Monday, June 13, 2011

Laurie's Journal

Actions I've taken as a writer. Where am I? What am I doing?

Two weeks and counting to RWA. The excitement builds as I look forward to seeing my friends, peers and fellow Brigaders. The apprehension spikes when I realize how much I still have to do! It's going to be a busy two weeks and the time is going to fly by at FTL speed.

I’m very excited to report I’ve had a request for a full of P2PC! Before sending, I took 36 hours to do a last read-through, make a couple of minor tweaks and add a bit more clarification on a couple of complex emotional twists. And we have lift off!

Godspeed, P2PC. :)

And…at last! Golden Heart Class of 2011 has a name. We’re the Starcatchers! After much wrestling and brainstorming, this is the tag that the majority of members felt best fit our group. Why Starcatchers? It was inspired by a number of ideas but I think the overarching themes are “hope” and “opportunity.” Stars have long been associated with striving, achievement and fulfilling your dreams. Reach for the stars. Rising star. A star on the horizon.

Robin Perini made the suggestion, based in part on the song Catch a Falling Star—

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Save it for a rainy day

Being a Golden Heart finalist is akin to catching a falling star. It’s this little bit of magic we’ve captured and can call on whenever we query or pitch, and always tag onto our sig line “2011 Golden Heart Finalist.” Is it a bit like having a figurative star in our pocket.

For me, it brought back another song:

When You Wish Upon a Star

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you

If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do

Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true

Also, another early name suggestion for our group was the Diamond Girls, because like diamonds, writers are formed under pressure over time, until it’s finally our time to shine. Stars are also formed under great pressure, and they certainly shine. For centuries we’ve looked to the stars to find our way through the dark.

So Starcatchers, it is. And of course, being a SFR writer, I’m also very excited that this is the name chosen for the class of 2011, the year when three SFR manuscripts made it into the Golden Heart finals and one SFR novel is a RITA nominee.

The Squeeze
At my LERA Chapter meeting (local RWA) on Saturday, I got some great tips for pitching at Nationals, including what to expect pre-pitch, and what not to do. It became painfully obvious from the exercise that I can’t use my written pitch, so now I’m in a bit of a panic how I’m going to do a pitch makeover in just two short weeks. My LERA peers and Starcatchers gave me some great ideas for elements to include such as:

Talk about where the story idea came from.

Explain what’s different about my novel.

Talk about my hero and his motivation, what he wants and why he can’t have it. Then talk about my heroine, what she wants and why she can’t have it.

Be prepared to answer questions about plot, conflict, black moment, resolution, and every conceivable off-the-wall question they might toss at you.

My task now is to find the head time to work on my pitch.

The latest buzz. Submission calls. New publishers. Industry changes. Inspirational sayings or quotes for writers. And our take on them.

I’m very excited to relate that after many years of working on her very original SF/RE (Science Fiction with Romantic Elements), Splintered Energy, author Arlene Webb has independently published her novel. (With striking cover art by Greg Elsborg, son of author Barbara Elsborg.) Here’s the blurb:

Dawn breaks--literally. Energy sparks across the horizon, power grids go down…

Energy splinters and a few hapless humans fall dead. A moment later, hearts regain their beat and the confused aliens witness their first sunrise through the eyes of the deceased. Sentient beings can't recall a past, other than a blissful haven. Nor do they have memories from the host whose body they unwittingly hijacked.

California. A widower's twelve-year-old son is rather young to bring home a woman, especially a collapsed green beauty too frightened to open her eyes.

Arizona. A divorcee blinks hard, but the gorgeous red guy stepping in front of her car is still red-hello, ditch. When she comes around, she wonders which layer of hell she's fallen into.

Ohio. A teen also fears he's dealing with the demonic, but no matter how dangerous things become, he's determined to stand by a man with inhumanly blue eyes.

Only one learns to hide his unique skin color, and he assumes the identity of the victim, Malcolm James.

Malcolm learns of escalating violence through news clips. The cohorts he's able to locate--vibrant personalities with enhanced predatory skills--are breaking every law…He has a goal: return to wherever it is he belongs. But he can't do that alone, and is forced to shoulder the burden of reunification, despite his fear those who cross paths with color, himself included, may become permanently scarred or worse, killed.

This reluctant leader has no doubt-living light does not belong on Earth.

Splintered Energy is available on Smashwords and Amazon ( a very reasonable price!)

Books we're reading and mini-reviews. Writers must read voraciously. Sometimes we find gems in the literary universe or sometimes certain elements of a book really speak to us (and our muses). Do we know about book giveaways? A big debut? We'll dish on those.

I recently read an excellent SF short by Pippa Jay, The Bones of the Sea. It’s already received several five star reviews, and it’s free on Smashwords. Pippa Jay will be guest blogging about the inspiration for her story on Spacefreighters Lounge later this week.

I also stumbled over a Science Fiction Romance by Zoe Archer. This one also went directly to my Kindle (did not pass Go, did not collect $200--just the very reasonable price tag of $3.03!). I had to stop reading my last Zoe Archer, not because the story wasn’t fabulous, but because the somewhat historical-slanted prose was influencing my writing style (you know how when you go to Atlanta and after a few days find yourself talking like a Southern belle—yeah, kind of like that). I’m very much looking forward to seeing how her style changes with Collision Course.

Events, conferences, cons as well as Facebook, Twitter and blog events.

For the last month I’ve been reporting on my bid to become an honorary Ruby Slippered Sister via the Brenda Novak Online Auction for Diabetes Research. I’m sad to report I was outbid in the final four minutes and didn’t get to the notification in time to counter offer. I haz sadnezz, but I’m very happy that the auction brought in so much to help with diabetes research. This is, after all, the point. The Brenda Novak Auction has wrapped for another year. Look for it again next May.

Ping Pong
We'll comment back to our co-bloggers on things they've posted on their journals.

@Donna Loved your thought-provoking discussion on villains, heroes and heroines. It did get my wheels turning.

@Sharon [Insert New York, New York music video here] Two weeks to the Big Apple! We’re in final countdown.

Looking forward to seeing you both soon!


  1. Wow, thank you so much for the mention! :)

  2. You're very welcome, Pippa. It's a beautifully written story that made me think, so I definitely wanted to get the word out. :)

  3. Laurie, I was very pleased the group chose Starcatchers, too, and my GH book is historical. Now if I can just get all my stars in a row and make it to NYC for the conference. I know I'll see you there, even among 2000 writers.

    And Pippa, your mention of Sydney van Scyoc reminded me of her books, most of which I read long ago. I see she hasn't published in about twenty years, hope she's well.


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Hosted by 5 Science Fiction Romance authors with 8 RWA Golden Heart finals and a RITA final between them. We aim to entertain with spirited commentary on the past, present, and future of SFR, hot topics, and our take on Science Fiction and SFR books, television, movies and culture.