Thursday, February 25, 2010

Writing Queries

Hi everyone. I've seen a lot flying around the writing loops I'm on about writing queries. I know it's hard to condense 60-100K words into one or two paragraphs. My queries have consistantly gotten interest from agents (though still haven't gotten past that stage!) and editors (doing better on that end) - but getting your query noticed out of the hundreds they receive every week is a challenge. Your query must stand out if you want to get your foot in the door.

The best advice I ever received for writing queries was this: Imagine the paragraph on the back of a book. The one that hooks you in and makes you want to read the story. Every sentence is filled with intrigue. Your query should introduce your hero (and heroine if a romance), give a brief outline of the GMC - Goal, Motivation and Conflict and leave the reader dying for more.

Here is a copy of one of my queries that has resulted in several requests:

It's hard enough being seventeen, but when your boyfriend's an Egyptian Demigod and your mom's dating a soul sucker, things can get a lot worse. Pandora has seen ghosts since she was a kid but now she finds out she’s a Veil Walker. She can bring back the spirits of the dead, but why would she want to do that? She has enough trouble getting rid of the ones stuck on this side. One annoyingly perky ghost wants Pandora to find her killer. Joseph, her super-hot sometimes-panther boyfriend doesn't like the idea, and soon enough she finds herself in way over her head. When the killer captures her, she must escape him or her soul will be trapped forever in her own Pandora’s Jar.

In this paragraph, I have introduced my character, outlined her problems, and led up to the story's climax.

Good luck to everyone with your queries!!!

Until next time.... Julianna

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Andrew Gross Book Review

Book Review:

The Dark Tide by Andrew Gross

Andrew Gross is a #1 bestselling co-author of Lifeguard and Judge & Jury and author of the Blue Zone

On the morning Karen Friedman learns that her husband, a hedge fund manager, has been tragically killed, Detective Ty Hauck begins his investigation of another man’s death in a suspicious hit-and-run in Karen’s hometown. The two seemingly unrelated tragedies are about to plunge a beautiful widow and a determined investigator into a maelstrom of murder, vast sums of money, and international conspiracy.

I love this book! Romantic Suspense at it best from a man’s perspective. It caught me from the beginning and kept me reading, I couldn’t put the book down. Definitely a page turner.

I highly recommend it for anyone looking for an exciting weekend read.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

YA author friend places in two contests!

The first year I discovered RWA, I decided to attend the national convention. Atlanta was close enough to drive from here and I was desperate to be around like minds. So desperate in fact, I was willing to drive the ten hours and venture into an unknown world alone. (As it turned out a friend made the trip with me for fun but I would have done this even if I had to do it alone.)

The first person I met at Nationals,while standing in line, was a newby too, young adult author, Laurel Wanrow. We hit it off right from the start and shared information whenever we bumped into each other during the three day conference. Through the years we occassionally critiqued each others' work (BTW- she only did my romantic suspense manuscripts, not my erotic ones).

Now I'm proud to say, two of Laurel's wonderful tales have been recognized in contests over the last two months. Wild Flowers and Winged Boys took first place  in the Northwest Houston RWA - Lone Star Writing Competition and Seaside Sorcery placed third in the Indianna RWA Golden Opportunity contest.

I'm anxiously waiting for the day these stories are available to the public as books. Her characters are endearing and the concept is truly unique. These fantasy stories are wonderful. Until I can get them in print, I wanted to congratulate Laurel on this wonderful accomplishment. I'm cheering from the sidelines!

~~ Eliza March

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Celebrate - Seven Days of Valentines

Come celebrate Seven Days of Valentines with us on the SirenBookstrand Readers Group.
Please join the authors of Siren-BookStrand Publishing and share your funny, romantic, embarrassing and disastrous Valentine's stories this week.

Starting Sunday 7th February, loads of Siren Bookstrand authors will be dropping in to share their own Valentine's experiences and offer heaps of competitions and prizes.*

Here are list of authors and the genres:

Sunday 7th is Contemporary day with authors Barbra Novac, Jan Bowles,
Karenna Colcroft, & Sandy James

Monday 8th Romantic Suspense day authors visiting are Jane Leopold Quinn, Lavada Dee, Regan Taylor, & Laurie Ryan

Tuesday 9th don't miss Futuristic/Sci-fi day authors Jenika Snow, Julia Rachel Barrett, Raina James, & Scarlet Hyacinth

Wednesday 10th Fantasy/Paranormal day features Savanna Kougar, Kara Wills, Missy Martine, & Cassandra Pierce

Thursday 11th is Menage/GBLT day with authors J Rose Allister, Rachel Clark, Eliza March, Lesli Richardson, & Corinne Davies

Friday 12th Western/Historical day join Barbara Starmer, Lindsay Townsend, & Sandy Sullivan

On Saturday 13th join us, we'll be "talking about romance" in a wild free-for-all.

:-) Eliza

*maximum prize wins of 1 ebook and $5.00 Strandbucks per entrant for Seven Days of Valentines competitions applies.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Where do you find your stories from?

This is a question I get all the time from young writers and even non-writers. I’m not sure how to answer this question because I’m an Irish girl who lives with stories in me head. Where they come from … only the Gods know.

But for starting authors who need a little help, there are many ways to find a story. Look at this photo

The mind can see so many story just by this one picture…when I first looked at it I saw a pirate ship that had discovered this woman aboard – it’s very bad luck to have a woman on a ship – so they toss her overboard and she dies only to return as a ghost to haunt each and every one of them.

The second story I saw was a woman attempting to seduce a man she knows belongs to another…he belongs to her life long nemesis (a girl who use to taunt her in school) revenge!

The third tale to come to mind was a mermaid attempting to mate with a human to save her father’s kingdom of the sea. She’s been watching this human man for some time and has fallen in love with him from afar. When troubles stir below the sea she realizes if she can join the human’s with the mermaid kingdom her people can survive.

Now what tale do you see when you look at this picture?

Alright, let the fantasy of it draw you in and tell you its story…then tell us….

What stories were you told to write when you looked at it?

Now I don’t want to hear any excuses…I can hear you saying “Oh, you picked the easy picture…this one’s hard,” not so….Just look at it and add all those little gossip tidbits or articles you’ve read in the paper or in a mag...all those odd “things” you’ve heard throughout your life, put them to the picture.

When I saw this picture I instantly put the rumors of the 2012 into play. Supposedly in the month of December of that year (2 years from now) the planets are suppose to align and when they do the world will tilt causing major plate shifting …and we all die….It’s supposedly happened to the Earth before and is what killed the dinosaurs.

But I have to ask -- WHAT IF???

So, when I look at this photo I see a story…the alignment happens but what the human’s didn’t expect is that their planet remains whole and instead of crashing into the planets next to them, the Earth floats down to settle on a passing gigantic meteor that’s really a planet in its forming stages. Now, the challenge…how do they survive?

Now look at this picture again. Let your mind travel into a fantasy land and tell me what you see. Are there alien’s living on this forming meteor? Do they look human or are they flesh eaters? What kind of air do they breath? How are the human's breathing? What will be the travel between these two planets now sitting on one another? How are the humans affected by their world floating in the waters of this strange planet? Is that water drinkable or does it burn like acid? What kind of creatures live in those surrounding waters…can the humans survive?

So, I guess my answer to this question is this. When trying to come up with a story…start with a picture and then just allow the mind to fly free and create.

But I am wondering...when asked, how do you answer this question?