USA Today Best of 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

Teaching... and learning

I've spent a lot of time the past couple weeks being a student as well as planning my first foray into the world of writing workshops. In August, I'll be teaching a workshop on deep 3rd point of view at Passionate Ink--which I'm so excited about, but I waited until the last possible day to get them my bio, photo, and the dreaded workshop description (which for me meant I had to compile a rough rubric so I'd know what I was describing). Got me thinking a whole lot about how much I've learned (as did an outcry via Twitter when I posited that romance novels cannot headhop or they won't get contracted), what I still work on in my writing, and what submissions seem to be most lacking in. Deeep thoughts, let me tell ya.

So what have I been learning? Well, we're down to about 12 days left of judging Lyrical's first-ever writing contest, and the experience has taught me a number of "do's n don'ts" for next year.

  • Do: Organize the contest in 2 rounds, first round consisting of the synopsis and 1st 25 pages.
  • Do: Make the 2nd round ONLY for the top-5 scoring entries in each genre.
  • Don't: Ever agree to judge an un-specified number of full manuscripts. Period.
  • Do: Specify in contest rules that all entries in "romance" genres have a happy ending.
I also learned tons from my first pitch-taking.
  • Do: Specify word count. Lyrical publishes only up to 100k word books, and I've had to turn away several promising projects because they go over the word count.
  • Do: Emphasize that I only want pitches for completed novels. (I sorta thought this went without saying; everywhere you look at tips on querying or pitching fiction, that's the first rule--the book must be finished. But apparently things have changed since I started querying 5 or so years ago)
  • Don't: Be shy about signing up for pitch days. It was an exhausting 15 hours, but I fielded 48 pitches that day, and have had nothing but positive feedback. Also have offered contract on 2 books (very soon to be #3) and have 2 more promising fulls awaiting my reading pleasure. Turned out to be a fantastic way to get new blood in my editing "stable". Even the few people I've already sent R's or R-and-R's to, have replied positively and I'm hoping they'll think of Lyrical (and me) in the future.
Oh. One more incredible discovery I've made: It's so amazingly easy to send .doc or PDF files to my Kindle so I can read them there! I love my Fire. I really do.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Romance Day!

Happy Valentine's Day. Here's hoping you're among those who celebrate love and romance (and not that bitter crowd I'm hearing from on Twitter, LOL).

Lyrical Press has a huge sale today--50% off all ebooks.

Find a love story that tickles your fancy, download, and enjoy. :)

Piper Denna and Autumn Piper
Got sexy romance?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pitches, pitches

I'm taking pitches over at Word Wranglers next Tuesday. Here are the deets:

On Tuesday, February 7th, will host Lyrical Press Editor, Piper Denna.

Piper will be taking 1-3 line pitches.
The rules are simple:
1. Contest opens at 7:00 A.M. EST and closes at Midnight
2. 1-3 lines
3. 1 pitch per person
That's it. We're easygoing over at Wordwranglers, but if you break the rules, you'll be disqualified.
Don't miss this chance to get your pitch in front of an editor!

Piper's bio:

Writing is a craft, a skill which improves with practice. Grammar can be learned.

Spelling...notsomuch. Either you're good at spelling, or you're not. And unfortunately, Spellcheck might be helpful, but let's face it: it's only as good as its programmers, and we all know how many problems certain software programs have. Which is why, no matter who you are, no matter what you write, you need an editor. If you don't believe me, ask Stephen King-we're very close. Like two peas in a pod. (At least, in my mind, which I mean in a completely un-stalkerlike way.)

Now that I'm done name-dropping... Books have always been my thing. And I've been a writer since I could pick up a pencil. My thoughts didn't turn toward writing professionally until about 2005, when I wrote three novels. Through a couple of critique groups and thousands of crits, both given and received, I honed my craft quite a lot. So much so, in 2008 after watching two of my books go through the editing process at publishers, I got the wild idea (the wild, incredibly overconfident idea, in retrospect), that I could do that.

My poor authors have to learn my lingo: "Innerds"-deep third inner thoughts from a character, generally requested as a replacement for narrative ("She wondered why he hadn't arrived yet" comes off much stronger as "Where the hell was he already?") or "Holding Pattern", which I type as a shortcut to remind an author to mix up sentence structure, rather than going with a repetitive subject/predicate format every time.

And I still write. (When I have time, and when I can tranquilize that inner editor enough to shut her up so I can type.) My characters must endure extensive suffering and conflict, and sometimes they do things certain readers don't approve of, but they always get their happy ending.

What kind of books do I prefer to edit? Deep conflict, relatable characters, believable plots, and a strong romantic element. Because romance makes the world go round. Right?

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

All about acquisitions

We contracted a record number of books at Lyrical Press last month. Check out my blog post about it.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!