Monday, July 23, 2012

Copyright Impingement


After reading Roni Loren’s post on two different blogs I follow, I decided to straighten out my blog. Many bloggers out there use photos from Google to make posts more interesting. We must be careful that the photos we use are not copyrighted. Any picture, unless it is a Creative Commons license pic (or other commons photos like wiki common), is copyrighted.

People have had to cough up money to pay for wrongfully using a copyrighted pic. Let’s face it. I’m a poor schmuck, and I can’t afford to be sued. Also, as a creative person, it goes against my stance that an artist should always be paid for their work. I personally don’t rip off music, DVD’s, or digital books, so why should pictures be any different?

Come on, good karma!

So, I’m slowly changing out all the photos that are not mine on this blog starting with the post I put up a few days ago. Frankly, I think I like the new cover even better, and I have a little more pride in knowing I took the photo myself. I feel even more creative now!

SUCCESS!!



What do you think of the new cover?

Stella out!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fresh Ideas


So, I was tinkering around on my computer before night shift today, not enough time to get much revision work done, when I had an idea.

I know I’ve had a lot of different novel cover ideas here before, but this was a different one. I really wanted this cover to appeal to both men and women while being eye-catching, interesting, and mysterious.

What do you think?



I’ve reopened the Novel Poll in the side bar and would love some votes and feedback.--√†
Would this cover make you pick up this novel and read the jacket? Is there a cover in the side bar that would?

I confess that this new one is my new f



Stella out!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Back off! Get your own Mt. Everest!

 Warning: This is a rant of sizematic proportions. Shield your eyes while you still can and click on the next blog you follow, because someone may lose an eye.

So, the other day, I’m just minding my own business when someone asks me the age-old question.

“How’s your book going, Stella?”

I have no problem getting asked this question. It makes me feel like someone out there cares that, in my spare time, I slave away at my laptop until my eyes feel like they’re going to catch on fire. I know for those who are not writers, or gainfully employed for that matter, it may seem ridiculous that the same novel has kept me occupied for the last five years of my life. I was in school for almost three of those years, okay?

Regardless, I gave this person the news on my WIP. I’m really close to being done final revisions now that the rewrite was completed in the spring, and that I’ve got a fancy new query letter. I hope to be done revisions and entering query land mid-August. I’m so excited at being so close, fingers crossed, to the end of this project I may just phone up my insurance company and tell them I forgive their blood-sucking ways.

The response?

“I hope you make some money off that thing or else you’ve just been wasting your time. “ Shakes head. “That book has been such a waste of time.”
….
….
Blink
….
….
Blink
….
….


Out comes the voice of the possessed Emily Rose. “Wasting my time? WASTING MY TIME????? WASTING! MY! TIME!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!”

*Stella attempts to breathe before she blacks out*

To all the confused, hateful trolls out there:

·         even if I never publish another word for the rest of my life,

·         even if my eyes spontaneously combust from staring at my computer screen,

·         even if the stack of post-it-notes and note books where I scribble dialog, thoughts, and plot arcs tips over  and falls on me like some Janga tower of Horatio Caine horrendousness and kills me,

·         even if the stories I write are stupid and terrible and as witty as a Beavis and Butthead skit,

I would still write!!!

So go find something you like doing and leave the rest of us alone!

I don’t write because I think I can make money off of it. I don’t write because I think I’m good at it. I do it because I love it.
I’ll say it again wearing 3D glasses so the people needing a bigger internet experience can feel it.



I DO IT BECAUSE I LovE IT!!!



I don’t understand why people feel the need to say this kinda shit. I have never thought of belittling another person’s hobby or pastime. What’s wrong with people?? ERRRRRRRRRRRRRRGG!

Ahem….sorry about the rant, but I do feel a little better now. J



Stella, out!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Word

As I work through critiques of my novel and revise, I’ve found a recent comment very peculiar. I find it odd only because I’ve heard similar things sporadically before. As we know, writing is about many things, but a big portion of it is about the words. Word selection is important. It can shape the impression a scene or bit of dialoged can make. Let me illustrate with a very basic example.

Example #1

She held the gun and pointed it at the target.

This tells us what is happening. It’s pretty cut and dry. “She” could be referring to just about anyone.

Example #2

She gripped the gun and marked her target.

By just changing a few words, this sentence takes on new meaning. I feel more tension and “marked her target” makes it seem as if this woman is experienced in what she’s doing. Is she an assassin? A spy? A cop? I don’t know, but I want to!

Obviously there are brilliant writers out there more versed in this craft than I, but I hope this example helped clarify what I’m speaking of.

What I’ve noticed is how some people believe certain words are strictly religious, and if used in a different context seems off or wrong to them.

The offenders, so far:
Crucible
Rapture
Soul
Relic

Can these words have a religious connotation to them? Yes. But they are not one-trick-ponies. The latest crit of a chapter of mine had a reader question my use of the word crucible. A crucible is: A) A porcelain cup I placed in a desiccator in my Oil Chem Testing Lab class. B) An extreme test. C) A situation (place or time) that resulted due to a bunch of factors coming together. Like the Depression, or WWII, or Pearl Harbor. The word is not bound to religious context. I my novel, and in real-life, this word is used in reference to the last test a Marine takes in their basic training/boot camp. It is called the Crucible.

I could go on to the other words but I hope I’ve explained my point well enough and I don’t think anyone wants to hear me babble, least of all me.

Anyhow, getting back to word selection, I realize that people have relationships with words I don’t. I can’t simply say, “That’s not the reason I chose that word. It really means this.” I’ve often cringed at certain words other writers have used based on my own relationships with them. So, I too am guilty as charged. I suppose the distinction is I’ve never thought of a word being strictly religious or so religious I could grasp the meaning the writer intended.

*shrug*

I personally have this strange fixation with the word flange. I discovered this in the first semester of my Power Engineering class. I just love saying this word.

“Flange.”

“F-L-A-N-G-E.”

“FlAnGe!”

It makes no sense and I can’t explain it. :S I also have a love of the word candelabra. It’s  just an awesome word for some reason!

Now for words I dislike. I can’t stand the word rugged when used to describe a man’s appearance. It makes me want to stuff a novel under a couch cushion, hide in the closet, and pretend I haven’t read all the cheesy romance novels I have. *shivers*

WARNING: The following is a rant Stella is directing at the word then. Please, hide your children.

Another word I hate is then. No matter how this word is used I can’t help hearing Cher from Clueless saying something along the lines of, “….and then he said he’d call me, and then he gave me his jacket. Then, the most amazing thing happened!”

AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! We get it! We get it! When you explain an event we understand it is being told in a consecutive sequence of events. If you open a door you don’t have to say you THEN walked through the opening.  Gah!!!!

Ahem….I am better now. J

What are some bad relationships you have with certain words? Any good relationships?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Another Flogging

Ray Rhamey, of Flogging the Quill, was nice enough to take a look at my rewritten chapter one. Ray’s blog specializes in helping writers craft a compelling first page to capture the reader and compel them to turn the page. It is thought that this will also help capture an agent’s/publisher’s attention as well.
I had submitted my first chapter to him two years ago and Ray was unconvinced that it was a page turner. Due to other reasons as well, I decided to do a major rewrite of my novel.

Today Ray has the first page of my novel up on his blog. Check it out and vote if you like. Would you turn the page? Would you set the story down and move on to another?

Let me know.

Stella out!

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Gender Manifesto

I’ve wanted to write this blog post for quite some time. I’m kinda pumped about it, actually.-->

It all arose from a few critiques I received (mostly from a couple readers) of a chapter in my novel THE MALE AMENDMENT.

In my novel the main character, Mia, discovers a parallel world (no aliens here) where a matriarchal dystopia reigns. The women of this world are like amazons, tall and athletic; trained to fight at a young age and to value all things feminine. But feminine has a different meaning to them than it does to us. It has this sort of law of the jungle twist to it. It’s about beauty and power and that a woman is Mother Nature; the giver and taker of life. The men are somewhat anemic, as small framed men are desirable (and there are some brutal lengths that both men and women are willing to go to achieve this) and more controllable. Unmarried men are sold as slaves to do hard manual labour for the rest of their lives.

If hundreds or thousands of years of evolution had instead valued strong, and yes, bigger childbearing women, how different would modern day woman look and be? If smaller framed men were desired, how different would the modern day man be? What would this do to a society?

I was curious.

In the offending chapter in my novel, Mia goes to a bordello where boys and men tend to the, ahem, “needs” of women. There are young children in the bordello and that had a couple of readers up in arms. Their comments were that they just didn’t feel, in their hearts, that women would be capable of doing such things. Women were nurturers and that things like pedophilia were bound, almost exclusively, to male genetics.

My first reaction was….to laugh.

“Bah hahahahahahahahahahhaaaaaaaaaa! That’s a good one!"

When I realized they were serious….I was pissed off.

“You’re blaming genetics? What the f&$%!”

My story has been labeled as feminist (by women), even though I don’t think it is, and here are the complaints when the story bashes a hole in the female ego:

The women in the story are vain. Some think vanity stems from women trying to please men. I don't think it is. I think most men would say they prefer women to have a more natural look. (disagree with me if you like, but I know quite a few guys who've told me this) And besides, I've attended basically an all-girl school, and women still get all dressed and painted up when no men are around.

I think women are capable of every terrible and wonderful thing a man is capable of. Many would say that women are more peaceful than men and a world run by women would be that, a peaceful utopia. And maybe it would be. But have you ever worked or lived in a female environment for long?

I have.

Women can end up ready to kill each other before they’ve even met. Seriously!  I’m not saying all women are like this, but lots are. Women also get this “more peaceful rap” because most of us have never been expected to get physical. You go to a women’s prison, or to a bad part or town where women are "in touch" with their rougher more physical side, and peaceful is the last thing they are.

Some have told me the gender reversal in my novel should not be as simple as just a flipping of roles. I say, it isn’t. I did not just flip roles! I thought about it, believe me. I’m not saying my opinions are definitive but they are not skewed to one gender or the other.

I’m not a feminist, I consider myself an equalist. I’ll argue male rights any day of the week. I think men and women are a lot more alike than we are different and the reason we may be so different is that we’ve been conditioned and trained to be that way.

For those of you who’ve said to me, “Equalist? Things will never be equal. Men can’t have babies.”

My answer is= *Eye roll*, and *slow clap*

But seriously now, I would love to hear some feedback about this.  What are your thoughts? I hope my psychologist and psychiatrist friends chime in. Tell me if you think I’m wrong. I do so love a good debate!!

Wait, you think I’m an idiot and I can’t argue my point?
<---Challenge accepted!
Would women, in a historical place of power, create utopia or anarchy? How would it differ from our own society? Are the faults of man genetic? That would mean the faults of women are genetic as well, right?

Send me a comment!
Please?

Stella out!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Glory

It finally hit me the other day while I was driving to work. Later, on the same day, I recieved something important in the mail. Four years of planning, hard work, fear, doubt, and perseverance all came to a finale. I received my diploma in the mail the other day and I realised I'd finally achieved the goal I had set just over four years ago.

I had applied to this program twice and had been rejected, and on the third time, after up grading my entry level courses, I was accepted. It was hard going back to school as an adult. We have bills to pay, responsibilities to keep, and academic insecurities to nurture. All the "kids" fresh out of high school might have found that first year of NAIT easy, but that was the most gruelling time for me. There was a lot of rust to knock off my brain. In those first few weeks I was so overwhelmed I often went home, almost in tears, thinking what have I done? I'd quit a good career I was 13 years invested in. I had a job many in the industry sot. My husband was supporting me while I tried to do this and wasn't sure that I could. I never told my husband my doubts. I didn't want to stress him out more than he already was.

A question nagged at me.

What if I fail?....

....

....

....

....I cannot fail at this.


I'm feeling a little proud today, so please forgive this boast-post.

Stella out!!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Information Overload


Sorry about the internet silence. I’ve been feeling a little like this at work and home lately.

There is so much for me to learn at my new job and there is so much responsibility involved with the position that I’m feeling a little overwhelmed.  It’s been two nights in a row that I haven’t slept well and that’s not good when you’re working 12hr shifts. When I get a few days off I’m excited to work on my novel but I can’t make my brain do anything. I just want to sit in a vegetative state (which is unheard of for me) and maybe watch TV (also unusual for me). Even reading a book seems too hard a task to focus on right now. *sigh* I hope I get over this information overload soon.

Stella out!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Random Act Of Kindness BLITZ!


A smile. An encouraging word. A thoughtful gesture. Each day people interact with us, help, and make our day a bit brighter and full. This is especially true in the Writing Community

Take a second to think about writers you know, like the critique partner who works with you to improve your manuscript. The writing friend who listens, supports and keeps you strong when times are tough. The author who generously offers council, advice and inspiration when asked.

So many people take the time to make us feel special, don't they? They comment on our blogs, re-tweet our posts, chat with us on forums and wish us Happy Birthday on Facebook.



Kindness ROCKS!

To commemorate the release of their book The Emotion Thesaurus, Becca and Angela at The Bookshelf Muse are hosting a TITANIC Random Act Of Kindness BLITZ. And because I think KINDNESS is contagious, I'm participating too!


I am blitzing a good writer friend of mine, Jeff Hill. He’s been there for me for years. From the very beginning when I ventured out into the cyber world looking for a writing community where I hoped I’d learn how to really write. We met on CC, a well-known critique site, and have been friends ever since.


I’ve always felt that poor Jeff had gotten the short end of the stick in our critiquing relationship. To tell the truth, in the beginning I found critiquing his work very daunting. Our styles are very different. He has this romanticized way of turning a verse in his historical novels that made my writing sound like a Dick and Jane book. >_< My writing tends to be simple, gritty, and downright cringe-worthy on the best of days. One thing we did have in common was a love for MC internal monologues that other writers tell me are “too deep” sometimes. Our vastly different writing styles ended up being a good foil to the other as we crit each other’s works. We each tend to focus on things the other overlooks at times.

Jeff has self-published many of his novels including THE LAST DECADENT, THE LAST COURTESAN, and soon THE BEGARS OF AZURE.  He is also a great editor for hire. If you’re looking for an editor checkout his site.

He has been exceedingly patient with me over the years, especially in my humble Neanderthal-like beginnings. Now my knuckles only drag half of the time. ;)  He’s somehow sensed my impatience through our internet connection and has always returned my work to me, with his notes included, often within the day I sent it to him. He has been with me through three revision of THE SAME NOVEL. Yes, the man is a saint. Cue the choir! ;) I think he’d probably be up for a fourth revision if someone doesn’t find him and slap some sense into him. He has always made me look at my story in different ways and has been instrumental in improving it. He throws colossal-sized wrenches in my stories and I find myself doing the following:

Stella reads a suggestion that Jeff has made about the chapter she’s working on*

“Ahhhhhh! What?”

Stella reads further into the crit and thinks “Gah! This chapter is total crap!”

She thinks about the changes Jeff has suggested for a bit and thinks, “His idea will never work!”

Stella makes the changes Jeff suggested to the story in her mind and tweaks it in ways only her twisted mind can and then thinks “Holy shit! That’s brilliant!”

If I ever publish a novel or find myself happy with my writing it will be because of his guidance over these years.

My blitz to Jeff is all about sharing Jeff’s great writing and editing skills with others. Please check out his novels, and if you know anyone in need of an editor, pass his site on. Or just pass by his site to tell him how awesome he is.

Go! Jeff, go!!
Do you know someone special that you'd like to randomly acknowledge? Don't be shy--come join us and celebrate! Send them an email, give them a shout out, or show your appreciation in another way. Kindness makes the world go round. :)

Becca and Angela have a special RAOK gift waiting for you as well, so hop on over to The Bookshelf Muse to pick it up.

Have you ever participated in or been the recipient of a Random Act Of Kindness?  Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment Revealed

The feedback I received from Matthew MacNish on his blog, The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment, was on the money. I hadn’t realized all the faults my query had accumulated after all the rewrites I’d subjected it to. One of the big problems was that it was vague and clich√© in certain parts. It’s hard to whittle down a 450 page novel into 250 words.

On the positive side, it sounds like I’m on the right track.

O.O

I know, surprising, right? ;)

Matt has agreed to look at my revision and critique it on his blog again. What a nice guy, eh? I’ll let you guys know when it’s up again.

Stella out!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Query Letters--The Torture Contiues


Exams are over and I started my new job yesterday. I didn’t sleep well last night, I was nervous about my first day. There are a lot of changes happening in my life, but I welcome them all. I love change. My life had become too stagnant for a while.  

Anyways…

You all know of my *cough* love of writing query letters. :S If you don’t know what a query letter is click here. I’d mentioned a while ago that my latest query attempt would be up on a fellow blogger’s site. His name is Matthew MacNish. Unlike other writer resources, like Query Shark (where I’d also submitted my query to be slaughtered years ago, to no avail), Matthew doesn’t make his submitters feel like Neanderthals for our many mistakes. His followers are also kind when voicing their feedback. This unlike a lot of writer’s sites I’ve been to.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t need someone to pat me on the head and tell me “Good job, Stella. You strung together a sentence!” I want criticism. I want someone to tell me what’s not working and what is. I don’t need someone making fun of my amateur attempts at something I know I struggle with. Selling one’s story, capturing voice, and appealing to an agent when they stare at hundreds of these letters a day is not easy.  

If you’ve not been to Matthew’s site, check it out. If not to scope out all his awesome posts, then at least to check out how my query does. It is up today on his site and tomorrow he will critique it.

Feel free to participate in the mock cover poll for my novel on the side bar if you like.-->
Which cover would intrigue you to pick up my novel and read the jacket?
P.S.- Matthew, if you're reading this, I love the name you gave your picture. LOL!!!!

Stella out!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Exam Week--The Final Conflict


Final exam week is here. Four days. Five exams. Thursday afternoon equals FREEDOM!! It's been a long journey and it's almost done. I can't wait to start my new job and life. I enjoyed school, but it always feels as if one is in a state of constant limbo. It was only a temporary routine. It’s been two years and I can't wait to start working. My first day is next Tuesday. Wish me luck!

With exams done I can focus on writing and this blog again. Yay!!! I can’t wait.
Stella out!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Joy of Books

This is another cool video I found the other day. The owners of Type bookstore in Toronto on 883 Queen Street West decided to get creative after reorganizing the shelves one day. Wow!!

Enjoy!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Just When I Thought I Had It


So, I just finished working through a massive rewrite of my novel. *fist pump* I reached the end and felt like I'd made some freaking brilliant changes. Thank you beta reader!! You know who you are. ;)

"Look out, publishers. Here I come!" :)

The problem with revisions is as soon as you complete one, you’re about to start the next. I went back to the first chapter to tighten, clarify, and look for inconsistencies throughout the novel. What I read caught me off guard.

*Stella face-plants onto the floor*

There is quite an inconsistency in voice and style from the beginning of the novel and the end. It made me realize my writing style really evolved over the rewrite. While it's a good sign that my style has changed it means more work in the upcoming revisions than I'd anticipated.

Let me know if this has happened to your writing, and what your thoughts about it were. I'd love to read your comments.

If you haven't voted on the Novel Poll yet, please do so on the side bar----->

Okay, enough procrastination. Back to work.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Birth of a Book

It's amazing, to me, the process that goes into making a book. I hope they never go completely out of fashion as ebooks take over.

http://vimeo.com/glenmilner/birthofabook


Don't forget to vote for my Novel Poll at the top of the side bar -->
The covers to chose from are in the last blog post.

Stella out!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Novel Poll

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The cover art on a novel is important! It is especially important if an author is not going to have a professional design it. Not all authors get to publish through the traditional route.

So, I've three mock covers I've tinkered with over the years and I wanted to find out what the people think. Which cover would entice you to pick up the book to read the jacket?

I would like this book to appeal to both genders so I really want honesty here. You can vote on the handy dandy polling machine at the top of the side bar-->


Which will it be? Please leave a comment with your opinion. If none of them would make you pick up a novel, let me know. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Stella, out!

Monday, April 9, 2012

I'm back...I like your new curtains.

Hey everybody,

I know, I know, you thought I was dead. I'm not. I have two and a half weeks of school left and then I will be returning to the blogging wooooooooorld!!

*crickets*

Ahem...so, moving on.

School has been great. Year one threw a serious wrench into my writing time, but second year couldn't keep me away. I've finished a major rewrite on my novel THE MALE AMENDMENT and I'm about to go over it to do some trimming and polishing. Woooo-whooo!

I've been working on a new query letter >_< (if you are unaware of my love of query letters click here). Hundreds of drafts of query letters later and I think I may have a winner with this one. It is going to be critiqued by Matthew MacNish on his blog The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment in about a month and a half. Matthew has given some really great feedback to various authors on the horror that is the query letter. So excited!

I hope to strike up the search for a literary agent this summer. Wish me luck!




All stories and poems posted are
Copyright © 2009 by Stella Telleria
All rights reserved.