Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Revision Freakout #1

I'm trying to revise my WIP (translation: failing miserably at it). I have some major revisions I need to tackle, but they are in the middle and near the end of the book. But I keep getting stuck at the beginning of the book because I want to polish before I move any deeper.

I know it's a stall tactic on my part; I'm still not sure how, exactly, I'm going to fix some of those scenes near the back. But I'm also dealing with some PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for you non-psychologists in the crowd). I shared the first draft (yes, the very first draft) with my agent, who of course said he loved it and then gave me some suggestions of places that needed revisions, which I agreed to tackle next.

But now I'm looking at the manuscript and cringing at how terrible it is. And my agent liked it? *GASP* He must either be lying to me or delusional! Because there is no way this pile of poo I call a manuscript can be loved by anyone other than Oscar the Grouch. He likes garbage. This manuscript is garbage. I should just give it to Oscar and cut my losses.

But on a good note, I normally have a panic attack and doubt myself as I'm trying to figure out how to revise the first draft. So you might say I'm wigging out right on schedule. And next up is The Breakthrough, so I guess I should hold on a little bit longer.

Sorry, Oscar. I'm keeping the manuscript after all.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Now Closed to New Requests for the MG Blog

I hate to say it, but I've been overrun with requests to join the MG blog. So it is with deep regret that I must close to any new requests at this point.

I am very excited about what we are developing, however, so please check back for details on our official launch.

Thank you, everyone!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Revisions? Or World Domination?

Shhh, don't tell my agent, but revisions on my WIP have stalled. Some of it has to do with my daughter, who has been a pretty sick little girl (she's much much better now--nearly back to normal, thank goodness) and part of it has to do with a certain little blog idea I had about a week ago. I hope that blog, BTW, is my ticket to world domination.

But I'm sitting down RIGHT NOW to get back to work on my poor, neglected WIP. I mean it. I'm going.

Do you see me going? I'm doing it. I'm moving toward posting this message and turning the computer off. I'm really doing it.

Fine. I'm really going now. Sheesh. You're so pushy.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

HOLY COW, MG People!

Apparently MG people have been waiting for a leader. I have been overwhelmed by requests to join my MG group blog! In fact, it's more than I can count with both hands. HOLY COW! Can I just say how awesome I find this?!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to draw up some plans so we MG people can take over the world...

Friday, March 19, 2010

MG Books Are the New Vampires

(UPDATE: I've had so many ask to join the blog that I am now closing to requests. I apologize for this, and I wish I could add the whole world, but we need to keep this manageable. However, if there are any openings, we will post them on the blog once it launches. Please check back for details on our official launch date. Thank you everyone!)

Yes. You read that right. I tell everyone that MG books are the new vampires. Why? Because I say so. And since the world has not latched on to this revelation quite yet, I've decided I need to take MG to the masses.

And I might have an idea how to do it....

I've wanted to do this for at least a year, but I think I'm finally in a position where my vague vision can possibly come to fruition. I've already started putting feelers out and--Holy Cow! The preliminary excitement has been much more than I anticipated. So I'm putting out the official call now.

I'm looking for agented/published/well-connected MG people to join me in starting (and maintaining) a group blog strictly for MG readers and writers. I'm not sure exactly what form this blog will take, but if we get enough people together it could easily be The Place for All Things MG. It seems like there is so much geared for the YA people out there, and I'm feeling like we MGers need a little place of our own out there in the cyberworld.

I'd also love to invite the CB people to join us as well. After all, CBs are the little brothers and sisters of MGs.

So far I already have a strong list of agented/pubbed/well-connected people who wish to contribute in some way, so I really think this idea might go somewhere. But I say the more we MGers pool our resources/talents, the better this group blog will be.

If you're interested in contributing, please contact me at elissadcruz at gmail dot com or leave a comment below. I'd like to start a brainstorming session soon with those who would like to have a say in where we take this project.

And spread the word! I know my little blog here doesn't reach most of the MG people out there (hence the need for this group blog idea).

For those interested in following once we get up and running, check back here often for the big announcement. I'm sure it will happen soon!

Go MG!

P.S. In the last week or so I've won three (yes, 3!) contests, so I'd like to point out that I'm on a winning streak. I mention this for those out there who think we need some serious luck to pull this off. I've got luck coming out my ears this week, so any idea I come up with is bound to be a success. Just wanted you to know. ;)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Prizes and More At My Friend's Blog Grand Re-Opening!

I am a terrible friend, since it took me until today to post this. LJ friend [info]juliakarr has been hosting her blog Grand Re-opening this whole week. I had been waiting for the announcement of her re-opening so I could share it with my readers. And then my kids got sick and I didn't check my LJ friends page and completely missed it until yesterday evening! Sorry sorry sorry, Julia!

Anyway, all week long she's been giving away free books and keeping track of entries for a grand prize drawing to be held Friday. I might just add that I won a book yesterday (me, who never win these kinds of contests!) so I'm sending my lucky vibes along with you.

So go enter for today's book giveaway, an autographed copy of Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill! You'll also be entered into the grand prize drawing tomorrow. So go! Now! Don't wait!

But fair warning, I've entered the contest today too and I'm hoping my winning streak lasts one more day (aka I WANT DAVID'S BOOK TOO).

Say hi to Julia for me!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I'm Still Here...

...but have no news to report. None whatsoever.

So I've written a poem. It's a terrible poem that will never see the light of day unless I self-publish it, so I'm sharing it here.

Ode to Silence

I sit in my house
As quiet as a mouse.
Waiting for news;
The Yays or the Boos.
But what reaches my ear
Is nothing, I fear.


Okay, now back to our regularly scheduled silence.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

We Are Here! We Are Here! We Are Here! We Are Here!

Against my better judgment, I'm going to be a grumpy bug today and blog about something I probably shouldn't.

I'm sure you're wondering what. Well, you'll have to read on to find out.

I know I'm not the only one feeling this way. I also realize there's really no one to blame. Except the economy, maybe. We can always blame the economy.

But the truth of the matter is, the publishing industry, which used to move at glacial speeds, has slowed down even more (if that's possible). Publishers have restructured--in other words, laid off a bunch of people--and editors have had to pick up the slack. To make matters more complicated, plenty of those laid off people have turned to the agent side of the business, so now there are more agents, and, therefore, more agented material going out to those already swamped editors. Agented submissions used to have a turnaround rate of 6 to 8 weeks tops. Now it's 4 to 6 months or more (take mine, for example, which has been on submission since August--yes, August). And the slush pile? I have some writing friends who have been waiting over a YEAR for word on their unsolicited submissions.

And, though I don't really blame anyone (honestly, I don't), I do kinda feel like the Mayor of Whoville from Horton Hears a Who. Those of us on submission keep yelling, "We are here! We are here! We are here! We are here!" But it feels like we're not being heard--or in this case, read.

I keep hoping for that one little "Yopp!" from Jo-Jo that will open the floodgates.

Come on, Jo-Jo. Where are you?

Monday, March 8, 2010

My Social Networking Experiement

Okay, so most of my readers have probably had time to view the post from Friday, daring you you leave a comment.

What I didn't mention was that I was conducting an experiment. Though, I bet you all probably guessed that. I have very smart readers, you know.

The experiment was to see how many people would actually leave a comment after reading the dare. But I didn't just do this experiment on both my blogs. I also left this same message on my FB wall (I left two messages there, in fact), on Twitter (actually, I tweeted it three times throughout the day), and on my Utah Children's Writers Yahoo! group. And I also dared people from Verla Kay's blueboards to read my blog post though I didn't tell them what it said.

And here's the data I collected on Friday:

THIS BLOG had 32 unique visitors on Friday. Out of those 32 visitors, 4 left a message. Only one blogged about my dare.

MY LJ BLOG had 34 unique visitors on Friday. Out of those 34 visitors, 6 left a message. One left a message saying she would blog about my dare on Monday (today), which she did.

MY FB WALL had...well, I'm not sure how to check those figures. But I have 64 friends so theoretically all of them could have seen the message. Only three commented.

MY TWITTER had...well, again, I'm not sure how to check the figures. But I had 116 followers on Friday who could have seen the three messages I left throughout the day. Two commented, one retweeted.

MY YAHOO! GROUP has a few hundred members. No one left a message there. Though one did click on the link to my blog, but didn't leave a message as far as I could tell.

THE BLUEBOARDS is a bit harder to figure out. There are about 4000 people who are members, and I'm sure a million more who can view the boards, so I really have no idea how many read my message under the "What did you blog about today?" thread. But I had three people from the boards visit on Friday, though not all came from that thread but other threads I've posted on the boards. And since most of my blog friends are also members of the boards, it's hard to tell if any of those people who left a message did so because of reading my post on the boards, or because they routinely read my blog.

So, there you have it. All the data I collected Friday. But what does it tell us?

Well, first of all, it tells us that I am not anywhere near ready to take over the world. (Or is that change the world? I can never remember.) I mean, if only 100 or so people can read my messages, I am clearly not reaching the masses. Those are actually quite pathetic numbers that I hope the rest of you forget as soon as you stop reading this post.

Second of all, I need to work on my inspirational leadership skills. If I can't even get my readers to leave a simple comment, then quite clearly I have not yet figured out how to inspire my followers. (Or is that minions? I can never remember.)

And thirdly, I really don't care a fig about the numbers. I put those here for those of you who like statistics and probability and neat rows of columned numbers. You're welcome.

For me, the real success of my experiment came from what happened in me. You see, when I posted my experiment, I felt a little rush of excitement, and just a bit of recklessness. In fact, I felt like a kid again.

And I can imagine that those who commented felt just a tiny bit of that same nostalgia. Who remembers childhood dares? Anyone? I certainly do. And my little experiment reminded me of those feelings. And that is really what I got out of this experiment. I got in touch with a part of me from those old days. Which is right where I want to be as I get to work on my MG manuscript.

So, thanks everyone, for the successful experiment that helped me get in touch with part of my inner child. Now I dare you to go out and do your own experiment. You'll thank me for it later. (Or is that swear undying loyalty to me as Empress of the World? I can never remember.)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Will You?

Go ahead, dear blog readers. I dare you to leave a comment below.

And for the really brave people, I dare you to blog, FB, tweet, or send emails telling others about my dare (linking back to this blog post, of course), and then leave a separate comment below telling me you did it.

Go ahead. I dare you.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Times (and My Blog) They Are A-Changin'

A few days ago, one of my blueboard friends kindly pointed out my links weren't working on this blog (thanks, gim!). I mean, I had kinda noticed and all, but I didn't think anyone paid attention to that kind of thing.

Well, apparently they do.

So I've downloaded another template and spiffied up the place. Welcome to the new look!

Let's hope this one doesn't have any bugs. Let me know if it does, though, okay?

And in honor of spring, and my new blog look, and all things that are a-changin', I'd like to make an official announcement:

(No, my book has not sold.)


I've decided this bloggy wog of mine needs more than a freshly painted face. SO... (drumroll please)...I'm in the process of revamping the inside as well. This place needs more umph and razzle dazzle, more sparkle and shine. I'm tired of hosting this snoozefest. Instead I want to change the world! (Or is that take over the world? I can never remember.)

So be watching for more meaningful content soon. You know, things that matter. Like contests for free books, guest bloggers who are awesomer than me (yes, awesomer is now an official word--because I say so), and even an interview with Agent Man. If I'm lucky, I might find ways to do more interviews as well, since I love me a good interview. And maybe, just maybe, I'll try that vlog thing. (Scary.)

Did I mention contests for free books? Just making sure.

So spread the word to all your friends and family. Because soon....this is gonna be The Place To Be. Trust me on this.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Contests! Contests! Get Your Free Contest Entries!

Here's a few contests you should all know about:

My brand new LJ friend [info]ellestrauss is hosting a contest in honor of signing with her agent. She's giving away books to those who guess the correct time she has locked in her time vault. You can read more about it and enter here. Contest is open to US/CAN residents, and ends Sunday, March 14th.

Long time LJ friend [info]karenbschwartz is hosting an inspirational contest. She wants to know what inspires you, and two lucky winners will receive a free book. Read more and enter here. Contest ends Thursday, March 4th, so hurry!

And don't forget March Madness, hosted by [info]denisejaden , [info]shanasilver , [info]ellestrauss , and Jen Hayley ! Though a month long, you will be entered to win some fabulous books there as well. See my previous post here to get the dish on what's happening with this contest.

Cindy Pon is giving away two books, just because. Contest runs through Sunday, March 7th. Contest rules and entry info is here.

Now go enter!

Monday, March 1, 2010

March Madness

No, not that March Madness. This March Madness...

LJ friend Denise Jaden (and real, live friend, too, since we've actually met in person and had an intelligent conversation over dinner) and some of her writing friends are hosting a writing March Madness. If you need some accountability this month, then sign up and join in the fun! Here's a direct link: http://denisejaden.livejournal.com/44737.html (Oh, I forgot to mention...there will be prizes! Real prizes, like free books!)

I'll try to remember to play along (I'm terrible at checking in, which I gather is part of the accountability thing for this Nano-esque contest). But since I had a lovely chat with Agent Man last week about the first draft of a new book I sent him, I'm ready to do some revising. I'm hoping Denise and Co. can keep me motivated.

Hope to see you there!