Alice by Avril Lavigne

Have you seen this video yet? I love this song so much. I can't wait to see the new Alice in Wonderland movie. Despite the fact that I have to admit I did not like at all the disney version and have never finished the book.

Special Alert!! Publishing Opportunity with Juno Books

Urban fantasy authors with a finished manuscript looking for a publisher should check out Juno Books. For a limited time it sounds like they are accepting submissions. Must be those overly productive snowy days that got Paula all caught up. Three of my favorite authors are published by Juno and they have had a great experience thus far. So I strongly encourage you all to take advantage of the opportunity and let me know how it goes.

Check out the Juno Authors
Alayna Williams
Laura Bickle
Linda Robertson

Happy Half- Birthday to Me!!!

Today, Feb 26, is my half-birthday. I know. My parents say it is silly to celebrate your half-birthday. But I find that sometimes we don't spend enough time celebrating. Why should I have to wait a whole year to celebrate all the good things that are happening. Half-Birthdays are great, they are low pressure, don't require a ton of gifts or extravagant parties. It's just you and the people you care about most, having a good time.

Which is why of course I am posting an entry on my awesome blog. Thanks so much for being a part of my writing journey! When I make it big (notice I said when, not if), I will always remember the blood, sweat, and tears we shared together. There is always time to chat with friends and fans!

So what is my half-birthday present....

I'm getting a MACBOOK!!!! Woo Hoo. Tax Gods finally came through and that money is burning a hole in my pocket. I will take pictures and post as soon as I have it in my hot little hands. And yes, that is a very extravagant gift for a half-bday present...but this is a big half-bday. I'm going to be 30 in six months! Eek. That makes me feel so old and yet so established!


No Go for Amazon Competition

I finally found out about ten minutes ago that I did not make it to the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Competition. I don't know whether I should be sad or relieved. I was starting to get nervous about the timing of the whole thing. I really wanted to start sending out queries to Agents. In fact I sent my first official query out yesterday and I was a nervous wreck. I kept thinking, what if she is really interested and I have to explain to her that the book is in this contest and Penguin has first right of refusal for six months. Ugh. I can't imagine how that conversation would go.

On the other hand everyone likes a little self-gratification. Even though I know the competition favors mainstream vs. genre, it would have been nice to feel like someone thought it was good. Even if it was three judges I know absolutely nothing about.

Oh well. Now I am free to pursue the agents, which is what I wanted in the first place. I am hoping to meet with a few in April at the RT convention.

Keeping Your Writing Spirit Alive

Many of you know that I recently entered Love Sex Magick into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition sponsored by (you guessed it) Amazon and their subsidiary CreateSpace. I was super excited about participating as this was a low investment, low risk opportunity that allowed me to feel like I was doing something with my novel. For those of you who are not writers, this business is all about the waiting. It takes months, sometimes years) to get a manuscript ready for primetime, especially when you are a new writer and still developing your craft. I wanted to feel like I wasn’t just waiting for a response from an editor or agent. I wanted to know that I was taking advantage of all opportunities to get this baby published.

Today is the first deadline for the competition. Over the last two or three days I have been reading through the forums, and let me just tell you, it is completely depressing. Some folks have entered this contest year after year. They spent months before the submission period even opened, working on their submission and fretting over how quickly the 5,000 slots would fill up. I have heard a lot of bad things about the competition: that it is disorganized, that it is a complete crap shoot, that your odds of winning are like winning the lottery!

Everyone is entitled to their opinion and there may be some truth to the disorganization and lack of structure of the competition (at least in year’s past). What worries me is how much weight folks are putting on this single opportunity for publishing. You probably have a stronger chance of getting published by submitting your manuscript to an agent or editor the traditional way than entering a competition with 10,000 other contestants vying for two spots. Knowing this, why would you define the success of your writing career on whether or not you win this competition? My goal was never to win. If I do, well that would just be a high power at work. My goal was to make it to the online voting. I wanted to have my excerpt on the site. I wanted to generate a little bit of traffic to my blog. I wanted people excited and interested about my novel and eagerly awaiting my next move. And maybe there was a little bit of self-indulgence here. I just wanted some validation for the quality of my work. As an aspiring author, we don’t get that opportunity very often.

Unfortunately, not having realistic expectations can really mess with your mind and your confidence as a writer. So can hanging around too many aspiring authors that are caught in that negative cycle of, “this is a complete waste of time,” “no one ever gets published,” “I’m the world’s most amazing writer and the industry is screwing me over.” Seriously, get a grip. I believe one should have confidence in themselves and their work. I also believe that sometimes writers are overconfident and can’t see the flaws in their own work because they are simply way too close to the project. It’s like thinking someone else’s kids are spoiled rotten brats and not realizing your children act the same way. Parents are often blind to the flaws of their children and in some cases for good reason. Writers tend to do this too, simply because they have invested so much (time, money, blood, sweat and tears!) into their manuscript. But to be successful in this business we need to know how to take criticism of our work and use it to make our writing better.

One man made a post and said he had been rejected by nearly 100 editors. My first thought was, did you learn anything from any of those rejections? For me, after the first twenty five I might have signed up for some consultation sessions at a conference with an agent or editor or submitted it to one of my writing groups with the specific intention of trying to figure out what is not working.

Call me crazy, but I believe that if you are a strong writer and put together a strong novel, it will get published. Someone will eventually buy it or agree to represent you. The bottom line is publishing is a business and if they think your book will sell and make money, they are not going to turn you away. The man I referenced above, after reading more of his posts I realized he knew very little about the business of writing. The methods in which he was using to get in front of a publisher and try and convince them to buy his work was probably contributing to his lack of success in that endeavor.  Bottom line….if you really want to be a published author: (1) write a good story, and (2) learn the proper etiquette of the business.

Love Sex Magick Update

Big stuff happening over here in Missy Lynn Land. Today I submitted my first official e-query to an agent at the top of my dream agent list. I have had the query written for about a month but was still making tweaks to the first chapter. Then I submitted the novel into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest and the timing just didn't seem right. Now I am attending the RT Booklover's convention and planning on meeting with Agents and Editors there too. Anyway, to make a long story short, I decided it was time to take the plunge. Hitting send was the hardest thing I've done thus far. And to make it worse this particular agent doesn't send I have to wait a month or so and if I don't get a bite that means they are not interested.

Wish me luck. Lots of opportunity to make it pro this year. I have book two started and a YA in my back pocket.

Wicked Jungle

If you haven't checked out Wicked Jungle yet you should. It's a new online community for paranormal romance and urban fantasy readers and writers. Honestly, there's a little something for everyone.

For new and aspiring writers: The site is looking for flash fiction and short stories in the genre to publish. Payment is exposure only, but reprints are welcome. This means that fun little piece you wrote for character development, to test your writing can submit that. Or the flash piece you shared on your website or blog last year, you can submit that too. Wicked Jungle wants fans of the genre to be able to find short fiction and discover new authors, especially while that author is in that illusive stage between having a contract and waiting for that book to hit shelves.

For published authors: Wicked Jungle wants to celebrate and promote your success. If you have a published novel on book shelves now they will happily post an excerpt and cover image to feature on the home page of the website. They also have a guest blog which you are welcome to use to post contests and give-aways around the time of your book release.

For fans: As if having access to new flash fiction and short stories in the genre weren't cool enough and the contests, guest blogs, and book excerpts weren't the cherry on your hot fudge sunday, we also have wicked awesome media for you to enjoy. There is an entire page devoted to videos and you can find all of our favorite book trailers in one central place. This is also home to their own video book reviews, author interviews and other Wicked Jungle goodies.

So head on over to now and check it out. Better yet recommend it to your friends and followers.

The Olympic Games: Obsession or Passion??

The Winter Olympics are in full swing as I write this and I can't help reflecting on a comment my mother made some four or five months ago about obsession. I don't recall the entire situation. We were probably in the car, on our way home from the gym, and I was ranting about some new concept or idea I had. I was more than likely overly excited about it, as I tend to get when I think about all the possibilities for the future. Anyway she made a comment about my having an obsessive personality. I.e., when I fall in love with something new (a book, a fitness regimen, a skill or hobby) I like to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible. I recognize that I don't have the time or ability to be an expert at everything but there are a few things in my life that are huge priorities for me and thus I allow myself to be "obsessed".

My writing is one of those things. I have to make certain sacrifices for my writing. I don't have a life because most weekends are spent writing or doing something for my writing. I spend a lot of money to attend workshops and conventions where I can meet authors, agents, and editors. My mother doesn't get that. I buy a lot, I mean a lot, of books every year to support my fellow authors, to know the trends in publishing and make certain I am offering something fresh and new to the genre. My mom definitely doesn't understand that. In her mind, that is obsession.

But as I am watching the Olympic games and hearing the personal stories of the athletes who have triumphed to win a medal I realized that for some reason with Athletes it is different. Their whole life is often devoted to a certain sport. They have been playing that sport since they were a child. They are at the gym every day for hours at a time. Some of them were home schooled so that they could prioritize their training and travel schedule. Their parents paid money out the wazoo to get them lessons, coaches, equipment, training facilities etc...  If that isn't obsession, I don't know what is.

I suppose the point I am trying to make is that maybe obsession isn't all that bad. What seems obsessive to one person may be passion, commitment, or dedication to another. You certainly can't be successful without any of those three things. I read an article a few years ago on what makes some people successful and others give up on their dreams and it stated that for most people it takes an average of 10 years for them to reach their dream. Business men, athletes, actors, writers...we don't start off at the top of our game. We put in a lot of long hours under the radar before we get our big break. People will call us obsessed, or worse just a dreamer. That is until we make it. Then people write books about how our passion and commitment. Oprah made a comment years ago about how luck is merely preparation meeting opportunity. I truly believe that. If you haven't put in the time and the effort, you can't take advantage of opportunities when they are presented to you. Those billion dollar actors didn't fall into those roles. Most of them spent years training, washing dishes, taking low wage hourly jobs before that lucky break came along and when it did, they were ready. We tend to forget that.

The reality is, most people look at the finished product, a person or business in their prime and think, I want to have the life that they have. The reality is, most of us aren't willing to do what they were willing to do to get there.  Show me someone at the peak of their career and I will show you someone who was "obsessed".

Tax Gods are Good

The taxes are in and I'll give you five guesses on how I am going to spend my money! Yep. Macbook here I come! I've been waiting so very long for this day. For those of you who don't know, I have had nothing but problems with my computers the last three months. That combined with all the video editing and design I have been putting in for Wicked Jungle and I really need something that is going to be better suited to meet my needs. It may be a bunch of branding B.S. but I am converting over to Apple and me and my iPod, iPhone, and Macbook Pro will be one very, very, happy family. (PS, not sure if I will get the macbook pro. It all depends).

Stay tuned! Maybe I will do one last video with the old webcam to show off the new computer. :)

The White Death

Otherwise known as the winter of 2010, the White Death is clearly upon us. For those of you who don't know this about me, I hate snow. I hate it. I hate walking in it, I hate driving in it. I don't sled, skate, ski or snow board. I hate boots, gloves, hats and mittens. I absolutely cannot stand the way the bottom of your pant legs get wet when walking to or from the car. Or how your socks get wet when you do that delicate dance to try and remove both boots without getting snow on the carpet or falling on your  A**.  Yes. I hate the fluffy white stuff. I might get a little sentimental on Christmas morning or when I see a beautiful forest covered with glistening icicles or shimmering snowflakes. But that is about as far as my love goes.

Thus I am planning on relocating in the next five years (as soon as I can convince my very needy parents to retire) to somewhere sunny. I don't care if I have to live surrounded by blue-haired old ladies. Everyone has to make sacrifices. I don't particularly like hurricanes either...that makes me nervous, but I love water so I think I am going to have to get over that.

Here are some photos of the white death...which incidentally has been great for my productivity. Lots of writing, lots of work on my special project. It's too bad I work at home and don't get a snow day from my real job. :)

I hope spring comes early. I've got some serious cabin fever working.

My Pet Project

So I haven't been posting much or tweeting much, which has led many to ask, "Melissa, just what have you been doing all these months while you were away?". The answer is writing, writing, writing. You may have saw in my other post that I finally finished Love Sex Magick. I entered it in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition last weekend.  I have three very nice queries written (thanks to my crit buddies over at OWN) and a list of my top five dream agents sitting on my desk as we speak. I plan on getting those out the door this month and seeing if I can get any traction on the book.

I have also been working on a novella, or at least I thought it was going to be a novella. It seems to be stuck somewhere between a very long short story and a very short novella. Lucky me. Another something I won't know what to do with.

The last big thing I have been working on, (as you may have guessed from the title of this post) is my very own pet project, Wicked Jungle. This is a new website that I have been slowly putting together entirely devoted to paranormal romance readers and writers. I created it in response to some growing frustrations my friends and I were having about the limited publishing opportunities for new writers in the genre. When I first started writing I wanted to do short stories, in fact, everyone told me I should start there first and for good reason. Short stories allow you to hone you writing skills. You get to explore things like character development, dialogue, description and world building without committing a year or more to a project that, let's face it might not be too good.  The only problem, I was spending all this time, writing shorts that no one would ever see.  There were no paying markets in the genre. There were barely any non-paying markets.Sure I could post my stories on my own website, but how were new potential readers and fans ever going to find them?

I am a big believer in reader loyalty. I think the genres have some of the best and most supportive fans in the world. I believe that readers have the ability to help launch an author's career. If that person has been exposed to their writing and enjoyed it, they are much more likely to bookmark their web page or jot down the release date of their new book when it comes out. If most readers are anything like me, when they find a new author they like, they run out and get all of their books at once and pour over them like a crack addict in need of a serious fix. Okay, so maybe most readers aren't like me. But some of you are! The ones who are reading my blog are! The ones who search internet sites to get the latest news on their favorite authors are! The ones who go to very scary albeit fun conventions and stand in line for hours to get two books signed by their favorite vamp loving novelist are!

So to wrap this up, I was told the market wouldn't/couldn't handle a paranormal romance and urban fantasy  e-zine because our fans wouldn't buys short stories, that they didn't want to read them, but I think that is complete B.S. I think the real problem is that the true fans of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy simply don't know where to find these great short stories! The genre is hot, people love it. Just look at the explosion of the paranormal in the last five years. Better yet, look at how many blogs and webpages there are devoted to nothing book paranormal or urban fantasy book reviews! It is crazy. The fans are out there. My provide a place where fans and writers can connect.  Thus Wicked Jungle is born.

I encourage you to hop on over to and check it out. If you are a writer and you have something you'd like to share send me an email or check out our submission guidelines. If you are a reader, let me know what you think? What would you like to see most on our site?

We are slowly building up our library of great material. In the meantime please spread the word with your friends and followers. We have a fan page on Facebook. We have a twitter account. We even have a YouTube account! Yep, we're everywhere you want to be.

It's Official! Love Sex Magick Out!

I know it has been a while since I posted but I'll have you know I was actually working hard on my latest project. Last night all that hard work paid off and Love Sex Magick has made its first public appearance with a submission to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition. You can read more about the competition at the link above. If your an aspiring writer and have a book lying around submissions close tomorrow at midnight.. If anyone has competed in past years, what did you think of the opportunity? I am hoping to make it to the actual reader voting stage. If I do, you better believe I will be promoting the heck out of it online and asking for your help in driving votes to Amazon.

Thanks to all who provided feedback prior to submission and the girls of OWN who are reviewing as I prepare to land an agent. Me thinks this is going to be an interesting year. Of course, because there is no rest for the weary, I am off to go write the first chapter of book two!