Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Chapter Open-Hooks

Today Erica, over at Erica Writes, posted the end-hooks to her novel. Since I posted my end-hooks when she posted her beginning-hooks, I thought I'd flip and give you the chapter opening hooks of my novel Blink.

1) “Doesn’t anything work right in this place any more?”
2) “Well, you’ve brought me this far. What now?”
3) Stony silence greeted her from the opposite chair.
4) From somewhere inside the store a bell rang and a male voice rang out.
5) Mary sat straight up in bed, a half-formed scream lodged in her throat.
6) The remainder of the day was a blur to Mary.
7) “What makes this thing go?” asked John.
8) The sky was beginning to brighten in front of them as they drove down the steep incline of a long forgotten road.
9) Dawn was just breaking over the horizon when its first pink rays lit upon the battlements. The light glinted from the strange steel of the twisted fencing and from the metal crosses thrust into the ground like knives pointed toward the city.
10) On the second day out from the city, Mary caught a glimpse of something ahead of them. In the distance, a great black mass rose up from the flat expanse of wasteland.
11) “For shame for shame cry ed… cry-ed?... cried the lay dees… maid. What show king… shocking conduct miss I-ree…"
12) “Hey, Joe! Would you look at this!”
13) True to his word, Joe guided the vehicle off the main roadway and toward a great building of steel and glass. In front of the structure was a sea of human bodies, each waiting for the first glimpse of the ‘othersiders’, as Joe had called them.
14) The last person to leave was the tiny woman who’d brought Mary water. “I’m sorry about my colleagues,” she said. “When you are charged with the task of governing, you have to think on behalf of everyone.”
15) The bridge loomed dark above her and the voices drifted down from its unbroken expanse like gulls calling out over the bay.
16) “Miss Jones? There’s someone here to see you.”
17) Hours later when the car landed where the road to Wastondecy met the forest, Mary was still lost in thought.
18) “I’m almost disappointed they haven’t re-manned the old battlements for us,” Daniel joked as they looked toward the inner barrier.
19) The sun was full in the sky when they reached the creaking wharfs.
20) Other than a single glaring bulb illuminating her stark white surroundings, she was alone.
21) “Where the hell have you been?” Jason barked.
22) “Kyle? Take ten men and circle around the left side of the perimeter. Jason? Another ten on the right.”
23) “Should we shut off the feed?” Mary looked up to see one of the men pointing to the vidcam. Its controller had left it on and the unmanned device was now pointing downward toward the Steward’s limp and oozing shell.
24) A tired band tramped through the doors of the old school building.
25) After the argument had wound down to a sullen agreement to disagree, Parker suggested the two of them seek out the proof they were lacking.
26) Minutes later, he found her pacing in what used to be a library. “Very impressive,” he said.
27) Night was creeping upon them as Daniel delivered the news of Russell’s disappearance, and Mary raced down hallways made surreal by the dim flickering light of ancient fluorescent bulbs.

Doing this is actually educational. I didn't realize how many times I opened the chapter with some fact about the time of day, for instance. I also noticed these aren't very hook-ish. Thank goodness I'm editing this book right now, so I can fix that stuff. (BTW, the endings will have changed, too. Sorry.)

I invite you writers to post some of your beginning and/or end hooks for your chapters. Or at the very least pull them out and look at them against each other. You might be surprised how much it helps your writing.

(And if you do join in the fun, let me know so I can stop by and take a look.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Simmering Ideas

Sometimes my brain is just a big dutch oven. I have all of these ideas thrown in there and each one isn't just sitting there stagnant. It's simmering.

Take this idea I had last year for a quirky little mystery. I didn't know much about what I was going to do with it. Actually I only had the name of the protagonist, but it's such an awesome name I knew I had to write his story someday.

The thing about simmering in my head is I never know when something is going to bubble to the surface. Today, the little mystery simmered to the top, bubbled forth the opening paragraphs and promptly sunk back down into stew. First two paragraphs are, if you'll pardon the dock-worker speak, fucking awesome.

I could kiss myself.

Unfortunately, I just got two incredible paragraphs. Or maybe I should say fortunately. The story isn't going anywhere, and I have three other stories demanding my attention right now. This story, tentatively called "Hard Candy" will still be there when I'm ready to write it.

Thank goodness I write them all down. I never know when one of them is going to pop out of the storeroom and smack me around.

Do any of you have stories you know someday are going to be killer, but you just haven't been ready to write them yet?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Starting Over (or v5.1)

Partway through the fifth edit of Blink--and after I just finished telling my CP I couldn't figure out what was wrong with the beginning--I decided to start over on the edit. I think I figured out what was wrong. It wasn't the story, it was the way I was telling it. Yup. The storytelling sucked right at the beginning.

I never finished edit #5, so saying I was on #6 seemed dishonest. So... I restarted the edit and renamed it v5.1. Taking a page from the computer programmers, I guess.

This seems to be doing the trick, so I'm running with it. I should be able to resume my previous edit after I fix the first two chapters. Yay.

I love it when a plan comes together.

The Rejections Are Getting Nicer

My short "Haudego" got a lovely rejection from Abyss and Apex Speculative Fiction yesterday. (Yes, those folks were working on a holiday. )

Dear :ME:

Thank you for submitting "Haudego" to ABYSS & APEX. It was well received here, but after some thought we have decided not to accept it for publication.

I hope you'll consider us again, and I wish you the best success in placing this story elsewhere.

Best Regards,

I'm not sure what 'well-received' actually means in lit journal speak, but I'm taking it to mean more than just a nicer way of saying No. I'm thinking perhaps the story wasn't speculative enough.

Haudego is an experimental piece for me. It's told almost entirely in the form of entries from the digital voice diary of a scholar/scientist looking for a cure to something he believes is man's worst malady, and what happens when he finds it. It's along the lines of 'be careful what you wish for' and 'things aren't always what they seem'.

I'd tell you more about it, but then what would be the point? Someday, if I discover I can't sell it, I'll post it here, but that day's far off and I can be awfully stubborn about recognizing when something won't sell.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day Thoughts Pt2

(Image created by Cox & Forkum - Thanks guys, for all you draw and all you do. If you like this picture, please visit their website and support their endeavors.)  *Image deleted to prevent any potential copyright issues*

Memorial Day Thoughts

It seems a bit inappropriate to wish you all a happy Memorial Day. Today is a day for remembering those who have gone before us, and while we should keep the happier memories of those people alive inside us, the day itself isn't filled with happiness in the same way as some holidays.

Surfing around the web this morning, I've seen a lot of people talking about the men in military service, the fallen heroes of our country, and the war-that's-not-a-war itself. Today is a day for remembering those men. They deserve it. (The WTNAW - whatever your opinion is of it - should have NO bearing on your thoughts of the men in the military.) I am, however, not going to talk about that today.

For me, Memorial Day is also a day for remembering those people who have made some difference to our lives, and who are now gone from it. It should be more than visiting a gravesite and placing gaudy decorations (and if you've ever seen some of the cemeteries in Utah on Memorial Day, you understand what I mean), or making today one of the few days of the year to raise our nation's flag. Memorial Day should be a day to take some time for quiet contemplation of the memories of our lost loved ones.

I remember when I was five, and my father took my fishing. It was a pretty special event, because Dad never took girls with him on any manly outing, and he took me. I was so proud.

The creek was only about a mile from the house, and I'm sure if it had been just me brothers fishing, they would have set off down the road like Tom Saywer and Huck Finn. Instead, we stowed all our gear into the old station wagon and piled in - Dad, both of my brothers and me.

After we arrived, all of us walked down to a bend in the creek and settled ourselves near the huge old willow with its branches draping gracefully into the slow moving waters. It was the perfect place to fish. The fat bass loved to hide in the shadows of that tree, and the men-folk of my family knew just how to coax a bass out into the light. I wasn't trying for bass that day, though. I was set up with a worm on my hook and a bobber on my line, waiting for the cute bluegills or pretty sunfish to strike.

It was a warm day, slightly overcast but with no smell of rain in the air, and the fishing was good. All morning, my brothers and my father would pull fish after fish from the dark waters. All morning, fish after fish ate my worms and went merrily on their way. My father didn't care much. He would just rebait my hook and go back to his own pole.

As lunch approached, my ravenous little five-year-old stomach was ready, and when my middle brother mentioned food, my attention immediately went elsewhere. I didn't see my bobber dip into the water; I didn't see it jerk up and down excitedly. I set my rod down and toddled off in search of my own food. My father saw it, though. Too late.

By the time he reached where I'd laid my pole, it was disappearing beneath the surface of the water, headed upstream--hook, line, bobber and all.

I could make up a story where my father just laughed and said 'things happen', but that would be incorrect. My father cursed a blue streak, and made me sit on the bank for the rest of the day while he continued fishing. (Who could blame him? It was his favorite rod.) I didn't know it at the time, but my father taught me a valuable lesson. (Like many he taught me over the years that I didn't fully appreciate until I was older.) He taught me to pay attention to the task at hand, and not to let anything distract me from that task or I may just lose something important or valuable along the way. Over the years, he taught me that actions have consequences, but that day he taught me that inaction has consequences, too.

On this day, I hold my memories of him close to me. We lost him 5 years ago May 6th, and his 71st birthday would have been next week. I don't need today to remind me of him, but today more than any other brings the good memories floating to the surface.

I miss you, Dad, but you will never be gone from me. Not as long as I remember.

PS. Just in case you think I was forgetting our veterans, Dad was a USAF veteran of Korea and Vietnam. Thank you, soldiers, for keeping us free.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


2200 words last night on AWJ! Now that's what I call progress.

Today... Editing. Look out Blink, here I come.

Not Another Meme

I got tagged with another meme again. Ack. In the interest of fair play, and keeping my blog buddies happy, I accept these memes... Doesn't mean I like 'em or anything.

This one came from Liz Fenwick, one of my novel racing buddies. Thanks, Liz. This one looks useful and pertinent. So here goes:

1. Do you outline?
I'm assuming this question refers to pre-writing. (Because when I'm querying, I always have an outline just in case an agent asks for one.) Sometimes I outline and sometimes I don't. My current work - AWJ - is being written without one at the moment, but the farther I get into the story the more I see I'm going to need one.

2. Do you write straight through a book, or do you sometimes tackle the scenes out of order?
I write the book straight through. In the words of the Mad Hatter: "Start at the beginning and when you get to the end, stop." When I first read this question, though, I thought of writing straight through vs. writing a bit and then going back to edit before writing some more. I do that sometimes, and other times I write straight through without editing. Depends on the book and the mood.

3. Do you prefer writing with a pen or using a computer?
I do a bit of both. I prefer writing it out on the computer, but sometimes when the squirms have me, I need to step away and write longhand. It always shakes out the squirms for me.

4. Do you prefer writing in first person or third?
I prefer writing in third person, but I'm considering breaking loose of my comfort zone and trying a first person novel.

5. Do you listen to music while you write?
Again, this is a sometimes thing. Most often I prefer to have quiet - not always possible but preferable. Sometimes, though, when the scene is especially tense, I like to throw in a tape I made of heavy alternative. Something in the driving beat pushes me forward and gives me an edge.

6. How do you come up with the perfect names for your characters?
I never thought about it. I just sit down and think about the names for a while, pick a first name, try to find a last name that flows with it rhythmically, and Voila! they have a name.

7. When you're writing, do you ever imagine your book as a television show or movie?
I'm a child of the TV generation, so my imagination tends to play out like a scene in front of me. I can see my characters and the things they do, but only in a vague sort of way. If you asked me to draw any of them, I'd be hard-pressed to put together exact details, but I know them.

8. Have you ever had a character insist on doing something you really didn't want him/her to do?
I don't think of my characters or my stories in those terms. Whatever they're doing and whoever they are, I must want it that way or it wouldn't happen. I'm the writer, and this isn't a democracy. I could see this happening on an unconscious level, but I try not to let my unconscious run the show.

9. Do you know how a book is going to end when you start it?
In a general way, I always know where I'm going when I start out. The path from the beginning to the end may not always be the one I planned, and I may end up revising my original destination somewhere along the way, but I like to keep the end in mind.

10. Where do you write?
Right here. :wink: Okay, okay. I write at my desk for the most part. Again, unless the squirms have got me, and then I'm over on the couch. On a particularly lovely day, I've written outside on the patio, but it's too distracting out there.

11. What do you do when you get writer's block?
I prefer to think of it as 'the squirms' - a term I read from Ayn Rand in either The Art of Fiction or The Art of Nonfiction. When they come along, I stop what I'm doing and I attack my writing from a different perspective. Sometimes this means a physical break from my usual - I go to the couch and write with a red pen. Sometimes this means a mental break - when I set my WIP aside and write shorts or poems for a while. When it's bad, I stop writing all together and read for a while. If it's really bad, I go play poker until I can't stand myself any more and I have to write before I explode.

12. What size increments do you write in (either in terms of word count, or as a percentage of the book as a whole)?
Depends. I write as long as I need to, and as many words as it takes, when I sit down to work. It varies widely. Sometimes I'll sit here for a couple hours and only manage a few hundred words. Sometimes I get the same couple of hours and crank out a couple thousand. Sometimes I'll do one scene and sometimes I do as many scenes as I have in my head. Sometimes, it doesn't matter how many scenes I have in my head, my hands won't let me type them all up before I end up with two chicken-claw looking things on the end of my arms.

13. How many different drafts did you write for your last project?
My last project? Let's see... That one's not done. Neither is that one. So, if I had to count the number of drafts on my last ABSOLUTELY completed project, I'd have to say eight drafts. And those aren't counting the times I started over, edited while I was writing, or went back to fix something I just changed in the middle of the book (like my supporting character's first name).

14. Have you ever changed a character's name midway through a draft?
See above. I changed three minor characters' names midway through the book. I've never changed a main character's name, though.

15. Do you let anyone read your book while you're working on it, or do you wait until you've completed a draft before letting someone else see it?
No one sees my work until I feel like it's mostly finished. Not just a draft, but the final draft. Then they can look it over as I intended it, and as error-free as possible. Of course, they always manage to find something. ;o)

16. What do you do to celebrate when you finish a draft?
Not much of anything. I had planned to crack open a bottle of champagne when I finished the first draft of my first book, but *shrug* it never happened. Now, drafts are just drafts. I'll celebrate when I sign a contract to get them published.

17. One project at a time, or multiple projects at once?
For new words, only one at a time. I tried writing two WIPs at the same time and about drove myself batty. I usually have a WIP on the burner for during the week, and something to edit on the weekends. Right now, I'm writing a new book, and editing my third book, and re-editing my first book with my critique partner.

18. Do your books grow or shrink in revision?
They grow. When I'm in a groove, I tend to skip over description in dialogue, and whole connecting passages to get from one scene to the next. I have to go back and fill it all in, or it's like my words are fired from a machine-gun.

19. Do you have any writing or critique partners?
I have one critique partner and several beta readers. I don't have any writing partners. I don't work well in groups when it comes to anything creative. Too many cooks spoil the soup, if you catch my drift.

20. Do you prefer drafting or revising?
Forgive my ignorance, but what's the difference?

I'm not tagging anyone else with this, but if you're a writer and you're interested in sharing the answers, have fun. Just don't forget to leave a comment for me, so I can read your responses, too.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Agent Sites, Blogs, Etc.

Below is an incomplete list of US Literary Agents I have found over the course of my querying. If you have any additional information you'd like to add, please feel free to leave it in the comments, or to e-mail me with any additions. (As always, negative comments - directed toward a particular agent or not - will neither be tolerated nor posted. If you have a legimate verifiable problem with one of the agents below, e-mail me and I will consider removing their name from the list.) I've tried to verify that these agents are legimate and are either members of AAR or at least adhere to the AAR Canon of Ethics. As with anything, please do your own research to determine whether the information is helpful for your own situation and needs.

Partially Updated: 8/13/09 (Firebrand and Upstart Crow only)

The Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency
The Ahearn Agency
Alička Pistek Literary Agency
Anderson Literary Management, LLC (No longer accepting e-queries.)
Andrea Brown Literary Agency
Ann Rittenberg Literary Agency
Artists and Artisans, Inc. (Jamie Brenner's blog)
Artists Literary Group (Link now leads to The Veltre Company - "a dynamic literary management, production and consultant group in New York")
Avenue A Literary LLC
The Barbara Bova Literary Agency
Barbara Braun Associates, Inc.
Barer Literary LLC
BJ Robbins Literary Agency (Publishers Marketplace page. No known site of their own.)
Bliss Literary Agency International, Inc.
BookEnds, LLC (blog)
Bradford Literary Agency
Brick House Literary Agents (Publishers Marketplace page.)
Caren Johnson Literary Agency
Collins Literary Agency
The Cooke Agency
The Creative Culture, Inc.
The Croce Agency
Curtis Brown, LTD (Agent Nathan Bransford's blog)
DeFiore and Company
Denise Marcil Literary Agency, Inc.
Denise Shannon Literary Agency
Donald Maass Literary Agency
Dunow, Carson & Lerner Literary Agency
Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (blog)
The Elaine P. English Literary Agency
Ellen Pepus Literary Agency (See Signature Literary Agency)
Emma Sweeney Agency, LLC.
Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency
Faye Bender Literary
FinePrint Literary Management (Janet Reid's blog) (Colleen Lindsay's personal blog - as of 3/19/09, Colleen is temporarily closed to submissions)
Firebrand Literary - KIA - (Agency blog - Nadia Cornier's blog now defunct) - Announced they're closing their doors.
Folio Literary Management (Agency blog) (Agent Rachel Vater's blog)
Foundry Literary + Media
Fox Literary Agency (It's just a splash page as far as I can tell. For real info, see Diana Fox's blog.)
Frances Goldin Literary Agency
The Gernert Company
The Grosvenor Literary Agency (Deborah Grosvenor closed her agency and moved in with Kneerim & Williams at Fish & Richardson)
Harold Ober Associates, Inc.
Harvey Klinger, Inc.
Inkwell Management
International Creative Management (Per website: DOES NOT accept unsolicited queries. Another source says some of the agents are accepting, so use your best judgement. Agent Tina Wexler's blog)
Irene Goodman Literary Agency
JABberwocky Literary Agency (Joshua Bilmes' blog)
Jane Chelius Literary Agency, Inc.
Janklow & Nesbit
Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency
Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency
Joelle Delbourgo Associates, Inc.
John Hawkins & Associates, Inc.
Judith Ehrlich Literary Management
Kirsten Manges Literary (website is just a splash page with contact info, but here's an interview with Kirsten Manges)
Kneerim & Williams at Fish & Richardson
The Knight Agency, Inc. (blog)
Kraas Literary Agency
KT Literary, LLC (Agency blog: Ask Daphne)
KT Public Relations (blog) (Not affiliated in any way with KT Literary.)
L. Perkins Agency (Lori Perkins' blog. )
Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents
Laura Dail Literary Agency
Levine Greenberg Literary Agency, Inc.
Linda Chester and Associates
Lindstrom Literary Management, LLC
Literary Works, LLC
Liza Dawson Associates
LJK Literary Management
Loretta Barrett Books, Inc.
Lowenstein-Yost Associates, Inc.
Lukeman Literary (Updated 04/01/09- still not accepting queries, not taking on new clients)
Lyons Literary LLC (blog)
Manus & Associates Literary Agency
Marly Rusoff & Associates
Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
McCormick & Williams
Nelson Literary Agency (Kristin Nelson's - Pub Rants)
The Nicholas Ellison Agency
Objective Entertainment (Elizabeth Jote's blog)
The Park Literary Group, LLC
Paul S. Levine Literary Agent
Pavilion Literary Management (as of 04/01/09 - still accepts submissions only from published authors or by referral)
The Plains Agency (Publishers Marketplace page.)
PMA Literary & Film Management, Inc.
Prospect Agency
Psaltis Literary
The Rappaport Agency (blog).
Reece Halsey North Literary Agency
Richard Henshaw Group
Robert Astle & Associates Literary Management, Inc.
Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency
Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, Inc.
Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency, Inc. (formerly Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency, Inc.)
Sheree Bykofsky Associates, Inc.
Signature Literary Agency
Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc.
The Stringer Literary Agency, LLC
Susan Ann Protter Literary Agent
Susan Schulman Literary Agency (link is to Publishers Marketplace listing - as of 04/01/09, the agency's personal site is still down)
The Talbot Fortune Agency
Talcott Notch Literary Services
Tessler Literary Agency, LLC
TriadaUS Literary Agency
Trident Media Group
Upstart Crow Literary
The Veltre Company (Formerly Artists Literary Group.)
Veritas Literary Agency
Vicky Bijur Literary Agency
Victoria Sanders & Associates
Wales Literary Agency
The Waxman Agency
Wendy Sherman Associates, Inc.
Wendy Weil Agency, Inc.
William Morris Agency
Wolfson Literary Agency
Writers House: A Literary Agency
Wylie-Merrick Literary Agency (blog)
Zachary Shuster Harmsworth (04/01/09 per website: no longer accepting unsolicited submissions of any kind)
The Zack Company (blog)

Mind you, I haven't queried all of these agencies. Some of them don't represent my genres, and others I just haven't clicked with enough mentally to make the query step. If you have any questions about any of the above agencies, you can always e-mail me and I'll help where I can, but please remember my rule: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything. Which means if I got a rejection from any of the above, I won't be sharing the gorey details.

If you'd like to research agents on your own, try some of the following:

- AAR - Simple Search
- AgentQuery
- Publishers Marketplace - Search
- Preditors and Editors - Agents
- LitMatch.net (blog)

I hope this helps my fellow pre-published authors.

Welcome and Pre-post

We have two more members of the novel race, and as of this morning, they're added to the list of links. (Please follow the link "The Competitors" over there on the side and peruse the blogs.)

As for the pre-post, I'm in the process of putting together a list of agent websites/blogs/etc. which will be available (I hope) sometime before the end of the weekend. This post will replace the rather lengthy list on the sidebar with just one little link to the post itself, and will hopefully be more complete. Maybe once I get the sidebar down to a manageable size, I can start listing recently-read books with links so everyone can enjoy these books, and help out my fellow authors by driving purchases in their direction.

Until later then...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ummm... huh?

Okay, so Miss Snark quit blogging. I get it.

Today I read that Squawk Radio is closing its doors, too.

Is there some kind of rip in the space/time continuum? Am I insane? WTF is going on?

I mean, sure, there comes a time for everyone to move on, but two announcements in one week??? No more, please. I'm not sure I can take it.

So, we have until June 2nd to get all the lovin' we're going to get from the Squawk Radio gals. Good luck and success in your endeavors, ladies.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dang it.

Well, the one publisher I'd submitted anything to has rejected the book. It was a good rejection (if that isn't an oxymoron) and the editor seems like one of the good guys. I'm posting the rejection letter below, and in keeping with my policy, I'm redacting all the pertinent contact info so the publisher can't be identified.

Dear :my real first name::
Thank you for your patience. We have completed our review of the sample chapters from your novel :title: and I'm sorry to tell you that we do not feel it is what we are looking for at :publisher:. Our selection process requires that all three readers recommend a given work and your novel did not receive the necessary unanimous vote. I think, from what I read, that there is a market for your book and I hope you'll persevere. Target publishers who have published similar work and you'll likely find the right home for it. Thank you for thinking of :publisher: and I wish you all success with your writing.
:editor's first name:

'Not unanimous for' certainly has to be better than 'unanimous against'. Right? Better success with the next submission.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ack! I'm hit!

I got tagged. Maya Reynolds got me...

Here are the rules: 1) Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves. 2) People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. 3) At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. 4) Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

So here goes:

1) I can't make the bullets and numbers work on my blog. This is pretty funny because a long time ago, in a different place and time, I used to do computer consulting and web design.

2) My best friends in high school called me 'Bruno' because we all decided nicknames were cool, and I always wanted to be called Bruno. It probably doesn't hurt that my paternal grandfather - a man who died 24 years before I was born - was referred to as Bruno.

3) I am allergic to Valium. It won't kill me or anything, but it makes me hallucinate. They gave me some after my car accident and I freaked out. I begged my best friend to pop me because I was a balloon and I was going to float away. The nurses wrote in my chart that I was crying because I couldn't lay an egg. It was pretty ugly. Mom told them not togive me Valium, because Dad was allergic, but they didn't listen. (Dad once thought he was the buffet in a Chinese restaurant, and Chinese soldiers were eating him alive.)

4) I use to be a tree-hugger. Literally. I used to believe trees had feelings, too, and they could all use a good hug now and then, so I would go around hugging trees. This probably lead to my nearly throwing up during the film at the beginning of the Mead Paper plant tour. Missed the actual tour. In retrospect, I'm really disappointed. The me now would think it was really cool.

5) My best friend when I was a kid was my dog. I didn't have any human friends, which may sound pathetic, but it was okay. He was the best dog ever, and smarter than most of the kids I was around anyway.

6) I have visited 28 out of the fifty states. Most of this was during my cross-country moves. I moved from Michigan to Florida, and then from Florida to Utah, and then from Utah to Colorado. The majority of the rest have been traveling for business. The only states I've visited strictly on vacation are Louisiana and Wisconsin. I've only been in Arizona because I had a layover in the Phoenix airport, so it's probably the state I've spent the least amount of time in.

7) I never expected to live past the age of thirty.

8) When I was three years old, I started writing Robinson Crusoe. I sat down with paper, a pencil and a copy of the book, and began copying it word for word. Back then, that's all I thought was required to write a book. I only got through the first couple of paragraphs.

Okay. I'm with Maya. The next person who tags me, dies. =op

I don't know eight people well enough to tag them, so if you're reading this and you want to participate, feel free. (The two or three I know will happily shoot me if I tag them.) Just make sure you leave a comment here so I can come read along.

Have a great day.

(PS. This was fun, and I'm honored Maya thought of me.)


I've been reading like a mad-woman lately. Not that this is a bad thing, but it's gone past trying to get away from the writing squirms, and well into my previous addiction. I used to read to the exclusion of everything else. (Hmmm... Sounds like my daughter. Maybe I need to get her into a 12-step program for book-junkies.)

But that's not what I was going to blog about today. I just wanted to let y'all know that after that thoroughly annoying read the other day, I've found a bit of redemption. I read a Sara Paretsky which was awesome, as usual. That helped me get over the blahs a bit. Then I decided to read a book I picked up purely on a whim.

The book has a shocking lime green cover, with a big wad of money emblazoned into the middle of the front. (Anything with a big wad of money on it draws me in.) The title was Fearless Jones. Hmmm... Intriguing.

And ya know what? It was an intriguing little book. I have never heard of Walter Mosley, and there wasn't much about the book I could find in common with my own self. (Other than the main character owning a bookstore.) The book is set in 1950s East LA, and the majority of the characters are black. I'm a white country-girl who's never set foot in California, let alone East LA. And the 1950s occurred twenty years before I was born.

None of that mattered. The gender? The race? The time period? All completely foreign to me, and none of them made a damn bit of difference to my enjoyment of the book. The writing sucked me in, and it held me there.

Like good writing is supposed to do. The book was my bit of redemption after the previous book - which I expected to love and didn't.

Now, I have to set the reading aside and get some work done. =o)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Annoying Devices

I hate to say it. I read an incredibly annoying book last night. (Which shall remain nameless because I don't think it's typical of the writer.)

The reason I mention it: There are certain things I don't like to do as a writer and those things mainly stem from what I don't like to read.

- Don't give me the first book in a trilogy, and make it so it doesn't have an end - leaving me to buy the next two books so I can find out what happens.

- Don't throw sexual tension in the middle of an action scene. If the building is on fire, and he's trying to stop the fire, he shouldn't have time to wonder how her skin tastes, and how big a tent his pants are turning into.

- If you're writing a suspense or a thriller or anything that seems to be driven by the plot, don't throw in a romance as an afterthought. Stick to the plot. The readers KNOW he's going to bag the babe - you made it pretty obvious with the tenting pants in the first chapter - what we don't know is if he's going to defeat the bad guy. (Because you left the answer in the next two books - which aren't even in print yet. Dammit.)

- And finally - if you have to make your MCs hate each other at the beginning, at least resolve it with some finesse. I know you only have 80-100K words to wrap this sucker up, but please find a better way of doing it than 'they have the hots for each other even though they hate each other, and then suddenly he admires her spunkiness and she admires... ' I can't even remember what it was, it was so lame.

So anyway. I try not to do any of the above. Sure, I'm writing thrillers and the book last night was a paranormal romantic suspense (with a twist of lime) - but I think books should have some reason to them. Heck, the writer made me suspend my disbelief about the paranormal aspect, but she dropped the ball on the romance and the suspense.

What annoys you while you're reading? (I mean other than typos.)

P.S. I'm not saying I didn't like the book. Most of the other stuff I could forget about while I was reading, and was only mildly annoyed. The ending, though, killed the whole experience for me.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

News and Updates

If you haven't heard by now, Miss Snark is retiring from blogging. It seriously sucks, but I don't blame her. She's done a lot of work - battling ignorance and evil wherever she found it - but it has got to be a drain on her. I can't imagine putting up with the tons of emails, the occasional snerty commenter, the weight of thousands of wannabe writers looking at you for advice. Whatever she does in the future, I hope she excels. (I'm sure she will. Whoever she is, she's one sharp gal.)

On another front, BookEnds is doing their Query Critique. Very helpful stuff from these extremely bright gals. (I'd link directly to the posts, but they don't seem to have them all in one place. Just scroll down, and you'll find them.)

Jennie Crusie over at Argh Ink has an excellent post on How to Start a Writing Group. Her suggestions for critique questions, though, would also be helpful during the editing process. Questions we should all be asking ourselves about our writing. And her suggested questions for synopsis critique are very helpful for anyone laboring over writing their own synopsis.

Oh, and we have a new member in the Novel Race - Home Thoughts Weekly. Welcome to the race.

Now for the update portion:

I got some words out on AWJ. While it doesn't sound like a big deal, I haven't written any new words on it since the middle of April. I can't believe I was a toad for almost a month. I should be horse-whipped (with a real horse).

I got back to querying this week. I sent out five queries to respectable agents, and within 24 hours, got back one rejection. We'll see if I ever hear back from the other four - since they were all equeries and I'm collecting a large number of what we call 'non-responders'. Strangely, the agent who rejected me within 24 hours was a member of that group when I queried him for Spectacle. Dare I hope that his taking a moment to respond this time means Caldera sparked him a wee bit more than Spectacle? Be still my heart.

I sent two short stories out in submission this past week. Haudego went to Abyss & Apex Speculative Fiction, and Fire was entered in the Pagan Fiction contest. A&ASF has a two-month response time (their website says one month, but their auto-response said two) so I should be hearing something by the end of the summer. The Pagan Fiction contest wrote me a note back saying they were passing the story on to the judges, and the winners will be announced in February 2008. I guess that means Fire is shelved for now. By that time I'll probably forget I even entered the contest and if I win, it will be a total surprise to me.

How are things in your world?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Chapter End-hooks

Yesterday over at Erica Writes, she was talking about using hooks at the beginnings and ends of your chapters to get your readers to want to turn the next page and keep reading. In her post Thursday Thirteen: TATTF, she gives thirteen of her beginning hooks. I've never really thought about the beginning hooks, and (now that I've had time to think about the process) I guess I haven't consciously tried to even put in end hooks, but I've been told my chapter endings are hook-like.

Yesterday, I promised to post some chapter end-hooks and as I was looking at my three books, I had to make a decision. Which book? In the end, the decision was... :drumroll: Blink. So here goes. (Please keep in mind, while these are the final sentence or sentences, sometimes I use the last few paragraphs to set up the hook.)

1) “You no longer have value here. Now, leave these premises. The Union will give you your reassignment before the day’s end.”
2) “In fact, the more I think about it,” he said finally. “You may just be perfect.”
3) “Maybe,” the old man returned, the look on his face saying he thought nothing of the sort. “I do know I could definitely use a drink.”
4) Long after Timothy left, the two could still hear his laughter echoing through the shelves.
5) "...Failure is not within the bounds of this mission. You’ll see."
6) When Mary looked back, Parker was gone.
7) “...I don’t have time to explain any further. We have to get out of here.”
8) “A place where we might have to stop, whether we want to or not.”
9) Suddenly she felt dirty and ashamed of the part she had played.
10) “Leaving is not a problem. If you wanted to stay… now that would be a problem.”
11) "...Chances are anyone who finds us is going to be more worried about where we came from than about a few stalks of grain.”
12) If these people had the technology her own city lacked, they could easily defeat the Union.
13) “They voted to think about thinking about it, I think.”
14) "...When we get home, I’ll show them to you.” “If we get home,” she corrected.
15) She knew if the Union still possessed such a weapon, the people of her home must be freed from it, and it was her new mission to see it done.
16) After all the years since they’d fought to be seen as individuals, they hadn’t learned a thing.
17) “It’ll be a moot point, won’t it? By the time any of them worry about what to do without the Union, the Union will already be gone.” “I hope you’re right.”
18) “You didn’t sit here and watch a floating head push through a rock wall.”
19) His voice broke off suddenly and a soft thud sounded in front of her as the corridor exploded with light.
20) And then they were through, running out under a blanket of stars.
21) Mary could only hope they’d return with enough volunteers to complete this new mission—the mission to defeat the Union.
22) She shook her head sadly. “Take him back to Parker,” she told the guards.
23) Mary gave an uncertain smile and with one solemn nod, vidsets across the city faded to black.
24) "...There are many ways a man can hide himself, and sometimes the best place to hide is in plain sight.”
25) She didn’t see the smile spread across Parker’s face.
26) “Russell’s… gone.”
27) THE END (I'm not giving away anything about the end of the book.)

So what about you? Are you good at hooks? Do you hook the ends or the beginnings?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hooks Postponed

Ack. I know I said in the comments to my last post that I was going to have the end-chapter hooks for one of my novels posted sometime tonight...


I just got asked out to dinner by my darling husband. Yay for me.

So, the hooks will have to wait until tomorrow. Sorry folks.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Nifty gadget!

While I was working on editing a particularly long travel scene in Spectacle tonight, I was looking for the distance between Memphis and Oklahoma City to see if it can be traveled in one day. (It can, btw, if the roads are clear - and in this case, they are.)

But what I found was a nifty gadget for research purposes: Distance at Ask.com.

For instance, from here to my mom's house is just over a thousand miles. (Which stinks) From here to my ex, though, is 794 miles. (Which makes me happy.)

Other than playing around though, this could be quite useful. Especially if you're like me and have your characters driving all over the countryside. Could your hero make it from Washington, DC to Albuquerque in two days? Could your villian make it from Marquette, MI to Ishpeming, MI in 10 minutes?

Sometimes it's the little things.

Genre and Sub-genre

I suck at genres. I can't decide whether a book is a thriller or suspense, literary or commercial, science fiction or fantasy. Particularly right now with Blink - which I think is literary and perhaps speculative fiction, but who knows.

With this in mind, I'd like to throw out a couple links for those of you who, like me, suck at genres.

Yesterday, BookEnds had an excellent post on sub-genres which clears up some of the mystery/suspense stuff - A Sub-genre Encyclopedia. (And for those of you waiting with baited breath for their Query Critique - they started posting the critiques this morning.)

For a more in-depth look at genre descriptions, AgentQuery has posted a helpful page called Fiction Genre Descriptions. (AQ, if you haven't stopped by there, is an excellent resource for finding the right agent for your work.)

I admit it. I'm not a sparkling wit myself today. I spent all day yesterday scrubbing the house until it shines. The realtor is taking pictures inside today, and I hated the thought of people seeing a mess in here. (No matter how minor it might have seemed to others, it was horrible to me.) So, I'm tired and I'm hoping to get some down time later.

Sorry I didn't have anything original to say, but I hope the links help you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Midnight Rain

My awesome CP sent me the book Midnight Rain by Holly Lisle. I started reading it just before 5pm yesterday. I finished reading it at midnight.

It was that good. I kept meaning to go to bed, but I couldn't put it down. These days, anything that makes me want to stay up past ten o'clock, you can believe is good stuff.

Of course, not everything in it was to my tastes. I'm not talking about the gore or the sex - those were both at a level where they fit perfectly within the story. No. She's got some philosophy is there that made me wince. *shrug* Probably just me. I skipped over it fast, shook my head a bit and got right back into the story. Lucky for me, those parts came early and left fast. Otherwise, quite an enjoyable, suspenseful ride.

Except now I'm running on way too little sleep. I suppose I should be perturbed, but it's my own damn fault for starting to read a book so late in the day. It even railroaded my work time.

Darn book. ;o)

Sunday, May 13, 2007


No, not morphine. (Although as sore as I am from yesterday's yard work, I could probably use some.)

I was sitting here this morning thinking about how bored I was with the look and feel of 'Musings about Life'. And how boring was that title? Do you have any idea how many other writers are out there 'musing'? Tons.


Hope you like the remodeling job. So far it seems to suit me. We'll see how it goes from here.

And I apologize to anyone who now has to change their links to the new wording, and to anyone who was confused when they got here. It's the same ol' me. I just decided to give myself a makeover. =o)

(Bonus points to anyone who gets the reference in the title.)

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Okay. Enough whining and whimpering. Time to pick yourself up by your own bootstraps and kick your own butt. So what if you're getting rejections, ya big baby. Think you're going to just sit here under your rock and let the world pass you by? I think not. Now get out there and fight!

This morning, I sent a submission to Abyss & Apex Magazine of Speculative Fiction. I sent them Haudego, which is probably best described as speculative. (And now that I think about it, so is Blink... Yay! I found a genre!) They say to expect a two month lead time. That's the Geromino moment.

Oh, and BTW, I finally heard back from Ploughshares. After having my poem for 6 months, they said No. *shrug* Their loss.

Today is going to be devoted to yard work, but when it gets too hot this afternoon, I'll be sitting here working on putting together some query packets for Monday. And if I don't, feel free to get out the hickory switch.


ETA: The yard work got a little out of control, and I am too pooped to think. Save the beating for tomorrow, please.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

And Then Again

Sorry about that momentary bout of weakness. I have been thoroughly upbraided by my CP, and afterwards got some much needed encouragement and hugs.

I still don't feel like querying, but having been threatened with horrific consequences, I will jump back into the game again.

Not today, mind you, but soon.


I'm going through one of those phases again. You know the one...

After polishing and tweaking my query letter and my manuscript, I'm still collecting rejections like Depression Era survivors collect bits of string. I'm tired of it. I'm tired of the whole mess of trying to find an agent, trying to get published. I quit.

I'm not tired of writing, thank goodness. I'm taking a short break while I wait for a critique on one manuscript, for time to pass so I can get a fresh look at another manuscript, and for my muse to get back in the groove on my WIP. Not a big deal. I'm already itching to get back to Blink, but I am forcing myself to take that necessary time. AWJ is still there, waiting, and I still feel good about it - just off track temporarily. The first book is in the hands of my CP, and she'll get it back to me eventually. (No hurry, since I haven't heard from anyone about it, and I don't think I'm likely to at this point.) I won't quit writing. Ever again.

Nope. I quit sending things out to agents, publishers, and lit journals. Of course, some of you may be asking yourselves, if I quit why am I bothering to continue to write, let alone edit. The answer is simple. I do it for myself. I like writing, so I'll keep doing it. I like my books, so I'll continue to make them the best books they can be. I like having people read my books, and get enjoyment from them. That's why I was busting my ass trying to jump through hoops to get them published. I guess I'll just have to live with a choice few people reading and enjoying my books, and not hope to get paid for it, too.

Because, of course, I'd like to get some monetary reward for my hard work. Who wouldn't? Someone is out there right now, getting paid for substandard writing - I know they are, I've read their books. So the question becomes, why can't I get anyone to notice my well-written, above-standard books? *shrug*

Maybe it's this blog. I've never been known for having popular opinions, and I make my opinions known here.

Could be my arrogance. My books are good. I know they're good. I've had non family tell me they're good. We've all read books at one point or another and sat scratching our heads wondering how in the hell anyone could have put those words in print. It's frustrating to know those authors are out there collecting a check while I sit here collecting rejections. Is my arrogance unjustified?

On the other hand, maybe it's less arrogance than frustration. Arrogance would be comparing myself to Ayn Rand or Dumas or Hemingway. I've never done that. I might compare myself to Crichton on occasion, or even Clancy, or the wonderful Ms. Brennan, but I would never sit here and say I'm better than them in any way. Good lord no. As good, maybe, but not better.

So, anyway, I quit. If any of the agents out there who currently have a query from me are reading this, I didn't quit writing, and I sure as hell won't quit wanting to be published. I just quit sending out queries.

For now, anyway. At least until this funk passes.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

First Beta, Etc.

Well, my very first beta reader finished Blink yesterday - she's a quick reader - and she pointed out some things that I'm going to have to fix before I can say I'm done. Lucky for me, I have a live-in beta in my daughter. She loves the book, but she pointed out some sticky problems. Good for her, good for me. Unfortunately, she also hit on the identity of the spy way too soon. (Did I mention she's also observant?) I didn't want the identity to be so obvious, so I'll have to fix that, too. Plus, she has a list of typos for me to correct.

It's all good.

In other news:

Diana Peterfreund has an interesting exercise thing going on today (and she may give a prize). She wants people to come up with a fake "Publisher's Lunch" announcement. I sat down just now and tried to come up with one, and it's harder than it looks. But it's a good exercise in trying to encapsulate your novel into just a quick one-liner. I gave up on the one-liner for Blink, but it did encourage me to work on my blurb. A few more tweaks of the book and of the blurb, and it'll be ready for the beta search.

What's up in your world today?

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Doncha Hate it

Doncha hate it when you pick up a book you've never read and find something in that book mirrors something you wrote in one of your books?

Last night, after battling a severe case of the blahs, I picked up 1984 - with the intent of doing a bit of research for Blink, and evaluating whether the book would be good for our next section of Literature in homeschool. On the very first page, Orwell used a device - in this case the elevator that's not working - and damned if I didn't do the exact same thing in the first pages of Blink. Then on the second page, he did another thing that I had in the first pages of Blink. ACK!

Lucky for me, both of those things are easily fixed, but Geez. Also, lucky is that I'm about halfway through 1984 and I haven't run into any other glaring similarities.

The really bizarre thing is, I thought I had read 1984 in high school, but before I read it last night, I decided to read the back of the book and realized I'd never read it before. Wading through my foggy memory, I had actually read Brave New World by Huxley and Animal Farm by Orwell - and somehow the two books got jumbled together in my head. Of course, it doesn't help that I've seen portions of the movie, either.

On the upside, I can safely say my writing is at least as interesting as Orwell - after all, we used the same devices in the beginning. Right?

Monday, May 7, 2007


I'm feeling decidedly unspired today. Call it exhaustion from the weekend; consider it maybe a brain check-out after finishing round 3 with Blink. Maybe I'm just stuck trying to figure out how to incorporate a new snazzy idea in AWJ.

Whatever it is, I'm at the point where I don't want to do anything.... ANYTHING. TV is boring. Books are bleh. I sat outside and watched birds for a while, but it seemed to be the same old birds again, so it wasn't really blowing my skirt up. (A saying from my Great-Grandmother - a beer drinking, everything-eating, German immigrant who lived to the ripe old age of 95: "Whatever blows your skirt up". Ah, Grandma... what a gal.)

Heck, even Poker - which I haven't played in a while, tyvm - was interesting for about 20 minutes and then nothing.

Ever have one of these days? I get them every once in a while, and they drive me batty. It doesn't help that I have tons to do and don't feel like doing a stitch of it. I've got a database to update, stuff to sort, a house to clean, gardens to weed, lawns to mow, and... Well, that ought to be enough.

Maybe I'm making myself tired thinking about all the things I have to do. *shrug* I'm off to work on creating a new soup for dinner. That ought to take my mind off the blahs for a little while at least.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Busy busy busy

Blink is officially finished. (With this draft anyway.) I'm not sure if it's ready for beta yet. I had hoped it would be, but I think it needs some time to marinate. I'm going to do my damnest to let it sit for at least a couple weeks so I can look at it with a fresh eye. Right now, I think I'm so wrapped up in it, I can't be objective with the story. So, if any of you were anxiously awaiting a read, you'll have to be patient.

I also managed to get all that crap shredded. Unfortunately, my husband was shredding his papers with the shredder, and unless I wanted to wait for my turn, I shredded by hand. Lucky for me, I used to have to shred documents by hand at a job and we had very strict shredding requirements (at a medical record copy service - so I think it was a government requirement) - no wider than an inch and at least 7 strips per 8x11" sheet. I didn't quite stick to that rule, but I did a good job and I can safely say I shredded a couple thousand pages worth of drafts today. If some enterprising soul wants to go through two garbage bags worth of paper strips and glue them back together, they can read my first two books for free. (Of course, there are several drafts of each, so I'm thinking there are probably 6-7 books' worth of pages in those bags - plus old outlines, synopses, short stories, poems, etc. Good luck with all that.)

I don't know when we'll be moving. Sometime before August 1st. Whenever we move, we'll be ready for it.

Now I have to get ready to have a garage/moving sale. My husband is dreading it. I, on the other hand, think it'll be fun. It brings out the old salesman in me. Sometimes I miss selling stuff for a living. There was a time when I could sell icecubes to eskimos, but those days are long passed. At this point, I'm just happy I can sell a few books online, or in this case, get someone to buy that funky futon the cat loves so much.

I got a fresh idea for a new take on AWJ the other night. My husband thinks I'm weird; my CP thinks it's a great idea. I loved it at first and now I'm trying to figure out how it could possibly work without proving my husband right. We'll see if I try it, or I just stick to the same ol' same ol'. Unfortunately, the idea has now got me stuck on where to go with AWJ. Thus, leaving me at an impasse. Can't edit; can't write new words.

Maybe this would be a perfect time to take a couple days off. Prep the house for viewing and read some of those books I've been meaning to read. And, of course, blog.

We'll see if my writing lets me have a break, or if it wiggles around in my head like a five-year-old waiting in line for the bathroom.

Spring Cleaning

Yesterday, when I was supposed to be hard at work finishing the edit for Blink, I got hit by the cleaning bug - or rather I should say I got hit by the 'sort through all your old shit because you're going to be moving and you don't want to cart it around again' bug. The house is now messier than it was when I started, but so far we've thrown out at least a half-dozen bags of old crap.

I now have two large piles of old printed drafts to shred. We also have a rather large box of old 'important papers' to shred, too. I'd like to start a bonfire, but it's against city code, and I'd rather not get a ticket.

One thing about doing this, though: Discovery. While I was going through my keepy-savey boxes, I discovered my first book ever. Written with a friend when I was 14, and about 3/4 of the way finished. It's a sci-fi fantasy thing. Futuristic but with magic. It's probably YA, because we were YA when we wrote it.

I also found my poetry folders from around that same time. Ack! I wrote some real angst-ridden crap back then. I should probably destroy it, but I can't bring myself to. After all, I got the Silver Poet award AND the Gold Poet award off those poems. I got invited to have my bio in a Who's Who of Poets. I got all sorts of offers of publication (which I'd be able to prove if I had only had the money to buy those books... dammit.) Heh.

I am a notorious packrat. At least I was for years and years. I've gotten better because I've moved so damn much, but still it's hard to get rid of the old junk. I have at least 5 printed drafts of Spectacle sitting here (not to mention the numerous drafts and backup copies on my harddrive). On the bright side, at least my daughter gets to see everything. Which may or may not be a good idea. After all, the quote yesterday that killed me was: "Mom? You shouldn't show me all your old school pictures, if you want me to respect you... You were soooo cute."

Ummm. Ack. Apparently being cute in kindergarten is a killer when you're trying to lay down the law to a teenager. It's just a cross I'll have to bear.

Come on out there. Your turn. What's clogging up your closets? How far back does your writing memorabilia go?

And when are you going to spring clean?

Saturday, May 5, 2007

The Newest Novel Racers and a Storm

My apologies for slacking off, but the two newest novel racers are up. Check out the link to the left called "Competitors' Sites" - The Writing Coach and Writing about Writing.

Welcome to the race.

If you haven't perused the sites of the other racers, take a few minutes and see what everyone is up to.

Me? I'm not up to much today. After yesterday's post on Fear, I got to experience a little bit myself as a massive storm ripped through the region last night. Don't ya just love tornado warnings? (Please note sarcasm.) So, after jamming my kid and our cat into the hallway along with all my necessary items - purse, jewelry box... COMPUTER (my backups were in my coatpocket) - and covering them with pillows and blankets, my husband and I scanned the skies and the weather websites. We got a lot of hail and a lot of wind, but thankfully no damaging hail and no tornadoes. Outside it looks like a bizarre version of autumn. Leaves everywhere and all of them green. Leaves are plastered all over the outside of the house, the garage, my husband's car, the road. It's pretty twisted looking.

But nowhere near as twisted as what the poor folks in Greenburg & Dodge City, KS have to deal with. My thoughts are with them today. We got lucky.

Friday, May 4, 2007


Yesterday, Ms. Brennan gave another wonderful post - The War of Art - which got me thinking. Even more, it got me introspecting. What is it I am afraid of (in relation to the business of writing)? I posted the following comment to the blog:

I think the worst fear I battle right now is the fear of rejection. (Which is silly considering how much rejection there is in this business.) Right now, I’m having a devil of a time sending out queries. I make up things to do instead of querying. I tell myself I’m too busy writing or editing to think about it. But when I do a little introspection, like I did just now, I know the truth is that I’m afraid the people I’m querying just won’t see how good my work is - not because it isn’t any good, but because of the whole myriad of things other than writing, like the agent is having a bad day. You know… Things outside my control.

But there's definitely more to it than that.

I don't think I have a fear of success - although if I were to succeed in this business, I don't quite know what I'd do. However, I'm pretty sure I have the same fear as Ms. Brennan - that this book won't be as good as the last. Heck, I still feel that my first book is the best book I have written so far, and I'm constantly trying to surpass, or at least match, that opus.

I also have a fear of failure. Not the failure of writing. I went through that already, and dealt with it. Nope. I have a fear that no matter how much I write, or how good it is, I will fail to sell. Yeah, yeah. I know I know. If it's so good, it has to sell. Right? Not necessarily. See the post on subjectivity below. It could be awesome, but any number of factors could come into play to keep it out of the publishing houses. Subjectivity scares the crap out of me. You can never predict it, you can never control it, and when you least expect it, it jumps out of the bushes, knocks you into the dirt and mauls you like a bear.

So many fears, it's damn near paralyzing. I know it's paralyzed my querying. Although I did get one out yesterday, and just before I hit SEND, I was teetering on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Baby steps.

On the bright side, I'm not afraid of my writing abilities. I know my work is good. Beyond that, if you don't believe me, I've had other people tell me my work is good. (And not just my mother, who BTW has never read my work. She's waiting for the print editions - she doesn't have a computer and it's too hard to print everything and mail it.) Oh sure, I have days where I feel like a certain scene is crap, but I do some editing and tweaking and the feeling goes away. Doesn't everybody?

Now I have to shake away the fears and get some query packets out today. ONWARD!

What's freaking you out today?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


I read an excellent post over at BookEnds' blog yesterday - A Subjective Business. They start out talking about an editor who wasn't interested in a book because it went against her political leanings. I can respect that. If an editor truly believes in one thing, I don't see how they can, in good conscience, publish something antithetical to their beliefs.

Unfortunately, this may become a cause for concern for me someday. I may have already come up against this and not known it. Take Caldera, for example, where the antagonist is an eco-terrorist and his acolytes are all environmentalists. Let's say I query an agent who leans toward the environmentalist side. How happy are they going to be to represent Caldera? Probably not very.

Herein lies the rub when you're dealing with big ideas and larger issues - even in a fictional format. I knew this coming in, though. I could write my books without those issues, but then I wouldn't be true to myself and my writing would suffer. (Not that every book has to have big issues - although many times they do without even realizing it.) Heck, even AWJ, which is a nice little suspense/mystery still has issues woven within it. I can't help myself, and I'm not sure that I want to. To quote that cartoon icon, Popeye: "I am what I am".

I've spent the better part of the day thinking about the subjectivity of this business, and if anything could be done about it. Is there a way to be completely objective? Unfortunately, I don't think so. I think everyone just needs to be as objective as they can within the framework of their own philosophy of life.

I'm sure there are agents out there who are representing things they don't necessarily believe in - at least I hope there are, otherwise I've got a list of agents I couldn't even think about querying based on the people they represent.

See? It even comes from the writer's side. I have my own set of values by which I measure those I deal with, and when my set of values and someone else's are diametrically opposed, it makes any kind of relationship impossible.

Here's hoping I can find an agent with a similar philosophy, or one who is at least close enough to see my work for the good it is. Otherwise, I'll just keep amassing manuscripts and hoping someday to have a place in the world of publishing.

Good luck to us all.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Blog Stats, and Greeting to All

I look at my blog stats every day. What can I say? I'm big on numbers and I'm easily amused.

I'm also easily confused. I quit going to Absolute Write a while back, and I'm getting more hits originating from there than anytime I was an active member. It's really weird because it seems like all the hits are going to the same page. What gives? If you're coming from AW, feel free to leave a comment. Say hi. Let me know what brought you over.

For that matter, what brought the rest of you? It's nice to know what I'm doing right. Of course, the Novel Racers don't have to say anything. I know what brings them by. :waves: Hi guys. And my friends don't have to say anything, either. :hugs:

And for the rest of you, a hail and hearty hello. I rolled over 2500 visits last week, and I'm hitting all the continents except Antarctica. I seem to be very big in the UK - thanks again to the novel racers - and I have regular visits from certain key cities around the globe. If I knew how to say Hi in all those other languages, I would certainly do so. Here's a few greetings from the languages I can get away with saying (without slaughtering): Shalom, G'day, Guten Tag, Hola, Konechiwa (I probably spelled that wrong, but it's the thought that counts), Buon Giorno, Bonjour, and Dos Vidanya.

No matter where you're from, or why you're here - thanks for stopping and reading my musings. I hope you're having as much fun reading as I am writing.

(And please understand, the only language I'm fluent in is English - and even then I have my doubts - so if I've inadvertently spelled something wrong, forgive me.)

((Oh, and as always, I only post nice, or at the very least civil, comments on my blog, so if you have anything negative to say, don't bother. :grin:))

Have a nice day everyone, wherever you are. =oD