Rejection, Reinvention & Do-Overs—What YOU Need to Know About E-Books

Now that we’re in post-NaNo December, here’s a blog from Kristen Lamb about rejections and stuff.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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Waaayyyy back in the Dark Ages of Publishing, I queried many, many…*sigh* many agents, only to be rejected. Then, I pitched a social media book for writers…and they laughed in my face. Social media is a fad. Authors only need a good book. Yup. Well, these are the same folks who are now requiring an author to have a strong social media platform and most won’t so much as look at a book if they can’t google an author’s name and have it show up (and show something vibrant and interesting).

Had it not been for the indie/e-book revolution, my first #1 best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media, and my second #1 best-selling book Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer, and now my new best-selling book Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World would never have existed (let alone dominated…

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As of Turkey Day evening, I uploaded 52846 words into the giant maw of NaNoWriMo and was declared a “winnah! Is this bragging excessive? Don’t know. Just once a white


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Life’s Unseen Blessings—Are We Really Thankful?

I’m reblogging Kristin Lamb’s Thanksgiving blog. Enjoy.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

I make it a point to begin every day with an attitude of gratitude. I think it is important, especially these days where it seems like every commercial tells us we aren’t thin enough, rich enough, successful enough, happy enough. We always need more “stuff” to be enough.

I wrote a blog ages ago about focusing on success, that we tend to drift where the eyes focus. Race car drivers learn that if you want to cross the finish line, never ever take your eyes off the goal line. Look at the wall and you will hit the wall. I believe everything is that way. If we focus on where we are lacking, we run the danger of being ungrateful for what we have, and that can be an extraordinarily defeating way to live.

Lately, I’ve had a hard reality to face. I’m so busy potty training the toddler…

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AMW flyer final (1)

NOVEMBER 9, 2013

AUSTIN MYSTERY WRITERS (AMW)  Sponsors FREE Fiction Workshops @BookPeople!

Have you ever wanted to write crime fiction?  Or, want to learn more about how your favorite authors create those fast-paced plots and complicated characters that manage to keep you up all night reading? 
Come to our FREE special one day event:  Anatomy of a Mystery @ BookPeople on Saturday, November 9th, 2013 from 9:30am-3:00pm.
Our panel of highly-acclaimed mystery novelists will give you the inside scoop on what it takes to create some of today’s most memorable mysteries. Janice Hamrick, Karen MacInerney and Reavis Z Wortham will cover topics ranging from plotting and characterization to how to balance action and humor in crime fiction.  
Special Bonus:  First 25 attendees receive a FREE Austin Mystery Writers notepad and pen, plus a chance to win a free AMW tote along with other raffle items including books and more!

Doors open at 9:00am

Reavis Z. Wortham, Balancing Action, Humor and Pacing, 9:30-10:30am
Karen MacInerney, The Nuts & Bolts of Mysteries, 11:00am-noon
Lunch Break 12:00-1:00pm
Janice Hamrick, The Craft of Creating Interesting Characters, 1:00pm-2:00pm
Panel Discussion with Authors, 2:15pm-3:00pm
If you love reading crime fiction or want to learn how to write a mystery, this is the event for you!
Questions? Please contact Laura Oles at
(Taken from Austin Mystery Writers website)


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Sci Friday: Scientist Fiction


~post by Tommy

Science Fiction has counted among it’s collection of authors some of the greatest writers of all time. Jules Verne, Ray Bradbury, Margaret Atwood, and many more have pushed the boundaries of mankind’s imagination and made Science Fiction a wonderfully complex and unique genre. However, there have been authors who bring more than the outlook of a writer to their work. Some of Science Fiction’s best and most interesting names have also been scientists, and have used their scientific background to ground their works in scientific fact.

One of these scientist authors was Isaac Asimov who was a respected professor of bio chemistry at Boston University in addition to being one of the great Sci Fi writers. He is most well known for his books on robotics and artificial intelligence, which is fairly far afield of bio chemistry. Asimov imagined a future in which man had turned to…

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MAKE MINE MYSTERY: Shoplifting and Mystery Writers and Readers

MAKE MINE MYSTERY: Shoplifting and Mystery Writers and Readers.

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Laurie King at BookPeople

–by Laura Oles

Reblogged from 

BookPeople in Austin, Texas, always has an impressive schedule of author events on the calendar, so it can be difficult to decide which ones to attend.   When Laurie R. King’s name appeared on the roster, I cleared my schedule for that evening (well, after hustling kids to soccer practice, helping with homework, cooking dinner, you get the idea) and made my way to Lamar Blvd.
I had the pleasure of meeting Laurie at this year’s Malice Domestic conference in Maryland.  She was funny and kind and extremely gracious with her time.  As the conference’s chosen Guest of Honor for Malice Domestic 2013,  she still found a way to make time for every person hoping for a moment of her attention.   There are few things more wonderful than realizing a favorite author is also a gem of a human being.

Laurie discussed her latest novel, The Bones of Paris, which is set in the City of Light at the end of the 1920’s.  When asked why she chose this particular time, Laurie said, “The end of the decade was when things began to fall apart, and I find that to be much more interesting for a crime writer.”
The Bones of Paris received a starred review from Booklist and Publisher’s weekly was equally kind with its praise.  Exploring the dark underbelly of Paris’ Jazz Age through the eyes of Harris Stuyvesant will have readers up all night in anticipation of what he discovers next.  While Mary Russell remains a crowd favorite, it’s clear that Harris Stuyvesant will garner loyal readers as well.  After all, there’s room on our nightstands for more than one compelling King protagonist.
When asked by an audience member how she was able to juggle writing multiple series, she answered that she found herself easily bored and preferred switching from one project to an entirely different one.  Loyal King readers are thankful for this view as it gives us a broader range of stories from which to choose and affords us the opportunity to experience King’s storytelling prowess in numerous ways.

Laurie can’t speak in public without someone asking her about her decision to take on the character of Sherlock Holmes through her vision with Mary Russell.  She confesses that early on, she was surprised by the uproar from some Holmes fans.  She says that one message board started flaming her on the Internet, back in the early days of such boards, but that she wasn’t on the Internet so all their disparaging efforts went on without her knowledge, something that still brings a smile to her face.  “They were getting all worked up and I had no idea for the longest time,” she says with a grin.

In truth, she was fascinated by the idea of taking many of Holmes’ traits and seeing how they would manifest in a young, intelligent woman who would stand as his peer.  She was interested in “how it would be the same and how it would be different.”   Needless to say, the success of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice captured the imagination of those who loved Sherlock Holmes as well as those who loved the idea that she would take the character and explore him through more current times and with compelling twists on the classic detective.
One question that often comes up at such events–from curious writers– involves the debate between being an ‘outliner’ or ‘pantser,’ which has since evolved into the ‘organized vs. organic debate.’  Want to know under which camp Laurie King falls?

While she does take notes on certain scenes or particular characters, Laurie finds it best to write organically.   In fact, she co-authored a book with Michelle Spring titled the Arvon Book of Crime and Thriller Writing, which details the two authors’ differing approaches to crafting a novel.
She says her first drafts are often “300 page outlines with characters disappearing and such.”  Struggling novice novelists will be grateful to hear that someone with King’s writing chops turns out a less than perfect first draft.  She does write 1,500-2,000 words per day until she hits a slowing point, which signals that she has more ‘back of the mind’ work to do in figuring out what happens next in the story.  She finds it best not to continue to force the writing and uses the slowed pace as a signal that more questions need to be answered before continuing.
When asked which authors she currently enjoys reading, King offers up Lyndsay Faye.  “She’s such a talented writer.  I loved the Gods of Gotham.” She also gives kind mention to Tony Broadbent, author of the Smoke series featuring Jethro, a jewel thief and cat burglar.

King is hard at work on her next projects and promises that we will see more of Mary Russell in the future as well as other characters that have captured her imagination (and ours).  King readers can rest assured that whatever the author brings next, it will be well worth the wait.

To learn more about Laurie R. King, visit

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Want to Be Successful? Beware of End-of-the-Rainbow Thinking

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Our culture has been infected with a disease of distortion, what I’m calling “End-of-the-Rainbow-Thinking.” We can all be guilty of this. We see the mega-best-selling-indie, the New York Times best-selling author, the successful small business, the guy with the big house or the family who lives debt-free and we scope-lock on the end result as if this “success” POOF! erupted from the ether.

Reality television superstars, fluke mega-advances for first-time authors, and lottery-winners only reinforce this Get-Successful-Quick-With-No-Effort-On-Our-Part mindset.

The Kardashian Konundrum

A couple days ago, I was checking out at the grocery store and there is an entire issue of a magazine devoted to Kim Kardashian. Why? What has she contributed other than fodder for the gossip mill? Yet, these are the role models that, whether we like it or not, can infect how we view ourselves, our goals and what we seek to accomplish.

We must be mindful to…

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Do You Have a Psychic Vampire Critique Partner?

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Several months ago, in my Enemies of the Art series, we discussed Psychic Vampires. Psychic Vampires are all around us, and likely, we will never be rid of them. PVs are most likely to show up at a number of critical junctures. They sense the energy shift, and since that energy is no longer all about them, they will fight tooth-and-nail to bring balance to The Force (of Manipulation).

While many of my posts are directed toward writers, most people have these same issues. If we don’t learn how to guard against and handle PVs, we will always be their victims. Psychic Vampires will always feel renewed and refreshed, namely because they just sucked the life out of their victims (us).

Psychic Vampires abound in the arts, and they’re also prevalent in many writing groups. They are vamps dressed in writer clothing. Often they are so self-absorbed they can’t even…

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River Bluff Writer’s Retreat

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Snack, snack, talk, talk, talk, snack, snack.

Oh, and some writing.

Last Friday and Saturday, Fifteen Minutes of Fame, an Austin writing group, held a Year One First Ever Annual Retreat at the River Bluff cabin near Fentress, Texas, on the lovely pecan bottoms by the San Marcos River.

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We acquired hamburgers Friday night and pizza Saturday night from the local convenience store. There was no television, land-line phone, or Internet service. We had to sit around and…talk…and snack….a lot. And the snacks! Trail mix, cookies, hummus, crackers, grapes, strawberries, cherries, bananas, tangerines, cheeses, veggie chips, Cheetos, booze, soda, and Guatemalan Dark coffee.

On Saturday, discipline reared its head, and the group did three fifteen-minute timed writings with a prompt. The first prompt was “retreat,” then “grip,” (as in get a), then “murder in the woods” suggested by yours truly. We all scribbled furiously, then read our offerings aloud.

It was great fun. I haven’t sat down and talked continuously with a small group of people in I don’t know when. Many topics were touched upon, but none were exhausted. Although the conference attendees were rather exhausted when Sunday morning rolled around.

One person slept on a cot on the upstairs deck, sheltered by giant pecan trees, two of us on beds on the second floor, and two more downstairs on couch/rollaway bed combinations.

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I can safely say a good time was had by all. The addition of Chucho, an Airedale-poodle mix dog, was a great delight.

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The place was gorgeous and peaceful, visited by sweet brown deer and chirpy birds. And chirpy writers.

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