Video: “Misunderstood Genius”

Here’s one about an uncomfortable subject: how your rejections or failures in publishing are not best handled by assuming the world is simply unable to comprehend the staggering genius that is you.

It sounds kind of mean phrased like that, but now that I’ve come across two different people in a very short time who sent completely un-self-aware commentary into the blogosphere about how nobody seems to realize they’re rejecting a True Writer On Par With Thoreau, I decided a video was in order. This gives perspective on still being positive and motivated while chasing publication or representation, but not giving into bitterness that leads you to believe the real problem is Everyone In the World Except You.

 

 

Review (Mark Carrigan): The Invisible Orientation

I got a pretty super review for my book The Invisible Orientation, provided by sociologist and researcher Mark Carrigan.

Please read it here on his website.

This is a long overdue book, offering the general purpose introduction to the subject which has heretofore been lacking. It is an essential addition to any academic reading list that encompasses asexuality and should be required reading for any therapists with an interest in sexuality. It provides a sense of what it is like to be asexual that can sometimes be missing from academic work and engages with the literature while nonetheless refusing to be constrained by it. It is also immensely readable, providing an authoritative overview that sign posts the reader who is keen to explore further. I can’t recommend The Invisible Orientation highly enough and hope it has a wide readership.

 

New Video: Rejection

Now for a video on one of the most universal subjects for authors: REJECTION.

In this video I discuss my personal rejection experiences, share my first rejection letter and laugh over my most condescending one, and give you an idea of how and in what capacity I’ve been rejected over the years–from the perspective of a person who did eventually get to “yes.”

New Video: On Taking Criticism

Here’s me on taking criticism.

This video on taking criticism teaches new authors the importance of criticism, how to solicit it, and how to get the most mileage out of feedback they receive.

Many writers—especially newer authors—have a tendency to feel insulted by criticism or prefer to defend their material instead of trying to figure out how to use the feedback. Readers can be wrong, but sometimes you can even take your test audience’s misconceptions and poor reading comprehension into account to make your work better.

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013, Quarter-Finals: Stupid Questions

The 500 quarter-finalists for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award were announced today, and for the first time since entering in 2011, I didn’t make the cut. I’m actually surprised because I thought I had a better chance at making quarter-finals than I did at making the second round; usually my writing is stronger than my pitching skills. But even though my reviews were not particularly negative, I’m guessing either my reviewers graded me harder than their reviews indicated OR I just had a lot of excellent competition.

My critique partner and friend J.C. Fann did make the quarter-finals and I’m very proud to have been involved in helping prepare the book for the contest, so if you’re interested in downloading and reading/rating/reviewing the excerpt, here is a link to The Queenschair!

And if you’d like to see my reviews and analysis of the comments:

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The Writer’s Voice Contest: Finding Mulligan

Mónica B.W., Cupid’s Literary Connection, Brenda Drake, and Krista VanDolzer collaborated to put on a contest called The Writer’s Voice.  It was a pretty cool contest for writers seeking agents to enter their polished novels and get a chance to have agents bidding on them to see partials and full manuscripts.  I figured I had nothing to lose, and I was lucky enough to actually make it into the competitive link pool, but then I had to hope one of the ladies above would choose me for their team.  They didn’t.

None of them are agents (as far as I know)—just other writers—but I figured if one of them picked me and I got a chance to get seen by someone who wouldn’t have otherwise seen me, it was worth it.  But since they chose other writers, I didn’t get to participate.  That said, Krista approached me after the contest, having said that she would let people know if their entries had been one of her favorites despite not being picked.  She left the following comment on my entry:

Just wanted to let you know that yours was one of the entries on my short short list. I thought the premise here was really intriguing, and your first page had a lot of mystery. I just worried that the concept would seem too similar to that new TV show Awake. I know you’ve probably been writing this since long before the show premiered, but I worried that people would find it derivative. It stinks when something steals your thunder like that.

Best of luck to you and FINDING MULLIGAN, because this is just the sort of thing I’d like to read.

I don’t actually think this concern is too worrisome, because my book is literally nothing like the premise of that show (except that they both involve falling asleep and having a different perspective), but it was still nice to hear what she had to say.  Thanks Krista.

Other nice comments:

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Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2012, Semi-Finals: Finding Mulligan

Finding Mulligan was cut from the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition at the semi-final round.  I will not be moving on.

Here is the (again, unflattering) Publishers Weekly review:

Just quirky, or crazy? That seems to be the question at the heart of this overblown, confused romantic fantasy. Cassandra’s life pales in comparison to the extremely realistic dreamland she often visits. There she’s known as “Dia.” Unlike Cassandra, Dia is beautiful, endlessly talented, and beloved by all dreamland’s denizens. When Cassandra, a college freshman, moves into a new apartment, she grows fascinated (some would say obsessed) with the lifelike portrait of a man painted on her bathroom door. She’s convinced this man will appear in dreamland as well, and sure enough, Dia meets the man (named Mulligan) and falls instantly in love. Mulligan must have a real-world counterpart, Cassandra reasons, and so she remakes herself into a version of Dia to make herself recognizable to him. Disturbing flashbacks about Cassandra’s chronically-ill younger sister are meant to explicate her mental state; her consistently kooky behavior, however, itself more than accomplishes that purpose. Cassandra’s ultimate recognition of the “real” Mulligan bears little heft or drama and could certainly have been accomplished in fewer than 381 meandering pages.

Hm, it’s kinda offensive to say a possibly mentally ill person is “kooky” and “crazy” because some of her attempts to figure herself out seem on the extreme side. My character’s “kooky” behavior isn’t disordered and random. It follows directly from the way her reality is. Boo.

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Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2012, Quarter-Finals: Finding Mulligan

Finding Mulligan has been chosen as one of 500 quarter-finalists in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition.

My “prize” now is to go on to be judged in the semi-finals.  Publishers Weekly will be judging my novel—the full manuscript—and they will decide whether I get to be one of the 100 left in the semi-final round.

Rating me and recommending me were two Amazon Vine Reviewers.  Here is what they said about my first chapter:

Reviewer #1:

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?
Cassie is an interesting character, and the author does a fine job of letting us get to know her and her parents. She expertly introduces the family dynamics and sets the stage for her story in an authentic and believable manner. With the exception of a couple of the introductory paragraphs, the author’s prose flows smoothly and she handles the dialogue very well. Cassie clearly comes across as a teen about to be on her own, exhibiting all the frustration, nervousness and excitement common to that age.

What aspect needs the most work?
My one problem with this excerpt was the author’s introduction of the chimes in Cassie’s head. She is introducing a very important element here, and it just seemed like a clumsy way to introduce Cassie’s alternative dream world. The story recovers nicely when Cassie begins to talk about the boy in the painting, but getting from regular teenager to girl who has another identity just didn’t fly.

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?
I think this was a fairly strong excerpt and I liked where the story was going. I didn’t really understand the chimes in Cassie’s head, and wish more explanation was provided. The strength of the excerpt lies in the very strong characterizations. I hope the author is able to maintain Cassie’s strong voice during her dream life sequences. That will surely make for a memorable story.

I enjoyed the author’s prose and felt that it was very readable. I liked the hints of romance to come, and am very curious how the remainder of the story will play out. Nice, original idea that will be sure to hook plenty of YA readers.

Reviewer #2:

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?
It’s intriguing, well-written, with believable dialogue, and the pacing is good.

What aspect needs the most work?
I can’t think of anything. It’s not clear what Haley’s issue is, but perhaps that’s clarified later.

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?
Excellent.

Dude, #2 was just phoning it in like mad.