Monday, May 24, 2010

Something to Think About

A writer is like a bag lady going through life with a sack and a pointed stick collecting stuff. ~Tony Hillerman

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Too Much BackStory in the Wrong Place

I've been down and out lately. My computer was out of sorts for a few days and believe me, the feeling was very similar to when I quit smoking almost twenty years ago. I bummed my daughter's laptop and my husband's, but it just wasn't the same. My little Blackberry got quite a workout too, answering emails.

So, I haven't accomplished much during the past few weeks. Here's what I'm doing:

Trying like crazy to create a new first chapter for my completed novel, but dang! it just ain't comin'. What can that mean? Anyone got an answer? You might tell me it doesn't need a new first chapter but, yeah, it does. Here's how I know:

I took an online course from an agent. It was a great course. She was hard-hitting and to the point. No flattery-just facts. The steps she took us through told even me that I need a new first chapter. Mine is too slow. "It lacks intensity," says husband. :)

2) I traded completed manuscripts with a writer I don't know. She's published a couple of eBooks. We're in an online RWA chapter and found each other through their critique list. Anyway, I read her manuscript before I sent her mine. Hers was fantastic. I couldn't put it down. It got very weak at the end--she rushed it--but she knew what she was doing so I emailed her my complete. She told me where the book really yanked her into the story--it wasn't the first chapter.

3) My first chapter is all back-story. Why didn't I see that before? I've always been told that we should start a book or a story in the middle of change, when something happens to our main character that will set him or her on a new path from that point forward. That's what I did. I brought my hero back to town, and he faces the heroine who destroyed his life. Isn't that change? Sure it is, but then all they did was rehash their past and evidently that's quite boring. What I need to do is sprinkle the backstory in here and there throughout each chapter. Easier said than done.

So... that's what I'm doing--thinking, thinking, thinking. How do I rewrite the first chapter, or create a new one? I don't have a clue ... yet.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Newbie's Guide Isn't Just For Newbies

Visualize this: a prospector standing in a stream, panning for gold.

Visualize this: an agent going through hundreds of manuscripts, the slush pile—panning for gold.

Be the gold!

This was paraphrased from J.A. Konrath’s FREE ebook, The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing, also available on Kindle.

But The Newbie's Guide isn't just for newbies. It covers everything from writing to marketing to touring to ... well, author J. A. Konrath covers it all.

His blog, A Newbie's Guide to Publishing (, has had over 400,000 hits since 2005.
Here's his new site:

Tell me this author doesn't have a lot to share. Check it out. Hey, do more than that--get your own copy of A Newbie's Guide to Publishing.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bayou Writers' Conference Preparations

UPDATE: GO TO to download our conference brochure.

I've been away from posting for too long. Not because I haven't had anything to say. I've been involved in the writing/reading side of life so the blog has suffered. I'll get back to it. Promise!

But today is not the day. :) Today, I want to post an update about our BWG conference that's in the making. Our Conference Coordinators have this to say:

2010 BWG Conference Preparations Underway!

It is with great pleasure I bring this news to you BWG members & friends. Our 2010 “Bridge to Publication” Conference is set for November 13th and preparations are underway to bring you a great event.

Venue: University United Methodist Church 3501 Patrick St. Lake Charles, LA (same place as last year) and we have a line up of speakers that will knock your socks off!

Children’s Book Editor Harold Underdown is a freelance editorial consultant. He has worked at Macmillan, Orchard, and Charlesbridge, and has experience in trade and educational publishing. Harold enjoys teaching, and in that role wrote The Complete Idiot's Guide to Children's Book Publishing, now in its third edition. He founded and runs "The Purple Crayon," a respected web site with information about the children's publishing world at Mr. Underdown will be offering critiques/consultations for only $35 so be sure and get there early! *More details to come*

Multi-published Author Cheré Dastugue Coen is an award-winning journalist and author living in Lafayette, Louisiana. She has worked or written for many publications and currently works as a freelance travel and food writer, plus pens the weekly books column and newsletter, Louisiana Book News. Her fiction includes Kensington historical romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Her nonfiction books include the cookbook travelogue Cooking in Cajun Country (2009) and the upcoming Magic's in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris and Sachets (2010). She is currently at work on the Historic Guide to Cajun Country, scheduled for release in 2011.

Gary Goldstein, Senior. Editor, Kensington, started his editorial career at Crown Publishing in 1986. He spent two years at Bantam Doubleday Dell (now Bertelsmann AG) from 1988-1990. He joined Putnam Berkley Publishing (now Penguin USA) in May 1990. Following his stint at Berkley, in 1997 he moved on to Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books division (where he signed up a then-unknown author named Dan Brown and his novel Angels and Demons). He rejoined Penguin USA in 2000 (Alpha Books division, publisher of the Complete Idiot’s Guides.) In October 2003, he joined Kensington Publishing Group, where he acquires and edits both non-fiction for Kensington’s Citadel Press imprint and fiction (military and political thrillers, westerns, suspense), among them NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors William W. Johnstone and Michael Walsh.

Self/E/Small Press Published Author Panel with four (count ‘em 4!) speakers discussing the INS & OUTS of Self, Electronic, & Small Press Publishing.

Lesa Boutin is a children’s author who discovered a love for every aspect of a book’s life, from concept to completion. With a background in education, Lesa started her own publishing company, Boot in the Door Publications, in 2006, followed by the release of her YA novels, Amanda Noble, Zookeeper Extraordinaire in 2007, and Amanda Noble, Special Agent in 2008. Currently a writer with Writers in the Schools Houston, Lesa enjoys sharing her imagination and passion for storytelling with her students.

Texas author Wendy Lanier will share her Write for Hire experience. Her writing experience includes titles for Lerner Books, Capstone Press, Lucent Books, KidHaven Press, and contributions to such publications as Focus on the Family's Clubhouse,,,, and The Amazing Bible Factbook for Kids (a publication of Time Inc. Home Entertainment and the Livingstone Corp.). Her educational and professional background includes a B.S. in Speech Communication Disorders and a M.Ed. in Elementary Education followed by over 18 years of service in Texas public and private schools. She is a member of SCBWI and the Bayou Writers' Group.

Curt Iles is a Southern writer with a warm style that makes one glad to be alive and wish to enter his world. He and his wife DeDe live in Dry Creek, Louisiana. Curt is a graduate of Louisiana College (B.S. 1979) as well as McNeese State University (M.Ed. 1985 and 1987). After fulfilling careers as a teacher/coach, school principal, and outdoor camp director, Curt began writing full time in 2006. The author of seven books, he speaks at over one hundred events yearly and can be reached at He recently released his seventh independent book, A Good Place. His previous six books have sold a cumulative 20,000 copies. Curt’s mission in life is “to walk closely with Jesus, be a man God can use, and be respected by my wife and family.” His life verse: the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in creative non-fiction and romantic fiction Pamela has five novels available in Ebook & Print (4 part Tempered Series ~ Com Star Media & The Inheritance ~White Rose Publishing) and five (soon to be six!) short stories (all available at White Rose Publishing) as well numerous articles, essays, & devotions to her credit. Her writing has been tagged as “Inspirational with an Edge!”™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

*NEW THIS YEAR!* Bayou Writers’ Group implemented the Terry L Thibodeaux, Sr. scholarship program ~ details & application available on the website.

Agenda TBA and a brochure will be available on our website as soon as humanly possible so mark your calendars and prepare to have a great day.

Hope to see you there!

Pamela S. Thibodeaux
Randy Dupre
Co-Conference Chairs