What turns an agent OFF?

If this is a burning question for you, then I am snogging the blog that answers this and much, much more.

Heidi Grace Bleackley covers what she learned at Writers Idol - which was exactly what you'd expect - first page auditions in front of four agents at the recent Surrey International Writers Conference. Hugely enlightening info for writers of all genres. (I know it means following my link but it's worth checking out!)

AND, her previous post has her notes from Robert Dugoni's editing workshop, along with a book giveaway which a most worthy and talented follower won.

Heidi is also a gamer. Oh yeah. This lady has all the right ingredients to conjure bestsellers. Can't wait, can't wait, CAN'T WAIT!

Now, since it is raining (again) it's time for me to choose a jigsaw to put together. These are all mystery puzzles, where there's no picture, just a mystery to solve.  I have to read the story and put the puzzle together to find clues about the solution - perfect for dark winter nights! And I haven't solved a single one yet in spite of my (dubious) brilliantosity. I recycle them so if you'd like one when I'm done, then just let me know.


Oh, and are any of you shareholders in Twitter as of today? Me neither. How about NaNoWrMo? How's that going for you? If you don't want to talk about it, I understand.

Keep writing folks!

Fun Fantasy

Hi Blog-Snog Pals!

Sorry for being out of sync here - I missed last week (Thurs Oct 17) due to an extremely bad hair day and toothache, and I'm early this week b/c I'm going to the absolutely fabby Surrey Int'l Writers Conference tomorrow (Thurs Oct 24) - [I know the dates coz I checked. Gadz I love calendar apps].

So much excitement! And I've been nuclearly busy getting my hair fixed, being strapped down for a root canal, organising my brillo post for Monday's TOTW (topic of the week) at the Enchanted Inkpot fantasy writer's group blog, my critique commitments, AND a presentation I'm booked for at Earl Marriot Secondary School with a creative writing class, which is tres tres cool. Life is looking awesomely even if I didn't get a mani in. Or those pages written on my WIP (ack!) but I have a good excuse ... I was checking out this guy's website.

What I have for your blogging pleasure today is a link to the genius fantasy writer, Jim C. Hines.     Jim
Jim's Oct 16/13 post. Also DO NOT read unless you are prepared to be hooked, absorbed and mesmerized for ages. Bad Happy Pippa just killed 2 hours over there ...

Jim is going to be at the conference this weekend so I shall be hanging onto his every word and possibly getting him to autograph my left arm.

I just lurve Jim's humor, which is a BIG part of his writing and these are the first books I MUST have: Goblin Quest Goblin Quest
(And I quote from Amazon) "Jig is a scrawny little nearsighted goblin-a runt even among his puny species. Captured by a party of adventurers searching for a magical artifact, and forced to guide them, Jig encounters every peril ever faced on a fantasy quest." Who can resist a blurb like this?

Stepsister Jim C. HinesWhat would happen if a star writer went back to the darker themes of the original fairy tales for plots, and then crossed the Disney princesses with Charlie's Angels? They would give us The Stepsister Scheme, The Mermaids Madness, Red Hood's Revenge, The Snow Queen's Shadow and who knows what else.

And I can't wait to read Libriomancer, which is about Isaac Vainio, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. Oh yeah. Libriomancer

So now I really must scream off to prepare for my quest into writerly brilliantosity ... but not before I've been to parent/teacher interviews this afternoon.

Chou for now fellow blog snoggers!


Writing in the Rain

Rain Child

Happy Day, blog-snog pals!

Oh, how I lurve winter. It's time to huddle at my desk and write. For hours ...

The moody grey sky is perfect for my state of mind as I work on my tween thriller, SABOTEUR, set deep in the dark Cascade Mountains.
The atmosphere is all so conducive to survival - cold, damp, bone chilling conditions which, in my story, makes Gan, Jude and Tilly's fight to stay alive
desperate, while something much colder awaits them below the mountain.

I've got goosebumps.

And outside my window, right beside my desk, is the rain. Rain patters almost constantly.                                                            

Though it doesn't sound as comforting as it did when I ws a kid, living in a house with a corrugated iron roof that carried the soft drumming sound, it still soothes.

I know you're curious why I grew up in a place with a corrugated iron roof - which is a lot like living in a tin can - and the answer is because I grew up in New Zealand. In the days when everyone had a corrugated iron roof (usually painted red) ... and yikers, did it rain.

Corrugated iron roof A thoroughly cozy drenching went on while I listened, snug inside, feeling as if it was trying to beat its way in.
In daylight, I'd put on my dad's bright yellow wet-weather gear and walk around, invigorated by the ping of raindrops against the hard plastic while my skin stayed dry. I love being dry - and I guess that's why I LURVE to defy the rain. It couldn't get me in my dad's big raincoat and it can't get me while I'm at my desk. Writing.

And after it stops? I go out on a mission. I save the poor worms who have been driven out of the earth by all that water.

It's the least I can do.

Life is good even in the winter, my blogee snogees! Enjoy the day.

Pippa (from the Great Pacific North Wet)

Got The CALL

Words Hugging WomanI got The Call this morning - well, it was more like The Yell - CLEAN YOUR ROOM.

I don't know about you, my fellow bloggee snoggees, but that is just an invitation to close the door and have some fun!

It's like a massive treasure hunt through gross stuff (which - let's face it - is MY gross stuff and nobody else's) and the payoff is huge! I swear I found 64 pennies and my favorite Doctor Who DVD. I think I found an ancient iPod Shuffle too, though it had a bit of gunk around it that must've built up over the centuries, and someone around here is gonna pay me big bucks for the earring and the lost shoe. Okay, so maybe somebody else might've been leaving their stuff in here, though I bet I put them down absently while I was on my way to returning them to their rightful owner's room. Yeah. That'll be it. One of those times when I got distracted by the Snood game on my laptop and, you know, just dropped everything.

Anyway, all this to tell you that I found a few old notebooks with some awesomeliness brillo first lines scrawled in them - and some not-so-much.
It's my thing. I like coming up with beginnings. Course, some of them have got middles and ends, too, but mostly NOT.

So I'm gonna share some with you, my bloggee-snoggee pals!

How's this one:

'Anyone with the IQ of a mollusc would have seen right from the start that teaching me how to control my mind and safely handle my brainpower was a risky business.

'It's all very well planning for your future but you have to have a future to plan for. Gan couldn't remember ever having a tomorrow guaranteed.'

'I have secrets, and not secrets that want to bust out and spread themselves all over the lunchroom either. It’d be fine to have those kinds of juicy gems. I wouldn’t mind battling with the urge to spill that Zoe is crushing on Jordan or that Tam ‘s knicker elastic broke in gym. Not that I’d be party to those kinds of giddy revelations. No, my secrets are my own and, frankly, I’d rather they were someone elses.'

'From the first moment Ms. Goose and I arrived at the cottage on Podsmeer Common (in the Land of the Terminally Mud-minded), Cheshire, England, Earth, I suspected Ms. Goose was not going to adjust well to living with me. As soon as I flung the door open, she gasped, and several seconds later she uttered, her voice croaky with emotion, “How could you live in this . . . this squalor?” '

"I can’t help regretting that there wasn’t a sign on the bedpost, pinned onto my shabby blue jumper or stuck into one of the pockets in my jeans draped over my bookshelf. I would have seen it. Especially if it had been written in scarlet, like it should have been. Great capital letters, blaring: ‘CAUTION, AUSMUS MARNEY, THE UNEXPECTED IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN - TONIGHT. WILD RIDE AHEAD. TAKE CLEAN UNDERWEAR.’

'Matt the Gnat, (Gnatty to Henry), was nearly twelve-years-old and going to school for the very first time. For three long, cruel days Gnat got it thrust in his face that his mom may have taught him plenty, but he knew nothing about school and its complicated booger network.

"Lolly Green was utterly unhappy, which was very unusual. She was also utterly filthy, which was not."

And ... I was in an interesting mood when I wrote this one:
"I'm going to be honest: boldly, explosively honest. Honest enough to shatter, rip and claw the breath out of their lungs, freeze their plum line and suck their hearts out their ears."

Now, I should bury these and see if I can't find my other fluffly slipper. All I know is that I need to get out of here or there'll be a search party sent in to mess with me.

So onward to the potato chips!
Oh! And did you see all those pretty MG Fantasy book covers over at The Enchanted Inkpot?
I think Stefan Bachmann's The Peculiar Bachmann The Peculiar And his equally splendid, The Whatnot  Bachmann The Whatnot are two of the best book covers e.v.e.r. What's inside is pretty darn good, too.

Choggers for now my dear blogger-snoggers!

For MG Writers

Emblazon_BlogHeader This is my latest fabby find for MG writers - a group blog with great content and some excellent

The Emblazoners!

I've already read D. Robert Pease's 'Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble'

                   NoahZarc-MammothTrouble-Cover110x168and Robert's web page is one of the best I've seen - along with his trailer for 'Mammoth Trouble' (check it out!) It's TWEEN SCI-FI - do I need to say more?

Now I'm enjoying Sharon Ledwith's, 'The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis'

               Last Timekeepers

which involves my other most favorite elements TIME TRAVEL. squee!

So I'm going to keep my eye on this blog and these authors.

Happy reading and writing fellow sloggers, and may the muse be with you.

Pippa Plodder (who thinks NaNoWrMo might be a good idea this year)

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Pepper & Salt

I had a bit of fun with Pepper & Salt - they really are a pair of posers.


Ying & Yang

Disco Dancers




Swing Dancers

Break Dancers


086 087

Have a great week!
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Deadly D's a Writer deals with


If you're a writer, you'll relate to my list of the deadly (and downright undesirable) maladies that plague us. Don't get me wrong, I'm not here to be a downer, it's just that sometimes we need to know we're not grappling with these issues alone. Misery loves company, it truly does.

Take depression. The first of my D's. Take it and throw that sucker a measure of HOPE. If you have to turn off that loud speaker in your head repeating your failure and inadequacies, DO IT. Jo Rowling, Elizabeth George, Anne Lamott, and Snoopy all suffered from depression - Eeyore still does - but look where they are now. Icons. Overcomers. I don't know a writer who doesn't suffer crippling depression at some time or other. I've bookmarked blog posts and articles by well-known and unknown authors who make my depression sound like a picnic. I love those guys. Look them up and take heart!

Discouragement, disparaging critiques, reality checks, and dispondency will reduce us to stooped, slobbering geriatrics with hollow aches in our middle. Honest, I've been there. I've been so low at times that my knuckles have scars from being dragged along the ground. And I wasn't even contending with rejections - those babies have a dangerous side-effect that only time and determination overcome. Write yourself a note in black marker (mine is a foot high and taped to my dunce hat) - LEARN FROM IT. I'm a little slower than the average adult and need constant reminders.

Being in the Doldrums is another nasty place we writers find ourselves. I mean this in the nautical sense. Lots of circumstances can slide you there without your realizing that you're languishing in dead-air. This isn't writer's block, folks, this is a state of indecision brought on by the wind being knocked out of your sails. Do I work on this, or that, or the other? Maybe I shouldn't work on anything at all since nothing I come up with is high concept. Despair sets in and you're convinced you were delusional giving into your drive to write, to dream that you might have a novel someone actually wants to read. The only way I've found to deal with this is to go to my critique buddies and throw myself at their feet (figuratively). Make sure you respect them or you'll ignore their encouragement. Writers are a fabbo-marvy community, willing to reach out and boost a wounded psyche. Okay, taste is subjective but most determined writers know good writing when they see it and know enough about the industry to give you direction. Sound advice might not be exactly what you think you want to hear but Norman Vincent Peale put it succinctly (darn him): The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by critism. Fine - but give praise where praise is due. A lot of the time we just need to know we're good at it!

So take heart, have hope, and don't give up writerly chums! Prolly every other writer in the universe has been where you are. I put it down to paying my dues. So I've taken ten years to arrive here with no publishing credits but I've done it my way and still love to write ... and I'll admit that I'm just too darn
stubborn to waste all my hard-earned lessons by giving up now!

       “Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.“ — Winston Churchill

        “If you have made mistakes, even serious mistakes, you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.” — Mary Pickford


Today I'm dashing by to mention two writing resources that have fired up my inspiration and motivation (two very good things for a writer to have! Yessims):

Write On Con which is invaluable. In-val-u-able.

This is an annual online event so don't slack around (like I did) and miss it. Luckily (for me) you can go to their site - follow my link - and read all the great interviews, watch presentations and look at a ton - a TON - of extremely super oooper information AFTER it's all over. But there's nothing like being there while it's happening.

I think I'm safe predicting it will be running in August 2013, but get on their mailing list pronto so you don't miss the online workshops, PitchFest, or any of the brillo events the Write On Con team come up with.

Next, I'm going to do a little promo for another Kindle must-have (remember Alexandra Sokoloff's  Screenwriting Tricks for Authors that I did a teeny tiny rave about in a previous entry?) Today's gem of delight is Kindle's, Write Good or Die edited by Scott Nicholson with many brillo contributors. Lots of laughs and sound advice. A winning combination for sure. The only suckage is that it's not in print as far as I can find.

Write Good or Die

And you do know about MG Lit Chat over at Blogspot, right, right? Join in every Thursday evening 9pm ET, 6pm PT, on Tweetchat and be part of the discussion. Be aware it moves fast but it's pure awesomeness to connect real-time with other mad, I mean gifted, writers of middle grade fiction and lurkers. They post a transcript on their blog - follow my link - so you never have to miss out on the goss.

Toodles for this week!

Oh, and please visit one of my absolute besties, Kym Brunner here on LiveJournal or on Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else you can find her and congratulate her - she deserves it.
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A little detox can go a long way.

I'd been swimming in the ethernet, immersed in social networking, finding fabbity stuff, interesting people -
and getting disillusioned about my own writing.
I had to climb out of the pool and dry off.

My confidence shrank to the size of an amoeba and swirled down the plughole. I wallowed in the sludge a while, putting up a good fight, but I had to get off-line to save my writing soul. All the clamouring cries to 'look at me!' 'see what I can do!' had to shut up, shut off, and go away.

So I banished myself from it all for what ... 8 months?

Eight whole months of silence and I feel pretty darn good. I do apologize for not being active on your blog, not commenting or posting your link, getting involved at #mglitchat, or drawing your attention to the most awesome The Enchanted Inkpot  but I had to get writing. And I am now. It's invigorating to be working hard on my next novel and I'm ready to enjoy dialoguing with anyone that chances upon my blog, or no one at all. I've always been happy to talk to myself! I'm good with unrequited love. Yep, I'm weird that way.

FYI I blog for fun and to alert writers to marvy brillsome writerly-related sites.
I'm only going to put a status update on Facebook when I've got something to tell you.
I'm only going to tweet when I care about the message.

I'm going to enjoy revisiting all my fave blogs and blogees - and today I spent some time with Natalie Whipple at Between Fact and Fiction This post is sure to soothe your writerly angst.

And this one will have you laughing till you leak tears (or whatever). Honest, I visit it as often as I can b/c it is that good: Why Authors are Crazy

Have a great day!

(Now I'm going to figure out how this new LJ upgrade works. Geesh, I disappear for a while and they change everything on me just when I got good at making my page pretty. Suckage.)
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It's August 30th and I have drawn names from my trusty sunhat as promised.

Drumroll, please.

Could  Ruth Schiffmann, Kym Brunner,  and T. Ellison
please contact me so I can forward your email addresses AND your choice of ebook to the lovely Nicola Morgan - who will send you a Kindle copy of either Dear Agent OR Write A Great Synopsis OR Tweet Right.

Thank you all for your comments!

Now the embarrassing part - Live Journal (bless it) doesn't allow you to click on either my name or User Info and send me a private message unless you log in, which you can't do unless you create an account. So, if you don't want to go through the whole 'create an account' thing, please contact me via my Facebook page, which is Pippa Bayliss, OR at Twitter, which is also Pippa Bayliss

Have a great day and hope to hear from you soon!