Dare to Read

October 17, 2012

Writers Block No more

Filed under: Editing,On Writing — carmenferreiroesteban @ 12:36 pm
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Need help developing your plot?

Need an editor to check the consistency of your plot and/or the continuity of your story?

Hate doing research?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, please contact me at
http://www.writeeditpublish.com/

About me: I have been a writer for almost twenty years and a critique partner for more than ten. Before that I finished my Ph.D. in Biology and worked in research for ten years.

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October 11, 2012

My Road to Publication : Erin Richards

Filed under: Uncategorized — carmenferreiroesteban @ 6:35 am
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Today my fellow author at Crimson Romance, Erin Richards, tells us how her desire to write that could not be ignored led her to her first sale and beyond.

This is her story:

I wrote my first novel when I was eighteen years old—ages ago—and have always wanted to write. However, everyday life took its toll on my dreams of becoming an author. In 2003, I couldn’t ignore the writing bug any longer and began writing with the goal of publication in mind. Since then, I’ve walked, crawled, and then sprinted a long and twisty road to publication.

I joined RWA, took writing classes and polished my “first” adult novel, CHASING SHADOWS, until it shone. Then I submitted it to a few publishers and agents. Most authors write multiple books before they sell one. Imagine my excitement when the top eBook publisher in 2007 wanted to publish it! I had a gut feeling eBooks would be the wave of the future. I had already been reading them since 2002. Yet, I didn’t give up hope of getting a traditional print publishing deal someday. Regardless, I thought I was finally on my way and nothing could stop me from getting an agent and selling my next book within a year.

Wrong. My “crystal ball” failed me.

One year turned into four years of querying agents and even publishers. During that time, I wrote and revised three books. What kept me going were the characters in my head. They refused to be ignored. I knew I would find a home for one or all of my books. It was just a matter of time (or the proper alignment of the stars, sun, and moon!). I honed my craft with each book. I kept at it.

Early 2012, I heard about Crimson Romance, a new digital imprint of Adams/F+W Media, parent company of Writers Digest. It seemed like the perfect home for my fantasy romance WICKED PARADISE. What’s the worst that could happen if I submitted the book? Rejection? Been there, done that. I shot out my query letter, and the next day I received an email from the managing editor requesting the full manuscript! I didn’t want to get too excited…been down that road before.

Five weeks later, I received a second email from Jennifer. I stared at it without opening the email, prepared for another rejection. Finally, I clicked it open and read the fateful words, “I’d love to add WICKED PARADISE to Crimson’s lineup.” Stunned, I read the email three times before it sunk in. Did I just get an offer? After four years, my drought had ended.

WICKED PARADISE was published on August 13, 2012. Two weeks prior, my publisher for CHASING SHADOWS, released the print version, four long years after the eBook release. I thought it would never come out in print! Finally, a lifelong dream came true: I was able to hold one of my books in my hands.

You’ll have to read my blog as I race down that road to a traditional print publishing deal as I have more good news forthcoming!

People in the publishing business always say, “keep writing, your time will come.” I believe it now. If you’ve written a manuscript, edit it until it shines. Read everything you can about writing and revising  (see my website for a list of the best writing reference books). Join the Absolute Write Forums, the best writing forum around, mingle and read the advice of published authors. Have patience. Remember, never give up, never surrender.

Readers can reach Erin at:

Website:  http://www.erinrichards.com

Blog:  http://erinrichards.blogspot.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/ErinRichards.Author

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2994743.Erin_Richards

Twitter:  @erinrichards

Check Wicked Paradise and other titles at: www.crimsonromance.com

 

About Erin:

Erin Richards lives in Northern California where she drafts and negotiates high-technology contracts during the day. When she’s not working or writing, she enjoys reading, photography, and American muscle cars.

October 8, 2012

Plot Twists and Inspiration

Filed under: On Writing,Photograph,Pictures — carmenferreiroesteban @ 4:26 pm
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Welcome to my mind.

First the muse strikes . . .

. . . then the plot twists as it unfolds.

And the muse watches.

June 21, 2012

My Road to Publication: Becky Lower

Filed under: Author's Interview,My Road to Publicatin — carmenferreiroesteban @ 5:22 am
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by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

 

 

Today, I want to introduce you to another of my fellow writers at Crimson Romance.

I hope you find her story as interesting as I did.

My debut novel, The Reluctant Debutante, is an historical romance sent in America as it is poised on the brink of the Civil War. I consider it a cross between Edith Wharton and Julia Quinn. Julia’s Bridgerton series is my true inspiration for this series, which focuses on the Fitzpatrick family’s nine children, who are all named for an herb or spice, as they come of age in a new country. The Cotillion tradition was introduced to New York society in 1854, so The Reluctant Debutante introduces the first of the Fitzpatrick females–Ginger–who will participate in the Ball and season only to secure the right for her younger siblings, not because she wants to.

The cover of my book was designed by the killer graphics team at Crimson Romance. They gave me two choices, and judging from the early comments I’ve received, I picked the right one. It has the right historical feel, the debutante is there, but vague enough so the reader can make her look the way the reader envisions her. The band of Indian print along the bottom gives a hint of things to come inside the book. The book is available for pre-orders on Amazon until July 2, at which time it will become available on most digital publishing sites. Plans are underway to make it available in print later in the year.

My road to publication was a long and winding one. I entered a lot of contests, and received valuable feedback from them. I sent it out to several publishers, who told me it was an odd time period since most people writing historicals set in America either focus on the Golden Age after the Civil War or they write Westerns. No one cares about New York in the 1850s, according to them. Also, it was advised that I change the name of my characters, since the name Ginger wasn’t common during this time period. I stuck to my guns about certain elements of the story and kept revising and tightening the rest of it. Crimson Romance is a new publishing house who is willing to take a chance on the not-so-traditional books, and I’m glad to have found a home with them. They’ve already signed me for the second book in the series, which will be out in December. My marketing plan is being formulated as I go. I have a new website, www.beckylowerauthor.com, and a blog attached to it, so I’m going to see about doing a blog tour. I’m being reviewed in my local paper, and an arts publication in Northern Virginia, where I used to work. I may also do some advertising.

My advice to anyone who has ever wanted to write a book is twofold. First, if you think you’re too old to start the process, I’ll quote George Eliot: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” To those who are younger and busy getting married, launching careers and nurturing children, I’d say, don’t let life get in the way of your dreams.

Ever since submitting my first screenplay to Bonanza at age twelve, I have had a love affair with the American west. Perhaps it has something to do with an old family legend that I have a Cherokee Indian great-great grandfather. That might explain why I tend to plunk my characters into the middle of momentous historical events that helped shape the United States. I pursue my passion for history by watching The History Channel, visiting old graveyards and civil war battle sites and by writing about it. I am a graduate of Bowling Green State University and currently live in Oberlin, OH with my puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary.

 

May 17, 2012

My Road to Publication: Kit Grindstaff

Filed under: Author's Interview,Fantasy,On Publishing,On Writing — carmenferreiroesteban @ 5:47 am
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by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

 

 

Today we have here at Dare to Read a dear friend of mine who came to writing from an unusual and fascinating background (no spoilers here. If you want to know you must read on).

Her first book, a middle grade dark fantasy, The Flame in the Mist, will be published in the spring of 2013 by Delacorte.

Here is her story:

 

The start to my book came from a homework assignment in a writing class: write a short synopses. It took 3 tries before one leapt onto the page: Girl discovers she’s been abducted by evil family who live in castle. Ooh. I was hooked. The whys and wherefores of that kernel unfolded later, as I wrote.

The story is set in an imagined Olde England called Anglavia. The main character is 13-year-old Jemma, who has magical Powers she’s initially unaware of. Her supporting cast includes her colorful but bad-to-the bone “false family”, their sinister old servant Drudge, her 2 magical rats, her friend Digby, as well as ghosts, supernatural monsters….

I initially thought I’d finished the book in late 2008, and began querying agents a few at a time. Meanwhile, I attended conferences and critique groups, and soon found that my ms was far from finished! Friends loved it (never completely trust friends’ glowing reports!), but agents still weren’t getting it. So I kept revising-especially those vital first pages. Then, almost 2 years and 25 rejections later, I decided to shelve it and focus on my next ms.

In early 2010 I heard about the NJ SCBWI summer conference. I went for broke and signed up for agent, editor and author critiques. You could only submit a finished ms, so I dusted mine off and sent in the first 15 pages.

Now, you can choose who critiques you, but I was assigned to Michelle Poploff, snr. Ed and VP of Delacorte Press. I immediately liked her—but while she was cautiously encouraging about my pages, I couldn’t gauge how much she really liked them. So when she asked to see the whole ms, I almost fell off my chair. Excited? Ecstatic!

Michelle responded within a month—Gasp! But…by no means a deal. She mailed a 9-page editorial letter: She loved the idea, but wanted a major rewrite of the middle, and would be interested in seeing it again “with a view to acquiring” if I chose to take her suggestions on board. In truth, I’d known it suffered from the proverbial sag, but not how to remedy it; her ideas were just what I needed. Those “view to acquiring” words carried me through months of reworking. Almost a year later, “send” again. This time, I heard within 3 weeks: Michelle loved what I’d done, and was ready to “move forward”!

Since then, more revisions, and a new title (quite commonly requested, writer be warned!). The cover artist is Chris Rahn, who’s done a wonderful job of capturing a sinister mood in a magical way. You can see the background—brooding Mist-shrouded castle, complete with bats and belfries—on my Facebook author page www.facebook.com/kitgrindstaff and website holding page www.kitgrindstaff.com (website, and the rest of the cover reveal, coming soon).

My advice to writers with mss they feel are ready is: Don’t be too hasty in querying! Get plenty of feedback, but be discerning about it. One person’s opinion is just that, but if several say the same thing, take note. Be ruthless, prepared to kill many darlings. Keep honing your craft, making your prose as tight as possible. Ask: Does this drive the plot? Is this passage/phrase/word really needed? NY agent Donald Maass says every paragraph should have tension in it, to keep the reader hooked; either large – a major antagonistic confrontation, or small – an internal conflict, like doubt or regret. His books contain terrific advice for any author, aspiring or published.

Thank you Carmen, for inviting me to contribute to DARE TO READ. It’s been fun to revisit the journey!

THE FLAME IN THE MIST will be available from Delacorte Press in April 2013 in hardback, e-book and audio formats.


Bio: Kit Grindstaff was born near London, and grew up in the rolling countryside of England, a country which is curiously similar to Anglavia. After a brush with pop stardom (under her maiden name, Hain), she moved to New York and embarked on her still-thriving career as a pop song writer. Kit now lives with her husband in the rolling countryside of Pennsylvania. The Flame In The Mist is her first novel.

April 2, 2012

Where Ideas Come From

Filed under: Becquer,Becquer Eternal,On Reading — carmenferreiroesteban @ 5:09 am
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From Bécquer Eternal

He was gone and back so fast that, but for the mask he held now in his hands I wouldn’t have noticed he had moved at all.

I stood and examined the mask, a delicate piece of art made of ivory silk with colorful feathers.

“Don’t you like it?” Bécquer asked, as I hesitated to pick it up.

“It’s beautiful.”

Again he smiled, the smile of a child pleased with himself. “Federico bought it for me last year when he was in Venice.”

March 29, 2012

Why Writing on Hubpages Is A Fabulous Way to Start Writing Online

Filed under: On Writing — carmenferreiroesteban @ 5:14 am
Tags:

Today my friend and fellow writer, Roberta Kyle, has kindly agreed to give us an overview of what HubPages is and how writers can use it to share their work, connect with others with similar interest and even make a little money on the side.

Enjoy!

Guest Post by Roberta Kyle

I stumbled into Hubpages quite by accident in 2008. At the time I was a retired former copywriter, publicity writer and general wordsmith from back in the Paleolithic pre-blogesphere era. I had joined a traditional writers group and was feeling my way through fiction writing, grappling with the joys and trials of plot and dialogue and trying with only limited success to craft interesting short stories and get it together to write a novel.

I was fairly internet savvy for an old dog, having owned a website and written some content back in the nineties, but was clueless about social media, keyword research and anything other than the rudiments of SEO. I didn’t even have a blog then, and it certainly never occurred to me until I got to Hubpages that I could develop a readership, meet other writers, learn the ins and outs of writing for the internet and make money at the same time by writing Hubs and becoming part of the Hubpages online community.

If you are scratching your head and asking ” what the heck is Hubpages?” and you are a writer, listen up. Hubpages is what Wikipedia calls “a social content community for writers” Translated, this means that it is a website where more than a quarter of a million writers have their own free subdomains on which they post magazine-style articles or ” Hubs.”The site has certain requirements and provides its own easy-to- use template which includes options for embedding videos, external links, reader surveys, photos maps, and comments. Hubpages also puts advertising on your Hubs ( if you want it) and shares the revenue with you. It isn’t a bad deal– you get sixty percent of the ad impressions and Hubpages gets forty percent. In other words, it is a great place to learn the fine points of writing for the internet and you get to earn while you learn. Not a bad deal.

On top of all that, Hubpages is the 50th most visited website on the internet which gives it plenty of Google clout and your articles lots of exposure, plus some real revenue potential from Google Adsense, e-Bay and Amazon in addition to Hubpages own Ad program.

I write about all sorts of things on Hubpages, from travel to tips on giving up smoking. I have made a number of really interesting friends on the site and although I don’t write fiction or poetry there, a number of people do. There is a vibrant community of poets doing their thing on Hubpages. One of my favorites is Tom Rubenoff who is also The Poetry Locksmith on Eye on LIfe, an e-zine started by a couple of folks who met on, guess where? yup Hubpages.

So, if you are a writer who is burned out on finishing that novel or a poet who wants a place to publish where somebody will actually read it, or someone with an idea you want to spread around, or a travel writer, mommy blogger, sports enthusiast or just about anything else and want a place where you can write and publish on the internet, meet a fabulous group of fellow writers, and earn some money at the same time, think about signing up for Hubpages.   Just follow this link. and you too will soon be obsessed with writing your next Hub, getting followers, researching keywords, creating backlinks and worried about getting flamed in the forums. But the very best part is that a lot of people will see and respond to your work. What more could any writer want?

 

 

Roberta Kyle writes as robie2 on Hubpages

March 15, 2012

My Road to Publication : Terry Spear

 

Interview by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

 

 

 

Today, I’m pleased to have, here with us at Dare to Read, Terry Spear.

Terry is the award-winning author of the urban fantasy and medieval historical romantic suspense novel, HEART OF THE WOLF, named in Publishers Weekly’s BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR, NOR Reader Choice for BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE.

I asked Terry about her new YA novel The Dark Fae and she kindly answered my questions.
Here is what he had to say.

Hi Terry,

Welcome to Dare to Read and congratulations on your new novel The Dark Fae. Tell us, first of all: What made you want to write The Dark Fae?

A. I love both historical fantasy and urban fantasy and wanted to write a book about the mischievous fae and how they impact on the human world.

Q. What genre is it?

Teen historical and contemporary fantasy.

Q. Who designed your cover (which, BTW, I think is very intriguing).

The cover was available at one of the photo stock companies, and I used PhotoShop to add the title and byline.

Q. How would you describe your cover?

Dark, mysterious, fae-like girl on the cover. Each of the covers has a similar theme.

Q. In which formats is your book available?

A. e-book and paperback

Q. Why did you choose to self-publish?

An agent told me I ought to self-publish my vampire stories since they were such a glut on the market. That led me to publishing some of my YA that I hadn’t sold, and a couple that I had sold and had received the rights back on.

The Dark Fae was my 14th book to upload, had been turned down by two agents, and I never sent it out again. I didn’t think anything would come of it. But it began selling a 100 copies a day and has remained on the best seller list at Amazon and does well at B&N, so the book turned into a series.

Q. What are you working on right now?

I’m on deadline for a wolf and jaguar shifter series for Sourcebooks, but I am also writing another medieval Highland story because that series is doing so well, and am working on The Dragon Fae, book 5 in the series!

Q. Any advice you want to share with our readers who are considering self-publishing?

Keep writing, editing and submitting. If all else fails, try self-publishing!

Blurb for The Dark Fae:

Ever wonder why you trip over your own feet when there’s nothing there to trip you up? Why you spill a drink when there’s no reason for the mishap? Why you can’t find something that you just set down and there’s no one else to blame but yourself? But maybe there is.

Alicia’s always known she’s different–that she can recognize the mischievous fae when they show up to “play” with the humans. Only now she’s faced with one highly annoyed dark fae and she’s certain he knows the truth about her. She can see him, which means her life is forfeit.

Add to that, his sister arrives, who wants to play, too. And their mother, the queen of the Denkar, will want Alicia’s head, once she learns what Alicia can do.

And all because Alicia was attempting to rescue her friend, Cassie, on their beach excursion at South Padre Island, from the wicked fae. Now, Alicia has really gone and done it–and she’s thinking she should have let the fae have his fun. Her friend’s broken heart would be a lot easier to deal with, than Alicia losing her life.

But it is too late for regrets. As soon as she threw the soda at the dark fae’s chest, she had declared war on the fae. And he is happy to take up the challenge.

  BIO:

Terry Spear is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and has an MBA from Monmouth University and a Bachelors in Business and Distinguished Military Graduate of West Texas A & M. She also creates award-winning teddy bears, Wilde & Woolly Bears, to include personalized bears designed to commemorate authors’ books. When she’s not writing or making bears, she’s teaching online writing courses or working full time at a library in the heart of Texas. You can visit her at her website: www.terryspear.com

March 8, 2012

My Road to PUblication : Alison Ashley Fomento

Today I’m excited to introduce Alison Fomento to my readers.

Alison is a special guest because she is the first picture book author I’ve ever interviewed.

Please join us to welcome Alison as she tells us how her new book THESE BEES COUNT! came to be.

Here is what Alison has to say:

 

 

interview by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

 

 

•               Good morning, Alison, could you tell us, first of all, why did you write this book?

A honey-vanilla ice cream cone inspired my new picture book THESE BEES COUNT! Our family was vacationing in Florida and what’s a vacation without daily ice cream stops? This particular ice cream shop had signs posted about the disappearing honeybees and colony collapse disorder and how important bees are for pollinating crops.

I had a light bulb moment of how bees count in our world. My first picture book, THIS TREE COUNTS!, had only been out a few months at that time, and the phrase “Bees Count!” stuck with me and I started writing a draft right away.

•               I know THESE BEES COUNT is a picture book. But do you consider it to be fiction or non fiction?

THESE BEES COUNT! is a fictional and non-fiction counting picture book suitable for kids from kindergarten to fourth grade. There are talking bees in my book and a fictional group of school children visiting a bee farm, but every bee fact mentioned in the book and the “The Buzz on Bees” end notes are fully researched and fact-checked with several apiarists (bee experts).

•               Who is your illustrator?

Sarah Snow is the fabulous illustrator for THESE BEES COUNT! She’s done a great job capturing the beauty of the bee farm and you can almost hear the buzzing when you turn the pages of the book. She uses collage and paint so the art has texture and seems to pop in each scene. Sarah illustrated THIS TREE COUNTS! and will illustrate my next book out in 2013, THESE SEAS COUNT!

•               Which formats is it available?

THESE BEES COUNT! is now available in hardback, and I hope that it will be available in other formats (paperback/e-book) and languages soon, as has happened with THIS TREE COUNTS!

•               Can you tell us a little about your road to publication

I had experience writing for various magazines and newspapers such as The Writer, Parenting, and The New York Times, but I really wanted to get my fiction in print. In 2008, I attended an SCBWI conference where an editor from Albert Whitman & Company spoke on a panel about writing picture book. I submitted two stories which were rejected, but in each letter, the editor gave me promising feedback and mentioned that they were seeking nature stories. I had a very short 200 word story ready about a tree and the third submission time was the charm in this case. THIS TREE COUNTS! became my first published picture book.

•               Do you have a marketing plan?

As any author knows your publishing house can only do so much for your book. I’m part of the KidLit Authors Club, a regional promotion group, and I actively seek out libraries, bookstores, and festivals to share my book. And schools! My book is geared for the school market, so one of my favorite activities is visiting schools and sharing my books.

•               Any advice you want to share with our readers who have a manuscript ready?

Don’t rush. Sure, it’s possible to write a book in a week, but revise, revise, revise, as long as it takes to get your story in great publishing shape. And always think before you submit a query. Do your research to find the agent or editor that might be most interested in your type of writing.

 

 

 

Alison Formento grew up in Arkansas and now writes and lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, a dog, and a few fish. Learn more about Alison at alisonashleyformento.com.

March 5, 2012

Where Ideas Come From – 5

Filed under: On Writing,Pictures,The King in the Stone,YA — carmenferreiroesteban @ 5:55 am
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From THE KING IN THE STONE

 

by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

 

A gnarled oak sprung from the face of the mountain, and it was under its heavy branches I saw the tomb for the first time. It grew from the earth in the middle of the expanse, seeming as much a part of the mountain as the granite from which it had been carved.

I stepped onto the ledge with the reverence I would upon entering a temple, the rustle of the dry heather under my shoes the only sound to break the silence. The soil, I realized when I came closer, had been excavated around the tomb revealing the scenes carved around its sides. On the slab used for a cover, the lying figure of a knight emerged from the stone.

Eyes closed, his hair loose over his shoulders, he was wearing a tunic that fell down to his knees and boots tight against his calves––the way noblemen dress in my world. A king. He was a king, I knew, even before I saw the circlet on his forehead and the pommel of the sword he held over his chest, the pommel with three lines entangled in the shape of a mountain, the design of the House of Montemaior. My father’s House.

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