Friday, June 22, 2007

Spectacular Launch Party Jamboree

Guest Maven Janice Welcome to the Launch Party! As promised, today heralds the first ever Manuscript Mavens comment contest!

Comment Contest Rules & Prizes

To celebrate the official launch of, the mavens are giving away their time and expertise to four lucky winners. Commenter #100 to this post will receive a multi-maven critique! You may choose the chapter of your choice, up to 20 pages. (If not the first chapter, you may include a 2 page synopsis/setup.)

Three random visitors who link to this post and leave a note in the comments to let us know will receive single-maven critiques--Even if you're before or after commenter #100!

As with the grand prize, you may choose the chapter of your choice, up to 20 pages, and a short setup if necessary. Are we already on your blog roll? Then bless your heart, you're well ahead of the game. (Don't forget to leave a note in the comments to let us know. We want to visit you, too!)

At our discretion, we reserve the right to award even MORE prizes than mentioned here. *g

Mondays with Maven Erica

Maven Erica Ridley What up, party people! So glad to have you all with us for the official Manuscript Mavens launch party.

Since I designed this bad baby (based on clever Maven feedback) I'd like to call your attention to a few things. See those TVs on the right? Those aren't stock photography models--that's really us! Aren't we just darlin'? <g> Links to our web sites and blogs can be found beneath our headshots. Do drop by. =)

And did you have a chance to check out the rockin' Maven Timeline over there on the left, underneath the list of blog posts? It's in reverse chronological order (most recent on top) and will be updated continually as we further our movement toward complete and utter world domination. (Wait. That's not a Maven goal. That's my personal objective.)

Not too shabby a list, eh? Would I be honking our own horns if I pointed out that all four of us have completed multiple manuscripts and finaled and/or won industry-respected writing contests? Yes, definitely tooting our own horn? (Oops, sorry. *g)

Actually, not sorry. I figured you'd want an explanation for why we figured we could call ourselves something so lofty as Manuscript Mavens. Well, that list over there answers the "maven" part. As for "Manuscript"...

We're no better than any other aspiring author out there, except we set goals for ourselves and go after them 100%. We network at workshops and conferences, we improve our craft by reading advice and analyzing keeper books, we give back our time by volunteering on loops and on chapter boards, we give and receive critiques almost every day of the week (we're CPs and contest judges) and above all... we write.

We write even when we don't have time to write.

Every day, we're improving. And we want to share that with you. From our knowledge and experience, such that it is (and isn't--we're not outselling J.K. Rowling just yet *g) to a basic sense of community, all of us writers, published or not, book one or book one hundred, all of us in this crazy industry together, writing stories and making friends.

I know you have amazing experiences and knowledge and frustrations and achievements of your own to share, so please don't be shy in the comment section. I want your thoughts, opinions, and viewpoints, even when they contradict mine. Maybe especially then, because how else do we learn new things and affect change?

So jump in, speak up and speak out, and feel free to be as encouraging or as snarky as you like. =)

Thanks for joining us!

Maven Erica

Tuesdays with Maven Jacqueline

Maven Jacqueline Barbour Damn, it sucks to follow Erica. She’s so darned witty and funny and upbeat and I’m so... um... not.

Well, okay, right now, I’m not mainly because it’s 1:30 in the morning and I’m up writing my launch jamboree post because I screwed around all day and didn’t do it before now. What was that Erica was saying about us Mavens setting goals and going after them 100%? I think I’m in need of the Passion Slaves’ wet noodle. Fifty lashes, please!

Regardless of my wit or lack thereof, you’re stuck with me on Tuesdays :-).

And since I had the very good fortune to sell a novella, Carnally Ever After, to Cobblestone Press last month and the even better fortune to attend a fabulous seminar on book (and self) promotion at the San Diego chapter’s meeting last weekend, I’m going to start off by sharing some thoughts on that subject with you. I can’t steal the whole seminar and regurgitate it verbatim, of course, but I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction!

Because I’ve decided to have my edgier, erotic novella(s) published under a different pen name than I use for my more traditional, full-length historicals (meaning I now have more names than completed manuscripts), I’ll also probably write a little about pseudonyms and branding along with (possibly) multiple personality disorder.

When I exhaust that subject (which may not even be possible!), I’m sure there’ll be something else. Like how to take unfavorable reviews with grace. (I’m expecting to need that lesson myself. Anyone out there like to give it to me now?)

So, sit down with your coffee, tea, or Cherry Coke (Darcy) and join me on Tuesdays. I’m sure we’ll all learn something from the experience!

Maven Jacqueline

Wednesdays with Maven Darcy

Maven Darcy Burke I'm sorry to inform you that my husband and I already have a concrete plan for World Domination. I could tell you about it, but then I would have to kill you. Are you sensing a theme here? The Mavens are driven, type A people. Hmmm, no wonder I feel at home.

I hope you'll feel at home--no need to be type A, but driven is good. And driven by what is entirely up to you. I am driven to do lots of things: write, drink great wine, dominate the world (ahem, I guess we covered that), and occasionally I am even driven to tears. And I am always driven by my wonderful children (I have two little ones), though sometimes (okay, often), Jacqueline and I refer to them as the IE (interruption express). In all seriousness, my family is the center of my universe, which is, IMO, as it should be.

So, welcome, welcome one and all. If you manage to pick up a small tidbit on my Wednesday posts to help you on your way, I'm glad (and perhaps a scoosh surprised - the other Mavens are pros at this blog thing and well, y'all were here for the cherry-poppin'). I'm confident I'll learn more on this journey than my overloaded brain cells can handle. But what a ride!

Maven Darcy

Thursdays with Maven Lacey

Maven Lacey Kaye First of all, I'd like to point out that I had a Plan to Rule the World long before Erica decided she was going after World Domination.

Now, I can understand how it might seem as if I only meant "at work." How I plan to rule the world "at work." However, I'm a greedy little whore and I'd really prefer to rule it all.

Lucky for you, I don't mind competition and I'm more than happy to share my plans, so on Thursdays with Maven Lacey you'll come to expect a pretty good share of My Opinion coupled with the odd Random Piece of Advice.

Like Erica, I prefer to be argued with (lie lie lie) so feel free to bring it on. You should especially watch out for posts on critiquing craft. I'll be sharing my thoughts on the books and manuscripts that come under my nose--all blessedly nameless, naturally, because my cuppa tea isn't necessarily yours (and also because last time I checked, my name was neither Nora nor Julia Quinn).


Maven Lacey

Fridays with Guest Mavens

And now, heeeeeere's Guest Maven Janice to introduce the Launch Party Jamboree Comment Contest!

Do you want the truth about your manuscript? If you're not certain, don't vie for the honor of a Maven critique. These girls will break your heart. For although they have renamed themselves the Manuscript Mavens, (makes them sound sweet, doesn't it?) they remain brutally honest.

Don't believe me? This is not my original post. They trashed the first one! Said it was too formal. Well, I tried to rewrite it with my usual smart mouth charm but couldn't. Being critiqued is serious business, especially for the uninitiated. Like many first times--and no, DH, I'm not talking about you--it can be painful and disappointing. But if you want to be published, (warning: I'm about to state the obvious) you have to hand over your precious baby to an agent or editor. Trust me, you DO NOT want that to be your first time. If you're unlucky, they'll throw the kid back without comment. If the universe deems it your day to hit the cosmic lottery, they'll throw it back after pointing out all the numerous reasons it's ugly. Either way, you're probably getting it back.

Have someone else read your manuscript first. Ask for honesty, and when you get it take a few minutes to let the pain wash over you, then gush your thanks. Someone just did you a huge favor.

Guest Maven Janice

Critique veterans, what was the best and/or most painful comment you've received?
To the uninitiated, what do you expect from your first critique?


B.E. Sanderson said...

Consider it done. You've been on my blogroll almost from the beginning, and I put up a post this morning about the party.

I'm not a critique veteran. So far, I've only had a few people crit my work, and other than one horrible online experience with some snerty little witches, everyone has been helpful and polite with their comments. So, with that in mind, I guess you could call me one of the uninitiated. I expect critters to look at my work from the perspective of a reader - tell me what works for them and what doesn't - and also from the perspective of a writer - giving me an insiders view of the publishability.

The best critique advice I ever received was from my college English professor. He told me my work was crap, but that it had the potential to be good. ;o)

ERiCA said...

He told me my work was crap, but that it had the potential to be good.

Bwa! That's exactly the sentiment that keeps me going, even when I'm too tired/busy/lazy to make coherent sentences. Love it. =)

Anonymous said...

b.e. sanderson said ...experience with some snerty little witches...

Ah, I’m sorry you had to experience that. The great thing about the Mavens is that, yes they are brutally honest, but they are profession woman, and they remain professional when they critique. Even with me, who recently sent a synopsis to them and got great feedback when they should have smacked me with a 2x4 for sending them such a train wreck piece of writing. Lacey, don’t even think about it.

Janice, who tried to use her new Blogger ID, but it didn't work. Blah.

Anonymous said...

I love you gals and I love this blog! You're already on my blogroll and I posted a quick announcement.

I'm crossing my fingers so I can win, I want to WIN! :)
So I may not be post #100 - yet - but 3 is my lucky number. *Crosses fingers xxx*

Like b.e. I'm unititiated, I had a couple of people critique some of my early stuff, but nothing beyond that. But then again I haven't shared anything with anyone in a while.
I'm looking for someone to be honest and issue constructive advice. If my work is crap right now (I'm sure it is, I'm just starting out) that's ok, I want to honestly know if I have potential. I want to know if it's true that there is hope for me after all.

OT ~ How do you post a hyperlink here?

LACEY ~ It's done. You'll get an email from me tomorrow before I head out to run my errands in the morning. :)

Off to the daytime gig...


Bill Clark said...

Damn, it sucks to follow Erica. She’s so darned witty and funny and upbeat and I’m so... um... not.

Actually, what's cool about this group is that you all know how to write and you all have a terrific sense of humor. My only complaint is that I don't know where I'm going to find the time to read all your posts and threads...but I know I will, somehow. ;-)

ERiCA said...

Janice: Blogger wouldn't let you use your username and password? Did you get an error message? Email me and we'll work this out.

Isabel: Here's how to add a hyperlink. Type the following (replacing my name and URL with whatever site you want to link to):

<a href="">the "Erica Writes" blog</a>

Remember to include the "http://" part for the links to work right!

lacey kaye said...

should have smacked me with a 2x4 for sending them such a train wreck piece of writing. Lacey, don’t even think about it.

Darn. I SO saw that as an invitation!

Isabel -- Yay! Crossing my fingers for you, too!

And I agree with Erica and B.E. Maybe not the *best* feedback in the world, but it's definitely nicer to be the good kind of crap than the bad!

Maggie Robinson said...

You're linked...but I can't handle the truth. Just call me Tom Cruise.

I think the two most interesting things said to me have really made me think.

The first was for Third Rate Romance which is a genre bending send-up of romance cliches. It has everything in it but the kitchen sink (wait, I think I mention a dishwasher). I think it's pretty funny. But it's not really a romance. Yes, there are 4 couples with their own happy endings. That's 3 couples too many. So what the hell is it? How could it be marketed, someone asked. Alas, I don't have the answer to that.

The second? Don't hold back, said someone else. I'm writing a definitely-NOT-funny book now, Paradise, with sexual perversity and psychological trauma. But I really can't drop the F-bomb constantly and still call myself a lady. I guess it's time to get dirtier.*g*

CM said...

Amen on the don't hold back, Maggie!

I posted my critique story on my blog here--and it links back!

Vicki said...

I added you to my blogroll as soon as Erica annouced you on her blog.

I've had the same thing critique by two different people to have one love it and can't wait to read more and the other person saying trash the whole chapter and start again. :)

I've had red bleed on my pages but for the most part once I really looked at what they were saying most of it was correct. (With the exception of the above two people.

lacey kaye said...

Most excellent, ladies! Keep the honesty coming :-)

PS I linked back to this...and added the Mavens to my blog roll...I guess that doesn't put me in the drawing? LOL

Jacqueline Barbour said...

Yay, I just posted to my blog about the contest and blogrolled the Mavens. I'm eligible to receive a Maven crit. WooT!

Oh, wait, I get Maven crits all the time. Scratch that :->!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Erica, it worked for me.


*Keeping fingers xxx* I want to WIN! *G*

Anonymous said...

I also wanted you all to know I had a large cup of coffee and an 8oz. Cinnamon roll and a breakfast bar while reading this blog and comments. See this blog does a body good. :)

CM said...

Oh, and seriously, my plans to take over the world predate all of yours.

Ha ha ha ha ha!

Darcy Burke said...

bill clark said:
My only complaint is that I don't know where I'm going to find the time to read all your posts and threads...but I know I will, somehow. ;-)

See, the domination is already underway!

maggie robinson said:
But I really can't drop the F-bomb constantly and still call myself a lady.

Holy f***, I didn't know about that rule! Oh well. Much too late for me.

Tessa Dare said...

Okay, you're linked!

Beautiful blog, ladies. Congrats! I look forward to learning from your collective wisdom and watching you climb that ladder of success!

My best worst critique came from a certain masked CP who snarked my first love scene within an inch of its life (even though it had metaphorically died several times) - and saved me from having the most purpley, over-the-top scene ever.

rgraff said...

I am currently working on my first WIP. I have been critiqued by some of the ladies here. As I too am a member of the Aspiring Romance Writers group. Although I haven't submitted anything lately to be critiqued.

These ladies are brutally honest but in a good way. They will tell you exactly what you need to know to make your story better and no writer could ask for more than that.

Whoever wins this contest is defintely going to be lucky!

lacey kaye said...

Holy f***, I didn't know about that rule! Oh well. Much too late for me.

Darcy, this cracked me up. I guess I'm f***ed, too :-)

lacey kaye said...

and saved me from having the most purpley, over-the-top scene ever.

You haven't met any of my scenes, I suppose?

lacey kaye said...

Who is rgraff? I'd love to be one of the ones who's critiqued you.

Darcy Burke said...

Yeah, who's rgraff? Speak up ARW sister!

Thanks for coming to the party Tessa. Purple prose welcome! (It's my daughter's "second favorite color.")

Bill Clark said...

bill clark said:
My only complaint is that I don't know where I'm going to find the time to read all your posts and threads...but I know I will, somehow. ;-)

See, the domination is already underway!

Yikes!! It's all a blogplot to take over the world!!

Heather said...

I've never been much for competition, but man, oh man, do I ever want to win this freaking contest.

I'm heading back to my own blog now to add you to my blogroll. This is the best prize ever!

CM said...

Actually, truth be told, I've already taken over the world, and y'all are going to have to figure out how to take it back from me.



lacey kaye said...

CM, you kill me.

Er, not literally. If you have the power I guess I shouldn't be opening the door to that sort of thing!

lainey bancroft said...

Sheesh! Put 4 Manuscript Mavens on one blog together and they turn into freakin' monsters!

World Dominance?

Really ladies, I'm not nearly so greedy as you. I merely want to dominate a good portion of the romance market. Say, 75-80%? Maybe when I'm done that I'll pen a few horrors, crime stories or YA wizardry tales. Ya know, just to keep the likes of King, Gerritsen and Rowling on their toes. :P

Have fun with your new forum, my friends!

(and I'll add a linky...well, when they guy who adds my linky's has time ;-)

lacey kaye said...

I merely want to dominate a good portion of the romance market.

Crap! Why didn't I think of this one?

B.E. Sanderson said...

Heh. I knew this was going to be a fun blog to hang around in.

Snack mix anyone?

Anonymous said...

That was me up there with my silly comment about the coffee and cinnamon roll, I couldn't finish it earlier...

"World Dominance?"

I believe it! It's only a matter of time.


Kelly Krysten said...

Oh cool! I love the new site girls! The worst crit I've gotten..hmmm...prolly when a friend of mine borrowed my original first two chapters and then after reading them said, "Maybe you should take some creative writing courses."

lacey kaye said...

Kelly, that's TERRIBLE! Egh! I hope you wrote her into your ms. Preferably as a villain.

1/3 of the way there, people!

ERiCA said...

Maggie: LOL. Great blurbs. =)

CM: I went and read your story--thanks for the linkage!

Vicki: I agree--the best crits are neither "this is perfect" or "this sucks" but somewhere in between. (Constructive Brutality, I always say)

Lace & Jacq: D'oh! I've got to add the Mavens to MY blogroll, too!

Isabel: Mmm... cinnamon roll...

ERiCA said...

CM: My minions can beat up your minions!!

Tessa: even though it had metaphorically died several times ROFL!!

Rgraff: Unmask thee! Did I crit you?? Did you crit me?? Spill!

Bill: Blogplot! I love it! We were discussing making a Mavenspeak dictionary... I vote we add blogplot to the list. =)

Heather: Best of luck! Keep posting and you'll get closer to #100!

Lainey: Dang it! Your plot is so much more realistic and attainable.
*erica rubs hands together and rethinks master plot*

Kelly: Oh, gawd. Talk about an awkward moment. :(

Heather said...

My worst crit ever was from my sixth-grade English teacher, who said,

"Heather, you use too many descriptive words."

I thought I was hot shit in sixth grade, writing-wise, and that critique did not sit well with me. I was, after all, the next LM Montgomery — hadn't Mrs. Richmond heard? That lovely woman never met an adverb she didn't like, and I practically slept with Anne of Green Gables under pillow. Too descriptive? Impossible!

Looking back, it was my first lesson in Less is More. Too bad it took me a damn long time to learn it.

Darcy Burke said...

Heather, teachers can be brutal. But sometimes we turn the tables on them. Worst reverse crit story? Third grade. Teacher writes "Pittsburg" on the board and Darcy corrects her. In front of the entire class. Sometime after that Teacher calls Darcy a "busybody." Is that another word for Nitbitch?

ERiCA said...

Heather: That lovely woman never met an adverb she didn't like LOL. I'm a recovering adverb addict too. =)

Darcy: Erica is pleased to learn Erica isn't the only one who refers to herself in 3rd person.

Sometime after that Teacher calls Darcy a "busybody." Is that another word for Nitbitch?

Bwa ha ha!!! =)

Anonymous said...

Best of luck! Keep posting and you'll get closer to #100!

Best of luck to all the participants. :)

Ok if we're going way back, my English teacher once told me my writing was "too wordy". I have a feeling it still is. I hope to get better.


B.E. Sanderson said...

Every single one of my old kindergarten report cards says "Talks too much" in the comment section. (Come to think of it, most of elementary teachers said that, and a few of the middle school ones.) Maybe since then I've learned to 'talk too much' on paper.

lacey kaye said...

I ABSOLUTELY talk too much on paper! What do you meeeaaan, people don't want to hear every single step of my thought process??

Jacqueline Barbour said...

LOL, sounds like you and I might've been separated at birth, B.E. I'm pretty sure my elementary school postcards all say that, too. And I seem to remember flunking nap in kindergarten because I could. not. be. quiet.

I'm still good old chatty Cathy, but I definitely do more of it with my fingers these days.

beverley said...

Absolutely fabulous site guys!!! Erica, you did a great job. (Is that your day job?)

B.E. Sanderson said...

LOL I'd wonder about how you can flunk nap, but my daughter did it, too. It runs in the family here, so we must be related. =o)

Lenora Bell said...

Superb site! I added it to my blogroll, and linked to this post in the hopes of winning a single-maven critique. Man, do I need it. I want some of your goal-setting, type-A, world-domination ambition to rub off on me. That's why I'll visit your blog every single day, mavens.

ERiCA said...

B.E.: report cards says "Talks too much" in the comment section LOL--that was me, too! (Also got "doesn't pay attention" and "won't stay seated"... too bad there wasn't widespread ADD testing then! *g)

Beverley: Yup! Although you'll notice I launched the Manuscript Maven site before I finished the launch of MY company web site, WebMotion, Inc... Priorities, priorities. *sigh*

Lenora! Hi!! That's why I'll visit your blog every single day, mavens. Yay--so glad you'll be joining us! =)

Tia Nevitt said...

B.E. Sanderson pointed me here. Since I need to catch up on my blogroll, I'll start with you guys!

Michelle said...

Hey ladies...I am rgraff, now known as Michelle as google can't seem to keep my name straight. I go by Michelle over at ARW....mommyof2angels is under Michelle.

Lacey I do believe you critiqued my work and Jacqueline I think you did too. On EF...I haven't posted anything in awhile because my writing unfortunately took a backseat, but I am working on changing that.

ERiCA said...

Tia: B.E. rocks! So glad you dropped by!

Michelle: Thanks for unmasking yourself, and I sure hope you can squeeze in more writing time in the future!

India Carolina said...

Congratulations on a superdooper blogsite! You ladies have skills! You're linked.


Heather said...

OK, we're halfway to 100 ... anyone still awake?

Mary Danielson said...

Officially linked!

What a great blog, ladies - I'm looking forward to more advice, laughs, and world domination victories!

B.E. Sanderson said...

OK, we're halfway to 100 ... anyone still awake?

One of the advantages of being on Mountain Time. It's still early here. And as long as the words are coming, I'm not going to bed. (Just taking a break.)

Thanks, Erica. You rock, too. =o)

ERiCA said...

India & Mary: Nice to see new faces! Best of luck winning prizes! =)

lacey kaye said...

First of all, to make things clear: we're going Alllllll weekend, people! You still have time to drum up your friends for the 100 Comment Climb!

That's why I'll visit your blog every single day, mavens. Rock on, Lenora! We'll come and see you, too ;-)

Tia, awesome to see a new face! Can't wait to get to know you & B.E, whose blog I just found recently.

Michelle! Yes, of course! Pink font & yarn shop. What up, woman? I saw you recently say you were coming back. /Whip cracks Hurry!

B.E. -- ok, now I'm feeling like a slacker. I just took a 4-hour nap (so nice to wake up and have us be over 50!) and now I'm contemplating dinner. I suppose I should WRITE something in there...esp even though today is our SLPJ, I got all 3 Maven Excerpts in my inbox. Oh, God! I AM the slacker!

Ericka Scott said...

Geez. . .I'm only #55! But I want to win!!

Seriously though. . . I joined an online critique group shortly after Avon fanlit. I think that much of the credit to my publication was because of their honest, blunt, and (sob) harsh critiques. But, I'll tell you, my husband's crits are worse. He's my final reader. . . and man, oh man. . . I can't even watch him read it, it makes me that nervous.

I love stopping in here! You guys are the best.

Darcy Burke said...

It's official. Thanks to all of you, I'm a blog addict. I've never visited a single blog more than twice in one day, let alone a gajillion times! LOVING all the comments and new friends and looking forward to getting to know all of you!

I went to a potluck dinner party tonight with the family. This gal (and her family) host monthly (pretty much) themed potluck dinner parties just to keep in touch. It's AWESOME. I hardly ever talk to any of these people outside these events, but when we get together, it's like time hasn't passed. Kinda like keeping up via the Internet, I guess!

Anyway, a couple of the ladies read my VERY first draft of the opening of my first novel (way back in the fall of 2005). They always ask how my writing is going and tonight I handed out my swanky new business cards that I ordered for National. A few promised to check me/us out online. So fun!

I'm rambling, but I just wanted to share!

lacey kaye said...

WHERE ARE THE PASSION SLAVES?? Darcy just pointed out ya'all are unaccounted for!

ERiCA said...

And Day 2 of the Spectacular Launch Party Jamboree commences!

Questions for the masses:
1) Is it better/worse/neutral to have an online CP vs a "live" CP?
2) Did you participate in Avon FanLit (or anything of its ilk)?
3) Have any of your family members read your stuff? (why/why not)

I wanna know!!! =)

B.E. Sanderson said...

lacey kaye: Don't feel like a slacker. I was in bed by 10. The words petered out and my brain needed sleep.

Now, for Erica's questions...

I've never had a CP who wasn't online. I live in the middle of nowhere, so online is about the only way I can have contact with writerly types. I've never done FanLit of any kind. (And if Avon fanlit is about that, forgive me.) Only my daughter has read ALL of my books. My husband has only read the first, but that's because he's so busy keeping me in the style to which I've become accustomed. ;o) The rest of my family hasn't shown any interest.

Bill Clark said...

Blogplot! I love it! We were discussing making a Mavenspeak dictionary...

Oooh, great idea! That way the rest of us dominees can understand better what you four dominatrixes are, did that come out right? ;-)

Re: Erica and Jane Austen - yes, Erica, you win the wind-breaking contest hands down! What I was actually trying to say, however, is that you write as well as Austen, albeit in a somewhat different voice. And literary? Definitely!

(Oh, wait - I think I'm on the wrong blog thread for that last 'graph. Oh, well, let's let it stet.)

Final comment: doing my little part to goose the comment total further towards the magic number of 100.

Maggie Robinson said...

Questions for the masses:
I do not claim to be more than one mass at a time.

1) Is it better/worse/neutral to have an online CP vs a "live" CP? Mine are online, too. I also kind of live in the middle of nowhere and don't belong to the closest RWA chap which is a 2 hour drive away. I think it would be great to actually talk face to facw w/ somebody, though.Sometimes written crits are tangled...which is ironic, since we're all supposed to be writers. :)

2) Did you participate in Avon FanLit (or anything of its ilk)? Yes. I love the work ilk. It connotes evil. FanLit was a first for me, and actually seminal getting me online, with cps and blogging. Prior to FL, no one but rejecting agents ever read anything I wrote (although I always hoped they never actually READ, just rejected on principle).

3) Have any of your family members read your stuff? (why/why not) Not really. They don't read romance, and when my girls think of me writing sex scenes (or having sex, for that matter), it skeeves them out totally. My son, husband and 3 daughters all read my blog, though, probably trying to gather evidence.

Doing my part for 100 posts instead of writing, although I knocked out almost 2,000 words already.

CM said...

1. No basis for comparison; all my CPs have been online, although we've met in real life. The real life meet was more for fun than business, though.

2. Yes.

3. Mr. Milan has read my stuff. Nobody else in my family has; nobody else wants to.

Tessa Dare said...

1. All my CPs are online.

2. Yes!

3. Mr. Dare is the only family member who has read GOTH - although he only read it halfway thru and then skimmed for the sex scenes. Typical.

Anonymous said...

1)Is it better/worse/neutral to have an online CP vs a "live" CP?

I don’t ever see me critiquing face to face. I’d hate having someone watching my expression while I read her stuff thinking, “What is this girl trying to say?” Not that I ever think that while reading for the Mavens. Lying is not a mortal sin, is it?

2) Did you participate in Avon FanLit (or anything of its ilk)?

Ack! I got dizzy watching you girls do it.

3) Have any of your family members read your stuff? (why/why not)

My DH reads it, but I hate when he does. The guy has this delusional fantasy that I can get published and make enough money to turn him into a kept man. So, he nitpicks over every word. Shudder.


CM said...

Oh, Tessa, Mr. Milan does the same thing. I've made him read romance novels, and he finds it rather disturbing that the first scenes with sexual contact are often ones where the girl gets off even though the guy--painfully--does not.

His usual response is: "These are supposed to be ALPHA males?"

Steph said...

An agent wrote that, though *some* of the writing was good, she thought that the characters were too contemporary and the story unbelievable. She was right.

1. No crit partners. I don't know anyone who writes or reads romance. I wish I did!

2. Kind of.

3. Yes. My mom (who hates romance) read my first novel and wrote comments on it. I couldn't believe it. She has also read the prologue to novel #2, which she thinks is "lovely" (I know...thanks mom...)

Anyways, I don't have a blog but I did give a few people links to this site in an e-mail. Does that count?

Darcy Burke said...

Steph, welcome! Now you know scads of people who read and write romances!

Maggie, ilk IS evil sounding. Ev-eel, like the froo-its of the dev-eel!

I have no real-life CPs and I've met Jacq and Lacey, but not Erica yet (Dallas, baby). And I am really looking forward to meeting Janice one of these days.

Tessa and CM - I'm impressed your husbands have read parts of your book(s). I know Janice's DH reads them and she wishes he wouldn't. Mr. Burke used to be like that, offering "help." Now he might read a scene or two but quickly grows bored. He says repeatedly, "I just don't like the genre." (Which is funny if you know he lovesromantic movies but they must have a happy ending. Sounds like a romance novel to me!) He's actually written a couple books (actually, I'm not sure he's ever finished them). Sci-fi/fantasy. He'd like to write more. When he's not playing guitar. Or, as B.E. stated, keeping the family in the manner in which we are accustomed. Bwa!

Tessa Dare said...

CM, Mr. Milan won't like GOB, then.

But really - there is plenty of media out there devoted to male gratification. I make no apologies for writing in a genre where the woman comes first, in every sense of the word. ;)

lacey kaye said...

Like Maggie, I wish to be counted as only one mass. (That cracked me up!)

1) I love my live cps. They're just as helpful with their crits and Kristian and I have a wild time going out to see the latest movies and so on. In that sense, she's a little bit better (sorry, girls) because we more options. Also I don't get carpal tunnel while hanging out with her!

OTOH (like the segue from carpal tunnel to hands? huh huh?), the Real Life cps aren't ALWAYS there to answer questions. They seem to have lives. Just kidding. But when I have to wait a week or more to bounce an idea off of them, it means I may have completely rewritten that part of the story before they ever get a chance to comment on it. So I use them like semi-virgin readers to catch things the Mavens may have missed. (Oh, the horror!)

2) You know it, baby! That was one addictive game. I can't see myself doing it again simply because I'm so lucky I didn't get fired last year.

3) My mom tried. I think she really meant to -- really. But she says she would stop to wonder if a word or event was possible, and then she'd get online to look it up, and then she'd get distracted, and then she'd forget where she was... My brother's girlfriend has read some of my stuff & she did FanLit with us even though you may not have realized we had some REALLY newbie people playing that game. I think she came in at #117 the first round -- not bad, when there were what? 500 entries?

lacey kaye said...

yes, Erica, you win the wind-breaking contest hands down

Did I miss something? "Wind-breaking," to my mind, has some distinctly unliterary connotations...

CM/Tessa -- Why did I never hear you ladies did a live meet? Don't you know, as people who now live in the public limelight you MUST share all the personal details of your professional lives? Eh?

Janice is back!! Yes, I'm pretty sure lying will send you straight to Hell, whereas 'laying' will get you marked up in the Royal Ascot. Sometimes you want to shake the judge, hm?

PS you should see the faces *I* make. Hey! We should do webcam crit-chats! Oh, but then I might actually have to put some clothes on.

Hi, Steph! Yes, of course it counts! How'd you find us? Inquiring minds want to know!

Also, if you are looking for online cps, there was a thread about that in Thursday's post. Good luck! I love my gals.

Tessa -- Amen!

Lenora Bell said...

1) I think a mixture of both online and off is perfect. That's why meeting everyone at conferences will be so fun.

2) I did the FanLit thing, but not very well. I botched the submission of my first chapter and missed the cutoff deadline by five minutes. Much weeping and gnashing of teeth ensued.

3) My sister is one of my CPs! She used to wade through a slush pile, so she's a valuable resource.

Heather said...

1. My CP and I critique via iChat, but our first session was in person. I have to admit, I liked that better. It was more detailed and I got a lot out of it.

2. I didn't do the Avon thing; I've never done any fanlit, for that matter.

3. My sister has read some of my stuff, as has my husband. But my sister hates to read, and my husband prefers biographies about coaches and/or serial killers. So, the whole romance thing is kind of lost on him.

lacey kaye said...

I say, Lenora, valuable resource indeed. I'm totally jealous and now thinking up ways to get my brother's girlfriend into a house. No wonder your Plan is so tight! You had help!

Heather, LOL on the biographies and serial killers. Those MUST be at the opposite end of the spectrum. At least self-help and motivational books are career-inspiring! Serial killers? Not so much. Although I guess the KOD chapter could argue with me here...

CM said...

Tessa, Mr. Milan doesn't mind if the woman comes first. He just was horrified at the idea of the man not coming at all. Although, come to think of it . . . .

I'll just let those ellipses speak for themselves.

And Lacey, I wear this mask for a reason. :) Also, as to laying--what's wrong with laying? Like, hens laying eggs? Or was it just someone who didn't really know the difference between lay and lie?

lacey kaye said...

Yep. Lay and lie--argh!

Funny...I think Mr. Milan should've kept reading. The guy always gets his in the end!

B.E. Sanderson said...

Three-quarters of the way there.

(Just doing my part to reach 100.)

Tessa Dare said...

Yeah, Mr. Milan may have a problem with Goddess of Beauty. One scene in particular may horrify him.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Wait. I just thought of a question I meant to ask yesterday. With the chapter critiques, do you have any specific genres you'd prefer or can it be any genre?

Mary Danielson said...

1. I agree with Lenora - a mix of both is the best. My CP and I do most of our actual critiquing online, but she's also one of my real life best friends, now living far away. It's great to have someone you can e-mail whenever for a quick opinion, but I love the in-person brainstorming that comes with a real life CP.

2. Yes! And Harper Teen Fanlit, as well...21 was the magic age for both contest - lucky me!

3. My mom has read some of my contest entries, but since she doesn't read the genre I write, I haven't sent her any of my WIP yet. I think I'll wait till it's finished and has been edited a few hundred times...

Lindsey said...

gorgeous site, ladies! congrats on the launch!

ERiCA said...

OMG! We are so, so close! I have a feeling it won't take all weekend after all to get to #100!

3 New Questions For The Mass*

1) If you are a romance C.P., dish about the first time you shared an excerpt with a sex scene (either as a reader or a writer)

2) If you are a writer of a genre other than romance, dish about what genre you write and what attracts you to the genre.

3) If you are a non-writer of fiction, dish about whether you write something other than fiction (ie non-fiction, duh) and/or whether you enjoy reading fiction, and if so, what genre(s)

To answer B.E.'s question: Should you win a critique, you may send a chapter from any fiction genre. If it's a single-maven critique, we will do our best to match you with a maven who reads your genre. If it's the multi-maven critique, not all of us may read/write in your genre, but we will give you the best feedback we can. (And you can always ask follow-up questions.)

* I still like "masses", but whatever. <g>

Mary said...

Wow, lots of comments here. =) I get so behind when I'm sick! Anyway, to answer a few of the questions. Some of the most painful AND helpful critiques pointed out places my writing was horribly cliché.

What attracts me to my genre? I write Fantasy. I love being a goddess - creating my own worlds. Magic is a big issue that draws me to Fantasy - both reading and writing. There is so much variety and anything is possible.

Got this added to my blogroll!

ERiCA said...

Bill says:
The rest of us dominees can understand better what you four dominatrixes are saying...
Oddly, I've used the word "dominatrix" in 3 of the last 4 scenes of DATD. (Or not oddly. Perhaps that's par for the course.)

Maggie says:
I knocked out almost 2,000 words already
As in, in your WIP? If so, that's awesome progress! WTG!!!

Tessa says:
Mr. Dare is the only family member who has read GOTH - although he only read it halfway thru and then skimmed for the sex scenes. Typical.
Maybe that's the trick to get MonkeyBoy to read my stories... I slipped him Touched, which unfortuantely for him had no sex scenes, which means he skimmed all 400 pages in a matter of five minutes.

Janice says:
The guy has this delusional fantasy that I can get published and make enough money to turn him into a kept man.
So does MonkeyBoy! Lucky(?) for me, he is not a nitcritter. Unlucky for me, he thinks I can get published simply by wishing it so, and cannot comprehend how it hasn't happened yet. *sigh*

Steph says:
I don't have a blog but I did give a few people links to this site in an e-mail. Does that count?
Sure, why not! Spreadin' the word is spreadin' the word. (Normally we'd call it a "reciprocal pimp", but since we can't link back to you, we'll have to keep it "spreadin' the word." Sorry. *g)

ERiCA said...

Darcy says:
He says repeatedly, "I just don't like the genre." (Which is funny if you know he lovesromantic movies)
LOL, MonkeyBoy is the same way. When I met him, 90% of his movie collection was comedies, and half of that were romantic comedies. (I added the action/adventure and horror movies to the collection. What a pair.)

Tessa says:
I make no apologies for writing in a genre where the woman comes first, in every sense of the word.
Tessa, I *love* you. That's hilarious!!!!!

Lacey says:
Hey! We should do webcam crit-chats! Oh, but then I might actually have to put some clothes on.
I resemble this remark too! Not that I write naked (typically, anyway) just that I like to write first thing in the morning, which often means I'm either wearing pajamas, or whatever random t-shirt I ended up using as pajamas. (TMI?) Anytime after 8am, though, I write fully clothed. So I'd be all about a webcam crit-chat... Oh, and I agree with your #1 and your #3 cracked me up. Bwa!

Your sister sounds awesome and I hope to meet *you* at a conference someday! You're not perchance going to RWA National this July, are you??

Heather says:
My husband prefers biographies about coaches and/or serial killers.
Bwa, so does MonkeyBoy. Only sub "professional wrestlers" for "serial killers". (And he makes me read them, too, because he likes to discuss afterward. Unfortunately, I can't get him to reciprocate with a Jenny Crusie or a Janet Evanovich, etc. Which means I can give a verbal recap of Mick Foley's entire WWF history and his wife's views on false teeth, but MonkeyBoy doesn't know the difference between Regency-Set Historial and Sexy Urban Fantasy. *sigh*)

Mary says:
And Harper Teen Fanlit, as well...21 was the magic age for both contest - lucky me!
Way to work being 21! How did the FanLit experiences compare?

Lindsey says:
Gorgeous site, ladies! congrats on the launch!
Thank you!!! *curtsies*

ERiCA said...

Mary, sorry to hear you've been sick! Sure hope you're feeling better now. (And/or that our blog has magical restorative powers... *g)

Anonymous said...

Wow, soooo close. :) Once again, good luck to all the participants. Sadly, I'm heading out the door and I will most likely miss the chance at that 100th spot.

Win or not, this blog already rocks all over the place and it has helped my writing already. I'm ready to write.


PS: Have a wonderful weekend everyone. :)

Mary said...

Thanks Erica! I am feeling better today, though still tired.

Just linked to this entry in my blog. =) *crosses fingers to win a critique*

B.E. Sanderson said...

The Mass of what? ;o)

1) Neither my CP nor I write romance, but she writes women's fiction. Can't really dish about the sex scenes though. I don't write them, and she's not here to give me permission.

2) So far I've haven't stuck to one genre. The first two books are thrillers, the third is speculative/SF, the WIP is a mystery. I think what attracted me to all of these stories is they started out as problems I wanted to talk about and to try to find solutions for. I didn't start the first three with a genre in mind, they just sort of leaned where they needed to go. This current book I knew would be a mystery. I wanted to kill of a bunch of people, and then figure out 1) how I could do it, and 2) how I could catch myself.

lacey kaye said...

MD -- Did anyone else notice how gorgeous the winners of the Teen FanLit are? Not that CM and pals aren't *gorgeous* as well, but...Man. Makes me wish I was under 21 again :-)

Darn, I forgot the questions and that is one LONG scroll down.

Ah. The sex scene question is the one that applies to me. Lucky me!

The first sex scene I shared was actually a self-pleasure/fantasy scene. OK, enough said there? Maybe not. It got big raves (waves?) but eventually I had to cut it out. Maybe in Pass #4 I'll find a place for it to live. Then again, I'm at 99,455 words already, so...I guess nobody'll be going it alone in my first manuscript!

lacey kaye said...

B.E., you're starting to scare me!

LOL. Seriously, I can't believe we're so close to 100 already. I guess I should stop commenting so you people can duke it out!

PS If Erica hadn't come in with her new 3 questions, I was planning to ask if anyone had a piece of furniture they've been drooling over but never had the excuse/money/room to buy it. Ok, seems random? I'm par then. HOWEVER, there is a method to my madness. The Mavens sent me a housewarming gift (card) and I just got a vanity table for my bedroom. AHHHHHHHH!!!!! THANK YOU, MAVENS! I've always wanted to do my makeup somewhere other than over the bathroom sink. Do you know how many puffs I've dropped on top of old toothpaste? SEE? GROSS!

So what else am I missing? Fabulous patio furniture? A spiffy coffee table? I have nothing in my new place. Suggestions welcome!

Tessa Dare said...

Well, I sort of dished about question #1 already.

But actually, although my CP snarked my consummation scene, that wasn't the first 'hot' scene I shared with my CPs. And I remember when I sent that first one, just feeling ill. And wondering, "how do I ever think I'll be able to publish this stuff and not just ... I dunno, die?"

But my CPs really liked that scene, and it's still one of my favorites in the book, and I even entered it in the "Reveal Your Inner Vixen" contest recently.

Darcy Burke said...

I actually don't remember the first love scene I gave anyone to crit. I guess it was the first kiss scene in Notorious. That was almost a year and a half ago! And, sadly, I just cut that scene this week and replaced it with a better, hotter scene. It's amazing how far we've come! (God, pardon that horrible, unintentional pun!)

Hope you're feeling better Mary!

Good luck on the RYIV cotest, Tessa. I entered an ST scene, no kissing or anything. I entered a full-on scorching love scene in the Summer Sizzle contest, however. The Mavens seem to think I write great ST/love scenes so we'll see if anyone else agrees!

CM said...

The first sex scene I wrote was SO MUCH FUN. I wrote it way before I got to that point in the book, and it was so incredibly geeky that I kept giggling throughout.

I don't know if it'll stay in my rewrite--in its current incarnation, it just can't stay. But who knows. HOpefully the new version will be twice as fun.

CM said...

Oh, and furniture. Sigh.

When I have a permanent address, I'll start buying furniture. I want a big desk made of solid wood.

Also a wine cellar. But that is a room.

Darcy Burke said...

Oh, CM I want a real wine cellar too. We just moved into our current house last fall and it has a large room under the stairs (accessible via these two cupboard doors that are so much fun for the kids) that we use as the wine "closet." I really need wine racks though, so I guess I do need the furniture. And more wine. Can you ever have too much wine?

P.S. We live in Oregon so we're pinot noir freaks, but we really love everything. (I should point out I am not an expert on wine anything except what pinots I like around here and where to find good pinot around here. And which wineries around here are fun, gorgeous, etc.)

CM said...

Yes. You can have too much wine.

For instance, you can have chardonnay, which I don't actually believe counts as wine.

Darcy Burke said...

LOL CM! I hated chardonnay until a few years ago when I drank Domaine Serene (local winery, but they're available nationally). Very nice (but spendy at $36/bottle). Domaine Drouhin also makes a really nice one (across the street from the other Domaine, but owned and operated by the French Drouhins - the sister actually).

I'll shut up now. I could talk about local wine all night.

I'm still laughing, BTW.

ERiCA said...

Hooo, so close!!!

Just popping in to say I would love, love, love a wine cellar, too, but living in Tampa pretty much means I gave up my chances of having a basement of any kind.

*blinks back a tear*

Is there such thing as a wine attic?

Maggie Robinson said...

I'm performing a service here. #99, always a bit early. Congrats to #100. I recently did a shapeshifting sex thing, and was told by my cps it wasn't too hideous. A little out of my experience on so many levels. :)

CM said...

And now I feel badly--just coming in and posting--but maybe someone else will post first.

I like spendy wines (some of them). I just don't like wines that taste like wood.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Which would make this 101, if I read the tally right.

Congratulations to the winner(s), and congratulations to the Manuscript Mavens for such an awesome Kickoff response. =oD

Jacqueline Barbour said...

Congrats to CM, commenter #100! Pops champagne cork.

And you all did it almost entirely without me. (Should I feel like a fifth wheel?) I have a good excuse, though. I had to go to my supervisor's wedding yesterday. (Like I could miss THAT!)

CM said...

Yay! How fun!

Anonymous said...

Woo-hoo! Congrats, CM. :)

This was fabulous, Mavens. Way to go.


lacey kaye said...


And I didn't post about wine because a) I drink beer, which we Northwesterners are just as snobbish about as our wine and b) I was afraid I'd accidentally hit #100.


Heather said...

Whoa! See what happens when I go out to dinner and sleep late?

Congrats CM!

And to you, too, Manuscript Mavens, for your successful launch party!

Darcy Burke said...

Congrats CM on the multi-Maven critique!! I'd open a bottle of chardonnay, but, well, you know... (Tastes like wood, bwa! Telling me something tastes "oaky" guarantees I'll never try it.)

I believe we're going to announce our random link winners tomorrow and each will receive a single Maven critique.

Thank you EVERYONE for such a successful launch!

Lenora Bell said...

Congrats, CM!

Lacy said: No wonder your Plan is so tight! You had help!

Oops, didn't mean for that to be misleading. It was a slush pile of already pubbed books that my sister was wading through before giving to the book reviewer at a magazine--so not quite a publishing house. But she still got all these free romance books that she saved for me by the box loads. And she's a great editor. Man, I wish she had been at a romance house though!

Erica said:
You're not perchance going to RWA National this July, are you??

Unfortunately a trip to Dallas just wasn't in the cards this year. I'm so disappointed about missing the first post-FanLit conference. But I'm already planning for San Francisco'08.

Darcy said:
We live in Oregon so we're pinot noir freaks

Hey, I'm in Oregon, too! Maybe we can get together and go wine tasting some time. I tend to write better sex scenes after a few glasses of pinot...

lacey kaye said...

Where is the plan for FanLit, anyway? Someone will have to come over here and tell us because we don't get to the boards very often. Sorry to miss you, though!

Michelle said...

Hey Lacey!...Yes that is me...I love the pink font I don't know why :)

Erica...thank you I hope to get myself in gear and get this writing done!

As for critique partners I haven't had any on or off line. ARW has helped. Avon fanlit I did not participate in. I did read and vote on the other submissions though.

My husband..bless him just gets himself confused. My other family doesn't really seem interested. My friend reads some of my chapters occasionally but with our lives it gets hard to get together and do that.

Who knows maybe I'll find someone here!

Manuscript Mavens

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