October 31, 2010

I have a title!

Steps and Stones--the title of my book for National Novel Writing Month.

I can even picture the cover of the book I have yet to write. :)
The letter P in the word Steps is formed with a shoelace, (Nic's fantastic idea) and for the word Stones--either written completely with stones, or just the first letter, either way it is symbolic. The main character has a rocky road ahead of her. 
To add to the cover art, a runner, from the back, so you cannot see her face.... yeah, I can see it on a bookshelf.

What is the book about you ask? Okay, you didn't ask, but I am itching to tell someone.

Jules, an avid runner, is hit by a car. Paralyzed, she stumbles through her past in search of a brighter path to happiness.

Does that peak your interest? I can picture Jules in my head , and I hope I can make her come alive in yours through my writing. Tomorrow is the day I can begin the novel. Before, the day loomed ahead, making me nervous, but now I am excited.

 I will post excerpts here from time to time, or you can follow me on NaNoWriMo at this link. My pen name on the site is Summer Marino.


Ready... Set ...

October 25, 2010

Barefoot Paths

Okay, NaNo was knocking, but now it is pounding! I am excited, but if I think about the deadline too much, I get nervous.

Gulp. What if I do not meet the word count? What if I get halfway there and put on the brakes wondering if my plot is strong enough? What if I begin doubting everything? What if... (okay, I am sure you get the gist of this.) Then, I go online and chat with my nano buddies and find they have the same qualms.

We are in this together, walking this NaNo path barefoot, each stone poking our confidence. Then Rain comes along and gives us sandals and Nic always has a refreshing glass of sweet tea to quench our thirst while we talk about plots, characters and telling each other how great we are. :)

With each of us encouraging the other, I am sure we will forget the silly, confidence-sucking questions nagging at the back of our minds.

Have a wonderful day, filled with characters who become real!

October 24, 2010

Vampire fish?

In an email to my editor, Laura Kepner, I mentioned how my husband could not fathom agents failing to see how wonderful my novel Jewel of Ramstone is. (Can't help but love that man, huh?)

Laura wrote such a touching and inspirational response to my email that I asked if she would allow me to post part of it here on my blog. I feel it would help other writers and their loved ones accompanying them on the road of queries, rejections, agents and publishers. It sure made my husband see things in a different, if not brighter, light.

Well, enough talking about the email. Here it is:

"It is difficult to try to explain to those not trying to get published, (and sometimes hard for us who write to understand), why a wonderful story does not (usually) get swallowed up by the first publisher or agent. The best way I can think to describe that is to say imagine a Monday morning. You got two hours of sleep the night before because you were at a party and on the way home your tire blew out. Then, your son got sick right when your head hit the pillow. You make it to work and there are fifty new manuscripts that you are supposed to scan through in the next two hours. Your lunch appointment canceled and you were really needing to discuss something with the guy so that your bonus gets approved. A schmoozer who started in the mail room is now in the corner office across from your desk, smiling at you because he is now making twice what you are--all because he found the next big series, and it's all about happy vampire fish. Now...what's this query letter? It's about love?...Romance? Historical romance?..."I need vampire sharks or something!"

"And then, on a beautiful, sunny Friday morning, another agent picks what you just turned down. He is happy because his girlfriend just accepted his marriage proposal. His stocks shot up and he got the prime parking spot this morning. Three beautiful women smiled at him in the elevator and his boss patted him on the back for his hard work. He sits at his desk and there's something called Jewel of Ramstone. He likes the title...he opens it to page one...

"Anyway, I guess my point is that I KNOW mood affects decisions. I have read recently how publishers are turning down my ms. for stupid reasons, like one didn't know my main character was a girl until page two. (That could be such an easy fix!) Anyway, they have stacks of things to read, and if they know a historical romance with a great title is possibly going to sell, and if they are receptive, they might read it with different eyes than if their morning started out poorly. Also, their bosses are telling them to look for vampire fish novels and there might be one in three thousand authors who ever mentioned a fish with teeth, so they are feeling overwhelmed. I had one publisher say that my writing was gorgeous. Yet, she still turned me down because she didn't fall in love with my main character enough to take it to the next step. Ha! It's very personal for them. Basically, the query letters are the same deal. They have to feel compelled to read your book in order to ask to take it to the next step."~~Laura Kepner, Editor (and friend)

For those of you who need an editor, she is amazing.

October 22, 2010

Dream on!

Two self-addressed, stamped envelopes sat on my table ... yeah, the ones I sent with a query to agents. The envelopes were dog-eared, like the long trip from New York City was by pony express instead of the postal service.

 I did not open them right away. They sat there for what seemed an hour. Looking at a clock, I saw seven minutes had passed. Seven, lucky seven, right? I tore at the first envelope.

A rejection. A form letter.

I ran my finger over the next one, wondering if I should wait until I had someone to share it with. Of course it would be good news. Shreds of envelope flew in front of my eyes, slightly reminiscent of Edward Scissorhands.

A rejection. A handwritten one.

I should be discouraged a little bit, right? I'm not, and I don't understand why.

I taped both rejection letters to the wall above my desk (with the other five.) Smiling, I went to make a sandwich. All that anticipation made me hungry.

 I simply know my dream will come true. My novel will be published.

October 21, 2010

Na no Na blo... Na... what?

 I just joined NaBloPoMo. It is a spin off of NaNoWriMo. (My gosh, that sounds like gibberish.)

 Apparently, I am traveling the high road of insanity. Packed and ready to go, I am filling my spare time by creating a novel in November. Seeing I tend to over pack for a journey, I added blogging every single day of the same month; hence, National Blog Posting Month.

I sit here, sipping my coffee, trying to figure out how this all came about. It is quite simple, really.

 Rain Chapman, a fellow author, suggested the Nanowrimo one night while we were chatting online with another writer, Nic Nac. Seeing we were all sleep deprived and in no shape to make a sane decision, we made a pact to go it together.

Today, Nic Nac told me about NaBloPoMo and I readily joined. Then Nic decided to ask Rain Chapman to join as well. We are currently waiting to see if she is truly insane.  

I am terrified of what the next suggestion will be. It seems my turn is next, seeing all I have been doing is saying, "Hey, why not?" 

I love challenges. I suppose that is why I got myself in this fun mess. November 1st is my ticket. My friends Rain and Nic are my traveling companions. This will be an eventful trip.

Is that a train whistle I hear? Who tied me to the tracks?

Stay tuned ....

October 20, 2010

Nano knocks and I answer

Instead of waiting for rejections... oops, I mean acceptions, I decided to join nanowrimo to keep my mind off the mailbox. That is a mouthful, but it stands for National Novel Writing Month. It starts November 1 and ends on the last day of the month. Yep, a novel in one month. It can be done.

Here is the site link for those of you who wish to step up to the challenge:

Ideas are flowing. Fingers are itching to type chapter one. In the meantime, I am working on an outline.

For those who want to follow me, my screen name is Summer Marino on the site. If you want to have a writing buddy, join me!

Off onto another trail of this journey...

October 11, 2010


I expected rejections. I simply did not realize they come in many forms. There are those that have the perfect balance of rejection and encouragement. It is professional, yet with a touch of personalization.

Here is an example:

(I just received this one the other day. The only thing omitted is the agent's name)

Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to read your submission. I appreciate you considering me for representation of your project.

Unfortunately, after careful review, I have decided that I might not be the right agent for your work. This industry is incredibly subjective, and there are many agencies out there with many different tastes. It is for this reason that I strongly encourage you to keep submitting elsewhere, in the hopes of finding an agent who will be an enthusiastic champion for you and your work.

I apologize for the form letter reply, but the volume of submissions I receive has finally made it impossible for me to personalize responses as I have for many years. I hope you will understand and forgive me this necessary efficiency. In addition, I do not feel it is appropriate for me to provide detailed editorial feedback on projects I have decided not to represent.

I wish you all the very best of luck and success with your writing.

I actually smiled at that one.

Next, is the flip side of a response from an agent--the type which makes me stare at the page, and then flip it over to see if there is more on the back. 

Thanks for the query, but this doesn't sound like a project that is right for me.

Yes, that is an actual response from an agent.

Therefore, dear writers, expect both kinds of rejections. Many are bound to end up in your mailbox. The publishing world has so many variables. Just never give up, okay?

I am hanging each rejection by my desk so one day I can say, "See? Before I hit the big time I was rejected all those times."