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This site is no longer active. Please visit my new site at http://jillzeller.com/wordpress.

I have advanced to the quarterfinals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Competition. This is doing bad things to my psyche. When I entered way back in January, I actually forgot I had entered until I found out I made it to the second round. Now, I can’t stop myself from checking the damn website every damn day to see if I have reviews. This must stop!!.
So, with this post I am doing two things. I resolve to check the ABNA website once a week on Saturdays. And I am going to shamelessly self-promote. (one guy formed a Facebook group called “help so-and-so-dickhead win the ABNA award”.) But those handful of peeps out there who stumble across my lowly website, please go http://www.amazon.com/b?node=332264011 and give me a review. The name of my Young Adult Fiction novel is Mirror of Hours.
Be good, be bad, but be honest.

Should I be excited?

My young adult novel, Mirror of Hours, made the first cut in Amazon’s Young Adult Novel competition. So myself and 999 other writers will be whittled down into the quarter-final 500 by the end of March 2010.

I am excited, dammit. In my writing now I am selling the odd short story, and getting more and more near misses.

“Your story made it to the second round of editors”

“This story is under consideration and we will let you know soon.”

And then the kind rejection letter comes with comments (so valuable, those comments!!–and I am not being snarky here.) Those comments only help my writing become even better.

So, I will be excited, and by the way, I’ve sent queries and partials out on that novel to five different editors. So it goes in writing.

Interior Garden

Amaryllis and Kalanchoe

This January (and during my forced vacation between jobs over the holidays–how can that be bad?) I pruned. And pruned. Rediscovered the driveway, the mock orange, the viburnum “Lantana”, and Chief Joseph (a neighbor asked about it, because you can finally see the little pine with its golden needles from the street after I severely limbed up the holly monster).

Next blackberries: I love wading into the evil wielding pruners and clippers, reclaiming territory snatched by the occupier. It rolls over my back acre like Panzers. Even though it yields juicy berries by the bucket-full in summer, it is a two-faced liar.

Only the witch hazel and the hellebore are blooming. Hummingbirds swirl possessively around the feeder, impatient for early spring snacks: forsythia, flowering red currant, and flowering quince, which won’t be making an appearance this spring anyway since I whacked it back dramatically for the painters last summer.

So, the photo is from the indoor garden: amaryllis and kalanchoe in bloom. The kalanchoe was given to me four years ago by a colleague when I had surgery for stage 1A endometrial cancer. She died of ovarian cancer last October. The kalanchoe lanquished bloomless all these years until now. Thank you, Jody.

New Year and New

So, my morning tarot reading told me I had all the tools and talent and drive to learn that I need to sell a book this year. Of course, last year at this time I knew 2009 was my year of the novel sale. Another winter, lengthening of days, fresh and new day job are telling me that it will be 2010.

I’ve added a link to Dean Wesley Smith’s blog. Don’t know why in hell I didn’t have it on my site to begin with. A successful working fiction writer, Dean has become Mythbuster Guy for writers. Anyone just starting out to sell, or has already sold, need to read his recent posts about agents–and don’t forget to read all the comments as well–a lively discussion ensues!

Reading Dean and Laura Resnick the last two days has given me confidence, not just hope or wishful thinking, but real confidence that I can sell a book. Thanks for that!!

To put all this into perspective,  the photograph at the start of this post is one I took in 1981 of my San Francisco writing desk with my Hermes typewriter and Abby, one of my beloved companions for 14 years.

Winter updates

Just like writing letters or responding to phone messages–I’m just not very good at these–I am not very good at updating my website, either. So, a brief note.

Just about to finish the paranormal romance novel “Naming the Bones”. Ending is written in my head, at any rate. But now I am in a bind, because I was planning this book for the February OWN novel workshop, BUT–in a two week period I got laid off, landed another job (maybe even better), found a pit bull, put my other pit bull through leg surgery, so–and what was my point? Oh yeah, not sure I can take off the time I planned for February workshop. KNOW I can’t take the week off for the March Marketing Workshop.

However, whatever workshops I make it to, I will have two new books to market. The NANOWRIMO novel “Ash”  is finished but needs a run-through. “Naming the Bones” is in better shape and I can have both them out to editors and agents by the end of February anyway.

In the midst of life rolls, life rolls on.

The new novel is soon to be done–aided by the deadline of NaNoWriMo. But it wasn’t hard at all. Yeah, yeah, maybe I’m bragging, but it’s true. About five years ago I bought a little book called “No Plot? No Problem!”. (NaNoWriMo bible at the time). It transfigured my writing. I learned to write anywhere: on the bus, at work on my breaks, in airports, on airplanes, in hotel rooms. I made a habit of getting up very early, way before husband and dog, and set varying goals for myself. Write for an hour. Write until I had to take my shower. Write at least 500 words. Two wonderful friends let me stay for free on the occasional weekend in their little house in a nearby town. Last weekend, I got nearly 10,000 words down before a tendinitis flare stopped me.

Yes, the book is not finished, but I have no doubt it will be. Maybe not by November 30, but very soon after. I know the ending–it’s very clear in my head. Then the book will marinate and cure for several months while I go back to the previous novel to finish and polish for a February workshop.

The book did not turn out to be what I thought it was going to be. The book may never catch the eye of an editor or agent. But I have learned more about craft and character and language, and that is all to the good.