Sunday, October 6, 2013

Tweet-a-leet-a-leet, tweet-a-leet-a-leet...

He rocks in the tree tops, all day long...

Oh.  Hi.

Did I forget to mention I'm on Twitter now?  I am!  My handle is @DaisyWrites

Are you on twitter?  Come find me!  I don't follow back unless I "know" you or find you interesting (yes, I know that sounds extremely snobby.  But seriously?  These people who follow me, and I don't follow back within an hour they unfollow me?  They're the social-media climbers.  I'm just bein' real, yo.  Science!  Er, sorry, now the Breaking Bad part of my brain is taking over.  Guess the Heisenberg in me is coming out - I'm not in the social-media empire business, after all).

Also, I prefer Bluejays to Robins, though I prefer the Orioles to Bluejays when we're talking baseball.  And while we're on the subject of birds, I once had a parakeet named Bert.  I won him in some sort of bet or competition when I was about nine.  Bert, at one time, had a companion named Ernie.  I don't remember if Ernie died or I only won the one bird in the contest.  I do remember that my cat ate Bert.

Also, no, I'm not posting while drinking.  I'm channeling Amanda Bynes.

Speaking of calculated breakdowns, does anyone else think Miley Cyrus's media blitz is going to end with a leaked sex tape?  And if it does, what is she leaving her publicist to work with for her next album's release?

Daisy

This post has been a sampling of some of the thought-provoking and inspired tweets you might find if you follow me @DaisyWrites.





Wednesday, September 11, 2013

So, here's the thing...

...I haven't been blogging much lately.  Like, at all.

And I feel bad about it, but not bad enough.  I LOVE the blogging community and the many wonderful writer friends I've made through the blog-o-sphere.  I can't imagine having not met these amazing people!

But.

Last year, I started FRESH AS A DAISY to fill a "social media hole."  And I loved writing posts and coming up with new things to say and being part of something so big.  I spent a lot of time writing posts and commenting on other's posts and reading blog roles.  I spent a lot of creative energy here.

It drained me.  Last year (2012), I couldn't get through a single first draft.  I tried, I really did.  I started multiple stories, got into them, and got stuck.

Well, that happens all the time to writers.  Don't blame the blog for writer's block or poor planning or procrastination.

I don't, completely.  I also had a lot going on in "real" life last year that undoubtedly contributed to my lack of finished product.

But then, this year, I took a ton of time off from blogging and commenting to work on a new first draft I was really excited about.  I poured all of my creative writing energy into it instead of splitting it with the blog.

Guess who finished a first draft?
Guess who also outlined a revision, story-boarded said revision, and is 90+ pages into said revision?

Guess who also drafted TWO picture books?
Guess who also revised two picture books, had them critiqued, and submitted them to her agent?  Guess who's about to go out on sub with her very first picture book?

Guess who has ideas coming out of her ears for more YA, MG, and PB stories?

Okay, that's getting really annoying.  We get it.  You're amazing.  Go, Daisy, rah, rah, rah.

No, I'm not amazing.  But I am more focused.  And I don't think blogging is the only reason I didn't finish a draft last year.  I don't think NOT blogging is the only reason I DID finish 3 drafts in the last 5 months...

But.

It's part of it.

I'll keep the blog, and I'm sure I'll stop by occasionally.  Maybe.  I know this is the worst way to manage a blog, according to all the experts on platform and social media presence.  But before I can sell my "brand," I need to have a viable product.  I need to have room to write.

Is there something draining you?  Your Blog, FB, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, or, or, or...?  All of these are wonderful things.  But if your writing is stalled, ask yourself how much all of your social media presence is helping you sell when you don't have anything to sell.

Maybe it's a real life something.  Obvs, we can't do anything about work.  Family, who we love, can't be shut out.  But what about that TV habit?  Or the hours on Pintrest?  Or the quilt/craft/needlepoint/model railroad project?  Or the Naps?

Wait.  You have time for naps?!?!

No.  I haven't napped since 1987.  And naps are good.  So are hobbies and TV and the like.  But, if you're stuck, see what might be draining you and adjust, is all I'm saying.  Maybe you don't have to completely shut it down, like I feel I do.  Maybe you just need to cut it back.  If you don't, that's wonderful.  Please let me know how you manage your time.

But.

If you do need to cut down or cut out to save your writing, that's okay, too.

Signing off!
Daisy



Sunday, August 4, 2013

Review: THE APOLLO ACADEMY by Kimberly P. Chase

The Apollo Academy is on sale now!  You can buy it at Barnes & Noble or Amazon!  

From Goodreads: As the heiress to Titon Technologies, eighteen-year-old Aurora Titon can have whatever she wants—clothes, expensive gadgets, anything money can buy. All she really wants is to escape her pampered, paparazzi-prone life for the stars. Becoming the first female pilot to train as an astronaut for the Apollo Academy is exactly the chance for which she has been waiting. Everything would be perfect if it weren't for her unreciprocated crush on a fellow student, the sexy astronaut bent on making her life hell, and the fact that someone keeps trying to kill her. 

The first in a four book new adult science fiction series, The Apollo Academy, is an action packed story of love, discovery, and survival


Early Praise: 
"I am obsessed with this book! Suspenseful, sexy, and just a great read!" - Cora McCarmack, NYT Best-selling author of LOSING IT.

"Exquisite worldbuilding, thrilling suspense, and a sexy flight instructor! Chase's exciting debut novel is one you don't want to miss." - K.A. Tucker, author of TEN TINY BREATHS AND ONE TINY LIE.


I couldn't agree more with the raves!  But I'll try! :) Here's my review:

     The Apollo Academy is a fast-paced NA that's both sexy and smart. I couldn't stop reading the story of Aurora Titon, heiress to a "tech candy" corporation and pilot-in-training.
     Set in a not-so-distant future where we have to travel to space to harvest natural resources because Earth is dead, Aurora Titon wants nothing more than to leave the ground behind and be a pilot. She trains with the best of the best, The Apollo Academy, where the day to day of (thrilling) classes is intermixed with romance and mystery.
     I was in love with the story from page one. 

     First, the geek in me loved all the pilot/astronaut references. 
     And then the nerd in me LOVED LOVED LOVED the world-building. Tech candy that shows you beauty so you can escape the ugly in front of you...sneakers that flash....self-driving hover cars! What Chase did so brilliantly is create a world that feels like it's just a week away from where we are now (Google cars, anyone?) but that also feels like a world all its own. She wove the details of Aurora's world into the story so seamlessly that it's easy to forget you've never actually seen blinking luggage tags and the like.
     The romantic in me adored the hot-then-cold running relationship between Aurora and Zane, who, like Aurora, wants nothing more than to leave his old life behind - but for much different reasons. Throw in a tough, alpha-male type flight instructor who seems determined to make Aurora's training hell on earth, and oh, goodness, the steaminess! I especially appreciated that Aurora was not a "damsel" type. She's a kick butt girl who trains hard and works hard - in cute shoes. Chase's portrayal of a young woman on her own for the first time felt very real. Aurora is both girly and adult, strong and soft.
     The Agatha Christie in me enjoyed the mystery. Who's behind the attacks, and WHY? I loved figuring this out alongside Aurora and her friends.
     All in all, a stellar first book in what's sure to be an exceptional series. Book one ties up the ends it needs to so the reader is satisfied, but leaves enough of the plots open for the next book. I can't wait to find out what happens next.
Don't miss this one!



Friday, July 19, 2013

250 Critique: The Incredible Misadventures of Avery Mann by Joseph Miller


By Rootology (Own work) [<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0">CC-BY-SA-3.0</a>], <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3A19_Pike_Place_Market_magic_shop.jpg">via Wikimedia Commons</a>
By Rootology via wiki commons


It's Critique Time again!  This week, for your reading and critiquing pleasure, we have a middle grade! And it's BOY middle grade!  I'm so excited; I love boy POV!

Joseph Miller has bravely stepped up to the plate with the first 250 words of his middle grade manuscript, THE INCREDIBLE MISADVENTURES OF AVERY MANN.

First, can I say that I really like this title?  It sounds like a fun story right off the bat, and I have an idea of what kind of story it's going to be.  So, without further adieu... take it away, Joseph!


The walled garden in Kensington Park might not be as impenetrable as Superman’s Fortress or high-tech as Batman’s Cave, but it made the perfect hideout for me. It was a place where I could read comics, practice magic tricks, and avoid trouble, especially Max “The Wild Thing” Lovell and my six older brothers. It also smelled a lot better than the bushes behind Ms. Crabtree’s haphazard compost heap—which made a great hiding spot, but required nose-plugs and goggles.
Nothing bothered me in the garden’s gazebo. Not bullies. Not brothers. Not—
SWAT!
A piece of paper smacked me across the face.
“Yee-ouch!”
Blinking back tears, I yanked the paper off my face, ready to rip it into subatomic particles, but then I stopped. A thrill fluttered up from the bottom of my stomach to the back of my neck. I shoved the flapping flyer against the ground.

Madame Magpie’s Magic Shoppe Grand Opening!
Amazing Magic Tricks! Great Gag Gifts! Unusual Novelties! Curious Curiosities!
All customers will receive a free token for our fortune telling machine. One lucky winner will receive a $100 gift card!

Visions of vanishing boxes, flash powder, and levitating wands floated through my head. I could buy a lot of magic tricks with a hundred dollars. Enough to put on a real magic show.
I stuffed the flyer into my pocket, snuck over to the garden’s entrance, and glanced around the rest of the park. Max and my brothers were nowhere in sight. 

And here's my critique:


The walled garden in Kensington Park might not be as impenetrable as Superman’s Fortress or high-tech as Batman’s Cave, but it made the perfect hideout for me. I think this is a great first sentence.  First, because it immediately tells me where the main character is.  Second, the voice feels real.  Third, I've learned something about the kind of boy this is - he's into superheroes (very cool of him).  Fourth, he needs a hideout.  Why?  What was he hiding from?  It's left me, the reader, with a great reason to keep reading.  Of course I want to find out why he's hiding! It was a place where I could read comics, practice magic tricks, and avoid trouble, especially Max “The Wild Thing” Lovell LOVE the name! and my six older brothers. It also smelled a lot better than the bushes behind Ms. Crabtree’s haphazard this word stopped the flow for me - why this adjective? It's a detail I really don't need. compost heap—which made a great hiding spot, but required nose-plugs and goggles. 
Nothing bothered me in the garden’s gazebo. Not bullies. Not brothers. Not—
SWAT!
A piece of paper smacked me across the face.
“Yee-ouch!” Really?  This kind of reaction to a piece of paper?  Is the paper balled up, so it hurt more than a piece blowing over the wall in the wind?  Is it heavy, stock paper? 
Blinking back tears, Again, really?  Tears?  Over a piece of paper?  If you're trying to set up that he's a really big, well, weenie, I think you might need to make it clearer.  Or, if this is just the first clue that he is, then make sure you continually show him overreacting to little things. I yanked the paper off my face, ready to rip it into subatomic particles, but then I stopped. A thrill fluttered up from the bottom of my stomach to the back of my neck. I shoved the flapping So, not balled up then. flyer against the ground.

Madame Magpie’s Magic Shoppe Grand Opening!
Amazing Magic Tricks! Great Gag Gifts! Unusual Novelties! Curious Curiosities!
All customers will receive a free token for our fortune telling machine. One lucky winner will receive a $100 gift card! My first thought was, whoa, that's a lot of exclamation points.  But then I realized a flyer would probably be full of them.  Still, I might lose the first one.  Also, it feels a little bit overwritten - as in, wouldn't a flyer possibly be a little less grammatical?  For example, I'd expect a flyer to read: "Customers gets free token for fortune teller machine.  One lucky winner gets $100 gift card."  Okay, really bad example, but my point is, wouldn't the flier be a little bit more bare-boned.

In case you can't tell, I'm really having to be overly picky, here. There's not much to critique! :)

Visions of vanishing boxes, flash powder, and levitating wands floated through my head. I can't decide if this sentence works for me.  It's a good sentence, but would a MG boy who's into magic and comics describe himself this way, with a Christmas reference that doesn't seem to fit his attitude?  Plus, it feels passive - not grammar-wise, but action-wise. I'd expect this boy to just come out and say: I could buy a lot of magic tricks with a hundred dollars. Enough to put on a real magic show. 
I stuffed the flyer into my pocket, snuck over to the garden’s entrance, and glanced around the rest of the park. Max and my brothers were nowhere in sight. And with this last sentence, you've pulled me right back into the tension!  I love that magic trumps hiding for this guy, but that he's still cautious about leaving his hideout.  

Overall, I think this is a great first page.  It's polished and well written.  The clues about this boy's personality shine through.  And I love the set up of Max and the 6 (SIX!) brothers being antagonists in this story.  

The voice is nice, too.  My only major critique is to check those adjectives.  Ask yourself if they keep the middle grade voice you're going for and if they're necessary for the reader to know.  Also, I'm really interested to find out if this boy's overreaction to the paper hitting his face is part of his personality.  It's an interesting character trait to have written if it is.  

Great work, Joseph!  

What do you all think?  Any constructive criticism for Joseph?  Do you like the title?  What did you really enjoy on your first read through?  Did anything trip you up?


Daisy



Friday, July 12, 2013

First 250 Crit: The Mason of Hearts by Devin Berglund




It's critique time again!  Yay!  I just love these.  No, not because I get to torture other writers - I mean, that's fun, too - but because I love when writers put their words out there for people to read.  It's a brave thing to do, and I applaud writers who do it!

Today's first 250 comes from Devin Berglund.  You can check out Devin's blog here - I recommend you do!  She's had a bunch of fabulous guest posts this summer that are informative and fun! 

Without further adieu, here's Devin's YA Fantasy, The Mason of Hearts!  Take it away, Devin!


     She heard it. A quiet, yet familiar voice called her name. 
“Elfria?” the voice echoed in a sing songy tune, “Elfria, Come here! You know you want to be out here with me, instead.” She snickered. He is right. She leaned her twiggy, child-like figure toward the tent exit and caught a glimpse of the bright summer's day outside. The sun radiated off her hair making it a brighter red. She shifted her weight to balance the basket. Aghh If I don’t set it down now, my arms are going to fall off. Setting it down on the table in front of her sister, Czardinak she sighed loudly and then rubbed her sore hands. Parchment, small jars of paint, an assortment of different paint brushes, and a number of other random things cluttered the basket. Czardinak smiled at her, “Thank you!”
Elfria continued staring outside and didn’t notice her sister who spoke to her. 
“Elfria! Is there someplace you need to be?” Czardinak’s green eyes filled with excitement as her sister daydreamed.
“Elfria!” Their Mother known as Lady Aaron snapped shortly, while tugging at her shoulder forcing her to look at her. Czardinak jumped.
“Pay attention when someone asks you a question. Especially your sister.” Elfria moved away from her mother’s grasp while frowning. Her mother gave her a dirty look before turning to unload the small objects she always sold at the market. When she finished unloading the small trinkets she walked over to one of her friend’s vending tables. She handed her a woven basket and talked to the lady standing behind a table full of fat stuffed ratsCzardinak scrunched her nose in disgust and looked back at Elfria when their mother wasn’t looking. 

And here's my critique:



     She heard it. A quiet, yet familiar voice called her name.  So, I think this is an okay first line.  Devin has definitely set up a hook here because there's the question of who is "she" and whose voice is calling her.  But, I think it could be better.  This is a very vague first line, and since the rest of the page isn't a riddle or puzzle of trying to figure out who the voice is, it feels a little too obscure.  If the rest of the page was spent answering who was calling her, I'd say leave it hazy.  But since it's only a set up for the scene, consider changing it up.
“Elfria?” the voice echoed in a sing songy tune, “Elfria, come here! You know you want to be out here with me, instead." 
I'd make this a new paragraph since "She" is not, apparently, the speaker.  She snickered. He is right.  Ooh, a he! Is he a love interest, a relative...I'd keep reading to find out! She leaned her twiggy, child-like figure EXCELLENT description!  I can see her very clearly!! toward the tent exit and caught a glimpse of the bright summer's day outside. The sun radiated off her hair making it a brighter red. Nice way to tell us her hair color! She shifted her weight to balance the basket. Aghh If I don’t set it down now, my arms are going to fall off. Setting it down on the table in front of her sister, Czardinak, she sighed loudly and then rubbed her sore hands. Parchment, small jars of paint, an assortment of different paint brushes, and a number of other random things cluttered the basket. Czardinak smiled at her, “Thank you!”
Okay, I get a little lost here.  Learning she was holding a basket threw me because when I pictured her leaning out the tent, there was no basket.  Also, I don't know why it's so heavy.  Based on what you've told us is in the basket, it shouldn't weigh much.  Or... how small are these small jars of paint?  Or, are you showing us the lightweight contents on purpose, to show that Elfria is weak?  Also, I didn't, for some reason, picture a table in the tent.  I read tent, I think pup tent.  Obviously, this tent is large.  You might need to set that up so that readers like me aren't jamming tables into two man tents! :) 
Elfria continued staring outside and didn’t notice her sister who spoke to her.   This last bit is unnecessary.  
“Elfria! Is there someplace you need to be?” Czardinak’s green eyes filled with excitement as her sister daydreamed.
“Elfria!” Their Mother known as Lady Aaron snapped shortly, while tugging at her shoulder forcing her to look at her. This sentence needs a rewrite.  The her pronoun used for more than one person is confusing, and the clause makes it clunky.  Try dividing the sentence in two.  Tell us who's speaking, and then give us a sentence of action.  Ex: Their mother, Lady Aaron, snapped.  She tugged Elfria around by the shoulder until they were eye to eye. Czardinak jumped.  Ooh, interesting!  I want to know why - great tension built in that tiny sentence!
“Pay attention when someone asks you a question. Especially your sister." 
I'd make this a new paragraph, too.Elfria moved away from her mother’s grasp while frowning. Her mother gave her a dirty look before turning to unload the small objects she always sold at the market. So, her mother has a basket, too?  I think you need to make sure to mention things like this when you're first describing the people. When she finished unloading the small trinkets she walked over to one of her friend’s vending tables. She handed her a woven basket and talked to the lady standing behind a table full of fat stuffed ratsCzardinak scrunched her nose in disgust and looked back at Elfria when their mother wasn’t looking. I'm a little lost in space again because now I'm finding out there are more tables and more people in the tent.  So, this is a very large tent.  And, apparently, they are in town?  Where is town?  What town?  Did they walk a long way to get here - is that why Elfria's arms were tired?  These are all important clues to set the scene.  I know the general rule is, "start with action."  And that's true, and it's important.  But action in a vacuum is not.  It's important to tell us where we are so the reader feels secure in the story.  You don't have to dump an entire of paragraph of setting in, just add a few layers, a few words.  The very first time you say "tent," consider saying the marketplace tent or the tented town hall or the vendor's tent, etc.  Something to tell us we're not camping.  

Overall, I think this is a good start to something.  The tension between Lady Aaron and Elfria is really nice.  I love stories with family drama in them, and there seems to be some here.  And that Czardinak jumped when her mother snapped at Elfria makes me think the mother is volatile or scary in some way. So, great job with tension there.  I also really want to know who the boy is that called Elfria's name.  I'd turn the page just to see if I found anything more about him in the next few paragraphs.

What do you all think?  Do you have any constructive criticism for Devin?  Would you change anything?  What do you like about these paragraphs?

Also, and I'm really curious here - is the tent thing just me?  I don't read a lot of high fantasy.  Maybe my lack of knowledge in this genre has me questioning things most readers wouldn't.  What do you think?

Thank you, Devin, for submitting your work!  I had so much fun critiquing it!

Daisy

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Apollo Academy's Kimberly P. Chase Interview!


I'm here with the amazingly talented Kimberly P. Chase, author of THE APOLLO ACADEMY, which is out next month!  Kimberly has become a great friend through the blogosphere, and I feel so fortunate to know her and get a chance to be a part of her debut book's launch!  

Here's the jacket copy for THE APOLLO ACADEMY:
As the heiress to Titon Technologies, eighteen-year-old Aurora Titon can have whatever she wants—clothes, expensive gadgets, anything money can buy. All she really wants is to escape her pampered, paparazzi-prone life for the stars. Becoming the first female pilot to train as an astronaut for the Apollo Academy is exactly the chance for which she has been waiting. Everything would be perfect if it weren't for her unreciprocated crush on a fellow student, the sexy astronaut bent on making her life hell, and the fact that someone keeps trying to kill her. 


First of all, congrats on your first novel!  I cannot wait to read the entire book!  Tell us a little about you and the journey The Apollo Academy has taken. 

Yikes! The Apollo Academy has had one long, twisted journey. Here's the short and sweet version:
Aug. 2011- I finally gathered the courage to write the book I'd been thinking about for years
Jan. 2012- the book was "finished."
March 2012- I learned about querying agents...
Aug 2012- I signed with Brittany Howard of the Corvisiero Literary Agency
Oct 2012- I went out on submission....
I waited and I waited....
April 2013- I had my first publishing offer.
May 2013- I turned the offer down and decided to self publish instead.
August 6th, 2013- THE APOLLO ACADEMY is released!

Who did the stunning cover art?  

The amazing Cliff Nielsen! I am completely blown away at how beautiful the cover turned out to be. (or at least I think so anyway)

I think so, too. I was already stoked to read this, and the cover is fanning that flame!! I LOVE the layers of this cover.  Every time I look at it, I find something new.  How had I missed those gorgeous stars in the deep purple at the ends of her hair??!?!  Or the depth of color in the sky? GORGEOUS!

One of the best things (I think) about your writing is the incredible world building you’ve done.  Can you tell us how you came up with the idea for this world? 

Honestly, I just started writing and The Apollo Academy poured out of me. 

How were you able to so vividly and imaginatively create it?

I needed a world in which astronauts were in high demand. Where young men and women would volunteer to train for space travel. This world needed to be technologically advanced and in need of new resources. 

Were you inspired by anything in particular – art, a song, a movie or candy wrapper or…? 

I looked at the society we lived in today and just tried to imagine it 100 years from now. You think people are obsessed with their iPhones now....imagine what that could do to the world we live in. Pick up a Science/Tech magazine and look at what we're already capable of creating. Reading about what we have today gave me the idea to start asking questions... What if people we so addicted to technology that they no longer saw the world around them? What kind of technology would we have? It was those kind of questions that helped me write the world in which The Apollo Academy takes place.

I think it's these kinds of questions that have made your world-building so believable.  I won't give anything away, but the scenes I've been privileged to read were so eery in that they felt like they were just a generation away from where we are today.  So it felt REAL.  And that made me fall into the pages!

You’ve decided to self-publish instead of going the traditional route – and the choice was all yours!  What factors led you to choose self-pub?  How have you and your agent approached this?  

The decision to turn down the traditional publishing route to self publish was kind of a surprise to me. I mean, I knew self publishing was always a wonderful option, but I'd always imagined going the standard route. It wasn't until I had the terms of the contract in front of me that I began to realize all of the things I'd be giving up by traditionally publishing. And I was too invested in The Apollo Academy to give it up lightly. My agent and I spent about 2 hours on the phone discussing the pros and cons of both paths. Ultimately, going Indie felt right. Right for the impatient, control-freak person I am and right for The Apollo Academy's genre--New Adult. This doesn't mean I won't traditionally publish in the future, but for now self publishing feels like the right direction.

Apollo Academy is NA (New Adult).  I know you originally wrote your main characters as late teens/early twenties.  But you aged them down to fit the YA market.  How did you ultimately decide to make them NA-aged again?  Was the distinction an important one for you?  Why or why not? 

Yes, when I began writing The Apollo Academy, my main characters were 18,19, and 22. After doing some research, I quickly found out that this age range was very hard to sell to the traditional publishing houses. So I made the decision to change the ages of my characters, hoping it would sell more easily as a YA novel. While I was out on submission, New Adult hit the market big time. It was at that point that I began to wonder if I'd made a mistake changing how I really wanted to tell the story. Just when I was about to broach the topic with my agent, I received an email saying that an editor was going to make an offer on my book. Of course I was thrilled with this news! Finally someone believed in my book....but after a lot of thinking, I knew I needed to revise The Apollo Academy to fit the way I originally imagined it to be. That decision ultimately led me to turning down the offer and deciding to self publish instead.

Will there be a book two? 

Yes....and 3...and 4...

Where can readers buy The Apollo Academy? 

The Apollo Academy will be available in eBook and Paperback. Amazon, B&N, CreateSpace, and iTunes.

Congrats, again, Kimberly! 

Thank you for having me! <3

Kimberly has graciously agreed to play along with my favorite form of torture game, the Pivot Questionnaire - you might recognize them as the set of questions from James Lipton’s Actors Studio.  

·  What is your favorite word? Awesome

·  What is your least favorite word? No.

·  What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Anytime I need to be inspired or motivated, I turn on Joel Osteen. Boy, can that man lift you up!

·  What turns you off? Negativity.

·  What is your favorite curse word? F***

·  What sound or noise do you love? Waves crashing. A helicopter flying overhead.

·  What sound or noise do you hate? An alarm clock!

·  What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? A helicopter pilot tour guide in Hawaii!

·  What profession would you not like to do? Politician


·  If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? "Kim, you have led a long, exciting, and good life. Your descendants will live on in your name and prosper. (<--That sounds kind of Trekkie of me, but that's what I'd want to hear. Or something like that! :)) Welcome to your eternal home...."

Thanks so much, Kim, for stopping by for an interview!  Don't forget to check out the trailer HERE for THE APOLLO ACADEMY - out in August from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CreateSpace, and iTunes!  It's a MUST READ!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Apollo Academy Cover Reveal & Book Trailer!!!

Hello, Freshies of the fresh!  I'm back from hiatus (you know, I don't think I can call them hiatuses anymore if I take them so frequently) and I'm back with a bang!

If you haven't heard, Kimberly P. Chase's book THE APOLLO ACADEMY is rocketing into bookstores on  August 6th and I am one of the lucky few who gets to reveal Kim's FABULOUS COVER!

Are you ready for this?  .......................seriously, are you?.........................


 From Goodreads: As the heiress to Titon Technologies, eighteen-year-old Aurora Titon can have whatever she wants—clothes, expensive gadgets, anything money can buy. All she really wants is to escape her pampered, paparazzi-prone life for the stars. Becoming the first female pilot to train as an astronaut for the Apollo Academy is exactly the chance for which she has been waiting. Everything would be perfect if it weren't for her unreciprocated crush on a fellow student, the sexy astronaut bent on making her life hell, and the fact that someone keeps trying to kill her. 

Agh! I adore the font on the title, especially that orbiting A!  Sweet!  And The way Aurora's hair swirls around?  Exactly the way I saw her wild red curls.  I'm also really loving that "the sexy astronaut" is shadowed so the reader can fill in the details for themselves.  Oh, I am so stoked to finish reading this book! 

Oh, you want more?  Oh, okay.  How about a book trailer?  Sound good?  Great!  Check it out:






Oh, my noodles!  It's like Top Gun and NASA and first love and a mystery all in one! Speaking as someone who adores Top Gun, Outer Space (didn't know the contemp girl had a sci-fi-side, didya?) and first loves and mysteries, I AM SWOONING!  

Oh, you want more?  Oh, okay.  Kim is having a giveaway over at her blog - check it out here! 


I'll be back later in the week with an exclusive interview with Kimberly about all things publishing!  In the meantime, I'm gonna watch the trailer again.  

What about you?  Will you be blasting off with Apollo Academy?


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Knock, knock. Who's there? Not me.



Hello!

I went on hiatus at the end of April in an attempt to grab hold of my muse as she flittered around my house.

The good news is I caught her.  The great news is she's stuck around all this time.  The best news is I've written 50,000 words while I've been away.

The bad news (or good, depending on how you look at it) is that the muse is still here, and I'm still 10k or so short of finishing the first draft of my WIP.  And then I'll be tied up with IRL stuff until the beginning of July.

So, I'm stopping by to say I'm not here.  And I won't be back until after Independence Day.

I hope you're all doing well and getting lots of writing done this summer.  Are any of you doing JunoWriMo?  Any of you planning on attending a conference or retreat this summer?  SCBWI LA, maybe?  I'd love to know what you're up to!

I'll try to stop by blogs as I can over the next month.  I've been woefully absent from the blogosphere, but I'm vowing to do better!

Until July!

Daisy

Thursday, May 16, 2013

We Interrupt This Program For Breaking News: The Apollo Academy to hit shelves in August!

Yes, I'm still on hiatus!

Just wrote 1400 words, feeling great!  Getting back to it, but wanted to take a station break to give you all a heads up:


My writing buddy Kimberly Chase announced her debut today!  The Apollo Academy will hit shelves on August 6th!

From Goodreads:

As the heiress to Titon Technologies, eighteen-year-old Aurora Titon can have whatever she wants—clothes, expensive gadgets, anything money can buy. All she really wants is to escape her pampered, paparazzi-prone life for the stars. Becoming the first female pilot to train as an astronaut for the Apollo Academy is exactly the chance for which she has been waiting. Everything would be perfect if it weren't for her unreciprocated crush on a fellow student, the sexy astronaut bent on making her life hell, and the fact that someone keeps trying to kill her. 

The first in a four book series, The Apollo Academy, is an action packed story of love, discovery, and survival.


I've had the distinct pleasure of reading some of AA for Kim, and, guys it is AWESOME!  Her story is such a standout, and her world-building is INSANE!  So mark your calendars, add it to your TBR on Goodreads, and get ready:

Apollo Academy - and Kim's amazing career - blasts off August 6th, 2013!


Friday, May 3, 2013

Need a Critique? Look No Further!

I know, I know, I'm supposed to be on hiatus.  And I am - I'm drafting, and it's going great!

Stopping by to remind you all that I do Query and First 250 critiques here on the blog.  You can read past crits here, here, here, and here to get an idea of how I approach your work.

To submit a query:

Email me at DaisyCarterFresh at gmail dot com.  Paste your query in the body of the email and put QUERY CRITIQUE in the subject line.

To submit your first 250 words:

Email me at DaisyCarterFresh at gmail dot com.  Paste your first 250 in the body of the email and put 250 CRITIQUE in the subject line.

I DO NOT OPEN ATTACHMENTS!!!

I really encourage you to take advantage of free critiques.  If not from me then someone else, preferably another writer.  Queries are tough!  No one likes to condense their story to two or three paragraphs!  Use the resources available to you before you submit!  You only get one shot to impress an agent - make sure you've done all you can to nail the "interview!"

As for your first 250, get as many eyes on it as you can!  Utilize family members, friends who read a lot, and writer buddies.  That first page is PRIME real estate!  Don't waste it!

Have a great weekend!

Daisy

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What To Do While I'm Gone

I'm taking a break for the next couple of weeks so I can really concentrate on my new WIP.  I've finally found my footing again, and I think I need to focus all my creative writing energy into the project.

So, while I'm gone, check this out:  Marcia Hoehne has written an EXCELLENT post about the way writers approach a first draft now - all plot points and beats - versus the way writers seemingly used to write - all discovery.  She makes some great points.

And if you need some recommendations for new reading, here's a peek at what I'm reading now:




Also:

I love books on writing.  I even have a page for them that desperately needs to be updated.  Why?  Because I just bought two books that have helped me so very much.

First: Beginnings, Middles, and Ends by Nancy Kress
This one isn't about plotting v. pantsing or how to write on a story arc, etc.  It's more about how to approach the three acts of your story and what to do if one act trips you up more than others.  I, for example, am great at drafting Act I.  Then, I get to Act II and just lose my way.  I find it again in Act III, though.  So I read "Middles" several times, and it really helped me see how to work through this part of the story.



Second: Writing Irresistible Kid Lit by Mary Kole is a new one I've just begun, but let me tell ya - wow.  It's so great.  I've been a follower of Mary's blog for a long time now.  If you don't follow her, I really suggest you take a look.  Mary knows her stuff, works in the industry, and has a lot of great advice for writers.













One more, just for laughs because I heart Steve Carrell:



Is anyone else as excited about this movie as I am?  No, really?  Okay, well, more popcorn for me then!

Have a great couple of weeks!  Hope wherever you are on your writing journey, it's prosperous!

Daisy

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Writing 101: Being A Professional Writer

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a writers workshop.  It was ah-mazing.  I made some great new writer friends, got awesome feedback on my WIP, and learned a thing or two or twenty-seven.

But.

Over the course of the workshop, I heard a ton of sour talk.  I listened to writers - some agented, some published, some querying - bash writers, books, agents, and editors. 

It always started out innocently enough.  We would be talking books, and someone would disagree about how good book X was.  Which somehow turned into, "worst book you've read recently."  Which turned into author bashing.  Which turned into war stories about querying, submitting, and paid critiques, which turned into agent and editor bashing.

"I met Best-Selling-Author at a function, and she was an idiot."*
"That book had so many plot holes in it, I couldn't keep reading.  That editor should have lost her job for that one."*
"I sent Agent-Extraordinaire my query/sub/sample 3 weeks ago, and she still hasn't gotten back to me even though I've nudged her 7 times.  So I finally called her office and demanded to know what was going on."*

Here's the thing: we writers get frustrated with the process sometimes, and rightly so.  It's not easy to bleed onto the page and then send it out for someone to judge.  Sometimes, after a hard month or year of writing, we need to be able to vent our frustrations about it all, and who better to talk to than other writers.  Right?

Wrong.

Well, at least in a group setting of 15 or 20 of your newest acquaintances, don't talk smack.  Or in an online forum that anyone can read.  Or in an online forum that only members can read.  Or on your blog.  Why?  Because... 

If you are attempting to break into the publishing industry, you must act PROFESSIONALLY in public.  New York (and all its satellites) is a small town.  The publishing industry is a tight knit community.  Editors move houses all the time, so they know LOTS of editors.  Agents talk to each other all the time.  Writers meet at events.  

You know all this, though, right?  I mean, just check out an agent's twitter feed.  Most of her conversations are with other agents, her clients, and editors that she's going out for drinks with later.  You think they don't hear what you've been saying about them?  

THEY DO.

You think they don't read the forums to see what writers are saying about them and their friends?

THEY DO.

You think they don't get access to members only forums, where writers feel safe to say anything about anyone?  

THEY DO.

You think the writer you bashed NYT-Bestseller with doesn't know a writer who knows a writer who knows NYT-Bestseller?  

THEY DO.

Look, I'm not saying you should censor yourself completely.  Wouldn't that be ironic, considering? :)  But I am saying that you should choose your confidants wisely.  Talk to a trusted friend, not a room full of other conference goers.  And don't get on forums or anywhere online and talk smack.  It will come back to bite you.

On another note of the same song:

Prepare for a rant.

What exactly is an agent? Well...
Agents are like gatekeepers.

I am the Gatekeeper.  Are you the Keymaster?

Wait, that's not right.  
Agents are like bouncers.  

(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), from Wikimedia Commons
Nope, not it, either.
Agents are like...oh, I know!  People.  That's it! Agents are exactly like people!

They are human, they are imperfect, they are avid readers, they are really good at understanding the fine print that most people skip over, and they are awesome.  Awesome.  

Want to know why they're awesome?  They love writers and stories so much, they're willing to work FOR FREE until YOU make money.  They don't charge you up front (not the legit ones, anyway).  They don't make millions a year just to sit around in their fancy classic 6s and read leather bound manuscripts.  They don't even fly to conferences and festivals in their luxury jets.


Agents are not:
  1. Ethereal beings who have magic keys to fame and fortune
  2. Bouncers who refuse to let you into the biggest party in town.
  3. Robots who slave away for you 24/7
  4. Speed readers for the sake of speed reading
  5. Perfect
  6. In your debt
  7. Actively trying to keep you down
If you are trying to land an agent or editor, you are writing PROFESSIONALLY.  If you want to be taken seriously in this profession, it would do you some good to remember what that means.  
You, as a writer seeking representation, should NOT bash them in forums or on Facebook/Twitter/Instagrandma. 

 Guess what, people?  Agents can READ.  Hard to believe, ain't it?
And, since I love a good list (obvs), here's another.  I like to call it "Things We Writers Should Remember":
  1. You bad mouth an agent, it will come back to haunt you.
  2. You send a mass query to half the agencies in the continental US, the other half will probably hear about it.  Agents are friends with other agents.
  3. Agents WANT to love your book.  They WANT to find the next big thing.  They open each sub and hope to be swept away!
  4. Read the first 50 pages of a book.  Now do it again.  And again.  And 100 more times.  Today.  NOW!  Impatient people are waiting.  Aren't you finished yet?  Hello!  I'm standing here, tapping my shoe!  What in the world is taking you so long?!?!? Haven't you read 400 books yet?  It's been a whole five minutes.  What is WRONG with you?  You must have been dropped on your head as a child.  You're a hack, aren't you?  Who cares if you're not getting paid for this?  Not me!  Get to reading!!!!
  5. There's a reason it's taking the agent/editor you submitted to weeks/months to respond to you.  They're busy with their clients.  
Don't miss numbers 4 and 5.  I cannot tell you how often I hear writers complain about how long it's taking agents to respond to them.  

I get it.  I do.  I've been there, refreshing my screen every 5 minutes, hoping for a response.  

Here's the thing I realized as I was waiting, though.  The reason agents take a while to get back to you is 1) they have 5 gazillion other submissions to read - both requested and slush, and 2) reading those submissions is only a small part of their job.  They spend most of their time working with the clients they already have.  They're on the phone with editors, at lunch with editors, at events with editors, trying to sell their client's work.  They're also constantly emailing their clients to brainstorm, to talk shop, to encourage, to give them notes on a manuscript, and to send news - both good and bad - about their submissions.  AND they're reading client manuscripts.  

If an agent has 50 clients already, that means they have a revolving stack of new manuscripts to read from their clients.  And clients take precedent.  As it should be.

When you finally sign with your dream agent, would you rather her be busy helping you, her client, or reading slush 24/7?  

Keep that in mind.  

Same goes for editors.  They have a huge stack of submissions to read.  But that's only a part of their job, too.  They also have to read, edit, edit again, edit again, edit again....the manuscripts they are working on with writers.  They have to go to sales meetings, acquisitions meetings, editorial meetings, festivals, and conferences.  

It's no wonder publishing is a slow business.

So, a wrap up list (ooh, another list!):
  1. Don't bash people in the industry to other people in the industry, especially online where anyone can read it.
  2. Be professional when dealing with professionals in your chosen profession.
  3. Agents are people.  So are editors.
  4. Don't sweat the wait time.  It only means that agent is busy busting her butt for her clients, which could one day include you.  Same for editors.
  5. It's okay to not like a book.  It's even okay to say so, and why.  But that should not translate into bashing another writer.  Show some respect, people.
Sorry for the long, long ranty post, but it needed to be said.  

Daisy

p.s. I know this post is fraught with typos and grammatical errors.  Please don't judge too harshly.  I write purty most days.

*Not actual quotes I overheard in this setting, but very, very close.