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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Shelley Watters Critique Contest Submission

     First 250 words of Dream Girl for critique for the Shelley Watters Blog Contest

      Title:  Dream Girl
      Genre:  Paranormal Romance  YA
      Word Count:  75,425            

Ok, I'm currently grappling with POV in my revision.  I had started out with the intention of writing everything from the protagonist, Christine's, POV but I attended a workshop a couple weekends ago that prompted me to consider alternating POV.  The voice of Gabriel hit me like a ton of bricks while I was in the shower.  (isn't that where the best writing ideas come from?)  Anyway,  here is the originally scheduled Chapter 1. followed by the new Chapter 1.  What do you think?  I think I know what you're going to say, but still.  I need your help!


                                                                     Chapter 1.  Gabriel
I hear voices on the beach, too close for comfort.  Next comes the crunch of boots on wet sand.  I whip my head around, expecting to discover them right behind me but I don’t see anyone yet.  Sometimes, it takes awhile for visuals to kick in.  One thing is clear; they’re after me again.
“Gabriel,” a woman calls my name and I book it into the fringe of trees that sandwich the beach between the water.  A branch scratches the hell out of my cheek but I don’t have time to care until I’m tucked safe in the dense foliage of a well-placed bush.
Peering out from my shelter, I catch sight of them, right where I’d been standing seconds before.  Damn, they’re closer than they’d ever gotten before, two of them, a guy and a girl.  Most of the time, I don’t see them but when I do, they always wear black combat boots.  Nothing else about them is consistent, from clothing, to numbers, to gender but always the boots.  It must be a requirement of their group, whoever the hell they are.
They walk together, heads swiveling in every direction as they look for me.  I try not to look directly at them for fear that they’ll feel me watching them and come straight for me.   
“Gabriel, are you here?” calls the girl.
I don’t answer.  She looks short enough that I could take her if I have to, but she also has a spiky hair 

Anime chic vibe going on that I don’t want to mess with.  

       OR....the original much revised version of Chapter 1.


     For most of my eighteen years, everything had been as normal as the Cheerios I’d eaten for breakfast.  I was still getting used to living in my apartment but confident that I’d be all settled by the time college started in September. Summer stretched out before me like a lazy cat.  Nothing about it, or my regular drive to work, indicated that the Gothic adventures I so loved to read were about to become more than fiction.
            Ten minutes late, as usual, I hustled into the public library, my workplace for the past three years.  Ditching my purse in my locker, I strode into the workroom, an open space populated by cubicles for the librarians and long tables for the support staff.  I held my breath as I scurried past the row of supervisor offices on my right.  The last thing I wanted was for one of them to glance at their clock and see that I wasn’t manning the circulation desk yet.
            Escaping detection in supervisor alley, I made it to the staff copy room, where our mailboxes resided.  Hoping to just duck in to retrieve my nametag, I discovered my boss, Laura Faust, talking to a guy who wore his brown tee shirt and rumpled jeans really well.  At least, he looked good from behind, which was all I could see of him.
            I tried to inconspicuously snake my arm around them to access my mailbox but Laura stopped me. 
            “Christine,” she said.  “I’d like you to meet Gabriel, our new page.”

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Picture book #2

Well, it seems that Pajama Girl is well received.  MeeGenius has listed it on the Bestsellers section of their website.  It is always good to see your book and 'bestseller' together.  I also heard an awesome tidbit from a co-worker who shared the book with her 9 yr. old daughter.  After reading the book together, the daughter went to her room to play with her dolls.  Her mother discovered that her daughter had made tissue costumes for each of her dolls.  When asked what she was doing, the daughter replied that she was playing with her superhero dolls. 
That's huge news for me!  That makes Pajama Girl a success in my eyes.  No further proof necessary.  (but further proof would be awesome).
So, while I'm very happy with how Pajama Girl is doing, I'm also thinking of picture book #2.  It has to happen, you know.  I'm currently making a list of subjects I'd like to tackle in a picture book and drafting a few outlines for some.  The creativity this time around is not as dramatic as it was for Pajama Girl.  I will blame this on the seemingly never ending rain and gloom that Michigan is throwing at us this 'spring'.  I will also blame this on never ending respiratory infections plaguing my children and, in due course, my husband and me.  But I'm getting there. 
I am also gearing up to have my first ever blog contest, right here at the Restless Writer, so stay tuned for that.  Also hoping to get another interview up here soon. 
So I'll end by posing a couple questions for you.
1.  What is a picture book you'd like to see but haven't been able find anywhere?
2.  Who would you like to see interviewed?  (from the writing profession)
3.  Do you think the Michigan rain will end before someone has to build an ark?

Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pajama Girl has arrived!

     Ladies and Gentlemen, I am proud to announce that you can now download my e-picturebook, PAJAMA GIRL!
     It is the all-too-real tale of a preschool girl who assumes a super hero identity, complete with super powers, at bedtime. 
     I can't help but smile every time I see the cover because Ingvard the Terrible, (who is the opposite of terrible when it comes to illustrating), did such a perfect job nailing this character.  The smirk, the stance, the footy pajamas, I love it!
     I don't know who she is, but the Meegenius narrator did a fantastic job reading the book as well.  Can I also admit the fact that hearing her sweet, cheerful voice say, "Illustrated by Ingvard the Terrible" makes me laugh too?   
So, yeah, you might say I'm extremely happy with how this whole venture turned out.  I hope you will be happy with the book as well.

Quick note about the book:
     As much I would like to, I cannot send anyone a copy of the book.  This is the truth of digital publishing.  I can't do a book signing unless you want me to sign your Ipad, Ipod, Iphone, or computer screen with a permanent marker.  (for the record, I would be happy to do that).


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pajama Girl is coming!

The big day is finally (almost) upon us.  Pajama Girl will be released by MeeGenius for general consumption on Sunday, May 8, aka Mother's Day! 

So, for those of you who may wonder how I achieved this, here is the story of Pajama Girl:

My daughter was probably around 2 years old when the idea hit me.  Toddlers don't like to go to bed.  Picture books don't often depict girls as super heroes.  What if a toddler girl became a super hero when it was time to go to bed?  I thought the idea had merit.  I wrote the little story as soon as I could and I was pretty happy with it.  A few months later, I attended a local SCBWI conference and had it critiqued by Daniel Lee, who was editor at Turtle magazine at that time.  He had a lot of great things to say about the story and very minor revisions.  He basically indicated that it could probably find a home in Turtle or Humpty Dumpty magazine.  At that time, I was a newbie to SCBWI and I also clung to the dream of seeing my book in print.  (not my story in a magazine)  So I sat on it for over a year.  Around that time, the SCBWI Bulletin newsletter came out and it profiled a company called MeeGenius, which publishes e-picture books.  I thought it was intriguing so I did some research.  E-publishing doesn't give me the same fuzzy feeling as traditional publishing.  I had visions of receiving my print copy of Pajama Girl in the mail, cracking the spine and sharing the book with my children.  I could do book signings for my friends, work the local library circuit.  It would be so glamorously wonderful.  An e-book, doesn't really afford you those opportunities.  Yes, I could curl up with an E-reader to share the book with my kids but I'm not completely sold on that idea even now.  How can you do a book signing when there's no product to sign?  You see my dilemma.  So, I made a decision.  I would send the story to Turtle to see if there was still interest.  If there wasn't, I was going to try MeeGenius.

Alas, I had waited too long.  Daniel Lee was no longer the editor and the new one passed with a form rejection.  So, my decision was made.  MeeGenius it was.  It was exciting to peruse the artist portfolios and select an illustrator for my own story.  To my mind, Sean Ingvard Ashby was head and shoulders above the others and I could see my Pajama Girl hiding in the faces of his other characters.  I contacted him to see if he'd be interested in the project.  He agreed that it sounded fun so I sent him the manuscript and he began illustrating.  Toward the end of the illustration process, Meegenius announced their first Author Contest.  Sean and I were excited because we could easily make the deadline, which we did.  And the rest, as they say, is history. 

Clearly, I'm very pleased with my decision although it's not what I always envisioned.  I took a chance, deciding that since E-books seemed to be on the rise (they definitely are now) that maybe I could get in on the ground floor and take the opportunity to try something new while many others were still leery.  It paid off.

Besides my Pajama Girl success, I am hoping to get similar good news for a YA ghost short story contest I entered last week.  If I am chosen as a winner in this contest, my story will be one of 13 to go into a collection of short stories, the proceeds of which will benefit 826 National.  Fingers crossed on that.  If it isn't chosen, I think I will publish it here on my blog.  It was fun to write, I hope it will be fun to read. 

I will be attending a local SCBWI conference next weekend where I will participate in an intensive workshop with Pete Hautman.  Upon hearing that Pete would be at the conference, I read his newest book, The Big Crunch, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I'm excited to see what developments for my novel will be unlocked through this experience.

I'm also signed up for SCBWI Annual again this summer.  Several of the authors I've interviewed on this very blog will be attending which gives me a chance to meet some of these writers whose work I so admire!  I'm so excited!

So, to conclude this rather lengthy post, the year of awesome continues to live up to its moniker.  I'm happy, you should be happy, and I hope you'll check out my first book, Pajama Girl on Mother's Day!