Current Reading, Part II – Olive

Previously, I blogged about what I’m reading that fit in certain categories, inspired by this post by Jodi Meadows. Jodi offers four categories: Popular, Award Winning, Out-of-Comfort Zone, and Books you love. Coincidentally, I’ve currently got one in each of these categories between my nightstand and kindle. But I’d also add one more category to her four: non-fiction.

I mentioned the books I’m reading in the Popular, or Pop Lit, category and the Award-Winning category my last post. I’ll continue with Out-of-Comfort Zone in this entry. Continue reading “Current Reading, Part II – Olive”


Attending DFWcon in Dallas, Texas – Olive


DFWCon, AKA DFW Writers Conference, is a program created by the DFW Writer’s Workshop, an organization founded in 1977 to help writers produce and promote professionally published work. Not only are their classes and events worthwhile, but they’re awesome people too.

It’s been a week since I attended my first writer’s conference—an intense two days full of classes, agents, editors, and a few new friends. It was also the first time I pitched our story, THE CITY OF GOLD AND FIRE, to a real live agent.

And that was kind of awful.

Continue reading “Attending DFWcon in Dallas, Texas – Olive”

Comps: “What book is your book like?” – Olive


We recently started the querying process and have come across a minor dilemma: some agents ask point blank for comparable titles, aka “comps.” We’re still not really sure how to figure out what our comps are, but here’s what we’ve come up with…

Now, we weren’t completely unprepared for this question—we’d thought about it. After our beta readers had finished reading our story, we’d asked them what books they’d read that reminded them of ours. Continue reading “Comps: “What book is your book like?” – Olive”

On [ Fantasy ] Titles – Olive

Of all the things we have to do as writers to become authors, there are few things that are as dreaded as coming up with the proper title. As if pitching, querying and writing synopses wasn’t bad enough, how you do you boil down  127,000 words to less than a sentence? One word? Three words? Six?


(In my book club, The Nerdery Book Club, We Need to Talk About Kevin was mentioned, and that’s the longest title I’ve seen in a while, but here’s a list of some other long ones.) (Also, we’re talking about fiction, so don’t jump on me about self-help books and the like; I know they have long titles.) (Sorry, I’m an attorney—I love caveats!)

It’s not hard to understand why a great title is important—we’re superficial creatures and judge things by appearance and quick glances. And when it comes to examples of good titles, I keep seeing the same ones over and over again: The Witness, Gone With the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, Jane Eyre, Brave New World, Pride and Prejudice, Daughter of Smoke and Bone,  Game of Thrones, Feast for Crows, etc.

Poking around on the Internet will get you very similar results on how to chose a title for your book that I won’t rehash. As the internet does, it often comes up with lists like:

And there’s even this rather vague list on She’s Novel. I’m so glad they told me I might find inspiration in the shower—clearly, these people don’t know me. I find constant inspiration in my shower thoughts. Doesn’t everybody?

Continue reading “On [ Fantasy ] Titles – Olive”

The Quest to find the Perfect(ish) Editor – Olive

Thus far in our epic adventure in publishing, the task that has given me (personally) the most stress has been finding our perfect(ish) editor. I’ve learned a bit since I began, and here’s the roll up.

Yes, Olive really does help me write/edit … by kneading my shoulder while I type around her.

Aristen has mentioned how there are some scammers out there: $500 WE HANDLE EVERYTHING! I wonder what kind of product would be produced out of that headline? I tend to worry about plagiarism, but that’s the attorney in me. So BLUF, we’re looking for a professional who will not steal our work who is reasonably priced. We also specifically are looking for somebody who is interested in not only our genre, but our work. Not too tall an order but we shall see.

Looking throughout the Internet, you rarely find a no-BS kind of explanation on what you’re to do or how to find somebody. Well, here I’ll try to help by providing the knowledge I’ve gained from my own (short) experience.

How much does an editor cost?

Well, that’s an interesting question, and there are a myriad of factors to consider. So far, I’ve seen everything for $500-over $5K+. I assume some of the big names are even more. One editor’s website “warning” stated something along the line of “make sure you’re sitting down when you ask about an entire manuscript critique.” This editor, from what I remember, had extensive experience, including big five editing experience. However, when I was writing up this blog, I couldn’t get her website to pull up. Maybe she’s busy?

Anyway, here are some factors to consider:

Continue reading “The Quest to find the Perfect(ish) Editor – Olive”

The Veteran – Olive

What do I mean a veteran? I mean that I served honorably in the military, but I also tend to mean a veteran as in I’ve experienced. I’ve experienced things that most never have and never will, and I’d like to keep it that way. Other people shouldn’t have to do what so few of us have.

That’s me, the Veteran of this collective.

It’s not glamorous; there’s no real glory in war. In the U.S. Army, I was a signal officer. To explain what I did, I usually tell people “toasters to telephones, if it had a current running to it, it was my problem.” And that was true–I remember once being asked if I knew how to fix a microwave. Turned out I could fix it, but only because a circuit breaker had tripped (i.e. he microwave overloaded the circuit).

But my main job focused on helping my unit communicate, and I was also responsible for ensuring that, if possible, I could prevent what we called RCIEDs, or Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Devices, by using jammers, effectively preventing communication. I’d like to note that happily, on my watch, there wasn’t a single RCIED detonation.

Why this post? Well, I’ve been somewhat introspective today. Memorial Day came and went two weeks ago, and every year it’s harder and harder it seems. It’s hard because of those that we lost while deployed, but lately I’ve been struggling with a different loss: those who lost their lives to war, but were home when they did.


Continue reading “The Veteran – Olive”