Random Bits

1) Every once in a while, the blank stare that is my looking at lists of agents and their submission guidelines breaks into hilarity - e.g. a particular agent has stated that she won't represent anything with the word "unicorn" in the title. That's just funny!

2) Less funny is my missing flash drive. It had my latest edits on it. *sigh* I suppose they'll be better the second time around. I knew that it's doubling as a "blue necklace" to a two year old wouldn't end anywhere good. I just can't imagine where I haven't looked that she could have stashed that thing! She suggested I check Target...

3) Try not to burn with envy, but I, Robin, will be attending the So You Think You Can Dance tour performance TOMORROW NIGHT! Yes, I'll be there with all the quick stepping and hip hopping you can imagine. So. Much. Fun. I'll post a full report.

4) On a similar note, I'm a big fan of Sixwire from The Next Great American Band. Didn't they do a great job on Friday! WOO! If you, like me, can't get enough, my DH found their myspace site with songs you can listen to right there. No need to wait till Friday! http://www.myspace.com/sixwire

Also, a shout out to the Clark Brothers who are pretty amazing themselves.

5) Since I seem to be on a reality show roll, let me just say that season 4 of Project Runway isn't gelling for me yet. Don't they all seem a little odd to you? I'm having trouble finding someone to relate to - which, as we writers know, is key in being able to cheer someone on to the finish! I think, maybe, I like Sweet P and Kit Pistol, but I cringe just as I type their names. We'll see. It might be like Season 3 of Top Chef - no standouts.

OK, that's all, signing off, gotta get my rest to re-tackle those edits!

Happy Monday!

What a way to start a Monday - with another request for a partial!

Querying *can* be fun!!! WOOO!!!

Sunday night...

I'm polishing the full manuscript - again. One of my oh so wonderful beta readers has pointed out a couple of things that need to be fixed. And she's right. So here I am, procrastinating, before I shine it up just a little more. :)

I'm hoping this is the last big push so I can move onto the next project while I'm having all of my query fun. I'm really anxious to write something new!

I hope everyone had wonderful Thanksgiving. I certainly did! Much fun was had - many games were played - much food was eaten - a wonderful day!!!

Tuesday Update

I hope everyone is enjoying their Thanksgiving week! Things are still trucking along here - I continue to get rejections, some personalized which is nice, and some requests, which are even nicer! WOO!!!! I seem to be split between obsessivly checking my e-mail and wearing out the mouse by clicking refresh every thirty seconds - and feeling physically sick just at the site of the browser. Oh, the internal conflict.

I now have a complete synopsis, too! Thank you for all the great links and advice. In my big synopsis research project it seems that every piece of advice contradicts every other, except "make it fun to read." So, I tried to take a length and formatting approach somewhere in the middle of what was suggested. I'm hoping that if I'm not too far afield of anything out there, I won't look like the dreaded nitwit.

That's it from me - I hope the flurry of cooking is going well!!

Real Life Horror

I grabbed this link from Michelle Moran's History Buff blog.
I don't even really know how to comment, except that I'll be following the story to see if the world can bring some sort of pressure about to help this poor girl.

It's a very short story about a 19 year old rape victim who's being ordered to undergo 200 lashes for being in the car with the boys in the first place, and then for taking the story to the media after her first sentence of 90 lashes.

Stuff like this makes me feel angry and helpless. We all know monsters are out there doing horrible things to people, but we don't expect this sort of horror to be handed out at the hand of the government. Ugh.

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

Yes, it's my birthday!!! WOO!!! As a present to myself, I'm working on edits instead of laundry. YAY! ;) Dear, Dear DH said he'd be more than happy to help me with that other stuff....

Last night we got a precious night out and went to dinner and saw Dan in Real Life. It's possible I have a little crush on Steve Carrell. The little ones were in heaven as my parents set up "stadium seating" on their counter, turned on Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and made mac 'n' cheese. It's a good place to be a grandkid. ;)

Tonight is a celebration with munchkins and birthday cake and kid movies galore! (after the editing of course...)

Missives from query land...

Still sending queries, still getting responses, still editing furiously, still working on my synopsis. Oh, the dreaded synopsis!

Also, just wanted to see if anyone's been watching The Office the last couple of weeks in particular. The last two episodes are the sort of thing that make me want to write - to keep going - keep editing, creating characters, giving them life and depth and humanity. I know, it's nowhere near my genre, but real characters are what it's always about for me.

The last two weeks the show has ended on just that perfect note of poignancy that makes you wish you could reach through the tv set. Last week it was Michael and Jim's exchange at the birthday party. Michael seemed like a real guy- vulnerable - having maybe been even *more* of a real person once upon a time before 10 years at Dunder Mifflin made him what he is now. And we saw Jim blanche - saw him see himself in 10 years. This week we saw that glimmer of vulnerability again when he told the guy that had interviewed him that he was a nice person, too. It was just the perfect amount to keep the characters real, so the laughs are even more funny.

OK - enough anaylsis. Back to editing and the synopsis!

Oh how the mighty are fallen!

I've been querying pretty consistantly - starting with e-queries - and let me tell you, those agents can get back to you pretty darn fast! It's funny to me that heading into the query process, armed with volumes of Miss Snark and 50 industry blogs in my bloglines, I knew "query widely", "don't take rejection personally", etc, etc, but already I'm sympathizing with those writers who've sent off firy missives after being rejected and those who feel like after 10 agents, maybe there *IS* something dreadfully wrong with their query letter.


And I'm not even up to 10.

Must I admit that I'm thinner skinned than I thought? I could put on an uber-confident front here in blogland, because that's what I know, intellectually, is called for. But honestly, it's already getting to me!

I comfort myself knowing that Meg Cabot received a rejection A DAY for FOUR YEARS before selling her first book - and so many other similar stories. Still - it's surprising how daunting it is.

OK, off to thicken up my skin a little bit. I'm thinking chocolate will help...


I sent my first e-query off today. Gulp.

The Hook - Murder on a Moonlit Sea

Here is the hook! This post may get edited along the way. ;) And big kudos to my CP for help with this...

Anya Swanson knows broken—whether bodies or hearts. As an insurance adjustor for the perilous fishing industry, she's seen her share of hurt.

But when she probes too deep into one suspicious claim, the casualties hit closer to home than she ever imagined. It appears to be just a tragic accident—an inexperienced deckhand washed overboard in the Bering Sea.

But when another deckhand on another boat goes over in a similar manner—and dragging a woman along with him—Anya takes it personally. She had dinner plans with this one. But before she can file the death claim, Anya discovers he may not be dead at all. In fact, he may be behind both deaths. And wouldn't you know…he intends to keep that date.


She stumbles across the finish line, crashing through the tape. Water. Water!!!

I'm done. DONE!!!! The edits are entered. It is complete! YAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!!!!

Tomorrow - off to the beta readers.

I'm in query land!

Woo hoo!!!!!

Mommy Dearest...

Tonight at dinner, my six year old made this declaration:

Her: I will be writing a book about my childhood.

Me: Oh, the dreaded tell all!

Her: I'm writing a book of stories about all the little things that happen to me.

Dad: Why are you writing a book about your childhood?

Her: Because I often say things that are hilarious, without even knowing it

Me: *much laughter*

Her: Right there, was I hilarious?

Dad: Yes

Her: See! That's exactly what I'm talking about!

Another editing update

I'm on Chapter 28. I'm moving along, not as fast as I'd like, but still moving. Somehow I'm still operating under the idea that I'll *never* get done. I'm not sure why, since I've only got 9 chapters or so to go, but nevertheless, it's daunting. Crazy, I know.

BTW - I just listened to an interview with Meg Cabot who once wrote TWELVE books in one year under deadline. Wow. That's a lot. And under four different names. She said she nearly went crazy. I can't even imagine.

I hope you all are headed into a wonderful weekend - we kicked ours off here with family Christmas movie night and Christmas cookies. It was tons of fun (we watched the old Miracle on 34th Street). I think it's a new Friday tradition between now and Christmas. Woo!

Also, a little good news - Lost is not delayed! So far, it will be starting in January. Another Woo!!!

Hm... I thought I heard my little one crying upstairs, but now, it was my cat 'talking' in her sleep. That's just weird!

Happy weekend, everyone!

And now it hits home...

The strike, that is. I assume you all know which strike I'm talking about.

After waiting an INTERMINABLE length of time for Jack Bauer to come save the day... we have to wait a little longer. And who knows how long?!

OK! I cave! Enough already! You've broken me! I'll pay anything for DVD's. Anything! Just give the writers what they want and bring back Jack!!!

I can only imagine that this will affect my dear Lost as well, and if the Office goes into reruns, well, I *suppose* it will give me more writing time... *sigh*

Two Books to Pass On!

I loooove writing books. I do. I used to never read them, thinking I just had to *know* how to write. Pshaw. There's plenty they can teach you. In fact, one of the books (the Elizabeth George book) makes a point in the beginning that there are two elements to writing: art and craft. Art cannot be taught, but craft can and should. Amen.

So, first up, we have Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose. This book feels like sitting in a class taught by your favorite literature and creative writing teacher. She talks about "close reading" - reading for words, for sentences, for paragraphs, and she has an ode to diagraming sentences that made my heart flutter. I'm such a grammar nerd!

One thing she says that I love is that it's wonderful to read the bestselling authors today, but keep in mind that they are just the period at the end of a very long sentence that is hundreds of years old. (I'm paraphrasing). I'm sure I'll be sharing insights from both of these books in more detail in posts to come.
The other, is Write Away by Elizabeth George. She, of course, writes in the mystery genre, so this book is even more applicable for me. She manages to talk about her proces and about her craft in a way that's very helpful, without putting writing in a box. And also without reducing the mystery to a formula. She contends that books are first and foremost about character, and that the unique characters you create should then be put into conflice that elucidates who they are. It's a very interesting approach.
So, if you're looking for a new book on writing - I highly suggest both of these!!

Editing Update

Four more chapters done last night, bringing me up to chapter 22. YAY! I'm still working tonight so we'll see how far I get. Sleep may win out over editing, though...

Halfway Baby!

I crossed the halfway point in the edits yesterday - 18 chapters down, 18 to go!


And by such a close friend, no less. It seems, that in these final two months of pregnancy, my one joy, my saving grace, my coffee, has turned it's back on me. Yes, that's right. For the first time in my life I find that I can no longer drink coffee.

I drank it through horrible, intense morning sickness. It was the first thing I ordered after delivering my babies. I drink it hot on chily fall days and iced on warm summer days. But now, it seems that even half a cup makes my heart race so horribly that even I must admit defeat. Must turn to another beverage.

And so, reluctantly, I lift a glass of tea in cheers on this bleak day....

Synopsis, anyone?

So, I've been reading through the archives of Janet Reid's blog (she has a Miss Snark-ish feel, for anyone else still in withdrawl, though it seems her beverage of choice is whiskey, not gin...) Anyway... she lists a few things that you, author and prospective client, should have at the ready when you are querying. One of these is a synopsis.

I've done lots of research on writing queries, but advice on synopses seems to elude me. Can anyone point me toward some great tips? It seems like synopsis length requirements vary widely by agent. And I'm still not sure if they just want a couple of pages saying: First this happens, then this, blah blah blah... or if it should be more of a table along the lines of:

Chapter One: two sentences summarizing chapter one
Chapter Two: ditto

I know some of you have written these!! Any words of wisdom?!


A new way to procrastinate

As if Library Thing and Frugal Reader weren't enough, I've know discovered Goodreads. You can list the books you've read, write reviews, connect with other readers and authors - so much fun when you've read all your e-mail, your bloglines, and you STILL need some way to put off rewriting that really tough sentence. ;)

Editing Update

I'm about 1/3 of the way through the edits now. I wanted to push hard last night, but the consensus among those who love me is that I need more sleep. Which doesn't speak well of my sunny attitude. ;)

So, hopefully I'll be working on my book during daylight hours in the days to come with a little help from my friends. I bet the book will even benefit from my increased wakefulness!

It's week 31 now of the pregnancy - 63 days to go. The kid's packing on the pounds. This is when I typically fall apart... so I'm basically right on schedule!

And Happy Halloween to you, too!

Well, it's over. The marathon Hallowe'en session is over.

I got the little red headed princess off to her Reformation Day celebration. The archery comepetion was a big hit - bobbing for apples not so much "I'd have to get my face wet! I mean there were towels, but c'mon." That's my girl. ;) Also, apparently the feast of chicken legs et al was not a complete success either. She's never had a drumstick because I can't stand them. And neither can she it seems - "Mom, did you know the meat is slithery?!" Ewwww.... fortunately they had lots of candy. ;)

The little monkey went with me to volunteer that morning, take the princess to tennis (and yes, inc ase you're wondering, you *can* play tennis dressed as a Renaissance princess) then we scarffed down some pizza and headed to the masquerade party at church.

This is where the little monkey and I were separated. Yes. I left her in the church nursery. She likes the nursery. She plays ring around the rosy and kitchen and trains and loves it. Except last night. She did not love it. When I picked her up, this is the conversation we had the ENTIRE ride home:

her - I played with kids!
me - you did?
her - then I called "mama?! mama?!" (this is done as a reanactment with her putting her little hands to her mouth and calling all around the car)
me - you called for me?
her - yes but mama all gone. I cry. Tears fall on my face. Tears fall off my face. I call "Mama?! Mama?!" But mama all gone.
me - I'm sorry honey.
her - I hold mama now. I hold mama's neck. Daddy!!! Stop the car!
me - Why is daddy stopping the car?
her - So I hold mama's neck!
me - Just wait, we'll be home soon.

This played on a constant loop for about 20 minutes, with a brief interlude where she reminisced about her other recent horror, getting carsick with Daddy and throwing up in the car.
her - I throw up!
me - yes, you threw up
her - I go like this "cough" "cough" "cough" (again with the reenactment)
me - I know, I'm so sorry.
her - I threw up on my car seat.
me - yes, it was terrible
her - I threw up on my WIGGLES SHIRT!
me - yes, I'm sorry, we're washing the shirt
her - mama all gone

and so we went back to the previous loop...

and I am very happy that today is the first of November. ;)

Go Go Go!

A big shout out to all the Nano-ers this month. I hope your first day is off to a great start!!!!