Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Baker's Dozen Success Author: Dana Edwards


Say hello to Dana Edwards, a 2012 Baker's Dozen Agent Auction winner!


I write MG contemporary stories that have a little humor, a little sadness, and a lot of hope. I’ve been a teacher and school counselor all my adult life and I use those experiences to inform my stories and develop my characters. 

My story about a boy with autism spectrum disorder who’s obsessed with the Yankees, but clueless that his long-time friend is trying to ditch him was in the 2012 Baker’s Dozen. The lovely and talented Tricia Lawrence requested the full ms after the exclusive period ended and I became an EMLA client a few months later. 

 I’ve also written about a girl who has lost faith in anything good happening in her small Georgia town. Of course, something good does happen and it involves a has-been baseball player, a train wreck, and cookies. But my wildest story is about a girl who teams up with an old lady with Alzheimer’s and a retired Marine general to solve a bank robbery. Writing fiction is awesome! 

Thanks to Authoress I’ve met terrific critique partners. Writing can be lonely and it’s so important to make friends along the way.

Dana's MSFV success story post is HERE.

Dana blogs HERE and HERE.

Follow Dana on Twitter: @DanaLEdwards


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

It's The Official Opening of Baker's Dozen Season!

So I've been teasing your eyes with dates and promises, but now that our September Secret Agent Contest has closed, it's official:  the BAKER'S DOZEN AGENT AUCTION has arrived!

What does this mean?

Well, in the coming weeks, this is what you're in for:

WEDNESDAY SUCCESS STORY SHOWCASES:  Each Wednesday from now until right before submissions open, I will be showcasing one of our BAKER'S DOZEN WINNERS from previous years.  Bring popcorn!  It's super exciting to see what past winners are up to now.

PARTICIPATING EDITORS AND AUTHORS:  Keep your eye out for the announcement (and showcase) of this year's editors and published authors, who will be critiquing the entries.

THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF OUR PARTICIPATING AGENTS:  All 20 of them!  Yes, 20.  I can smell the blood already.

3 LOGLINE CRITIQUE ROUNDS:  This is to help you get ready to enter the Baker's Dozen, which requires a logline in addition to your first 250 words.

HEADS UP:  Submissions for the first LOGLINE CRITIQUE ROUND will be this coming Monday, September 22.   The submission window will be open from 9 to 5 EDT, and the bot will randomly choose 40 entries after the close of submissions.  I will post detailed submission instructions on Thursday.

The official Baker's Dozen Agent Auction schedule is RIGHT HERE.

This is our FIFTH BAKER'S DOZEN, folks -- FIFTH!  Worthy of some hoopla, yes?

Let the chaos fun begin!

(Feel free to post questions below.)

Monday, September 15, 2014

And Winners!

Linda Epstein has chosen 4 winners from this month's Secret Agent line-up:

#1 Cheesus Was Here
#12 The Sirens of Falkeld
#15 Winicker
#34 Getting Rid of Lucky

The prize:

Ms. Epstein would like to offer a first chapter critique for each of the winners.  But she would also like to see your full manuscripts!

Winners, please email me at facelesswords(at)gmail.com for specific submission instructions.

Congratulations, all!

Secret Agent Unveiled: Linda Epstein




Warm thanks to the hard-hitting and helpful Linda Epstein of the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency for being our Secret Agent this month!

Linda's Bio:

Linda Epstein is an Associate Literary Agent at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in New York City. She teaches workshops about writing and publishing, has presented at writing conferences all over the country and abroad, and co-founded and runs the Writing Yoga Retreat each summer. Linda has been featured in Writer's Digest magazine as one of the "25 Agents Who Want Your Work," as well as on many blogs such as Chuck Sambuchino's Guide to Literary Agents,  Literary Rambles and Mother. Write. (Repeat). Linda blogs at theblabbermouthblog.com and you can find her on Twitter @LindaEpstein.


What Linda's currently looking for:

Read HER BLOG POST HERE to find out!

Winners forthcoming.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Fricassee

I read every single comment that you leave on my Friday Fricassees and other not-a-contest posts, and often your words pierce or encourage or warm or tickle me, and I wish I could keep up with responses, but it's not something I've created dedicated time for.

So today I've just got to pull out some of the comments from last week's Friday Fricassee.  Because some of you have wonderful things to say, and I want to say something back.

(Last week's Friday Fricassee talked about my feeling BLANK.  You can READ IT HERE.)

Nikki Trionfo said:

This is exactly how I feel. Although, I define the emptiness a bit differently. It's not that I haven't "accomplished" anything. It's that I haven't escaped. Apparently I need a daily escape, which is strange because I live a full life like that one you seem to, with kids, a hubby, a house, soccer practices, church responsibilities, etc. I notice that I'm unmotivated to do chores like the dishes when there's no reward in sight, other than clean dishes. Before, there was open time if I did my chores efficiently. Time I used to escape.

Nikki, you have a point.  There is something about the writing that affords a departure from "real life", whatever that may look like for each person.  Instinctively, I know that--after all, that's why it's so amazing to choose a specific play list for writing each novel.  The music zaps you into your world with the first note!  It's like having alternate realities/universes at our fingertips.  And when we lose our traveling privileges, it feels awfully flat to be stuck in the real world.

krystal jane said:

I really don't know who I am without my writing. But I am taking tonight off because I'm stressing myself out about it. It's a promise I made to myself. When I start getting crazy and thinking I have to write everyday or I won't sleep right, I force myself to take the day off so I can recoup. Remind myself that writing is not air. I don't have to do it everyday.

And that, right there, is wisdom!  The ability to take our own "writing pulse" and then to act accordingly is a necessary step in maintaining sanity.  Seriously.  Taking a day off--or a week or a month off--isn't "quitting".  We really do need to fight to maintain our autonomy apart from our writing!

Emma said:

Of course not producing anything (or, not letting your dreams out) will cause the world to be bleaker. The world IS bleak without daydreams.

And as for the corporate 80/hr/week drone - let's not judge them either. Most of them are in professions where that kind of output is required, and they have, as you say, kids and family that depend on them.

In the end, what's the difference between spending ten hours/day on a novel and ignoring your kids vs. ten hours/day in a cubicle and ignoring your kids, as far as the kids are concerned? I know, off topic. But when you say with such determination that writing is your profession (as you've said in other posts), you do forget that it's much, much, much more than that.

You ARE a creative person. You DO need the output.

I relate. I have the exact same reaction whenever I decide to stop writing because of discouragement. But then I realize that this is me. Without creative output I'm just whatever other people need me for - I am a wife/mother/daughter/consultant. Those things are not me. They are what I do. Writing (and other creative output) is, on the other hand, what I am.

Just the fact that this is your reaction to not writing means that you ARE a writer. I realize this is going against what you are saying in your post, but if you were not a writer, the lack of output would not bother you. The world would not feel so empty. You'd be fine.

Emma, you've said so much that is good here.  That the world is bleak without daydreams, I concur.  Not just daydreams, but hopes, desires, dreams, visions, faith.  And the act of writing encapsulates any or all of these.

About the writing being much, much more than my profession?  Yes, indeed.  To call it my profession is to validate it...to place it where it belongs so that I can go about the business of writing without giving myself a nervous breakdown or entangling my heart in the process to such an extent that I will never be able to approach the business end of things with any semblance of sense or maturity.  But to neglect to honor my true self--the fact that I AM A WRITER--is to do myself a disservice.  You're right.  I'm a creative person.  I DO need the output.

Which is why I'm so thankful I can sit down at my piano any time I choose.  Or delve joyfully into my next ballet class.  My spirit shrivels when I'm not doing something artistic.  I acknowledge that.

I cannot say, though, as you have said, that "Writing (and other creative output) is...what I am."  I draw the line at defining myself by what I do, regardless of my level of passion or proficiency.  I AM a storyteller.  I AM a musician.  I AM a dancer (well, sort of).  But I am NOT the writing.  I am NOT the music.  I am NOT the dance.

Splitting hairs, perhaps, but for me, it keeps my identity solid.  Though I get what you're saying--really, I do.  And I love the passion of your creativity (it is oozing through your words!).

This is kind of an I-am-woman-hear-me-roar moment, but I don't think I'll go there.   :)

And, finally, I especially love that you said this:  "...if you were not a writer, the lack of output would not bother you. The world would not feel so empty. You'd be fine."  Yes!  That's a wonderful reminder, and so affirming.  Of course I'm a writer!  Of course that's why the blankness bothers me!  It feels wrong because it is wrong--for me.  A necessary time of rest, yes, but not right for me because of who and what I am.

Thank you for that beautiful reminder.

MaggieMay said:

Go dabble in watercolor, dance your heart out, cry in the rain. When you have something to say, you'll write again.

Well, yes.  That's exactly it.  Exactly.

JEN Garrett said:

God is the most creative being and we are His, so we must be creative, too. Whether it's in the form of writing, art, computer programs, social events, inventions, culinary dishes, or gardens - we all have that need to make something out of nothing. And it's different for each of us.

No, writing doesn't define who I am any more than this beautiful earth defines God. But I for one, am glad He knew what He was doing when He made it.

When I find myself in the bleak writer's doldrums, I give myself a pity party then seek to appreciate the creative genius in others. The farther from my own creative streak the better. Invariably, a well-cooked steak or amazing landscape will ignite that passion in me to create something new.

Thank you.  Yes.  I believe this, too.  And I love the concept of appreciating the creative genius in others.  Of course there are so many different manifestations of creativity!  How right you are.  And yes, I am known to stop and appreciate the presentation of the sushi on my plate, or the gorgeous way a woman twists scarves around her head, or a breathtaking display of flowers in a public garden.  I'm thinking that, without my even knowing it, each of these moments is doing its part to ignite my creative passion.

I so appreciate your words of wisdom, Jen.

Sarah Maury Swan said:

Perhaps your mind is just sorting out the details and getting your character into your psyche before you write. That's what happens with me. You haven't really lost the urge, it's just mulling things over. It'll come back. It always does for me.

Well, yes!  I tend to forget that there's a whole lot of non-writing brain stuff that goes on before a single word appears on the page.  Thank you for the reminder!

And on that note--I'm a bit giddy to announce that I am officially working on my next project.  No beat sheet yet.  No word count.  But all sorts of worldbuilding and character developing and and and and THINKING going on here.

I can't deny it anymore.  I think...I think...

I think I'm writing a new story.

Mind you, I'm keeping this as "child's play" as I can.  Dare I admit that I'm starting to have fun?

Yay!

Baby steps, baby steps.  I'm still not considering myself back at it full time; I'm not going to push myself.  But, man, does this feel good.

Thank you all for SO MUCH SUPPORT AND KINDNESS!