SOKY Book Fest, here I come!

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Come see me at 9am-4pm, April 23 at the SOKY Book Fest at the Carroll Knicely Conferece Center in Bowling Green. I’m a graduate of Western Ky. University, the college hosting the festival, so it’s always nice to visit “home.” The conference is wonderfully organized and features dozens of well-known authors. 
 
For more information, go to http://sokybookfest.org/1673-2/

Coming – July 2016

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He's a bit Wild.She's got Bite.-2

In my new paranormal romance, a rare-book expert is delivering a package to Half Moon Hollow when her plane goes down, and a sexy vampire comes to her rescue. He’s clearly got ulterior motives, but does he want to date her…or devour her?

Delivering a rare book to a valued customer is definitely part of mild-mannered archivist Anna Winthrop’s job description. You know what isn’t? Protecting her precious cargo from mid-flight theft by the very pilot who is flying her to Half-Moon Hollow…while trying to appear as unappetizing as possible to the only other passenger, a vampire. Undead bookstore owner Jane Jameson could be waiting a very long time for her book. Possibly forever.

Fortunately, Anna’s dashing fanged companion Finn Palmeroy helps her fend off the attack, but not before their plane crash lands in the forest hundreds of miles from civilization. Great, now she’s stranded with a priceless tome and a rakish vampire whose bedtime is fast approaching. Why does everyone want this book so badly, anyway? Anna just wants to get it to Jane before Finn decides to turn her into dinner—or sweep her off her feet. Okay, the second option is really tempting. But they’re not out of the woods yet…

Available in print, ebook and audio in July 2016! Pre-order now!

Amazon http://goo.gl/FvsVDy

B&N http://goo.gl/VTaKJe

iBooks https://goo.gl/EOxSDO

Google Play https://goo.gl/rF8sIi

BAM http://goo.gl/pAmsyI

Indie bound http://goo.gl/g0Zdst

S&S http://goo.gl/vwqY42

 

 

 

It’s “Cold as $%&@” outside! – Winter Writer-Parent’s Survival Guide

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When British newscasters curse about the weather, that’s when you know winter has hit full force.

So, with forecasts in the single digits and snow looming over my self-imposed deadlines, I’ve devised a plan on how to survive the next few days, trapped in my house with my children as I try to work.

I call it, Molly’s “It’s Cold as $%&@ Outside” Winter Writer’s Survival Guide.

Step 1) Make a meal plan and a shopping list.

Consult noaa.gov and figure out how many days you might be house-bound. Given the conditions in my area, I’m looking at about three days with my 7- and 11-year-old.

My recommendation: Embrace your crock pot. Your crock pot is your friend. He does all of your cooking while you try to keep your house from collapsing on itself and meet your deadlines.

So here are some meal ideas, some of which I snagged from Pinterest and others that are in my usual rotation of recipes.

Breakfasts

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Monkey Bread Muffins

And yes, I only plan two breakfasts. The kids can stand eating cereal one morning. I’m not made of muffins.

Lunches

Ham and Cheese Party Sandwiches

Easy Wonton Soup

Turkey, Bacon and Avocado Grilled Cheese

My son also suggested “buying some Lunchables and stop trying so hard.” Which is another way to go.

Dinners

Chinese Pork Tenderloin and Garlic Noodles

Chicken Korma

Chicken With Carrots and Potatoes

Other important foods to have on hand: hot chocolate mix, mini-marshmallows, fruit, snack crackers, diet soda/coffee/tea (for you), carrots, peanut butter, popcorn,  milk, bread and eggs. The last three, because apparently, if you can’t make French toast when it snows, civilization as we know it will collapse.

Make sure you’re stocked up on emergency items like batteries, super-glue, candles, sidewalk de-icer, blankets and can-openers. And then make sure you have writing supplies like red pens, notebooks, printer toner, and lip balm.

Also remember to put any sort of kid activity-type supplies on your grocery list, such as crayons, coloring books, construction paper, tape, Play-Doh, etc. You may tell yourself, oh, I’ll just send the kids outside to play in the snow. Rookie move. It will take you twenty minutes to get them dressed. They’ll play ten minutes and come back inside demanding hot chocolate. So what will you do for the other thirteen and half hours they’re awake that day? Have a plan, writer-person.

Step 2) get to the grocery store before the crazies sweep the bread and dairy sections clean.

For some reason, people lose their minds when it’s about to snow. Right now, the bread aisle at my local grocery looks like the day after the bread-apocalypse. You may have to consider going to the store around ten p.m. after the staff re-stocks, but you don’t want to go during peak shopping hours, because it will be super-crowded and little old ladies tend to throw elbows when Snow French Toast is involved. But use your common sense when it comes to road conditions.

If it’s already started to snow, you may just have to make due with what’s in your fridge/pantry. Ramen noodles with baby carrots, anyone?

Step 3) Arrange a designated blanket fort for each child.

Even if it’s just establishing a corner of the living room for each kid, make sure they each have their own box of crayons, paper, whatever they’re going to do and then build a chair-and-blanket structure for them. The word of the day is “separation.” Separation prevents arguing, which prevents noise, which encourages word count for you. If all else fails, arrange those same blanket forts in front of the TV and make some popcorn, and run an all day “film festival” featuring the kids favorite movies.

Step 4) Noise-proof headphones.

The key to a productive snow day plan is being able to supervise your children without being able to hear them. It sounds awful, but let’s be honest. You have a deadline. You want to know that they’re OK. You just don’t want to hear their every comment about whether Dora is ever going to get her stuff back from a kleptomaniacal raccoon. Noise-proof headphones are essential.

Step 5) Set time limits.

Be realistic about how much time you can spend writing when you and your kids are snowbound. Yes, it’s important to work, but your nerves and your house can only survive so much. And, snow days are some of my favorite memories from childhood, so make sure to take some time to snuggle down with the kids and watch some Dora, drink some cocoa and draw slightly scary snowmen. It might require you to work at night, after their bedtime, to catch up, but it will be worth it.

Playlist for BETTER HOMES AND HAUNTINGS

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Music I listened to while writing…

Ever since I was a frustrated kid watching Scooby Doo, I wanted to write a super-scary ghost story. (Just once- ONCE – why couldn’t the Mystery Gang hunt a real ghost and not goofball in a latex mask? WHY?) So I used a mix of scary/haunting mood music, plus some songs that personified the characters and their love stories.

The Crane’s Nest

Those We Don’t Speak Of – The Village Soundtrack

What Are You Asking of Me? – The Village Soundtrack

Danse Macabre – Infernal Violins

Moonlight Sonata – ES Posthumous

Estasi Del Anima – Zombieland Soundtrack

Deacon/Nina

No Ordinary Love – Deftones

Paradise – Coldplay 

Portuguese Love Song – Love Actually 

Holding Out for a Hero – Elise Lieberth

Jake/Cindy

Best of You – Foo Fighters

I Don’t Feel Like Dancing – Scissor Sisters

Just a Fool – Christina Aguilera

Dotty

Love Gun – Cee Lo Green

Pink – Aerosmith

 

 

Playlist for HOW TO RUN WITH A NAKED WEREWOLF

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Music I listened to while writing…

Because the book was a little darker, dealing with an abusive past relationship for Anna, the music was a little darker, too. It was a mix of my Alaska “mood setter” music and Anna’s mind-set.

The Bird and the Worm – The Used

Unstoppable – ES Posthumus

Pompeii – ES Posthumus

Nara – ES Posthumus

Bedroom Hymns – Florence and the Machine

No Light – Florence and the Machine

Seven Devils – Florence and the Machine 

Yeah, it got distressing really fast.

And because I didn’t want Anna to be totally maudlin.

Titanium – Madilyn Bailey

Shake It Out  (accoustic) – Florence and the Machine

Coming Home – Skylar Grey 

Ships in the Night – Mat Kearney 

I don’t think any story about a stalker ex could be complete without listening to:

Love the Way You Lie – Skylar Grey

Every Breath You Take – The Police 

Creep – Movie Sounds Unlimited

 

A requested re-post: How to Write a Query Letter

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I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I got published, which is a fair question. Sometimes I wonder how I got published. And when I start to explain about query letters, their eyes sort of glaze over. So I thought I would share the query letter I used when I was searching for an agent. And give some thoughts on how to go about writing your own. I’m not saying it would work for everybody or that it’s grammatically perfect, but it worked for me.

First things first. Is your manuscript ready to be submitted to an agent? How many times have you revised it? Have you read through it objectively and analyzed it for typos and plot weaknesses? A lot of writers, understandably so, are so eager to get published that they spend more time perfecting their query letter than they spend perfecting their manuscript. (Agent Stephen Barbara wrote a great piece for Publishers Weekly on this, which can be found if you click this entry’s title.) Make sure you’re ready to start the ball rolling. First impressions count for a lot. Once an agent has passed, they’ve passed. You will not have the chance to re-submit.

Second, find your demographic. I used Agentquery.com to find a list of about 70 agents who represented supernatural fiction, women’s fiction and Southern fiction, as my manuscript was all of those things. It would have been pointless for me to submit to an agent who only represented non-fiction. I also went for agents who accepted email queries, because it’s much cheaper and faster than “snail mail” submissions.

Now, it’s time to write your letter.

Dear Ms. Smith:

Always, always, ALWAYS direct your letter to a single agent. Do not send a blanket letter to every agent in an agency. Don’t address it “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam.” Also, spell their names right.

Meet Jane Jameson. A permanent fixture on her mama’s prayer list, she’s unmarried, unemployed, and most recently, undead. Don’t ask which annoys Mama more.

Jane is a quirky voice of reason in a world where vampires have their own aisle at Wal-Mart. A day that started with her unceremonious firing from the Half-Moon Hollow Public Library gets exponentially worse when she’s mistaken for a deer, shot, left for dead and turned into a creature of the night. Now, she’s a poster child for local vampire politics and the suspect in a tragically lame murder. Life as a single gal, undead or otherwise, is never boring.

I have introduced my character, her background and her conflict. And I tried to drop little tidbits about the plot without giving the whole book away. Think of this introductory paragraph as the cover blurb for your book. What would you write to get a reader to buy your book?

Part oddball Southern comedy, part supernatural women’s fiction, I wrote NICE GIRLS DON’T HAVE FANGS after leaving my job as a newspaper reporter in western Kentucky. While I still work as a freelance writer and humor columnist, I had to channel that sardonic energy somewhere. 

Remember to give your title! Try to classify your book to give the agent an idea of whether it fits with their client list. Limit that classification to one or two areas. If someone told me they’d written a historical romance/spy thriller with paranormal elements, I’d probably tell them they need to focus and revise their manuscript.

Pay attention to your agent’s preferences. For example, several agents on Agentquery.com had NO VAMPIRES written in big letters on their profile, so I didn’t bother submitting to them.

Also, give a little information about yourself without over-sharing. You don’t have to give your whole life story, just a snippet. What is your writing background? Qualifications? Why did you write your book? Have you been published before?

I am writing to you because of your history of representing fiction with an unconventional voice and supernatural themes. The full manuscript, which is approximately 75,000 words, is available for review. 

Explain why you would be a good fit for the agent. Always give the word count. It gives the agent a clue as to whether they have time to read your submission.

Thank you for your time. I have enclosed a synopsis and first two pages of the manuscript, per your submission guidelines.

Say thank you, but don’t go overboard. And always follow an agency’s submission guidelines. If they don’t want email attachments, don’t send them. If they don’t want a synopsis, don’t send it.

Sincerely,
Molly Harper
ADDRESS
PHONE 
EMAIL

Now comes the hard part. Waiting. You’re going to get a lot of form responses (mostly rejections.) And some agents won’t respond at all because they consider a non-response their response. When you get a rejection, it’s tempting to write back and ask the agent why they’re rejecting you or whether they can recommend another agent who might be interested. If they wanted to give you this information, they would have written it in their original response.

There are three rules to follow.

1) Treat all query letters like business correspondence.
2) Be polite.
3) Behave like a stable person.

You’d be amazed how far that can get you.