Sunday, February 28, 2010


Well, I submitted two stories to the GlimmerTrain February contest. Now it's wait and see what they say. According to their rules, I can post the stories here. I'll have to modify Jess' story for language to post here as I'm trying to leave this blog as PG as possible.

I don't expect to win as I didn't have a chance to edit them (busy weekend), so I suspect I'll rewrite one and submit it for next month's open fiction (no dollar winnings, but they'll review it again). And then maybe resubmit Collie's front story for the August contest. At least it gets me in front of someone new and objective.

This is still all rather surreal for me...I never expected to be in a search for something that I wrote to be published.

Have I mentioned how much I hate McAfee Anti-Virus? It pops up at the most inopportune time to announce it's downloading new patches and then takes over the CPU. One reason why I prefer writing on my Linux machine over my Windows boxes. (Sorry, the computer geek in me just jumped in...).

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cool website that's useful!

Digging around yesterday I stumbled across QueryTracker ( I played around with it a little bit and found lots of info on my first pick agent, decided to join with the free membership, posted my rejection letter, and poked around a bit. I've since decided that I'll probably use it to track all of my queries after all. I was planning on just keeping them in my email, but as many times as I've accidentally deleted stuff, I figured this may be a safer bet.

Plus there's all sorts of helpful information, other authors on-line to chat with, and it's kind of a support group of sorts.

Now I just need to get off my duff and join Monica Ferris' Sisters-in-Crime group and become a guppy. After all they hold several conferences within driving distance for me and at a reasonable price, so for $15 for annual membership I figure it's worth the bucks.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

MaryJanice is Right - Again!

I love MaryJanice Davidson's writing. Love the Betsy and Fred books, she's got a new serie's coming too that I can't wait to get my hands on. But mostly, I love her book Escape from the Slush Pile. It's like a crash course in publishing. Way cool!

I made the decision to approach agents of authors who's work I enjoy and who's style has a similar feel to Jess' book. In Escape from the Slush Pile MaryJanice talks about using the Internet to search for information on agents and publishing houses. She has an entire chapter devoted to it called Why the Internet Rocks. She's right - it does rock. And I've been working in tech since before the Internet; yes, there was a time before the Internet as we know it existed - it was called ARPANet.

Within in the span of 20 minutes, I found more information on my next targeted agents, and sent an email to one about the fact that her LinkedIn public profile directs people to her former agency (where she was a partner) and that she may want to change that. I also found lots of ratings for different agencies and agents so I now know who I don't want to send a query letter to.

It's also far easier than in the past to find ePublishers, submission requirements for the big print publishers like Bantam, Penguin, Avon, Harlequin (if you're a romance writer). Amazing stuff! Even better, I found I can get a copy of the Writer's Guide and other references MaryJanice suggests via my local library. Woo-hoo! (Yeah, I'm woo-hoo kind of gal at times...Gemini's have a complicated life).

I've also found a few folks that I trust to tell me the truth to read the book and let me know what needs fixing/tweaking/changing. Although Jess swears really bad, there were a few spots where I felt it may be masking the more interesting pieces of that particular piece of the story line. So we'll see how many changes are suggested, but cleaning up her mouth entirely won't work...because I'll never hear the end of it and she won't shut up long enough to let me sleep. If nothing else, Jess IS persistent.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Waiting Anew

Well, I sent out my second query letter to my second choice agent, who happens to represent Dakota Cassidy. Dakota writes paranormal romances, that are wickedly funny and make me laugh like MaryJanice's Betsy books. Oddly enough, Dakota lives in Texas, as does Victoria Laurie, and Jess' lives in Austin. (I'm taking that as a sign). I "think" I'm a similar style, but not 100% certain of that.

Anyway, I'll be waiting for a few weeks before hitting up the next agent. In the meantime, I'm wrapping up and proofing two short stories for the GlimmerTrain contest that are due on February 28th. I may do a short story on Merie, or one of the other Chosen and submit it as a regular submission at a later date to GlimmerTrain.

I'm also debating about joining in on a contest with the SouthWest Writers group in New Mexico. But I may hold off on that as I still need to join the Sisters In Crime "guppies" group for newbies. Monica Ferris is a big part of that group and they have conferences that are close enough (and cheap enough) for me to attend from time to time. And I love her hats!

Either way, I'll be waiting, and writing, and waiting for a few folks who are taking a stab at editing the first draft (did I mention that I haven't edited the book yet - I sent a first draft to my first agent pick) of the Jess book. I'll be trying to edit that as well, but Jess, Collie, and Merie are all clammoring for their stories to continue moving forward. So, I guess I'm off to write!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Short Story Contest

My dear Aunt sent me this contest information for Short Stories that I thought I'd share. It's a neat company, of course I like that fact that it's run by smart women. :)

The URL for this company is

And here's the competition info:

Deadline: February 28
1st place wins $1,200, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and 10 copies.
2nd-place: $500 and possible publication.
3rd-place: $300 and possible publication.
Results post on April 30. Winning story will be published in Issue 79.
Other considerations:
Open only to writers whose fiction has not appeared in any print publication with a circulation over 5,000. (Entries, of course, must not have appeared in any print publication.)
Please, no longer than 12,000 words. Any shorter lengths are welcome.
Reading fee is $15 per story.

I've found that reading fees for competitions seems to be pretty steady around the $15 (US) mark even for full novels.

First Rejection Letter

I got rejected. Which is what I expected, only I got so much more than I expected. I'm actually quite happy about given that my book hasn't been professionally edited yet and I still got this really nice response.
Thanks much for sending THE RELUCTANT PSYCHIC, which I read with great interest. Unfortunately, I’m going to be passing at this time.

Fiction, as I’m sure you know, is just about the toughest thing to sell in the current marketplace. I need to really fall in love with something before I can even think of taking it on. Though there is much to appreciate here, I’m afraid that I ultimately didn’t believe I would be its best advocate.

Thank you again, sincerely, for the chance to take a look. I wish you all the best of luck placing this successfully.

Friends and family were a bit worried that I'd give up. Actually, this rejection has given more hope than I ever had that Jess' book will get published. The fact that someone from the industry not only took the time to read it, but like it (even if he didn't love it) was HUGE for me. Now I'm off in search of another agent and am approaching a friend who has edited in the past to take a glance at the book. Maybe a few rewrites will do the trick. Anyway, I'm still a very happy camper and I have even more respect for this particular agent and agency than I did before.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The long wait begins....

Well, I put the book (electronically speaking) in the agent's hand last night. Now it's a waiting process while he reads it. Even if he rejects it, I'm still thrilled that someone in the industry is even remotely interested.

But there is still hope that the first book in Jess' series will be published at some point and in some fashion.

I've learned I still have a lot to learn about agents and this whole writing game. It's interesting to hear about the love/hate relationships between some agents and authors. So I konw it's a long process and I understand about building business relationships...I've been doing that for a long time now myself. And I'm pretty good at it...I've mooched quite a few cool geeky things in my time. Most recently I've managed to mooch a netbook. And it's quite the fun toy.

So bear with me while I wait. I promise to keep you posted on the good, bad, and ugly as I learn this publishing biz stuff.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy - a response already!

Okay, so I was having a rather boring day of "discussions" with a co-worker and patching of servers and then, before leaving for home to begin an early day of more patching, I checked my email and received this:

I’m game. Send the manuscript along, and I’ll review promptly. A Word attachment is most preferable if possible.



My day just became awesome! Happy, happy, Joy, joy dances all around.

And the wait begins...

Well, I did it. I clicked the SEND button and off went my synopsis to the first agent on my list. Now the wait begins. It's usually a 6-8 week turnaround for this particular agency. But I like them. It's woman run, and the agent I targeted is into Women's fiction and mysteries, so here's hoping. Although I fully expect a rejection. Which is's all part of the process. :)

Now I can focus on finishing up book 2 in Jess' series, join the Sisters in Crime writing group, I'll be a "guppy" (their group for newbies) and perhaps I'll have a chance at some point to meet Monica Ferris face to face (and maybe try on one of her famous hats!).

So, bear with me. Keep checking in though as I'll have more snippets from Merie, Jess and Collie...and the Snot Fairy may make a visit or two as well.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Writing Waylaid Again

Wild weather makes for bad, bad migraines for me. Which means I don't write. Even though Jess and Merie are dumping pages and pages of writing in my head for me. Perhaps tomorrow I'll be able to get some of the chaos out of my head.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying the fluffy white stuff now that the barometer is are the dogs. They LOVE! this stuff. Quite fun to watch them frolic in it, with being so big and all.

Better news is that MaryJanice Davidson is finally done with the final edits of "Undead and Unfinished" and is looking for new ARC readers. Hoping to get my name on the list somehow. I love her books, fast reads and they ALWAYS make me laugh.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Peek at Merie

Merie is one of God's "Chosen". She's an angel/human hybrid with no soul, placed on Earth as one of God's protectors of humankind. She's also 413 years old at this point. The following piece appears about midway through the first book. What you need to know is that Stan is actually Satan, but he prefers to be called Stan. It's these types of scenes that make me laugh like a loony at inappropriate times.

Oh! And God's a woman. Picture a carmel-brown colored woman who looks kind of like the Greek Goddess Athena, only really, really TALL. And God's an engineer, among other things.

It was pouring, nearly sheets of rain, thunder clapped loudly, and the lightening was close. Stan and Merie huddled in the mine shaft together, trying to avoid God's directed wrath. And God was furious!

“I swear Merie, it's not my doing this time! You know I like to 'tweak' her at times, but she's on a major rebuilding frenzy and there's NO WAY I would have done this. That's what I came to tell you.” Stan's face was sincere, but as Merie knew well, Stan was a phenomenal actor.

Taking his words with a grain of salt, Merie sighed. “Well, 'if' you didn't do it, do you have any idea who did? And what's the background on the whole event? God didn't tell me that this was in the plans.” Merie tilted her head up at Stan. He was an angel after all, and they did tend to go towards the tall side of God's creatures. Standing about 6'8” he wasn't her tallest, but he was a stretch for Merie.

Stan shook his blond curly head, “All I know is that it's none of my crew. I swear if it was one of my human minons I'd have killed them already, but none are admitting it. There's more to this than either of us know, and God's not helping any.” He smirked down at Merie as the thunder began to tone down a bit. If he'd been paying attention to Merie's eyes, he'd have seen what was coming reflected in them.

“OW!!! Shoot!! Woman! Let go of me.” Stan hollered as he was lifted more than a foot off the ground.

Merie was doubled over in laughter. God had stormed in and snatched up Stan by his curly blond locks to look in her still stormy eyes.

“What the hell are you doing out of your cage?!!” God thundered down at Stan as she shook him like a rag doll.

“OW!! Damn it all woman, put me down!” Stan was holding onto his head while trying to kick his way out of God's grasp.

“Address me properly little one! Or have you forgotten? I created you; I can simply 'uncreate' you at my heart's content." God's smirk was evil, her eyes glowing red. "You're lucky that I have a soft spot for this little chosen one. She's the one that always saves your skin for you.” God motioned her head in Merie's direction, and smiled benignly down at her Chosen one. Merie basked in the warm beam, feeling the love that only God could make her feel.

Smiling up at her God, Merie said, “Not to contradict you dearest One, but I don't 'always' save his skin.” God laughed, her face brightening, the red glow dimming to a deep pink. “But he does say it's not his humans or his minions. I wonder...could it just be that a human is behind all of this for some reason?” God frowned down at Merie, her face growing dark. “I didn't mean this disrespectfully at all, dear One, but could it be possible that due to free will it's out of your hands?” Merie downcast her eyes, afraid of a close handed burst of God's wrath.

Instead of pain, Merie's face was quickly jerked upwards at a burst of warm, happy, laughter. God finally put Stan back down, placed her hands around her waist and laughed. “Oh dear, you're probably right my little one. That stupid 'free will' always comes back to bite me in the ass.” Merie chuckled as well...she and God had once chatted long into the night when Merie was very, very young about God's choice of free will for her human creations.

“So, little one, do you have any ideas who it might be?” God's eyes flashed with anger, but her voice was still mirthful.

“Well, I was thinking perhaps it was the environmental folks, but I'm thinking it has more to do with that big ranch just on the other side of this mountain. From what I understand, the head of the family that owns it has been in a battle with the poor family that owns the drilling rights. He has the knowledge, perhaps you can 'change his mind' for him and make him fess up?” Merie smiled crookedly up at God.

“Ah, but my dearest little one, you're forgetting your own choice of will. If it is in fact a human leveraging his free will, I won't interfere. Best you try your own bag of tricks to determine who's causing the problems here. Perhaps your own 'feminine wiles' can do the trick.” God winked at Merie, “You've used them well in the past, perhaps it's time to bring them out once again. How old is this human?”

“Well, he looks to be older than I look now, so perhaps that will work. He is a rather disgusting excuse for a human though. However - for you my dearest One - I can endure anything.” Merie felt the full force of God's love on her as she beamed down at her.

“Wonderful my child! I shall give you a vacation after this job is complete.” Whipping her head around to glower down at Stan's attempt to escape, she reached a long arm out to once again grasp him by the hair. “Not a chance Slim. I'm putting you back into your cage where you belong.” God flew out of the mine shaft, Stan in tow, as Merie raced to watch her descent.

Merie emerged from the mine shaft just in time to witness an incredible full rainbow, the clouds, rain and thunder all gone in an instant. She shook her head sadly, thinking What a shame that humans can't see God as I can see her or recognize her miracles.

I laugh every time I read about Stan being picked up by his curly locks. He looks like an overgrown cherub with beautiful light blue eyes and dimples. So cute his only option was to become evil after all. I did adjust some of the language to to be more PG rated.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Another peek at Jess' life

I still haven't clicked on that "send" button yet to alert the agent that he should read my stuff.  So, as I have nothing new to report on the progress of finding an agent, I figured I'd give you another tidbit from Jess' story.

“Stop right there!” Jess practically shouted as the dead man walked through the door and into the closet. Luckily, she surprised him and he immediately stopped, just shy of touching her outstretched hand. More softly she asked, “Do you realize that you are dead?” Jess knew many didn't understand they were truly dead, and the newly dead were far more dangerous to Jess then the long dead.

“Why does everyone keep telling me that? I can't be dead! I have to get to surgery and no one will tell me which room I'm assigned to and I don't see my name on the board anywhere.” The man appeared to be in his early 30s and his expression was one of pure frustration.

“Oh, dear, you don't know. I'll swear on a stack of bibles that you are, most definitely, dead. What is your name?” Jess had heard about a young doctor being killed shortly before she'd started, but had never seen a picture of him. She was pretty certain the dead man in front of her was him.

“It's Dr. Dickinson and I have a critical patient that's waiting on me! Who do I need to talk to around here to get a room scheduled?” Still in denial, the doctor was focused solely on his patient and not paying complete attention to what Jess was telling him.

“Dr. Dickinson, you're not listening. You died...almost a year ago. No one talks to you because no one else can see or hear you. Just me. It's a curse, or a gift, depending on how you look at it. I'm sure someone else stepped in and took care of your patient for you. Tell me your patient's name and I'll see what I can find out.” Jess was talking calmly and slowly, hoping it would sink in. What a shame, she thought, losing such a dedicated doctor so young. She desperately wanted to comfort him, but knew that if she touched him, he'd be far less inclined to believe her news of his death.

“I'm not dead! I keep telling you. I'M. NOT. DEAD!”, he was shouting and so close to Jess' face that that she could have licked his nose. “However, since YOU refuse to believe ME, I'll give you my patient's name and room number. Let me check my notes.” And with that he was gone. That's kind of the way it was with the newly dead who refused to believe. If Jess was lucky he'd be gone for a least a week, perhaps more. Sometimes they popped up again pretty fast, but that wasn't so common. Time between the two planes was warped and inconsistent, with the other side still moving forward but at vastly varying speeds and that rarely failed to surprise her.

Taking a deep breath and slowly letting it out, Jess peeked her head out of the janitor's closet. All clear; good, now I have a chance to pee! Jess thought as she headed into the women's room.

I just wish you all could see what I see in my head...then y'all might understand why I look like a crazy woman laughing to myself in my cubicle.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fighting with The Big Dog

I have 2 very large dogs, one of whom is a neutered male that "forgets" from time to time that he is NOT "The Big Dog".  We had a "tiff" over the weekend, which ended up with me wishing for harsher pain killers than I had on hand, and using a crutch.  So, I didn't get much writing done as I just wasn't in the mood.

Agent letter has yet to be sent...I'm proofing it with a fine toothed comb, but I'm deathly afraid I'll miss something,  It's far easier for me to proof other's work than my own.  I don't know what they're "meaning" to say, whereas I'm thinking my typing looks just as I mean it to, when often it's not.  It's confusing, I know, which is why I had my mom proof stuff for me in high school and friends proof my stuff in college.

In lieu of any actual writing, I figured I'd let you take a sneak peek at Jolita, Paul's drag queen persona...

Jolita entered onto the platform - it was rather hard to miss her. At 6' even, Paul (aka Jolita) was about average height before putting on the 4” heels, but had far from average looks. A touch of padding, some good makeup, and he made an absolutely stunning woman. As a man, he had beautiful looks that he could only attribute to his parents' mixed heritages. His father was Black and Korean, his mother full Brazilian. An outstanding combination, resulting in perfect milk-chocolate colored skin, high cheekbones, almond eyes, an unnoticeable Adam's Apple, long legs that rivaled Ru Paul's, and a butt that would give any plastic surgeon pause, all of which Paul knew how to work for Jolita.

“Good evening, Madames and Messieurs! Welcome to the 5th Annual Cowboy's Ball, or should I say 'balls'?” Jolita gave a suggestive wink and sashayed further down the stage. “For those of you not in the know, I am Jolita!” A luxurious upsweep of her arm let everyone know just who the Queen of the Ball truly was. She bowed to the applause before turning towards her band. Jolita was definitely proving to the crowd just who the Drag Queen Diva of Austin was tonight.

“Hit it boys!” Jolita launched into her rendition of “I just want to be loved by you”, sung in a breathy Marilyn Monroe fashion. The crowd was on their feet, cheering, whistling, and stomping. She followed up with a montage of the songs from her regular act, and ended with the whole crowd chiming in to a campy version of “The Yellow Rose of Texas”, which was always a crowd favorite. Jolita wasn't a lip syncher either, her vocal talent was real.

“Tonight's festivities will begin shortly. I'll be your Mistress of Ceremonies this evening, so we'll be seeing lots of each other tonight.” With a wink and a smile, Jolita blew a kiss to one of her favorite fans, a big ol' stereotypical Texas white boy who had tons of money and one foot still in the closet. “Dinner will be served in the next room, if y'all'd start moseying in that direction, I'd be most appreciative. I'll see you on stage in there, where you'll be granted the pleasure of seeing moi again.” Jolita took a small bow, disconnected her mike, and was escorted down the steps by a most handsome young man. She headed towards Jess, Molly, and Maggie's general location. Jess was used to the fact that Jolita would get stopped along the way and waited patiently for her.

Finally arriving at Jess' side several minutes later, Jolita gave her a big hug and air kisses. “Hey dolls! Enjoying the festivities? What until you see my new Angelia Jolie impression. I have a baby bump and everything!” Jolita giggled with a wicked grin. Jolita had a thing against Angelia Jolie for stealing Brad Pitt away from Jennifer Aniston. It was an impersonation that kept her readily employed as a good chunk of Austin's population appeared to feel the same way, or more likely, they simply enjoyed seeing the stars lambasted instead of idolized.
It's a little taste, but hopefully it was descriptive enough to leave you wanting more.  :)