Nurturing Your Inner Critic

There are many books that explain the process of reworking your work after you’re done with the first draft. I love all the workshops offered including Margie Lawson’s EDITS system. I love highlighters and boy, does this woman show you how to get the most out of them!
I think what makes me amazed is letting go of the inner critic when writing the first draft. It’s the other drafts that I’m looking to speed up my time in cleaning up my manuscript, graphic novel script or short story. In the rewrites, edits, and revisions my inner critic must make a bold, if not dramatic, entrance and stay a while until the manuscript is polished.
I write short books, 65K+ words in five weeks and then choose to spend double that time (or less) on rewrites. This is the time I let my inner critic out. There is no time for my ego or trying to hold my precious paragraph hostage because this is a time I truly want my inner critic to win.
At the moment I have surrendered to my inner critic knowing that its purpose is to serve me and my future reader with a damn fine novel. What about you and your Inner Critic?
What kind of writing do you do? How many rounds of edits, revisions or rewrites do you go through before submitting your work to agents, editors, magazines, etc.?


Pitching to a Literary Agent doesn’t have to be like Speed Dating

I’m not much of a speed dating type of girl. I get my romance tips from comic books and film noir and believe in the date ’em one at a time approach.

A couple of weeks ago I pitched to agents and there were some that were reserved and others that just clicked with me. While I’m happy for the opportunity for meeting multiple agents I’d prefer their submission to be special. Meaning, I’m not into multiple submissions. I know with many writers it’s a shotgun approach to submission with the thought that a writer may miss their window of opportunity.

I can’t live like that because when I send you a manuscript I want you to know that I sent it to you and only you. I picked you out of the sea of agents to show you my work in hopes that you believe I have the chops to write well and in hopes that we can work as a team. It’s a two way street. We can be of value to one another and make a good team.

I know the term EXCLUSIVITY towards an agent is frowned by writers but I see it as something special.

Really sit with it, meditate on it.

An agent is believing in your work so much they want to be first to see it. The good point is if you both gel then this could make for one awesome business partnership. The negative means you don’t get to “date others” for about two weeks to a month while the first agent is looking at your work.

If rules/boundaries are established with the first agent that they will only have a certain amount of time to look at your work then what is the problem?

You give your word or a handshake or both and send out a manuscript to one agent at a time and while you’re waiting you write, you edit, you enter contest, you hope you’re both the right fit. After a month has passed you either get rejection, acception or silence. If it’s silence then speak up and tell them that you are asking for a response so that you can proceed further since this is a career choice for you. Let them know that you respect their time just as you KNOW they respect yours as a professional writer.

No matter what you do sending out submissions is a waiting game and for that it’s stressful and it’s a hard lesson on being patient. Personally I’d rather get feedback one agent at a time than from multiple agents all at once and try to decipher too much feedback.

Do not ever make your decisions based on fear or anxiety. Be wise about your choices and if you decided to shotgun submit then good luck to you and for those that prefer one at a time then good luck too.

Writing Music

So Peter Gabriel’s STEAM has me in the mood to write but I’m wishing for some Steampunk inspired music. The question is, What does Steampunk inspired music sound like and who are the artist? I love Frenchy and the Punk but they aren’t available on Pandora. What artist(s) would you suggest listening to in order to get into a Steampunk mood?

Update: I found this along my travels:


Highly inspired by the prolific writers of Jonathan Maberry and Neil Gaiman, I have decided to take my plethora of stories and write them in the media they were intended including short story, traditional novel and graphic novel scripts. This year I finish 2 full novels, a graphic novel script and 3 short stories. Why? Because I have a cappuccino maker and I know how to use it!

CTRWA Fiction Fest 2012

So I did it. I pitched my second novel to five agents at the CTRWA Fiction Fest yesterday. All of the agents were not only professional but so kind.

I’ve worked with agents before but only in a casual way and heavens, never pitched to them.

After 5 years of writer’s block I got over it with my first Steampunk novel, written during NaNoWriMo and then with this current novel.

So I pitched an unheard of sub-genre in Steampunk and 3 agents asked for full manuscripts and 2 asked for partials. So yep, by RWA standards I’m a PRO and by my standards I’ve succeeded by moving past my block. I’ve succeeded in allowing people to read my work. I’ve succeeded in taking critiquing of my work and using what works and leave the rest and not taking it personally.

Everything after this moment is just gravy.

L’Chaim is in draft mode

3000 words are done and now for the important part of it all to be done. EDITS! I have 5.5 days to finish it before sending it off to my critique partner to get blue penciled to death. Can I make it in time? Will you hold my hand when I submit my work? Thanks. You always were a good friend. ^.^


What in the flagnog have I been doing for the last 11 months? Well for this past month I have a few deadlines.

I have until the end of this month to write a 3K word sci-fi story about a woman seeking revenge for the murder of her twin. I’m sending it off to a well known sci-fi publishing house once it’s made all shiny and pretty.

At the same time I’m writing a short synopsis for the 70K+ word novel I’m writing for a writing contest this February. This is a culinary Steampunk Mystery Series that I’ll be pitching to agents as Spring of this year.

Got words of encouragement? Stickers, cookies, truffles or other rewards for goals attained? Let me know!


So the Love Panel and Chocolate tasting are tonight and I’m baking up a storm. What’s on the iPod? Ms. India Arie’s Voyage to India album and I’m chuckling over the video for Video. The menu that I’m racing to finish is:

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes, Truffles, Peppermint and Dried Fried Chocolate Barque, and Orange spiced Hot Chocolate

Brown Skin is playing in the background and it’s appropriate for this morning and afternoon.

Enjoy your Do-Wonderful-Things-with-Chocolate Weekend


Nerd Grrl


First time I heard that term I was assisting Myra Kornfeld’s cooking class. It defined my cooking style beyond Asian, French, and Louisiana cooking. Making the same dish for a Vegan, Vegetarian and the Meat eater is no easy task. It’s possible, but challenging. I’ve got a dinner I’ll be making tonight that involves Lemon Herbed Chicken and Thai Tofu dish Saturday.

The only thing I can never cook is meat. Is their  hypocritical reason behind this or an inability to prepare a simple Surf & Turf?


I’m allergic to Beef. I’m certain that I drop kicked  cow in one of my past lives.So yes, whenever I make Gumbo the Andouille sausage must be the soy kind.

Music in my head today, no iPod. “I Remember You” by Dorothy Lamore from the film The Fleet’s In


So I’m commuting today listening to Daft Punk, David Bowie and Billy Idol and I’m suddenly clear-headed about this blog and where it really wants to go. In the last year since I really blogged I’ve been talking about food and getting to know my eReader and putting in some of my favorite recipes.

I love preparing food, telling stories behind the recipes I’ve created or replicated and my time as a stagiere at a NYC culinary school. The last several years of my life were filled with cooking classes, knife skills courses, weekly meals for clients and now making desserts for a non-profit Meditation Center in South Windsor during special occasions.

So where does this exploration go?

Every cookbook I have (over 4 dozen) have been read and most recipes created from these treasures and all done with good music playing in the background. There’s nothing like playing Susan Tedeschi during a cooking party with friends. For all that I’ve learned-besides cooking from scratch- is that people want to crack open that cookbook, but where should they start? Which recipe is the right one? Which one will take forever and which one is created by the snap of a finger? How many times have you decided to start cooking from a recipe and halfway through realize that you don’t have half the ingredients? Yep, me too.

So this blog has evolved into something that’s about cooking, finding good eats, good music and how to throw a cooking party where no one feels left out. So here I am all drunk off the knowledge that I’ve found my place in this ever growing blog universe. So what’s up next?

I’ve got another opportunity to bake for the Meditation Center. A Love Panel and Chocolate Tasting provided by me, a certified, worked in a true chocolate factory, Chocolatier. What’s on the menu? Something simple.

Chocolate Ravioli’s with Caramel dipping sauce, Chocolate pizza with Raspberry “red” sauce and chocolate chip “Pepperoni” and Classic Chocolate Truffles for purchase

Come and see the finished desserts and get your Meditation on in the same evening.

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