Photoshop Friday

As summer and summer blockbusters approach, so begins the season of intense movie merchandising. You can’t get away from it. I once saw a Pirates of the Caribbean sack of potatoes in the produce section.

So we were wondering, wouldn’t it be totally sweet if they merchandised books like they do the movies? Can someone get on that please? We present a few suggestions in our post:

Novel(T) Items

Our first product is here to improve the mornings of women everywhere. Just imagine. Instead of waking up the harsh screech of your alarm clock, the smooth, creamy voice of Rhett Butler coaxes you from your dreams.

Personalize real phrases from the novel with your own name instead of Scarlett O’Hara’s!

Ever get the munchies? Ever find yourself making the slow march of shame to the refrigerator for a snack, and therefore smashing your final hope to restart that diet you’ve been neglecting? Sure, ladies. We all have. But now, with our Big Brother refrigerator, you’ll have a searing pair of eyes needling into you at all times. Don’t even think about grabbing that leftover slice of cake! Because Big Brother is ALWAYS WATCHING.

You’re guaranteed to lose five pounds within the first two weeks!

We all want the best for our children. We want them to be loving, smart, and cultured individuals. Well now, you can get a head start on that! With our new Moby Dick Mobile, your little tyke can gaze up at icons from one of our cherished works of literature. Imagine his or her delight as they watch the murderous white whale and insane, revenge-driven Ahab dangle over them at night. It’s sure to be flying off the shelves, so act now!

Comes in Sea Green™ and Blood-of-the-Drown Blue™!

What about you? Are there any products you’re dying to own?


Photoshop Friday

(As you’ve probably already deduced, we rarely actually get to Photoshop Friday on Friday . . . But better whenever than never, right?)

As a new writer, just starting to explore the advice and camaraderie available in the online writing community, it’s easy to fall victim to information overload. We hear certain ideas again and again, and something starts to happen . . .

The new writer reads between the lines of this usually well-intentioned advice and determines new, INDISPUTABLE TRUTHS. Truths that fill us with both fear and the hearty determination of the proletariat. But the new writer isn’t the only one to feel the fear. Who among us has not pondered these “facts” at one point or another?

The Party is Always Right

The first “truth” that haunts every writer is the that of Publishing’s TICKING CLOCK. Time is running out. If you don’t finish this book, edit it, get an agent, and go on submission soon, you’ll miss your chance! Publishing will be over! No one reads books now! And no one will print paper books anyway! You’ll spend the rest of your miserable life mourning the DREAM THAT DIED BECAUSE YOU WERE TOO SLOW!!!

Work! Work! FASTER!

So you finish your book on time? It’s not going to help unless you’re doing everything you should. No publisher will touch you unless you’ve built up your platform! Do you have a blog? You’d better. Does it have a good following? (You call that good?) What about Twitter? If your follow-to-following ratio isn’t impressive, no publisher will touch you. Are you networking? Kissing all the right butts? If not, you’ll never get that awesome blurb, and (you guessed it) NO PUBLISHER WILL TOUCH YOU.

The Party says: Social Media is the only way . . .

Look, in the end, there’s no point doing any of this if your book isn’t amazing. Right? The Party demands perfect characters, snappy voice, and a flawlessly flowing plot. Don’t have that? No? What do you think your chances are? Why bother trying? I mean, for realz.

Fact: if editors don’t weep with happiness while reading your book, it’s over.

Don’t you want foreign rights? They’d better feel this way about your book.

I’ll repeat the question I asked at the beginning: who among us hasn’t had the words of The Party ring in our ears from time to time? I know I have. In fact, I’d say I’m visited by the Party two to three times a week.

But we all know what the real truth is, right? Let’s all hold hands and repeat after me: The Party is always WRONG.

How about you? Any other slogans echoing in your mind?


Photoshop Friday

For Photoshop Friday (or Monday, but whatever . . .) we’re going to keep with the romance theme we had going in Triple T. With all the talk about predicable love triangles, and useless love interests, Diana and I decided to have a little fun and try to mix things up. So without further ado, I present:

Literary Love Mashups

Our first couple is a dangerous one, because it encroaches on one of the most beloved romances of literature. The one in Pride and Prejudice. But we simply want to put Elizabeth Bennett’s talents to best use. Come on now, was Mr. Darcy really all that bad? Sure, sure, he was kind of stand offish, and he didn’t want to dance at the party. *YAWN* Give Lizzy a challenge! And who better than Sherlock Holmes? Can you imagine these two going at it? Now THAT’s entertainment.

Girl, please. You KNOW she could take him.

Next we delve into the inner workings of heroine from another famous love story. Bella Swan. She was called Danger Magnet by Stephenie Meyer herself. She likes the bad boys. And all she gets is an emo, sparkly guy who clings to his Victorian morality?! PLEASE. She wants danger. We’ll give her danger.

Team Darth all the way, baby.

Finally, we present a couple that—frankly—were made for each other. They’re both ambitious. Natural leaders. Charismatic. They both have pesky kids getting in their way. And they both have a disturbingly pale skin hue. But you know, isn’t it time these two get their chance at love?

Because even bad guys deserve a little happiness.

And there you have it. Love is always more fun when it’s unpredictable.

How about you? Have any Literary Love Mashups you’d love to see? (I’m thinking we’ll do some more next week.) Share in the comments section!


Photoshop Friday

(Even though it’s Tuesday.)

THE EVOLUTION OF AN IDEA, or An Argument for taking Internet Breaks.

So, there you are, brainstorming ideas for your Work-in-Progress. Or maybe you’re just fixing yourself a turkey and avocado sandwich. At any rate, out of the blue, an idea strikes.

For a small, glorious window of time, this idea is the most Brilliant. Thing. Ever.

So you head to the internet to do some research. After spending a while on Wikipedia, Google Earth, and the like, you decide to peek over at Amazon to see of there are similar books.

Well you find them.

This leads you to the blogs of the authors of those books, doubtless with posts expressing their relief that they got their novel published before the trend DIED last week.

This leads you to scouring agent blogs and interviews, positive that SOMEONE still wants your idea. And this leads you to various writer forums, where they discuss various topics of decreasing relevance to the topic at hand. And before you know it, you’ve frittered away a depressing amount of time. Time that you could have been (but obviously weren’t) WRITING. And you end up like this.

The lesson, gentle reader? I love me some internet, but it can be COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. Alas, it’s a lesson I have to re-learn every few months. :)


Photoshop Friday

Heard of the book, The Little Engine that Could? How about the spin off, The Little Book that Could? I’ve got a new one for you. This one is all about my novel/perma-WiP, Searcher. I call it:

The Little Book that Couldn’t Shut Up

Nearly 15 months ago, when I first started working on this story, I was quite charmed with its determination to be the best it could be. All day, all night, I could hear its cheery chug:

Edits began in early spring, and I was pleased to hear the continual motto:

I started to get burned out in the end of summer. I even contemplated shelving the book forever. But always ringing in my ear was the call:

I recently decided that I was honestly done. That I’d reached my limit of what I was willing to do for this particular novel. I was desperate to move on. I’ve begged, pleaded, cried, but again and again it’s been pounded into my brain, keeping me up at night, chained to the laptop all day. The cruel words:

*Author’s Note: You may have noticed that this particular Photoshop Friday was annoyingly repetitive and lacking variety. Welcome to my life. :)


Photoshop Friday

I love reality shows. I’m not ashamed to admit that. Especially the reality competition shows. I guess I relate to people fiercely striving to live their dreams. Anyway, today I was envisioning the next big hit. I call it:

America’s Next Bestseller

It starts with eager writers all over the country gathering to New York City to try their luck.

The first round will test the young writer’s abilities to think on their feet. They will each have to write a piece of flash fiction on a secret topic, which will be revealed, Iron Chef style by The Chairman. (Dramatic music and flashing lights included.)

After the first cuts, and many tears, the remaining contestants are given a larger assignment of editing their novels. This will test their endurance and stamina. They have 24 hours to make things perfect.

But don’t worry, they’ll have someone there to give them pointers and encouragement.

After the editing round, the selected finalists will face the big moment. The Readings. In front of a live audience, and the American public on TV, the writers will read excerpts from their manuscripts. These will be judged by a panel of editors and agents.

And in the end, after grueling week upon grueling week, a single writer is crowned the Next Bestseller!!


Photoshop Friday

Lately, we’ve all heard a lot of talk about the Swine Flu. Seems like people are in a total hysteria over it. But most people don’t know that there is a related, but even more deadly viral strain out there.

The Writer’s Flu H1W1; Do you know the symptoms?

One of the first symptoms that manifests is what we call the glaze. Hypnotic staring at computer screens, printed manuscripts, and notebooks. Sufferers of the Writer Flu have been known to be lost in these trances for up to several hours at a time. Productivity during these trances is unreliable.

During what is known as the drafting stage of H1W1, many have complained of a highly complex form of schizophrenia, resulting in a constant presence of character voices in their head. The voices are said to not stop until they are “satisfied” with output of the sufferer.

In later stages of the Writer Flu, patients have been known to suffer severe manic/depressive episodes. There is a huge spike of these symptoms during the editing stage.

And on a final note, many have reported a symptom through every stage of the Writer’s Flu involving torture by doubt demons, however the existence of said demons has never been medically confirmed. (All the same you might want to keep your eyes open.)

If you should feel any of these symptoms . . . join the club. :)


Photoshop Friday

I think we in the writing community are pretty supportive of our authors. We buy their books, write rave reviews on our blogs, and come up with complex, educated reasons why this author or that book is so great. But what if the rest of the world got as into these books and authors as we did?

What if Writers were the new Rock Stars?

For one thing, they definitely couldn’t go out without being thronged by screaming hordes of fans. Look at poor John Green, signing autographs on his way to the grocery store.

Kids would decorate their rooms with all the latest paraphernalia of their favorite YA novels.

Instead of debating on message boards and Amazon, the masses would take their opinions to the streets.

Even celebrities would get in on the craze. Beyonce has paparazzi cameras flickering with her stylish support of the writing community.

And book readings/signings? They couldn’t take place at a table in Barnes and Noble anymore.


Photoshop Friday

For the past week, I have been deep in edits on Searcher. (Yes, I’ve finally solved my dilemma of a few weeks ago.

At any rate, I’ve been slaving over this book long enough to experience the many different emotions of a writer editing their book. Today, I’d like to highlight the stages I’ve gone through in the past five months that I’ve been editing this baby. Mostly the negative ones. (How’s that for inspiring?)

Editing H-E-Double Hockey Sticks

It always starts like this:So confident. So pumped. You are going to make that novel SHINE!

It doesn’t take long for it to start feeling like this:
You’re working day after day, with no dent in sight. You’re starting to wonder just how long this is going to take.

There are days when you feel like you’re dealing with a spoiled child.Please be good. Pretty please? I’ll give you whatever you want!

Then there are days when it feels more like this:And this:

But don’t worry. No matter how bad it gets, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It doesn’t last forever. At some point, you will finish. (Right? Right?)


Photoshop Friday

I usually try to keep my Photoshop Friday’s writing related, but I figured I’d digress today given the special occasion. And what occasion is that, you might ask? Today, my lovely little daughter started Kindergarten!!! BIG day. That’s why I’ve named this weeks post:


Here she is, my creative, clever, sparkling girl. (Yes, I am one of those types of parents. Unabashedly.) You should know that this picture was not posed. She has been doing this for the past week in anticipation of the big day. I honestly can’t imagine a child more excited to go school. I know she will thrive. And yes, today as I dropped her off I got all stereotypically choked up.

And this is my son. There he is, getting ready for his mid afternoon nap.

Wait, wait, wait. Mid afternoon nap? As in his daily two hour nap that he takes right during the same time that my daughter is in her afternoon Kindergarten???Then that must mean. . .

HOLY CRAP! I’m going to have two hours completely to myself every day! Two hours of pure, uninterrupted writing time. EVERY DAY!!!

When faced with a gift like this, there’s really only one thing to say. (Hit it guys!)