Writing Group Shenanigans

If you are a fellow writer, you have combed through Twitter and other sites searching for quality critique partners. Don’t get me wrong, having family who will read your manuscript is freakin’ fantastic, but writers speak a different language that only other writers understand.

Case and point #1: If I asked my dad how my pacing was, he would say it sucks. He’d think I was asking about my jogging pace, which is atrocious at best.

Case and point #2: If I asked my sister about the MC in my manuscript, she would blink a few times and ask what the f*** I was talking about. Not kidding. That’s a friendly version of her typical sentence structure.

Anyway, you get the point.

A few months ago, I signed up to join a writing group thanks to the wonderful Bianca Marais’s Tweet.

Best. Decision. I. Ever. Made.

Y’all, I found a group of phenomenal ladies.

They catch stuff that leaves me blinking in a stupor at my computer screen. And we all bring something different to the table. I like to think of us as dynamic dynamite. Even if it is kinda cheesy.

Crystal has a smokin’ hot character, Slate, who we all drool over. Not to mention her strong, caring cliff diving protagonist, Luren. Her story has a really cool concept with steamy scenes. Keep cold water nearby. You’ll thank me later.

Defne has a genius character, Roya, who has been stepped on and plotted against from an early age. The political intrigue and tension between characters are killer. In addition, her story has a unique concept that gets my brain cranking.

Then there’s Joy. Joy has impressive descriptions (I’m not jealous, not at all). Her character, Fen, is cool, calm, and just might knock someone off. Assassin much? Yes, please.

On top of their amazing stories and fresh concepts, Defne pops into Slack with memes she created. And I died. On the spot.

For your viewing pleasure:

Defne shared her meme-making secret with us, and y’all, she created a meme monster. Me. I’m the meme monster. I’ve been memeing all day long.

And to add a little more sugar to the topping, Joy throws this at us:

Luren – Joy’s Amazing Drawing

Whaaaaat?! Girl has serious art game. If I could steal that ability from her, I would do it in a hot second. Instead, I resort to buying artwork I can hang on my walls and drool over.

And then…Joy turned into a meme monster and created these:

If you haven’t joined a writing group, I highly recommend checking into it. It can be scary because you’re putting your heart and soul out there for others to critique, but you will become a stronger writer. You will learn from your group members, and you will chase the same dream…together. They will understand you in a way no one else does.

So take the scary leap, find your writing people, and see the magic unfold.

~Tiff~

The Pooter Gremlin

I know it has been a few days since I blogged. Some of you might have been wondering if I survived the onslaught of male teenagers that invaded my home over the weekend. Somehow, I managed to live through it. Watching teenage gremlins interact is perplexing at times. There’s just a big part of me that wonders about their thought processes and maybe someone else can weigh in on it because I just don’t get it. While they’re laughing like hysterical hyenas, I’m looking at them like they’re all buffoons.

There’s a stupid, little black rubber device that makes farting noises when you squeeze it. It is the dumbest thing EVER. My adolescent gremlin has been ‘borrowing’ it from one of his friends for over a week, and I loathe the stupid thing. Y’all want to know what it’s called? Take a wild guess. It’s a genius name, or so I’m told. It’s called … The Pooter. Not. Even. Kidding. Within the last few weeks, I had the pleasure of watching the movie Idiocracy, and I wonder if that’s what our future generation is actually going to look like. Here it is, The Pooter:

So, as I was giving the death stare to The Pooter my gremlin was holding, he pulled out his cell phone and showed me a video. I watched it, and I laughed. I’m so mad that I laughed, but his friend’s reaction was hilarious. Here it is for your enjoyment:

I always thought I would have a girl, but I managed to churn out gremlins instead. I’m a little bit of a girly girl. I like fixing my hair, doing my make-up, painting my nails and all that jazz. I have lovely smelling lotions in every bathroom along with perfumes and pretty little bottles of deliciously smelling soaps. As I paint my nails, I get to hear my gremlins discuss the fact that I literally just painted my nails two days ago. I want to give them the bird, but I continue painting my nails and let it roll off because I know their sense of time sucks. It had been a week since I painted my nails, and I wasn’t going to be needled by gremlins that can’t find a massive bottle of ketchup in the fridge when it is literally almost smacking them in the face when they open the stupid doors. #micdrop

This is my life. On the bright side, when I have other gremlins over, I have the pleasure of listening to them “rap”. My gremlin says he’s the producer because he’s good at editing. I always tell them to shoot for the stars and to dream big, so I will never be the one to tell them they can’t do something because the odds are against them. That it’s impossible. I believe the impossible is possible. You will hear so many noes in your life, folks, but it only takes one yes. Life is about learning from your mistakes. It’s about chasing the impossible dream. Maybe these boys never make it rapping. Maybe I never make it writing. But, when we leave this Earth and take our last breath, at least we tried.

~Tiff~  #momofgremlins

Never Give Up🏆

Y’all, today I feel accomplished. Today, I harbor hope in my heart as I stare at the typed papers in front of me. I finished editing my next novel, which I am pretty stoked about.

*insert screaming girl who’s jumping up and down like an idiot*

Yeah, that excited.

I’ve been working on my craft for a few years, and I have grown in leaps and bounds with each story. Some people might move on if they didn’t catch a break with their first manuscript, or their second, but if you love doing something, you don’t quit. It’s that simple.

You see, dreams aren’t a sprint. They’re a marathon.

Dare to imagine the impossible. Chase your dreams. Even if you’re wheezing along the way.

In life I’ve learned there will be doors you knock on that will never open for you, but just because those doors stay closed doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t knock on the next one. It’s during the moments that you stand in front of a closed door that determines how much you really want something.

Keep moving.

Keep improving.

But most of all, keep believing.

~Tiff~

Ashyer Black – Query Letter

I’ve been pretty quiet when it comes to putting my query letter out there for people to review and see. Of course, I’m not counting any family or friends who read through it, helped edit it, and all that jazz. I love them, and I appreciate their advice, but I think they’re a little partial and completely biased. As I’m getting older, I’m realizing that I need to put myself out there a little more to see if there are any words of wisdom from the strangers on the web. So, without further ado, here is my current query.

September 17, 2019

Dear Ms. Agent,

My name is Tiffany Berry, a once upon a time city girl dragged to a small, southern town in Kentucky by a redneck Marine, where I still stop my car for critters scampering across the road, much to the dismay of my neighbors. As a transplant to Kentucky, I have fallen in love with it over the past decade, which is why I weave it into my story. This girl bleeds blue, and I have read that you have a soft spot for BBN as well as animals, so I am hoping my story resonates with you. I am seeking representation for my completed 72,000-word young adult fantasy novel, ASHYER BLACK AND THE DRAGON STONE. Here’s a brief description.

Twelve-year-old Ashyer Black wasn’t always a slave, but that changed when the Noctis infiltrated every branch of government, every city, and even the smallest of rural towns, enslaving all the humans, including the children. Ashyer’s imprisoned in an orphanage with Kase, his only friend, who Ashyer has spent his life protecting. As Ashyer approaches this thirteenth birthday, fear pushes his friend, Kase, to the edge. As Ashyer clings to a strand of hope and defies the Noctis, someone from their past shows up where he least expects them to and breaks them free.

As they flee, Ashyer finds out he is made of magic. Not only is he made of magic, but he is a Venator, a magic creature who comes into their powers right before their thirteenth birthday. He barely has time to come to terms with it before he is shipped off to Magtech Vocational Academy (M.V.A.), School of Magic and Technology.

At M.V.A., Ashyer learns about the Noctis—once Venators that turned to using forbidden, dark magic. During the school’s annual Sortilege Ceremony, Ashyer’s scroll marks the path to the Dragon Stone – one of the stones keeping Arsen Valdis, master of the Noctis, locked up to where he can’t destroy every world. Ashyer is determined to end the Noctis’ reign of slavery over Earth, but secrets unfold, and warnings are given as Ashyer and his friends prepare for the journey to recover the Dragon Stone, removing it from Arsen’s control forever.

ASHYER BLACK AND THE DRAGON STONE is about the power of friendship and the bonds of family—even when it isn’t by blood.

I’d be happy to send you the entire manuscript. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yep, that’s it, ladies and gents. I’m hoping that other fellow writers going through the querying process have niblets of information to pass along.

Tiff

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