Friday, December 25, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
It's October and my new release I Can Make You Love Me hit the bookstore shelves on the 1st. The book has received great reviews and some commentary. I focused on the Detroit automotive area and my characters are people who live and work in the city.
The story involves an older woman/younger man relationship. The heroine was the hero's babysitter before she went off to college and met her husband.
Recently, I was discussing the story at my doctor's office and I mentioned the idea of the heroine being the hero's babysitter. The nurse in the office pointed a finger at me and immediately responded, "my uncle did that." So it's not an unusual or uncommon affair.
What do you think. Go to my website and read the excerpt and then email me. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the concept or situations that are similar to this.
Remember, don't be a stranger.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Recently, I shared a meal with a friend and told her about the first contract call I received in 2001. Although I knew certain things, I was unfamiliar with and not very good at contract negotiations. While the BET representative mapped out their offer, I listened intently, taking notes and then told the editor that I would call her back. I remember hearing from many reliable sources that you should not commit to anything until you've had time to consider the offer thoroughly.
A week later I accepted BET's offer and received my contract weeks later. For days I tried to make sense of the contract language. It didn't happen. The words on the thirty-odd pages ran together each time I tried to read the legal jargon. Reserves, audio and movie rights were phrases that meant nothing to me.
Frustrated, I went into my boss's office with the contract, waved the pages in his face, and demanded in a high-pitched whine, "Find me a lawyer!"
Being a priest and a nice man, Father Dave complied and found me a former student of his that was now practicing law. He went over the contract and explained to me what each section meant. He pointed out several areas where I had a little wiggle room for further negotiations. It was a learning experience that taught me to be prepared, learn as much as possible about the publishing business so that when I received the next call, I could discuss the contract and make intelligent decisions about my career.
What kind of experience did you have? Please share it with me. As usual, don't be a stranger.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I create folders on my computer hard drive for each story idea. Once the folder is setup I put all the material in that folder. For example, I've got an idea for a young adult story. When I find interesting tidbits on the Internet, I copy the article/story and add it to this folder. Names, settings, and story outline are added to the folder. Normally I'm working under a deadline, folders keeps the ideas straight in my head. Once I've completed my current project, I'll open this folder and begin the process of organize the information.
This is a simple, easy, and effective way to manage the writing portion of my daily life without making my brain hurt too much.
If you have ideas that you would like to share, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you and remember, don't be a stranger.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Which introduces my blog topic perfectly - rules and guidelines for writers. As I told my niece, there will always be rules. For writers there are guidelines for most genre. Each line has specific requirements that writers must follow in order to get their books purchased and eventually published.
Like my niece, we all want to do our own thing. Enjoy life the way we see fit, but that's not always in the cards. As authors we want to tell our stories the way we choose, describe the events in the way we see them. Unfortunately, that's not always possible because most publishers have specific ways they want a manuscript written.
For example, romance novel must have a happy end. Mysteries need the murder resolved and the killer unmasked, and suspense and thriller must tie all the loose ends together with a nice ribbon.
If your goal is to get published, then learn the rules for the publishing house you're considering and request a copy of their guidelines. I suggest you treat them like a bible for getting published and adhere to the rules. There's no guarantee that your book will get published, but you will be closer to your goal.
If you have comments or suggestions, please feel free to e-mail me. I'm always interested in what you think. I can be reached at email@example.com.
Please don't be a stranger.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
My sister has been a displaced and unemployed autoworker for several years. Recently, she decided to take charge of her life and go back to school to pursue a certificate in a completely different field. I applaud her efforts, because I understand how difficult it must be for her. After all, it's been thirty years since she's graced the inside of a classroom.
As we talked about her future and what this decision would truly mean, it became clear to me that she was really worried about this new life and afraid of stepping into a new arena. I tend to be very direct and honest. Being me, I came right out and told her that she was afraid and added that it's fine to be worried. I went on to tell her, there were ways to work around her concerns by acknowledging them, examining them, and finally moving past them. I cautioned her against allowing the voice of fear to control and make decisions for her. After offering advice on ways to approach going back to school, courses to take to prepare her for this new venture, including making the most of her local library, my sister now possessed the ammunition to help her tackle the future with renewed enthusiasm.
Once we were done talking, I sat back and thought about how fear has the power to influence our lives. Like all emotions, fear has a unique and important role to play. It keeps us safe, alert, and cautious. Unfortunately, there's a down side to this emotion. Sometimes it paralyzes us and keeps us from our goals. It makes us question our abilities, who we are, and what we can accomplish. The spirit of fear has destroyed many an aspiration and promising career.
My sister's dilemma made me think about writing and how easy it would be to allow my fears to keep me from doing something I truly enjoy. Like a mist that moves in and showers everything in its path, fear has the ability to seep into each and every part of our life and take over. My philosophy - fight it. Don't allow one emotion to win and keep you from the things that you desire or from living the best possible life. We all deserve a good, fulfilling, and rewarding life.
Whether your gift is writing, music, or simply going back to school after a long hiatus, don't allow fear to control and destroy your future. Step up, take charge, and embrace the life you worked for and continue to do what makes you happy. Keep this thought in mind, you only have one life and you owe it to yourself to give it your best.
I always love to hear from writers and readers. Feel free to contact me on this topic and any other. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, don't be a stranger.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I am a writer, author, contemporary romance author, whatever title you choose to give me. I create stories that end up as published works. Writing did not start out as my career goal. I came by this profession by accident, not design. I never planned to write, but here I am. Since writing possessed my soul, I've written nine romance novels and hope to write many more.
To any aspiring author I'd like to say cherish your writing friends, your critique members, and the people in your immediate writing circle. They are your support group, advisers, and confidantes. When you get that rejection letter from an agent or editor, they are the people you will call for comfort and encouragement. After you receive the call from an editor who wants to buy your book, they'll celebrate with you and understand your accomplishment more than anyone else. Your writing friends will tell you the truth, whereas your family will not because they don't want to hurt your feelings. There will be times when the comments you receive from your writing friends will be gentle, but honest. Other days their comments may be far too painful to accept. Step away from the work. Give yourself a day or two to think about their suggestions. The wisdom of their remarks will become clear to you. You'll admit they were right and revamp your writing using their comments. In most cases your prose will become clearer, crisper, and stronger.
Cultivating a strong, caring writing environment is essential. Surround yourself with supportive people.
I always welcome feedback, so shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com. Let me know your thoughts on this topic or others. Take a moment and visit my website, karenwhiteowens.com and read an excerpt from my October release, I Can Make You Love Me.
Remember, don't be a stranger.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Several weeks later, I strolled up to the front door of the school with the cries of small children echoing in my ears. Cool! The school must have an on-site day care center, I thought. I entered the building, sidestepping a toddler being pulled in a wagon, and searched for the main office. After I introduced myself, a young lady escorted me to the library.
The library was a hub of activity. Students and teachers raced around decorating a table and preparing food. Edie introduced me to Jasmine, one of the students, and instructed her to take me out to the farm while they completed their preparations. Farm? The front of the building looked like that of any other school. I followed Jasmine, expecting to see a few rows of tomato plants and an animal or two. I was completely unprepared for what I found. As we exited the school through the back door, I saw ducks and swans swimming in a pond. Around a corner, pigs, chickens, and goats milled around a red barn. Jasmine proudly explained that the girls at the school had built the barn themselves.
Jasmine and I took a leisurely stroll around the farm. She pointed out the different fruits and vegetables, telling me how the animals and farm were cared for by the students during the school year and by hired staff all summer. All of the fruits and vegetables are sold at Detroit's Eastern Market during the summer to supplement the cost of summer programs for the students. We turned another corner and I came face-to-face with two horses. I was floored.
We returned to the library and I learned that all of the two hundred young ladies at the high school had struggled to finish their education. Pregnancy, lack of family, homelessness, and other personal issues interfered with many of the students' roads to academic success.
After the students told me about themselves, I shared info about myself and my books. We talked about my latest release, The Way You Aren't, and discussed the students' interest and/or lack of interest in writing. I had the best time and I was proud to meet and learn more about these special students and this unique school.
Weeks later I thumbed through Oprah's O magazine and found an article featuring the school and its philosophy.
I feel very proud to have met those young ladies. I remember the time I spent with them with great pleasure.
So remember, being a writer involves so much more than putting words to paper. Public appearances, book signings, and workshops make up a large part of your role.
Let me know what you think about this story and more. I love receiving e-mail and hearing from readers as well as other writers. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. So please, don't be a stranger.
Monday, July 13, 2009
One afternoon during my lunch hour I sat at a table editing a few pages from one of my manuscripts. Karen Edie, one of the library staff, glanced over my shoulder and said, "Wow! There's a lot of red ink on those pages."
I went on to explain to her that I was revamping one of my loves scenes. She laughed and replied, "Love scenes take a lot of red ink."
When I looked at my pages I realized that I had pretty much covered the pages in red. So the next time you read a love scene, please remember all the red ink that goes into making a love scene hot, sizzling, and satisfying. There's a lot of red ink involved.
I hope to post more often. I'd love to hear from you. E-mail me at email@example.com. Please come back often.
Remember, don't be a stranger.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Yes, I'm several weeks late on this. But I'm not a very timely poster. Today, I want to say how proud I am of Barack Obama. An African American who we as a people can all be proud of. I'm pleased to have Michelle Obama, an articulate and educated woman as our first lady. Mr. and Mrs. Obama represent all that you can become if you are willing to work for it.
I know there are some difficult times ahead for this country. But I believe President Obama will find a way to put this country back on track. That's my two-cents for today.
Don't be a stranger.