March, 2010

Author Interview: S.S. Michaels

>

Today we’re interviewing author S.S. Michaels aka slushpilehero for all her twitter stalkers.  🙂  She can be found online at twitter and wordpress.  

BIO: S. S. Michaels has a B.S. in Business Administration and a M.A. in Media & Visual Arts. She has worked for such entities as Scott Free (Ridley Scott), dick clark productions, inc. (The American Music Awards, The Golden Globe Awards, Arista Records 25th Anniversary Celebration, etc.), and CBS. She has lived abroad, traveled widely, driven a race car, and jumped out of an airplane. She has completed two novels and has others in the works. A handful of her short stories have appeared in various publications. She writes from her home in the South, where she lives with her husband, two kids, two dogs, and a swarm of inhospitable sand gnats. She is represented by The McVeigh Agency.


JS:  What have been the most rewarding aspects of being a writer?

SM:  I don’t have to put up with co-workers and I can do whatever I want, whenever I want.

JS:  The most challenging?

SM:  Finding appropriate agent representation. Querying was hell. It was a tremendous learning process, and I had some really good experiences come out of it (not to mention a couple of bad ones), but it just seemed to take a lot of time and a lot of energy. I had plenty of requests for material, so that wasn’t a problem. Just waiting on decisions and the ones that were “almost” practically killed me – I have a lot more gray hair now and my fingernails are just beginning to grow back.

JS:  What would you say are the most important qualities one needs to possess in order to make a living as a full-time writer?

SM:  To “make a living”? Is that possible? I don’t know, but I imagine it takes a highly active imagination, self-discipline, a thick skin, life experience, an ability to sculpt with the written word, courage, a tireless and well-connected agent, and a super-charged metabolism (you know, so your butt doesn’t outgrow your chair).

JS:  Why do you write?

SM:  I can’t help it, I just do.

JS:  What’s a typical day like for you?

SM:  Um, get the kids off to school, fire up the laptop, turn on some music, and then write until the school day is over. I update my blog when the mood moves me, I work on projects with my agent, and I do a little networking via Twitter. Sometimes I read. Oh, and I play with my dogs, too – they’re attention hogs.

JS:  Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you work through it?

SM:  There’s no such thing as writer’s block.

JS:  How long does it generally take to write one of your novels?

SM:  Rough drafts can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months. SHORT BUS HERO, for example, took about three weeks, while ST. JAKE (working title) has taken months and I’m still nowhere near the end (researching economics and terrorism is taking longer than I expected).

JS:  What’s your favorite quotation?

SM:  During the time when I was turning my screenplay POP ART into my first novel, I read Stephen King’s LISEY’S STORY. I had been having doubts about whether or not I could finish an entire novel, and one line from King’s book really spoke to me: “I will holler you home.” The first “grown-up” novel I can remember reading was THE SHINING, when I was ten or something. I was a die-hard King fan throughout high school, and then kind of gravitated towards other things as I floated through adulthood. LISEY’S STORY was the first King book I’d read in many years, and, I don’t know, it did kind of feel like being “hollered home” to reading as well as to writing.

JS:  What are you working on now?

SM:  At the moment, I’m working on a novel called HAPPY ENDINGS, INC.
It’s my interpretation of a zombie story. It’s about breathing life back into the business of death. These days, people have relatives all over the country, and it’s so expensive to load the family on a plane and fly out to Uncle Roy’s funeral, right? Well, Caleb Exley, sole heir to his uncle’s funeral empire, has some new ideas about giving customers a proper send-off, one they can share with far-flung relatives at a fraction of the cost of airfare. It’s kind of like Weekend at Bernie’s meets Ghost Adventures, with a dash of Savannah history and real reanimation science thrown in there for the intellectuals.  

JS:  What do you think is one of the biggest misconceptions aspiring novelists have of the writer’s life?

SM:  Hmmm… I really don’t know what “aspiring novelists” think about a “writer’s life,” so I can’t really say. My biggest misconception: most writers are snobs – turning out to be totally false. I’m finding that horror writers, especially, are very nice people.

As for the “writer’s life” I lead… um… is there a specific stereotype I’m supposed to be propagating? I mean, I don’t go around wearing black turtlenecks and chain smoking or drinking myself into oblivion in the Florida Keys or anything. Am I doing it wrong?


JS:  What advice would you impart to these aspiring novelists?

SM:  Write good stories, of course. Nothing else matters.

JS:  You’ve written 2 complete novels and you’re working on 2 more and all have been picked up by your agent to sell, how do you handle having a deadline now?  Does that make it easier or harder?

SM:  I don’t really have a deadline yet. I’m just cruising along at my own speed. I like deadlines, though – I’m a world-class procrastinator, so deadlines actually help me get more work done.

JS:  Where did the inspiration for SHORT BUS HERO come from?

SM:  My sister-in-law. She is a rabid wrestling fan who would give the shirt off her back to anyone. I imagined what a fit she would have if her favorite wrestler got canned and what she might do to help him. She is such a sweet person and is so much fun – and she’s always seemed to me like she should be a character in a book. (She also happens to have Down syndrome.)


JS:  What do you hope your readers take away after they’re done reading?

SM:  The knowledge that people with Down syndrome are truly special. Even though they can be super stubborn!

JSTell me a little about SHORT BUS HERO.

SM:  SHORT BUS HERO is the story of a young woman with Down syndrome who hits it big in the lottery, and instead of using the money to fund a group home for herself and her similarly-abled friends, she insists on giving it to her favorite out-of-work pro wrestler.

I really wrote the story for my sister-in-law and for my mother-in-law. They are two of my biggest supporters.

JS:  That is truly spectacular. They must be very proud of how far you’ve come.  Thanks for sharing this with us and I hope to see you on the bestseller’s list soon.  Make sure to keep in touch, so I can pass along the information about where to purchase your books from.  

Speak up:

4 comments

Teaser Tuesday: It’s Complicated

>

This is an excerpt from my latest WIP.  It’s about a girl from Wisconsin, who moves down to be with her father in Florida who just remarried.  Now she has to adjust to living in a new place, with her step mother and step brother, let’s see how she does, shall we?   
Please note that this is a really rough draft.  There are–I’m sure–grammatical errors and it needs a lot of fluff and the characters need more development, but you’ll get the general idea. 🙂
CHAPTER ONE
They always tell you that the world is your oyster, but they never said anything about the pearl.  And really what was a pearl except for a small irritation that turned into something so precious and rare, millions sought after it.  The same can be said about love.
            Why that thought ran through my head as I boarded the plane to go to my father’s house, I didn’t know, but it was a nice thought anyway.  The plane was filling quickly with people and I doubted the seat next to me would remain empty for very long.  Bored, I looked around at my fellow passengers, but stopped when I saw a boy, about my age, two rows back on the opposite side.  His sun-streaked brown hair was a disheveled mess on top of his head, but in such a way that I knew it was done on purpose.  He had a set of headphones in his ears and he bobbed his head as he rooted around in his bag. 
            He must’ve felt me staring at him, because he looked up and then glanced around until he saw me.  He lifted one brow and returned my gaze, which made my heart stutter, but I didn’t look away.  Instead I smiled, and gave him a little finger wave.  He gave me a lopsided grin in return, showing off the dimple on the right side.
            A man wearing blue jeans, a blue and white-stripped shirt and suspenders stepped in front of me, blocking my view.  I let my gaze drift upward and groaned inwardly when the man smiled at me, showing yellowed and missing teeth.  His face was dark with the stubble of his unkempt beard and even with the space of the seat between us, I could smell a mixture of sweat and something worse I couldn’t place.  I fought the urge to cover my nose, and breathed through my mouth instead.  It didn’t really help.
            “Hi there, little missy,” the man said.
            I gave him a weak smile and nodded instead of answering.
            “Is this seat taken?”
            I stared at him.  I didn’t know what to do.  If I told him yes and then no one showed up, he’d get angry and I didn’t know what would happen.  On the other hand, if I said no, I’d be stuck not being able to breath for the whole trip.  I cursed my mother for being cheap and buying me a ticket on the one airline that let you choose your own seats. 
            I was saved from answering when a male voice said, “Yes it is.”  Suspender man and I turned toward the voice, and the boy that had been across from me smiled.  “I was afraid I wasn’t going to find you, Sweetheart.” 
Sweetheart?  I raised a brow, but played along.  “I was getting worried, too.  You’re very late.  I thought maybe you were going to miss the flight.”
Amusement shown in his eyes as he turned to Suspender Man, gave a quick nod of his head and slipped into the seat next to me, before he kissed my cheek and went back to rooting around in his backpack. 
Suspender man stared at me for a moment before lumbering off and finding a seat elsewhere.  I felt bad for whoever would have to sit next to him, but was happy that it wouldn’t be me.
My cheek was still warm where the boy had kissed me and I lay my hand against it, absently.  “Thank you.”
He grinned and the dimple flashed again.  “Not a problem.  But now you owe me a favor.”
I chuckled.  “A favor?”
“Yep.  The damsel in distress always grants the knight in shinning armor a favor.”
“I see.  Okay.  So, what favor is it that I owe you?”
“Your name.”
“My name?”  I’d been expecting a kiss or something and this had thrown me completely off balance.
“Yep.  Unless of course you want me to continue to call you sweetheart.”
I mentally shook myself to get my mind flowing properly.  “Mackenzie, but I go by Mac.”
“Well, Mac, I’m Sloan and I’ll be providing the entertainment for today’s flight.”
I did the one thing I promised myself I’d never do because of a boy.  I couldn’t help it.  I giggled.  “Pleased to meet you.”
He set his bag under the seat in front of him, but didn’t read the book he’d pulled out.  Instead he tapped it against his knee as he stared at me and I noticed his eyes were a tawny brown and matched his bronzed skin perfectly.  I’d heard eyes could be that color, but had never actually seen it. 
Before I could stop myself, I blurted out, “You have beautiful eyes.”
He winced.  “Thanks,” he said, and turned his attention to his book.
Cursing myself for not having control of my brain-mouth function, I watched out the window until the plane had taken off, the attendants did their thing, and the seatbelt light had flicked off before finding the courage to apologize. 
“I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”
He slid his finger between the pages before speaking.  “It’s alright.  Everyone always comments on my eyes.  I should be used to it by now.”
He went back to the book, but I wasn’t going to give up just yet.  “I get it all the time, too.”
He glanced up, narrowed his eyes, and then smiled.  “I’ll bet you do.  What color are they?  Blue?  Or purple?”
I shrugged up, but lowered my head and peered up at him through my lashes, fluttering them slightly.  “Depends on my mood.  Right now, I’d say blue, but if you make me angry you’ll get to see purple.”
He dog-eared a page and slid the book between him and the seat.  “So what’s the quickest way to make you angry?”
I grinned and tucked a strand of hair behind my ear.  “Fortunately there isn’t much.  I’m pretty even tempered.  Unlike my mom.” I rolled my eyes.  “She’s part Irish and has the famous temper.”
“Sounds like my dad,” he said.  “He’s got a wicked temper.  That’s why my parents split.”
I nodded in complete agreement.  “Yep.  Same here.   My mom has a way of turning any argument around on you.”
            He turned in his seat slightly, lifting the armrest between us so he could rest his leg on the seat.  “Your parents divorced too?”
            I turned to face him and our legs bumped.  “Uh, huh.  I’m going to visit my dad.  He just got remarried. I couldn’t make it for the wedding.  I’d have missed a week of school and my mom put her foot down.”
            “You, too, huh?  Must be something in the air.”  He rolled his eyes.  “My mom just got remarried.  I went to my dad’s while they went on their honeymoon and then my mom thought it would be a good idea to spend the summer with him, to get to know him better.”
            “I take it you didn’t want to go,” I said, noticing the look he’d had when he said it.
            “No, I didn’t.  I wanted to stay at home, but he—my stepdad—thought I should go see my dad and convinced my mom I should too.  So, I was shipped off without even a backward glance,” he said.
            “You don’t like your dad?”
            “No.”  It was said bluntly, without even a hint of emotion in it. 
            I wanted to know more, but knew it was better to wait until he volunteered the information.  If he did, that was.  “I’m sorry.” 
I moved to look back out the window, but he asked, “Do you like your dad?”
I smiled as memories of being pushed on swings and playing baseball in the backyard came to mind.  “Oh yeah.  He’s the best.  I don’t blame him for leaving.  My mom can be a real pain.”
            “So, why don’t you live with him instead of her?”
            I wrinkled my nose.  “School.  My mom didn’t want me taken out before the end of the year. And then she wanted me to stay with her for the summer, but I ‘intruded on her social life’, so she decided to let me have my way and move back with my dad.”
            “So, you’re moving to be with him now?”
            I shrugged.  “Yeah.  I’m hoping it works out.”
            He frowned.  “If he’s that great, why wouldn’t it work out?”
            I made a face.  “My new stepmom.”
            “What’s wrong with her?”
            “Besides the fact that she’s with my dad?”
            He laughed.  “Yeah, besides that.”
            “She took my dad from me,” I mumbled and started down at my hands, which I’d clasped in my lap.
            “What do you mean?”
            “I used to live with him, but then he met this woman at some conference and a few months later he’s moving down to be with her and I’m being shoved at my mom so I can finish school.”  My teeth clenched toward the end, and I had to force my jaw open to finish.
            “Why didn’t she move up to where you lived?”
            “Because she’s a selfish blonde bimbo,” I said with a shrug.
            “What?  Why do you say that?”
“She refused to leave. So he left me to be with her.  He left everything to be with her.”
            “That sucks,” he said, but smiled up as the flight attendant asked if we wanted something to drink.  He waited until she brought us our soda and then leaned over to me again.  “I’m sorry.”
            I shrugged.  “Nothing I can do about it.”
            “My mom got married pretty quickly too, but we didn’t have to move.  Not that she would have.  Our house has been a part of our family for generations. He moved in with us.  She met him at work.”
            “So, how come you don’t like him?”
             “Besides he married my mom?” he asked with a twinkle in his eyes.
            I laughed, despite myself.  “Yeah, besides that.”
            “He’s a jerk. And he’s got city written all over him.”  He sneered at the word city.
            I crossed my arms over my chest.  “What’s wrong with the city?”
            He chuckled.   “I take it you’re a city girl.”
            “And proud of it,” I said, my own smile tickling the corners of my mouth, despite the slight feeling of insult his comment had given me.
            He tapped his book on his knee again.  “I didn’t mean to insult you.  It’s just that he thinks because he lived in the city he’s better and smarter than me.  He treats me like a kid and is constantly telling me what to do, how to behave.  He pretends to take an interest in my grades, but he only uses it to rub it into my face that his daughter is smarter than me and I should be like her.”
            My heart broke a little and I reached over and patted his hand.  “I’m sorry.  I can’t imagine how that made you feel.”
            He went on as if he hadn’t heard me.  “Worst of all, he’s trying to be my dad.”
I cocked my head to the side.  “Why is that last one a problem?  He is, sort of.  Isn’t he?”
            “No, he’s not.  He’s just the man my mother married.  He’s nothing to me.  Therefore he can’t tell me what to do.”
            Knowing how he felt, I nodded.  “Yeah, agree completely.  What is it with stepparents?  Why do they think they can just step in and take over?”
            He shrugged.  “I don’t know. And my mom expects me to just listen to him. I don’t even know him.  Or his stupid goody two shoes of a daughter.  And to make matters worse he wants to get me into baseball and football.”  He made a face.
            I had to laugh.  “Well, don’t you want to do those things?  I thought all boys liked sports.”
            “I do like sports, but I prefer rodeo type sports.”
            It was my turn to be surprised.  He didn’t look like a cowboy.  Didn’t cowboys wear those big hats?  “Rodeo?  Like with cows and horses and stuff?”
            He smiled.  “Yeah.  I do calf roping and saddle bronc riding.”
            I swallowed as an image of him hanging on for dear life to a bucking horse filled my head.  Just the idea of getting onto a horse made my skin crawl. “And you’d rather do that than football?”
            He chuckled.  “Yeah. There’s nothing like it in the world.”
            “But isn’t that dangerous.”
            “Yeah, but that’s part of the thrill.”
            “I’ll just take your word for it.  I don’t think I want to know that kind of thrill.”
            He sent me a wicked look.  “I bet I could change your mind.”           
The corners of my mouth lifted a fraction.  “Uh, huh.  And how do you suppose you’ll do that?”
            He shrugged.  “Where in Florida are you moving to?”
            I scoured my mind for the name of the town.  “Geneva?  I think.”
            His whole face lit up.  “Yeah?  I live out there.  Going to Oviedo High?”
            Since it sounded familiar, I nodded.  “I think so.”
            “Awesome!” He bent over and yanked out his bag and yanked out his iPhone.  “What’s your number?  We’ll hang out and I’ll introduce you to my friends.  That way when school starts you won’t be the odd man out.”
            I nodded and a few of my fears about the move disappeared.  I rattled off my number as I reached for my purse to pull out my own phone, and then programmed his number into it.
            When we’d replaced our phones, he smiled and then tugged on a handful of hair that had escaped my braid.  “You called your step mom a blonde bimbo, but you have blonde hair.  Isn’t that insulting yourself?”
            I thought on it and then shrugged.  “Okay, she’s just a bimbo then.”
            He laughed and then changed the subject.  We spent the rest of the flight talking about the school, his friends, and the ranch he lived on.
            When we landed, he led the way to the trams and then past security, since he knew his way around and I didn’t.  On the other side, he smiled and waved when he saw his mom.  She was only slightly taller than me and looked like a doll.  Her mouth was a pretty pink and matched her nails perfectly.  Her eyes were the same color as her son’s and even more startling with her roses and cream complexion.
            She didn’t even notice me behind him as she swept him up into her arms and pressed a kiss to his check, smearing her lipstick across his skin.  He wiped it off with his sleeve and then turned to me.  “Mom.  This is Mac.  She’s moving here with her dad.  She’ll be going to my school.”
            She turned to me, and the smile faded.  Her lips formed a small “o” as her eyes widened, but before I could wonder about it, my dad’s voice boomed my name and I turned with a huge smile on my face.
            He picked me up and swung me in a circle before pulling me closer for his famous bear hugs.  He set me on my feet, but held me at arms length.  “Well, look at you.  You’re even prettier than when I left.”
            I grinned.  “Thanks, Daddy.” He let go and I turned around to introduce him to Sloan, but stopped when I saw the expression on Sloan’s face.  “What’s wrong?”
              He didn’t respond.  Instead he rolled his eyes, tossed his bag onto his back again, and tromped off toward the exit.  I raised my eyebrows and looked to his mom.  “What did I do?”
            She gave me a forced smile as my father stepped over to her, and when he slipped his hand into hers, the light bulb went off on top of my head.
 Sloan’s mother was my new stepmother.  Which meant Sloan was now my stepbrother.

Speak up:

1 comment

How real agents get paid

>

I don’t know if a lot of you have seen my posts lately, but I’m finally out on submission.  I say finally like it hasn’t been a blink of an eye since I found my wonderful agent.  But I want to clear up a few misconceptions I’ve been noticing lately.  First, my agent isn’t my agent because I paid her.  In fact I will never pay her.  She will pay me—in a matter of speaking. 
The way an agent works is she looks through her (used loosely.  There are wonderful male agents as well) slush pile (the stack of unsolicited manuscripts, partials or query letters they receive) to find something that interests her.  Usually it’s with a query letter so we’ll start there.  She reads the query letter and decides she likes it enough to read more. 
Now with my agent she had the first 50 pages and my synopsis, so she was able to keep going.  From the query she read my first 50, determined she liked it, and then read my synopsis.  Since she liked that as well, she asked for the rest.  After reading the rest, she offered me representation. 
When I accepted, she sent me her notes.  I edited my MS based on those notes and sent it back.  Then she read it through again, sent me her notes, and I edited it again and sent it back.  This process can keep going for awhile folks, but in my case it’s stopped here and we moved onto submission.  Now it’s in her hands and I feel a little awkward. 
Why?   Because it’s a little like the querying process to find an agent, but it’s in someone else’s hands now.  She’s doing all the work.  Researching where and who to submit to, when to nudge, perfecting the pitch letter, etc.  I’m perfectly confident she’s going to find me the perfect match for my MS, but it’s hard relinquishing control like that. But that’s why you want your agent to understand you, your MS, and love your MS as much as you do. 
So you may have noticed I have not once mentioned money exchanging hands.  And that’s because it hasn’t.  I have not paid her a single penny.  She is essentially working for me for free. 
How does she get paid, you may ask?  Well, she gets paid when I do.  When a publisher makes an offer it’s usually offering an advance and then a royalty off the cover price of the book.  Since my agent will make 15% of everything I make, including the advance, it’s in her best interest to get the best deal. 
The publisher will send her a check with my advance; she takes her 15% and then gives the rest to me.  It will be the same with royalties.  So as you see, I never pay her anything. 
As you might have guessed that is why agents are so picky.  They are essentially working for free until your MS sells.  If it doesn’t sell, then they don’t make money.  So they need to find MSs they fall in love with so they can champion it properly. 
So, how can you make sure yours gets picked up?  Write a good book, get feedback on said book and edit appropriately.  Research agents thoroughly and query widely. Be patient.  In the meantime, write a new and better book and start the whole process over again.  Eventually you will get picked up. 
I hope this shed some light on agents and how they work.  So how about you?  What’s your experiences been like?  I’d love to hear from you.
Tomorrow, contests.  What they’re about and how they can help you in your career.
~JA

If you’re an agent, editor, or author and would like to do an interview or guest blog with me please contact me at j.souders (at) jasouders (dot) com

Speak up:

4 comments

Teaser Tuesday: Mirror Image

>

Well I thought I’d share one of the new scenes I added for Mirror Image.  Next week I hope to have my teasers from my new WIP up.  Hope you enjoy.

***
I started avoiding any and all mirrors and reflective surfaces and it wasn’t long before all of my friends had noticed my odd behavior, but everyone–besides Ty–seemed to think my hang up on mirrors was due to the injuries I had. 
            Carly and Leah tried several times to convince me it wasn’t as bad as I thought, and even Noah and Owen would go out of their way to tell me how pretty I was.  In an effort to distract me, Leah had come up with a plan to go to the carnival that was down the street and Ty agreed it was a good idea so we all trooped down the street.
We walked around the fair, deciding what ride to hit next.  Ty wanted something gentle so I could go with, but I didn’t really care.  I just enjoyed getting out of the hotel.  When we stopped outside the house of mirrors, Ty glanced over at me and a strange look passed over his face. 
            “Come on, we’ll go in here,” he said, watching me carefully.
            A wave of panic rushed through me and I stopped in my tracks.  “No.”
            He leaned down to whisper in my ear, “Lily, he’s not real.  You need to face this.  It’ll never go away if you keep letting it bother you.”
            “No.  I don’t want to go in there.”  I started to feel sick to my stomach and dizzy as my heart rate picked up.  A sure sign of an oncoming panic attack.
            The others had stopped to see why we had and Leah said, “Ty, if she doesn’t want to go, don’t force her.”  She watched me carefully and twisted the strap of her purse in her hands.
            He sent her a look, but didn’t say anything before turning back to me.  “You can do this, Lil.  I’ll be with you the whole time.  You just need to prove to yourself he doesn’t exist.  I know you can do this.”
            I closed my eyes.  He was right.  Jackson didn’t exist and I needed to face this.  I couldn’t just keep avoiding mirrors for the rest of my life.  When I opened my eyes, I nodded. “Alright, but don’t leave me.  Okay?”
            “Never,” he promised and slipped an arm around my shoulder to lead me into the attraction.
            Leah reached out and tugged on my arm.  “You don’t have to do this, Hun.  You can wait until you heal.  There’s no need to rush into this and make it worse,” she said, her narrowed eyes on Ty.
            Ty made a growling sound in his throat, but otherwise said nothing.  I smiled at her, conveying my thanks, but shook my head, even as butterflies flew around in my belly making me feel even sicker.  “No.  This is something I have to do.  For me.”
            She watched me, then nodded and let go.  She gave one last glare to Ty and then stepped back to follow us into the building. 
            Ty kept a tight grip on me as I shook, but I forced myself to look in every mirror we passed. 
Jackson never appeared.
Eventually, I relaxed enough to let go of Ty and wander to a few mirrors on my own, laughing at how silly I looked.
            I moved from mirror to mirror, feeling lighter than I had in days.  I was over it.  I was fine.  No, I was ecstatic. Jackson didn’t exist and I wasn’t going crazy. Thank God.
When I got to a mirror that made me look not only short and fat, but made my face look all squished and gnome-like, I giggled and turned to get Ty’s attention.  But he wasn’t near me.  In fact, no one was. 
            Cursing myself for not paying attention, I tried backtracking to locate my group, but only succeeded in getting myself more lost.  So, I stopped and tried to think about the way I’d come and how to get back, but tingles of panic started to creep in. I’d been so focused on the mirrors I didn’t remember the path I’d taken.  And where the hell was Ty?  He’d promised he wouldn’t leave me.
            I debated calling for help, but decided that would only make me look stupid. I looked up and saw Jackson’s sad eyes staring back at me.  My heart leaped into my throat and my feet froze to the floor.  This isn’t happening.  This isn’t happening, I thought over and over. 
            He reached out to the glass, and mouthed, “Please.”
            I shook my head rapidly.  “No,” I whispered, backing up.  I bumped into another mirror and turned around, only to see him staring back at me from this one instead.  I spun again, and again, but no matter where I turned, there he was. 
            Oh God, this can’t be happening.  It isn’t real.  He doesn’t exist.
            “Please,” he repeated, his eyes turning even sadder.  “I won’t hurt you.”
            “No!” I screamed, squeezing my eyes tightly shut.  I dropped to my knees and slapped my hands over my ears as my screams echoed back to me. My heart felt as if it were trying to escape from my chest as Tyler raced to where I was. 
My eyes flew open when he grabbed a hold of me and pulled me into his chest.  I clung to him, but it still didn’t help much.
            “Lily!  What’s wrong?  What happened?” he demanded, but I couldn’t tell him.  I couldn’t get words to form coherently.  I could only babble things that didn’t make sense even to me.
            Leah ran in next and stopped when she saw me. She dropped down next to me and tried pulling from Tyler, but he held tight. She glared at him.  “I knew this was a bad idea.  You stupid son of a–”
            “Now’s not the time,” he said, cutting her off.  He leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Was it another hallucination?”  I could only nod once before I sobbed and buried my face into his chest.  “Oh, man, Lily.  I’m so sorry.  I didn’t know.  I didn’t realize.  I’m sorry.”  He encircled my waist with his arm and, ignoring all the people who’d come running, led me back to the hotel and to his car, apologizing the whole time.
 I curled up into a ball in his passenger seat, making mewling sounds in my throat. He took me straight to my parent’s house, checking on me constantly as I trembled and rocked.
            He rushed me inside and my mom turned from the sink with a smile when she heard us.  “You two are back early…” she trailed off when she saw me.  “What happened?”
            “She’s seeing things.  A boy.  In mirrors,” Ty said, keeping his arm firmly around me as I trembled harder. 
Dishes clattered in the sink as she rushed over to me.  She placed the back of her hand on my forehead and looked into my eyes.  “How long?”
“Since the accident.  I think something’s wrong with me,” I finally managed.  Hot tears poured out of my eyes and she wrapped her arms around me as my father, who’d been listening from his seat at the table, called the hospital.

Speak up:

8 comments

The truth about Publish America.

>

Now since this blog post idea can essentially never end, I’m going to focus on why NOT to publish with Publish America.  Why am I doing this?  Because this “publisher” isn’t out to help you become a published author, they’re out there to get your money.  Plain and simple.
My information is not first hand experiences, but I am planning on having an author who was swindled by this company come over and tell us about it.  Most of my information was easily found on the Internet and I’ll provide links to my resources.  And for those naysayers out there that will just say I’m jealous because I don’t have a published book yet, I will remind you.  I have an agent and I love her to death.  I was offered no less than 3 publishing contracts for my book, Fallen (that I turned down), and 1 for, Mirror Image (that I was seriously considering). So no, I’m not jealous.
Here’s also a reminder that money flows to the author not away from.  If you’re asked to pay for something, be very wary and DO YOUR RESEARCH.  Check everyone out before you query them.  Period.  End of story.
Okay, here’s a quick rundown on why not to publish with PA.
1.  They don’t edit your work.  In fact, usually more errors are introduced into your work and then they want you to pay for it to have it fixed.
2.  Your books will almost never be on an actual bookshelf, because PA doesn’t except returns (almost all commercial publishers accept returns, because they only accept and print books they believe in.) Or in libraries, because they lack the LOC CIP number–something real publishers provide for their books.
3.  PA accepts almost everything!  It doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad.  If they can easily format it, it gets picked up.  (Unless, of course, they’ve met their quota for the day).
4.  PA will not sell your book to readers.  They will sell your book to YOU!  The prices they charge for their books is so exuberantly overpriced that no real reader will buy it, therefore they offer the author “deals” so they buy it.  (Sounds a bit different than we’ll never charge the author anything, doesn’t it?)Here’s a link from their own site that proves that the books are ridiculously overpriced.  
5. And finally, if you publish with PA, it’s not considered a real publishing credit.  There isn’t an agent out there that considers this a legitimate credit.
This is a forum post that has multiple sub-forums.  Click on any of them and you’ll see everything I’m talking about:

Speak up:

4 comments