elizabethwrites.com : the internet home of
Elizabeth Scott

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I can't remember if I mentioned this before or not, but I'm taking a class right now. As in, an actual class, the kind with homework and papers and everything. I wanted a change from tap (those of you who've been reading for a while--all three of you, know what I'm talking about), and I thought it might be nice to be back at a university, especially since I'm no longer working at one.

However, the homework thing? Okay, how did I forget about the whole having to read hundred of pages in a week thing? And papers? I haven't written a paper in years. I picture the first one I have to turn in coming back with nothing on except the words, "How did you ever get into this class?" written in bright red ink.

(As you can probably guess, I'm procrastinating on finishing my homework right now! Some 'study' habit you never forget...)

As usual, lots of people are saying interesting things about writing:

Maureen Johnson on what writers do all day. I admit it, I fangurl her like crazy, but hey, she writes amazing books *and* has one of the funniest blogs around. Go, read, laugh! And then buy one of her books. You won't be sorry, I promise.

Therese Fowler's posts are always interesting and articulate. This is one of my faves, as it sheds light on the idea that having an agent=selling a book.

Also from Therese Fowler, her list of top ten writing mistakes.

Charles Stross on life as a full-time writer.

Have a novel written and want to enter a contest that offers a chance for publication with Simon & Schuster? Then check this out.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I'm back from Kindling Words, which was truly inspiring. I got there late on Thursday (thanks to a bad accident just outside DC, it took over 11 hours for me to get there), mingled briefly (and with extreme zombie-like qualities--I was *exhausted*) and then promptly crashed.

On Friday, I attended a presentation and a couple of talks (and got good news about my dad, who was waiting for the results of some medical tests) and by late Friday afternoon, I felt ready to take on anything!

So I tackled a project that I've needed to work on for some time, and then promptly got sucked into it. I made a lot of headway (or at least I hope I have!) and though I ended up basically waking up Sunday morning going "Wait, where did Saturday go?" (before driving home--only 10 hours! yay!) it was totally worth it, and I'm so grateful I got a chance to attend the retreat.

And now on to other things, like this week's contest! This week, I'd like to know:

What's the one song you can't live without right now?

You can tell me by commenting here, or by sending me an email (elizabeth at elizabethwrites dot com) Replies must be in by midnight EST on Friday, February 2nd, and then I'll draw four names at random and send each of those four people a book! Though you can only reply once, you can reply no matter where you live (I will ship books overseas), or if you've won something from me in the past.

Books I'll be giving away are: Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita, Just Listen by Sarah Dessen, and Confessions of a Not It Girl by Melissa Kantor

And congrats to last week's winners: Lisa, Sawyer, Liz, and Caitlin!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Don't forget to tell me all about your latest, favorite book--not just because I want to know, but because you could win a book too!

I'm leaving for Vermont tomorrow, to attend Kindling Words, a workshop/retreat for writers of YA and children's books. It's my first time going, and I'm really excited about it.

Naturally, the weather has decided to try and thwart me, and it's snowing here. Now I know in some part of the country snow is treated with a shrug of the shoulders and some rock salt, but here it's a little different. Schools shut down, everyone goes to the grocery store to stock up on things like milk and toilet paper (Those two items are the one constant I always see people getting when it snows. Strange, strange combination) and traffic...oh, what snow does to traffic.

Before I was lucky enough to work at home, there were a couple of times where I'd be at work, it would start to snow, and we'd get to go home--and then I'd spend two hours or more trying to get there.

Anyway, with any luck, it'll stop snowing soon and tomorrow the roads will be clear. (And by clear, I mean clogged with the regular amount of traffic.) Because I will be headed toward Vermont!

Wait a minute...

I just looked out the window, and it isn't snowing anymore! In fact, the sun is out. Hmm. Perhaps I should blog about things I feel are trying to thwart me more often. Perhaps I have discovered the true power of blogging!

(But probably not.)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Since I'm going to be running weekly contests until May (when the Mega contest will begin), I thought this week we'd talk about one of my favorite things...books!

So, I'd love to hear all about your latest favorite book. What's the one novel you've recently read and loved so much that you told all your friends they had to read it too?

You can tell me by commenting here, or by sending me an email (elizabeth at elizabethwrites dot com) Replies must be in by midnight EST on Friday, January 26th, and then I'll draw four names at random and send each of those four people a book! Though you can only reply once, you can reply no matter where you live (I will ship books overseas), or if you've won something from me in the past.

Books I'll be giving away are: Getting Lost With Boys by Hailey Abbot, Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz, Diary of a Crush: French Kiss by Sarra Manning, and Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn by Sarah Miller.

And congrats to last week's winners: Alejandra, Augustina, Sammi, and Caroline!

Elsewhere, the writing speed discussion continues:

Here's John Scalzi's take

Sarah Monette offers some very sensible advice about writing speed, and writing in general

Tobias Buckell offers up some links on the same subject, as well as his own thoughts

Agent Jennifer Jackson weighs in on the subject as well

Caitlin Kiernan discusses the subject of writing speed as well, and has some very interesting things to say.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Don't forget this week's contest--let me know who inspires you!

I got a couple of cover flats in the mail yesterday, thanks to my amazing editor, and now I can share what the front *and* back cover of bloom look like. It's too large for me to post (and besides, I'm not a fan of even remotely largeish images posted to blogs--takes forever for them to load), but you can see it here. I think it's so pretty, and the quotes from Deb Caletti and Michele Jaffe still make me smile. (And always will!)

There have been a bunch of great blog entries about writing recently:

Justine Larbalestier on writing speed

Lynn Viehl on getting the most out of your writing time

"I'm saying, open the door that excites you, not the one you think you have to."

Monday, January 15, 2007

Last week I asked for your thoughts about contests, and the weekly one, where four people each win one book, was the overwhelming favorite. So, I'll be doing weekly contests from now up until my Mega May Contest.

Which leads me to....this week's contest! Since today is a holiday in memory of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I'd like to know who inspires you.

You can tell me by commenting here, or by sending me an email (elizabeth at elizabethwrites dot com) Comments must be in by midnight EST on Friday, January 19th, and then I'll draw four names at random and send each of those four people a book! Though you can only reply once, you can reply no matter where you live (I will ship books overseas), or if you've won something from me in the past.

Books I'll be giving away are: Icing on the Lake by Catherine Clark, Bass Ackwards and Belly Up by Elizabeth Clark and Sarah Fain, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, and The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson.

Also, as I mentioned last week, I drew four names at random (nothing beats slips of paper in a hat!) to each win a book as a thank you for voting about the contest situation. Congrats to Brittany, Jordyn, Natalie, and Autumn!

Friday, January 12, 2007

I have about three minutes to write this entry because I'm already running late, and if there's one thing I don't like, it's being late for things. Thankfully, my husband is like that too, otherwise I suspect we would have murdered each other about a week or so after we started going out.

On the other hand, it means we usually arrive extremely early for things, to the point where we sometimes sit in the car and watch people walking by and make up imaginary conversations for them. You'd be amazed at the number of secret agents who refuse to eat lima beans and work undercover as scrimshanders out there.

So, now I've got to go, but I leave you with some links:

Anna Genoese on what Tor's advertising/promo department does. An interesting look at very important aspect of the publishing industry.

a 45 page(!) report on what's now being called "Generation Next" (anyone currently aged 18-25)

David Amsen on first-time novelists, advances, and how publishing has changed over the years.

Nephele Tempest, of the Knight Agency, on the most important thing aspiring writers must do: Write.

Are you a fan or Degrassi: The Next Generation and Instant Star? (I am hopelessly addicted to the latter, and can't wait for the new season to start) If you are, be sure to check out this interview over at popgurls.com (Warning: contains spoilers for both shows)

And finally, a quiz after my own heart:

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

What Kind of Reader Are You?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Yesterday I went to see my allergist. I had, on a previous visit, confessed my super secret hope--that somehow, I might have miraculously become unallergic (I think I just made a word up there, but hey, it fits!) to chocolate--and so in addition to the usual stuff that happens when I go there, I had a skin prick test done to check.

A skin prick test is just what it sounds like. They take a little needle and scratch it across your skin, and if the area turns red and swells up, then you're allergic to whatever it is they've tested you with. They also do a control before you start, where they scratch you with a saline solution (which produces no reaction) and then with something that triggers the release of histamines (which is what happens when you interact with something you're allergic to, and why non-food allergies can be treated with antihistamines*)

Anyway, the scratch that was supposed to trigger a reaction did--the area got bright red and swelled up like it was supposed to. And that meant they could then test chocolate.

Which they did. And--of course--in no time at all that area of my arm got all tingly and then itchy and then bright red and lumpy. So I'm still allergic to chocolate. No cocoa beans or cocoa bean related products for me. Boo, I say. Boo!

But enough about that. Here are some interesting links:

Are you a teenager who likes to write? If you are, Mark Peter Hughes is running a writing contest

Tate Hallway on the life of a writer. The part the really resonated with me was this: "...it's that sensation new writers get when they're first published and people treat them like, well, authors for the first time. Except, what I'm discovering is that the feeling never seems to go away. I still wonder why people think that anything I wrote is more than just so many words on the page..."

Justine Musk on the important of reading as a writer.

Tess Geritsen on how everyone knows plenty of interesting things.

*the really crappy thing about food allergies is the "treatment" available for them. It's this: avoidance of the food. It sucks.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The winner of the dozen books contest is: C. O'Connor!

And now I have a question for you: I want to celebrate the fact that bloom (my first novel!) is coming out in four months, and although I'm planning to do a mega contest in May, when it's released, I'd like to celebrate up until then too!

So, up until the Mega-Contest! would you like to see either:

a. a monthly contest, where one person wins a dozen books?


b. weekly contests, where four people each win one book?

You can let me know by commenting here, or by sending me an email at elizabeth at elizabethwrites dot com

So let me know how you think, and I'll post the results next week. Also, to make it a little more interesting, I'll randomly pick four people from those who respond, and send them a book, because, let's face it, you can never have too many books. Right??

Also, some links of interest:

Sarah Monette, who writes gorgeous, lyrical fantasy novels, talks about rejection letters, as well as the difference between writing short stories and novels. There was a time where I *only* wrote short stories--and wrote them simply for fun. (I wrote for five years before I ever started thinking about writing for publication.)

I miss writing short stories, but for me--at least for now--writing novels takes up all my writing time. The short story market is a tight place, both in terms of payment and the ever-dwindling number of markets, and getting more so all the time, and though I miss the rush of being able to get a draft of a story done in a day (or a week. or a month. or six months.), I find there's just as much joy (but of a different kind) in telling a longer tale.

Agent Jennifer Jackson weighs in on rejection letters as well

Finally, Novel in 90 -- If your new year's resolution was to write a novel, or if you're working on one and want to share your progress with others, this could be the place for you. Participants commit to writing a novel of apprx 68,000 words in 90 days. My hat is off to everyone participating!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Right before the holidays, I got invited to be part of a promotion Simon & Schuster is doing for their first time authors. I was really excited about it, and it seemed like fun--I had to write up a little something about my book, and then read it over the phone to be recorded (isn't technology great?)

Anyway, I wrote up my blurb and practiced it until everyone I knew was thoroughly sick of listening to it. But I felt good about it! Or at least pretty sure I wouldn't make a total fool of myself!

The day I was supposed to do the recording was yesterday, and the time was 12 PM (high noon!) I felt fine in the morning, but around 11 AM, every time I looked at the phone my palms started to sweat.

"What in the world is going on?" I wondered and then realized...I had phone fright!

So, every time the phone rang, I jumped about ten feet and answered with something that sounded like "gtryyerr. I mean, um, you know, that word. Hello!"

Thankfully, I only spoke to a telemarketer, and the recorded message that kicked in when I picked up the phone was *very* understanding about my nervousness.

And then my editor called, and since she's fabulous and super nice, she calmed me down considerably, and then bam! I was off to the recording studio. While on the phone!

The guy who did the recording was also amazingly nice, and the process was simple enough. All I had to do was go "5, 4, 3, 2, 1" and then start my little spiel. So I did, though I had a very strong urge to yell "Blastoff!" after I did the countdown (I didn't, though. In case you were worried I might have.)

And then I was done! My little recording session was over, and I had managed to:

a. remember my name
b. remember the title of my book
c. talk at a normal rate and notlikeIusuallydowhichislikethisonlyfaster


If I get a copy of the recording, I'll be sure to post it on the site, because there's even a little bit from bloom in it.

Interesting links:

Tess Gerritsen on how writing one book is just the start of a writing career

Sales Tracking: New Ways to Drive Yourself Absolutely Crazy by Karyn Langhorne, and the title sums up the article very nicely. I'm looking forward to her next piece, on how publishers track sales.

Want to see where Ann Brashares lives? Now you can. And okay, WOW. My whole house could fit in her hallway!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I can't believe it's 2007! I mean, I can, because it is, but 2006 really seemed to fly by. The holidays were pretty much a total blur for me because my husband and I spent most of them in the car driving back and forth to visit various relatives. The best was getting to meet my new nephew. He's so cute! He's only about a month old, though, so when I held him I was terrified I was going to drop him. He was so small! And so fragile looking! My brother swore to me that babies are tougher than they look but I think he might have just said it because I kept saying "Am I holding him right? AM I?" and he was afraid I'd wake the baby up.

My dog (for those of you who've asked, here's a photo of her*) was so tired out from the excitement of traveling (new places to sniff! more people to pet her!) that when we got home, she slept for about two days. Which isn't that different from how she normally acts, now that I think about it, except she snored even more loudly than usual.

I've had a couple of people write to me and ask about writing and finding an agent and stuff over the past few weeks, and I wanted to repost some links that I found really helpful when I started thinking about writing for publication:

Holly Black's Writing Resources page -- full of fabulous information that covers just about everything you'd ever want to know about writing.

John Scalzi's Even More Long-Winded (But Practical) Writing Advice -- From Scalzi's blog, Whatever, this entry is blunt, and, as the title says, very practical, though it's less about the act of writing and more about being a writer. I first read this about a month before I started writing bloom, and though there are some commenters who quibble with his advice, I personally found it very helpful, and reread the entry several times as I wrote the book.

Top Ten Quik-Hints -- I admit I'm not a huge fan of the title (So 'quik' it forgot the 'c'???) but this very wonderfully concise list contains great advice about writing.

*Okay, those of you who've been to my website are now probably wondering why my dog doesn't look anything like the dog in the picture on the bio page. And also if my dog is possessed, but I swear she isn't, it was just the flash from the camera. (However, if you bring pizza around my dog, she does tend to spin around in circles in the hopes of getting a little piece, and then she does sort of look possessed. But she isn't! Really!)

Anyway, the deal with the dog in the photo on the website is that he isn't my dog. (!) He was the photographer's dog, and he was there when I was doing the shoot, and since I kept petting him (he was so sweet!), he started wandering into the shots in the hopes that I'd pet him some more. The picture you see was taken when he first came up to me while I was trying to smile and not look like I was freaked out about having my picture taken, and I started laughing and actually looked, you know, relaxed! And happy! So I ended up using it on the site.