May 10, 2011
It's a little known fact that book titles change all the time. Typically, the author will decide on a title while writing a book or a book proposal. In some cases, the title will come to an author before the rest of the book. That happens to me a lot. A title will pop into my head and introduce a situation that makes me want to write.
Still, every author knows not to get too attached because upwards of around seventy-percent of book titles are changed by the publishing house. Either they don't fit the finished book, or maybe they don't say what the marketing department wants to say. They could be too long, too short, or just not it.
I've been unusual in that I've gotten to keep my titles. Well, until now. This latest book is going to get a new title. I originally named it The Monster MASH because I'm writing about a group of offbeat paranormal MASH surgeons. And while my publisher is on board with the drama and zaniness inside the book, they want a grabby-er title (And yes, I'm making up a word. I like to do that.)
Anyhow, I've been thinking and thinking of a new title. But then it hit me: Why not ask for a bit of help? So I'm holding a contest. Help me re-name The Monster MASH. I'm open to any and all suggestions. If your title is one of the ones I present to my editor, I'll thank you in the book. If your title is the one we go with, I'll name a character after you.
Post any and all suggestions below.
A bit of background: The monster MASH is located down in limbo during a big immortal war. There are vampires, werewolves, demi-gods, sphinxes and about every other creature you can think of. The protagonist is a half-fairy surgeon who was drafted away from her paranormal medical clinic in New Orleans. Oh and she can see dead people.
One of my re-title suggestions was The Truth About Cats and Demi-Gods. My editor said close, but not it. So think of that kind of vibe. Thanks and good luck!
June 20, 2008
Hey, I received two more reviews for The Accidental Demon Slayer and I must say, this is starting to be kind of fun (she says, thus jinxing herself). Recommended reads from both the Romance Junkies and CK2S Kwips and Kritiques.
The Romance Junkies review isn't live yet. And if you've read this blog before, you know my face gets red even thinking about pulling quotes from reviews, ala "This person likes me, please like me too." (I have a feeling my editor is going to tell me to buck up.) But in the mean time, here's the link to the one review:
I really liked the way the reviewer summarized the book. To the point where I'm kind of jealous I couldn't come up with a way to state the entire opener in one paragraph. It's hard to do. Believe me, I've tried.
Anyhow, I'm really glad everyone seems to be liking The Accidental Demon Slayer. This week's ARC winner - Natalie Hatch - can be like one of the reviewers and read it before everyone else. Go Natalie! Happy reading.
June 02, 2008
Check this out - a bunch of paranormal author friends and I have started a group blog. It's called Something Wicked. You know, like the Witches MacBeth...something wicked this way comes. Yeah, we're so literary.
Anyhow, it's me, Ann Agguire (Grimspace), Shirley Damsgaard (the Ophelia and Abby witch mysteries), Karen MacInerney (Howling at the Moon: Tales of an Urban Werewolf) and Tate Hallaway (whose new book, Romancing the Dead, just hit stores). Tate is leading us off with talk of how she writes paranormals/urban fantasy for the explosions.
May 24, 2008
I've been in the garden a lot these past couple of days. And this year, I have hope. You see, I garden like some people diet. I start out with great intentions and then tend to find better things to do.
But I love spring, I love the idea of growing this lush garden full of organic fruits and vegetables. So much so that when we bought our house five years ago, one of the things that sold me was the generous plot of land on the side, bordered by a gray stone wall. It really would be the perfect garden, except for one factor: me.
Year 1: planted tomatoes, cucumbers, three kinds of peppers, onions and lettuce. Came down with unexplained fatigue a month later (pregnant, anyone?) and decided to grow a baby instead. Husband raked over the weed-filled mess in August. Total vegetables harvested: 0
Year 2: planted tomatoes, cucumbers, three kinds of peppers, onions and lettuce. Couldn't bring myself to go out and weed and water in scorching July temps with a new baby. Husband raked over the weed-filled mess in August. Total vegetables harvested: 5 tomatoes, 1 slightly scary looking pepper that nobody but me would eat.
Year 3: Already pregnant with kid #2. Planted tomatoes and pumpkins, thinking surely with only two crops... Raked over in July. Total vegetables harvested: 1 surprisingly hearty pumpkin in November.
Year 4: Abandoned cute garden plot for two container pots of tomatoes on the deck. Installed a bird feeder right above them. The seed from the bird feeder sprouted weeds in my lowly containers. Weeded like a fiend, watered, the tomatoes survived! The squirrels noticed and stole every tomato, except for two tiny ones that I took off the vine green. A third tomato was stolen by a turtle. My husband called it my most successful year ever and sweetly didn't mention that we'd spent approximately $60 in plants, pots and supplies for a yield of two cherry tomatoes. Total vegetables harvested: 2 1/2
But this is the year! Today is the day. I'm about to finish planting watermelon and pumpkins in the main garden. The tomatoes are in pots on the deck, looking quite weed free and happy at the moment. I'm not sure what to do about the squirrels yet, but I'm fully prepared to write my next novel while sitting on the deck, shooing away the little buggers. So if a demon conjures up vicious, tomato-stealing, fire-breathing squirrels in my next book, you'll know why.
In the mean time, I have hope. Fifth time is a charm. Besides, what could possibly go wrong this year?
On a totally separate note, I the winner of yesterday's ARC giveaway is Jayne Thomas. Yay Jayne!
Want to try to win your own ARC? Just sign up for my quarterly newsletter and you're entered. Easy as growing tomatoes (or not). Also, I'm blogging today over at The Brandford Bunch. http://www.thebradfordbunch.com/ Stop on by and hear the story of how this author made her first sale.
Now off to the garden...
April 24, 2008
I have some fun news today. The second book in The Accidental Demon Slayer series is finished! It was a kick to write, especially at the end when it was time to pull everything together. In fact, I found myself moping around this afternoon simply because it feels strange *not* to be working on that book.
But the moping won't last long because - as anyone in the publishing industry will tell you - this isn't the end. It's only the beginning. A book goes through several steps after an author types The End on a first draft.
For me, the next step involves my agent. I was really lucky to sign with Jessica Faust at BookEnds. She not only excels at the business side of things, but she's also a former editor. How great is that? A lot of her authors, even the bestsellers, run their manuscripts past Jessica for tweaks and ideas. Do you think this debut author is going to pass up that kind of opportunity? No-sir-ee-Bob.
So I emailed the book off to Jessica and in the mean time, have been busy cleaning the house (my family will be thrilled). I clean whenever I'm restless, which can be a very good thing - especially when the laundry stacks are taller than my one-year-old son. And they are right now. I worry about avalanches of socks and T-shirts.
And I'm also going to be doing some celebrating. Jimmy Buffett is in St. Louis tonight for the first time in eight years. It got to the point where I thought he'd never come back. Parrot Heads across the bi-state area are celebrating and my friends and I are no exception. I even bought my husband a grass hula skirt to wear to the concert because with his legs, well, how could I resist? Can't wait to blog about it tomorrow.
March 27, 2008
I don’t know if any of you are guilty of this or not, but when I start tinkering with something, it’s hard to stop. Even when I dress my four-year-old daughter, I’m always adding a little headband or maybe a ribbon or adding a sweater. And yesterday, before sending galley proofs back to my publisher, I had to call Chessie, my critique partner, and quiz her about a single word. Do I scratch it out? Do I leave it in?
Because after galleys, there's nothing else to do. These are basically the page proofs of a novel, all laid out and pretty, looking like a book. If it doesn't change now, well, that's what will be sitting on a shelf at Barnes & Noble. I thought about that way too much yesterday, to point where I almost drove right past the UPS store last night and kept my galleys for one more day. After all, they’re not due until tomorrow. I could have overnighted them today. Taken one more look, thought more about that one word.
The kicker is, I don’t think anything we do will ever be as perfect as we want it to be. There will always be something to adjust, tweak, change or think about way too hard. That's life, right? And I'd be shocked if anyone emails after the book comes out and says, "you know, it would have been better if you would have lost that one word on page 12."
So how do you tame your “perfectionist” streak? Or do you? Does the same drive that makes us crazy also improve our work? Or do we just need to quit overthinking, stop the car and let things go?
March 11, 2008
I called my critique partner last night because I'd added this great new twist to the end of my second book and I wanted to brainstorm exactly how to use it. Her answer surprised me.
Me: So, what do you think? (please like it)
CP: I think it's great, but why are you adding things? This is the end of the book.
Me: But it's neat, right? (please don't make me end my book)
CP: You remember that blog you did about pushing things to the next level? You also need to know when to quit.
I hate it when she's right. So here's the addendum to the Book Ends blog I did the other day.
(At http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2008/03/angie-fox-three-things-i-had-to-do-in.html in case you missed it.)
At the end of the book (the final fifty pages or so), it's important to stop, take a breath and trust yourself. I think I'm going to have to tape that to my forehead so I don't forget.
Without giving anything away, at the end of book 2, there are geriatric biker witches brewing up spells in the bathtub, a whole host of wicked fun she-devils and, of course, Lizzie the preschool teacher turned demon slayer who can't even cuss right. The entire book has led the characters into a larger-than-life moment. Now isn't the time to add more. Instead, now is the time to trust myself that I've brainstormed, ramped up my tension and surprised my readers (I know I've surprised myself a lot with this book). It's time to time to take what is there and knock it down spectacularly.
Why is it so hard to let go? I'm not sure, really. I can't think of any reason other than the fact that writing and creating is fun. I've had such a ball with these books that I don't know when to quit sometimes. But my critique partner was so right.
So tell me - do you have trouble letting go of your stories? If so, what do you do?
March 10, 2008
I read ahead for the love scenes. Not all the time, mind you. But some books are so compelling that I just have to know how the main characters end up coming together. Like in Grimspace, my new favorite book. It's a fast-paced, touching futuristic that surprised me in so many ways.
It's written by Ann Aguirre and what I love about her work is that she's not afraid to surprise us, throw in some twists and make us wonder just how she's going to pull things together in the end. Remember what I said on the Book Ends blog about pushing your story to the next level? Ann Aguirre makes it look easy.
So, yes, at 1:30 a.m., when I was half-way through the book and my poor husband had been sleeping with the bedroom light on since 10:30 p.m. (The guy really does deserve an award for living with a book-obsessed wife.). I did it. I paged ahead and read the big naughty, sexy, happy part. And it was so worth it.
So tell us. What books have you discovered that you just couldn't read fast enough? And do you ever skip ahead when you read?
February 28, 2008
Or: Everything I needed to know, I learned from George Costanza
I’ve always loved to read, so it was no surprise to anyone when I eventually decided to write a book of my own. When I did, I attacked it head on. I planned, I worked, I outlined more than any woman should. The end result? I wrote three mysteries that didn’t sell.
I don’t know how many of you watch Seinfeld, but there is a time in George’s life where he decides what he’s been doing hasn’t been working, so he decides to do the opposite. That’s what I did with my books. I’d been writing serious mysteries, with lots of science and research involved. They’d generated some interest, enough to almost, almost sell. But nothing quite happened.
To take my mind off the latest mystery making the rounds with agents, I decided to write something completely different, a funny paranormal romance where I could build my own world and make up my own rules. I fell in love with the idea of a preschool teacher who is forced to run off with a gang of geriatric biker witches and THE ACCIDENTAL DEMON SLAYER was born.
Instead of a 20-page plot outline, I had a 5-page list of ideas, one of which included “but little did they know, all the Shoney’s are run by werewolves.” Instead of following the rules, I broke a few. Instead of painstakingly writing over the course of a year, I giggled my way through the book and had a complete manuscript in five months.
The opening chapters did well in contests and caught the eye of an editor, who asked to see the whole thing. That same editor bought the book less than a week after I finished it.
I still can’t believe THE ACCIDENTAL DEMON SLAYER will be an August 2008 release. And just this morning, I was working on the sequel, laughing with the characters and having more fun than I should.
While I’m not sure Seinfeld is the best place to go for life lessons, I really do think there’s something to be said for following your instincts – in writing and in everything else. Can you think of a time you’ve taken a different path? Broken out of a pattern and started something new?