Friday, April 22, 2011

Guest Post on Reads, Reviews, Recommends: The Anatomy of a Query Letter by Angie Sandro

Kate Evangelista, my awesome critique partner, asked me to write a Guest Post about query letters for her blog: Reads, Reviews, Recommends (if you haven’t checked out her blog, please do. It’s fantastic ‘cause she’s a blogging wizard, kinda like a female Harry Potter, so I guess she’d be Hermione).

Sorry, I'm still a little giddy. Refocusing.

At first I thought, NO WAY! I’m not an expert. How can I write a post about something that I’m still learning about myself?

I still remember how confused I was when I wrote my first query, oh so long ago, in a galaxy far, far away--called Clueless. I wrote a rambling two page letter that broke all the query rules: No hook, the book was 104,000 words and not complete, bah, I’m embarrassed to admit that I sent that piece of offal out to agents. At the time, I thought it was awesome. Then I found and learned how to properly format a query letter.

I learned because of the other members who gave their time to critique my query and show me where I went wrong. Most of the people who helped me weren’t query experts either. They passed along the information they learned to a newbie, and now I have a responsibility to pay it forward. Sharing and collaborating with others is the only way to learn and grow as a writer (my thanks to my awesome critique group for all your help with my queries).

Kate is one of the people who helped me out. I couldn’t say no to her request even though it filled me with nail biting terror. This morning, I open an email from Kate. All it said was, SURPRISE! And had the link to my post: The Anatomy of a Query Letter, da, da, duh, by Angie Sandro.

Thank you for such an amazing honor, Kate Evangelista, and for making me peek outside of my turtle shell and give back to our wonderful writing community.

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Game of Thrones Experience with the Kids in the House

After much anticipation the night arrived. I popped a bowl of popcorn, arranged my drink within easy reach, ushered the kids into their bedroom with the threat of losing all internet privileges if they stepped outside of the room, turned off the lights, and sat down to watch Game of Thrones in HD on our new flat screen. Decadent in the extreme.

So, wow! I loved Game of Thrones. They did a fantastic job of remaining true to the integrity of the book. I lost myself in the world HBO brought to life, and it didn't disappoint. The only thing that kept this from being the best series premiere watching night ever--my little angel.

Please, Lord. Help me survive the preteen years. I know it gets worse once they reach high school. I know, and I accepted this fact. But why didn't anyone warn me that the preteen girl-child can be just as stubborn. I know she gets it from someone--I blame my husband.

I'm pretty sure I forbade her from coming out of the room. I distinctly remember--upon pain of losing internet privileges--do not come into the living room. So why may I ask did end up yelling at my daughter (then feeling guilty when she looked so hurt, poor baby) when she came out of the room during and uncomfortable *cough* moment in the show to pet the dog.

                                          Catcher at 3 months old-2007

Really! Pet the dog. The show's only an hour, watch Netflix, play on the internet, entertain your little brother, read a book. Pet the dog after my show, please (because I don't want you scarred for life seeing people getting their heads chopped off and gutted. Let alone the graphic nudity).

Sigh. I took the kids to the park for the five hours to wear them out so I could have peace and quiet for one hour. Kids, love them to pieces, but they'll try and break you if they sense weakness. Guess they know which parent is the pushover in our family.

Wishing I could blame the husband for this one.

Friday, April 15, 2011


The wait is almost over. 2 Days, 11 hours, and 18 minutes until the season premiere of George R.R. Martin’s HBO series Game of Thrones. My hands are tingling, I’m giddy… so excited I can barely hold a thought that doesn’t pertain to how excited I am. I don’t think I’ve been this anxious about a series since the premiere of Trueblood (Season 4 begins June 26, 2011, and is loosely based on Charlaine Harris' book 4, Dead to the World).

So, my fellow George R.R. Martin fans--hang on. The dragons are coming.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Prior to sitting down and writing, I outlined how I wanted to story to go. I’ve been writing the new manuscript for the last two weeks and it's been frustrating. I’ve done multiple rewrites of the first chapter, which is unusual. Typically, when I start a new manuscript the first hundred pages are easy to get down on paper. Not so this time. Why?

I’m at WAR with my protagonist!

It’s my own fault. I loved the protagonist from JUJU’S CHILD. Malaise was so easy going. She glided across the page like a ballet dancer, twisting and bending in whatever direction I wanted her story to go in. She spoiled me.

Tears well up in my eyes, as I cry, “I miss you, Mala. I’ll return soon for the sequel.”

Now, spotlight shifts onto Cairo, the most untrusting, unbending…how many more un’s do I need to tack on to properly describe this little brat. This character is fighting to keep me from getting to know her. I don’t even know what she looks like other than she’s tall, has a zit on her chin, and has curly black hair. Even that could be described better, but I really can’t visualize her. She’s not completely “real” yet (I’m not crazy, I know she’s a product of my imagination). I’ve barely scratched the surface of Cai's personality, other than to conclude she likes to do things her own way.

Sorta like me. Which makes me wonder what part of my subconsious is manifesting through this story?

So, here's what she did. Within four pages, she had totally deviated from the outline. Outline tossed in the trash! Waste of paper. Annoying, but...Cai has good instincts. The outline sucked. I couldn't see it at first, but now I do. I love the way the rewrites are coming along. My hope is that as I get further I get into the story the character will open like a little daisy--that she’ll be sweetness and light and our initial rivalry over the direction we want this story to go in will turn to mutual trust and cooperation.

Someday, I hope to say. Gosh, I love this character.

Has anyone else had this problem? I hope I’m not alone in having a difficult character ‘cause I’m feeling like I’m a little cuckoo for even writing this post.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April-Year of Fun

March is over--YAY!!

Between being sick and the constant rain, I spent most of March being stuck in the house. I used the opportunity to take a self-imposed vacation from writing and focused on reading some really excellent books instead.

This is my March reading list:

Every year, prior to the release of her newest book coming out, I reread Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. I started with Guilty Pleasures and ended with book nineteen, Bullet. My favorites are Blue Moon and Incubus Dreams.

After learning that George R.R. Martin’s long awaited book A Dance with Dragons is coming out on July 12, 2011 and the HBO series A Game of Thrones airs April 17th, I decided to reread a Feast for Crows, the last book out in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I think the last time I read the book was in 2008. I thoroughly enjoyed escaping into Mr. Martin’s world. Once I finished, I didn’t want to leave Westeros. The storyline is so intricate that I realized I had forgotten what happened in the preceding book, so I then read a Storm of Sword…etc. Yes, I ended up reading the entire series again—backwards. DOH. Craziness.

Next I read Jim Butcher’s Alera Codex series.
I’ve read all the Dresden books and love them. Of course. I happened to find book one Furies of Calderon on my book shelf. Maybe I bought the book or my husband did. I’m not sure, but I had never read it before. And like a surprise birthday party, WOW, loved the book and went through the entire six book series in a week

I’m a fast reader. Most books, I can read in a day, which drives my husband crazy. The above author’s have nice thick, meaty books that take me a couple of days to finish. I love that. Oh, and if anyone loves Charlaine Harris' books (my favorite is Dead to the World) and have been watching Trueblood, I found out some good news. This season will follow the book four plot in which Eric gets amnesia. I sure hope we get that shower scene!!! Check out this link. YUMMY.

Technically, with April, my self-imposed vacation is over. I’ve started working on my new YA story. It’s outlined and started a few pages, but I’m taking it slow. I don’t want to make the mistake I made last year, and spend my whole summer shut up in my office writing. I bought a laptop and I’ll use it to write at the pool instead.

Happy April, everyone.
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