Dealing with a child with Behavioral Issues. Update. One Year Later

Parenting is an ongoing struggle, isn’t it? I have to say though, that things are much better than they used to be. I think the issues that we deal with now are “normal”.

But something happened over the weekend that I just have to share.

Easter eggs

Easter eggs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday there was an Easter egg hunt at our church. Littlest Dude was in the oldest age bracket, and this is probably the first, and last year he would be able to participate. His gaze traveled across the gardens, and a smile touched his lips, seeing the multitude of eggs scattered in the grass (4,000 eggs, I was later informed)

They made an announcement for the older kids not to get the eggs in the middle of the field (Since participants ranged from 2 years to 8 years.) I reiterated the request to Littlest Dude. And then they were off!

There is nothing cuter than several hundred kids running through a field trying to find eggs.

I lost sight of Littlest Dude for a few minutes until his red shirt gave him away back in the trees.

Whew!

At least it seemed that he’s left the easy ones for the other kids. The eggs disappeared quickly, and late-comers ran toward the field, hoping to get there share.

Littlest Dude ran by a few times, bag overflowing but determined to find all the well-hidden eggs. Yep. He’s tenacious. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree on that one.

I grimaced as first-time parents strolled lazily toward the event area, obviously clueless that there may not be anything left for their children. Boy, were they about to be in for a bad morning!

People started to leave, and Littlest Dude is still out there running around, having a grand old time.

Then it happened.

He comes strolling back to us, a huge smile coating his adorable little face, WITH ONLY A FEW EGGS IN THE BOTTOM OF HIS BAG.

“Littlest Dude,” I say. “What happened to all your eggs?”

He shrugs. “A lot of kids didn’t find any, and they were sad, so I gave them my eggs.”

Need a tissue? I did.

I hope this warmed you heart as much as it warmed mine.

JenniFer_Eaton__F

Enhanced by Zemanta

Living a week in an agent’s shoes

I recently had the opportunity to judge a writing contest.  I, and two other brave souls, volunteered to read all the anonymous entries, and choose one winner who would win “the pot” collected from the entry fees.

I am going to admit that this was a grueling experience at times.  I swore, somewhere around the seventh entry, that I would never do this again.  My relief when I’d finally read the last entry, and made my choice for winner, was overwhelming.

Then I got to thinking.  What I went through is probably not unlike what an agent or a submissions editor goes through every day.  They get a mailbox full of submissions, and they have to review them all and choose only one, or none.

Now, consider this.  The people who entered this contest paid an entry fee.  This is one of the reasons I volunteered.  I mean, seriously… if you are going to fork up ten bucks to get into a contest, you gotta know your writing is good enough to have a chance, right? I imagined my mailbox filled with fantastic, wonderfully imagined and carefully crafted stories.

Did I get that? Ummm… Not always.

Now, this is not to say that there were not some great entries. There were. But at times, I held my hand to my head and thought, “What was this person thinking”?

The good thing that came out of this is the realization that what you hear is true. There is a lot of poorly written or poorly executed work out there in the query-sphere.

If you can honestly look at your work and say:

1.       It has been edited multiple times

2.       It has been critiqued multiple times

3.       It has been beta read by multiple readers

4.       I have listened to critiques/beta comments and made changes without thinking “they just don’t understand me” and ignoring them.

5.       I have a story arc with a beginning, middle and end.

6.       There is a journey/change in the main character that makes the story worth reading.

7.       There is conflict.

I could keep going, but I’ll stop there.  If you can say “yes” to all of the above, then you at least have a chance of getting read by an agent or editor. If you work stands out as well written and conceptualized, you will be in the 25% or so that will actually be considered.  This is the place where good writing is a given. This is where you are in competition for the best story.

This is where you want to be. If you answered “no” to any of the list above, and you are querying and getting rejections, there is a possibility you are just wasting their time. (And yours)

What I realized judging this contest is that there must be hundreds of thousands of people out there that are wasting their time by submitting before they are ready.

Do your research. Make sure you have learned your craft.

Don’t be afraid to ditch a story you have worked on if it is not marketable.  Move on to something else. Every time you sit down to write you are better than the last time. Be patient until you can honestly say “This is my best work.”

_JenniFer____EatoN

Enhanced by Zemanta

Agent Contest for YA with Critique for winners. Hurry! I almost missed this one.

Oh! I love me a contest or two. Especially when the prize is something like a critique, and bonus points for no entry fee.

And easy entry, too. Just the first 200 words of your manuscript.

This one is put out by Writer’s Digest, which is super cool. I am shamelessly re-blogging this from the Writer’s Digest Web Site:

PRIZES!!!

Top 3 winners all get:

1) A critique of the first 10 double-spaced pages of your work, by your agent judge.

2) A free one-year subscription to WritersMarket.com ($50 value)!

MEET YOUR (AWESOME) AGENT JUDGE!

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 10.31.23 AM

A literary agent for close to fifteen years, Andrea Somberg represents a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, including projects aimed at a young adult and middle grade audience. Previously an agent at the Donald Maass Agency and Vigliano Associates, she joined Harvey Klinger Inc. in the spring of 2005. Andrea has also been a MediaBistro instructor, teaching courses on writing nonfiction and memoir book proposals. Learn more about Andrea on Twitter, Facebook, or Publishers Marketplace.

Click below for the scoop. But Hurry!  You need to enter by April 9th!

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/15th-free-dear-lucky-agent-contest-young-adult-fiction

 

_JenniFer____EatoN

 

Oh yeah? I mean, No! No yeah! — What’s your “yeah?”

Yeah.  It’s my new nemesis.  Oh, I’ve had other nemeses’ in the past, but “Yeah” has just become the granddaddy of them all.

I’m editing out overused words in my manuscript, and while I was searching for “Oh” I noticed quite a few “Oh yeahs”  So I jotted down the word “yeah” at the end of my list to take a look at later.

Imagine my surprise, when sitting down to what I THOUGHT would be a short editing session, and I find that I’ve used the word “yeah” 223 times in a 246 page manuscript.

Oh_No!!!!

And it’s not even like “yeah” appears once a page.  There are several pages in a row that have no occurrences of “yeah” whatsoever.  And then the next page is all lit up with five yellow highlights.

How did this happen? – And how did none of my beta’s not even mention it?

One of my really strong points is dialog.  I can “hear” my characters talk, and I just transcribe.  When both of your main characters are teenagers, the word “yeah” seems to pop out a lot, and it SOUNDS absolutely fine, even though repeated.

But I’m sure a publisher wouldn’t be so enthusiastic about so many “yeahs” on a page.

Yikes!

Through editing, I cut it down from 223 to 67.  A lot of them still appear multiple times on a page, but I think they need to stay this way to keep the “voice” of the characters intact. And hey, they are teenagers. They say “yeah”, ya know?

In my final read for flow, I will make special notice of them, and continue to trim them away wherever possible.

What’s your most recent word nemesis?

JenniFer_Eaton Sparkle__F

Enhanced by Zemanta

Are you a member of the SCA Society for creative Anachronism? Have you ever been to Pennsic War?

Are you a member of the SCA Society for creative Anachronism? Have you ever been to Pennsic War?

 

English: Society for Creative Anachronism part...

English: Society for Creative Anachronism participants (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’ve never heard of the Society for Creative Anachronism, it’s…. well, hard to explain. Lots of people come together for a medieval-fest and turn a building, or a huge area, back in time. Think Renaissance Faire on steroids. But in these events they won’t even let you in without proper garb.

And you don’t just get to watch. With training, you become part of the world.

I went to an event once over twenty years ago, and it was quite a treat. It had a big enough impact on me that I still think about it, and I’ve decided to feature a SCA event, the Pennsic War, in one of my novels.

 

Kingdom of Northshield court in the Society fo...

Kingdom of Northshield court in the Society for Creative Anachronism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s my problem. I’ve never been to Pennsic War. I am trying to imagine what Cooper’s Lake park in PA looks like when 10,000 (yes, that’s ten-thousand) people from around the world converge on that one campground, to watch and take part as the East Kingdom and the Middle Kingdom meet for a week of tournament and good times. Think Olympics, Medieval style.

Heavy combat, fencing, crossbows. Oh! I get tingles just thinking about it!

English: Melee fighting in the Society for Cre...

English: Melee fighting in the Society for Creative Anachronism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thing is, I can imagine what a campground of people in Medieval garb looks like, but anything I can come up with would just be a really good guess.

 

So I’m wondering. Have you been to Pennsic War? Or maybe another smaller war-like event?

Here are my questions.

  1. Does combat start on Friday, or is that just revelry like the opening ceremonies and the good stuff starts on Saturday?
  2. Do most people stay at the campground?
  3. Are there ever any non-SCA campers there? Are they freaked out?
  4. What is it like back at the campground? Do people stay garbed and “in character” for the whole week or two weeks?
  5. Do combatants get hurt?
  6. Fencing competition: Do girls fight girls and guys fight guys, or can a championship match be a guy and a girl? (Sorry that was a spoiler)
  7. From the event I went to, I imagine the rivalry feigned and in good fun. But is that still true? Any side-duels that might not exactly “follow the safety rules”?
  8. Anything you can give me would be helpful. I want this to be authentic, and do the event justice as the catalyst to send my heroine on her journey.

Oh! Do you have pictures? More pictures will be helpful.

And, as a side note, if any SCA member would like to read the SCA excerpt when I’m done to make sure I “got it” I would be eternally grateful.

Huzzah!

(Yeah, that was probably lame. I’m sure I spelled that wrong.)

Find out more about this cool organization here: http://www.sca.org/

JenniFer_EatonF

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

What do you think is the right price for an ebook?

There has been a lot of talk about this lately. I’ve heard both sides, and I completely understand all sides of the argument. For now, I’d like to take off my author hat, and speak as a consumer.

A few weeks ago, my son just HAD to have a particular book on release day.  I cringed when I saw the $14 price tag.

$14 For an Ebook?

Huh

Initially I told him he had to wait until it went on sale. But eventually I caved. The kid’s not asking for a video game, after all. It’s a book. Still… $14 for memory space?

As an author, I totally appreciate the time and effort in creating a book, and yes, I did pay the price. But I can’t help but feel a little scammed when there are so many great books out there without a “Best-Selling Author” tag that are $4.99 or less.

Today, I ran across the same problem with a book that I was really interested in.  I came across a blurb for it on an agent’s website when it initially sold. Today, it came up recommended on Goodreads.  I was all ready to buy it. It sounds great.

But at the $9.99 price tag, I hesitated.

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de...

And the hardcover is $13.59. Does anyone else see a problem with this? Why spend $9.99 on an ebook when you can spend a few dollars more and get something you can hold?

I’m wondering… if Amazon hadn’t driven prices down so low on ebooks if I would have even blinked about spending $10 on a book that I wanted.  If all books were around this cost, I wouldn’t have a choice, right?

 

But this is my worry.

How many people out there are like me, and want the book, but decided to pass and get two other books for 4.99 instead?

Where, as an author, I’d like to see average book prices be higher, I have to worry and wonder about houses that charge so much more than other books on the market.  I suppose if they are throwing big marketing dollars at the book, that people will be influenced to buy no matter the price.

But what about the people like me who stumbled across the book by accident and just want to read the story? Are they risking turning them away?

This is one of the quandaries that keeps me in limbo about whether or not to submit to certain houses. I don’t want people to say, “Why is your book so expensive? All these other books a five bucks.”

I’m wondering what you think. If you are an author, try putting your author hat aside. Think as a reader, or a consumer/buyer of ebooks.

What do you think is the right price for an ebook?

And maybe another question:  Should ebooks be premium priced for the first several months, and then the price drop once the paperback comes out? Or would fewer books even get to paperback if less people are buying?

What are your thoughts?

Enhanced by Zemanta

“I’m sending My Novel Out to Query.” Are you sure you want to do that?

I just got an email that really disturbed me.  No, it was not from one of those creepy guys on Facebook who friends you and then sends you scary PMs… This was from someone I actually know.  Well, cyber-know at least.

This person is a critique partner. Someone working on their first book.

What did the email say that disturbed me so much?

“I’m going to send this out to agents. Can you look at my query and synopsis?”

OMG.

Was I worried about helping with a query and synopsis?  Nope. Not at all. I do it all the time.

So what was it that drove a jagged, rusty bar through my heart?

“I am going out to query.”

I feel incredibly thankful for that little angel on my shoulder who whacked me upside the head two years ago and said “Don’t do it. Your novel sucks.”

Some people, unfortunately, do not have a little angel. Or if they do, they’re not listening.

A quote from Dan Blank keeps coming to mind.  It’s something like: “Writing a book for the sake of writing a book is a worthwhile experience. Not all books should (or need) to be published.” (I totally paraphrased that)

Anyway. I’d like to remind everyone that a sizable number of first novels should be placed in a drawer and never thought of again. Call them a learning experience. A small portion of these can be resurrected, but should be used as an outline and completely rewritten. I would guess that less than one percent are worthy of publication.

But does it hurt to try?

Jury is out on that.  If you have countless hours to waste researching agents/editors and then have even more hours to send a manuscript out that has no chance at all at publication – more power to you. The chances of them remembering you and instantly deleting your second or third manuscript are slim, right?

(Did that last paragraph seem slightly jaded?  If so, GOOD. It was meant to.)

My other big worry is that after a few rejections, instead of shelving manuscripts that are not ready, authors will turn to self-publishing. [Cringe] The thought makes me shiver.  You think critique partners can be harsh?  Try a review from someone on Amazon who is angry at you for wasting their time or money.  Have you read those kind of reviews?  I feel so sorry for those authors!

(Aside: For the record, I think self-publishing is great… If you are ready and have received professional line editing and copy editing)

It took me 17 drafts of my first novel before I decided to shelf it.

Two years of work, sitting on a shelf collecting dust.

Was it worth it?

 

Totally!I learned tons from the experience.  I took what I learned to my NEXT novel.  And when that was done, I took what I learned from writing my second novel into my third novel (all the while pumping out novellas and shorts and getting professional feedback) And I took all of that experience and dove into my fourth novel.

Each. Got. Better.

And even after I thought “maybe my novel is good enough” I was STILL shy of certain agents, and ESPECIALLY my target publisher.  It was not until agents or editors started saying things like:

 “Your writing is strong, but I do not have a place for science fiction right now”

or things like:

“This is not for me, but if you have another book in “xxxx” genre please send it directly to me at [insert email address]”

… that I started sending out to the agents and houses at the “top” of my wish list. And by the way – They ARE NOT reviewing my first novel. That is still safely sitting on my shelf, waving and smiling at me every day.

My point is, don’t feel pressured to publish your first novel. If you are serious about writing, and you are unsure, just move on to the next one. I guarantee novel #2 will be better.

But if you do decide to go for it, good luck!  I wish you all the best, and totally hope you are in that one percent of shining stars.

JenniFer_EatonF

Enhanced by Zemanta

You need to buy this book, and it’s on sale for $.99

Now, I know it’s not like me to hang here and tell you to buy a book. Unless it’s mine, cause, hey, ya should, cause, well… it’s mine.

But anyway… Let me tell you about this book called Darkside Sun.

As you may have noticed from my several reviews, I am a big Jocelyn Adams fan. I think she’s awesome.

Almost two years ago, I gushed when I tripped over her in a chat room. (She was posting under a pseudonym, and I didn’t even know I’d been talking to her – funny story I’ll have to tell you some day) Anyway, we became cyber-buddies, and she’s been uber helpful with advice about do’s and don’ts in the publishing industry.

Last year, she entrusted me with a beta copy of “DARKSIDE SUN”. Let me tell you, I was floored. When I finished it, I cried… and wrote this blog post: “There is a book out there that is better than yours.”

And yes, this book was contracted soon after by my target publisher.  Yes, I celebrated.  This book totally deserves it.

A month or so ago, I was contacted and asked if Entangled could use a quote from my beta comments on the novel in their marketing.  “Sure,” I said… not even remembering what I’d said.

Imagine my surprise when the cover hit Amazon:

See that white writing in the upper left hand corner?  Let me zoom that in for you.

Darkside Sun Quote

Wowzers.

All that stuff they say about making connections and stuff… yeah, it’s true.  my name is on the front of a novel that I personally believe will be the next “big thing.”

And let me tell you, I couldn’t be happier.  There are not too many novels out there that I would recommend this much… or slap my name on the cover… but this is one.  You will be drawn in from the first pages, and biting your nails until the unbelievable end.

Even if you don’t like this genre, I’d recommend this for the simple reason of soaking in Jocelyn Adam’s writing style.   She is everything I want to be when I grow up, and I am trilled to death that she’s finally received big-name recognition.

Darkside Sun is on sale for the next few days in a promotional blitz.  For $.99 on Amazon. I am sure you will not be disappointed. It doesn’t get too “paranormal” right away, and everyone from contemporary to horror can learn a little soaking her style in.

Even though I read the beta, I am hopping over now to pick up my copy. I can’t wait to see the final product. I hear it’s even better. I’m prepared to be wowed all over again.
Darkside Sun (Entangled Embrace)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Post #662, 663, 664, 665… Oh No! What blog post is this? Nope Not gonna do it. Quick! Call in the Rabbi!

What is that I hear out there in the Blogosphere? Murmurings of dismay and fear:  “Why didn’t Jennifer skip post #666 and go from #665 to #667, the way some building elevators go from floor #12 to floor #14? No one would have noticed.”

Here’s my word associations about 666: the Number of the Beast; the Sign of the Beast; the anti-Christ; the Apocalypse; Revelations. It’s also the subject of “The Devil’s Highway,” a song by The Snake Brothers, a local Pine Barrens-based New Jersey folk/country/bluegrass/ roots band.

Hi there, I am Rabbi Ilene Schneider. Here’s what I know after Googling 666: all of the above. Plus there are as many interpretations as interpreters. Plus, the number is possibly gematria, a method of hermeneutics that assigns a numerical value to letters of the Hebrew alphabet. [Gematria is the reason the number 18 is lucky in Judaism – It’s the numerical value of the Hebrew word “chai” (pronounced like “hi,” but with a guttural “h,” not a soft “ch” as in “China”); as in the toast “l’chaim;” as popularized in the song “To Life, To Life, L’chaim,” in “Fiddler on the Roof.”]

English: Jersey Devil strip from 1909 Français...

English: Jersey Devil strip from 1909 Français : Dessin du Diable du New Jersey en 1909 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I also learned that the number may be a mistranslation and it should be 616, coincidentally the route number for Church Road, a south Jersey street that’s not very apocalyptic, except where it intersects with a traffic circle in Cherry Hill. Had New Jersey traffic circles been around in the 14th Century, Dante would have modeled his Circles of Hell on them.

The explanation I favor for the confusion between 666 and 616 is that the Greek name for Nero (as in the Emperor, not the protagonist of “The Matrix”) when transliterated into Hebrew is equal to 666, while the Hebrew transliteration for the emperor’s Latin name is equivalent to 616. It does make sense that the writer of Revelations would have considered Nero the anti-Christ.

County Route shield

County Route shield (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And, yes, there is an Atlantic County Route 666 in New Jersey, just as The Snake Brothers sing. I know. I looked it up. The road passes by Estelle Manor, site of the long-abandoned Estellville Glassworks. The town has been suggested as the birth place of the Jersey Devil, the only state demon in the U.S. “Devil’s Highway” is more likely to refer to our native boogie man (or part kangaroo, part goat, part horse, part dog, part bat, complete with wings and horns) than to Satan. (I think it’s far more likely that Mother Leed’s 13th child was born near Leed’s Point, although the monster has been sighted throughout southern New Jersey.)

So am I afraid that I am now cursed because I wrote blog post 666? No more than I worry about Friday the 13th, a number that is actually good luck in Judaism (the age of legal maturity; Maimonides’ list of the attributes of God, to name two reasons). There are too many real dangers out there to worry about whether numbers have a cosmic significance. But they are fun to research.

swish swivel sparkle

Rabbi Ilene Schneider, Ed.D., one of the first women rabbis ordained in the U.S., has finally decided what she wants to be when she grows up. She recently retired from her day job to devote herself to writing. She is the author of the Rabbi Aviva Cohen mysteries, Chanukah Guilt and the award-winning Unleavened Dead; the 3rd, a work-in-progress, is titled Yom Killer. She also wrote the nonfiction Talk Dirty Yiddish: Beyond Drek.

Website: http://rabbiauthor.com

So what do you think? Are you superstitious about # 665 +1?

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Results Are In! How Did Others Do With Their Breathless Critiques?

The results are in, and here’s how things panned out…

swish swivel squiggle

7.12% – “Other”

7.14% – Received few/unhelpful comments. They did not mention anything about submitting again

21.43% – Received useful comments, but they did not mention anything about submitting again

28.57% – Received comments and an invitation to send a query once they were done.

35.71% – Fast tracked – asked to send in the full manuscript as soon as it is complete.

swish swivel squiggle

Interesting.  It seems a lot of people were fast tracked.  That means there must be some sparkly manuscripts out there.  I wonder what the stats are of “fast tracked” manuscripts that actually end up published?

The world may never know.

Thanks for contributing!

swish swivel squiggle

Enhanced by Zemanta