Sunday, May 22, 2011

The importance of meetings

About two years ago I joined weighter watchers. Within a month I learned their point system and what foods needed to be pulled out of my diet. I have a scale at home, I knew the program, and I changed my diet. So why was I still going to the meetings? The answer is the same for anybody losing weight using weight watchers. At weight watchers you have to go on the scale. Knowing you are weighing in at the end of the week keeps you from eating those cookies, cakes, fast foods or whatever your weakness is.

Yesterday I attended the NJRW meeting. The hospitality officer always gives out chocolate hershey kisses for success stories and rejection stories. The bigger success stories she gives lovely carnations out. I sat there with no reason to receive a success or a rejection candy. Why - because I didn't put myself out there this month to agents or editors. The desire to try forced my brain to imagine a new plot. I can't believe one meeting gave me a new idea. I have my outline ready, and I have written the first 1,000 words of what I am hoping is a 60,000 word story. Next meeting I will raise my hand and tell about my progress. I am so happy I joined NJRW and am an active participant. My writer friends I recommend you try attending a writer's meetings. It does make a difference.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Favorite Mother's books

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms and women who took care of children whether your own or for someone. My FB friends all write they have the best mom. I am not going to argue, but my mom is in the top 1% of great.

A fond memory I have with my mom is reading time. My grammar school years I was a horrible reader. I was placed in extra help classes. My mom, yes a school teacher, would read with me at night. We read all the Little House on the Prarie books, A Taste of Black Berries, Dan and Anne, and I'm sure I'm missing some from that year. My reading improved and I started reading books on my own.

Now as a grown up we read the same books, sometimes. Her favorites right now are:

Water for Elephants - flashback of a man's time at the circus with an elephant named Rosie.

House of Riverton - set in present time and flashback. About a granddaughter learning about her grandmother

Garden Spells - contempory story regarding girls with magical powers.

I loved all of these books also. I'm happy to have a relationship with my mom that books are a part of. What are some of yours and your mom's favorite books?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Interview with Jenn Nixon, Author of Wild and Wicked

Veronica Chance’s sister has gone missing. In order to find Valerie, “Roni” takes a waitressing job at Foxxes Gentlemen’s Club, the last place her sister worked, to search for clues. First day on the job, the club owner makes her give a lap dance to his VIP guest, Mr. Storm. Veronica’s instant attraction to him spells trouble and threatens to blow her cover.

Former detective Mason Storm can’t deny the connection he feels for the wild and mysterious Roni. During the lap dance, he learns about her missing sister, offers his help, only to be rejected. Not ready to give up, he confronts her again, adding in the fact he’s see her sister in the club, but she denies him once more.

When Veronica calls, acting rather strangely, Storm finds her at the club, drugged and giving a lap dance to a kid at an illegal after party.  Grateful for the help, Veronica comes clean about who she is, and accepts Storm’s offer to help. Together, they unravel the clues surrounding Valerie’s disappearance, uncover the horrible truth behind the illegal after parties, all the while exploring and succumbing to their lustful desires for each other.

Coming May 15th from ""

LaSpada: Why did you choose to write romance? 

Nixon: Funny thing, I didn’t actually choose to write romance, it seems to creep into everything I write on its own. The way I look at it, good fiction mirrors reality, regardless of genre. You have to connect readers to characters and they need to seem real. Love is part of life, so why ignore it? So I don’t. If the characters need some romance, I give it to them! 

LaSpada: Where do your ideas come from?

Nixon: My ideas come from dreams, conversations/rants with friends, but mostly they happen at random and hit me completely by surprise. I think it’s probably a culmination of life experiences, my crazy imagination, and everything I’ve seen, read, or heard over the years filtering through my head and making strange and interesting connections.

LaSpada: Was self publishing a smart decision for your career so far?

Nixon: I’ve only self-published one book, a YA Sci-Fi novel. I did it mostly for friends and family so they could read it. I may do it again in the future!

LaSpada: Are you a plotter or pantster?

Nixon: Pantser 95% of the way! I usually have my characters and a minimal plot in my head before I write anything. From there, I let the story go where it needs to go. 

LaSpada: Do you use music in the background when writing? If so what type do you listen to?

Nixon: I always have music in the background when I’m writing. These days I’m listening to a lot of angsty Alternative Rock, but I am a fan of just about everything from Country to Easy Listening to R&B and Pop.

LaSpada: Are you looking for an agent? If so, what type of personality would be a good fit with you?

Nixon: I’m not actively seeking an agent, but I have a few queries out right now. I would love an agent who loves my work. A good sense of humor helps too!

LaSpada: What organizations do you belong to for writing?

Nixon: I belong to Romance Writers of America and Liberty State Fiction Writers. I hope one day to get in to the Science Fiction and Thriller groups!

LaSpada: Did you ever blush while writing a scene? How were you able to complete writing it?

Nixon: Oh yes I do! It gives me a good indication that the scene is working! I want to see how it will end, so I don’t stop and just keep plugging away.

LaSpada: Do you write at home or out of the house? 

Nixon: I write at home, at my desktop. I have a window though, so that’s nice!

LaSpada: Do you have a critique partner? How did you meet them?

Nixon: I met a group of ladies at NJRWA a couple of years ago, we had a group for a little while, but travel became a factor. I probably need another one!

LaSpada: Do you use a notebook first or is everything done on the computer?

Nixon: I do take notes about my stories before going to the computer. Usually it’s character names, traits, looks, etc, and some ideas about the plot.

LaSpada: What's a typical writing day like for you?

Nixon: When I’m in a writing groove I can write all day…breaks in between of course, but if it’s going good, I don’t stop. Sometimes I have to force myself to sit down and write, if it gets me back into the groove, I go with it. If not, I try another day.

LaSpada: How many manuscripts have you written?

Nixon: I’ve written about 15-16 manuscripts to completion. Several are very bad, but I’ve still got them!

LaSpada: Do you have any interest in doing a book trailer for your books? Why or why not?

Nixon: I’m not sure about book trailers yet. Unless you can pay or know how to make them super well they can look cheesy if not done right.

LaSpada: Do you run contests for your books? Where can we go to enter them?

Nixon: I will be running contests for my novella and novel releases later this year. Best place to go for that would be my blog: my website: 

LaSpada: How do you build a character and does setting become another character in your story?

Nixon: This one is tricky because there’s no set answer for me. Sometimes the character’s name comes first, or what he or she does, or what they look like. From there, I try to make them different from other characters I’ve written, one may be sarcastic, another shy, but usually I just give them minimal details and let them tell me who they are. In one of my Sci-Fi manuscript, I would say the setting became another character. I think that happens automatically when you world build. 

LaSpada: What advice would you give to someone just starting to write?

Nixon: Research, Read, and Write. The best thing anyone can do for themselves if learn about publishing and writing. There are rules upon rules out there and it’s good to have a firm grip on some of the major ones out there. The internet is fantastic for research! You can learn everything from grammar to query letters to passive voice and promotion.

LaSpada: What type of promotion do you do and why?

Nixon: I am active on Facebook, Twitter and my blog. They are all great for free promotion. I also do a bit of PR on the side, so I usually send out a press release if I’ve got something to promote.
  LaSpada: If your book is made into a movie what actor would you like to see play the lead?

Nixon: For Wild & Wicked, hands down, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, or as I like to call him Papa Winchester. I based Mason Storm on him, looks-wise anyway.

BIO: Jenn Nixon resides in New Jersey. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Liberty State Ficton Writers. Her love for thrillers and suspense often finds its way into her novels whether they are Science Fiction or Romance. When not writing, Jenn spends her free time reading, absorbing pop culture and current events, and social networking online. For more information please visit or

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Treat Query Letter liking finding a dress in your closet

Yesterday's NJRW meeting was a special event. We had two editors and one agent talk to us as well as answer our questions.

I didn't only listen to what they told us to do or not do. I watched them, after all I am a writer. Two of them wore wristwatches. Couldn't see one she had long sleeves on. They wore black business suits, spoke with their hands, made facial expressions, cracked jokes, etc.  My point is they aren't terrible scary monsters. They are people with needs, wants and likes. Follow them on twitter, read their blogs, go to places they are speaking at, and learn what they like.

I've heard plenty of them say they get anywhere from 100 to 150 query letters a day. The agent said most of them are reviewed by her assistant, unless one stands out, then she'll read it first herself. Obvious question we had how do they stand out. She shrugged and I saw it to mean,  I can't help you there.

Maybe I have an overworked imagination, but I thought about standing in front of your closet trying to decide what to wear on a day you don't feel like getting dressed. You could have hundreds of clothes in that closet and none of them will appeal to you.  How many pieces of clothes get an automatic no and you move on to inspect the next piece? Sometimes you stop, consider and move on.  When you finally decide on a dress to wear it comes off the hanger and makes you smile. You are pleased with your choice.

What will please agents and editors?

I wish I knew. I do know I am getting closer to the answer, because I am listening to what they are looking to buy or represent.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Elizabeth Wickham views against love

I live in 1850 and I am fifteen years old.  My family has gone off west to look for gold.  I am now living with my brother Hank and his wife Charlotte.  I am a horrible child because I like how Hank treats my sickness better than how my folks handled it.  I am allowed to roam the farm and read or write by my favorite tree.

I've been sick for a while now, about a year.  I met the love of my life shortly after my family left.  Jesse is great.  I feel so protected when I am with him.  He knows exactly what I can and can't do.  He holds me in his arms, and kisses me it's as if I am normal again.  I do not feel sick or pity when I am with him.  I never realized how selfish I was being.

Thank Heavens for noisy gossipy townswomen.  They let me know.  He's giving up a future with a healthy wife who can give him a family and help him on the farm.  The doc says as long as I take my medicine the seizures won't get worst.  They won't get better either.  I broke it off with Jesse.  Told him it's for his own good.  Jesse has too much honor to just go away.  He still looks out for me any chance I see him.  I hope he stops soon.  I can still remember the first time he told me he loved me.  He backed me up against a tree and kissed me hard.  His hands didn't stay on my waist like they usually did.  They were all over me like pa's trousers get horse manure all over them.  He then showed me he curved our names on the tree inside a heart.  I think I loved him even more than I already had.

I have to stop thinking of that day.  A sick girl can't expect a man to give up everything for her.

Anybody want to give Elizabeth some advice?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Character Traits when do they belong?

I read a tweet by an agent which advised not to make a character have a trait without a need for it.  So my question is when do you think it is needed?

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins always has St. Clair biting on his pinky finger.  She describes this so well I can actually see him biting it.  It is not over used in my opinion because he bites on it when he is nervous or thinking.

Colin Bridgerton by Julia Quinn is always eating.  His family and friends know to ring for food anytime he visits.  I've seen alot of characters both on television and in books that love to eat food.  Like the Gilmore Girls and their coffee habit.

Do any of your characters have habits/traits and how do you know they are needed?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Status on my 2011 resolutions

Some of them are not going so well.  My writing progress thankfully is not one of them.  I have joined NJ Romance Writers Chapter.  If you live in New Jersey and like to write come to a meeting.  They are extremely friendly and welcoming.  Which for someone as shy as me, it is appreciated.

The meeting made me realize I have not submitted to an agency since October.  I plan on correcting that this weekend.  As well as register for RWA National's conference on the 18th.

I'm new a blogging, but as soon as I learn more I'd love to have people come and visit me here.