Saturday, December 26, 2009


Those who know me, know I love to fish. Whenever I can, I sneak away with a rod and bait. Unfortunately, I live in Prairie Land, so that's not often.

The other day I was really fed up with my current MS, and so I was ranting and raving away. And remembering a rather frustrating fishing trip last summer in whih I caught nothing, I compared getting an agent to catching a fish. And I think it holds true. You need the right kind of bait to catch the right kind of fish. Sometimes you have sit on the water for hours and hours and you catch nothing. Sometimes you get a nibble, and if you're lucky, you catch that little bastard and pull him into your boat. And voila! You have dinner.

And that's it. It doesn't take much to catch a fish. Just your supplies and your never-ending barrel of paitence. And that's the same with a book. You don't need to have your book and your side and a never-ending barrel of paitence.

And of course, eventually, you'll get there.

I love a good metaphor. Peace,


Monday, December 14, 2009

Movie Review: The Princess and the Frog

Movie review by: Katie Carson
Characters: Disney took a new spin on a clasic fairy tale, and boy did they do it right! The story focuses on Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) and Naveen (Bruno Campos). Of course, Prince Naveen, the smooth-talking, spoiled little prince boy dabbles in voodoo and gets himself turned into a frog. He mistakes hard-working no-nonsense Tiana as a princess one night at a costume party and requests a kiss. Of course, it backfires because Tiana isn't a real princess, and she's turned into a frog. With the shadow man after them, Tiana and Naveen have to find a way to turn themselves back into humans. Tiana and Naveen are polar oppoisites at the beginning of the film, and like all great characters, they grow and change. Naveen learns that maybe it's okay to start learning to take care of himself and Tiana starts to relax and have fun. The characters are what make this movie great. From their accents, to expressions and general body language, these characters are thought out! They're complex to the point where you could believe they may pop out and introduce themselves. Years of planning went into these characters, and it certainly paid off.
I decree: 5/5
Plot: Character driven, as most Disney movies are. But what I love is how each character ties back in a significant way. The childhood friends become a defining character, many moments you thought were insignificant come back. Little hints are throughout the film as to what's coming up, and I believe one should watch this movie more than once. There were a few nitpicky things that I do have to point out. There was one character that I felt wasn't unecessary, but should've had a greater role. But it's a children's film, and some complexities need to be left out.
Regardless, I decree 5/5
Fundementals: The fact that Tiana is black is not an issue. My friend, whom I saw the movie with, told me he was worried that issues or stereotypes would be brought up with an african-american princess, but no racial problems arose. There was a mention of her "upbringing" by a nasty little character that was merely meant to be a representation of how people look down on her becausme she isn't white. However, it's very subtle. I think the fact that Tiana was a frog through most of the film helped too. Overall, I love handdrawn animation. Nothing gets more natural than going back to your roots, and this film proved it. The beauty matched some of Disney's classics! It avoided all stereotypes, managed to keep a very balenced cast. And the music! Wonderful Disney music!
I dub: 5/5
Overall: See it. Then see it again. Then, go see it again. That's what I did.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Let's talk about Rejection.

Several agents tell writers not to give advice about queries. Though writers do write about a million queries in their writing careers, they're not the ones reading them day in and day out. The agents know what's best when it comes to queries, and when in doubt, research your agent. Odds are they have a blog, and if they have a blog, then they will have mentioned queries. Some good resources are Nathan Brandsford, Queryshark, Absolutewrite, Kristin Nelson has some interesting client queries on her side pannel, and many more resources are availible, including Guide to Literary Agents which has a lovely few chapters devoted to query writing, and of course many more places to find answers for all your query questions.

There is no need for me to explain how to write a good query. You can find that answer anywhere. Not to mention that since I don't have an agent yet, I'm not really one to tell anyone how its done.

However, as a writer, I think I can talk about rejection better than anyone else. I can't count the amount of writers that I've met that give up when rejection after rejection gets them down.

It's hard. There's no way around it. Publishing is HARD. Writing comes down to stubbornness. How many people do you know who say, "I'd love to start a book, but I don't have the time." or, "I've never been able to finish anything." Determination. Stubbornness. That's what it comes down to. You need that obnoxious stubbornness to finish the damn book, then you need it to edit the damn book and that tough skin to take the criticisms. And then you need to keep going through the querying process, all the ups and downs that come with it. It's stubbornness, baby, and maybe a little bit of luck.

People think I'm crazy. Everybody who knows me says, "Katie, you're too optimistic for your own good." I'm optimistic about pretty much everything. I've been through some hard times in my life, and I don't see the point in thinking about all the bad things that have happened when I could be looking at the good things.

Let me take you through the process of recieving a rejection: Whenever I recieve an email from an agent I've quieried, I get really nervous and excited. When I open the damn thing, I read through, hoping for a request, and when I see that it's a rejection, my heart sinks a little. Why wouldn't it? I take a moment to dwell, "Was it my query? The idea? Did something else set them off?" Then I add it to my saved folder collection and get excited. I honestly do.

You must be thinking: "Excited at a rejection? Katie, what's wrong with you?"

I know. I'm weird. And that doesn't work for most people. Some people can't be blindly optimistic. But if I have advice for those that do have trouble accepting rejection, then when you get that R, take a deep breath. Just sit at your computer, take a deep breath in, and think of something to make you happy. Then, remind yourself of the goal. Why are you going through all of this pain? Why, to get published!

Think of you name in print, in bookstores across the country, no, across the world! Think of getting emails from agents praising your work, from readers who you've touched. Imagine that fat roytalty check in your mail. Think of Steven Speilberg directing the film of your book. Imagine thousands of fans screaming in excitement when you leave your house.

Then tell yourself: I will get there.

That's all it takes. Reinforce yourself. Take a drink of wine, have some chocolate, watch your favorite movie, and tell yourself: this is just a setback. This agent will be kicking themselves when my name is in lights. After you've recovered the shock of having your baby rejected, (And such brilliance it is, too!) get out there and send off some more queries! Or revise your query! Or take another look at your ms.

But when it comes down to it: Never give up. Because dreams do come true. ;)



Sunday, December 6, 2009


So, I was looking around and found this article about self-publishing. And I would have to say I pretty much agree with what Max Dunbar has to say.

Self-publishing is hard, and it costs a lot of money. I'v always been adverse to it, since I heard "Money flows TO the writer" and I fully believe that. You are sellling something, you shouldn't have to pay to be able to sell it. On average, self publishing can cost 12-17 thousand dollars. Now, while in a book-store recently I met a young woman who had self-published and said that after spending fifty thousand dollars, her book was in almost every bookstore in the city and she was hoping to get picked up by a bigger publisher so she could send her books all over the country. At the very least.

And here's what it comes back to. The publishers. I don't think any self-published author would say, "No thanks" to a publishing company that wanted to publish their book. That's the big break they wait for. That's how they make lots of money. You can't make a profit with self-publishing. With all the money you spend and then you try and get your book to sell country-wide? It's hard to make up that lost money.

But it's not about the money, it's about getting your art out there, right?

And once you're picked up by that publisher, you will get to stop paying for all the transportation and printing and ads. The publisher will do that.

Lets see. If you go the traditional route, what does publishing contain for an author? You query an agent. They read your manuscript. You sign with the agent (usually after a little banter and some fixing up of your manuscript). The agent sells it to a publishing house. You work with an editor and keep working on your book until it's deemed ready to be published. Then you can promote your book, or not.

Now how does this differ from self-publishing? Oh yeah, you don't have to pay $50 000 dollars to get there. Self-published books tend to be a lower quality anyway.

Most people claim they like self-publishing because it gives them control. They control EVERYTHING. Which can be nice. Gods knows I'd love to be able to pick my cover and say no when my editor says he wants to change my title. But that control comes at a price. A literal price.

I think there are merits to self-publishing, and there are some people who really make it that way. A Promise of Hope began as a self-published book and totally took off. I met Autumn Stringam and she was fabulous. She perservered through hard times and her book sold really well. She's carried under HarperCollins and since then expanded herself as a writer. I can respect people who make it through self-publishing, because it takes a lot of work and perserverance. But a lot of people seem to use it as an easy way to become a published author. The people who use self-publishing, or vanity publishing, just to brag that they have a book.

I can respect people who actually make it through self-publishing, but it all seems like a lot of unecessary work. Querying is not easy, but it's a hell of a lot easier than spending $50 000 dollars.



Friday, December 4, 2009

Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

By: Jay Asher
Book Review By: K. Carson
Characters: The book focuses mostly on Clay, from his first person POV, the other half of the book focuses on Hannah, and her first person POV. As you may or may not know, I'm very adverse to first person. I feel it's very limiting. I like to dig into secondary characters heads, which is something you can't really do in first person. But this book had to be told in first person, and so I was totally okay with that.
There were so many characters in this book that it should have been confusing, but Asher handled himself beautifully. Clay and Hannah were wonderfully constructed. They were just normal kids. You didn't get to see all the reasons for Hannah's depression and need to turn to suicide, which left delightful hints and room for exploration into Hannah's character. (I love ambiguious anything in a book!) Clay is the perfect example of someone who goes through that kind of pain-- he's lost, he's scared, and he just wants to understand what happened.
I decree: 5/5 stars.
Plot: Oh my god! The plot in this book is so devilish! It keeps twisting and turning and every time Hannah went to name another person, you could feel the tension. It made me want to skip lines just to figure it all out! The story is about a dark subject-- suicide-- but it's not suffocating. Asher wrote it to tell a message, not to drown us in teenage sorrows. I adored that aspect. The book was mostly about the characters and the consequences of their actions. Every choice a character made, it came back to haunt them in some way. It made for a very inter-connected read.
I decree: 5/5 stars.
Fundimentals: The tension was wound so thick I read it straight through, from the moment I bought it to the moment I finished. The tension is what makes this book wonderful. The only real problem I had with the book's writing style was the fact that BOTH Clay and Hannah were in first person. I understood the necessity, but half-way through the book it was sometimes difficult to tell who was talking, since it went back and forth rather rapidly. Sometimes I would have to stop and re-read to understand who was speaking. I believe that one of them-- probably Clay-- should have been written in third person just to make it clear.
I decree: 4/5 stars.
Overall: A fabulous book I would recomend to anyone. Besides the mention of rape, I think it's not at all inappropriate for younger audiences. It spreads a good message at the end, I believe. Hannah may be angry, but she does do some good. Buy it for someone on your christmas list, I guarentee they won't be disappointed!
Final outcome: 14/15 stars.

People need a good whack on the head sometimes.

What is wrong with people these days? Okay, sure, I'm not one for e-readers, I will probably never like them more than having a paper book in my hands, but you gotta admit-- they're handy, enviornmental, and smaller than carrying around fifteen books.

But apparently that's not good enough for this guy. Alan Kaufman is comparing e-books to the Holocast and Nazi reign. Is he crazy? Is every technical advancement "the end of the world"? Yes, the Nazis did do a lot of nasty experiments and did a lot of horrible things, but e-readers being a Nazi's dream?

"And when I hear the term Kindle, I think not of imaginations fired but of crematoria lit."

How could someone say something so horrible? Every time people want to demonstrate how much they hate something, they compare it to the Nazi's, or the Holocast. "Bush is a Nazi." "Obama's a Nazi." "So-and-so will cause the next Holocast."

It's for shock value, mainly. So many people have attached so many horrible ideas to Hitler and the Holocast, that the second they compare something to them, they expect the public to attach their feelings for the Holocast onto this thing they hate.

Yes, publishers can track what you read through an e-reader. I don't like it, but you can be tracked through your purchases at bookstores and your library checkouts. You can lend out a book, and you can just as easily lend out an e-reader.

People these days....



Of course, I am kinda late on this, but...

I think we all know about The Rejectionist's Form Letter Contest. Of course, me being me, once I started a blog I had to mention it. Though the winners had long since been decided, I think we all knew who really should have won.

I blame my little Poe heart.



As a child....

I think we all did crazy things as children. I recall a time when I would come home from playing with frogs or worms or other crazy things I'd found. Needless to say, I was more chaotic than my older brother, who only ever played street hockey.

One of the things I had decided as a kid was that I hated my name. I felt there was no plainer name out in the world than "Katie." My real name was Kathryn, but that wasn't good enough for me either. I made up many names in my childhood, Emily, Ryn, Crystal. But of course, I kept coming back to that darn 'Katie' again.

I think a lot of authors still have that mentality of not liking their names. I know many kids who would change their names every other day. But as an adult, (though sometimes I question that I really am one) I've come to really question why authors would use a pen name.

As someone who's dreamt of being a published author since I was little, I always wanted my name on the front of the book, staring at everyone as they passed by in the bookstore. I always wanted people who'd I haven't seen in a long while to pick up my book and recognize my name. I wanted to be out there. (Except for a brief period when I considered the penname of Crystal Lighte. That was far before Crystal Light was around, however.)

Luckily, there are some things that don't change from when you're a kid. My love of writing never faded, and the fact that I wanted to be a published author didn't change, despite what name I wanted to be on the cover.