Monday, November 21, 2011

It's hard to read when you're a writer...

When I wrote my first book three years ago--at 110,000 words--I was certain I was set. It was witty. It was funny. It was romantic. It was complete crap.

Except I didn't know it was crap until I joined a critique group. I sent out query after query after query (which was crap, too) and got rejection after rejection after rejection. A few months after I started the querying process, I decided to look for other writers around the area who could read my story and help me make it better.

Who knew there were so many rules?!? Use less passive voice, make it active. Say what you have to say in as few words as possible. Don't use -ly words in every sentence--write it better (i.e. don't say "she ran quickly" say "she sprinted"). Agents and publishers hate (!), they only want to see maybe one or two in the whole book--if that many.

Then how do all these other authors get published? There's one series I just can't not read. The mythology the author creates, the adventure she takes the characters on is absolutely brilliant--she's a very creative and clever story teller. It's just the way she tells the story. She does all of those "no-nos" above and more--before I joined a critique group, I probably never would have noticed nor would it have bothered me. But it does. It ruins the whole story for me because I get pulled out of the action or romance because I'm too busy seeing all the things I've been cautioned against.

Anyone else guilty of that? Or have I just become overly critical because, I'll admit, I'm jealous ;-)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Winner Is...

Jamie Manning...

There was no rhyme or reason to how I picked the winner of the ARC for The Clockwork Prince. Thank you my new followers!

When I started writing a few years ago, I thought finishing the book would be the hard part. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Though I have to say joining a critique group and learning how to be a better writer is definitely one of the best things to come from the post-writing part of this...if that makes any sense at all.

My critique partner labeled herself a query-whore...I think this process turns all of us into one of those. You spread yourself around indiscriminately, just hoping someone will love your story as much as you do. As of this moment, I'm a committed writer--waiting on the one agent who I agreed to give an extra two weeks to. Then, I'm back out there throwing myself to anyone who might want me. And the best part is, the rejections haven't bothered me...yet. Maybe it's because the few positive responses I've received push me up so high that the negatives can't bring me back down.

So, Jamie, congratulations! Let me know what you think of The Clockwork Prince. E-mail me your mailing address to heather(dot)rebel(dot)books(at)gmail(dot)com and I'll get it out to you as soon as I can.

Anna Banks (major name drop here ;) is my critique partner and she has given me an ARC to her book Of Poseidon which comes out in May from Feiwel and Friends. In a couple months--probably around February/March--I'll do a similar contest for her ARC. Right now, I know she's doing a give away on goodreads.

In the mean time, stay posted and I'll be more faithful on reviewing the books I devour and keeping you informed on my journey to getting published.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Clockwork Prince Review

This is my review from

When I entered the contest to win an ARC of "The Clockwork Prince" here on goodreads, I never imagined I'd actually get one. I startled my husband, squealing with delight when I received the e-mail telling me I was one of the winners. And again when I received the package in the mail.

In "The Clockwork Prince", the Institute is still reeling from Mortmain's attack, recovering from the betrayal and loss. Tessa's avoiding Will and bonding with Jem. Charlotte and Henry's position as head of the London Enclave is in danger. Charged with finding Mortmain and stopping his threat of clockwork creatures, Tessa, Jem and Will travel to Yorkshire, looking for Mortmain's past and any clues to find him. What they find there rocks Will's world.

After her "Mortal Instruments" trilogy, I found the first book a little confusing and disappointing. Not the case in this sequel. The writing is excellent--I was drawn into the romance and the battles. The world came alive vividly inside my imagination. Told from multiple POVs including Tessa, Will and Sophie. If you love Will, you'll love his POV. Tessa's emotional conflicts between her and Will, her and Jem, and her and Nate tore me up. I laughed, moaned and had to sit on my hands to keep from pulling out my hair. The love triangle contorts itself into an awkward, sticky mess. More questions are raised as to WHAT Tessa is exactly.

For me, this book seemed more about dealing with the relationships amongst the characters and less about solving the riddle of Mortmain and Tessa--but not in anyway that left me unsatisfied. Only anxious for the next installment. I have every faith Cassandra Clare will wrap up the trilogy satisfactorily in "The Clockwork Princess".

This is my first review--I've made comments on a few books, but nothing like this. Hope it helps you decide to read it. And I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Clockwork Prince

Hey! If you hadn't heard, I wrote a book. Well, I've written two, but the first (as it always happens) needs a lot of work, so it's kind of on the back-burner for now. I began seriously querying agents the beginning of October and currently have my whole manuscript submitted exclusively with one agent and two requests for partials on hold.

Which is all completely awesome news, but how does that affect you? Well, here's the good news. I won an ARC (advanced readers copy) of The Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. This awesomely talented author started out writing Harry Potter fan-fiction. I finished reading this book (the second in The Infernal Devices trilogy) within eight hours of opening the first page and I want to pay it forward. (I'll be buying the Nook version the day it's released--if that tells you how awesome this book is.)

But here's the catch--if you want to win this ARC (it's in pristine condition, I guarantee you'll never be able to tell I've read it) you have to follow my blog and twitter. To the right of this blog is an option that says "follow me on twitter"--click it and follow me. My goal is to become a more dedicated blogger and tweeter--especially with the potential for my book to be picked up and sold.

I'm reviewing The Clockwork Prince on If you search for me, Heather Rebel, you'll see me and any other reviews I've done. I've made a few comments on other books, but not a full review like I'll be doing on goodreads (which I will post here the same day).

So, to summarize--follow my blog and twitter by Monday, November 14. I'll announce the winner on Tuesday and have them send me an e-mail with their address and will ship out the book as soon as I receive the address.

Thanks and good luck!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

X comes before J which after N but before B

Do I have you completely confused? Because I am.

While I wait for the response to my first query, I have this other story that just won't shut up. No, I'm not going to make it--it makes writing so much easier when your mind continuously conjures the story and you can see it playing in your head like a movie. My problem is that it's giving me different clips at a time.

The first scene I wrote, I was certain was going to be the first chapter. I introduce the protagonist and her love interest. Then another scene continued to pop in my mind. I tried and tried and tried to write that first scene, but this one pushed it out of the way before I could get three pages written. So I gave in. And wrote a whole two pages before ANOTHER "beginning" scene played out in my mind. Writing out of sequence conflicts with the OCD writer in me...but this new story won't let me do it any other way. I know what happens. I know who the bad guys are. I know the trials their relationship will face. I know how it will end and what I want to happen in the sequel. I just don't know what order this blooming thing's going to get written in and if I'm going to know how to arrange it.

I've placed two calls to specialists so I can understand the disability the love interest has and write about it accurately and am waiting to be able to meet up with them. For now, those scenes are like pencil sketches, waiting for the paint from the supplier so it can be colored in.

In the meantime, I have the second book on the one I have out for submission writing itself in my head, too. This one's going chronologically...except for the beginning. There's the general premise, a bright shining light and what comes next is a path of sheer black with the next scene another bright shining light. I'm missing the lightbulbs I need to illuminate that dark part...but I'll find it.

What's your technique for writing? Do you force your story to conform chronologically? Or do you write what your imagination gives you and put it in order later?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Just in time...

Query Hiatus (9/1 to....TBD) | Confessions From Suite 500

This is the absolutely brilliant agent I queried--I have, to be quite honest, coveted her since I met her at the Emerald Coast Writer's Conference last April.

I've, naturally, been counting down the days since I submitted my query and first three chapters (today is 19 days). So, while this really sucks for anyone who can't query until after September 1, she'll be ready to catch up to my query and pages and send me an e-mail saying "I LOVE your pages, send me the whole thing!" (That's how it works in my mine, at least).

So, I sit, as patiently as I'm capable, and wait for her to fall in love with me...

P.S. She told me I could inquire on my status after 60 days--that'll be September 16...told ya I was countin'!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Let's take this seriously...

"It's writing, d-mn it, not washing the car or putting on eyeliner. If you can take it seriously, we can do business. If you can't or won't, it's time for you to close the book and do something else. Wash the car, maybe."--Stephen King On Writing

My thanks to Lisa W. for lending me Stephen King's memoir On Writing. If anyone needed a kick in the pants, it was me. I have over 70k words and I let myself stall out. Yes, life sucks. Yes, life's busy. Yes, I'd really rather be reading the next book in one of the dozens of series I'm reading...but I'm also writing a book. So maybe I need to remember why.

Why am I writing this book? What on earth could I possibly have to say that other people in this world would be interested in reading? Well, actually, that's half the fun. I, for one, enjoy re-reading what I've written. There are times when I go back to edit and think "OMG, that's brilliant." I'm completely surprised and impressed by the paths my imagination takes me.

And there are plenty of other times that this quote from Stephen King's On Writing fits perfectly: "Sometimes you have to go on when you don't feel like it, and sometimes you're doing good work when it feels like all you're managing is to shovel sh-t from a sitting position." I sat with my laptop on my lap for four hours and was only able to bang out a whopping page-and-a-half. My head ached, my eyes hurt and I felt as though I had battled for every last word. It was literally one word forward three words back--I'd write something and decide the whole lot of it was crap and delete it all. Once I finally forced it out, I went to bed mentally exhausted. When I re-read it the next day I was pleased with what I had accomplished and was almost more happy with that little bit I had to fight for than the eight pages that flowed out in a matter of two hours that next day.

So what is the purpose of this blog? To reinforce to myself that this is very serious to me. I want my book published, not sitting in a word document on my desktop of my laptop. And maybe have a few other people read it and enjoy it as much as I have.