Monday, January 29, 2007

Two heads are better than one...

I'm not so sure about that statement.

This past weekend, the guest speaker for my local RWA group was a local writer who co-authors a mystery series with her sister-in-law under the name H.O. Ward. She spoke on co-authoring a novel. It was fascinating. They began writing in the early 80's before we had the Internet. Can you imagine? One would write a chapter then would mail it to the other so she could edit and write the next chapter. It took them five years to complete that first novel. Talk about guts!

To be honest, the entire concept of co-writing is frightening to me. I know the type of writer I am, and more importantly, I know the type of person I am. If I want something to stay in a book, it stays. Um...unless my editor tells me to take it out. :) Although, even my editor and I had to compromise on a few things because I just did not want to let go of some of my favorite parts.

As the speaker talked about how she and her sister-in-law collaborated, I couldn't help but imagine what I would do in a similar situation. It's pretty obvious to me that if I were to co-author a book with anyone it would be my older sister. She edited both Deliver Me and the manuscript I just turned in, tentatively titled Release Me. However, both are still my books. If she suggested something I didn't agree with, I simply said no, and that was the end of it. (Okay, so she called me stupid and stubborn a few times, but that's normal).

That would not be the case if we were co-authoring a book. If we were writing the book together I would have to compromise. I would possibly have to change some things that I didn't want to change. Just the thought of this has me on the verge of an anxiety attack.

For those who are brave enough to co-write a book, more power to you. You have a lot more fortitude than I do. My books are definitely a one-woman show.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Wait a minute Mr. Postman!

I've got something for your mailbag!

By this time tomorrow, the second of my Holmes Brothers trilogy, which I still refer to as Toby's Book since I haven't come up with a title, will finally be on its way to my agent's desk.

*pause for the Hallelujah chorus*

This book. Goodness, me, what can I say about this book!

I started it nearly two years ago with the intention of having it completed in six months flat. Unfortunately, the road to completion was paved with several job changes, Hurricane Katrina, and the discovery of paranormal romance novels which gobbled up way too much of my time.

I sort of lost my way during the course of writing this novel. As more and more rejection letters mounted for the other manuscripts I was trying to sell, I started slacking off. Thank goodness I sold Deliver Me. It lit a fire under my butt and kick started my drive to get Toby’s Book done.

I’m feeling a little anxious, but then again, that’s usually the case when it comes to sending my precious words into the mean ol’ publishing world (if my agent is reading this, I don’t mean you!) . :) Even though Toby’s Book gave me fits, it just may be my favorite. My sister likes it, which is akin to a big fat gold star. She is THE most critical reader a writer can have, and to have her come out and say “I’m liking this book” was a huge thing for me.

My fingers are crossed that my agent feels the same way, and that he can convince an editor to fall in love with Toby Holmes, Sienna Culpepper, and all the other characters in Toby’s Book, as well.

Hmm…now that the book is on its way out the door, I guess the next thing to do is find a title for it. Maybe I should hold a naming contest!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Back to Reality

Big. Dramatic. Sigh.

For the past couple of weeks, I've been in this euphoric daze; living in a world sprinkled with black and gold pixie dust. But, yesterday, the mean ol' Chicago Bears stepped in with their awesome defense and blew all the pixie dust away. That's just not cool, Bears!

The New Orleans Saints have taken us fans on a wild and wonderful ride, but now it's back to reality.
As I look over my way too long to-do list, it seems as though I should have stepped back onto the reality train a few days ago. My, how quickly things pile up. How was I supposed to know life doesn't stop for football?

So, here I am, back to working on the synopsis, which still sucks, but is, thankfully, almost completed. I've promised my agent that he would have the book by the end of the week, so I definitely need to get this baby done. Once again, I'm trying every promo trick within my power to get the Farrah Rochon name out there to the masses. Worst of all, I'm being expected to do actual work at my day job (how dare they!), so it's onto those duties, as well.

All is not lost on the football front, though. New Orleans still has a stake in this year's big game as hometown boy, Peyton Manning, plays in his first Super Bowl! Go Peyton!

And to the Saints, thank you!

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Saints Fever

Sorry. I tried to come up with a topic today that wasn't related to football. I really, really did. But all I can think about are my New Orleans Saints.

I'm sitting here in my Reggie Bush jersey reading articles about Sunday's big game instead of doing actual work. I've spent my entire day trying to find the place that sells the special fleur de lis king cakes decorated with black and gold sugar instead of the traditional purple, green, and gold of Mardi Gras.

I have Saints fever! It's consuming every aspect of my life. All I can think about is the Saints beating the Bears this Sunday and what that win would mean to this city.
All I have left to say is GO SAINTS!

Off to Starbucks so I can buy myself a bear claw.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Football = Medicine

There was an article in the Times-Picayune newspaper over the weekend that had the best opening line ever. It read (and I'm paraphrasing here):

"Hey, New Orleans, do you feel that rush of cold air under your feet? That's hell freezing over."

Why would hell be freezing over? Because the New Orleans Saints are headed to the NFC Championship Game this weekend. Un-freaking-believable! Anyone who follows football knows this is one of the most unlikely stories ever. The Saints, who were 3 and 13 last year, and who are notorious for breaking their fans hearts, are one win away from the Superbowl.

And it could not have come at a better time.

I don't have to mention the hardships the New Orleans area has faced over the past year and a half. And while flood waters have dissipated, and homes are being rebuilt (at least some are), the effects of what occurred on August 29, 2005 continue to plague so many people.

Then the Saints came marching in.

I have always been a Saints fan, even when it was very, very hard. But these days, it is blessedly easy to cheer "Who Dat!" The success of our beloved Saints has been a healing balm to so many weary souls. The Saints have given people in New Orleans a reason to smile. Now, when strangers find themselves standing in line at the bank, or the grocery store, there is another hot item for them to talk about instead of that nasty storm that begins with the letter K. The Saints are the topic of just about every conversation, and I couldn't be more grateful for what they have done for the morale of this city.

As a native of the New Orleans area, I am tickled pink by all of this. Instead, make that black and gold.

Geaux Saints!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Synopses are not our friends

I think the title pretty much speaks for itself. It is my own humble opinion that writing synopses suck.

It continually amazes me that I can write a 380+ page manuscript with seemingly little effort, yet when it comes to a 5-7 page synopsis, I'm ready to pull my hair out. Okay, that was a big fat lie. None of the books I've written have been seemingly effortless, it only seems that way since I'm not currently bogged down in the mire of a story. Give me a few weeks and I'll have rants about the stupid book that's giving me fits.

The fact still remains that synopsis writing is hard, hard, HARD work. At least it is for me.

For the past week, I've printed down every synopsis-writing worksheet I could find on the fabulous Charlotte Dillon website (, and have gone through all of my old handouts from past RWA conferences. I have the entire story laid out scene-by-scene with color-coded index cards. I have sticky notes stuck to my wall. I am organized to the nth degree.

But, do I have a synopsis?

Every time I attempt to write one of those buggers, I try to tell myself this time will be different. I sit down with a fresh cup of coffee, clean white paper, and a Uni-ball, and convince myself that I'm going to kick out that synopsis in an hour. No problem. Then, I promptly forget everything about the book (yes, the same book I wrote), and end up staring at the blank paper for an hour. It's just not fun!

I've resigned myself to the fact that I will never like writing synopses. They are a necessary evil (yes, they are evil, evil, evil), but what can you do?

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Literary Agents. Do we need them?

It's been said time and time again that landing a literary agent is just as hard (or even harder) than finding an editor. That sucks! There are only a few publishing houses out there who'll look at unagented material (though with e-publishing, more and more aspiring writers have a fighting chance to get published).

As for me, I lucked out. Big time!

You see, I was never really on the hunt for an agent. The first three romance novels I wrote were targeted to Harlequin/Silhouette, which doesn't require an agent. I foolishly thought selling the "smaller" books would be easier. Let me tell ya. I should just paint STUPID on my forehead in big, bright letters for such backwards thinking. Har/Sil is one of the toughest houses to sell to, no matter how big or small the books are.

But I digress. We were talking about agents, right?

My agent story goes like this:

I went through this period of about two weeks when I did absolutely nothing writing-related. It was driving me CRAZY!!! My approach to writing has been extremely professional for several years. Even though I just sold my first novel, I've treated this like a job ever since I got serious about my craft. So going without writing, or at least researching, or sending out queries or submissions, was agony for me. Only problem is, I was too busy to get back to writing.

So, one morning, I decided I had to do something related to publishing. I figured the easiest thing would be to send out a few query letters. I opened up one of my trade magazines, found three of the most well-known literary agencies that accepted query letters only. I didn't have time to print out a synopsis or the first three chapters. It was query only, or bust.

I fully expected three form rejection letters, which I promptly received from two of the agencies. However, the third was a surprise. The agent asked to see the full manuscript.

The full manuscript? But he'd only read a one page query letter?

Needless to say, that baby was in the mail the next day. Five months later, I received an email. Was I still seeking representation?

Umm...well, you see. I was never really seeking representation. I only sent the query letters out because I didn't want to feel like a writing-sloth.

Don't worry. I didn't actually say that. I did the Cabbage Patch around my office (that's a dance to those too young to remember), and sent the most suck-up reply thanking my agent for taking on a new, wet-behind-the-ears writer. Seven months after signing me, he had the book sold. And I dare say I could have gotten through the whole contract process without him. I'm sure I'd still be crouched in a fetal position crying for my Mama if I didn't have my agent to hold my hand.

So, do we really need agents? Some may say no, and try to go at it on their own. As for me? No way! I relinquish my 15% with a smile on my face, and thank God daily that I sent out those queries that faithful morning.

To those still looking? Never give up!


Thursday, January 04, 2007

First taste of DELIVER ME

I'm still trying to come down from the holiday highs, but that's pretty hard to do this week. You see, now, I'm on the BCS Bowl Week high (that's college football for the non-sports freaks out there). There have been some amazing games this year.

Bosie State rocks! The LSU Tigers rock! The Ohio State Buckeyes will rock the Gators right out of Tempe, AZ Monday night!

Dang, I love this time of year.

However, since this blog is supposed to focus on my writing, I guess I need to shove in a little writing-related news, huh? For those of you who don't mind a little teaser, one of my favorite scenes in Deliver Me is available on Dorchester's website. Take a look!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Resolving not to resolve in '07

It's the new year! We all know what that means: RESOLUTIONS!

I'm pretty good at making resolutions. I'm pretty bad at keeping resolutions.

But, I'm getting better at it. I think.

Hey, I was able to check off a major item on last year's list when I sold my first novel. Of course, anyone in this business knows that had just as much to do with luck (or, as I believe, divine intervention) than me declaring that I would finally sell a book. However, I did have a hand in it. The fact that I continued to write after years of rejection planted the first seed in the eventual blossoming of this goal. So I'm going to take at least a little credit in finally keeping one of my New Year's resolutions.

This year, I decided not to make any new resolutions. Instead, I'm going to continue working on last year's list. Because, frankly, I like the resolutions I made last year. I set some pretty lofty goals for 2006, and as I think back on them, I realize I would have to be crowned "Luckiest Girl in the Universe" in order to have all items on my list come to pass in the span of one year.

So, this year, I resolve not to make any new resolutions. I've still got too much to accomplish on the heels of '06.

Boy, I can't wait to read this blog entry a year from now.