Thursday, June 24, 2010

Queries, synopses and sample chapters, oh my!

They are fierce beasts, the query letter, the synopsis, and the sample chapter... some agents want just the query letter, some want a query and a synopsis (and you must determine whether they want a short or long synopsis) and some want all three. Some want one sample chapter and some want 50 pages. Each letter must be compelling and customized to the particular agent you are querying... oh the joys!

Though, I'll give it this, it is a nice break from raw editing... maybe I could write a new novel based on the dreadful land of Neverending Edit, in which you must battle the Sinister Synopsis and the Chilling Chapter, and travel on a Quest of Queries. Anybody up for an adventure?

Saturday, June 19, 2010


So, I was reading my Writer's Market newsletter today, and it was using running metaphors for novel writing. It said that writing your first draft is like a half marathon, and editing is another half marathon. I'm so there, baby!

Interestingly enough, I have recently started running, literally, to get in my exercise (although also interestingly enough, my metaphorical half marathon has replaced by actual running the last few weeks). So, although in real life I have not come anywhere close to running 13.1 miles (though I would one day like to), I've done some shorter competitions, so I can totally get into this visualization. At the start you feel super hyped, like you have enough energy to fly. Then after you've actually been running awhile, you get to the "why did I think this sounded like fun?" But then once you know you're at least half way done, you can start the pep talk, bringing yourself to the finish line - "the worst part's over, just a bit further."

So, while I'm in the doldrums of editing, I've got to keep in mind that I've already done the first half marathon, and I think I'm even more than half way done with the second. And while we're still on running metaphors, I definitely got a second wind last night and did some really great edits. Still feeling pretty pumped. Keep it up!

Me finishing up a recent race...

Thursday, June 17, 2010


After a few days fighting a cold, I'm back in editland. I've gotten some very helpful comments from family and internet friends... don't getting bogged down in descriptions, don't be cliche, show don't tell, add more inner dialogue from the heroine. All good stuff. I've revamped the prologue and made it flow much better, and now I'm working on cleaning up the first few chapters so I can submit to more agents. I'm getting anxious to put myself out there again - fighting the impulse to submit before I've polished it up some more, but not wanting to over edit, and get caught in a cycle of never being satisfied... fun times!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Back from vacation

I refer to vacation from the internet and an actual vacation. I wish I could say that the actual vacation was longer than the internet vacation, but not so. We finally have high speed internet here in my country abode, but there were a few days between disconnecting the old ISP and getting hooked up on the new one... during which my internet addiction became scarily apparent.

Anyhow, my actual vacation was just two days down at the beach during which I thoroughly edited the prologue of Eternal Memory. Of course, I also lounged on the beach and soaked up the sun, the salt air, and a mango margarita. Returning home was not so pleasant, especially because the air conditioning in the house broke and I had a quite sleepless night. However, all is restored now, internet, AC and soon my brain (after I get some sleep).

The next few days will involve editing, editing and more editing! Then I will be submitting to more agents. So, prepare for another stint of obsessive introspection and the tiring out of my gmail account...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The P Word

Ah, the P word. I refer, of course, to procrastination, the quintessential writer's habit. Why work on editing one's novel when you can haunt writing websites and do everything to do with your book except writing it. Oh, the glory of it.

You see, if I edit my book, then I'll have to submit it to more agents, which is both an exciting and terrifying thought (since I'm sharing my true feelings on this blog). I have wild dreams of having someone make me an offer of representation, and how utterly thrilling it would be. I simultaneously am sure that I will fail, since so many good writers get rejected by hundreds of agents, year after year. Even good books by good writers.

However, I've procrastinated about as much as I can. I've spent the last ten days completely living in net land, working to get exposure. Now it's time to perform the dreaded task of editing and put myself over the coals again. Because not only am I anxious to move on with Eternal Memory, but I really want to start on the second book in the series. It's been simmering in my head for months now, and it's dying to come out. So, I must say farewell to the P word. Chow!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Getting out on the town

On Saturday I attended a publishing workshop at the main branch of the library. It was put on by our local writer's association and featured three local publishers who discussed current trends in publishing. One of the things they discussed was the rise of e-books and e-readers like the Kindle and the flood of new material this is creating in the market. Last year the most new books were introduced ever - about one million. They also talked about internet marketing for writers, such as blogs, websites, good ole Facebook, LinkedIn, and other fun stuff.

One thing that really fascinated me is book trailers. People are now creating trailers, like movie trailers, for their books! This is such an awesome idea! I really want to make one now for Eternal Memory. So, the question is, what kind of stuff do I use? Apparently they range from simple still pictures with words and music to actual video clips. I'll have to research the software required to make something like this. It's a really neat idea, and what's cool is that with the internet, there are so many creative ways to publicize your book. And that's pretty inspiring.

By the way, Eternal Memory has been number one the last two days on the weekly most popular books list at!

Friday, June 4, 2010


My latest web obsession...! This is a really neat website created by HarperCollins, the international publishing company to revolutionize the seeking of fresh talent. Basically, you upload at least 10,000 words of your manuscript and then other users vote on your book to help you rise up the ranks. Each month, the top five books get picked for a review by the editorial board at HC, and potentially publication. I've discovered that like many things, it's not just about being good, but also about networking. A lot of people will vote for your book in hopes that you'll return the favor.

Anyways, since I joined on Memorial Day, Eternal Memory has moved up past about 6,000 books in rank, and I'm currently sitting in the 700s. On the weekly chart for most popular books that week, Eternal Memory was sitting at number 2 earlier!! Very exciting. Since I don't have as much time to network as some of the other people, I'm not sure that I'll keep my rank, but it's fun nonetheless. More importantly, I've gotten some good, honest feedback which I can use to improve my pitch and first few chapters. So, I'm having a blast getting feedback and a little exposure. Way to go HC for the cool and very modern idea!

More pics from NY

I meant to put these up yesterday but my computer was being super slow...

A beautiful view of the mountains from a viewing tower near Woodstock which we reached after a two mile uphill hike...

The lovely Harmony House...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

New York

Last year for my birthday in July, my husband and I went to New York to research my novel (and for fun). Many elements of my stories (certain places, characters, plots) just kind of present themselves to me. For some reason, I always knew that Eternal Memory was to be set in New York, both in NYC and the Catskills. I even tried to talk myself out of it, thinking New York City was too overdone and cliched, but such inspirations just can't be easily supplanted.

So, we spent the day in the city, which was fabulous and I admit I fell in love with it, though I was not planning on it (for the same reasons of it being sort of the usual cliche response to NYC). Then we drove up to the mountains, first visiting some family and then on to a gorgeous bed and breakfast near Woodstock. To my great surprise and delight, I discovered that one of the owners was named Eva, like the main character in my book. Further, she had beautiful long, black, curly hair like my heroine! If there was ever a sign from the powers that be, this certainly seemed to be one. It was pretty surreal. We had an awesome stay with Eva and Jacquie at Harmony House, and on the morning of my birthday, I had perhaps the best breakfast of my life. Sitting on a large deck among the trees, it was so picturesque and peaceful I could have stayed there forever.

The really interesting part is, I discovered while exploring the area that Upstate New York actually has quite a vibrant community of Wiccans and witchcraft, which is a main theme of my book. The whole trip left me reeling from the synchronicity of having picked New York as the setting, completely without knowing that it actually was just perfect for my novel. Intuition is a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Potato chips and fruit

So, it ends up I didn't have long to suffer in the waiting game with the agent I submitted to. Alas, I was rejected. Email queries are a double edged sword that way; you don't have long to wait whether it be a good response or a bad. I am grateful I got a response at all, because a lot of agents these days accept email queries, but don't respond at all if they don't like your work. While I wasn't provided any feedback, it was a very polite decline.

I must say that after I read the email there were some tears, followed my Ruffles and french onion dip, followed by a couple strawberries and an orange. Yes, I always eat weird combinations of food like a pregnant lady. I didn't get much in the way of sleep either, while wallowing in a pity party and thinking bitterly of my optimistic post of the day before. This was all very late last night mind you, so now that a new day is here my previous post doesn't seem quite so mocking and is still a source of some hope. I've been getting some good feedback on, so I'm going to do some more editing (groan) and push on.

So, today I salute potato chips and fruit, and I'm headed off to hopefully get a better sleep.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Funny memories

So, while mowing the lawn yesterday (yes, I'm one of those people), I suddenly remembered something that made me laugh out loud (although the atrocious sounds of the lawnmower covered the sound). When I was about eight or ten years old, I used to get Ranger Rick, a kids magazine about nature and conservatism. Each issue had a fictional story with forest animals, along with educational articles. Anyways, I decided at one point to write a story about saving sea creatures that live in tidepools. I went so far as to type it up and send it in. And so it was that I received my first rejection letter, the bane of probably every writer in existence.

Looking back, I find it hilarious that I was so into not only writing, but getting published at such a young age. It was one of those memories that I had nearly forgotten, but it was oddly inspiring, though they turned me down. If I can be so persistent at that age, and still love to write a couple decades later, that means something, right? I did end up getting some magazine articles published a few years ago, so at least I have had a small taste of not getting rejected. Here's to perseverance and fulfilling life long dreams!