Colorado Gold Conference 2014!

Hi everyone!

So yesterday the Colorado Gold Conference hosted by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers concluded, and it was an amazing conference!  I don’t even know where to begin!  (and some voice in my head just went “From the beginning!  Duh.”)

Image Source - http://the-croods.wikia.com
Image Source – http://the-croods.wikia.com

It was a whirlwind weekend packed full of epic goodness, I met so many incredible people and learned so much!  Plus, there is some really good news about Chronicles of the Sentinels!  Shall we call that foreshadowing and leave it until the end?  As the good Belt said, “Dun dun duuunnnnn!”

There’s a lot to talk about, so bear with me!

Thursday Night – The Newbies

One thing I can say about the members of RMFW, they were all incredibly welcoming to all of us newbies!  Starting with the night before the conference actually began.  Kevin Wolf had sent out an invitation for any of the newbies showing up at the conference Thursday night to meet in the hotel lobby, and about fifteen of us showed up.

Image Source - www.westindenverboulder.com
Image Source – http://www.westindenverboulder.com

I was a bit nervous at first, but as I came down to the  lobby and found a few of the other newbies sitting and chatting with Kevin, I was immediately welcomed by such warm, open people!  Furthermore some of the bigger names for RMFW happened by while we were chatting and stopped to welcome us as well :)

When everyone was set and Kevin had given us some great tips, we went to the bar and had drinks together, exchanged business cards, and had a great time!  While I had been nervous about the conference before, that night made me feel so welcomed and so confident that I had made the right choice to come!

Friday – Masters and Coaches

Something I actually didn’t realize, because I didn’t actually read carefully enough: the conference didn’t technically start in the AM on Friday.  There were, however, Master Classes as they were called that started bright and early, 8AM.  When I found out they were optional and cost extra, I happily paid for the “So You Want To Write a Series” class, and I was not disappointed!

Image Source - www.smmirror.com
Image Source – http://www.smmirror.com

I learned so much from speaker Susan Spann!  This was a particularly helpful class for me because I have always written my stories as series, starting with my fan fiction.  I seriously don’t know if I’m even capable of writing stand-alone novels!  (Although that could be an interesting future challenge.)  I know that what I learned from her will help me immensely in the days to come.

Shortly after that 4 hour class and a quick lunch (okay that was a lie, I forgot to eat lunch that day…) I had my pitch coaching session with Heather Webb.  Naturally I was extremely nervous, and although I had prepared a pitch several days prior, when I sat down in front of her, my mind went completely blank!

Photo Source - http://www.heatherwebb.net
Photo Source – http://www.heatherwebb.net

But that was okay, because she started asking me questions about the characters and story and helped me come up with a much, much better pitch!  More than that, as soon as I started telling her about Chronicles of the Sentinels, her eyes lit up, and she was immediately hooked!  That is an awesome feeling when an established author who writes in a completely different genre finds your story idea intriguing :D

From there, I attended a couple of seminars, including an uplifting “Rejection is a Four Letter Word” seminar :)

Friday Dinner – I Found My Home

Image Source - www.westindenverboulder.com
Image Source – http://www.westindenverboulder.com

Friday night’s dinner was just as phenomenal!  I ended up sitting at Heather’s table and met some phenomenal Historical Fiction writers.  More than that, however, was the feeling that had started to build that day, and entered my conscious mind at dinner.

This is going to sound cheesy, but: I found my people!  lol.  Seriously, though, everything that had happened, I felt like I had found people who could truly understand me.  I felt like I had found a home, of sorts.  The funny thing is, about a half hour after I had that very thought, someone up on stage said something very similar :)

It occurred to me that I don’t actually know many writers in my personal life, or at least, I didn’t before now.  To be surrounded by 400 of them?!  And unlike the attitude I got from certain people at a certain university I attended almost a decade ago, everyone from every genre, including Literary Fiction, were open, warm, curious, and creative.  Everyone accepted everyone else with open arms.

Why?  Because we’re all writers.  And I’ve learned just how special that really is :)

Saturday – Pitch #1

Saturday was another full day, 14 hours non-stop just like Friday, but it was a truly nerve-wracking day!  Saturday was when I had my first pitch!  *gulp*  Worse than that, it wasn’t until 11:20AM, which meant I had the whole morning to freak out over it!

Thankfully my fellow writers came to my rescue :)  When I entered that waiting room, the first thought I had was, “I’ve seen photos of things like this, when actors and actresses are waiting to audition for roles.”  I sat down, and looked at the person next to me, who looked as nervous as I felt.  So what did I do?  “Hi, I’m Jon!”  Just like I’d already done dozens of times at the conference.

Image Source - rmfw.org
Image Source – rmfw.org

Striking up random conversation with everyone around me soothed my nerves, and seemed to help them with the same :)  When the time came, I was still nervous, of course, but the editor I pitched to, Kerri Buckley, was extremely friendly and patient!  And while Kerri was not one who represented Fantasy, she encouraged me to submit to her coworker, and said she would tell him to expect me :)

After that I had lunch, where I met even more awesome people, and finished the day of conferences optimistic and quite happy!

Saturday Night – Who Needs 2 Forks?!

The dinner Saturday night was probably the most formal dinner I had ever attended.  I’m not kidding, 2 forks, 2 knives, a dainty looking spoon, and some…interesting fancy meals.  I felt wholly out of place in my Hawaiian shirt and jeans.  But, as always, writers came to the rescue, and those at my table made me feel quite welcome :)

Image Source - www.ninc.com
Image Source – http://www.ninc.com

The Keynote Speaker was Mark Coker of the famous Smash Words website, an insanely fast-growing self-publishing eBook website!  His speech was pretty inspiring in some parts, while other parts were a bit degrading to traditionally published authors, but all in all I was impressed.  And there was one thing he said that I really loved hearing: printed books are not going away!  There is an equilibrium being created between eBooks and printed novels, and for someone who has always dreamed of seeing a hard-backed copy of my novels, that’s good news :D

Sunday – The Big Day!

Image Source - twitter.com
Image Source – twitter.com

Sunday was when I had my 2nd pitch to the agent I was most looking forward to meeting: Lucienne Diver of Knight Agency!  And thankfully, I was considerably less nervous after the incredible amount of support and interest I garnered from everyone throughout the conference!

I was totally unprepared for what happened next: I went in, met Lucienne, and at her request I dove right into my pitch.  A minute later, it was done.  Without blinking, she handed me her card and said, “Ok, I’d like you to send me 30 pages and a synopsis.”  I was completely blown away, and I can only imagine the look of surprised glee on my face!!  She wanted to see my work!!!!!  An agent was interested in my novel!  Wait, let me repeat that in it’s own paragraph for effect:

Lucienne Diver wants to see my work!

It was exactly what I had hoped for!  :)  There is more to that short, 10 minute meeting with her, but I’m going to save that for my next blog article: it deals with genre, target audience, and something about Chronicles of the Sentinels that I am most excited to share :D

After attending one more session about Theme, there was a final lunch with another inspiring speech, where I got to say goodbye to all of the fantastic friends I had met.  I have to admit, as exhausted as I was by then, I was really sad to have to go.  I felt like I was leaving my new home, just when I had found it.

What’s Next?

Next, I have some work to do on Chronicles (again, more to come on that later!  This is already a too-long article…)  I am looking forward to submitting those 30 pages and the synopsis to Lucienne, and who knows, in a couple of years, my first novel may very well be on bookshelves!

No, scratch that, I’m not going to say may.  I’m going to say will.  In a couple of years, Chronicles of the Sentinels – Legacy will be on bookshelves all over the nation!  The power of positive thinking, right?  ;)

If you’ve made it this far, kudos!  This turned out to be my longest blog article yet, but there is so much material for more articles.

To anyone who attended the event, and to RMFW, thank you for an amazing weekend, and for making me feel at home!  :)

-Jon Wasik

Advertisements

Conference-Bound!

Hi everyone!

Tomorrow I head out for the Colorado Gold Conference hosted by the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers!  How do I feel about that?

Image Source - kendavenport.typepad.com
Image Source – kendavenport.typepad.com

Excited, terrified, anxious, hopeful, energetic…a whole slew of words, I could go on and on.  (No really, I’m a writer with a BA in English, I can go on endlessly!  ;) )

It’s an end and a beginning all at once.  Without even having realized it, this conference was to be a major milestone even before I decided to attend.  Even if I don’t attract an agent this weekend, I know that this is going to be a huge step in my career as a writer.  I have the panels I want to attend picked out, and they’re exactly what I think I need right now as a writer.

Plus I get to mingle with a bunch of other writers, something I confess I haven’t really had a chance to do before!  That in and of itself is exciting, to meet those who are going through or have gone through the same struggles I have, who have the same hopes and dreams.

Image Source - https://www.facebook.com/lindseystirlingmusic
Image Source – https://www.facebook.com/lindseystirlingmusic

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but what really started me on this course was when I attended a Lindsey Stirling concert on May 30th.  A combination of doing something I had never done before, and was terrified to do (go to a major event like this alone,) and the music and her story just moved and motivated me, and left me with an incredible energy that, even over 3 months later, still hasn’t dissipated!

There’s much more to it than just the concert, of course, including finding myself, learning to believe in myself, becoming comfortable in my own skin.  Not to mention coming up with my best idea for a novel so far definitely helped :)  But one thing I’m really just constantly reminding myself tonight: relax, have fun at the conference, and above all, don’t be afraid to be myself, even if that means being a little goofy/funny!

So here we go.  The next big step is before me.  And tonight, just now, I finally feel ready for it :)  Care to keep going on this crazy journey with me?  Because believe me, my story is just beginning, and I intend to take you all along for the ride!

One last bit of exciting news: today I was asked for my autograph for the first time in my life!  And not just by one, but by two people!!!  :D

Thanks for reading,
-Jon

CotS – Legacy Chapter 14 Excerpt

Hi everyone!

Today’s excerpt comes from another chapter in Emmi’s point of view.  I developed Emmi’s character about as much as I did the main character, Chris, and I think she’s someone a lot of young adult women will be able to connect with.  At least, that is my hope.

What Claire might look like (Image Source - Google Images)
What Claire might look like (Image Source – Google Images)

In this chapter, she is confronted by Nabu’s current consort, Claire.  I don’t want to reveal the circumstances behind this confrontation, but suffice it to say, Emmi is at a considerable disadvantage here, and Claire knows it.

As you’ve all seen, I’ve used photos of real people (some actors/actresses, some not) to kind of show what a character might look like.  For Claire, she is a former Sentinel turned to Nabu’s side through manipulation and deceit.  I could imagine Katee Sackhoff playing her because of the actress’s ability to be strong, both physically and emotionally, but also because she has a very human side, she does feel emotion.  In Battlestar Galactica, I think she performed that complicated role very well!

———————————————————————————-

Emmi frowned and shook her head, “Why Chris? What the hell is so special about him?”

“Oh it isn’t just him,” Claire turned fully towards her. “It’s all of you. He just fears Chris the most.” Emmi looked at her in surprise, and a moment later Claire closed her eyes and clenched her teeth. She probably realized she shouldn’t have let Emmi know about that.

“Why would he fear Chris?”

“It doesn’t matter,” Claire shook her head and opened her eyes to glare at Emmi. “Just know that he needs all three of you.  And I will make sure,” she took one menacing step towards her, “that his infatuation for you wanes, and he will sacrifice you.”

———————————————————————————-

Image Source - Google Images
Image Source – Google Images

I hope you all enjoyed this!  I’m not sure I’ll be posting many more excerpts, I’m worried about saturating too much, like when previews give away too many important plot points (for instance, Terminator Salvation’s previews ruined what could have been one of the greatest surprises in the franchise!)

What do you all think?  Do you want to see more, or would you rather wait for the novel to be published?

On a related note, I’ve heard some feedback from beta readers lately, and it has all been good!  I am so excited to hear that, everything they’ve said was exactly the kinds of reactions I wanted from readers :D  I can’t wait to share this novel with the world!

Thanks for reading :)
-Jon

Chronicles of the Sentinels – Book 2 Already?!

Hi everyone!

Yep, you read the title right: without even meaning to, I started developing book 2 of Chronicles of the Sentinels today.  I couldn’t help it!

Image Source - http://www.rmfw.org/
Image Source – http://www.rmfw.org/

In fact I actually know the very basic story books 2 and 3 will have, but today ideas just started streaming without my even wanting them to, lol.  I mean I never complain, but I had intended to wait to work on book 2 until after the Writer’s Conference!

As happened with book 2 of The Sword of Dragons, I think this one will end up being longer than book 1, though by how much it’s impossible to say at this point.  However, I am looking forward to it already, I’ve had some really exciting ideas that I can’t wait to write about!

Having said that, I don’t want to focus too much on book 2 in my blog yet.  I want the focus to remain on book 1 right now, for several reasons, not the least of which I want to keep hype up about it for its eventual publication (I am highly optimistic about finding an agent for this one :) )

I haven’t heard back from any beta readers yet, so I’m very anxious and excited!

Anyway, tonight’s blot article is short, I apologize for that.  I also want to apologize ahead of time, because for the next two weeks I am going to be exceedingly busy, so my blog posts may be even fewer and far between than they were while writing Chronicles!

Never-the-less, I intend to keep everyone updated on my preparation for pitching Legacy at the conference, as well as how the conference itself goes!

Thanks for reading!
-Jon

Chronicles of the Sentinels – Legacy excerpt

Hi everyone!

I continue to find it difficult to pick a passage to post on here, because I always want it to be something interesting, but I don’t want to give away the best parts of the novel!

For instance, I had thought about avoiding any excerpts that revealed what Emmi’s powers were, but then I remembered I had already revealed that in an early article about Chronicles.  So today’s excerpt comes from chapter 12, and is one of many chapters from Emmi’s perspective :)

Image source - Google Images
Image source – Google Images

To those who weren’t already following my blog when I revealed it, Emmi’s powers grant her the ability to transform into animals.  I’ve heard different terms for this, including shapeshifting (but to me that suggests more than just animals) and animorph, which is actually the name of a sci fi series.

Anyway, in this scene, Emmi has been exploring the Sentinel facility in the middle of the night.  When the leader of the Sentinels, Tom, nearly catches her in a part of the facility she isn’t allowed in, she turns herself into a cat, and hides in one of the labs.  The excerpt picks up just after Tom leaves the lab.  Emmi is hiding under a shelf behind several bottles of cleaning solvents.

———————————————————————————–

Curiously, she found she could hear his boot steps for a long time, and she realized that her cat ears gave her better hearing. It was definitely a perk, and would allow her to sneak around a little easier.

After she was convinced he was far enough away, she slipped out. Her tail brushed up against a nearly-empty bottle and knocked it over, and when she heard it fall, she jumped three feet high in fright!

When she had collected her wits, she slowly made her way out of the lab. She stayed close to the wall, and felt like she was walking on the tips of her cat toes. She felt her ears move in various directions as she picked up tiny little noises. The novelty of moving ears made her want to smile again, and once again her new body translated that into a purr.

She investigated each of the open labs, and her curiosity intensified. The cliché ‘curiosity killed the cat’ came to mind, but she humorously thought to herself, but satisfaction brought her back. And besides, I have nine lives now.

———————————————————————————–

There you are, a quick peak into Emmi’s experience as a cat.  I hope you all liked it!  I feel like these peaks and glimpses into the world of Chronicles barely does it justice, but it’s still fun to post them and hear what everyone thinks of them :)  So please, comment below and tell me what you think!

Thanks for reading,
-Jon

Chronicles of the Sentinels – Legacy

Hi everyone!

Last night, I finished the 2nd revision of book 1 of the Chronicles of the Sentinels!  :D  This was an exciting milestone, because it means that I finally, finally get to share the novel with others!

Every single milestone in writing a novel is exciting to me, and as I’ve said before, the actual writing stage is my favorite.  However, the idea that new eyes will get to read the story is so exciting to me!  What will they think about it?  How will they interpret it?  All of the subtle little subtext I put in, will they see it?

Most of all, I hope that it sparks the imagination of those who read it.  I hope they finish this relatively short novel and go “That was exciting!  Where’s book 2?”

In fact, I’ve already sent my novel out to I think 8 beta readers (and am about to send it to a 9th :) )  I am so excited and looking forward to seeing their responses!!

The Titles of Chronicles

As you can see from the title of this blog article, I finally came up with a name for the 1st book, simply, “Legacy.”  I reserve the right to change that, of course, but I think it fits the story nicely :)

More than that, I kind of have some ideas for titles for all 3 books by keeping to the simplicity of it.  So while every novel’s title will begin with “Chronicles of the Sentinels,” the individual book’s title will be 1 descriptive word.

I don’t want to reveal all of the titles right here, for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is I may change them after writing the novels.  Also, there is a certain hype that comes with revealing a novel’s title, so I want to save that for when I’m hyping the 2nd and 3rd books :)

So, book 1 is officially called: Chronicles of the Sentinels – Legacy

What next?

Well, for starters, I wait for beta readers to finish and give feedback.  I hope to hear back from at least a couple of them before the writing conference.

Image Source - http://www.rmfw.org/
Image Source – http://www.rmfw.org/

The next milestone is the Writer’s Conference in September, and for that, I need to start researching how to pitch a novel, and start practicing!  2 weeks isn’t a long time to figure out how to do something I’ve never done before.  However, if I continue to treat this as part of the writing process, IE: put hours into it every day, I’m confident I’ll be ready :)

Do any of my fellow writers out there have any advice on pitching a novel in person?  What are your experiences?

Oh, and before I forget, the numbers from revision #2!

Chronicles of the Sentinels – 3rd Draft by the Numbers

There may still be some revisions after I get feedback from beta readers, but here it is, as polished as I can make it right now :)

Word Count: 72,970
Page Count: 226

That’s almost 100 words more than the 2nd draft, so there was a net increase.  Interesting since there were, in some cases, whole sentences I removed, others I tightened up.

Thanks for reading, everyone!
-Jon

Chronicles of the Sentinels – 1st Revision Completed!

Hi everyone!

I’m happy to announce that I’ve completed the 1st revision of Chronicles of the Sentinels!

1st printed copy of Chronicles of the Sentinels book 1
1st printed copy of Chronicles of the Sentinels book 1

What does this mean?  Well for starters, it means I’m one step closer to sending it out to beta readers.  I continue to follow my writing process, which I wrote a two-part article about, and so tonight I printed out a hard-copy of the manuscript and will begin the 2nd proofread tomorrow.  I usually catch a lot more and red-ink in a lot more revisions in this step, plus I just like reading paper better than on a laptop :)

When I told one of my friends that I finished read-through #1, she asked me, “So what did you think?”  Well, I like it!  For starters, it made me laugh throughout the novel, not non-stop but lots of little moments here and there.  The fact that I’m laughing at it when I wrote it is pretty good: I don’t usually do that in my own novels.  I hope beta readers laugh as much as I did :)

It’s actually the shortest novel I’ve ever written, the previous three novels were all high-fantasy and usually well over 300 pages.  So it packs a lot of punch for only 220+ pages!  A lot happens, including some awesome character moments!  I don’t know if it is because of all of the pre-writing work I did or what, but all of the characters and their interactions came out very well, in my opinion :)

Image Source - http://branislavboda.deviantart.com
Image Source – http://branislavboda.deviantart.com

I think Emmi definitely goes through the most difficulties in the story, however not only does that pave the way for character development in book 1, it opens the door for a lot more in book 2!  I think the development for Chris and Alycia is a lot more subtle, so I’ll be interested to hear what readers think about each of them :)  There’s so much I want to talk about in the novel, but I don’t want to spoil it all for everyone!

I still haven’t decided on a volume title for this first novel, and that’s starting to bother me.  It’s getting down to the wire and I really have to make a decision.  I think that’ll be the last hurdle I need to overcome before I send it to beta readers.  I want to give them as complete a package as possible.

Chronicles of the Sentinels – 2nd Draft By the Numbers

A little change from the 1st revision, which I had documented in this article.

Word Count: 72,872
Page Count: 226

I’ll be curious to see how big of a difference revision #2 makes :)

Thanks for reading!
-Jon

Trials and triumphs of writing, finding an agent, and publication.

The Little Mermaid

MAKING A DIFFERENCE, ONE STEP AT A TIME

Treeshallow Musings

writer, book reviewer, daydreamer

Arcadia's Roost

the art of the vernacular

The Writing Process

All about books! Reviews, discussions, promotions and, of course, my writing progress!

The Cat's Write

Milly Schmidt

Kim Harrison

The View From My Office

ankitab

Space to share your thoughts with 'The Reader's View'

Beck Stewart

Blog space for the steampunk author

Thevampiredmee.

Words left unsaid...

royalvagabonddotcom.wordpress.com/

A Life of Faith Well Lived is the Best Message

Writing Dragons

I find dragons for you every week while I write my novel Finding Dragons

Geekritique

Movie & TV News | Book & Comic Reviews | Everything In-between

Deidra Alexander's Blog

I have people to kill, lives to ruin, plagues to bring, and worlds to destroy. I am not the Angel of Death. I'm a fiction writer.

Thinkdigest

Think Beyond Ordinary

Destination Humanity

Chasing big dreams one photo at a time

No Wasted Ink

Author Interviews * Book Reviews * Essays * Writer's Links * Scifaiku

Northern Chapters

Writing through life in the land of the midnight sun, lakes and snow