Sunday, January 21, 2007

Why Haven't You Called?

In my local newspaper today is an article on why prospective employees don't always hear back when they apply for a job. They broke the list down into eight possible reasons and the comparison to waiting to hear on a query is downright spooky! Let's try an exercise. Replace terms like employer, application, resume, and job, with editor/agent, query letter, first three chapters, and publishing deal. Do any of these sound familiar?

1. You're targeting big name companies who receive thousands of applications each day. Consider targeting small or mid-size companies who often have trouble locating qualified candidates. Don't give up your dream company, but keep your eyes and ears open for other opportunities.

2. You don't follow directions. One employer may require applications by email, another may prefer traditional mail. Make sure you carefully read the directions and follow them to the letter. If you don't, your application will probably never reach the hiring manager.

3. You need to update your resume. Sending out the same old cover letter to all companies doesn't capture the attention of prospective employers. Hiring managers want to know why you're a good fit for their company specifically.

4. Your cover letter isn't enticing. The best cover letters take select details from your resume and expand upon them.

5. You don't reference keywords. Companies that receive a high volume of applications often use filtering software to find key words in cover letters that reflect directly on the job.

6. Application materials aren't perfect. Submitting an application containing typos, misspelled words and grammatical errors is the quickest way to foil your chances.

7. You don't follow up. Often a brief phone call or email reasserting your interest and strong qualifications will renew your application in the pile.

8. You're not as qualified as you think. Before submitting your resume, take a good, long look at the job description and compare your skills and experience with those required.


Which of these issues might be holding you back?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Dream Come True

Well, the day has finally arrived. Today I opened my front door and found a large box on my porch. With the holidays over, I knew I wasn't expecting any packages and the return address gave me absolutely no clue that it was anything but books. Now I routinely get packages filled with books, but this was much larger than my typical Amazon box. And then...Eureka! It hit me.

These were copies of MY book! Yes, friends, my book.





That means, in just a few weeks, it will be available in bookstores around the country, as well as on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com.

Can I share with you how exciting it was to actually hold my book, with a cover and bound pages, in my hand? I'm walking on helium! My heart feels about ready to fly out of my chest with excitement and my feet just wanna dance.

So when you feel like giving up because you doubt you can make your dream come true, remember me. Think of this moment, and realize you can do anything if you just believe in yourself!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I've Been Tagged!

The lovely Deb has seen fit to challenge me to join in her reindeer game. So...okay. (Deep breath) Here goes:

1. What's your favorite song? Ever? Aw, Jeez. That changes hourly. But the one song that always gets me singing at the top of my lungs, no matter where I am, is Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves.

2. Name the top 3 favorite vacations you've had: London--hands down! Followed by Jamaica and Cancun.

3. Name the top 3 vacations you'd like to have: Wine tasting in the French countryside might be nice. And of course, Hawaii. For the third, back to London.

4. Who's your favorite romance author? I absolutely love J.D. Robb's "In Death" series. But Bertrice Small's historicals from the 80's (The O'Malley saga, The Leslie series, etc.) are still my all-time faves.

5. Name your top 5 favorite all-time books: Besides Bertrice's? Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baronness Orcy, The Mummy by Anne Rice, and The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss (I have an entire collection of Sneetches).

6. If you are/were married, how'd you meet your spouse? In a club called Crawdaddy's in Amityville. Urban legend says my husband bet his best friend five dollars he'd leave with me that night. (He didn't leave with me, but he did leave with my phone number.)

7. What's your favorite food/beverage to have when writing or working? Coffee!

8. If you had your choice, name the top three agents you'd want to represent you. I don't have a real "top three." My ideal of a top agent to represent me is someone who feels as passionate about my work as I do, understands my quirks and insecurities, and calls me back or sends a follow up email without my having to chase him/her down. (Oh! And it helps if (s)he remembers my name when we're having lunch together at a National conference!)

9. Harrison Ford, Colin Firth, Denzel Washington, Patrick Dempsey, Keifer Sutherland, or Jamie Foxx (pick only one.) No contest. Colin.

10. LAST QUESTION (ala Barbara Walters to Katharine Hepburn) If you could be a tree, what kind of tree would you be? A shoe tree (filled with all my favorite designers and styles!)

My turn to tag someone? I think I'll give this to Jerri. Have fun, kiddo!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Another Sneak Peek

Another peek at The Bonds of Matri-money: this time an introduction to Connell MacAllister.

Connell slammed his palm over the newspaper article, pushing it across the desktop. "A reality game show? How about we run off to Atlantic City and hit the casinos? We'd have better odds."

"But don't you see? This," Renata tapped a finger atop the black type, "is our chance to get out from under."

Leaning back in the soft leather chair, he stared at the speckled dots in the ceiling tiles. He silently counted to ten at least three times, but resentment rose in his throat like smoke up a chimney. When she'd called an hour ago and asked to see him, he thought she had a real solution for their problems. Instead, she showed up peddling a pipe dream.

"First of all, we're not newlyweds; we're not even a couple."

She waved off his concern with a flick of her wrist. "A quick trip to City Hall could remedy that," she said. "Unless you have some other emotional attachment at the moment?"

Amazed at her audacity, he leaned across the metal desk and knocked on her forehead. "Is anyone in there? You're not suggesting we get married, are you?"

She pulled away from his reach with a frown. "Why not? It could be a business arrangement. Contestants must be newlyweds married less than a year. We could pretend to be a couple madly in love for a month, couldn't we? It's for a good cause."

"And what happens if we don't make it on the show?"

"We get a quickie divorce, irreconcilable differences or some such nonsense. What's the big deal? Look how many celebrities get drunk in Las Vegas, marry someone totally inappropriate and call it quits when they sober up."

"We're not celebrities, Renata. And I'm not sure I want to become one, thanks to televised exposure in some freak show."

"You've seen how these survival shows operate. For heaven's sake, you're a master carpenter; I'm a registered nurse. Between the two of us, we could handle anything they throw our way. When we win, we use part of the money to get Majestic Health Contractors back in the black. The rest, we split, fifty-fifty."

"I'll think about it. Okay?"

Sensing she might argue, he focused on the contract atop his desk, signaling an end to the meeting. Through the filter of his lashes, he watched her fold the newspaper before tucking it in her purse. The air stirred, revitalizing her exotic perfume. His nose sent silent messages to his mind, subtle invitations to envelop himself in her sweet aroma. He shook the feeling away.

Renata was off-limits, his business partner, nothing more. And she was involved with someone else. Okay, maybe not anymore, but that didn't mean he wanted to be her rebound man.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

In Memoriam

This morning I learned of the loss of someone very special, which I wish to share with you, for reasons that are purely my own.

On December 21, 2006, the writing world lost a barely discovered talent: a lady of incomparable faith and spirit with an extraordinary capacity for love. Geri E. Davis, author of Pray With Purpose, was a dear friend and critique partner. When my brother-in-law was facing his bone marrow transplant, Geri was right there with words of hope, compassion, and wishes for his full recovery. Having experienced the transplant herself, Geri held herself up as an example of the patient who'd come thru the medical hell, and was still around to fight the good fight. I will miss her enthusiasm, her patience, and her presence in my life.

Hug those you love; remember to tell them how much they mean to you.