Firebrand’s Query Holiday

December 23, 2008 Personal, Writing Comments (0) 364

I made an exception to my “waiting until after the holidays” policy and submitted my book to Firebrand Literary through their “Query Holiday” concept.

It’s a great idea; novelists aren’t necessarily marketers, and query letters can be damned frustrating to write.  I myself have a background in marketing and advertising, and I still find it next to impossible to summarize my book in a way that makes it sound good.  So Firebrand is offering, for a limited time, to read submissions with no query.  I’ll know by the end of February whether they’re interested.

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On Finding an Agent

December 23, 2008 Personal, Writing Comments (0) 398

At this point Volve is basically finished.  I’m still combing through it for minor wording changes and some final cleanup, but it’s officially a novel, which means it’s time to get serious about selling it.  Over the years I’ve put out some preliminary feelers to see if there was any interest, and even had a nibble from one publisher that eventually fell through, but I’ve never made a really hard push at getting the work sold.  2009 is the year.

Up until now my directory of choice has been Writers Market, but I’ve found the agent list lacking.  Yesterday I discovered two great new resources, Publisher’s Marketplace and AgentQuery.  My personal list of agents interested in fantasy novels and willing to work with first-time novelists has grown from about ten up to dozens, maybe hundreds.  I also came across Pub Rants, a fantastically helpful blog maintained by Kristin Nelson at Nelson Literary Agency.  Her entries on great queries and great synopses are the most wonderful help for writers I’ve found on the web.

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Rejection yet again.

October 24, 2008 Personal, Writing Comments (1) 358

I got another rejection slip for Volve (my first novel, and no it’s not in any way related to the female anatomy) yesterday.  I’m back to square one of selling the book.  This weekend I’m going to make a few more adjustments, and Monday or Tuesday new query packages will go to a few more agents and publishers.

It’s not a big deal, really.  I send these things out expecting to be rejected.  Not because the book is bad (it’s not) but because the odds are just so heavily against new writers, especially in the current economy.  I just have to keep trying.  In the meantime I’m working on my second book (it’s about 80 pages long or so far now, and nearing the end of act 1, I think).  If, God forbid, Volve never finds a buyer, maybe the second book will.  After that it becomes a LOT easier to sell Volve.

But for the moment, I will indulge in a single small:

Damn.

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Fun with Arthropods: The Bees of Summer

April 17, 2008 Animals Comments (3) 1221

Hovering carpenter beeIt’s got to be familiar to anyone on the East Coast:  It’s a beautiful summer day, and you’re out in the park, or maybe just your back yard.  You spot an inviting picnic table, and are about to have yourself a nice sit when terror suddenly sets in.  You’re surrounded by bees.  Bees the size of hummingbirds.  They’ve obviously decided that the table is theirs, because they are hovering menacingly around it.  One of them flies straight for you, stopping to hover a mere foot away and staring you in the face with beady bee-eyes that say, in a universal bee-to-human language, “you wanna make something of it?”

You’ve just had an encounter with the carpenter bee (Xylocopa virginica), also known as the Wood-Boring Bee or Woodcutter, one of the more terrifying summertime residents of the Eastern United States.  As much fear as they may inspire, carpenter bees are in fact quite harmless (at least to your physical well-being) and actually inquisitive and even flirtatious.  That hover-and-stare we all interpret as confrontational is in fact the bee asking, “Hey!  Wanna screw?”

No, really.

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Mondegreens and Eggcorns

February 14, 2008 Pop Culture, Writing Comments (0) 509

Today I came across the Wikipedia entry for “eggcorn,” a recently-coined linguistic term that describes one of my ultimate pet peaves. I know I should be forgiving, but to my mind few things make a person seem stupid than the use of a term they have mis-heard or misunderstood, an “eggcorn.”

A few examples:
“For all intensive purposes”
“Once and a while”
“The spurt of the moment”
…and, of course, the eponymous “eggcorn.”

My own pet peaves aside, what was really interesting to me was the list of descriptive names for other linguistic misuses. An eggcorn, you see, is defined as a personal (as opposed to culturally shared) misuse that results when the person misunderstands the term in question through similarity. “Acorn” in many dialects sounds identical to “eggcorn,” and hence the error – which usually only shows up in written form. Continue Reading

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