Friday Links with a Hangover

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Greetings all! Sorry for the delay this week, but I’ve been at the Romance Writers of America national conference in New York this week, and time for updates has been scarce. But before you get the wrong idea, I haven’t been carousing across the city. The links are hungover, not me. So without further ado, here are this week’s links. Enjoy, and have a fabulous weekend!

Writers to Watch: Fall 2015 Anticipated Debuts – A list of some newcomers to check out.

Umberto Eco’s Advice to Writers – Pretty much as written on the package.

The 4 Hidden Dangers of Writing Groups – Writers groups can be fabulous but it’s important to keep a few things in mind.

What Happens When Sherlock Holmes Retires? – A fun look at different take on the beloved character’s second chapter in honor of the new film, Mr. Holmes (which is wonderful).

Friday Links

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TGIF! I hope you’ve all had a good week and have some wonderful plans for the weekend. Personally, I’m experiencing that summer drag, where I’m still quite busy but occasionally feel like the days have shifted into slow motion. Fewer people answering emails or their phones, more chatter about vacations on Twitter than usual, plus thoughts of things like outdoor concerts and sand in strange places. It’s the heart of the summer, at least here in the northern hemisphere, so I hope you’re taking a bit of time to enjoy it.

But you’re here for links, and so without further ado I offer you this week’s selection. Wishing you some excellent reading and writing time. Enjoy!

SF That Will Change Your Life – A great write up of the panel at this year’s San Diego Comic-con, with plenty of recommendations.

Where to Relive Your Favorite British Children’s Books – Travel ideas, with some lovely photos.

The Fantastically Normal Life of a Writer – A fun look at the writer’s day.

Dickens’s Marginalia Reveal Famous Contributors to His Journal – Dickens’s own copies of his magazine provide the names behind the anonymous contributions.

J.R.R. Tolkien on Fairy Tales, Language, the Psychology of Fantasy, and Why There’s No Such Things as “Writing for Children” – Some really interesting thoughts, backed up by a host of other well known authors.

 

PSA: Write it Down

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Today’s public service announcement is brought to you by conference season. This is the time of year (frankly, most of the year) when materials I’ve requested at various conferences hit my inbox at a pretty rapid rate. It’s also the time of year when I can see in black and white just how many people bothered to make note of what I asked them to send.

Here’s the thing: You’re sitting in your pitch session, maybe still a bit nervous even after successfully delivering your pitch, and suddenly I (or insert the agent/editor of your choice) open up my mouth and say I’d like to see a bit of your project. And I hand you my card and ask you to send me something. You nod seriously, maybe your mouth opens and closes a couple of times, and you thank me. Maybe you ask another question, maybe I do. But that’s basically the end of the pitch, so you stand up and gather your things, shake my hand, and head out into the wilds of the conference.

So, what didn’t happen there? You didn’t take a minute to write down what I requested. Nope. You just tucked my business card somewhere and took off. Because I asked you for something! That’s huge! The moment is going to be imprinted on your brain forever!

Except… it really isn’t. And in a day or two when you sit down to send the material, you won’t remember the specifics of my request. So you’ll check the agency website and send what we ask for in a query (which, news alert, is not what I ask for when I meet you at a pitch session). Or better yet, a month or two will pass, because you learned something good at the conference that made you go back and rework something in your manuscript. And now you want to send what I asked for, all shiny and freshly polished, but again, you can’t recall precisely what I requested. Maybe you can’t even find my business card.

This problem is so easily solved. Bring a notebook with you into the pitch. The one you’re using to write down stuff at the conference. It can be big or small or even electronic. It can be the notes app on your phone. And when an agent or editor requests chapters or pages or your manuscript, write it down. Immediately, sitting at that table. If they’re chasing you out of the room because your pitch session ran long, write it down the second you step into the hall. Include the pertinent details off the business card while you’re at it: name and email address. That way if the card goes astray, you’re still in good shape.

It takes one minute. Just do it. Your future self will thank you. And so will I.

Friday Links

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Happy Friday! Are you ready for the weekend? I certainly am. This week has been… trying, in many respects. Not bad, just the sort of week that keeps you scrambling to keep up.

Unsurprisingly, a host of additional things have popped up on my radar for the weekend, which also happens to be the weekend of the 24 in 48 Readathon, so I suspect I’m going to be burning the midnight oil no matter what I do. But there are worse things than staying up late to read, and I certainly have a sizable stack of books  lined up for my reading hours.

Meanwhile, I have links! This week went very quickly and there were fewer things jumping out at me than usual, but I hope you find the assortment enjoyable anyway. Wishing you some excellent reading and writing time, and a wonderful weekend overall.

Kelly Sue DeConnick Is the Future of Women in Comics – Whether or not you’re a comics reader, this is a fabulous profile of a kick-ass woman and inspirational to anyone who has an interest in working creatively. I highly recommend.

Paper Chasing – On book collecting vs. book reading. Interesting, no matter what format you use when accumulating reading material.

Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2015 Book PreviewThe Millions posts a bi-annual list of the most anticipated books for the coming half year (by their reckoning). Even if it doesn’t cover your own most anticipated titles, it’s a great resource for checking out what’s coming down the pike.

The Writers Who Invented Languages – A look at authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin who have created original languages for their characters.

Writing Excuses: Why Can’t I Just Jump to the Ending? – A really important lesson on writing the middle of the book. Part of the Writing Excuses year-long podcast workshop on writing your book from start to finish, but it works perfectly as a stand-alone look at what can be the most problematic part of a story.

Happy Book Day!

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BestOfBothRogues_cover

A very happy book release day and congratulations to Samantha Grace, whose latest Rival Rogues Regency romance, THE BEST OF BOTH ROGUES, is out today.

The worst thing Mr. Benjamin Hillary ever did was leave his bride-to-be on their wedding day. The hardest thing he will ever have to do is watch her marry another man.

After two long years abroad, Ben finds Eve every bit as captivating as she was the first time he saw her, and he vows to set things right.

Lady Eve Thorne has a new man in her life, and Ben is nothing but trouble. She is no longer a starry-eyed young woman, and now that he’s back, he can go hang for all she cares. At least that’s what she keeps telling herself…

You’ll find THE BEST OF BOTH ROGUES at your favorite book retailer in paper or digital format.

 

Friday Links

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Happy Friday! And for those of you here in the U.S., happy Independence Day weekend! Please make sure you stay safe in the midst of all your revelry.

As for my plans for the weekend, there’s a BBQ with friends on my calendar, but in the meantime I plan to be lazy and catch up on both sleep and my personal reading. It’s been a crazy few weeks and that’s about all my energy levels will allow. However, I’m leaving you all with this week’s links in the event you have a quiet moment or two and want something entertaining to check out. Enjoy, and happy weekend!

How to Write a Series: 8 Novice Mistakes to Avoid – Ever wonder how authors juggle series writing? This might give you a few clues.

10 Captivating Short Stories Everyone Should Read – Some great classics, a few of which you may have read before, but all worth checking out or revisiting.

Women Writers on Twitter: In Their Own Words – A number of women writers discuss their experiences with Twitter.

Travel Journals – A peek into Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s travel journals from 1960, 1961, and 1982, for a breath of summer adventure and some inspiration.

Where to Start with Brazilian Literature – A nice round up of titles for anyone looking to read more books in translation or just farther afield.

Assessing Your Goals: The Halfway Mark

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Believe it or not, we are halfway through the year, which makes this week an excellent time for you to sit down and take a few minutes to assess where you stand in terms of your goals for 2015. How is your writing going? Have you accomplished what you wanted to in the last six months? What sort of changes would you like to make moving forward?

The idea of this sort of check in is not to make you feel terrible if you haven’t made as much progress as you’d like. It’s really just a touchstone, a moment to readjust your course and to remind yourself why you’re doing what you do. With that in mind, I’d like you to ask yourself a few questions while you’re checking in with your word count or the number of query letters you sent into the world:

Are my goals challenging but reasonable? Make sure you’ve given yourself something to reach for, but don’t set the bar so high that you need to don your cape and take flight in order to reach it. Everyone faces some failures, but a steady diet can be discouraging so you want to make at least a portion of your goal something that you absolutely know you can do.

Are my goals something over which I have control? You want your goals to be actionable. It’s great to say you plan to have a three-book publishing deal by the end of the year, but not every variable in that particular milestone is something you can make happen. Luck and timing also come into play. Instead break that goal down into the parts that are entirely up to you: Revising your manuscript, sending query letters, working on your social media platform to show agents and editors that you plan to be an active participant in marketing your work.

Am I getting in my own way? Self-sabotage can creep into your life when you least expect it. Sometimes it’s simply procrastination, but others it’s allowing impatience or frustration to convince you to make an impulsive choice that is contrary to your carefully laid out plan for your career. This could be anything from signing a suspect contract with a small, unknown publisher just to get your book out there, to giving up on your social media efforts after just a few weeks because you feel you aren’t making inroads. Try to pause and determine if your impulsive decision is more likely to help or hinder in the long run.

Don’t forget to look forward, too. It’s great to see how far you’ve come and whether you’re working well toward your goals for the year, but it’s also an excellent time to assess those goals for the next six months. Is there anything you want to change? To scale back or ramp up? Maybe an opportunity has come along and you’d like to veer off on a tangent. Build these things into your plan for the future. The best goals are flexible, after all.

Happy writing, and good luck ticking off those goals between now and the end of the year!

Friday Links

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Happy Friday, everyone! I am actually off to Denver for a conference, but I’ve left you some links to entertain you in my absence. Wishing you all a wonderful weekend, including good progress on your latest writing project and a few hours with a fabulous summer read. Enjoy!

Increase Writing Productivity: 7 Tools — I can’t attest to the quality of most of these, but for those of you who find gadgets help you get down to it, they could be helpful.

The Best Books about Books – Pretty much what it sounds like. I’m a big fan of books about books, so I’m looking forward to checking these out.

On Getting Lost – Dani Shapiro on finding the next book.

All You Have Is What You Remember: The Millions Interviews James Salter – In memory of the author, who died the past week. The interview is a reprint, but no less interesting as a result.

The Holy City: Charleston, A Remembrance – A moving look at the city by someone who knows and loves it.

Friday Links

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TGIF! I mean that in so many ways, the most pressing one being that I intend to pack up my books and my laptop and go work somewhere cool this weekend. The HVAC for my entire condo complex died a few months back, and while the HOA finally approved the money to go ahead with the repairs, they have not actually fixed anything yet. Which… hasn’t been so helpful this week when it’s hit 90 degrees every day.

There’s no denying it’s summer in my neck of the woods. Have you all started your summer reading yet? If you’re still searching for some great reads, I have a few ideas for you in this week’s links, and there will be more coming up in the days ahead. I hope they inspire you to get some writing of your own done, as well. Enjoy!

The List: 100 Great Science Fiction Stories by Women – Some wonderful recs, including a bunch that are available online.

Why Startups Love Moleskines – Vindication for those of you who like to take notes by hand. (And maybe a mild suggestion for everyone tapping away on their keyboards in the audience of presentations.)

‘Mortal Instruments’ Creator Reveals How Female Authors Can Be ‘Dehumanized’ By Their Own Fandom – Male authors, too, but I think it’s a more volatile situation for women. I have my own issues with Cassandra Clare, but this is a really thoughtful and disturbing look at something I’ve noticed happening more and more on social media.

The Places We Read – A look at how location can affect our reading choices and experiences.

Peek Over Our Shoulders – A juicy, long list of the books various Book Riot staff members are reading (as of yesterday).

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