Monday, October 25, 2010

Finally, The Pitch

Schwoo!!! I’m back home. Went back to work this morning and I already miss the spoiling I received at the Florida Writer’s Conference over the weekend. I made sure my alarm woke me at 5 am so I could attend the 7 am writing prompt class. For the most part, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. A writer’s heaven where you get to drink plenty of coffee without digging into your change pocket and food is served to you. Not to mention, all the wonderful seminars you can attend. I’m still floating on cloud nine. But I must deliver the other news (happy dance, happy dance…jump up and down, clap your hands, happy dance). The pitch.

I missed my first appointment at 9 am, on Friday morning. Traffic on I-4 kept me from moving at a fast pace but I had no clue when my appointment would be.

Once I got to the Marriot I had to check-in, drop my luggage off at the room (really had to check out the fabulous feathery pillows…love their pillows…if I could I’d stuff them in my suitcase), grab a coffee, and check in at registration.

My heart sunk when I heard I’d missed my appointment with Emily Ohanjanians from MIRA books (she’s beautiful, patient, and sweet…really she is) but the Good Witch was looking out for me and I was rescheduled for the next day. I made sure I was early for that one.

Before the appointment, I made sure I practiced my pitch on any soul that leant me an ear. Bought a book in the process from a new author (will be promoting her on my blog…work on that another time), she leant her ear to me, had to return the favor, you know (looks like a good book anyway…a book I’d read).

Okay, I checked in and waited. Thank God not for long, because I think I would have shivered myself into absolute nothingness. When they called my name, I forgot to think about my shoes but I did remember to press my index finger into my thumb….OMMMM!!!! My knees didn’t buckle or anything. Wow! I surprised myself.

We greeted each other. I extended my hand to Ms. Ohanjanians and she accepted. We both sat and the conversation went something like this:

“You’re such a pretty lady,” Ms. O said, “You’re eyes are beautiful.”

“I thought the same about you,” I said.

Ms. O. looked at my badge clipped to my shirt, pulled out a pencil, and wrote out my name. When she finished, she folded her hands on top the pad. I guessed it to be my cue to start.

I cleared phlegm from my throat and said, “My novel is at 80,000 words. The genre is Young Adult Crossover Paranormal.”


I did my best to maintain eye contact and said, “Lila is the main character of my story (couldn’t tell the difference between antagonist and protagonist at this point). She’s eighteen years old and wherever Lila goes her Gram goes…but Gram is dead. You see, Lila is a psychic medium but never listens to her intuitive abilities. Instead she listens to her Mother who has coerced her into marrying an undesirable guy. En route to the honeymoon, Lila and the groom stop off at a diner. It is there Lila decides that there is “no way she can have sex with this guy” after a small argument over who would be the keeper of the wedding cash they received for gifts. So she grabs the cash without him noticing and excuses herself from the table under the pretense that she’s not feeling well to her stomach. She high tales it back to the restroom still dressed in her wedding dress and ill-fitting wedding shoes. From there, she escapes out the bathroom window into the Ocala, Florida woods. This begins a dangerous adventure where Lila learns to trust her intuition and her power within to overcome people and obstacles of danger.” After this sentence I stopped because this is what I practiced (I followed the advice of a book…she wanted more…I did give her more...she liked it).

Anyway to make a longer story short, Ms. O. informed me that I had too much action and not enough romance. Her knowledge is in marketing novels with heavy romance.

Okay, so I bent the ear of an agent, Robert Brown, of Wylie-Merrick Literary Agency. Halfway through my pitch, he stopped me and requested my entire manuscript to read. OMG…I about lost my jaw on the floor.

That’s all for now folks. Anybody, have any tidbits on their novels?


Monday, October 18, 2010

When It Rains, It Pours

This week is a short one since I’ve got a lot of writing to catch up on: 14,327 more words to go. It’s six days until pitch down. And, Murphy’s Law has been visiting me.

The week before last I came down with a low grade fever. It didn’t go above one hundred but it didn’t go below ninety-nine. All I wanted to do was lay/lie (  still get this confused even when I’m staring at my grammar book) down and sleep.

Last Monday, I visited the doctor who diagnosed me with chronic sinusitis. The medicine prescribed was Augmentin. My mouth has an everlasting metal taste, and the stuff makes me nauseated even though I eat crackers when I take the darned thing.

Four days after hearing about my chronic snot condition, daughter number four was in a car accident with her boyfriend. Not wearing her seatbelt saved her life, but she’s got a good case of whiplash, lower back, and hip injuries.

Plus, I have the schedule from hell this week. Twenty-six haircuts on Saturday. Twenty haircuts on Sunday and today I did twenty-three. My fingers hurt, not to mention my tootsies. Sleep keeps crossing my eyelids.

Well, when it rains, it pours. The only thing I can do is to keep going forward.

Happy writing everyone!

Next week I’ll write about my experiences doing the real pitch, and I promise not to sound so glum.

Monday, October 11, 2010

What Not to Do

Right now I’m laughing at myself. I have a way of getting myself into pickle jars. And by pickle jars I mean, I’m not real good at following protocol. Never have been.

When I got my first computer, I learned how to use it by pushing buttons not by reading an instruction book (lost lots of homework that way while in college).

When the doctor prescribed me birth control pills, I tossed the instructions, and took my pill when I remembered it (you’re suppose to take it at the same time everyday…this explains five children).

Recently, I bought a cheap digital camera so I could download pictures to my blog, Facebook, and Twitter pages. I’ve lost all my pictures I’ve taken over that last couple of weeks. Pushing them doggone buttons again without reading the manual (I could blame it on the Wicked Witch and Flying Monkeys, perhaps). I’m sure when my hubby reads this he’ll shake his head and wag his finger at me.

When I signed up for an interview to pitch my book I didn’t go to that particular publisher’s website to review their requirements. What a dumb thing to do. Now I have to work like the wind to achieve thirty thousand more words. Got two weekends before I pitch.

Lesson learned: FOLLOW PROTOCOL! Especially a publishing matter. You don’t want to look like a total idiot or have to work twice as hard. There may come a day when the Good Witch will leave you to your own demise like the Wizard (Jerk!).

And remember: Take your birth control pill at the same time everyday.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Life of a Novice Writer: Pitch or Be Pitched Out

The Life of a Novice Writer: Pitch or Be Pitched Out: "Last Tuesday, I went to a seminar on, “Successful Pitching”, taught by Molli Nickell. Oh,my, lions, tigers, and bears! Flying monkeys, too! ..."

Pitch or Be Pitched Out

Last Tuesday, I went to a seminar on, “Successful Pitching”, taught by Molli Nickell. Oh,my, lions, tigers, and bears! Flying monkeys, too!

Before we received our execution notice we were allowed to eat dinner. I chose tilapia for my last meal and digested it while I chattered with other nervous-nillies. Someone came around with a bowl of numbers so we could blindly pick one. I picked number two. This wasn’t going to be good.

Not long after, Molli introduced herself(she resembled Glenda the Good Witch) and passed out a sheet of questions(the Wicked Witch of the West had to be around somewhere). We were told to work on our pitch, and she left the room. Oh, no, Toto!

My Dyslexia button got pushed, and the angsting began. Shivers went up and down my spine. Pretty pink butterflies flitted through tunnels in my stomach(the tunnels are real to me, they do exist, you know). My forehead glistened with what-the-hell-does-this-mean, and my pen went to scribbling, and crossing out stuff(too much stuff). I looked under the table and around the room for the Wicked Witch and the flying monkeys. This had to be their doings, not mine.

When Molli returned to the room she asked, “Are you ready to pitch?”
Flying monkeys, no! But the hour had come (where’s the Wizard when you need him). I didn’t have a clue where to begin. Too much information covered two pages. My insides knew it and I needed my Ruby Slippers, but I couldn’t find them.

She called the first lady to pitch. My pink butterflies danced with joy. One got caught in my throat while I watched contestant number one be tortured. Poor lady, she lost her focus. She couldn’t get past a minor character in her novel and the crickets sang. Her ten minutes were up(that’s all the time you get to verbally pitch your novel, TEN MINUTES, for real).

“Number two,” Molli said, looking around the room.

Yup! That was me. I looked around the room and under the table again for the Wicked Witch and the Flying Monkeys. I didn’t see them, but their presence was there.

On the way up to the torture arena, Molli said, “Breathe,and think about your shoes.”

What? My Ruby Slippers…can’t find them.

I about hyperventilated, and couldn’t get my thoughts passed my tingly thighs, and my numb knees on the way to the torture destination. When I got to the table where she sat, she extended her hand to me, and we played introductions before my knees buckled and I collapsed in a chair.

“Breathe,” she said again.

I did.

“Now, tell me about your story.”

I big smile stretched across my face(SMILE when brain failure occurs). When that didn’t work, I looked over Molli’s shoulder(a technique used when you’re trying to revive your brain-sometimes it works).

“Look at me, and tell me about your main character,” she said.

I did and said, “Lila is an eighteen year old girl….” The room closed in on me and my mind went blank. The crickets sang, and it was over.

In conclusion, if you don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of potential publishers and agents I suggest checking out Molli’s site,, and practice, practice, practice. And if, you still don’t get it, focus on your main character, and the main points of the story pertaining to that character.

In about three weeks, I’ll be pitching in person to a publisher,and will blog about that. Hopefully, I’ll have the Wizard, the Good Witch, my three friends, and my Ruby Slippers available to me.