Thursday, July 27, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me! . . . yesterday. :)

It was my birthday yesterday and I had a great day. Also, I didn't plan this, but it was nice how it worked out--I finished the first draft of a new novel on my birthday. Whoo-hoo, go me!
Today I got around to getting my wheat from the cannery and ground my wheat and made my bread. It is rising on the counter as we speak. Hooray again. It's been a good couple of days. Writing has been a lot of fun and my kids are finally settling in and behaving on a more regular basis.
I'm was feeling really old yesterday (I'm 25, no denying I'm an adult anymore.) But I woke up this morning thinking I really should feel pretty young. How many other twenty-five year olds do you know who have done everything I've done? I have a bachelor's degree, I've been married for four and a half years, I have two kids, I am a certified doula and childbirth educator, I've done some graduate studies, and I've written three four hundred page books. I think that's pretty darn good. So I'm not feeling quite so old today.
But neither and I feeling very prolific, so . . . till next time!


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

News from the Big Apple.

So Kristin, one of my favorite agents whose blog I follow pretty religiously, is in New York this week. (Her office is in Denver so several times a year she heads up to New York for a week to pitch books to editors.) So here is a little excerpt from her blog tonight.

"Also, what fun to hear a romance editor talking about wanting to see historical romance again. Let me tell you. It's been a while since an editor has asked, 'what do you have going on for historicals?'

Could it be a turning trend? Too soon to tell."

I also read an interview with Jenny saying that she would really like to pick up a historical romance, and several of the publishing companies are emphasizinging their historical lines. Do I have timing or what? A spicy historical romance set in exotic Basque is just what they need in my not-so-humble opinion. :)


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Oh my Goodness! I laughed so hard!!

So this is stolen from Miss Snark who I really need to put up in my links because she is hilarious! But I haven't gotten around to it. None the less I want to give her credit.:)

Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country. Here are last year's winners.....

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the ! ;East River.

18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up


Wow, my life is really boring.

Actually, the main problem is that at the moment I am staying rather close-lipped about my current project. A lot is happening, but I'm going to blog about it later. You'll have to ask me about it.
The good news is we are almost completely moved it! The better news is that our renovations are also almost completely done. Yea! I have started decorating and my house is starting to look like my house.
I've been thinking a lot today about agents. It seems impossible mot to when Lady Diane is getting such good attention right off the bat. Why is that? As you've probably read in past posts, I don't put much stock in partial requests; it says more about your query than your book, IMO. But I have to wonder what is making the difference with this query. I've gotten better at writing queries, I can't deny that. But you tend to get better at anything with practice. However, I thought my final query version for Chain was pretty good and I had the recommendation of a NYT Bestseller to boot.
But this query is standing on it's own two feet. No recommendation, no awards, no nothing. Just the words on the page. I knew it was good when I wrote it. I got all excited about it and sent it off to Jenny that night. But why is it good? What are the agents seeing when they request more? Is it the storyline? Young girl married off against her will? Is it the setting? Basque is rather exotic and not frequently written about. That's one of the reasons I chose it. Maybe it's the little line at the bottom saying it is my third completed manuscript. That says I can finish a book . . . and not just one.
I don't know if it is any one specific element. All I know is when I wrote the query, it felt good.
I'm falling into the hope trap again. But so much more rides on this. I am selling one book to an agent, but behind that one book is the hope of two more. And an agent will look at that. They'll want to see what else you've written. Sometimes before they sign you; but sometime before. Most agents are really looking for a career writer; someone who they can depend on for regular royalty checks. Having two or three of five, etc. books under your belt already really says something. I'm such a natural optimist I can't help but be hopeful. Still, I think I have reason. A good query is so important. Take my record with Chain for example. I sent out about one hundred queries. Out of that hundred, nineteen asked for a partial. Out of those nineteen, two asked for the full. Out of those two . . . well, I haven't heard back from either yet.:) Nineteen percent partial reads. That ain't half bad. Really, it's not.
But . . . say I send out thirty queries and have twenty-five ask for partials? That's a heck of a lot less work. On top of that, it's over 75% requests.
Part of me, a big part of me, doesn't think it will take nearly that long this time. I'm kind of thinking this is it. A story line that is garnishing a 100% acceptance rate--and from an agent as awesome as Jenny--has a much better chance than one getting a 20% acceptance rate.
I sent a query to Kristin today . . . well, technically Kristin's assistant, Sara. Sara reads all the queries these days, and even if she didn't, Kristin is in New York this week. But they've been getting back to queries in one to two days lately, so I should find out how query #3 does tomorrow or Tuesday. I am hoping to keep up my 100% rate!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

James Barrie

" You're not hopeless. You've just misplaced your hope. Look around for it, you'll find it." J.M. Barrie

I found this quote on one of the writer's forums I frequent. As Dr. Who says, "Brilliant!" It's just become my mantra.:)
I found my hope on Friday, actually. I got into my e-mail and had a request for a partial from Jenny. Believe me when I say she is big time! It's kind of fun because this makes me 2 for 2 on my new query. 100% request rate! Can't do much better than that.:)
I'm still waiting to hear back from Nephele, and am still maintaining hope on that front. I think my fantasy is aimed more at a female audience than a male one, so I am encouraged by the simple fact that she is a woman. Weird, I know.
But my new thought is if I can't find an agent for my fantasy, my romance is getting really good attention right off the bat. If I can get an agent for it, then I kind of inherit an agent for any other books. Which means I can most likely get them to shop the fantasy as well. See, I found my hope.:)


Monday, July 03, 2006

Hot Off the Presses!!

Guess what I'm holding in my hand . . . no really, guess.:) I have my reader's copy of The Cymbals and the Crown. I will be bringing it when I drive up to Utah tomorrow night. And sorry to disappoint most of you, but Richard gets it first. (shrug) After that you can all fight over it. (laugh) Just FYI, you'll have to excuse the typos and misspelled word, etc. I got the story down so you guys could read it (and it is complete at 100,000 words) but I didn't have time to go back an polish . . . that will come later. I am moving to Utah tomorrow!! Yea!! I won't actually get there till the wee hours of Wednesday morning, but I'm leaving tomorrow.:) I'm so excited. And I'm excited for you guys to read the sequel. I really, really like it. It's a lot more thought provoking than the first one, but still has plenty of action. But it has a ton more people and most of them are so wonderful. (sigh) I'm in love with half of my characters. Anyway, you'll have it soon!