Monthly Archives: June 2014

Going ‘Behind the Scenes’ with Dahlia Adler!

I am very excited this week to congratulate Dahlia Adler–talented writer, brilliant blogger, social media maven, and all around sweetheart–on the release of her debut YA novel, BEHIND THE SCENES!

To celebrate, Dahlia is having a fun release tour where she has asked all of us who are participating to share a little bit about her book and then share a “behind the scenes” peek into some aspect of our own writing.

First things first! Here’s the deets on Dahlia’s book:
behind-the-scenes-adler-coverHigh school senior Ally Duncan’s best friend may be the Vanessa Park — star of TV’s hottest new teen drama — but Ally’s not interested in following in her BFF’s Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally’s ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father’s mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van’s on-set assistant to get the cash she needs.

Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors’ publicist arranges for Van and Liam to “date” for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she’s capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can’t play by Hollywood’s rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love.

Want to read it, like, yesterday? I thought so!

Check it out on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, and don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads list!

Now, for a quick peek behind the scenes at my writing routine. I work full time and am an active volunteer with my church and two local writing groups, so people often ask me, “When do you find time to write?”

The answer: First thing in the morning. In fact, that’s the only time I can write. By the time I get home from work (where I do a lot of writing, BTW), I am wiped and want to do nothing that requires more brainpower than watch “Wheel of Fortune” (which I totally rock at, BTW).

So, as soon as I get up, I take a half-hour walk. This wakes me up and gets the blood flowing to my brain. Here’s a shot from this morning’s walk:


Looks peaceful, huh? Great way to start the morning.

Next, I spend about 40 minutes writing. Here’s where all the magic happens … on my bed, on my Mac, with Little D beside me:

Demitria on Bed

Granted, 40 minutes a day is slow going (that’s why it takes me so long to write novel, folks!). But every book ever written was written one word at a time. For anyone out there who is struggling to find time to write, start with 40 minutes. Heck, start with 20 minutes. Carve it out of your day, and stick to it. And if you do that every day, eventually you’ll have a book. Having an adorable puppy by your side helps, too.

Lucky 7: A Sneak Peek at My Next Novel

The brilliant and talented C.J. Burright has tagged me to participate in the “Lucky Seven” meme that’s going around in the writing community.

Here’s how it works: I have to turn to page 7 or 77 of my current work in progress, count down to the 7th line, and print the next 7 lines. Fun, huh?

This is from page 7 of my manuscript, a young adult contemporary which shall remain unnamed for now and which is about three-fourths of the way finished (woohoo!):

mermaid“Everyone, this is Ember. Ember, this is … everyone.”

“Everyone who matters,” one girl said.

Ember could swear she saw Claire roll her eyes.

As she sat down, she could feel them watching, sizing her up. She was glad she’d let her mom talk her into toning things down here. She’d penciled on a little less eyeliner than she wore back home, sported a cami under her shirt to cover up her cleavage, and lost her ever-present silver mermaid ear cuff. If anyone looked closely enough, they might have wondered why she had three tiny tan lines circling the cartilage of her right ear.

What do you think? Want to know more about Ember and that mermaid ear cuff? Well, I’m hoping to send this manuscript to my publisher by the end of the summer … and we’ll see where it goes from there!

Now, it’s my turn to tag some folks. I hereby tag:

Lisa Amowitz
Rachel Schieffelbein
Cassie Mae
Lindsay Eland

Queries That Work: My Own!

fs_cover_smallFor this edition of Queries That Work, I thought I would share the query I wrote for THE FUNERAL SINGER. I’ve talked a bit about my path to publication on this blog, but I haven’t yet shared the “pitch” I made for the book.

I wrote a few versions of my query–all somewhat similar–but the one I’m going to share is the one I wrote for an online contest called Pitch Wars. The point of that query was not to woo an agent or publisher, but to convince one of the contest’s mentors that they would want to work with me and my manuscript.

There are a couple of reasons I picked this query to share. First, it contains the fewest spoilers. Second, it was successful in attracting the interest of not just one, but all three of the potential mentors I “queried.” And third, it ultimately succeeded in hooking one of the mentors–Erica Chapman, whose mentorship proved critical in improving the book–and led to my connection with my agent, Andrea Somberg.

QUERY: The Funeral Singer by Linda Budzinski (Swoon Romance YA, 2013)

Dear Erica:

Singing part-time at her father’s funeral home, seventeen-year-old Melanie Martin has witnessed her share of lame eulogies and uninspired epitaphs. She knows one thing for sure: She’s going to make her mark on the world. She’ll be remembered as more than someone’s “loving mother” or “devoted wife.”

When Mel’s impromptu rendition of “Amazing Grace” at a local rock star’s graveside service goes viral on YouTube, she realizes her aspirations, and then some. Overnight she’s transformed from the Freaky Funeral Girl into an Internet phenom.

In her rise to celebrity, Mel turns her back on the things that once mattered most to her — chorus, family, even one of her best friends. But fame can be a fleeting fantasy, and when Mel makes a very public (and of course videotaped) fool of herself at her high school prom, she discovers that creating splashy headlines as the pop star du jour is not at all the same as creating real, lasting memories.

Mixing humor, romance and a slight dash of the macabre, my 53,000-word contemporary YA novel THE FUNERAL SINGER takes AUDREY, WAIT! and drops it onto the set of SIX FEET UNDER.

I have worked for nearly twenty-five years in non-profit communications and marketing, including eighteen years at the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association — an experience I’ve drawn upon to add realistic detail to the novel’s setting.

In writing this manuscript, I worked closely with former Dial editor Alisha Niehaus Berger, who called the story “commercial with a good heart and some serious core messages.” My queries to date have resulted in many “positive rejections,” and so I am excited about the possibility of working with you to take the manuscript from “almost there” to “yes, please.”

Thank you for your consideration.

Best wishes,

Linda Acorn Budzinski

I lucked out with this query in that Erica loves rock bands, AUDREY, WAIT! and Six Feet Under. What a perfect match! And the rest, as they say, was history….