Rekindling the Fire

People need to eat. Authors need to breathe fire. The creative element needs to burn brightly. The muse blazes until finally it flickers in a hypnotic dance as the words flood onto the page. But once in a while, the author needs to refuel. One way we do that is by gathering together and feeding off each others’ flames.

This year I have fed twice at the font of the muses. Calliope, Euterpe, Polyhymnia, & Erato circled the poets while Melpomene and Thalia focused on the screenwriters and playwrights. Clio wandered between the non-fiction and fiction authors alike. Terpsichore and Urania sprinkled their inspiration around the group when movement or stars caught the authors’ fancy.

The first encounter was in Omaha at the Nebraska Writer’s Guild Spring Conference. It was delightful seeing friends that I had left behind when I moved to Wyoming. Feeling their spirit and listening to the classes and speakers helped rekindle the smoldering coals of my imagination. One of my best experiences was meeting Deidre Knight, agent extraordinaire. Owner of the Knight Agency, Deidre is an absolute delight. Of special interest to me was that she was heading to Italy for the summer. Having lived there, Italy holds a VERY special place in my heart. I will be sending Deidre a few chapters after they come back from the editor. Keeps fingers and arms crossed!

The second was in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. What a fabulous conference! The only problem was that it is so expensive there, you better not forget to bring your lunch. 🙂


We were treated to the most marvelous classes, speakers, and meeting with agents and writers. I had private meetings with three different published writers and one agent. Their feedback was helpful and got my fire burning at a much higher level. I discovered my book was actually two books. I have now divided the books and rewritten parts of the first book to complete it. This was an amazing experience. Everything suddenly made sense. The agent I met with told me that the book was ready for an editor. What a rush!

I finally had to do something. I had to have faith. It was time to move forward and quit waiting. So with full fire burning, I marched forward into the future, rekindled by the fire.

 

How Can I have Fans When I Haven’t Published Yet?

Authors speak a foreign language. I am still not sure what it is, but I am sure it is foreign. Oh, the words are English, to be sure, but the “Ancient Ones” hid the meanings from the novice. There they sit,  just waiting for you to find the right mentor or to have the stroke that will finally create the necessary brain lesion to clear the path to your Rosetta stone.

When I was in the Air Force, USAFSS assigned me to RAF Chicksands in England, which was cool because I already spoke English. On my first Sunday there, I found my way to church and sat in the congregation. As the meeting opened, I listened in horror as I realized something terrible had gone wrong and I was anywhere but England. I understood not one word issuing forth from the mouth of the man in front of me. As it turned out, no one else did either. Or maybe they were just humoring me. The man was from Newcastle upon Tyne. The region was apparently notorious for being difficult to understand. Still it took me awhile to be comfortable understanding English as spoken in England.

That is a little like authorspeak. The words are the same but the meaning – not so much. Like the time I was teaching a candy making class in England and told them to add a little paraffin to the chocolate to keep it from melting in your hand. Would anyone from England like to explain the problem to the rest of my readers? If no one comments within a week, I’ll tell you why my class thought I was trying to poison them. Mwhahahaha.

However, back to authorspeak. I was recently at a writer’s conference in Nebraska. One of the things I learned is that I needed an “author’s platform” now.
Okay. Where do I get the wood? Where do I build it? Why? Oh, you mean what do I stand for? No. Ummm… what are my politics? Why would that matter?

Somebody give me a hint!

Do you have any idea how many times I heard things like: “Do you have you author’s platform yet?” or “How are you doing your author’s platform?”

Aaargh. One problem is that I am intelligent – just enough that I do not want to look like an idiot by not knowing what an “author’s platform” is.

I used to tell my college students that the only stupid question was the one not asked. I finally listened to myself. My hand rose skyward and the question erupted from my lips, never to return to the void of silence.

“Just what do you mean by an author’s platform?”

I wonder if anyone else there said a silent prayer of gratitude. I would like to think so. The answer opened up more frustration for me but at least I was no longer ignorant. I had stepped within the circle of knowledge.

THIS is my platform – or at least the beginning of it. It is how the author presents herself (or himself of course) to the world. It is the gift of chapters from my books or my plays or short snippets. It is my interviews with authors and actors. It is my research into Lilith mythologies and vampires in general. It is my book reviews and art collection. It is www.jeanniemusick.com and it is growing slowly each day.

So, what is the frustration I speak of: simply that you are supposed to start this before you publish, before people know if they are going to love or hate your work. As the agent there told us, I am an author – not yet published. Going through the painful steps of rewrites and editors, I work toward the best book I can give you. My readership is growing and I hope it will continue to grow through you. Pass along links. Let people know I am here. Leave comments. Communicate. Suggest books. Review books. Get involved. Then realize my biggest frustration is that I don’t have twice as many hours in the day to do this website which I have come to love AND my writing which I ADORE!

Christopher Farnsworth Interview and Audio Posted

The Interview and Audio from Christopher Farnsworth’s Interview have both been posted. Thanks for the patience and understanding while I was sick. The interview is really interesting. Chris is a fascinating and intelligent individual. Be sure and turn in to find out what is behind Nathaniel Cade and to get some gets tips for authors.

Christopher Farnsworth Interview available

My interview with Christopher Farnsworth is available in audio now. The transcript will be available by Saturday evening. The wait is worth it. We had a great interview both for vampire fans and for writers. He had great insight and advice for new writers as well as fascinating insight into the world of Nathaniel Cade – The President’s Vampire. So go on and hear what he has to say. And be sure to pick up his books. Cause we tried REALLY hard to leave out the spoilers.

Progress Lilith: Book of Genesis

[EXPIRED]

I’ve completed the rewrites on Chapter One and so far the Beta Readers seem to really like it.

The website is also expanding and I really need feedback. Please take the time to leave comments. Do you like what you are seeing? Would you like to see more or something different? Do you know of other sources? Do you disagree?

Please share links with everyone! Thanks for your support!

First Public Reading

 

Beta Readers can either dash your hopes or lift your spirits beyond belief. Mine did the last. I asked for written critiques and loved those that I got. Certain I was ready for the next step, I headed to San Diego to the SDSU Writer’s Conference. Agents met with hopeful writers. Agents, publishers, and editors taught classes in writing, pitching, finding an agent, and self-publishing. I finally got the opportunity to “pitch” my book to one agent who agreed to allow me to send her the first 50 pages. Perhaps the most fun was the late night read we had. After sessions were over, a stalwart group of writers met and read excerpts from their manuscripts aloud and then received criticism from the group. My feedback was great and I felt that this was my time to get the book published. I knew it would happen. Through the next couple of days, I spoke with several agents and received permission to submit chapters to them. I went home excited and ready to have my book on the shelves within a year or two at the most.

Then I received my first rejection letter. And they kept coming. They were all very sweet and encouraging, so I kept submitting. So… they kept coming. Somehow, that does something to a writer’s confidence. Other writers told me those were good rejection letters. I thought that was quite an oxymoron. Good and rejection do not belong in the same sentence. Instead, I turned my attention to other things while family and friends kept telling me I needed to keep trying to get it published.

The glow of my first public reading was eclipsed by the cold harsh reality of the lifeblood of the publishing world – rejection slips.