Thursday, January 28, 2010

Agent Letter - done!

I finished my first agent letter today.  I tried, I really did try, to stay within their submissions guidelines, but it was tough.  How can you fully describe a recovering alcoholic, with a gay BFF who's the reigning Drag Queen Diva, two best gal pals that don't know her biggest secret, an attorney that makes her skin crawl, an evil boss, too many men interested in her friends, and a little girl's murder to solve in one paragraph?  Okay, so I made a horribly long sentence as an example, but really, sometimes one is just too few.

I did manage to cover most of it in two paragraphs.  I really hope he doesn't mind.  And I'm targeting one agent first for a very valid reason.  He represents one of my current favorites who's in the same genre (approximately) and works for a woman.  Who doesn't love a man who works for a woman and who's interest is in women's literature?  We'll see.  I'll have to wait to hear anything for at least 6-8 weeks.  I'm hoping for something good, but expecting a rejection.

But my husband has had a suggestion that I'm seriously considering.  Put out the first 3 chapters on a website.  Let people decide if they want to read the rest, charge $4-$5 for an electronic copy of the whole book that they can download from the same site.  It's a possibility.  I'm still contemplating it.  All the formats and securing those files means I have to learn more tech stuff and I'm not 100% certain I want to go that way yet.  (Or perhaps I'm just being really lazy).

In the meantime, I'll be considering posting a few tidbits here that are PG-rated.  (Jess swears so badly a lot of it would be considered adult content).

And I'll let you know when I actually click on the "send" button.  I'm thinking perhaps I'll wait until this weekend, so it's fresh in his mailbox on Monday.   Really, I just need to get up the nerve and send it already.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How I Write

Since work is getting in the way, I figured I'd explain my "writing process" as it were/is/whatever, because it can be rather confusing.

I don't do outlines, I don't do plot lines, I don't do storyboards or planning of any type.  What I do instead is wait.  My wait is usually not long.  I wait for Jess, or Collie, or Merie to skip through my brain raining down "visual pages" of what to write.  So really it's not me writing, it's my characters.  I'd feel bad (as in a mental health issues way) if I didn't have confirmation that this is fairly "normal" for some writers.  I figure it's just the dementia kicking in early (have I mentioned this before?).

Lucky thing for me - at least sometimes - is that my characters are very chatty.  Unlucky thing is that Collie speaks in a mix of English, and Celtic/Tehachapi dialect (as in the Tehachapi tribes of California) and I have to translate or figure it out - there's no dictionary for her language.  Collie only slips into her "native" tongue when she's mad at me, which is often.  And the unlucky part of Merie's story is that she's always making me laugh at inappropriate times (like in the middle of meetings or while grocery shopping - the husband's gotten used to it).  She does this by giving me visuals of God in all her glory shaking the bejesus out of Satan by the roots of his curly blond locks.  Jess is far easier.  She swears horribly, which I kind of admire, and she stomps her foot when she's not getting enough attention, or when Paul pushes her out of the way to demand of me more attention to his storyline coming up in the third book.

In a way, I'm a bit like Jess, but instead of a dead hoard following me around, I have these characters running amok in my head and making my life a circus at times.  I love them all dearly.  Merie is by far the funnest for me to write, Jess is harder giving me both laughter and tears, Collie is most difficult as she's a big environmentalist, something which I am not.  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for protecting our natural resources, but when I want a steak, I'm getting a steak and don't want a lecture with my meal.

The best part I like about Jess, besides the fact that she's really easy to understand, is that she's true to her country roots.  I would have loved to have been raised on a farm, but I got stuck being raised in the busier parts of the US West Coast, where land comes at a premium and my folks were on a pre-WalMart budget.

All-in-all, my characters keep me laughing, and they keep bringing in new characters to bug me, like the Snot Fairy (among others), and Miracle Max.  So, my hope is that in some way I make you laugh a little too when I dump out pages from my head.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Work gets in the way again

Had to interrupt writing to attend to work issues again.  So Paul and Paxton (he appears later) are pitching a hissy fit.  I need to finish Book #2 in Jess' series to get on to their complaints.  But Merie and Collie are fighting for attention while Jess just grins evilly in the background knowing that it's "her" story that's being pitched first.  But, we'll see who gets published first.

MaryJanice Davidson had started with Fred, her grumpy Mermaid series, but ended up with Betsy being published first.  While I adore Fred, I wonder if she'd have had the chance to get Betsy heard if Fred had been published first.  Partly because Fred's story was only 3 books long, and partly because Betsy is just so hysterically, raunchily funny that I have to get the next book the second it's available at my local B&N.

Hoping to get more done this week as Jess and Merie have taken to waking me up at god awful hours of the wee morning to dump "stacks of pages" in my head.  And I like my sleep.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Meet Jess

Since I got my synopsis done today (boredom while watching big files download = writing), I figured I should introduce Jess to you all and just get her off my back already.  The circus in my head is growing restless.

Jess' life is complicated.  Not only is she a recovering alcoholic approaching her 1-year sober date, her BFF Paul is a closeted stockbroker by day and the reigning Drag Queen Diva of Austin at night, but she also sees dead people.  She doesn't just see them, she talks to them, they touch her, she can touch them, they've done physical harm to her in the past as well.  You'd drink too if you found yourself unexpectedly flying through the air like a rag doll.  And only Paul knows her secret, or so she thinks.  Her best girls Molly and Maggie work with her at the local hospital.  Molly's a social worker - also a recovering alcoholic and former stockbroker.  Maggie works as a billing coder with Jess in the bowels of the hospital.  And Matt works security and is harboring a major crush on Maggie.

There's always a hoard of dead clamoring for Jess' attention following her around.  She's managed to corral most of them in her apartment, but every once in awhile one sneaks out.  Rosie, a warm grandmotherly type who dresses like Lucille Ball, is one that can find Jess anywhere.  She's almost like Jess' spirit guide, almost, but not quite.  Then there's Melissa, the constant whiner who makes Jess throw shoes through her semi-transparent head at times.  Rosie helps keep the dead hoard in control and chastises Jess on a regular basis about her language.  Oh, did I mention Jess swears like a sailor?  The first line in the book starts with "Shut the f--- up!"  Which is exactly why my mother won't read it.

And then there's Sam.  He helped save her life, paying for her rehab stint and helping her get into her apartment.  She likes him, but wants to only be friends. And she's sure she knows him from somewhere, but can't quite place him.  Her memories are lacking in places and it may just be that Sam fell into one of the "holes" in her brain. It's complicated, like I said.

Then there's the new hospital attorney who makes every woman's skin crawl, her evil boss "Vampira" who wants to fire her in the worst way, and 5 year old Sallae Ann's murder to solve.  And that's just the first book.  She's demanding an entire series.

And I thought just being a Gemini is tough!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I've been dragging my feet.  I'm really good at procrastinating.  A friend of mine from stitching used to talk about starting a Procrastinator's Anonymous club but we could never get around to scheduling a meeting.  Still makes me laugh...okay, so I'm easy to entertain, I'll admit it.

But, I do have my synopsis done.  And I got some sewing done.  The two have nothing to do with each other, unless you figure I use my delayed sewing projects as a diversion.  My excuse is that I have a freebie coupon to get my abused machine cleaned for free and I still had polar fleece to use up.  Now that's out of my way, I really have no excuses to delaying my agent letters.

Jess is threatening to kick my a character in my head can actually kick my butt I've got no idea, but if any of my characters can do it, Jess can.  I promised her I'll introduce you all to her within the next few days.  She's happy that she's first on the list as Collie really drives her batty in so many ways.  She likes Merie though, because Merie thinks it's funny when God picks Satan up by his blond curls to shake him like a rag doll.  The visuals I get off of that make me laugh out loud, which makes people look at me funny.  These outbursts happen randomly and I'm finding it hard at times to control it during meetings when I'm bored.

I miss my LGBT kids at work who so patiently listened to me talk about the book and who understood why I was at my desk laughing at my laptop screen.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Progress...sort of

I verified my target agents email and snail mail address.  Now I have to decide which method I should use.  One costs no money, the other costs, but may get it in his face faster.  Decisions, decisions....

I do have the synopsis done though.  I corrected several typos and grammatical mistakes in the first book and added notes to the 2nd book in the series.  Even Collie got a bit of attention today and I've left her hanging for more storyline since November.  I failed horribly in my first attempt at NaNoWriMo (, only reaching 15,000 out of 50,000 words.

The other part of my day was spent downloading technical training materials.  I'm overdue for some new learning and this is one really cheap way to do.  I'm not naturally cheap, however with budget cuts and such I have to get truly creative with obtaining new knowlege.  The bane of IT workers changes so often we're constantly retraining.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Random thoughts on Prayers and Laziness

Readers Alert: This post has little to do with writing...just an observation as to why I'm not getting letters done.

I feel better now.  That is after reading MaryJanice's blog and her self admitted laziness.  It's not that I'm actually being lazy...just not feeling like writing much this weekend.  You see, we lost a very sweet kitten last weekend and it's hitting us pretty hard this weekend, so I've been doing other stuff to occupy my time in an vain attempt to occupy my brain.  Didn't quite work.

Instead, I had the random thought that I hadn't heard from a dear friend who's fighting cancer since sometime before the holidays.  This is odd and not necessarily a good sign.  You see, she's one of the beings (beings because I include humans and animals) on my soul's prayer list.  I always have a prayer list going, even though I'm not overtly religious.  I have this running list that I post in my soul and delegate to my soul to take care of while I go about other tasks.  It's a very convenient method of multi-tasking, but when one of the souls I'm praying for jumps off that list and into the forefront of my brain it's not usually a good sign.  Kind of like how I knew my father wasn't going to make it out of the hospital after his second heart attack.  So I'm hoping she's okay and just super busy at the moment.

My employer wouldn't be pleased that I leave my praying duties to my soul to perform on my behalf.  I work for a conservative Christian organization, which I find very hard at times as I'm openly supportive of the LGBT community as a whole, while my employer does not.  I have had some very interesting (and enlightening) converstations with people at work.  Anyway, they view prayer as a very active, and required, duty, while my view point is different.  I figure that God's very busy and I'm sure God's okay with my particular "prayer method" and may even appreciate the fact that I'm trying to lighten the load a bit.

So, I'm concerned.  I hope to hear from my friend soon and that all is okay, as I hope it is.  After the loss of our sweet, lovely kitten (only 6 months old) to Lymphoma, I'm understandably worried.  I just have to remind myself that all my beloved pets are together, playing on a farm somewhere under Pop's watchful eye, and having a blast.

Enough melancholy...hoping for a brighter day tomorrow when I can concentrate on those oh-so-important agent letters that aren't going to be magically written for me.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Agent Hunting

I did it!  I found the agent information I was looking I just need to get the letter drafted and off to him.  Patience will be much needed as their lead time for a response is anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks.  I'm hoping that because he has an author that is in the same genre that he might be piqued...especially since she's one I read anytime a new book comes out.

MaryJanice Davidson doesn't use an agent, she represents herself, but she's also well published.  So I decided to follow Victoria Laurie's route and get an agent.  And it will be her "fault" if I end up with the same agent; as it was in one of her books that had lots of links to my life that she mentioned her agent by name in the forward.  I took it as a sign.

I have to, don't I?  After all, my main character has similar abilities to one of her main characters...not the one in the book I was reading, but still it's the thought.

I was perusing another blog today that led to a link that points out the odds of being able to be a successully published author (meaning you earn enough on your books to just be a writer and nothing else) are somewhere between 1 in 200 to 1 in 500.  Here's to hoping my luck holds out!  I was accepted to the only university that I applied to (much to my mother's anguish...that I only applied to 1 university, not that I was accepted).

Wish me luck!  Mostly to getting the agent letter done...then luck that he'll pick me up...and then luck we'll find a publisher to find it.

And once I get those agent letters shipped off, I'll try to introduce you to the ladies, as well as the new Miracle Max and Fairy series children's book ideas I have.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why Now?

Had you asked me a few decades ago, heck even a few years ago, if I would ever be a writer of fiction I would have laughed and said you were crazy. I write business documents, technical documentation, and end-user instructions, not fiction. Yeah, right!

That was all before I had a dream that caused me to write a complete 50,000+ word novel in a little less than a month. Yep, a novel.

My Aunt is an artist and a writer, my cousin is a writer, in fact one cousin is a published author and has a Master's in English Lit. Me, I'm a computer geek. So, when the stories first started coming I asked my Aunt about her writing, to see if I was going nuts or if this is "normal" for us. Turns out it's normal - for us anyway.

I've come to the conclusion that I must be experiencing "early dementia" as both Alzheimer's and Dementia run in the family. I decided to embrace this new stage of my life and write the first story. Half way through the novel a new character popped up and I started her book, then a third character chimed in and - whaddya know - I now have 1 novel complete, 2 others started, and the first novel is quickly becoming a series with books #2 and #3 started in some fashion.

I'm not a trained writer, in fact English was one of my weaker subjects. I have no idea how to get a book published, but I'm learning. Thanks to help from some of my favorite authors - MaryJanice Davidson and her book "Escape the Slush Pile" is a great read and offers lots of advice - Monica Ferris has answered every question I've thrown at her, and Maggie Sefton eased my concerns that I might - in fact - be crazy. It was comforting to know that other writer's characters "talk" to them as well.

This blog is the first I've ever had. I don't want to look at a computer when I get home and I never bought into the pressure to have my own website or my own blog. (To tell the truth I find it all very narcissitic) . So why now? Because apparently it's something writers need to be doing in order to help sell books. So here it is.

Should you feel so inclined...follow me as I get through the process of writing agent letters, negotiating the pitfalls of contracts (in case I get one) and how to take the criticism of your mother who holds a degree in English and doesn't like the fact that one of your main characters swears like a sailor, and because of that she refuses to read the completed book, instead preferring the other two characters who don't swear like a sailor. In fact one talks to God (who's a woman by the way) but that's for another day.