Standing in the shower thinking.

and the water is so fucking hot.

But I had an idea, an epiphany, a golden ray of light, a big ass light bulb go off over my head.

The biggest obstacle my manuscript faces is its length. Period, end of story. No agent, or publisher wants to see any new manuscript over 100,000 words. Midnight in Vegas (working title until I come up with something else.) is 124,000 words. I have tried hacking on it, I got it down to 110k but I hated what it did to the story and I had continuity issues to work out. Some stuff didn’t make sense anymore because the chapter that led up to them was now on the cutting room floor.

But the bottom line is you really, really, really have to get lucky to publish over 100k on your first book. I didn’t believe this until I went to BEA last year and every agent I pitch to flinched when I told them that it was 124k. They can sell it over 100k but it is a lot of work, and would you sign somebody if you knew they were going to be a lot of work?

Exactly.

SO

That is established over 100k is bad. BUT I am at 124k. What to do. The solution until now was to keep pushing it. Like I said you have to get really lucky, but like I said you have to get lucky to publish anyway so I am only adding a “really” to the lucky, so lets put that in poker terms. I need a Royal Flush instead of a Four of a Kind to win. Easy peasy right? Wrong. But what choice do I have. None until this morning. 

My shower solution: break it into two books. Ha! You say then you would have two 60k books and a novel should be 80-100k. Not to fear I actually will break off just part four and end the book with Abby’s escape giving book 1 a nice 87,000 words. Perfect Novel length. I also will go back and add some to her escape to give it that nice climatic finish feel so I might end up around 90k which is good.

Then I get to go back to Part 4 and turn Ziggurat into its own novel! This is awesome for me because I had to rush the ending because I knew I was over the magic 100k  mark and had to get the book finished. I can turn part 4 into a whole novel no problem there is sooooo much stuff I had to leave out.

So I am happy this morning, but I would like to hear from those of you who have read the book and hear what you think.

Tchuss

Lystra

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Published in: on April 23, 2010 at 8:32 am  Comments (3)  

Professional Edit

This is what a manuscript looks like after a professional editor gets through with it.

 Pitts edits visible

I met Jami Carpenter at the Las Vegas Writers Convention and sent her these first few pages of my manuscript. Keep in mind this is after I have gone over the work, over and over again. I don’t know if it means I am a bad writer or if she is a good editor. I have to tell you she is pretty awesome so maybe I am not that bad.

If you are interested in an editor she can be found at www.redpengirl.com I highly recommend her.

New Title

My prospective agent doesn’t like my title “Midnight in Vegas”!

She doesn’t like that I put Vegas in the title. She doesn’t like name dropping cities like Vegas, New Orleans, or New York.

I need a new title. I am open to suggestions, if anybody has any ideas please post them up. Any idea you have would be great.

Thanks

Lystra

Published in: on April 20, 2010 at 9:50 am  Comments (2)  

Las Vegas Writers Convention Part 1

11:45 AM Thursday.

Vegas baby!

While Las Vegas is an old haunt of mine it is still a glittering gem that never fails to captivate even the most jaded of observers. I am at the convention taking a break for lunch in the Sam’s Town Casino. No true Nevadan gets distracted by flashing lights or buzzers but even I have to admit Sam’s Town has come a long way from the old truckstop/RV park/locals casino out on the fringe it used to be. It has all the waterfalls, animatronics, and flare you’d expect to see in any of the bigger strip casinos and it is no longer out on the edge of the city, thanks to urban sprawl and the expansion of Vegas’ ungainly little sister, Henderson.

I signed in this morning and was pleased to be able to schedule an appointment with every agent I wanted to talk to. Already this is going better than BEA. The people running the convention are super friendly, the rooms accommodating, and the schedule interesting.

I was given a nice bag full of goodies and introduced to several people. I am feeling a bit like an old dog now that I have attended a few conventions. I’m not as nervous as some of the people I’ve met seem, but I remember clearly feeling the way they do.

Well sadly Sam’s Town doesn’t have WiFi yet, (so in that way they still are a bit behind the times) so I’ll have to post this when I get back to Nan’s tonight.

My lunch is here, Stay tuned for more.

10:00 pm

Home after the conference. Loving it met several agents and authors at dinner. I am really enjoying the intimate setting of this convention.

Tchuss

Lystra

Published in: on April 16, 2010 at 12:01 am  Comments Off on Las Vegas Writers Convention Part 1  
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Dear Lucky Agent Contest

I am submitting Midnight in Vegas to the Dear Lucky Agent Contest posted on Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents Blog. The contest features an agent judge who looks at your first 150-200 words. The winner gets a free critique by the judge-agent (and hopefully a request for more, although that isn’t guaranteed). I think it is a very exciting and cool idea for a contest.

Wish me luck.

Tchuss

Lystra

Published in: on March 11, 2010 at 12:14 pm  Comments (2)  

Smashwords and Authonomy

I am always thinking of publishing Midnight in Vegas on various eBook websites like Smashwords or Authonomy. The only reason I haven’t done it is that I worry that it might hurt my chances of being published by conventional publishers. I have read that some publishers like to see an author has published on these sites and is already marketing the book and others don’t like it and will actually refuse to publish a book that already is in eBook format. They don’t want the competition.

So here I am on the fence.

What to do?

Personally I like the idea of publishing on Smashwords. People can download the book on a bunch of formats and read it on Stanza (an App for iPhones, iPods and eventually iPads), Kindles, PC’s or Blackberries. Another benefit is you can set the price for your work on Smashwords. I can actually make money on the book. But I hate the idea of some “real” publisher not buying my book because it is on there.

I still don’t know.

So I thought I would put up a poll. What do you think I should do?

Published in: on February 16, 2010 at 5:57 pm  Comments Off on Smashwords and Authonomy  
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Vegas Baby!

I will be attending the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference on April 15th – April 18th. You can check out their website here .

It looks like they have great program this year and some really interesting agents, authors, and publishers to hobnob with.

The other great thing about the conference is they limit attendance to 150 people. That makes it a little more intimate. I never got the final numbers from BEA last year but there were hordes of us there. You can read my thoughts on that here and here.

They also have dinners and “meet and greets” where they make the illustrious ones mingle with us dirty hungry ones.

I am looking forward to going to a west coast convention. It seems that everything in writing is so New York centric. Which is great, if you live back east. It’s a pain in the ass for those of us who can’t throw down a thousand dollars in air fare to cross the country for every major convention. 

Of course even as I write this part of me is still jumping up and down screaming and shouting for joy that the World Science Fiction Convention (where they give out the Hugo awards!) will be hosted in Reno next year. RENOVATION! I am so there.

Tchuss

Lystra

Actors and Actresses Contest

One of my favorite games is to cast the characters in my favorite books.

It is fun to pick actors and actresses for each character, but I hadn’t ever thought to play the game with my book. My cousin Jen just finished reading my book and I asked her to critique it. In her critique she cast my characters. I was both thrilled and shocked by this. Why hadn’t I thought about doing that? I should have, I do it with pretty much every book I read.

Needless to say, I played the game myself and came up with my own cast. Unfortunately my list was corrupted by Jen’s list, she nailed a few characters dead on, they wouldn’t have been the choices I made but they were far better than the ones I would have picked. I was also shocked by her interpretations of other characters.

All in all I thought her assessment was awesome and helpful. It is great inside information to see how a reader perceives the characters.

So this is what I would like to do.

I am going to have my first blog contest.

If you have read my book I would like to know what actors you would cast in the roles of the major characters.

The prize: The person who does the best job casting my book will receive a $25.00 Border’s gift certificate and a special shout out in the acknowledgments section of my book if it ever gets published.

What if I haven’t read it? You ask.

Not to worry I will give the contest a one month time limit and give anyone who emails me at lystraeudaimon@msn.com a copy of my book for the duration of the contest.

That being said: Here is the first entry. All other entries must be posted as comments.

Jen Apodaca’s cast:

Charles DeCroix- Forest Whitaker

Jeff Heaven- Justin Timberlake

Clarissa- Malin Akerman (from Watchmen)

Nic- John Bon Jovi

Abby- Chloe Sevigney (the blonde wife from Big Love)

Lawrence- Ron Pearlman

Tymon- Jack Palance

Scratch- Michael Sheen (From the Underworld movies)

Chance- Michael Emerson (Benjamin Linus from Lost)

I would ask that you try to be creative and not repeat any unless that is the one you would have picked anyway. Repeats will lose you points so try to post yours up as quickly as possible.

Contest ends on March 10th

When it is over I’ll post up my cast.

Game on.

Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 12:06 pm  Comments (1)  

All Star Week

That is right folks. I have declared this week to be all star week. I will be sending out my next wave of queries to the all stars of literary agents. The famous blogging agents. You know ’em, you love ’em you read their blogs religiously (if you are an aspiring writer anyway). This week I am sending queries to the following big name agents:

Janet Reid the infamous query shark herself

Nathan Bransford

Jonathan Lyons

Kristen Nelson

And I would send one to Rachelle Gardner but she isn’t interested in Science Fiction and Fantasy.

These wonderful people write fantastic blogs. Every writer should subscribe to them. They have helped me understand the publishing industry and I am excited about sending them queries. I don’t really expect to get much back. These people are the rock stars of the aspiring writer world (Janet Reid’s line at BEA Pitch Slam was at least twenty miles long) and get bombarded with queries and attention. I don’t know if my query is good enough to stand out. I do know that I owe these people a shot at my book, after all the help they have given me.

Tchuss

Lystra

And the beat goes on.

So, my request for full wasn’t an exclusive request for full so after much debating I am going to continue to send out queries. This was a hard decision for me. I want to honor the agent who first sent me the request but I have to be realistic. This is a say no, ask questions later type industry. Odds are that I will get a rejection on my MS so I have to keep playing the field until I get a solid strike, if I don’t this could be up to twelve weeks of wasted time.

So I plan on sending out my next wave of queries this week. I am shooting for around six queries a month. My hope is that if I get any feedback I can use it and not have to re-query anyone.

Tchuss

Lystra

Published in: on February 1, 2010 at 4:20 pm  Comments Off on And the beat goes on.  
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