well, slightly less now) ahead.

  1. Read way more of the things. By taking out the "all", I want to commit to reading more, but not some crazy, ridiculous number. I strongly believe resolutions should be commitments that are realistic and attainable - so here we go! To keep myself honest, I'll continue updating over on GoodReads.
  2. Submit to the max. I plan to continue submitting my novel to agents until I've fully exhausted all agents I am interested in. I also commit to months of continued revisions, the elimination of words I for some reason feel to personally connected to, and to listening to feedback from others whose brutal honesty is helping me go further along that path to success.
  3. Start (and ideally complete by year-end) my second novel. This one is really exciting to me. Starting something new is always so exciting, yet nerve-racking. This year, I'll be attempting my first suspense novel, and taking a course on this to get me started down that path. 
  4. Relax. Continuing with the "worry less" idea, I plan to incorporate more relaxing into my regular routine (this also ties nicely into the reading resolution). More nights in snuggled up with the pup are my goal.

Here's to a productive and relaxing 2015!

A Weekend Away

One of the things I love about being in NYC is the non-stop pace. There are so many things you come into contact with on a given day that it's hard to not get great ideas for writing and to have opportunities to be surrounded by people that inspire you. 

But sometimes it gets to be too much. You start to get so lost in the chaos that you don't notice the smell of fresh bread coming out of a bakery, the little kid whispering to his mom mesmerized by an elaborate holiday display, or the smile and personal greeting the barista gives you (if you're lucky) when you enter your favorite coffee shop. 

This past weekend, my boyfriend and I took a long weekend trip out to Cold Spring, New York. It's a quiet town that's likely much more hopping during warm weather, but made for a cozy getaway trip for December. It was only 77 minutes away from Grand Central and you can easily walk to Main Street from the train station. 

We had no car. Our room on the top floor of the fabulous B&B (Pig Hill Inn) had no television, but a lovely old school stove. Perfect swap, IMHO. If we wanted (and we did), they'd give us a log for this each day. The common sitting area had a non-stop fire during the day, surrounded by plush couches. In the afternoon, they brought out a tray of desserts. Sometimes it had cookies. Sometimes, if you're lucky, it's a homemade cake! If this was my home, I would never leave during the winter.

The goal was to disconnect and relax as much as possible. I'll admit to looking at social media occasionally, but nothing like the degree to which I am typically plugged in. We walked around the town, perusing countless antique stores. My mind started thinking - layers and layers of items with so many original owners. Who were all of these people? What were their stories? I really liked this section with old keys. What doors had they unlocked? What had those people been like?

It was such a needed weekend. I picked back up the book I have been reading, The Goldfinch. We started watching American Horror Story as I gear up for my next novel, which will be my first time writing suspense. Such a creepy show... we decided to start at the very beginning and I'm not sure I can watch any part of this on my own.

I came back to the city yesterday though with so many ideas I'm about to start a list - for the next book and writing ideas in general. It was great to put away the editing for a bit and refocus on the creation process again. I'm excited to get back to full #AmWriting mode.

 

Query

Thanks to Michelle's Holiday Query Hop for the opportunity to share our queries for thoughts from other writers. It's been such a great opportunity to share thoughts and to meet and interact with other writers.

 

Dear [AGENT],

When Kate was seventeen, she decided her future wasn’t in Texas. She traded in her cowboy boots and close proximity to her family for a challenging NYC law firm job, a spot alongside her fiancé on Page Six, and a doorman building bordering Central Park. But when she receives an urgent call from Texas twelve years later and learns her mom has died, she suddenly finds herself drawn back down South.

After she arrives, she finds out she has inherited her mom’s hair salon and must choose to run or sell the business. Given the chance to preserve the place where she spent so much time as a child, Kate decides she will do whatever it takes to keep the salon – even if it means losing her fiancé and returning to a town where her closest friend is the high school sweetheart she left behind.

But when random boxes containing items from her deceased mother start to appear on her front porch, Kate learns that the woman she thought she knew as well as herself had been keeping secrets. When a mysterious man from her mom’s past is really her father, Kate must confront not only the reality of who her mom really was, but who that makes Kate.

Complete at approximately 80,000 words, BLOWN OUT is a Women’s Fiction that will appeal to fans of Jennifer Weiner, Emily Giffin, and Allison Winn.

Born in Alabama to parents from Georgia and Tennessee, I went on to attend college in both Mississippi and Florida. My degrees might read BBA, BA, and MBA, but I have a de facto Masters of the South. By day, I work in social media for a global PR agency. I write regularly on my food blog, Grits in the City, and previously was a recurring writer for Citibank's Women & Co. blog. 

Thank you in advance for taking the time to consider my work and I hope to hear from you soon.

Best regards,