The agent giveth me hope... and the agent taketh it away. This morning I was elated to see that another agent wanted me to send a sample chapter, but I felt the impending hand of doom when she also stated that she wasn't sure if my book was right for her. She said she'd read it right away and get back to me. True to her word, within two hours my once-high-hopes were dashed. I would be crushed, but I have a lot of irons in the fire, and it's a very subjective business.

Not going to linger on it. In fact, I'm going to continue to make edits tonight, and hopefully print a hard copy so that I can read the whole thing through next week, one with all the changes incorporated into it. Yesterday I sent out 35 more queries, and received no rejection from the agency who requested the full. No news is good news... unless they tell you that no news is bad news. *pulls hair in frustration* There are about fifteen more agencies I will approach once I print the query letters out (snail mail only), and another twenty that I can contact once I write a synopsis... I'm really hung up on the synopsis but there's an agent that I really like on that list, so I need to do it for her... lol

I finally joined a writer's group (of sorts), a site called Absolute Write that I've been using to get agent information in cases where the agency doesn't appear to have a website. So far people have been friendly and I've run across a couple of interesting author websites. It's intimidating to read other people's work, because I have a tendency to make comparisons to my own writing. My writing tends to be pretty simple, no epic battles or complex worlds, mine's more relationship-based and internal. Thank god there's a market for that, and hopefully there's room in it for me!

...I don't know how many times I have to find myself in the middle of making dinner only to find that I'm missing a key ingredient before I start to pay attention to the frickin' recipe. I got Monterey Jack instead of Mozzarella... no big deal... but I totally overlooked the riccota. I don't know if this is going to work out or not, but there's an interesting substitute (no amounts specified so I winged it) of cream cheese, egg and parmesan. Dinner's in the oven now... we shall see. Casseroles tend to be pretty forgiving.

This week I've decided to test my willpower, and yeah--go ahead and laugh at how pathetic I am... I intended to cut back from three sodas a day, to one. I ended up cutting back from three to... two. Yes, it's still progress, but I didn't meet my goal. So this week I'm going to adhere to it, and I'm going to cook meals from Cook Yourself Thin, and I'm going to hop on the treadmill every day and burn at least 250 calories. If I don't see a difference this week, no matter where you live, you will hear my scream. I figure it's six days. If I can't last for six days then what does that say about me?

And you'll be happy to know that I survived the night, in fact, 30 minutes after finishing the movie I was in bed asleep. I am a badass! lol
My samples from Pink Quartz Minerals showed up in the mail today... so pretty... four tiny little plastic vials of shimmery red eyeshadows and one small baggie of a gorgeous shimmery gold. Makeup is my latest addiction, I'm actually ashamed at how many eyeshadows I own, and I just bought more today... (samples from sellers on Etsy! cheap and fun and it keeps me out of trouble because the alternative is Ulta or Sephora or CVS...) So I went online to get inspiration from Makeup Geek, because she tends to do looks that have more impact than my other two faves, Lauren Luke and Kandee Johnson, and I'm still trying to put together a look for Samhein (Halloween). I don't know why, but I have gotten sucked in to these tutorials. My inner Barbie has only recently come out, but now that she's out, she's out with a vengeance.

Incidentally, and I probably shouldn't admit this because I know all books start with disclaimers that any resemblance to real people is purely circumstantial, but I loosely based my character Lauren on the Lauren who does the makeup tutorials. I guess it's not surprising... I observe people every day and over time the character traits find their way into my writing. She just has this every-girl personality that you can't help but like, she seems so genuine and... likeable. I don't know her, never met her, haven't spoken to or corresponded with her, so the character is only a representation... my interpretation... and I'm sure when all is said in done it really does bear no reselmblance to the real person... it's based on her vivaciousness and openness and how comfortable she seems to be in her own skin. I was happy when one of my friends said they loved her in the book. So. Not actually Lauren, but yes, based on Lauren. And the fact that she's also named Lauren? I actually had a character named Lauren in my screenplay, so I wanted to give her a second chance.

This morning one of my friends returned my manuscript with her suggested edits (and no, I haven't gone psycho - I'm still marvelling at the cool binder it's in). Throughout this process it has been so interesting to see what other people think as they read my story, what they key into. Almost everyone brings something different to the table. I love to read the comments... "No!" or "Gag" or "I love this!" or "You switched metric systems." My mom thought the scene in the hardware store went on a little too long, just prior to that, one of my friends told me he loved the scene in the hardware store. You can't please everyone I guess, but I like that I'm not getting too many people pointing out the same issues. Most of what I see is positive feedback, and questions that make me rethink how I worded something.

Tonight I spoke to one of the friends who is coming to Scotland with me, and he asked me if I would help out with a press release for a charity event that his Harley chapter is putting together. Awesome! I love this guy (and the cherry on top is that his wife is incredible, too). Our friendship was forged in  a non-traditional manner, one not likely to have lasted for this long: I met him over the telephone at my last job... over ten years ago... egads! I worked as a buyer supporting the western region of a major telecommunications company, and he was one of the project managers I frequently worked with. We developed a rapport and over time became friends... he's a hell of a guy. As luck would have it, I had a relative living in the same general vicinity, so I got to meet up with he and his wife a couple of times, and we now have this great, almost famial relationship. I guess my point is, you never know who is going to come into your life, or where they'll pop up, but sometimes you get lucky. I feel lucky anyway. Most of the time (gotta keep him grounded).

Spent my lunch hour looking up more agents. I added about 25 to my list, and unless the whole winery thing works out for tomorrow... which is not looking promising... I'll spend a good portion of my day sending out more queries and working on the book (my friend had some valid suggestions so I want to go back tomorrow and implement some of them). My enthusiasm is back now that I've gotten a positive response from an agent, and I know better than to put all of my eggs in that one basket; it's not a yes yet (but it's not a no... it's like purgatory...).

So that was my day. Oh - that, and the bathrooms were out of order for over half the day, so I had to walk half way to Albequerque to pee. Fun! Sometimes I think other people must have way more exciting lives than I do... Oh, and I take far too much joy in puns... a friend of mine is an electrician and he was getting worked up over something so I got to tell him not to blow a fuse... I slay me.

Now I'm going to get off the computer, lie back on the sofa, and watch A Haunting... and possibly freak myself out so that I will have problems falling asleep... even though I'm completely wiped out... I don't know why I do this to myself, but the paranormal fascinates me. If they had a paranormal channel I'd be watching that puppy all day long... as long as the shows were worth watching... and okay, honestly most of them are crap... Paranormal State, on the other hand... that's one of my faves...

...and before I start to ramble again... I'm getting off this crazy thing!
First - a couple of random thoughts:

1. The frozen dinner I had for lunch puported to contain chicken and stuffing with mashed potatoes. What I found inside the box were two strips of chicken sitting atop a pile of soggy croutons smothered in gravy. Ah those crazy marketers... you're a wily bunch who rule the world with your versions of the truth... lol

2. This morning as I drove into work, a security guard - who I've never seen before - said, "welcome back!"... How did he know I was out yesterday?...

On to the nibbling...

Yesterday I sent out several more query letters. It was a matter of getting off my duff, delving deeper into the database and taking more chances (primarily broadening the search parameters from 'paranormal romance' to 'women's fiction' and 'commercial fiction').

...and it might just pay off! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

This afternoon I checked my email and the dread filled me... a response... if I opened it would it tell me that they appreciated my submission but it was a pass... or... *click* ... would they?... *gasp* ... did they just?... OMG, they did! They just requested the full manuscript! Someone wants to read my story! Someone that I don't know!!! Someone who knows publishers!

For those of you who write, you know how monumental this feels... It's not a rejection. It's not a yes, but it's closer to a yes than I was yesterday... and they requested a full, not a partial. It's step 0.5 in the process of getting published, but it's a step that I've certainly never taken before. It's exhilerating and terrifying, because now it's real, now I have a shot - and I'm a perfectionist, so I don't know if I'm ready. After the immediate thrill, there was horror: Did I sell myself short? Is it the best it can be? Did I edit it as much as it needs to be edited? Should I have waited for all of my proofers to finish it first? Did I jump the gun? The only solution I could come up with was to trust that I have put a lot of effort into it, and hope that they like it despite its flaws.

I'm open to criticism. I know a lot of people say that and don't necessarily mean it, but I am. I'm proud of what I've written, but I recognize that there's always room for improvement, and I am definitely willing to listen to the professionals. As I've gotten copies back from my proofers, my thought process has been to:

-- Immediately recognize the critque as valid and make the change (spelling, grammar, things out of sequence, comments that strike a chord)

-- Take the critque into consideration and decide whether I agree with it or not, and if not, I wait to see if more than one person brings up the same issue (grey area)

-- Completely ignore it as irrelevant (something I intentionally wrote to be ambiguous, something that will play into the second book)

Typically I toggle between the first two. I don't get upset with the person for being honest, because I'm asking them for honesty (I do request that they be nice about it though). I don't take it personally, even though it's sometimes difficult, because it is all a matter of opinion and there's no point in getting upset about it. I'll tell you something - being a proofreader takes guts, and I am humbled that my friends agreed to do it, that they trust me not to become irrational!

I know just about diddly about agents (with regard to who the best one is). I read their profiles and usually try to find a sentence that jumps out at me... loves a good vampire story... enjoys finding new talent... really likes a hero with a sense of humor... something that resonates with me. I sort of judge them the way they judge me, to see if I think we're a good fit. I honestly don't know who I'll end up with, only that I will know when it feels right, and that will be the perfect agent... for me.

To put a perfect cap on the day - it looks like it might rain! We need rain... but... yesterday it looked like it was going to rain, too... and it did a lot of grumbling, but not much raining... Right now the sky is a very, very dark grey... Eh, I have pizza coming (the world's best pizza)... and if it rains, I'll feel bad that the poor delivery guy had to get out in it to deliver my food... so it's definitely going to rain... because I feel too good right now and I need to be taken down a peg (kidding... I don't really, I'm humble I swear!).

Oh yeah... I hear the sweet, sweet sound of heavy drops hitting the concrete (and just in time for the pizza guy, as I predicted)...

I think 'no' is a perfect word. One vowel, one consonant. Two letters. Two consecutive letters. However, I don't usually like being told 'no,' especially in the form of a rejection letter.

I haven't received enough of them to temper my enthusiasm, but I noticed that the couple that I have received are pretty vague. In fact, they remind me very much of the old adage, "It's not you... it's me." So I find myself laughing a little (when I should be crying).

The typical letter thanks you for submitting your work, and then politely tells you that they're passing on the opportunity to represent you. Then it usually says that opinions are like assholes, everybody's got one, and they're all different, so keep submitting your work, because someone else may be just the one to champion it. P.S.  Keep writing.

I suspect that I know the reasons behind the formula:
--  If you give specifics, you invite questions
--  If you say that you don't like it, it's personal
--  If you say that you don't like it, because it's personal, people may attempt to argue with you (because some people truly believe that's going to change things)
--  If you tell someone to keep writing, it a) keeps them occupied and b) gives them the impression that their writing doesn't suck, that maybe it is just a preference thing (which is probably pretty true).

Aside from all of that, this is a complete stranger who doesn't owe it to you to be specific, and they get tons of query letters. I'm not really dissing the agents, just poking fun at the rejection letter. And do I have a better idea? No. I don't.

The one thing that I don't appreciate are the websites that say, 'you won't hear back from us unless we're interested.' That's the kind of thing I did when I was in high school; if a guy was interested, and I wasn't, I ignored him and figured he'd eventually get the point. I'm sure on the other side of that equation it was pretty rude (so, my sincere apologes... I've grown a little since then). In the world of querying, it makes me wonder if my email ever arrived at its intended destination, because emails have been known to disappear. It would be nicer to send a form letter... and how much effort does it take... really...

All in all, it's the 'why's in life that eat at me. If something wasn't working, I want to know why. I can't help it. I'm a fixer if things can be fixed (to a point), I like to learn from the situation so that I don't repeat my mistakes. In Kristy's World I get answers to all of my questions, but in the real world I don't (Kristy's World is a really, really cool place--I have this giant cartoon hammer that I bonk people over the head with when they're being idiots AND all the freeways are clear AND I don't have to work for a living).

All this because I ran across a cool blog called The Rejector... the subheading was "I don't hate you. I just hate your query letter." Zzzzt. Reeled in. So, no rejection letters today (yea!), just ramblings based on someone else's (really cool) website.

Final thought (question) for the day: Why do they call them carpenter ants when they don't actually build anything?...


The hardest part of doing anything (for me at least) is getting started. Once I do that, I'm a beast. I have no experience building websites, so this has been kind of fun, and a little frustrating... took me way too long to figure out how to publish this site once I had it built; I'm not a techie.

I hope there's enough here to keep people interested. I tried to think of things I'd like to see on a website... more than just, 'here's my book, here's where to buy it... and... GO!'... especially since I'm not published yet. Gotta remain optimistic, there's no point in trying if you don't believe in yourself.

I've sent my query letter out to 12 agents. So far I've received three rejections. I expected two of them, one agent had already blogged about vampires being 'out,' and the other is also an author (who writes vampire novels). The third was an agency who only allowed query letters. I like to submit to agencies who want pages as well. I feel like it gives them a better idea of my writing style. It's really hard to boil 85,000 words down into a couple of paragraphs... try it sometime (and if you think it's easy, we'll talk -- I need you!).

So the elephant in the room is, of course, Twilight. Everyone apparently started writing vampire novels when Twilight hit. Some of them probably didn't give a fig about vampires, but I'm sure a lot of others had been waiting for their opporunity and just have better timing than I do! This increased interest in vampires is great, but it's a double-edged sword because agents are sick of reading about them, and you really have to stand out to get noticed. And while we're talking Twilight, let me go on record as saying that I loved the series. I devoured them like everyone else and even passed my addiction on to a few others. There's something about Stephenie Meyer's writing that sucks you in (I just finished reading The Host.... really hard to put it down).

My two greatest fears at the moment --->

1. I'm deluding myself

2. I'm not deluding myself, but no agent is going to take a chance on me

Hopefully neither of those scenarios are true.

So next I have to sit down and crank out a synopsis in order to submit to more agents on my list. Some of them want a query letter, a two page synopsis, and pages. As difficult as the query letter was, the synopsis seems infinitely more difficult, and I don't know why... I get to put in more detail so it should be a breeze...

Ah well, gotta go get ready to meet a friend for lunch. Have a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by!