Tag Archive: Backspace


Happy First Friday

October 1. Holy cow. Halloween is just around the corner and I’ve got to start thinking about finding those candy deals. In honor of the fun and freaky month of October, I’ve set all my short stories on Smashwords so you folks can set whatever price you feel is fair – even zero – for my stories for the entire month. Enjoy!

In the meantime – I’ve got some fun guests on my blog this month. I’ve got Jonathan Maberry, Author of Patient Zero and Rot & Ruin swinging by on the 15th. The fab four – F. Paul Wilson, Jeff Strand, Blake Crouch, and Joe Konrath talk about their release Draculas on October 22 and Heather Brewer – author of the Vladamir Tod Vampire Chronicles series hanging with me on the 29th.

October is also a busy month for my Backspace brethren and their book releases. Join me in giving props to the following folks and the fabulous books they’ve written:

A. S. King – Please Ignore Vera Dietz
Jonathan Maberry – Rot And Ruin
Tasha Alexander – Dangerous to Know
Lauren Baratz-Logsted – The Sisters Eight Book 6: Petal’s Problems
Erin Blakemore – The Heroine’s Bookshelf
Laurel Corona – Penelope’s Daughter
Linda Gerber – Trance
Camille Kimball – What She Always Wanted

This month you can find me over at eXcessica’s blog and don’t forget to follow my Jenny Craig experience here on Wednesdays.

Well that’s it for today. Happy October!
Catch you next week.
Ciao.
JET

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 Today, I have the pleasure of hosting Lauren Baratz-Logsted in her one question blog tour.  She is one of the most prolific and diverse authors I know with successes in various markets from Chick-lit to suspense to young adult and even broaching the young readers market with her Sisters 8 series.

Lauren took the plunge into the writing world in November of 1994, after working in a local indy bookstore in Westport for the better part of eleven years.  Success didn’t happen overnight and between 1994 and May of 2002, she worked as a book reviewer, a freelance editor and writer, and even a window washer in order to supplement her writing career.    But in May of 2002, Red Dress Ink called with an offer to buy THE THIN PINK LINE. 

Since receiving that call, Lauren has published a total of seventeen books including MARCIA’S MADNESS – the latest in the Sisters 8 series released on May 3, 2010 and her newest YA novel, THE EDUCATION OF BET which is scheduled for release on July 12, 2010. 

 So without further adieu, here is my question in Lauren’s one question blog tour:  

[JET]: What made you switch up genres from Chick-lit to Middle grade/YA?  Which genre do you prefer? Why? 

[LBL]:  It’s even more complicated than that! In addition to adult Chick-Lit, I’ve had an adult literary suspense novel published, Vertigo. And in addition to YA (teen) and middle grade (9-12), I have The Sisters 8 series for young readers (6-10). About the only thing I don’t do at this point is board books.

Of course you’re right in that my first several books published were all for adults but there was never a conscious decision to change things up. I simply got the idea for what would be my first published YA novel – Angel’s Choice – and realized during the process of writing it that what I’d thought was going to be another adult novel was in actuality a YA novel by virtue of the voice telling the story. Before I knew it, I fell in love with writing for teens and soon discovered there were other age groups that I had stories I wanted to write for as well.

I can’t say that there’s one genre I love above all others – I love it all, and that’s why I’m crazy enough to attempt it all! That said, I do love writing for teens because there’s so much range in YA these days and the audience is still excited by new-to-them ideas. And I really love working on The Sisters 8 because I created it with my husband Greg Logsted and our 10-year-old daughter Jackie. What could be more fun than getting to work on a series with my own kid??? I can’t think of anything. 

 

 [JET]: Lauren, I have to admit I can’t think of anything more fun either!  

Thank you very much for visiting my blog and answering my leading, multiple point question.  🙂 

Lauren’s books are available at your local bookstore as well as online. 

To learn more about Lauren, please visit her at her very cool website:  www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com

And to follow her one question blog tour- here are links to her stops before and after this one:

June 24: Wendy Toliver: If an alien offered to give you any position in the world, what would you choose? http://www.myspace.com/roxytoliver

June 28: Jenn http://www.jennsbookshelves.com/

Until next week . . .

Ciao

JET

Friday Shout outs!

Hi all, 

Welcome to the first Friday in June!  My first order of business – June shout outs to my Backspace brethren with books coming out this month: 

ONLY THE GOOD SPY YOUNG (6/29) by Ally Carter,  THE TRUTH ABOUT DELILAH BLUE: A NOVEL (6/8) by Tish Cohen,  JUBILEE by Eliza Graham,  SILENCING SAM (6/22) by Julie Kramer,  and FIRST THRILLS: HIGH OCTANE STORIES FROM THE HOTTEST THRILLER AUTHORS (6/22) which includes a story by Backspace’s very own Karen Dionne!  Grab one of these at your local book store or at Amazon.com!

Now, let me tell you I’ve had a tough time getting back to the swing of things after five days of bliss that started in New York City at the Annual Backspace Conference and ended in York, Maine. In New York, I had such a blast meeting up with other authors, agents, and editors. There really is nothing like the excitement of a first book sale or being on your first panel. The only thing that tops that is meeting fans face to face and seeing that glimmer in their eyes usually reserved for someone special — and then realizing it’s aimed at you. That my friend is the ultimate high!

 I can now say I am no longer a conference panel virgin! Yay. I was terrified at the prospect of speaking in front of a room full of people – even in the panel format. You see, I have this habit of forgetting words when I get nervous and I’ve been known to freeze in front of the microphone before, but gladly, neither of those afflictions hit.

On Friday, May 28th, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Backspace Conference in New York City (www.bksp.org) and participating in a panel called “Writing From the Edge: Sin, Sex and Similar Taboos” with a great group of ladies including Rachel Kramer Bussel and M.J. Pearson with Randy Susan Meyers as moderator.

The discussion was lively with questions ranging from how to incorporate sex into a mainstream novel without jarring the reader to inquiries about any taboo that we wouldn’t tackle within our stories! Very fun indeed!

Unfortunately I didn’t get to stay for the Saturday panels which I heard were stellar – but then again Karen Dionne and Chris Graham know how to put on a killer conference! If you are a writer, especially a writer just starting out and looking for a great conference to attend where you have access to agents and editors, I’d highly suggest the Backspace Conferences. They have an agent/author conference in November and then their regular Annual confernce in May. This year they even had Donald Maass there! How can you beat that?

Anyhow, the panel I was on prompted an interesting question that I’m shooting out there for any writer and reader to weigh in on:

Writer:  Have you ever written anything that you had a hard time showing to a family member or a friend?  How did you handle that? 

Readers: I’d love to hear your thoughts on these questions:  How would you feel if your spouse, or your siblings, or your children or parents wrote something racy?  Would you want to read it?  How would you handle it?   

Thanks all!   

Ciao.

JET

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!  Well, not quite yet since it’s very early on Friday – New York time – but close enough.  After all, it IS already Friday for today’s guest. 

I’m thrilled to have fabulous crime thriller writer and fellow Backspace member Cat Connor on my blog for a little Q & A.  Cat has been wonderful enough to offer an electronic copy of each of her books to those that comment today. 

I’ll draw two names over the weekend and let everyone know who the winners are and then we’ll get you a Mobipocket copy of either killerbyte (first name drawn) or terrorbyte (second name drawn)!  If you don’t have a Kindle – you can download the software onto your computer for free like I did when I bought her books!

Before I get into my questions, here’s a little information about Cat.  She lives in Upper Hutt, New Zealand (slightly north of Wellington), with her husband and children.

In the last few years her short stories have appeared in ThrillerUK, Mystericale, Bewildering stories, T-zero, The Writers Post Journal and Conceit Magazine.

The idea for her first Conway novel, killerbyte, came about after Cat received a string of death threats while co-running a poetry chat room, back in the days of MSN chat. The thought that people could get so nasty online fascinated her – and it still does. 

I really had fun dreaming up questions for Cat and without further babbling – here they are:  

[JET]  Being in New Zealand, you’re more than half a day ahead of us New Englanders, which is kind of cool – you get to celebrate New Years before most of the world. 

Has that had any effect on communications and US based marketing of your books? 

[Cat] We actually get to celebrate New Year before anyone else. Down here in NZ we are first! This is nice, because a lot of the time this feels like the end of the earth not the beginning.

It does effect marketing etc, simply because I am in the future. Interviews, reviews etc are always a day late for me! When killerbyte was released it was Northern Hemisphere April 10th 2009 – we had the party on April 10th but no one could buy the book yet down here!! Mostly I remind people I’m dealing with that I will be asleep when they’re trying to email me and that it is a day ahead for me.

Of course there’s always one who can’t figure out the time zone thing, or can’t use a cell phone correctly. J

[JET]  What kinds of guns have you had the opportunity to shoot?  Favorites?  

[Cat] I’m a Glock girl. Preferring a Glock 17 to any other hand gun. Hubby will tell ya that Sig out strip Glock hands down… but he’s wrong. J

[JET]  Have you ever seen a dead body?  How has that influenced your writing?   

[Cat] Yep. Don’t know that it influenced my writing as such, just gave me a good feel for death and how quickly the human essence leaves the body. A dead body is just like a live body but no one’s home and the whole cloudy eye thing is totally creepy.

I understand the process of grief as it affects me and those around me, which makes it easier to write scenes of that nature for Ellie and other characters.  Life is fleeting. (And now I hear the Rocky Horror Picture Show sound track playing in my head!)

 [JET]  Was writing thrillers a conscious choice or was it just a natural affinity?  Why do you think that is?

[Cat] It wasn’t a conscious choice. It just happened that way. I briefly tried to write a romance once… ended up with five plot threads including a kidnapping, oh and no romance.

Writing thrillers mostly grew from frustration. I couldn’t find a decent book I wanted to read. (Gosh never heard a writer say that before – eyes are rolling in all directions!) One with a female protagonist who wasn’t a blubbering idiot. For a while there it seemed like women were portrayed as hard-faced bitches who no one wanted to be around or were simply too stupid to live. Where were the real women? The solution for me was obvious… write the book I wanted to read. So I did. I did it a few times before I got it right. Although my early books came up in conversation just yesterday and I promised that when I have time I will dust them off and see how they measure up now.

[JET]  What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication? 

[Cat] The stupidity of others. That’s kinda harsh but it’s true. I’ve come across a lot of stupid in this business, when it’s mixed with greed and over-extension it impacts badly on authors. I was unlucky enough to be caught for over six months by the bankruptcy of a publisher. BUT – let me stress the silver lining here… they were obviously not the publisher I was supposed to go with. I learned a lot about what I didn’t want in a publisher and in editors!  The thing is, if they hadn’t gone under I’d be screwed now. I would not be in the excellent position I’m in now with a publisher I love and an editor I adore. So it was a shitty situation that turned up a huge silver lining. (Golden even!)

[JET]  What was your favorite moment in the journey?

[Cat] There have been quite a few. Having Rebel E Publishers accept killerbyte back in Jan 2009. HUGE excitement. Killerbyte’s release on April 10th 2009. Having terrorbyte accepted, and its subsequent release on Nov 10th.  The incredible reviews both books have received. The year has been astounding.

The following happened within twenty-four hours on May 8th– May 9th 2010. My most current favorite moment was seeing the Mobipocket Best seller list for Suspense & Thrillers – with KILLERBYTE at #2. (and it didn’t hurt that Lee Child is now below me on the list!, lol)

But then someone I greatly admire tweeted that she’d bought killerbyte! (Lorenza Ponce is the most amazing musician and singer/song writer. I urge you to check out her album Soul Shifter!)

And then… later the same day… my wonderful publisher told me that we have paperbacks now. They’ll be available through Ingram’s in a week. Now that’s pretty freaking groovacious. THEN… I clicked my Amazon author page and discovered the paperbacks are there and in stock!!!  No doubt you all heard me squealing over that!

Pick one? Can’t be done!!

[JET]  Which authors had the most influence over you growing up? 

[Cat] Growing up (not sure that’s actually happened yet…) Willard Price had a huge influence on me. I loved The Adventure Series and read every one of them several times over. My favorite was The South Sea Adventure. I also loved Zane Grey, S.E. Hinton, Alexander Dumas, Sir Walter Scott’s – Ivanhoe mostly because I loved the portrayal of Robin Hood within the text. Now there’s a real man.

I wasn’t fond of girly stories, there wasn’t enough action and they all needed saving… so not my thing! Unless of course a weta is involved, then I absolutely see the need for a big strong male to save the day. You will not get me near a weta.

[JET]  When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

[Cat] I can’t recall when I made a conscious decision to toss myself into the deep end. However, I do recall wanting to give up several hundred times.  Those days when you get nothing but rejections are a killer in the beginning. Until of course you realize they’re not personal.

[JET]  Any advice for the novices out there?

[Cat] Join Backspace. No seriously, do it. It’s the best place in the world to get the help, support, pants kickings you need throughout a writing career.

Actually I feel kinda bad lately, I’ve been so busy selling books I haven’t spent as much time at Backspace as I used to, pre-publication. But the joy of Backspace is it’s always there waiting and pleased to see you when you get back from adventures.

As for other advice, grow a thick skin. The no’s don’t stop coming once you’re published they’re just worded better.

It isn’t personal. Remember that. If someone doesn’t like your work and you honestly know its good, move on. You can’t please everyone all the time. BUT, you can please yourself, and if you’re not doing that, then you should take a long hard look at what’s going on.

Be open to advice and suggestions. It’s your choice whether to follow it or not. Do not allow yourself to be bullied by well meaning friends, it’s your story!

Above all else…have fun! Writing is fun. If it wasn’t I wouldn’t do it. Because if it wasn’t fun it’d be damn hard to get through the rejection years and stick it out until the good stuff started happening. There has to be balance!

[JET]  We all know you are a major Bon Jovi fan, or at least those that follow you on any of the networking sites or have read your books – so my music related question is – Have you ever met Bon Jovi?

[Cat] I have been to a concert, yes just the one. Living in New Zealand makes it kinda hard to attend concerts!  It astounds me when I come across people who go to five-ten concerts each tour. (There are people that do more than that –they follow the band across Europe and the States!) Obsession springs to mind.

I would like to meet Bon Jovi, I think they’d be truly interesting people to talk to. I would love to talk writing with them .The song writing thing fascinates me. Novels and short stories are one thing but how the hell do you tell a story in a song and make it work, seriously how? Interesting stuff.( And for the sake of the new novel, really interesting. You’ll have to wait and see why.)

For me it’s the music that’s important, not so much the live act. I use music to drown the world out so I can write. Certain songs will stick with me and they become the switch that engages my brain for work. When writing Terrorbyte it was all Bon Jovi, but maybe not what most people listen too. I chose tracks mainly from 100,000,000 Fans Can’t Be Wrong. Because that’s what worked for me during the process. You can clearly see what I was listening to while writing both books by checking out the chapter titles. (There are playlists on my website)

Of course the great thing about having so much music tied up with the books is that release party music was dead easy, simply a matter of compiling a playlist from all the CD’s piled up next to my desk!

[JET] All right – now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with  Paper or Plastic?

[Cat]  Paper  – renewable resource.

 [JET] Steak or Tofu?

[Cat] Steak – Tofu is poison. (Soy allergy and plus Soy is poison, lol)

 [JET] Beach or Mountains?

[Cat] Both – I like craggy cliffs overlooking the sea and mountains. From my windows I can see mountains. It’s awesome. My favorite place is Mahau Sound, beach surrounded by Mountains and high hills!!

 [JET] Country or Rock-n-Roll?

[Cat] Both – I love country music but I also love rock and heavy metal and blues and…well you get the idea!

 [JET] Classics or Modern?

[Cat] Both!

 [JET] Vamps or Wolves?

[Cat] Absolutely hate vampires. Can’t stand vampire books, movies, or anything mildly leaning toward vampires. Wolves I adore. Even the were variety. 🙂

 [JET] Zombies or Demons?

[Cat] Hard choice… I’m partial to zombies cos I know how to kill them (thank you Sir Peter Jackson). Demons are interesting, hard to kill, and downright evil. (although if it meant having Dean from Supernatural pop over…)

[JET]  Horror or Comedy?

[Cat] Both. Sometimes horror is comedy, albeit unintentional. (Preferring suspense/thriller over either but there is usually comedy somewhere.)

[JET]  Salty or Sweet?

[Cat] Both. I do use a lot of salt… I know, naughty, but in my defense we have no iodine occurring naturally in our soil so iodized salt is necessary. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it) Actually thinking about it… I like bitter chocolate, so sweet not so much.

[JET]  Coffee or Tea?

 [Cat] Both. I drink coffee all day and tea at night. Some will have you believe I prefer tequila over both, but in fact it’s Browns Brothers Dolcetto & Syrah that I find irresistible these days. But only after dark, and only on special occasions… ya know, to celebrate. The rabbit’s birthday, the cat’s birthday, anyone’s birthday, hitting number two on the Mobipocket suspense thriller best seller list!!

 

[JET]  Thank you for indulging me.  Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you’re working on now?  What’s next?

[Cat] I’m working on a re-vamping of book three, exacabyte. This is the bit I really enjoy, the re-vamping, editing, tweaking of stories and adding/ripping out of scenes. For me it’s more fun than the initial writing. Everything’s already there now, it’s just a matter of bringing some elements closer to the surface and maybe burying some others and throwing a good measure of blood at some walls.  

 Thanks for having me over Jane! I rather enjoyed your questions.

Cat xx

[JET] Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog.  Folks, you can find out more about Cat and her work at the following places: 

Blog  http://catconnor.blogspot.com/

Website http://catconnor.wordpress.com/

Publisher http://www.rebelepublishers.com/

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cat-Connor/76140493745

Next week I’ll be talking about my publishing journey and highlighting some June releases – have a great week!

Ciao.

JET

Blogging. . .

May 1 is tomorrow, so I figured I’d write this like it’s the first post in May, but before I get ahead of myself, I’d like to give a shout out to my husband on this last day of April. Happy Birthday honey! Enjoy Maine and I’ll catch you on Sunday.

Quite a few of my Backspace brethren have book releases in May so without further adieu, check out these titles this month: William Mills – A 30 DAY RETREAT: A PERSONAL GUIDE TO SPIRITUAL RENEWAL, Emily Winslow – THE WHOLE WORLD, Marie-Claude Bourque – ANCIENT WHISPERS, Robert Gregory Browne – DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN, Chris Grabenstein – ROLLING THUNDER, Boyd Morrison – THE ARK, and Marlys Pearson – HELPLESS. Congratulations folks and here’s to stellar sales!

 

 Now onto my blog, which I am transforming a bit over the next few months. I’m going to start bringing in guest bloggers and doing author interviews instead of just my aimless rambling, and I’m also going to pledge to more than once a week. I plan on mixing up the questions as well, to bring more fun and snap to the Q&A sessions and leave the same repetitive blog tour questions at the door. I also plan on letting my characters take the helm as well. So hang on for a wild ride!

So far I have a handful of author’s booked starting with C.R. Moss at the end of May and Lauren Baratz-Logsted in June. I’ve also got a commitment from Anita Philmar for July and am currently nailing down a date with Jeremy Shipp. I’ll be filling in the schedule over the next couple weeks and as you can tell, I’m not genre specific here, I go from romance to chick-lit, to YA – to middle grade all the way to horror, so whatever your preferences are, I hope you will find some mind bending and enlightening posts here!

Anyhow, that about wraps it up. I’m off to take my son out to dinner. It’s rare that he and I are left to our own devices without my daughter or husband around, so it just seemed fitting to celebrate with an ice cream sundae!

Ciao!

JET

Ok folks, pretend it’s Friday for just a minute. I was so intense in my quest to pound out 1k yesterday that I completely forgot about my blog. Oops. Sorry.

With that said, my first order of business is April shout outs: I’ve only got notice of two releases from my Backspace brethren and both roll out on April 6th: CLAUDE & CAMILLE: A NOVEL OF MONET by Stephanie Cowell and BETWEEN FRIENDS by Kristy Kiernan. So folks – check them out!

I expect the blogs to be short over April because I am involved in the April Backspace Marathon and have put out the 30k in 30 days goal for myself. That is very easy when I’m writing, however, I’m editing and trying to ADD that many words to two manuscripts that once comingled in a single novel. How am I doing it? I’m adding new scenes to up the ante and adding much more detail and internalizations to enhance the situation. So a thousand words a day is definitely a challenge!

Well, in the spirit of the marathon – I need to get back to work. Happy Easter everyone – hope you are enjoying this fabulous weekend!

JET

Patience, a virtue I lack . . .

I’m not very good at playing the waiting game. As a matter of fact I hate it in any aspect of my life. I’m thinking that comes from the utter control freak that resides at my core. I’ve learned to loosen up in a lot of aspects over the years, but impatience is not one that little pain in the ass will let go of.

There are a whole host of things I’m waiting for right now and they all have me on edge.

First, word from a publisher on my non-erotic thriller, Dark Reckoning. I’m trying to be patient – but it’s like asking a child who’s been waiting for the ice cream truck all day to wait at the back of the line because their mother hasn’t made her way to the curb with the money yet. Especially since I’ve worked out the cover with my favorite cover artist from down under, Willsin Rowe.

I’m waiting for a couple more author blurbs for Survival Games as well as the reviews to start rolling in – although I know on the review front that these can take up to 90 days – which is why I sent them out at the beginning of the month. All of which have me really nervous. The one blurb I did receive blew me away but I’m sure I’ll get mixed reviews from the masses because of the very dark subject matter. So I wait, with my nails bit down to the stub.

I’m also waiting to find out what’s next on the day job. What project are we going to tackle next? I don’t like ambivalent periods and yes we’re supporting a system we just implemented – which is an important task, but I’m getting anxious to start on the next creative challenge.

The last thing I’m waiting for is May 1 and the nice spring / summer weather – which don’t necessarily coincide. As I said last week – with the spring teaser, this has become a more pronounced want that I have to wait for. And with the return of the cold weather (we actually had snow flurries this morning) it just makes this that much worse.

Not one of these items is within my control and as I said before, the control freak in me is wigging out. More so this year than in the past – although spring is traditionally a restless time for me. Right now I’m feeling like a caged lion, pacing in my confines just waiting for the next chance at a great escape – or a tasty meal.

I just need to get through these last few days of March and then I’ll be knee deep in the Backspace April Marathon – which will take my mind off some of the idle restlessness. I’ve got at least 30k to add to the sequels to Dark Reckoning along with some refining editing before I can get them ready for submission and I have a few unfinished manuscripts that need attention.

I do have a few things to organize and iron out – like reaching out to bloggers to set up a blog tour for Survival Games – but unfortunately that won’t keep my restlessness at bay.

So folks . . . What do you do to keep your mind occupied when you’re impatiently waiting for something? Any words of advice, antic dotes, commiserations?

Also – anyone who has a book release in April, please shoot me a message so I can include you in my monthly shout outs!

Have a great weekend!
Ciao.

Happy February!

All right! It’s FRIDAY!!!

First before I get into this blog, I want to give some space to a couple Backspacers that have February releases: Christa Allan’s Walking on Broken Glass came out on February 1st and Carla Buckley’s The Things That Keep Us Here comes out on the 9th along with Lisa McMann’s Gone!

So Valentine’s Day is coming up in a little over a week and I haven’t the foggiest idea of what to do for my family. Maybe we’ll just go out to dinner as a family or something special like that for a change instead of doling out boxes of chocolate.

I have a ton of stuff to do tonight so I’m going to keep this short and sweet.

What is the most romantic Valentine’s Day excursion you’ve encountered?

The journey . . .

Another Friday – another blog. This time I asked my friends and fan base over at Facebook what they’d like me to talk about this evening. I got some great ideas but the first post intrigued me. For the others that piped in, I’ll tackle your ideas in subsequent Friday posts.

Anna Walls piped in with this gem:
As a relatively new author, I’m always intrigued with how my peers made that journey. Was it planned? When did you start planning if it was? That sort of thing. What did it feel like to see your own very first book in published form?

Was this planned – no not in the least, at least not the path my life took when I got married almost twenty one years ago. In college, I had dreams of being a writer, producer and director. My major was in Communications with a concentration in radio and television broadcasting. I loved it. I mean LOVED that world. When I got out of school, I went to work at a local television station in the capacity of a film editor. What that meant in the practical world is I reformatted movies to fit into the specific timeslots and took out scenes that were not suitable for broadcast television. I also helped out in the news room at times and on occasion wrote and directed kids news spots. It was a fun job, but it paid a pittance, so when the opportunity came to switch gears into the world of finance.

In all the years I worked and raised a family, writing was always in the back of my mind, but time just wasn’t there. But even during that time, my imagination stored all the ideas away into a “this might be interesting” file cabinet in my head.

The catalyst for change was in the beginning of 2007, my daughter asked the million dollar question.

If you could do anything, what would it be?

That was an easy question to answer. Write a book and get it published. And with that, my husband and kids gave the go ahead. For close to two years I wrote almost non-stop – every evening, every weekend, every vacation and I have eight manuscripts to show for that crazy brain dump. Since then I’ve written dozens of short stories, but my focus has been on refining those manuscripts.

I made the classic rookie mistakes with query letters, from the first batch which was really more like a typical business letter introducing myself and the stack of manuscripts I had written to the naivety of being sucked into those less than reputable publishers – luckily I got wise before I peeled off any cash.

The turn of everything happened when I met Lauren Baratz-Logsted on MySpace and she turned me onto Backspace (www.bksp.org) and the forum there. Talk about eye opening and humbling. I had a lot to learn and the folks there were exceptional at sharing knowledge and pushing me to write better, cleaner, more compelling prose.

That is when I started planning. I set up my own website, my own blog, branched out from MySpace to the other networking sites, and then started refining my pitch. I met the editor of Allegory and volunteered to be an associate editor on the E-zine and landed my first publishing contract myself. So now it’s a balance of branding my name, writing, editing and learning more about the craft. While I’d like to have an agent and get my more mainstream books in the hands of the big markets, I can’t complain.

As for actually holding my first book in my hand, it’s an amazing, surreal, joyous, unbelievable feeling that I can’t begin to describe.

Now all I need to do is find balance between my writing life and my family life. Once I find that, I’ll be golden.

Another week, another blog and this time I decided to focus on the Backspace Conference considering there are two weeks left to get the discounted registration rate.

I had an absolute blast at the conference and learned a great deal about the inner workings of the publishing world. In addition to meeting a whole host of writers, both published and those waiting for their big break, I had my first opportunity to meet agents face to face and hear what works for them and what doesn’t first hand.

Between the workshops and the chance to read the first pages of my book to an agent panel, it was an experience of a lifetime. And the bonus: getting to finally meet the friends that I had cultivated online face to face. That was a hoot!

I also understand that seven writers who attended last year obtained representation from the agents that were at the conference.

And if you’re interested in more information about Backspace or the confernce – here are the websites:

http://www.backspacewritersconference.com/ (Backspace Conference)
http://www.bksp.org. (Backspace, the Writer’s Place)

Well enough about me, tell me about your favorite conference!