Saturday, December 28, 2013

Prepping for 2014: Contests, critiques, and accountability

WOW, my brain is still buzzing from the whirlwind of Christmas. Or maybe its the eggnog. Either way, it was wonderful to have my parents in town and celebrate our savior's birth and the end of a wonderful year.

But Emily, you say, its only December 28th! That is true, but I am already focusing on 2014, setting up myself for success. The first step is entering MOON DAUGHTER RISING in another contest, Sun vs. Snow. A chance for my query to shine and MDR's first pages to snag some attention.  For all my writing friends, check out more on the contest here:

The next set up for success is something I can't take all the credit for. I managed to meet, net stalk and eventually snag an awesome new critique partner! Everybody wave and shout out to Libby Webber (check out her website here).  She had been helping me whip several of my manuscripts into shape, and I have been returning the favor.

What else can I do to give 2014 the jump start it needs? Write! Pound the keyboard until my fingers tingle and my eyes cross.  And I need the accountability. So can all of my friends and family just swing by my facebook page or blog and simply ask once and a while "What have you written lately?"  That will help a lot!

Merry belated Christmas to you all, and a writely new year!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Query letter feedback please!

Hi there!

So I have completely revamped the query letter I send to agents after the mentors of the Pitchwars contest gave me feedback in my rejection emails.  I am hoping you can tell me if you think this would be a good inside cover of a book that makes you want to read it! Please comment below and let me know your thoughts!

Dear agent,
I am seeking representation for my debut middle grade novel MOON DAUGHTER RISING (32,200 words). Twelve year old, Native American Annalee has no idea her missing dad is a captive in the spirit world, or that she is a descendant of the Man in the Moon.  But when a man-eating, abominable ice witch pursues her, she discovers both facts.  Armed with a crescent talisman and aided by new-found friends, she sets out to rescue her dad.
If the witch captures Annalee, her cruelty will rule both worlds with eternal chaos and fear.  If Annalee kills the witch, her dad will die too.  Outwitting the witch will force Annalee to face the truth of her heritage and embrace the spirit of the moon daughter rising within.
MOON DAUGHER RISING is rooted in Micmac tribal myth and culture, and features several of their legends.  It may appeal to fans of Bruce Coville’s UNICORN CHRONICLES and Madeleine L’Engle’s A WRINKLE IN TIME.  Native American tribes have been a fascination of mine ever since visiting my grandfather in the southwestern U.S. and experiencing the Casa de Verde cliff dwellings as a child.  There seems to be a major lack of novels that invite young readers into their worlds.  I hope you see this novel as a solution to this deficit.
Thank you for your time and consideration,

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Not a Pitchwars mentee....Now what?

For two weeks, I was rubber cemented to the twitter feed in hopes of being picked by a pickwars mentor. But alas, MOON DAUGHTER RISING and I are still on our own.  I want to thank the three mentors that gave me feedback via email. It was super fabulous of you to do that even though it wasn't required.  And one in particular confirmed that Native American subjects in the middle grade genre are currently being seeked by agents and publishers.

Disappointment is still hovering over me, and I keep thinking "Now what?"  The feedback I have gotten varies so much, I really don't know where to go from here.  Obviously my query needs desperate help.  Should I start there?  And once I get to the manuscript, how should I rewrite it?

The next few months are going to be packed with, well, packing as we prepare for the big move in March.  I think I better set some goals so I can stick to them.  Will you all help keep me accountable?

  • Finish Dom Sanders novel first draft by Christmas.
  • Edit and rewrite Dom Sanders novel by January 14th.
  • Rewrite MOON DAUGHTER RISING's query and synopsis and research more agents to submit to by Dec 31st.
  • Submit Dom Sanders to Kitsap Writer's Group for critique on February beta meeting.
  • Finish rewrite of MOON DAUGHTER RISING by February 15th.
  • Resubmit MOON DAUGHTER RISING to agents in early March.
  • Just for kicks, get writing on the third novel I have started, SAMANA'S FLAIR

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Gift of Words

We all have it... that moment when we question the validity and quality of the story we are writing. Will it ever be perfect? Will it ever get the attention we know it deserves? Will an agent ever give it, and me, a chance?

In my case, with a 2013 Pitchwars mentor fall in love with mine as much as the few others who have read it for me before I submitted it?

Even the mentors (read: Joy McCullough)  chirped on twitter about the normalcy of self-doubt and the little things that pull you back from the overwhelming "writerly" gloominess.

I was so there.  As I lay in bed last night, my last conscious thought was a prayer: God, please make it clear to me whether writing is really what I am supposed to be doing.

I awoke to a crazy morning full of mommy stuff to do: make breakfast, get out the door to run errands, and finally to have some adult time at my local MOPS group.  This particular day, the leadership were having a Christmas party and we were asked to bring ornaments for an exchange.

It was a frenzy of giddy woman racing for the tree dandy of their choice.  I sat there mostly under the same cloud from the night before, thoughts still lingering on Pitchwars and my unfinished NANO novel, which I have nearly given up on. (After an amazing 50k accomplishment? What was wrong with me?)  I was one of the last to pick an ornament, so I had the pick of the pack.  The only ornament that had caught my attention was a simple glittering snowball I had seen from afar.  But I figured what the heck.

I traded a snowman bulb for the beautiful green box I knew the snowball was snuggled into.  When I opened it to see it up close, I realized that it was not only homemade, but it was from pages of a book, a gift of words covered in glitter and made in love.  I stared at it a moment, utter shock written all over my face, until I realized that this was the small thing Joy McCullough had spoken about.  My confirmation topped with a loopy, hemp bow.

This picture doesn't do the sparkles justice.

And I whispered a prayer of thanks.

Writing's what I am meant to do.  And short of God, there is nothing that will stop me from living my dream.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Pitchwars Mentee Bio

My older daughter Brylie and I on a balcony of Pike's Place, Seattle

E.G. Moore is a poet, freelance writer, and storyteller (the first, THE OWL THAT SAID RUFF, her mom still has recorded on a cassette tape.)  She is an active member of Kitsap County Writer’s Group, For Pete’s Sake Writers Group, and an email writer’s response group. When she’s not telling “Mommy Made stories” to her two daughters or nagging her husband to edit her latest manuscript, she can be found preparing ice breakers for her next MOPS meeting, attending bible study, or on a long, plot-refreshing jog.

I'm not going to lie.  I am tweet-stalking the Pitchwars mentors I submitted to on this, my first ever Pitchwars participation. In fact, 2013 is the first year I have participated professionally in anything related to being a writer, except the actual writing. I have been writing since I could string together words to make sentences.

Why you should choose me:

1. I am a very determined person.  In fact, my first college job only happened because I am pretty sure that the Manager at Pier 1 Imports was tired of me showing up randomly.  At least if she hired me, she would know when to expect me.  Need another example? I just won NANO and I had never participated in it before. It was the longest and most exhilarating month of my life!

2. I am willing to slice and dice my manuscript to bits if it means it will be better.  I only follow this rule with books; Children and exquisite cuisine are exempt.

3. I am a hard worker.  I won't stop editing and conversing with my mentor until my fingers have bled, my eyes are twitching, and that manuscript is shiny as a new penny.

4. I am a team player.  My mentor will be esteemed and more then a mentor, she will be a friend and probably part of my life forevermore.

5. I need the help!  I know my manuscript isn't perfect, and my query is a stinking mess.  But every thing that a mentor teaches me will be more then a quick fix.  I am going to condense their expertise and suggestions into my brain like a biological zip drive.

6. I have an over abundant love for exclamation points!!!! See!?!?! We can count them in my manuscript together!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why you should choose my MG novel MOON DAUGHTER RISING:

1.  There is an unhealthy lack of fiction for middle grade readers that weaves the culture and myths of Native American tribes into their stories.  I am enchanted with their ways, and want to teach the youth of the world with my stories.

2. The theme and lesson I embedded in my plot is so smooth, you could mix it with sugar and make cookies.

3. Social platforms are my dominion.  Meeting people and connecting with them in a very personal way comes naturally to me, and so does talking about my novel because...

4.  ... I absolutely love, Love, LOVE this story.  I know, I know, every author says this but for me it is more then loving my creation.  I love why I wrote it (to teach my daughter how naughty telling lies is). I have loved my protagonist since I first wrote about her (and I have hated a couple in the last year and rewritten them).  I love how much of my creative juices spattered and oozed through the manuscript pages.  And most of all, I loved rewriting it.  I don't think many authors can say that!

Thanks for swinging in! Please leave a comment and chirp at me on twitter!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Starting Decmeber off with a zoom.... and chocolate!

Wow! All I can say about November is wow. And December holds even more.

I won NANO with 50,009 words at around 7pm at my local write in, and didn't even finish Dom Sanders story! I am still chugging away at it, and I dread the day I finish because then I will have to slice it apart with a bright red, Christmas pen. No way any agent is going to take me seriously with a middle grade novel that is over fifty thousand words!  Guess I have no excuse now not to reach writing goals.  No one ever said I wasn't a determined sort of person. In fact, all my parents would confirm it.

Of course, I didn't stop there.  Literary four hours later I began prepping MOON DAUGHTER RISING query letters for Pitchwars (If you don't know what that is and you are a writer, check it out here!  Brenda Drake is amazing!).  Fingers, toes, eyes, and nose crossed that one of the four A-WE-SOME mentors fall in love with this story as much as I do, and we can team up and rock the socks off the competition. And no, I am NOT trying to sweet talk my way in (chocolate anyone? teeheehee).  I would never do that. But seriously, I have fudge.

And of course, I have not one, but two writing groups I am active in, and Kitsap Writer's Group's next meeting is a christmas party too.  We are all writing a Christmas flash fiction piece.  I just finished mine.  Did anyone out there know that Santa was seduced by a vampire and conceived a child?  I didn't either until I wrote it half and hour ago.   I put an excerpt below for all my readers!  Would love some comments!

Thanks for reading!

E.G. Moore

I saw a hooded figure holding a light go around a corner of Santa’s workshop, and I grew suspicious.  It was way past curfew. No one should be up so late.  And why would they? We had worked hard all year and deserved our two day nap.
But I was curious, and furious.  Why did this person, whoever they were, have to interrupt my sleep? And why did they not need their own?  I grabbed my robe and wrapped it around my body before heading to the door.  I envied the deep breathing of my fellows still tucked into their beds.  I pushed through the first set of doors and waited for them to close before breaching the second set.  An arctic wind slapped me back.  I put my head down and raced like a bull around the same corner and rammed the person hard before sprawling on the ground.
“Why are you out past curfew?” wailed a female voice.
“I could ask you the same question!” I said from the ground.
“Bristle, is that you?” two mittens pulled the hood down to reveal the pale face of Chelsea Claus. But her eyes, her once beautiful blue eyes, burned red and stale.
“Yes, it’s me.  Are you okay?”
“No,” she stated.
“What’s wrong?”
“I can’t watch my father give presents to little human brats another year!  For centuries I have watched him and never understood how he could stand it: The dirty fireplaces, the horrible weather, the naughty list growing longer each year yet still giving presents to all of them.  He deserves better than this.  And I am going to do something about it.”  Her eyes flashed and popped like a bonfire as she spoke.  But then they simmered down and she said, “You have always been a dear friend.  Will you help me?”

Monday, November 18, 2013

Week Two Blue, Week Three Glee

So I am not going to beat around the bush, but dive in and tell you that Week Two of National Novel Writing Month had me thinking I would never meet this crazy goal. I missed like three days of writing (which in NANO terms is like six thousand words) and I seriously didn't think I would get back on track.  I had submitted the first portion to my critique group, and Tuesday night I got their feedback.  And feedback creates mental changes to the manuscript, and changes transform me into a raging, raving edit-aholic.  I was fighting my inner editor so bad, it took all my will power not to start reading my manuscript from the beginning and rewrite, brutally thrashing the words I had already claimed.

Flash forward to Saturday.  I told myself it as time for a marathon. With my NANO support group and MLs, I pushed hard for 6000 words. I only made it to 3500, but that made me more determined to write on Sunday, which I did even though my entire family managed to contract some sort of bug that had us coughing and sniffling for our very sanity.

Then I awoke today.  Today was a big day. Not only did Week Three of NANO start with updates on the website, words of encouragement via the posts, but I finally wrote a scene so alive and clear in my mind, that I simply couldn't stop writing. Well, until my husband asked me to, begging for a respite together before the boob tube.

So now I am all caught up and reignited to pump out those words, jump start my creative juices, and breath life back into my story. And of course, I have to share a tidbit with you, my favorite scene in a while. So enjoy, and please don't be afraid to comment below!

             The tinkling of the bells on the door handle made Larry look up from the counter.  “Well, hello there Dominic! And how can I help you today?”
            “I need a birthday gift for a girl,” I stated with as much adult like posture as possible.
            Larry’s thick mustache arched into a grin, and he winked at me.  “What did you have in mind?  We have stuffed animals, some nice puzzles back there. Or maybe a doll?”
            I moved to the counter and said, “Actually, I have eighty dollars to spend.”  I smirked at his reaction, a wide-eyed response.  “I was thinking some jewelry, or maybe some CDs.”
            Larry ruffled himself back to normal, reminding me of an owl.  He held his hand out to the counter to his right and said, “Over here is most of our jewelry in that price range, and that case,” he pointed to a tall upright glass case at the front of one aisle, “Also has some nice pieces.  Just let me know if you want to see anything in particular.”
            I walked over to the taller case and looked at rows and rows of earrings, necklaces, pins, and rings.  A lot of them seemed like something Grandma would wear, big and bulky and flowery.  Nothing reminded me of Emma, not even a little bit.  I began to wonder if maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
I walked back toward the glass counter Larry had indicated and noticed a shelf in one aisle lined with rows and rows of little porcelain jewelry boxes.  One in particular caught my eye.  It was a heart shaped, lacy looking box topped with a couple daisies and a brightly painted purple and yellow butterfly with its wings spread.  And on a stand just behind it were five or six pairs of gold earrings, and one heart shaped pair with two small crystals on each screamed out to me to buy them.
“Perfect!” I muttered.
“I’m sorry, did you say something Dominic?” Larry asked as he rounded the corner, a shoe box in hand.
“Yes, I found the gift I want to buy. How much is this box and those earrings?” I asked, pointing to them.
“The earrings are twenty five, the box is fifteen, so somewhere around forty dollars all together.”
“Can you wrap them for me?”
“Sure can,” Larry replied, smiling.  He picked them up and headed behind the counter and to the far side where his wrapper and tape sat ready to do their jobs.  He dug through a pile of boxes, looking for one just about the right size and settle on a .22 shell box, which he lined with lots of tissue paper.  He placed the earrings in the butterfly box, then nestled the treasure into the ammo box.
I watched all this from the front counter by the cash register. I looked at all the little things hanging and stacked close by, and saw a King Size Cookies and Crème Hersey’s Bar.  And I remember Emma saying she wasn’t allowed to eat candy or drink soda.
“Excuse me, could you please put this in there too?” I asked Larry, holding the chocolate bar out.  He turned and took it, grinning at me in a knowing way.
“She’s a lucky girl!” he said, fishing hard for some tidbit of gossip.
“No, not lucky. I just gotta get out of the dog house,” I replied all serious and looked down at my shoes.
Larry started hooting really loud, making his mustache dance on his lip.  His shoulders synced with it and his eyes scrunched.  Before long he reminded me of a thinner, more familiar Santa Claus, jiggling and jolly.  He wiped tears from his eyes, and said, “Boy, you were so solemn when you said that, I may just have to give you a discount.”