“Never give up, never surrender.” If I had not listened to that, I wouldn’t be published right now. Look it up. It’s in the acknowledgements of Vigilante Nights.
I wish that I could, but I support myself and don’t yet make enough at writing to keep a roof over my head. Fortunately, I work in corporate America at a job I love. Between my day job and my writing, my days and nights are pretty full and quite fulfilling. I always wish there were more hours in the day so I could write more and faster, but I’ll keep hanging onto that dream!
Other than spending time at my day job, I love to read, watch TV (sometimes too much reality TV), dabble in photography and graphics and my newest thing is gardening and re-landscaping my backyard.
After several years of sending query letters and writing samples to agents, I quit. I had decided to go it alone and submit my books to publishers on my own. With a good feeling in my gut, I took a chance on submitting Vigilante Nights to Merit Press, the new contemporary YA division of F+W Media. My editor, Jackie Mitchard, loved it offered me a contract. I decided I would try to get an agent with that contract, as I still thought it best for my career to have an agent. I had some near misses with agent Natalie Lakosil, at Bradford Literary, coming really close on a couple submissions, and in a twist of fate, I had stood in line next to her at a book signing at the Romance Writers of America’s National Conference a week earlier. It seemed serendipitous, like all the stars, the moon and the sun had converged! The rest is history.
Anyway, if you’re looking for an agent, I’ve written a couple articles about searching for a literary agent and questions to ask if you get The Call.
Sorry, it’s not good business for authors to read manuscripts by other authors unless you have a critique partnership. Also, my time is extraordinarily limited since I have such little time for writing and the business of selling books. If you’re looking for a critique partner, check the "Beta Readers, Mentors and Writing Buddies" thread at the Absolute Write Forums.
There are so many authors who do it much better than I do and have been self-publishing longer. I'm still very new and learning as I go. I recommend you read as much as you can about it. Start with these great books:
Persevere. Don’t ever give up chasing your dream. Even when you’ve gotten hundreds of agent rejection letters or every publishing house has turned you down and you want to chuck it all, keep writing. It only takes one editor or one agent to like your first, third or even your tenth book. If writing is in your blood, you’ll never be able to give it up no matter which path you take with your writing.
The first novel I wrote when I was eighteen was originally inspired by S.E. Hinton’s classic novel, The Outsiders, one of my favorite all time novels. Memories of gang activity and street racing from my teen years also played a role in the plotting. The story had stayed with me for years, and I always wanted to update and write it with a fresh outlook and more experience. Despite hearing that the market was soft for books written from a boy’s POV, Lucas’s story begged to be written and published. I couldn’t ignore my muse! Vigilante Nights bears only slight resemblance to that long-ago story, but Lucas’s coming of age in a time of tragedy remained constant.
Books. Pretty much everything I read inspires me in one way or another. There are so many creative authors in the world, with fantastic ideas, characters (real or fake) and great word-painting. Imagine how only twenty-six letters of the alphabet can create so much entertainment!
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkein
My favorite series of 2015 is the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (and I can't wait to read Winter!):
The Walking Dead
Game of Thrones
"It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly."
– C. J. Cherryh
"Words are a lens to focus one’s mind."
– Ayn Rand
"Half my life is an act of revision."
– John Irving
"There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write." (LOL!)
– Terry Pratchett
"Tell the readers a story! Because without a story, you are merely using words to prove you can string them together in logical sentences."
– Anne McCaffrey
"I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose."
– Stephen King