Thursday, December 9, 2010
In 1980, I was a junior in high school. The teachers in my school district went on strike from mid-November through December which meant that I stayed home from school. I didn’t miss going to school everyday, but I did miss seeing my friends and since this was a crucial time in the swim season, I was losing valuable training time. To make up for it, myself and some of my teammates got up at the crack of dawn to swim at the local Y.
On the morning on December 9th, I swung by to pick up my friend Kelly. Her family lived in the same subdivision as my family. Most houses already had up their holiday lights so the streets looked festive that cold snowy morning. As Kelly got in the car, the DJ announced that John Lennon had been murdered. We looked at each other-- in shock and then we both looked up at her house and realized that the huge pine tree in her front yard was nothing more than a stump. Apparently In the middle of the night, someone had cut it down. We looked at each other and broke out laughing.
For me, that tree and John Lennon are forever linked. It's sad though--two beautiful things cut down in their prime, the same night.
May we all give peace a chance this holiday season...
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Bailey here, I've commandeered the blog again like I did last year at this time.. I just want to remind everyone to be especially kind to the hyper-pigmented cats out there. As I have said before, we are not the devil's minions and we don't bring bad luck just by crossing some human's path. Frankly, for some of you bookstore people out there, this is a concept I can get behind, but I digress. Halloween tends to make normal humans act strange this time of year--you dress weird and you go around begging for candy. What's up with that? Anyway, please be kind to us cats--especially us hyper-pigmented ones.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
a middle school librarian, concerned about her students hearing Hopkins' presentation, voiced her worries to parents, who went to Humble Independent School District Superintendent Guy Sconzo. He then told organizers to remove Hopkins from the event.
Other authors pulled out the event when they heard about the situation with Hopkins. Kids hear and see worse things on the news and on reality television. I can't believe stuff like this still happens...
You can read the full article here: http://www.slj.com/slj/home/886402-312/ellen_hopkins_uninvited_to_lit.html.csp
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
1. Poland, is that in Asia?
2. If he said he'd hit you upside the head--then that's a threat!
3. I am not giving you that editor's home phone number!
4. No sir, I don't think you should call all the agents you want to
query to see if you're compatible. Finding an agent is not like
dating (in this instance).
5. Sir, if you don't have a computer then you really shouldn't
sign up for an online subscription--perhaps you should
purchase the book.
How's your week going?
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
To me, this is a huge red flag. Is it worth having an agent if the agent is just going to page through the market guide to find publishers? My thought is probably not. I now understand how important it is to ask questions, to make sure that the agent who wants to represent me, is someone I want to representing my work.
These agents, I'm sure are exceptions. Most agents are competent and possess a breadth of publishing industry knowledge- and have established contacts in the business. It's important, though, to keep an eye out for the ones who aren't competent and who don't know the business. Anyone can give themselves the title, literary agent. It's important to find one that's doing it for the right reasons and knows the business.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
I’ll start with the beginning; you have a young bear cub (our Protaganist), hanging out in his world- just rubbing his backside on the grass. It’s like any other day.
Then enter the Cougar- our Antagonist, hungry for a meal. The Cougar spots the young bear cub before the Bear Cub spots the Cougar. The Cougar, smacks his chops and slowly makes his way toward the Bear Cub- now his prey ( The Inciting Incident). When you think the Bear Cub is in serious peril, he stands up sees the Cougar and tears off running. But he’s small-- his legs aren’t as long and he’s not as fast as the Cougar. He looks back and sees the Cougar gaining on him. He climbs onto a branch that has fallen and is wedged between two cliffs. For a few seconds, the Bear Cub, you think, is going to be okay.
The Bear Cub gets to the end of the branch and has no way to get to the other side. Meanwhile, the Cougar is heading toward him. The Cougar climbs on the branch just as the branch snaps, the Bear Cub plunges into the water. (Just when you think the Bear Cub is safe, he finds more trouble- the stakes get higher). He escapes the Cougar but now he struggles to keep his head above the water. The Bear Cub grasps part of the branch. He clings to the branch as he’s pulled downstream by the current.
(Thus giving the Bear Cub and you the viewer a false sense that he’s going to be safe). But as he goes downstream with the current, the Cougar follows his path along the river’s edge. The Bear Cub gets to shallow water. As he does, so too does the Cougar. The current carries the Bear Cub to where the Cougar is waiting for him, the Bear Cub swims away with the Cougar close behind.
(The Climax) The Bear Cub climbs up on to jutted rock. The Cougar climbs to one next to him. The Cougar strikes out with his claws and bloodies the Bear Cub’s snout. The Bear Cub roars and you see the Cougar back down and walk away.
(The Denouement)What you don’t see until after the Cougar is out of the frame is that Mama Bear is standing behind the Bear Cub. She’s on her hind legs and is ready to take out the Cougar if necessary- it isn’t. Instead, Mama Bear calls her cub to her. The Bear Cub goes over to his Mama, nestles close to her and she licks his wounds. Exciting stuff.
You can check it out here:
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Since I moved into the condo, anytime I turn on the ceiling fan in the living room, Lucky gets real low to the ground- like it's Viet Nam, and runs under my bed and stays there the rest of the night. I stopped using the fan for that reason. Tonight, I turned on the ceiling fan- it's so hot in here, I had to.
Immediately, Lucky ran for the bedroom, then caught the cool breeze and stopped. He stood in the doorway for about 15 minutes and stared at the fan, cooling himself. He finally ran through the living room to the front hallway.
It's a step in the right direction! Good boy, Lucky!
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Happy Fourth of July- may we someday live in a world where all men and women are free.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Also since this month is Adopt-Shelter-Cat Month be sure to check out the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee website to see some adorable kittens. While you're there why not donate to a worthy cause?
Thursday, June 17, 2010
About six months after I adopted Bailey, it came very clear that she was getting restless being home by herself when I was working. So, I decided it was time to expand our feline family and made a trip to the Warren County Animal Shelter. I looked at a couple of the kittens but Lucky caught my eye. He was very active and played with all the toys in the kitten room but he was also attentive to me as well. I knew he'd be a good match for Bailey and me. When I was completing the paperwork for his adoption, one of the workers mentioned that he was almost adopted the day before, but when they were placing the id chip in his neck, the lady balked. She thought id chip was the mark of the beast and refused to take him home. He's named Lucky, because it was luck that saved him from having to go home with that lady. He came home with me instead and I think we're all better for it!
Don't forget June is Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month!
Sunday, June 13, 2010
How was your evening?
Monday, June 7, 2010
Some of you may remember the Halloween post where Bailey hijacked the blog. You can read that entry here
Nancy and Bailey
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
I only want to add an excerpt from my grandfather's journal from when he was setting sail to France. He was a chaplain in the Army and served in France during WWI.
What mingled emotions come as the great drama of life unfolds! Here we are on board the U.S. President Grant bound for "somewhere in France..."
We have left old New York far behind. How hard it is to see the glorious harbor for the last time- for perhaps years! How one does love one's country when leaving it under such conditions as these. It stands for life as each one delights to live it, for happiness which comes through the great normal channels of divine ordination; for service unto others as God gives us opportunity. The men have been silent, thoughtful and serious. They realize also what it means. Yet not one of us would be elsewhere.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Every morning after my shower I find my cat Bailey sitting at attention on my bed. She’ll let me pet her on the head two times and then she lets out a meow and leaps from her perch and scampers toward the kitchen. This is my cue to feed her breakfast. It happens every morning. On weekends, she does the same thing but she’s come to realize that if I sleep in, there may not be a morning shower to delay her breakfast. She’s a creature of habit that’s for sure.
I’ve realized that I’m a creature of habit when it comes to writing. When I begin a story, I don’t write it down right away, I like to think it through before I put pen to paper. I think about the major plot points to make sure that I have a clear direction and to ensure that I have a beginning, middle and an end to a piece. Once I think it through, I write the story longhand and then type the pages into the computer. I find I edit myself as I type to it gives me an extra revision.
What about you? Anybody out there a creature of habit like Bailey and me?
Anon, (yep another habit I’ve formed)
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
About eight years ago I was looking for a local SCBWI group to join. When I discovered that there wasn’t one in my area, I emailed the SCBWI listserv for my state and started one. The group is a small but supportive group of writers, many of whom are published or are on the cusp of becoming published. Because we are small, we are always on the lookout for speakers for the meetings and often rely on our members to give a presentation or two. When I heard that one of our newer members, Dee Garretson had her first Middle Grade novel coming out in August, I naturally ambushed her and asked her to speak to the group. She graciously agreed. She spoke at our April meeting and was amazing.
Dee talked about her road to publication as we tend to ask each speaker to discuss. It’s interesting to hear the different path each writer seems to take as few paths are exactly the same.
Dee also gave a great presentation on Voice. She began by defining the three different types of Voice.
-Author Voice: Relates directly to the overall writing style.
-Grammar Voice: Passive v. Active voice
Passive: The dog was bitten by the boy.
Active: The boy bit the dog.
-Narrative Voice: Narrative Voice draws the reader in and brings the story alive. Writing in 1st person or close limited 3rd person are the easiest ways to develop a good narrative voice. In Close limited 3rd person,
the world is seen through the character’s eyes. This should not be confused with Limited 3rd, which has a more distance- still through a character’s eyes, but it reads more like a narrator is telling the story.
When developing the narrative voice, word choices are very important. Word choices start with character development, in particular reactions and observations.
“I felt a drop of sweat trickle down my side like a spider and disappear into the waistband of my itchy brand-new suit pants, which I hoped never to wear again.” (excerpted from Roland Smith’s book, I.Q.)
When you introduce other characters, put their descriptions in terms of the main character’s perceptions. What does the character think is important. Dee warned that description can trip up voice because characters-especially kids won't describe everything. She listed some examples from books that really used a good narrative voice.
Example: "She was German and made brilliant meatballs" (from GIDEON, THE CUTPURSE by Linda
Description of Places: "The fog hung over Booker Mountain like an old ragged coat." (from Cinda Williams
Chima, The Dragon Heir).
Dialogue: "He ain't regular sick. He's been devastated." (A SHORT HISTORY OF A SMALL PLACE).
Like I said the presentation was amazing, so much so we are continuing our discussion on Voice this month.
Dee's book is entitled: Wildfire Run and is due out August 31st, 2010. It definitely deserves a read! Her website is: http://www.deegarretson.com/ and she blogs at http://deegarretson.wordpress.com/
Monday, May 3, 2010
It looks like the good folks over at Fineprint Literary Management have added an agent to their staff. Her name is Marissa Walsh...
Marissa specializes in pop culture, humor, narrative non-fiction, memoir, and children’s books (picture books/middle grade/YA).
Thursday, April 29, 2010
And then when you are done voting, check out this blogpost, It's Alot of fun.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
-I also spoke to not one but two different people who were hired by writers to help them find an agent. Hiring an agent to find an agent. Is this a new trend? If it is, it's a bad one. It makes me wonder if these people are lazy or clueless.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Check out these contest details--they are quite easy. I'm entered and all I did was post this on my blog!
From Editorial Ass.
Ed Ass got its 500,000th hit today. This makes me feel old and venerable.
Naturally, I wanted to celebrate. I mean, with you guys, since you made it happen. But how?! No one has yet invented a giant internet pie.
Jamie Harrington, clever thing, had the idea that I have a giveaway contest, the prize being a first 20 pages crit. So that's what it is! I'll give away one crit of a book's first 20 pages (size 12 font, double spaced, .5 margins for you sneaky sneakies out there).
You'll be automatically entered to win if you do any or all of the following things:
1) repost this on your blog
2) retweet my Twitter announcement
3) link to this post on Facebook (make sure you include @Moonrat in the post so I'm notified of it)
I'll close the contest at 11 pm EST tomorrow (March 31). The Rally Monkey will randomly select one winner without my input (as if I could make him listen to me, anyway).
See, easy to enter...
Sunday, March 28, 2010
I was at work a few days ago and I fielded a call from a lady (and I use that term very loosely). One of her family members had written a book and this lady was sure there was nothing like it on the market. Her plan was to drop off the manuscript to a publisher so that they could read it and of course publish it. It was an interesting call.
Her: “The world needs this book!” She became a bit nasty when I told her that she could NOT drop off a manuscript to a publisher—that she would need to put together a book proposal and submit it to an editor or agent and if they liked it, they would request to read the manuscript. “So it’s come to that, you can’t just drop off a manuscript?”
Me: “Just like you wouldn’t show up at a potential employer ready to get to work- you would send a resume first and they would call you for an interview. That book proposal is the book’s resume.”
Her: “That’s just ridiculous. What about an agent- I’ll just hire an agent. What agents can I send the manuscript to."
Me: “You need to submit a book proposal to agents as well.”
Her: “That’s crazy. Then I'll send it to a publisher. What publishers can I send it to?”
Me: “Ma’am, off hand I don’t have that information. Not all publishers accept un-agented and unsolicited submissions.”
Her: “You’re not helping me at all. Why do you work there if you can’t give me advice?”
Me: “Ma’am, you can purchase xxxxx book and research which publishers are best suited for the manuscript your family member has written.
Her: “Why the h@ll would I want to do that. I’m calling that guy at the bookstore. He said you could help me and well obviously you can’t."
So how was your week?
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
The first site is a blog by Kathleen Ortiz, an agent with Lowenstein Associates. She has some great contests, it's definitely worth checking out. The Neverending Page turner
The next site is the website for Mem Fox. Check out her 20 tips for writing Picture Books.
Finally, check out this great interview with Agent Holly Root over at the Mother.Write blog.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
The moving part of moving is complete but I’m still working on the settling in part.
Here are a few statistics on the move:
Number of vehicles used to move: 5
Number of trips from apartment to condo: 17
Number of boxes used: 40
Number of boxes of books: 28
Number of times cats ran under bed terrified: 10
Number of times cats ran under the bed terrified of a ceiling fan: 4 and counting…
Number of pieces of furniture heaved into dumpster: 7
Number of days my new sofa has been in the condo and not been used as a scratching post: 10 and counting...
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
While you're at it, Cynthia Leitch Smith has posted some great agent interviews on her blog Cynsations. (Agents Sarah Davies and Laura Rennert among others).
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I have a contest for you! My friend Chuck is running a "Dear Lucky Agent" Contest over at The Guide To Literary Agents blog. The contest is open to Narrative Non-Fiction and Memoirs. You can find out the rules and other pertinent contest information here. Contests can be an easy and fun way to get an agent's attention.
Monday, January 18, 2010
The speakers were each limited to seven minutes, including King, but as he began to improvise "his speech took on the cadence he used from the pulpit." He was over the seven minute limit by now and he needed a way to pull the speech to a close. Apparently, he heard Mahalia behind him saying "Tell them about the Dream, Martin!" and so he did.
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the
sons of former slaves and sons of former slave owners will
be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood...
I have a dream my four little children will one day live in a
nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin,
but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!
When we allow freedom to ring , when we let it ring from every village
and every hamlet, from every state and every city,
we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children-
black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and
Catholics- will be able to join in the words of the old Negro
spiritual, "Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are
free at last.
The speech lasted seventeen minutes and was followed with the song, "We Shall Overcome." It was a very hopeful time, but alas, three months later President Kennedy made that fateful trip to Dallas and that hopeful time became less hopeful...
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I recently (okay it was about 2 minutes ago) discovered a site where you can post your query for other writers to critique. Like Query Shark, the site is public so keep that in mind, having a thick skin is key here. The feedback should be useful but it should also be taken with a grain of salt. The site is http://www.openquery.blogspot.com/ Check out the blogroll on the site for more great information on queries.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Also, Mary Kole of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency is running a cool new contest for YA and MG manuscripts on her website. To enter you need to send up to the first 500 words of your MG or YA manuscript and mention the blog two other places among other things. You can read more about it here.
Monday, January 4, 2010
So the parties are over, along with the holidays and my vacation. I didn't meet any of my writing goals. But I did catch up on my sleep and bond with my two feline companions, so it wasn't a total waste.
I had planned to rewrite my synopsis which currently reads like a fourth grade book report. My apologies to any fourth graders reading this. Alas, I spent a lot my time revising my WIP.
I found some great articles on writing that dreaded synopsis. You can read these gems in my guest column called Footnotes over at the Guide to Literary Agents blog. Or click here.
I'm hoping to work on my synopsis this week. Wish me luck!