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My humorous thoughts about life.

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Showing posts with label editors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label editors. Show all posts

Thursday, March 26, 2015

No More Time to Think or Work on my WIP

I'm writing this post for Thursday, which means I'll be back in the trenches with no more time to think. That may not be a bad thing after the last two Thursday posts. I had a wonderful and relaxing Spring Break, spending much of my time either at the dog park with my best friends or writing. 

Although I've written five novels, there is one that is dearest to my heart, and I keep coming back to her after seven years. That baby has seen more rejection than Rodney Dangerfield; she's been around the block more times that Miley Cyrus, and she's received the reception of a president during a depression.  However, I think I've finally tweaked her to a new level . . . or I'm setting myself up for a huge disappointment. 

Last fall, I attended the SCBWI conference in Nashville. At the conference, I met a book editor who had a way of ticking everyone off with her quick NOs to our first pages. By the end of the conference, I was so angry that I didn't even bother to write down her submission requirements. But now that I've had time to cool and think, I realize that she gave me some of the most valuable information I'd ever gotten. I'd like to thank her.

I attended her session on dialogue. I always felt like dialogue was my strength, and maybe it is, but perhaps I have looked at dialogue all wrong. This editor told us that dialogue should not be what's moving the story. In fact, one should be able to remove the dialogue completely and still have a solid plot in place that the reader can follow. So, dialogue's job is to enhance what is already on the page. With that in mind, I revisited my baby looking for ways to tell Ben's story without too much dialogue. What I've noticed is a much deeper voice with a true insight as to what's in his head.

I believe this has taken my book to a new level and has given me the confidence to fork
over $30 to the Claymore Award competition. As a rule, I typically only enter free contests, so that when I lose, I chip away at my pride and not my pocketbook. However, I've taken a leap of faith. What makes this contest so appealing is knowing that those reading my first fifty pages are junkies of my genre. Furthermore, one does not have to win to win with Claymore. Any manuscript deemed ready for publication, winner or not, will be suggested to an appropriate editor. So, I hope someone sees what I see in my work. 

Now that I've passed my manuscript on, I've gone back to revising book two. Yes, I have a completed sequel to my book that's never been published and half of a third book. I quit working on these after someone suggested that writers not work on sequels to unpublished books.

For those who are interested, here is my first paragraph to that book that will one day become a best seller and a major motion picture. Oh, how I wish.

            I tried to focus on Ms. Link’s history review, but it was pointless once I’d spotted the fat guy outside my classroom window. He had stood under a tree less than twenty feet away for the past half-hour with his bug eyes aimed straight at me. I rubbed my hand over my stiff neck and noticed that my shoulders had inched upwards. Knowing I had to stop this stare down, I got out of my chair and headed toward the window. Maybe if I closed the smudged thing, he wouldn’t be able to see inside.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Promote Your Book Bloghop: Meet and Greet

While catching up on blog visits, I learned that I'm signed up for a Meet and Greet blog hop. I don't remember signing up, but then again, I don't remember much these days.


So, listen up Buttercup: since I rarely answer questions about myself, please seize the opportunity to learn secrets about me. I bet you didn't even know I can touch my nose with my tongue and have the rarest common blood type, AB Negative. But no one wants to know that.

This is what was asked . . .

What is your favorite animal?  
My dogs, or course
 
Where have you traveled to (outside of your country), and what's been your favorite destination? 
I'm an American who has traveled to France, Italy, Ireland, Israel, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda. Each place has been wonderful, so it's hard to choose a favorite. I enjoy warm places with oceans and beaches, but then again history rocks!
How many siblings do you have?
I have one brother and two sisters, and they are all older than me, which means they are REALLY old.
 
Are you a lefty or a righty?
I'm a lefty, which means I'm in my right mind. The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body, and the right side of the brain controls the left side, so us left handed people are the only ones in our right minds.

Since picking a favorite book is nearly impossible, who is your favorite author or which one has had the most influence on you in your writing career?

I love Margaret Peterson Haddix and Gordon Korman. Peterson for her heart-pumping action and Kormen for making me laugh. There are many other fab authors. As far as who has most influenced my writing career, it would have to be all of those Midsouth authors who I've met through SCBWI. Josh Adams, Peterson's agent, will be at our next SCBWI conference. Woo hoo!

Joyce Lansky teaches intellectually gifted children, is active in SCBWI, and has completed five novels. In May 2011, she published a story in AppleSeeds magazine, a division of Carus. She currently blogs at Catch My Words. If her blog makes you laugh, please inquire about her MG and YA humor manuscripts that are looking for a home. jlanskyATcomcastDOTcom.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

#GBE2: Wish

My GBE2 blogging group asked us to post on the topic of "Wish," so here goes. 

I want to publish a novel. Not self published or blog published, but set to print by an editor or a respected house. Caroline Kooney's first eight books were never published; plus, the average writer takes ten years to make their dreams come true . . .  or nightmares begin. I'm not sure how many years I've been writing, but I guarantee it's under ten, and I'm only working on my sixth manuscript. Here's what I've written in order of completion.

I made a Lulu cover.
1. The Friendship Puzzle (MG) - An experiment in novel writing that's missing a plot. Who needs a plot when I've got the gorgeous John Katou and the bubble headed tween who loves him? Okay, this one will never be published, and I dare confess that I did clog a few slush piles with this piece of trash. Sorry if it ever landed across your desk.

2. Don't Eat Chipmunks (MG+) - A promising camp story about a boy lost in the Rockies with his two worst enemies and an injured counselor. The boys must learn to work together or die as my novel did when the Sydney Taylor people were offended by my portrayal of Jewish camp. Sorry guys, but the "Anaf Boys Choir" really did sneak out at night in their underwear to sing Silent Night and the memory was too good not to write about.

3. Being Bompsy Carleffa (YA) - This masterpiece about Ben, a kidnapped mob teen thrust back into his previous world, is filled with roller coaster suspense, action, and clever characters. However, it's also been rejected more than any novel I've written. One agent reported that my main character was "too funny for the trouble he was in." I can't help it! Every time I write, funny pops out. There's got to be a market for it somewhere. It works for Gordon Korman.

The Godfather
4. The Killer Who Loves Me (YA) - This is the sequel to my unpublished Bompsy where Ben finds himself conflicted by the thought that he may actually "like" his criminal father. At least this one does not have multiple rejections. Furthermore, I started the third book in the series but stopped midstream when I read about not writing sequels to books that aren't published. I guess Ben can rest assured that he won't be shot at or beaten until someone picks up Being Bompsy Carleffa.

5. Mrs. Zimmerman's Donuts (MG) - Coddled loser meets Mohawk boy who teaches him to be cool. I wrote this one with the guidance of two published authors telling me what works and what doesn't. I even cracked myself up by getting a kid's head caught in a hand dryer and shooting his spittle across bathroom tiles. There's got to be a market for a kid dealing with a helicopter mom because I've met so many of these overprotected babies.

6. Work in Progress (YA) - I named it Finding Miss Forester only to learn about a movie with a similar title. Dang! I'd never heard of the movie, but I guess my title must change. This is the story of a rambunctious seventh grade boy who spies his first-year teacher crying after another one of his many stunts pulled on her. Overwhelmed with guilt, he decides to behave, but instead, he has a rotten sub to deal with. Did he make Miss Forester quit? No. She's in deep doo doo after whistle blowing on a former boss, and Caleb will get sucked into her problems once I get my act together.

There you go bloggy friends––my wish waiting to be granted. And to think, you knew me when.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: SCBWI Conference Photos–A Unique Perspective

At the end of the Midsouth SCBWI conference, I realized I hadn't taken any photos for Wordless Wednesday, so I snapped some quick ones.

The hotel had beautiful carpeting...


and ceilings.



The chairs were also interesting.




The Hilton provided complimentary coffee and ice water.

You expect to see pictures of famous writers, editors, and agents from a writer's conference? Remember, this is a humor blog!

Oh, okay. Here is a homemade movie of the gifted and talented Dan Yaccarino and me.


video


Don't you hate it when your camera takes a movie instead of a still photo?

Willa's Wild Life is an even better film than the one above.

Seriously, I had a great time at the conference and got a lot more out of it than these goofy snapshots that are good for messing with my readers. Hopefully, I even met someone who will want to take a chance on my humor.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

#GBE2: Two Perspectives of My Mob Story

This week's challenge is to write two separate, but related pieces. I have chosen a scene from my unpublished young adult manuscript, BEING BOMPSY CARLETTA. For those who don't know, I started this blog because I am an aspiring author. I've written five novels but haven't published any of them. Time to send out some queries.

My first passage is from Fiso Carleffa’s point of view. Fiso is the mob boss father who had recently been united with his fifteen-year-old son after twelve years of believing the kid and his mother had died in a car wreck. The story was originally written in Ben Smith's, aka Bompsy Carleffa’s, first person point of view.
 



          Bompsy's eyes widened then a bewildered expression covered his face. What had his mom been feeding him all these years? Mac and cheese? He didn’t look malnourished, but he certainly wasn’t used to eating gourmet either. “Do you like the gazpacho?” I asked.
            He dropped his spoon and looked at me like I was feeding him poison.
            “Eat it. It’s good for you.” I twirled my spoon in a circular motion until he finally took another sip. That's when I realized my own son was afraid of me. I guess I'd screwed up when I ordered his beating, but what else could I have done after he cursed and punched me? I’m his own father and the kid didn’t even know me, nor at least respect me.
            Gil brought us our pallet cleansers and once again Bompsy scrunched his brows together while staring at the sherbet.
            “You look confused.” I pointed to Bompsy's plate. “That’s a palate cleanser.”
            He clearly didn’t understand.
             “Your mom sure didn’t show you the finer things in life.” How will I ever make this boy feel at home? Maybe I should apologize for the whipping.
             “Can I be excused?” he said.
            “Now? You haven’t had dinner.”
            “I’m not up to eating.” He stared at his hands. Poor kid had chewed his nails off completely. I wanted to spend more time with him, but he obviously couldn’t wait to get away from me.
            “Very well, but learn to call this home. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll even love me like I love you.” If that boy’s mom lives, it won’t be for long.



Brent Turner

This is how I picture my character Ben/Bompsy, so this young actor can play him if he doesn't have gray hair by the time my book gets published and becomes a movie. The next bit of text is the original wording from my novel. Please read the same scene told from Ben/Bompsy's point of view and hopefully you'll see the humor in it that Fiso didn't catch.



           When I sipped the soup, I was shocked. Cold soup? All this money, and these people couldn’t heat the soup.
            “Do you like the gazpacho?” Fiso asked.
            I dropped my spoon on the table. Why would he mention the Gestapo? What was he, a modern day Nazi? Sure, doesn’t everyone like murderers? Sick. This guy’s really sick!
            “Eat it. It’s good for you.” Fiso twirled his spoon in a circular motion.
            Not wanting another beating, I forced the soup down my throat. I was a spineless wimp doing whatever that Nazi demanded. The soup left a spicy, hot taste in my mouth so I drank more water. Gil put a small scoop of sherbet in front of me. I stared at the lime mound. Dinner must’ve been over since he’d already brought dessert.
            “You look confused.” Fiso pointed to my plate. “That’s a palate cleanser.”
            I didn’t get it.

           “Your mom sure didn’t show you the finer things in life.”
            How was this a finer thing? What was I supposed to do with the light green lump? I lifted a small sample to my tongue and choked the sweet, icy food down. My full mind didn’t want to feed my empty stomach. “Can I be excused?”
            “Now? You haven’t had dinner.”
            “I’m not up to eating.” I lowered my head and stared at my fingers. I wasn’t a nail biter, yet somehow had chewed my nails down to the pink on the way to St. Louis.
            “Very well, but learn to call this home. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll even love me like I love you.”
            Love? How could that monster talk about love? He had his brother kidnap me, Mom killed, and my back scarred, but I was supposed to love him?
 
If any agents or editors are visiting my blog, BEING BOMPSY CARLEFFA is available for publication, and I will send it to legitimate agencies upon request. I have also written a sequel to this novel and three other original works for children and/or teens, as well as a published story in AppleSeeds magazine. Furthermore, I am an active member of SCBWI and have completed course work at the Institute for Children's Literature.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Writer's Post: Desire

desire♥  |dəˈzī(ə)r| - noun
a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen

Well, ye-ah! I want it so badly I started this blog. I'm talking about that editor induced book contract.

Hello Mrs. Lansky. As your agent, I called to tell you that five houses loved your manuscript. One woman said, "It made her giggle like a little girl." 

Another stated, "Lansky is a genius, and I must acquire her work." In fact, they are fighting for your manuscript at auction.

Mark Twain -AF Bradley's photo
I wish! I mean seriously. Besides a tomb stone, what do these guys got that I ain't got?

When to get published?That is the question.  
I have five children's novels available for publication; and they are all funny! Four have that much desired boy protagonist. 

Take your pick: 

THE FRIENDSHIP PUZZLE - girl trauma at it's worst. Okay. As my first book, it probably sucks, but surely I could raise it to a higher standard.

DON'T EAT CHIPMUNKS - My thirteen-year-old narrator yearns for his summer adventure in the Colorado Rockies with his Jewish camp group. He soon finds himself struggling for survival, when he gets lost in the mountains with his favorite counselor and two worst enemies. I admit, Remi's a jerk at first, but he learns how to get along with others by the end. Isn't character growth important?

BEING BOMPSY CARLEFFA and THE KILLER WHO LOVED ME -  Fifteen-year-old Ben lives with his mother in a crappy apartment and believes a lie about a father who died twelve years earlier. Life is sweet until a sleazy mobster kidnaps him, shows him that his entire life has been bullsh*t, and screws up his world—forever.

Of course it wouldn't be my book if Ben didn't have a sense of humor. One rejection letter said, "He's too funny for such a serious situation." Too bad professionals are turned off when one writes about one's friend who couldn't go to sleep because she was unable to put down the manuscript. --Yep, it's true, but I can't say that in a query letter. :(

MRS. ZIMMERMAN'S DONUTS - the coming of age story of ten year old Knob and his goofy friend. I recently blogged about it. 

These stories have voice too. I know because folks tell me so in every rejection letter. Hellooooo. Agent, where are you? You are desired