Friday, September 14, 2012
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
One agent I currently have my eye on said she accepts 1-10 new clients per year. She receives over 50 queries per day. So I have a 1-10 in 15000 chance of her choosing to represent me. The 1-in-5 odds of this contest seemed promising.
So, like a 20-something girl headed out to a singles mixer in an outfit she spent half her paycheck on, I put myself out there again. And I went home alone.
Maybe it should be comforting that many of the writers chosen for the contest appear to have a history with the judges. Among the winners, there were judges’ critique partners, online friends, people whose partial or full manuscripts the judges have already read. But it doesn’t. If my content were strong enough, I would have managed to rise to the top 40 entrants. That’s a lot of winners, my friends, far from an impossible nut to crack.
And the judges’ picks overlapped quite a bit. Some entrants were picked by multiple judges and some that were picked by only one judge had other judges saying, “Yeah, I had her on my short list too.” So there appears to be somewhat of a consensus about what is good and what is not.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Most of you know I've been hard at work for the last year, finishing a novel. The first question everyone asks is - When does it come out? And the answer is - After I get an agent, do a bunch of rewrites, sell it to a publisher, do a bunch of rewrites and go through a rigorous editing and production process.
Currently I'm working to find representation and today that process includes posting my query and first page as part of an online contest to get my work in front of some impressive literary agents. So, for everyone who's asked for more details about the book, here goes:
Title: Dark Bird
Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 70,000 words
Neen Sinclair’s obsession with super hero Dark Bird has gotten her into trouble more than twice, but she’s always been able to roundhouse kick her way out of it. Always, that is, until her little sister Mae decides to offer herself up as chum in the fight against evil. In trying to protect everyone else, Neen has inadvertently led her sister into danger.
So, when she’s offered a spot on a dive team at a wealthy Seattle high school, Neen leaves Dark Bird and her vigilante lifestyle behind in an attempt to set a different kind of example. Concentrating on her sport, she will become Neen the straight A student, Neen the championship diver with a billion college scholarship offers, Neen who leaves crime-fighting to the professionals and no longer has a chair with her name on it in the principal’s office.
However, cross-training at an off-the-grid martial arts studio, Neen ends up entangled with Hayden, an unpredictable and easy-on-the-eyes teen crime fighter who embodies everything she’s trying to run away from. Diving competition takes a back seat as a psychopath with a Robin Hood complex starts terrorizing her classmates’ wealthy families, and she can’t resist taking a stand.
As Hayden and Neen train and work together, she finds herself pulled further and further from her mysterious roots. But can they succeed at taking down their nemesis without the help of Dark Bird, a hero whose connections to Neen go far deeper than anyone realizes?
First 250 Words:
We're so close now.
My heart echoes in my chest and I wonder if he can hear the drum beat of my fear. But he doesn't look up, too focused on his own careful movements. Creeping along the stone wall, I struggle to calm my breath.
I'm getting stronger and, whether real or imagined, there's a power to Dark Bird that gives me more confidence in myself. Just saying that name gives me a sense of protection, and standing here with this guy in front of me, I feel a surge of strength greater than my own.
Dark Bird is powerful. I am powerful. Tonight I make the first move, striking forward from my place in the shadows.
The wipers squeak across the surface of my windshield as I turn the key in the ignition. Screech, slam, screech, slam. They were running full tilt during yesterday's deluge but today they only serve to startle me, adding one more knot to my mounting anxiety, a gut-tugging anticipation that's left me slightly shaky all morning.
Whatever happens, after I cross the lake today, things will be different. I tell myself that I like nearly everything about different, except maybe the fact that it means things won't be entirely the same. There are things I'll miss.
I ease my car down our gravel drive, weaving to avoid the familiar potholes, only to slam down hard into a fresh one. Pavement would be nice here, Dad. But I'm sure I'll get plenty of that in Seattle.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Sunday, March 4, 2012
But I did know why I was crying. I want everyone to like me and be excited about my work and to validate me and want to work with me. I want acceptance, not rejection.
Magoo asked me if I thought anyone would ever want to publish my book and I said, “Yes. I know they will because I will never stop trying.” Again, that determination doesn’t make repeated rejection any more fun.
I’ve been struck this week by how badly I want acceptance and I’ve been noticing this same need in my kids. They are constantly petitioning me to love them and accept them and to tell them that they are okay. These petitions come in little ways, holding my hand while we’re sitting together in church, asking me to tell them a story at bedtime, telling me a joke, or showing me the picture they drew on the bus. They're even looking for acceptance when they sass me.
How often do I give them little rejection letters by being only partially engaged in our conversations or telling them I’m too tired to walk up stairs and snuggle with them at bedtime? Too often. In every look, gesture, and use of my time when we’re together, to some degree, I am showing my kids acceptance or rejection.
It won’t be much longer that they want me to tuck them in or hold them on my lap. In a couple of years I may have to beg them to share their school work with me or tell me about the book they’re reading and I’m going to wish I was more attentive and more free with acceptance when they were begging for my approval.
We all hate rejection and after a certain amount of it, we just give up. I’m not saying I’m the wicked witch of the west to my kids but I know that I have it in me to give them more of my time and attention than I currently do.
I’m far from suggesting that you never say no to your children. Like a busy literary agent, I must say no to my kids frequently in order to teach them and to maintain order in our house. However, unlike a literary agent, I only have three children and one husband and I love all four of them. I need to think, <em>do I really need to say no to this request</em> (whether expressed verbally or not) <em>or I can make this happen to validate my child</em>?
I also need to think about how I say no. I received two rejection letters in two days last week. One was kind and validating, even as it rejected me. The other was cold and formulaic, and sounded like he hadn’t even read my stuff.
When I tell my kids no, I can be thoughtful and loving. I don’t need to always act out of instinct. I find that things go far better for everyone if I say yes unless I have a really good reason to say no, than if I say no unless they can convince me to say yes.
So, yeah. They can always use more love. I’m learning firsthand what repeated rejection feels like and I’d like to spare my family that feeling as often as I can. I’ll listen to their lame jokes with both ears and a willingness to be entertained. I’ll take an extra minute to cuddle with them, even though I’m SO busy. I’ll more frequently play trains with Wanda and do a Mario Kart race with Magoo after homework is done and sometimes I’ll even let Laylee pick all the music while we’re driving in the car.
They can get rejection at school or at work when they’re older. In my house, I choose acceptance.