Tag Archives: agent query

Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot: Hot off the press!

Are you a sister, an avid reader or a historical romance fan?  If you can answer yes to any of the choices in the previous question, please don’t hesitate to check out SISTER QUEENS for your next read.

And…I may have fudged the truth a little.  SISTER QUEENS comes out tomorrow (Tuesday 3/6), but if you order today, you’ll have your e-copy delivered before you wake up.  Likewise, a pre-order today can get that dead tree copy to your doorstep nearly 24 hours earlier!

Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot

Hot new debut...in more ways than one!

A word about Ms. Perinot.  I met Sophie–aka Litgal–at AgentQuery Connect nearly three years ago.  She’s a pillar in the community and has very generously offered her help to aspiring writers along the way.  She’s dedicated to her craft and one of the hardest working writers I know.

Enjoy~

*now where’s that UPS guy with my copy?!?!?)

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2011 Recap from the Woods

This past year has been a bit of a challenge in terms of life choices.  I made some big ones, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

After meeting my amazing agent at a conference, I struggled with three major priorities: full-time mom, full-time preschool owner and full-time writer.  Throwing in my part-time freelance work as a writer and court advocate meant the day was about  twelve hours too short.  Not to mention that my efficiency level suffered in every area–including sleep.  Something had to give, so I sold my preschool.  Which, by the way, I miss more than words can say.

Despite the tough decisions, 2011 had many successes, some personal and some writerly.

  • My kids are much happier with me back at home and able to attend all their events/needs–or is it the taxi service they like so much?
  • DH enjoys eating again before midnight.  Okay, that’s only slightly exaggerated, but a healthy rebalance to say the least.
  • Two of my dear writer friends e-pubbed some amazing novels.  If you haven’t checked out Diary of a Small Fish by Pete Morin or Viridis (and its steamy sequel) by Calista Taylor, I’d recommend these for your newly unwrapped e-reader.
  • Another wonderful writer friend, Sophie Perinot, is awaiting the 2012 spring release of her historical novel The Sister Queens.  I’ve already preordered my copy, and  you can too.  Not to mention a fellow crit partner, and extremely poetic writer, also reeled in a contract for her historical fiction.  I wish Icould tell all, but I can’t spill the beans until she does.
  • Aaaand, in case you missed the buzz, Mindy McGinnis received a huge, two book contract for her YA, Not a Drop to Drink.  I’ve critiqued a few pieces by Mindy (aka BBC) and have to admit I’m thirsty for her debut.  I promise–promise–it will be a splash hit when it reaches the shelves.  This deal came shortly after Jessica Khoury’s news about selling her debut novel–another much-anticipated YA read for me.
  • I read–and conversed with–Sarah Darer Littman.  I must say the author of Want to Go Private? is as sweet as they come.  Her novel is a must read for every human walking this technologically unsafe Earth.  Seriously, if you love a kid, you have one last day to get your name in a drawing for a free copy of this amazing YAContest details found here.
  • In my personal writing news, I’m a site moderator over at AgentQuery Connect–the absolutely BEST writing community on the net–and a contributing member of From The Write Angle, a writing blog by writers of all levels for writers of all levels.  I also wrote my way to another NaNoWriMo victory and partook in the Epic Paranormal Romance Blogvel: The Skeleton Key.
  • Christmas came too fast.  With no snow on the ground and only a few flakes to our fall/winter season, it doesn’t quite feel like the end of the year.  In fact, Eldest golfed yesterday.  Not that I want a repeat of last year and the 27 snow days we had, but come on?  Where’s the white?
  • Oh yeah, and I have a short story coming out in an e-book anthology this spring (details to be announced later), so it’s just one more reason for you to buy a Kindle and enjoy the e-revolution.

All in all, 2011 has been good to me.

How about you?  What wonderful news do you have to share–writing or otherwise–that made 2011 worth every hour? 

P.S. In case you were wondering (and I know you were), Sock Dog came back from training as a full-fledged hunting dog.  She no longer runs the other way from birds and her nose is amazing.  So much so, that the trainer offered to buy her.  If she keeps chowing socks, I just might give him a call!

The Skeleton Key: chapter 11

I have to thank Michelle for scheming up this summer fun.  I’ve adored her energy for years now.  First as a fellow NaNoer, then as an AQer and lastly, as one of the best cyber friends a gal could ever want.  I love you, Michelle.

If you haven’t read THE SKELETON KEY from the start, you should right now.  Chapter ten can be found at Laura’s Universe, while next week Michelle will try to fix any plot  problems I throw her way with chapter twelve.

This paranormal romp is as delightful as the talented writers creating it,  and I hope I don’t disappoint them.  First off, it was waaaay outside my typical genre(s).  Secondly, I was drawn to the voice of Ax, and so followed A.M. Supinger’s lead and brought his POV back into the action.

Enjoy!

THE SKELETON KEY: CHAPTER ELEVEN

A screech ripped through the air.  “This can’t be happening.  Thiscantbehappeningscantbehapning.”

Ax’s body worked faster than his brain and his wing unfurled, catching Rebecca before her head hit the ground.  Out cold.  He set her on a mat in the Embassy reception room.  As he did, his talons retracted into nails, his claws to fingers, his scales to smooth skin.

A trickle of fear slid down his back.  He had never lost control of his human form.  Not once in fifteen hundred years.  Not unless he wanted to, and he most definitely did not want to.  Not now.  Not like this.

He could ill afford for Rebecca to see his true form until after the mating ritual was complete.  If she refused him—and her new life—the destruction would ripple to the Quaterjarnexal Complex and beyond, a consequence he dared not contemplate.

The air wavered, hot and smoky. 

“Monster incoming.”  The voice rumbled with pain, prickling Ax’s scalp.  The stirrings of a crest rose with his hair, and he willed his body to behave. 

Skyniar’s form emerged from the darkness beyond.  He held a tattered wing close to his side and crimson blood oozed from a gash above his eye.  He reached out for Ax, his words burbling through thick foam.  “Twin’gan ka.”

“Skyn!”  Ax jumped forward, closing his hand around emptiness.  Skyn’s broken form shimmered, nothing but an illusion.  A manipulation of the magic inside the gate.  The gate Rebecca controlled.  Light flashed, taking Skyniar with it.

Ax’s bones ached with the need to change, to rescue Skyn.  Death didn’t come lightly to a dragon, and though Skyn was not nearly as powerful as Ax, his brother’s immortality should have been guaranteed.

Yet, ever since Rebecca had come into his life, nothing was guaranteed.  Quietly filing papers in the dungeon of the New York City Portal seemed like a past life.  Never mind that it was this morning.  He’d found his mate without looking, lost his physical control and tangled with an old flame. 

Angelica.   Just thinking her name made his muscles vibrate painfully and his skin itch.  “Get a grip, Ax, my man.  Get a grip.”

He sucked in a deep breath and opened his soul to Rebecca’s thrumming.  Her essence calmed him, and he refocused on the task at hand.

Angelica.  Fiercely beautiful and emotionally passionate, Angelica loved as deeply as she hated.  They first met over a chocolate cupcake—one of Genevieve’s finest.  He’d been enticed to try the pink-topped treat, only to get a bit of frosting on his face.  Or so Angelica said as she walked by and licked his top lip clean.  She smelled of lavender and sulfur, an odd mix that extended to her eccentric personality.  She’d nearly driven him crazy, and now, gatekeepers were dying at her hands. 

Gatekeepers and brothers.

Yet something didn’t sit right with Angelica’s story.  A thought nagged just out of reach.  Needing more clarity, Ax scooped Rebecca into his arms.  Her soft form molded to his and he rocked her in his lap.  Her hair—jasmine scented silk—fell through his fingers, taking him back to the New York City Portal and the last time he’d been upstairs before meeting Rebecca.

Mr. Harvey’s office overgrown with a new vine—an anonymous gift so potent Ax could taste the lavender in the air.  Genevieve and another pink cupcake.  Jim and Marguerite arguing over Jim’s whereabouts the night before.  Where had the vamp gone and how had he slipped through the portal without Marguerite’s knowledge? 

Something about her aural imprinting malfunctioning.  A virus of some kind.

And then the thrumming that brought him upstairs this morning and the revelation of Genevieve’s vision. 

She claimed a man killed Marguerite.  Something Angelica definitely was not.  Nor did Ax believe Damien had murdered the gatekeeper, for surely Genevieve would have recognized Damien’s imprint.

Once banished, a monster’s spectral fingerprints were transmitted to all transition station staff to prohibit unauthorized reentries.  Genevieve should have sensed his status.  Unless someone learned how to override the system.

Ax shook his head, bringing himself back to the present.  Spectral imprinting was the most sophisticated security measure the transition centers used.  It was also the most natural phenomenon used by paranormals, and nearly impossible to disrupt.  In part, this ability is what had drawn him to Rebecca, had alerted him to her status as his mate.

No, something else was going on.    

Rebecca stirred in his lap and mumbled.  “…hate dragons…nightmare…home….”

Her voice called to him, like nectar for a bee.  He dipped his head to hers, running a gentle finger along her jaw, over her lips.  Consciousness slowly returned.  She blinked, her eyes glittering in a way that made his heart quiver.  Perfect.  Everything about Rebecca was perfect. 

Until she opened her mouth.

She sounded like a dying cat.  The half screech, half mew raised a scale or two on the back of his neck.  He fought the change, just barely controlling it.  He was turning rogue.  And nothing was more dangerous than a rogue drake. 

His brother’s words came back to him.  Twin’gan ka.

The phrase and the impulsive need to change didn’t make sense.  Not until he realized Skyn had more to say.  Tin’gan ka’an.

“You’ve been poisoned.”  The warning nearly destroyed his physical control.

Rebecca’s flailing fists didn’t help either.  Apparently her nightmare wasn’t over yet.  She spat out her next words in a high-pitched voice sounding too much like Ashley’s for his comfort.  “My sister.  You have to save my sister.” 

Ax pushed Rebecca off his lap and stood.  “I can’t.”

“You must.”  She pulled herself up and stomped her foot.  Definitely an Ashley move. 

He suppressed the urge to shake her like a child.  Shake her into silence.  By all that was holy, he hoped the twin thing didn’t carry too far, because right now, he needed the old Rebecca.  Not a freaked-out, Ashley version.  “I can’t.  I’m sworn to protect you, not your sister.”

Rebecca’s eyes sparked and her lips curved upward.  “I demand it.  As my…mate.”

Bitter laughter erupted between them and steam escaped from his ears.  Ax reached out and tucked a stray tress behind her ear.  “Awww, honey, it don’t work that way in my world.  Trust me, if I could have left you alone, I would have gone after Skyn.” 

Her shoulders sagged and her defeat hit him like a physical blow.  When she looked up, Ashley was gone from her attitude.  “Somehow I knew that.  But I just had to try.”

Ax paced the reception room, running through the options in his mind.  “Does Ashley have a bit of you in her, as well?”

“What do you mean?”  Rebecca followed his path with her eyes. 

His chest swelled at the attention, something he hadn’t felt since he was a fledgling.  The juvenile reaction confirmed his fears.  Definitely rogue.  “Does she have your spunk?  Will she be strong enough to…?”

“Survive?  I don’t know.  It depends on what that spider lady has in store for her.”

“Death.  Torture.  Well, torture first and then death.  She needs the key, after all.”

Rebecca squeaked and he ceased his pacing.  Damn, he’d forgotten who he was talking to.  New monsters could be so touchy.  “I meant, Angelica will try to get the key from her.”

“Why didn’t she just take me?  I practically threw myself at her.  Is she stupid or something?”

Genuine laughter burst the tension building within him.  “Yeah.  Pretty much.  Angelica was never any good at being original.”

“I hope I’m better than that.  That you…,” Rebecca looked down, then swung his gaze boldly back to his.  “I hope..you know…that I’m…you picked…”

Ax closed the gap between them.  He didn’t ask for permission and she didn’t turn him away.  They met in a tangle of limbs.  When his lips found hers, Rebecca took the lead, releasing the passion within him.

He stroked her arms, reveling in the tingle that pulsed through his fingertips, that spread throughout his body.   She positively hummed for him.  He increased his ministrations.  In response, she arched her back, pressing herself against his chest.  His heart raced, keeping time to hers.  His breathing, too, mimicked that of his mate’s.

Mate, the word flittered across his mind and his lips curled against his will.  He’d never wanted a mate.  It’s why Angelica hated him so deeply.  She’d been nothing more than a bed warmer.  Even if he had been free to choose—to override his natural imprinting—he would not have chosen her. 

He wouldn’t have chosen anyone.

Rebecca pulled away and he reeled from the loss of contact.  Her skin shimmered iridescent blue, a reminder that she wasn’t a mere mortal.  They might win this war after all. 

“Your sister, who does she care about?”

“Besides Jimmy Choo?  Nobody.  She doesn’t have a boyfriend and our parents are, well, less than connected, I guess you could say.”  Rebecca gave Ax a once-over before continuing.  “Well, not so unconnected they wouldn’t object to me marrying a dragon.”

“Mating.”

A beautiful red blush crept up her neck and across her cheeks.  “Right.  Mating.”

Ax swept his eyes around the room and changed the subject before he found an appropriate place to complete the ritual right then and there.  “She has you, but you’re twins.  Ashley won’t change for you, even if she has dormant magic.”

“But she does have it, right?  If we’re identical that means, well, we’re kind of exactly the same.”  Rebecca’s voice trailed off.

The unspoken question hung in the air.  He did his best to evade answering.  When she crossed her arms over her chest, he sighed.  “There is that.”

She tapped a foot.  The red staining her cheeks no longer begged for his touch.  Instead, they mocked him with her anger.  “Did she hum for you?”

Ax swallowed his guilt, but took advantage of the moment.  “Does your jealousy mean you’ll take me as a mate?”

“Of course not.  You’re a dragon.  I’m a human.”

“Chameleon.  You’re a paranormal, too.”

Rebecca froze, as if this was the first time she’d actually thought about the eruption of scales and what that would mean.  She shook her head in silent denial.  “I’m a graduate student with loans to repay.  I’m a sister and a daughter.  I’m normal.  Not some freak.”

Ax stepped closer.  Close enough to see her flinch.  The sweet cadence of her humming spiked and he knew she heard his own.  “But you’re my graduate student with a skeleton key in your pocket.  You can’t deny that.”

“You’re a monster.”

“I’m you’re monster.”

“I have a boyfriend.”

“Not anymore you don’t.”  His arms closed around Rebecca and he sought her mouth.  Stars exploded around him, through him. 

He’d never wanted a mate.  But Rebecca?  He’d die for her.  And not because he had to. 

She pulled away.  “His name is…”

“Hadriax.”  He enticed her back, deepening his kiss until her arms circled his neck.  Caressed her back until she returned the favor.

He could do it now, complete the mating ritual without her knowing, effectively binding them for eternity.  Power surged in his chest and it took enormous effort to keep from controlling her.  It was his right, and yet he couldn’t bear to hurt her that way.  No, he wanted his coupling to be perfect, like Rebecca. 

He wanted her consent, not a stolen moment of physical ecstasy. 

Her delicate hands tangled in his hair.  He sought out her neck, tracing his tongue along her collar bone to the tiny dimple at the base of her throat.  She tasted as good as she smelled.

Thought left him as she returned his exploration.  Her moan turned to a squeak.  Without breaking the kiss, he opened his eyes and ice replaced the fire inside.

His arms crushed her to him.  His talons dug into her sides.  Once again, he’d started to change.

And this time, he couldn’t stop. 

 

 

What’s Your Writing Vision?

And no, I don’t mean hitting the best-seller list and appearing on Oprah.

Middle Son’s batting average this baseball season has been disappointing.  It was as if all his ball savvy had disappeared from one year to the  next.  He wasn’t aggressive when approaching a grounder and backed off pop flies.  He’d either under-throw, over-throw or just plain miss his mark.

Slow on the uptake, I said, “Self, maybe this kid can’t see.”

Sure enough a trip to the eye doctor proved the need for glasses.  They arrived two days ago.  When we walked out of the office and into the world, my heart broke.  Middle’s face lit up.  He slid his glasses down his nose and popped them back up–a huge grin lighting his face.

He could see.

His eyes are fairly bad, but until baseball, we didn’t have a clue that he was struggling.  He didn’t squint.  He never complained.  He lived a normal life.

But his normal was fuzzy and blurry and had quirky depth perception.  And nobody knew.  Not even he.  It hurts my heart to think of what he thought was normal. 

Writers, we’re guilty of this ourselves.  When we start out, we know nothing about the business.  Our vision is fuzzy and blurry and has quirky depth perception.  We have no freakin’ idea what the real world of writing is all about. 

Across the board, we just don’t understand that we truly cannot see.

Writing solo or hiding in the proverbial writer’s closet only enforces our skewed vision.  We have no way to gauge our perception from reality.  And this, my friends, is why I think it’s so important to step out of the closet and join a writing community.

Personally, it doesn’t matter to me which community you join as long as you feel comfortable within it and begin to participate.  I will, however, plug Agent QueryConnect as being THE TOP WRITING COMMUNITY on the net.  So does Writer’s Digest.  In their annual throw-down, Agent Query was listed as #7 for overall writing sites.  Pretty impressive, in my book.

Yet even more impressive is the quality of the community itself. 

Before joining AQ, I was a closet writer.  I had yet to wear my new frames.  Not that I didn’t get the industry.  I was actually fairly industry savvy by this point.  What I had missed in my fuzzy, messed-up world was that there is far more to writing than the basics. 

Writing is an emotional, social and mechanical journey.  There is craft and there is community.  Growth and development must occur across the board for a writer to be fully prepared for the biz. 

I’ve met some great crit partners via AQ.  And even though I’d published in the short market before joining, my writing is much better now than before I joined.  Yet I had no clue that my writing could be so much more.  I did, after all, have credits to my name.  I never dreamed this meant I still had a ton to learn.  I was blind to the quality of my work. 

Being on Agent Query Connect also taught me the value of relationships.  Not industry contacts, but honest to goodness friendships.  It has allowed me to feel comfortable with who I am as a writer and take pride in this fact.  When people ask me what I do, I tell them I’m a writer. 

A writing community is not another closet, one populated by like-minded individuals.  It’s a lifestyle.  Try on a few writing communities until you find a good fit.  Then participate.  When you do, you’ll be just like Middle.  You’ll slide your glasses down, then pop them back into place.  For the first time, you will honestly see.

I promise you won’t be disappointed.

How about you?  What is your go-to community?  Where did you find them, and how do we?  What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned from being a part of a good writing community?

Tell me, what is your writing vision?  Curious minds want to know.

Shout Out for an Amazing Writer

As many of you know, AgentQueryConnect is my cyber home.  One of the things I love most about it is the sense of community.  During my two year residence in the AQ threads, I’ve met some great and talented writers.  Some have books due out next year, others are working hard with agents to get their writing in front of editors, while still others are busy honing their craft so they can someday enjoy the literary successes that await them.

And a few–like Robert K. Lewis–are already leaving a trail of bylines for us to follow.

Please hop on over to Criminal Element and read his thrilling, three-part Bar Noir.

Never heard of that genre?  Then don’t miss out on his great voice as he effortlessly takes you through a rundown of writers and the stories they told.

Got other great review links?  Pass them along for everyone to enjoy!

Cryfi and Other Writerly Musings

While commenting on a blog, I got the verification word: Cry-Fi.

It immediately struck my writer’s brain as a new genre.  Chick-litty Science Fiction.  Flippant, self-centered MCs who shop for the newest cosmic fashion while saving the universe from an impending hostile take-over by an alien race of pond scum.

And then it hit me.  I’ve seen these stories before.  Cry-Fi exists.  Not in so many words, but as writers tend to cross the traditional genre boundaries, these melting-pot stories have emerged full force.

Nobody wants their writing to be put in a box–narrowly defined by a word or two.  We want something bigger, grander.  New and cosmically cool.  Heck, we want our writing to break virgin ground.

Yet, this mentality can greatly damage our chances of ever seeing our writing in the bookstore.   Agents must define our manuscripts so they can pitch them to editors who must visualize their spot on the bookshelf.  This pitch is necessary for marketing and publicity. 

Our future books cannot simply demand a new section in the already established book stores.  Cyber or otherwise. 

Go ahead, try it.  Create a new word and google it.  It’s impossible to find because it does not exist anywhere but your own head.  This is the fate of your out-of-the-box, Cry-Fi novel.  If people don’t know about it, they can’t search for it.

So, as much as it hurts to see your manuscript pinned with a generic label or two, it is a necessary evil.  And it starts with us.  The writers.  We must give agents something tangible to pitch to editors to pitch to marketing to pitch to bookstores to pitch to readers. 

Having trouble defining where your novel fits?  Check out this handy genre list.

Got a new genre you’re pitching?  Share it with us and we’ll see if it catches on!

*Writing a series? Hop on over to From the Write Angle and see if it’s for you.

Pay It Forward: perks of being nice

Whenever I buy clothes, I always take them off the hangers and fold them up into a neat little pile with the price tag on top.  I’ve never been a checker (or a chess piece, for that matter), but this process does two things: it gets me out of line faster and I think it helps the frazzled workers become a tad bit less frazzled.  At least while they scan my items.

The other day, Dear Daughter and I bought some clothes–okay, it was a shopping spree.  I don’t generally buy anything for myself because I despise shopping, but on this particular day, DD and I splurged on 23 items.  Yep.  twenty-three hangers, twenty-three price tags and seven of those annoying little you-can’t-steal-clothes tags that have to be surgically removed.

I folded and stacked.  At the end, the check out lady asked if I would like to use my Store Card.  Nope.  Don’t have one.  Want one?  You can save 20% today.  Nope.  DH has one.  He’s in the car and his card is in the kitchen drawer an hour away.

Nice Check Out Lady was so thankful for my help, she swiped me the twenty percent anyways.  I saved $55.00 just for folding clothes while I waited in line.

Pay it forward. 

Writing works that way too.  An act of kindness often begets good will.  In the end, everyone can benefit.

Over on Agent Query Connect, I’ve been blessed enough to read and be read.  Critique and be critiqued.  Support and be supported.  Whenever I get the opportunity to lend a fellow scribe a hand, I do.  Occasionally time and real life get in the way, but often, I’m able to give a little bit of what I’ve been given.

How do you pay it forward? 

Cyber Friendships: are they real?

Tonight I commented on a thread over at Agent Query.  A few minutes later, my cell phone chinked, indicating a new email.  I knew without checking who it would be.  And I was right.  I’d received a PM from a dear friend of mine based on my comment.

There, I admitted it.  I don’t live in the real world.  I talk to my cyber friends as if they were right here with me.  We joke, laugh, poke fun at our foibles and support each other during some pretty rough times. 

I adore my writing friends, and since I don’t know many writers personally, my fellow scribes live mainly in my mind and on the internet.  And yet I care about them in the same way I care about my real life friends.  

I’m quite certain my DH thinks I’m mad and I keep peeking over my shoulder so he doesn’t slip on my little white coat.  After all, it’s probably not normal to talk about people who I’ve never met as if we just left the bar together two hours ago. 

My kids probably think I’m the biggest hypocrite alive.  

“Don’t ever talk to people you don’t know online.”  Oh yes, I’ve said this more than a hundred times.

And yet, here I am, sharing life and passion with complete strangers whom I call friends.  Heck, I’ve prayed for them, danced the happy dance for them and gotten my feathers ruffled when I felt an injustice had been done to one of them.

Is this wrong?  Can you truly be friends with someone you have never met?  Will likely never meet?  If  no, why not?

Dessert from SCBWI Iowa

Aaand I’m home.

 I’m also motivated, energized and a whole lot smarter about what’s going in the children’s lit biz.  But that comes later.  What I wanted to share today is the agent/writer connection.

Conferences can be expensive and time consuming.  For me, living in the very, prairie corner of Minnesota where Iowa meets South Dakota, writer’s conferences are few and far between.  Not to mention I typically have to drive, drive and drive some more.  While I have been all shades of green over the Iowa chapter of SCBWI, I’ve never been able to justify the time (three days away from my fam), the travel (fourteen hours round-trip) and the money ($175 for the conference, three tanks of gas and hotel) to actually register and attend.

Yet this year, I noted my agent was going to be a speaker and HAD to go. 

Some writers are lucky enough to meet with their agents before signing or on a fairly regular basis after their working relationship begins.  But, being from the interior of the earth, this is not a likely scenario for me or many Midwestern writers, for that matter.  So when the opportunity arose, I nabbed it.

It was the single most amazing moment in my career to date.

Even better than receiving an offer for representation was actually holding a conversation with my partner in crime, my biggest cheerleader and my strongest advocate in the business—face to face.

Before querying agents, I researched heavily.  I didn’t just check out Preditors & Editors.  Nor did I simply read a blurb or two online—an agent data base and agency websites.  My research took months.  It started with the Agent Query data base then moved to a print copy of Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market.  If there’s a writer’s site with agent info, I hit it.  Blog commentary?  Read it.  Articles?  I checked them all.

By the time I started querying I had narrowed down my search to those who fit my “musts” and my “wants”.  They also had to want what I had to offer.  Needless to say, my A list was very small.  My B list slightly smaller and my C list added just enough to include a total of about 20 agents.  What can I say?  I’m picky.

I guess I figured that if I was going to partner with somebody, I wanted to be compatible.  And yet, paper doesn’t tell all.  Even a phone conversation can be misleading.  Think about it in terms of friendships.  Some friends are casual, others close.  Some friends are for the moment and others are life-long.  They all have their place in our lives and they are all important, yet we don’t always get a sense of this the first time we meet them.

What I had done during my search was to distill the qualities that mattered to me as a writer and applied them to my agent search.  No point in finding a casual friendship if what I really needed was life-long connections.

And I got lucky.  My offer came from a TOP agent on my A list.  Okay, I only subbed to my A’s with a B or two thrown in to satisfy conventional wisdom.  But my thought was this: “I know I have a solid query.  It’s unique and breaks every rule in the book, but it works—for my manuscript.  So why target agents who had only some of my musts and wants when I could target agents who had everything I wanted?”

But it wasn’t until I actually met Agent Awesome this weekend that I realized just how lucky I got.  We share the same quirky sense of humor—trust me, this is important.  It’s why I married my DH.  He’s a gentleman through and through—a consummate professional.  Our visions for my career align so nicely and the enthusiasm he shows for my writing is astounding.  In its totality, this does not come across on paper, during the research period or even during the offer stage. 

Like I told my licensing social worker for my preschool, “I could be the worst person in the world to work with kids, but if I know how to play the game, I can come across looking like Mary Poppins.” 

The same goes for your agent search.  Dig deep.  Deeper than you believe is possible to find all the dirt, not just the raves.  Nobody wants to be fooled into an artistic partnership with someone who is Jeffery Dahmer in disguise. 

Don’t settle for an agent who only reps picture books when the bulk of your work is YA.  It will be difficult to build career relationships this way.  Don’t accept an offer from an editorial agent when all you want is a therapist to support your journey, not help change your destiny.  But above all, don’t even query if you feel the fit won’t be right. 

While some writers believe that snagging an agent is a numbers game—the more I send out, the bigger the odds—I come at if from an entirely different angle.  If you do your research and write the best query and best manuscript you are capable of, the stars will align and provide you with your dream agent.  Because in reality, you won’t sub to any who aren’t.

And above all else, if you have the chance to meet your agent in person, do.  No matter the cost or time.  It is the single best thing you can do to ensure your partnership is exactly what you want and need it to be.

How do you research your potential agents?  How do you define your wants versus your needs?  What is important to you in an agent?

The Promised Secret: FTWA

And the big reveal!

As promised, I shall spill my super-secret news.  My only regret is that while you are reading this, I am likely squinting into the sun on my 8 hour trek to the Quad Cities for my writer’s conference.  Not that this is a bad thing, it’s just that I’d love to see your reaction—in real time—to the latest and greatest writer’s blog to hit the net.

From the Write Angle is comprised of an incredible group of writers on their way to publication.  In fact, some have publication dates right around the corner. 

What’s your poison?  Literary fiction, nonfiction, historical, romance, contemporary, YA, juvie lit, gritty noir, movie scripts?  We’ve got all those and more.

Where are you on your literary journey?  Just starting, polishing, querying, critiquing, subbing or pubbing?  Yep, we’ve got someone with your experience level writing posts just for you.

Words can’t convey my excitement for this project.  From the Write Angle is a one stop shop for writers, but don’t take my word for it.  Hop on over and see what it can offer you.

As a word of caution, however, don’t expect to find more of the same.  From the Write Angle is exactly what it says: writing journeys, professional insights and unparalleled support from writers with…well…distinctly different angles.  It is not a homogenized blog on the writing process.  Nor is it differing views on one aspect of the journey or genre.

What can you expect?  Over time, you will get author, agent and editor interviews.  You’ll find book reviews, resources, links and general tutorials.  Contests will pop up from time to time and news updates in the writing biz will be liberally sprinkled in and around traditional blog posts by industry savvy writers.

From the Write Angle is comprehensive and offers writing tips and information to any aspiring writer or published author, regardless of passion or background.

So, what are you waiting for?

Visit From the Write Angle and see what we have to say. 

Yep, that’s right.  If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m one of the writers I’ve been gushing about.  Well, not me per se, but the blog itself. 

Before I go, I’d love to give a huge bear hug to Cali and RC for their dedication and technical support on the project.  The blog is gorgeous!  Hugs and hand-claps go to those who worked on formatting, Facebook, twitter and our B-E-A-utiful icon found on these other social network sites.

Another round of applause goes to my fellow scribes, of whom I love dearly and respect even more.  These peeps are going places and I urge readers and writers alike to check them out, follow them, FB them or tweet with them.  My hope is that someday you will hold their words in your hands.

My final declaration of devotion goes to the AQCrew.  If not for Agent Query, our group never would have met, bonded and supported each other these past three years.  It is through my experiences at AQ that I grew the most as a writer, and it is because of my fellow writers that I found my agent—who I might be talking to right at this very second…face to face! 

And this, my friends, is the magic you will find at From the Write Angle.

Now get going!