Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"June Is Bustin' Out All Over" Book Giveaway

Get your minds out of the gutter, sickos. "June Is Bustin' Out All Over" happens to be a song from the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, Carousel
And, okay. It was also a euphemism in my choir class in high school (for probably what you were thinking when I called you a sicko), pretty much the minute my choir director introduced it---and its gems of lyrics (many of which warrant a THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID after them)---to my class.

It's JUNE. . .

Well, it's actually May 31 when I'm posting this (doh!), but I need to tell you about this before June actually starts, so for all intensive purposes*, just humor me and pretend it IS in fact June.

. . . and that marks the beginning of the Annual Schultz Summer of Crazy. 
Actually, it started in May this year. Oh crap. 

Anyway, I'm giving away a buttload of books and ARCs (some signed!!)  to make room for all the new swag I'll be stealing taking home from RWA at the end of the month.

What does that mean to you?   
Well, in honor of June busting out all over *giggles* and in celebration of the new bloggity blog, it means a lot of peeps are going to walk away with free shizz, yo!

June 1-11
I'll be giving away 10 young adult novels

June 12-25
I'll be giving away 12 romance novels

UPDATE: First winners announced 6/2 -- enter by 11:59 p.m. 6/1!

What are they??

The Biebertastic YA books and ARCs up for grabs (yeah, they have nothing to do with Justin Bieber, but I figured if I used his name, the peeps would come a-flockin'):
 Thirteen Reasons Why -- hardcover!
ARC of Linger -- SIGNED by Maggie Stiefvater!!
 The Boy Book -- hardcover + bookmark!!
 The Debs: Love, Lies and Texas Dips -- SIGNED by Susan McBride + bookmark!!!

 Forget You: SIGNED by Jennifer Echols!!
 Frogs & French Kisses -- SIGNED by Sarah Mylnowski!!
 Glimmerglass -- SIGNED by Jenna Black!!
ARC of Swoon!! *swoons*
Nothing Like You -- hardcover & SIGNED by Lauren Strasnick (although she accidentally signed this one to me too . . . but it's still cool!)
 ARC of Picture the Dead! (the cover is different than this one)

 Pure -- hardcover!
 Rhymes with Witches -- hardcover!
 ARC of Shine!
 ARC of The Anti-Prom!
 The Curse of the Wendigo -- hardcover!
ARC of Will Grayson, Will Grayson!

How does it work?
So. Easy. All you need to do to enter is be a follower of this blog *bats eyes* & fill out the entry form (<--- click for the link!) for a chance to win. It would also be nice if you left a comment on this post, so I know you're planning on entering -- just in case there's a snafu or something (this is my first contest using an "entry form," so I want to prepare for whateversville.)

I'll draw TWO winners per contest day. If you don't win the first time, you'll need to stop back to enter again to be eligible for the next drawing.

But, um, do I have to pimp out your blog?
You don't *have* to, but it would be muy nice if you did---and it will earn you some extra entries as well. It's not required, but details are on the entry form (found here).

U.S. & Canada residents only. Sorry international loveys---it's just that I'm sending out soooo many books!

That's it, guys---hope you all enter! And if young adult books aren't your thing, please stop back June 12 when I kick off the hotttt romance giveaway!  *sizzles*

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday FUN -- and Fist Bumps

I've decided, on this new blog, I'm going to do "In the Blogosphere" posts every *other* week instead of *every* week, to allow for some fun -- and frivolity. After all, it is Friday and summer, for writing out loud

First, I want to give a couple of fist bumps to some awesome people.
You betta recognize! (Yes, this, sadly is my most badass face -- which is why I covered most of it!)
  • James River Writers.*  OK, so that's a slew of folks, but the whole organization is pretty amazing, and everyone I have ever met there has been super fab. Among them:
    • Kris Spisak, for working wonders every month, putting together fabulous "Writing Shows" -- and especially for being kind enough to have me sit on this month's panel
    • My fellow panelists, Web expert Frank Petroski & online platform and marketing consultant/Twitter guru Dan Blank, from whom I learned a lot last night
    • Bill Blume, our fantastic moderator/everyone's favorite Web cartoonist, who always makes Richmond a B-L-A-S-T
FUN (and Dorky)

Last week, I was Tweeting with Frankie Diane Mallis (another fist bump!) about the Spice Girls, which got me thinking of songs that might be embarrassing (or awesome?) to admit I loved (okay, love?) -- songs which need some resurrecting. During my two-hour ride home from Richmond last night, I rocked it out to this little gem, which I almost forgot existed:

Don't hate!

Any songs you'd like to resurrect? Even if you're pretty sure others will judge you for it? ;)

Happy Friday!!!!

*The JRW has just started a new blog to gear up for their October conference -- you should def go check it out.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

For My Stalkers: Where Am I Today? GLA Blog & Richmond

I interview agents for the Guide to Literary Agents blog, and my latest interview, with Caren Johnson Literary's Katie Shea went up this morning.  

But if that's not enough stalkage for you, I'll be speaking on a panel at James River Writers' May "Writing Show" tonight. Details here. Come say hi!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pointers from the Pros: Agent Katharine Sands Talks Pitching

"Pointers from the Pros" gives tips from authors and publishing industry professionals on everything from craft to querying to their experiences on the road to publication.

**I'm bringing over some of my series posts from my old blog, so this is a blast-from-the-past post for those of you who have been with me since Wordpress.**

I spoke at the 35th annual Southeastern Writers Association conference in beautiful St. Simons Island, Ga., in June 2010 and took copious notes at the sessions.  Although I couldn't go to all the faboo classes, I'm sharing some tips from some of the ones I was lucky enough to attend.

Here is what the 2010 Agent in Residence, Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency's Katharine Sands,* had to say about what she calls "pitchcraft" (the writing you do about your writing) in her first session of "How Not to Get an Agent."
  • Everything is the result of some kind of pitch, from what you wear to the kind of shampoo you use.
  • Something must take place in the reading of the pitch---a question must develop in the reader's mind (this is "pop" or "alchemy") or agents won't read on.
  • The decisions you make about the way you pitch will travel:  Agent uses your pitch to interest an editor, editor uses your pitch to discuss marketing with publishing houses, etc.
  • Your pitch needs to answer the question: "Why does the world need this book?"
  • You are more AND less interesting than you come to realize in terms of pitching (more: the more one learns of you, the more one gets to know you---less: what beginners usually share first is what the publishing industry doesn’t want to know).
  • They don’t want to know about your writing process.
  • Don't pitch more than one project at a time in the query (shows you're an amateur/you lack focus).
  • Don't discuss movie/sequel ideas in the query.
  • Place---Where are you taking the reader?
  • Person---Who's the star of the story?
  • Pivot---What's the crisis/event that starts the story in motion?
  • If you don’t see these elements in your pitch, agents won’t either.
  • Include voice & tone.
  • Ask yourself: Where is there a gap in the market?  What’s fresh?  The minute your intro is fresh, you have your POP.
  • Specify that you’ve written a manuscript, not a book---because what you've written is not a book yet.
  • Some agents don’t like questions in a query.  She doesn’t necessarily agree---says they can be very effective.
  • She says you can put a blurb in a query letter, if you have one---anything that sets you apart.
  • She recommends you query widely so you don't miss out on an opportunity for the right person to fall in love with your writing.
Sands's takeaway tip on pitching - from HAMLET: "Readiness is all."


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

If You Missed the WB Live Chat on Poetry...

Since April was National Poetry Month, we celebrated on the Write-Brained Network with a modern poets series, poetry challenges, and a live chat on poetry.

Photo credit: Molly Nook
The gist . . .

One of our featured poets, Dave Lucas was good enough to join us for the chat, wherein we discussed some of the differences between publishing poetry and publishing fiction/nonfiction.  

Bonus: We also learned that Sara McCleezy was a poetry all-star back in college.  V. impressed! :D


Do poets need to have agents to get traditionally published?*

Dave says . . . 

No. The only poets he knows who have them are those who also write fiction/nonfiction or who are so advanced in their careers (i.e., Seamus Heaney, Robert Pinsky, Billy Collins, etc.) that they need someone else to handle particulars lesser-known poets don't have to think about.  

*Not that fiction & nonfiction writers HAVE to have agents to get published these days, but it's still a pretty good idea.

How does the world of poetry publication work?

Dave says . . .

In terms of the publication of collections, the world of poetry publication has been long dominated by the contest system -- a magazine or press holds a contest, you submit your manuscript to be read by a judge, and then they pick a winner.

He went on to mention that this system has come under a great deal of scrutiny after a Web site called Foetry (now defunct) came on the scene a few years ago.

His own collection, Weather (University of Georgia Press, April 2011) was published after over five years of submitting, having poems pubbed in the Virginia Quarterly Review, and catching the attention of an editor there who opened an imprint at UGA Press.

Just like in publishing anything else, it takes a lot more work and dedication than one might think. If you can do anything else, DO IT! (Dave said he was in edits for over a year before the Weather manuscript was accepted for publication -- and that his only other marketable skill is playing air hockey.)          

He also said: 
I do think it's important [...] to add the unfortunate caveat that publishing a book does very little to change your life or your sense of yourself as a writer.
There you have it, folks.
Wait . . . 

When's the next WB live chat?
TONIGHT -- May 24, from 9-10 p.m. EST

What's the topic?
Platform & online presence

How do I get in?
Got ya covered! Click here, yo.
Hope to see ya tonight!

Monday, May 23, 2011

WB Live Chat on Platform & Online Presence: Tomorrow Night

Every month over at the Write-Brained Network, we host a live chat. Tomorrow night's topic?

*Platform & Online Presence*

Stop by from 9-10 p.m. EST & talk to us live!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dorkily Awesome or Awesomely Dorky?

I got this message from my best friend's little bro (well, he's, like, 28 now and about 6'5," but he'll always be little to me):

So, you tell me: dorkily awesome or awesomely dorky?

I think you know which one I think it is. ;)

Happy weekend, peeps.   
Get your grill on!

Friday, May 20, 2011

In the Blogosphere: 5/15-5/20

“In the Blogosphere” is a series that lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).*

*I've saved a *lot* of great links -- all definitely worth a read. As I attempt to catch up in my gigantic queue (YOU'RE A GIGANTIC QUEUE!!), many of these will be older posts -- but only in time stamp. I won't include any that are time-sensitive unless they are current. Deal?

This is going to be a shorter one, as I'm on a time crunch today, just FYI.

Here, fantasy writer Moses Siregar III references Roy Peter Clark's Writing Tools in a discussion about adjectives and when it's appropriate -- and powerful -- to use them.

This post on loglines, by Authoress Anonymous over at Miss Snark's First Victim, is a nice little addendum, since we were just talking about taglines on the blog. 

Here, "Apocalypsie" Miranda Kenneally waxes poetic on the importance of being ridiculous. Whew -- this is good news for me!

It's all about the body language, baby. Over at Boys, Books, Buzz ..., the fantastalicious Wendy Toliver gives tips on how to use body language in order to enhance your characters.

 . . . the Friedrich Agency says: resist the urge to casturbate!!


How to write and stay sane? Have a support community. Over at There Are No Rules, the University of Cincinnati/Writer's Digest's Jane Friedman agrees.

It's funny cuz it's true.  Over at Stir Your Tea, the epic Taherah Mafi details six things you lose when writing a novel.


I went to lunch with Incarnate author, Jodi Meadows, yesterday, and when we got back to her place, HarperCollins had sent her pages of Incarnate to proof!  What's more, her editor let her show them off today on her blog -- check them out and be jealous!  So pretty!!

Want more blogosphere round-ups?  You're in luck!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

NoRhym-O-ReMo and Peanut Butter Brain

As any newbies to the blog may or may not know, I run an online writing community, the Write-Brained Network. And at the WB, this is our second annual mini NaNoWriMo -- we have dubbed May NoRhym-O-ReMo (No Rhyme or Reason [Writing] Month).

While all the other participants seem to be bopping along nicely, I have been doing terribly!! Boo.  I've got it generally plotted, I've opened Scrivener (this is my first time using it), and I have a few opening scenes swirling around in my noggin, but I'm stuck. I've got peanut butter in my brain, and although it's delicious and gooey with potential, I've had a hard time getting started.  UGH.

I have talked to or read stuff by a lot of folks recently who say they aren't plotters -- they're true pantsers -- and I think that's part of what's been tripping me up.  Although I've generally plotted, I guess I'm more of a plotter than I wanted to admit.

But WHY??  Why am I feeling guilty about that?  I know everyone has his or her own process. I guess it's just that, since my process is a work in progress, I'm still figuring things out. And I was trying to be like "the cool kids" and not have to plot so meticulously. Maybe one day!

Anyway, I'm getting over it. Scrivener looks to be pretty awesome -- I know, I know: Cristin, Sara & Jodi have been singing its praises for a loooooong time -- so I'm gonna get in there and plot my face off as soon as I obliterate at least half of today's to-do list.

How comfortable are you with your writing process? And how peanut buttery is your brain?

Mmm . . . peanut butter.

*wait -- what?*

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pointers from the Pros: Author Denise Tompkins on Query Letter Writing

"Pointers from the Pros" gives tips from authors and publishing industry professionals on everything from craft to querying to their experiences on the road to publication.*

I spoke at Scribblers' Retreat Writers' Conference this weekend in St. Simons Island, Ga. As usual, I took a ton of notes at all the faboo sessions I was lucky enough to attend---and I'm sharing some of those tips with YOU. (Thanks for being so fabulous, BTW!)

Here is what urban fantasy author (and my new pal!) Denise Tompkins had to say about the art of the query in her session titled "Effective Query Letter Writing":

  • It’s a business letter—an agent’s first impression of you
  • You have about 15 seconds to grab the agent's attention
  • The letter should be 250-300 words max
  • You’re selling the WHAT
  1. Tagline (hook)
  2. Introduction of the main character
  3. Establishing what’s at stake
  4. Defining the action or consequence
  5. Conclusion statement
  • There are no “rules”—just suggestions 
  •  She broke every "rule" out there & landed an agent (actually, she has two!)
  • However, she made mistakes and learned from them
  • Open with active hook—the X,Y, Zs:
    • Basic formula: When X happens, Jane Doe must confront Y conflict and triumph in her own unique way for Z to occur
  • Use simple, active language—active verbs--(omit -ING and -LY words) 
  • Incorporate voice 
  • Get to know your main character (MC) & introduce him/her in an interesting way 
    • If you’re going to put the antagonist in the query, only introduce briefly (the story isn’t about the antag—it's about where the MC & antag CLASH)
  • Introduce conflict
  • She also suggests you tell them if it’s part of a series right in the query letter 
  • She says we tend to write backwards: manuscript > synopsis > query
  • Synopsis Writing Trick: 
    • Every time she finishes writing a chapter, she writes a paragraph about it (we'll call this a "chapter paragraph"---rocket science, yes, I know!)
    • That makes it much easier to write the synopsis because she has already condensed her work when the chapter was fresh in her mind. She remembers the most important points of the chapter instead of having to go back and cram a bunch of information into a few short pages.
    • When it's time to write the synopsis, she refers to the chapter paragraphs and whittles from there. Voila!
  • Query Writing Trick:
    • Then, she picks out 5 key power words (strong, provocative words) from each chapter paragraph 
    • She uses them to help her develop a single sentence about each chapter.
    • Say you have written 25 chapters, that's a 25-sentence outline for your query. Pick out enough to tease, don't give away the ending, and you're good to go!
Want more Denise Tompkins?  See her guest post, "The True Secret to Getting Published" on Peggy Blair's blog.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Straight Dope on Semicolons

"The Straight Dope" highlights common grammatical errors -- so you can stop looking dopey when you do these things incorrectly. :)

Please note: Unless otherwise specified, these are the proper grammar and formatting rules according to Chicago style---the style in which you should be writing, if you're writing fiction---and some nonfiction.  (So don't give me a laundry list of reasons why some other way is correct. It *might be*, in AP style or APA style or MLA formatting . . . but that's not what I'm talking about here.)
**I'm bringing over some of my series posts from my old blog, so this is a blast-from-the-past post for those of you who have been with me since Wordpress.**
I was doing some editing last night, and I saw a lot of semicolon abuse -- and I couldn't take it anymore!  I had to change my status updates (on Facebook and Twitter) to this:
This prompted quite a response from some of my snarkier Facebook friends. One even asked how to correctly use them.

So, without further ado . . .

  • Use them to divide a series of things that would require several commas in order to be grammatically correct and would, therefore, be confusing with all those commas.
Example: There are cool people in Cleveland, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia; Harrisonburg, Virginia; and Orlando, Florida.
  • Use them to separate two complete sentences that have a relationship.
Example: You asked me how to use semicolons; now, I'm writing a super-nerdy blog post about it.
  • Use them to make a winky and/or flirty smiley face.
Example: ;)
The end.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Back from Scribblers' Retreat: Color Me Inspired

This weekend, I was lucky enough to speak at Scribblers' Retreat Writers' Conference in St. Simons Island, Ga.  I returned to Virginia last night to a fully bloomed Shenandoah Valley---which is actually a nice little metaphor for how I feel at the moment.  I'm back.  And I'm ready to get fingers to keyboard with my new manuscript.

My recipe for a mind in full writers' bloom? One part old friends, one part new friends, a dash of different scenery, and a heaping spoonful of awesome speakers. (Expect some faboo "Pointers from the Pros" posts very soon!)


My husband and I used to live near Atlanta, so we decided to make a week-long trip of it and first spend some time in the ATL to visit friends.  I didn't make it out to the school where I used to teach this time, but I did get to see a few of my favorite former students and their families---and I not only got to grab breakfast with my first teacher friend who was about 50% of the reason I made it through my first year of teaching there, but I got to celebrate my three-year Friendiversary with my teacher be-fri, who was about 50% of the reason I made it through my last insane-o year of teaching.  

Oh, and I got to watch Beyond Planet of the Apes, which is freaking amazing.  Highly recommend (after watching the original Planet of the Apes, of course).  But I digress.

Rockie & Ricki -- Reminiscing about all their crime-fighting adventures!
From there, I flew to St. Simons while my hubbster drove to his alma mater, the University of Georgia, to math-education it up with his major professor and the rest of the math-ed all-stars there.  He said everyone kept asking him why he went to Athens instead of St. Simons with me, and here's why:

Not one, but TWO balconies in my room.  ROCK STAR!
 The second hotel, the one where the con was held, was awesomesauce as well:

Sink #1.  Yes, that's a Keurig on the left -- and, yes, that's pretty much the coolest thing ever!
Hi!  I'm waving to you in the mirror! (Nerd alert!)
 Sink #2.
TWO sinks in the bathroom -- fully stocked with Bath & Body Works swag (tons of which I may or may not have taken home!)
I'm sure some of it had to do with the ocean and the outside of the hotel, too.  Hello -- during my first lunch there, I happened to glance out the window and spy two dolphins.
Me: "Om nom nom -- this wrap is delicious. Wowzas!  Dolphins!!"
Everyone else: "Duh.  We're at St. Simons."
A view from my room.

My session went well, and I had a great time meeting fellow speakers and attendees alike.  As I said above, I'll be blogging some of the fantastic info I picked up -- can't wait to share!

I flew back to Atlanta in the wee hours of morning, and we got stuck in traffic that ended up adding three hours to our trip home.  But, Molly made a friend while we waited:

This cutie pie saw her in the back seat, and they were barking and wagging their tails at each other every time we would end up next to one another.  Adorbs!
That's all for now -- must put some of this inspiration to use!

I hope you're all feeling inspired today.  Any recipes of your own to share?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Howdy, Blogger!

Whether you stumbled over here from my old blog or whether you're new to My Daytime Drama, welcome!

You can find out more about me by visiting the "About Me" tab above or by visiting my Web site, but here's the gist---and what you can expect to find here:

  • I'm a recovering high school English teacher
  • I write contemporary young adult fiction---so far about characters obsessed with theater, soap operas & Hollywood
  • I am a contributor to Writer's Digest Books
  • I interview agents for the Guide to Literary Agents blog
  • I speak at writers' workshops & conferences
  • I coordinate an online writing community, The Write-Brained Network
  • I'm hosting the WB's inaugural writing workshop---The One-Stop Workshop for the Serious Writer: A Roadmap from "How-to" through "I Did" (9/10/11)
  • I don't sleep very well---or very much
  • I'm addicted to grammar, coffee & beagles (not necessarily in that order)
  • I love to meet other writers!
If any of that sounds appealing to you, I hope you'll stop back---or subscribe.

And just in case you needed more incentive? Here's a picture of Molly*:

A beagle who watches Rush documentaries? Awesome, right??

*But I promise it's not all about her.

I'm excited to be here on Blogger, and I hope we'll get to be fast friends!

(FYI:  I'm not always this exclamation-pointy!)