Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thoughts on Querying

In honor of finishing Bob’s revision (yay!), I thought I’d share a few random thoughts on querying. This is what’s been bouncing around in my head of late.

“What’s the worst thing that could happen?” I ask myself this sometimes when I don’t want to do something, or when I’m afraid to do it. Sometimes the answer still isn’t very pretty (“Well, if I drive to the doctor’s office by myself, I might crash in the gorge and die a spectacular, horrific death”), but in the case of querying, the answer’s really not so bad. The worst thing that could happen is that every agent passes and I’m still right where I am. But where I am is good (I have a great family and a great life), so I could live with that. And if I could live with it, then I probably don’t need to be terribly afraid of it.

“Whatever you do, don’t settle.” I recently exchanged some e-mails with an online writing friend who had just received an offer of representation. Exciting, right? Well, it was exciting, but the thing was, the offering agent wasn’t one she’d queried (another agent at the agency had passed her manuscript off to this agent), and the offering agent had never sold anything in the same genre as this friend’s manuscript. When it came right down to it, even though the offering agent was a reputable agent with a good history of sales in another genre, this friend simply didn’t feel good about signing with the agent. “I want an agent for my whole career,” she said, “not just this one manuscript.” I couldn’t agree more.

At this point in my writing career, not having an agent doesn’t really scare me (see “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”). After all, I’ve gotten really good at not having an agent. What WOULD scare me is having an agent I wasn’t comfortable with, or an agent who was only interested in one of my manuscripts and not my full body of work, or any agent who wasn’t the right agent for me. Now I realize things change and it’s not unusual for perfectly respectable agents and perfectly respectable authors to end up parting ways, but going in, I want to feel like the relationship is going to last.

“Enjoy the ride on this crazy query-go-round, and don’t worry so much about how everyone else’s ride is going.” Another online writing friend--one of my critique partners, in fact--recently received an offer of representation, but in this particular case, the offering agent was absolutely perfect. My friend was so excited about this agent that she almost didn’t want to bother with contacting the others to let them know about the offer. (But this friend did still contact the other agents, because she knew you always, ALWAYS give the other agents considering your work a chance to make a competing offer.) She ended up signing with this agent, and I couldn’t have been happier for her. Honestly. But I probably wouldn’t have been human if I hadn’t felt that teeny, tiny twinge of jealousy.

I didn’t indulge the twinge, mind you. I didn’t take it out to brunch or feed it bonbons or generally give it the impression that I wanted it to hang around. Instead, I reminded myself that my friend’s journey is not my journey and that just because something wonderful happened to her doesn’t mean the same wonderful thing won’t someday happen to me. And after a while, the twinge of jealousy went away. Now I’m just waiting, waiting, waiting for that someday to arrive:)

Well, that’s it from me. What thoughts have you had lately, querying, writing, or otherwise?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Agent-Author Chat: Adriann Ranta and Mindy McGinnis

So excited to launch a new interview series on the blog today! Our first-ever installment of “Agent-Author Chat” features Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary Services and one of her new clients, Mindy McGinnis.

Here’s how it’ll work: Ms. McGinnis will share her query with us, the actual query she sent to Ms. Ranta, and then she’ll chat a bit about how she developed it and what advice she has for fellow writers. Then Ms. Ranta will tell us what she liked about the query--and what she liked about the manuscript itself--and share some query-writing tips with us.

All right, everybody got that? Have I made it sufficiently complicated? :) Ms. McGinnis’s query and answers will appear in orange, and Ms. Ranta’s will appear in blue.

Ms. McGinnis's Query Lynn was nine the first time she killed to defend the pond. Seven years later, violence is her native tongue in a time when an ounce of fresh water is worth more than gold and firewood equals life during bitter rural winters. Death wanders the countryside in many forms: thirst, cholera, coyotes, and the guns of strangers.

Mother and Lynn survive in a lawless land, where their once comfortable home serves as stronghold and lookout. Their basement is a lonely fortress; Father disappeared fighting the Canadians for possession of Lake Erie, the last clean body of water in an overpopulated land. The roof offers a sniper's view of their precious water source--the pond. Ever vigilant, they defend against those who stream from the sprawling cities once they can no longer pay the steep prices for water. Mother's strenuous code of self-sufficiency and survival leaves no room for trust or friendships; those wishing for water from the pond are delivered from their thirst not by a drink, but a bullet. Even their closest neighbor is a stranger who Lynn has only seen through her crosshairs.

Smoke rises from the east, where a starving group of city refugees are encamped by the stream. A matching spire of smoke can be seen in the south, where a band of outlaws are building a dam to manipulate what little water is left.

When Mother dies in a horrific accident, Lynn faces a choice--defend her pond alone or band together with her crippled neighbor, a pregnant woman, a filthy orphan, and Finn--the teenage boy who awakens feelings she can't figure out.

NOT A DROP TO DRINK (69,000 words) is dystopian YA. I have been a YA librarian in the public school system for seven years, allowing me to spend forty hours a week with my target audience. I also serve as a moderator for the writing community at AgentQueryConnect.com--screenname bigblackcat97. The first fifty pages are included in this e-mail, per your submission guidelines. Thank you for your time and consideration.

KV: Ms. McGinnis, how did you first come up with the idea for NOT A DROP TO DRINK?

MM: The awesome b/f is a documentary watcher, and he introduced me to a film called Blue Gold, which is about the very real possibility of a global fresh water shortage in the near future. I literally dreamt the novel that night. When I woke up I said to him, "I think I wrote a book in my head just now."

There was research involved, past that first flash of inspiration. I read the book WATER: THE EPIC STRUGGLE FOR WEALTH, POWER AND CIVILIZATION by Steven Solomon cover to cover. While I didn't necessarily draw from it when writing DRINK, I felt I needed that kind of background in order to do the story justice.

KV: What was your process for writing the query? Did you work on it here and there as you were writing the manuscript, or before, or after? How many times did you have to revise it?

MM: Again, I was very fortunate with the query. It just kinda happened in my head while I hovered on the verge of sleep. The opening line of DRINK and the hook for the query are the same--I found an awesome sentence and I made it work for me.

I wrote the query after the novel was finished--I'm a very linear person that way. The query saw minimal revisions due to the excellent writing community over at AgentQueryConnect. I've spent so much time honing query skills in the act of critiquing for others that the first draft and final product of my query for DRINK were very similar.

That's one reason why I think a community like AQ is pivotal; you're helping someone else, but your skills are benefiting. I freely admit that the queries for trunked novels prior to joining AQ were at a level of suck heretofore unknown since the invention of papyrus. In any case, I ran the DRINK query past a few AQ vets and they gave me some polishing tips.

KV: What was the hardest thing about writing your query? What was the easiest?

MM: The query for DRINK really wasn't hard at all. That pivotal hook was already there, so the heavy lifting was done. The easiest, again, was the hook. Like I said, it's the first line of the book and it rocks, so I cut and pasted and called it a hook.

KV: Ms. Ranta, when you first read Ms. McGinnis’s query, what caught your attention?

AR: The first line is a fantastic one, and her whole query has a very simple, punchy style that mimics the tone of the novel. It’s original, with no gimmicks.

KV: Obviously, the manuscript met--or exceeded--your expectations. What did you love about NOT A DROP TO DRINK?

AR: I love that the book takes place in something like a square mile…It’s a very small, simple, limited setting, but the stakes feel impossibly high. The world Mindy has created is so bleak, but she’s avoided overwriting her scenes so the power of the circumstances can stand on their own. It all has a very effortless feel, which can be so difficult to pull off, and allows the reader to be completely immersed.

KV: How quickly did you read Ms. McGinnis’s manuscript? Is that pretty typical of your response times on requested material, or do those vary?

AR: Once I found DRINK in the morass that is my query inbox, I read it as soon as I could. I think I was finishing off another manuscript at the time, but I still had the first 50 pages of DRINK in the back of my head. Once I got to it, I read it in two days! I try to keep my turnaround time for queries within a month, but as any reader is familiar with, when something piques your interest, there’s no procrastinating.

KV: Ms. McGinnis, what tips do you have for fellow writers as they work on their queries?

MM: Join AgentQueryConnect and accept criticism with grace. You don't have to agree with what your critters say - in the end it's your query - but you need to give it weight, especially if you're consistently getting feedback on the same points. Kill your darlings, if you must. Also, develop rhinoceros skin. I queried on and off for ten years before Adriann decided to love me. I was at the point where I dreaded hearing back from agents, I was so convinced every reply would be a rejection.

KV: Same question to you, Ms. Ranta. What query-writing suggestions do you have?

AR: Ditto the above. Once you’ve finished a book, you have to emotionally separate yourself from it so you can recognize things like hooks, genres, comparable published books, flaws, holes, etc. There are countless resources for practical, effective querying (and editing), but in order for it all to be useful, you can’t take it personally.

KV: Any last words of advice or encouragement you’d like to share with us?

MM: Lots of advice: Don't be afraid to suck. I sucked for a long time before the suckage seepage slowed. I still have days when I look at what I wrote the night before and feel like e-mailing Adriann and asking if she might have been in a particularly forgiving mood when she signed me.

Don't compare yourself to others and don't look to others for validation. If you want to be a better writer, read. And if you're down on yourself--read my blog! Chances are, I'm down on myself too and mocking myself, which is bound to make everyone feel better.

AR: Revise, keep an open mind, be patient, read great books, support authors you love, read blogs, be flexible, know your strengths, know your weaknesses, find a schedule and stick to it, and buy a million copies of DRINK when it publishes. Cheers!

Thank you, Ms. McGinnis, for sharing NOT A DROP TO DRINK with us, and thank you, Ms. Ranta, for giving us your insights. I know I’ll be looking forward to seeing NOT A DROP TO DRINK on bookshelves someday:)

Have a great Thursday, everyone!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bob's New Query

With Bob's revision winding down, I find myself in need of a new query. It's still a little rough, but here's what I have so far:

Sixteen-year-old Adair’s life isn’t as glamorous as it sounds. She lives in Mandalay Bay, sure, but the Bay hasn’t seen a high roller since the Last Recession, just an army of luckless squatters. She goes to school at Wynn, but it’s more of a prison camp than an actual high school. And while she doesn’t have a lot of parental supervision, that’s only because her mom is dead and her dad has to work long hours for the man who ruined their lives.

Old Man Hermes did a lot more than revolutionize the biomedia industry when he invented Wingteeth, oral implants that link people’s brainwaves to the Stream. He also created a class system based on technological orientation, with the sharks and their Wingteeth on top, the Toothless grannies on the bottom. Oh, and he also sacrificed her mother’s life to save his precious company. Adair wants to return the favor--by taking his company away from him.

With the help of her secret society, Adair plans to carry out her hostile corporate takeover in five easy steps: First, rustle up an invitation to Old Man Hermes’s annual symposium. Second, assassinate him at the banquet. Third, shut down the Stream. Fourth, make the whole thing look like an accident. Fifth, install one of the grannies as chairman of the board.

What she doesn’t plan is to fall in love with one of the sharks at the symposium or to turn them into zombies when she shuts down the Stream. And she certainly doesn’t expect not to have the guts to murder Old Man Hermes when she gets the perfect chance.

All right, tear it apart. What doesn't make sense? What needs more explanation?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Interactive Interview with an Agent: Beth Fleisher

So excited to share today’s interview with you, which features Beth Fleisher of Clear Sailing Creatives. Details on the interactive part are at the bottom. Check out Ms. Fleisher’s answers to the usual questions, and then I’ll meet you down there!

KV: How long have you been agenting, and how did you get into it?

BF: Agenting is the culmination of my longtime work in book publishing. Previous to this new venture I've been a managing editor, acquisitions editor, editorial consultant, and I’m also a published author. I've been agenting full time for about two years, and formed my own boutique agency the beginning of this year.

My husband, Chris Claremont, is a writer. I took over handling his comic book and graphic novel negotiations more than a decade ago, when his prose agent didn't want to handle this aspect of his business. I felt very comfortable in this role, as I had previously done a LOT of negotiating from the other side of the desk, as an editor for the Berkley Publishing Group. But having an author in the house, and having had the experience myself of being an author with an agent, has made me, shall we say, very empathetic to the writer's point of view in the publishing process.

KV: How would you summarize your personal agenting philosophy? What do you expect from an agent-author relationship?

BF: First and foremost I expect honesty, and a commitment to the relationship. An agent works hard on a project before it sells--if it ever does! The hard work can take many forms, from working with the author on revisions, to using time and contacts to place a manuscript with an editor to read. I need to know that an author is as committed to the process as I am, with all its emotional ups and downs. Being an author isn't an easy life--it's not for the faint of heart.

KV: What client work do you have coming out soon? What drew you to those writers and/or projects?

BF: I need to see a level of creativity in a project that is unique to that creator. I am not interested in books written for the market. I need rich, deep, involving stories, with characters who change and grow, in a fully realized setting.

From my previous association with Barry Goldblatt Literary I have two middle grade fantasies in the pipeline: Allan Stratton's THE GRAVE ROBBER’S APPRENTICE forthcoming from Harper, with the sequel placed there as well; and Will Alexander's debut, sold with the title THE MASKS OF ZOMBAY, also with a sequel.

Both of these writers have a unique imagination, a special quality they bring to the voice of their characters. No one else could have written these books. It's that quality which drew me in to their prose.

Steve Walker is the artist and Jared Axelrod the writer on THE BATTLE OF BLOOD AND INK, a steampunk graphic novel that will be out from Tor Books next year. They've moved with me to the new agency (Clear Sailing Creatives). No one else could have developed this amazingly cool story of flying cities, sky pirates, and rogue samizdat printers and their press.

KV: What genres do you represent? What genres do you definitely NOT represent?

BF: I love picture books, but don't have enough of a feel for them to represent them. I'm open to middle grade and YA fiction, and would love to find some great ghost stories, psychological suspense, a well-crafted mystery.

Being a Dr. Who and Firefly fan, I would love to find a great SF series, whether straight SF adventure, or something a bit more out there. That said, it's very hard to find good SF. It's not the easiest genre to write, as it has to have ideas, adventure--oh, yeah, and great characters and setting. Rebecca Stead's Newbery-winning WHEN YOU REACH ME is a great current example; A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L'Engle is the gold standard for me. Contemporary voice, interesting issues, strong characters, realistic setting. It's all there in both books. I also love kids' non-fiction, though it is a very difficult sell.

KV: What query pet peeves and/or pitfalls should writers avoid when querying you?

BF: The huge synopsis. I just want to know what genre, and then just two or three lines. Let the writing sample speak for the book. If I want to know more, I'll ask!

KV: What are you looking for in a manuscript right now? What are you tired of seeing at the moment?

BF: It's not about that magic genre--though of course I'm looking for stories that have that great hook, that one-liner that motivates the plot. But a hook alone doesn't make a book. There has to be depth and quality to all aspects of the writing.

I'm tired of seeing books that are underwritten. No, this doesn't mean that I'm looking for purple prose, with an adjective preceding every noun. But a book is supposed to paint a picture for me of a world known only to the author, whether it's our contemporary world, or SF, or fantasy. I should be able to hear, feel, smell, and taste that environment--and know the characters who inhabit it. I can sit on a park bench and watch the world go by. It's the author's job to drawn me into their vision of their world, using only the craft of their words.

KV: What’s the best way to query you?

BF: The only way to query me is e-mail, through my website.

Thank you, Ms. Fleisher, for these well-thought-out responses. You’ve given us a ton of excellent information here. I’m sure a lot of readers are itching to fire off their queries:)

But before you do, feel free to ask Ms. Fleisher any questions you might have. You can leave your questions in the comments, and Ms. Fleisher will drop in periodically to leave her answers down there as well. Keep in mind, however, that she’s off to the Nebula Awards Weekend later today, so she’s only taking questions until 1:00 p.m. EDT (which is 10:00 a.m. PDT). Until then, ask away!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"You See, You Can't Please Everyone, So You Got to Please Yourself"

As many of you know, I’ve been neck-deep in reader feedback the last couple of weeks, and as many of you also know, it’s driven me a little batty. Knowing what feedback to take and what feedback to leave is almost as difficult as writing the stupid manuscript in the first place.

But today, a few lines from Ricky Nelson’s “Garden Party” came to me while I was weeping and wailing and generally making a fool of myself, and they were so appropriate--and yet so seemingly mundane--that I knew I had to share:

But it’s all right now
I learned my lesson well
You see, you can’t please everyone
So you got to please yourself

It may sound silly and cliché, but it’s also true: We’re not going to please everybody with our writing, so at the end of the day, we only have to worry about pleasing ourselves. I mean, wouldn’t you feel terrible, absolutely TERRIBLE, if you changed something in your manuscript because someone else insisted on it, and then you sent your precious manuscript off to your top agent, and she loved it and really got it, EXCEPT FOR THAT ONE PART, and she was going to offer you representation, but then that one part changed her mind?

I can take rejection, but I don’t think I could take that kind of regret.

So in the spirit of making decisions and not letting your writing drive you completely nutty, here are a few questions to ask yourself when you’re staring reader feedback in the face:

1. Am I excited about making these changes?

2. Do these changes match my vision for the project?

3. Deep down, do I think these changes are the right changes to make?

If your answer to any of these questions is no, you might want to take a step back and think about things a little longer. And while you’re thinking, check out Jessica Tudor’s brilliant blog post on the topic. (Did I mention it was BRILLIANT?)

Happy writing, happy revising, and if you’ve been feeling a little down lately, for heaven’s sake, have a chocolate.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Interview with an Agent: Michael Carr

Today’s long-awaited interview features Michael Carr of Veritas Literary Agency. (Three cheers to Blogger for getting the system up again! (Now if they could only find a way to get yesterday's posts back...)) Get ready to add another agent to your lists:)

KV: How long have you been agenting, and how did you get into it?

MC: I've been working as an agent since last fall. I had worked as a freelance editor, writer, book doctor, etc., for many years and started doing scouting for Katherine Boyle at Veritas. I enjoyed the work so much and discovered that Katie and I liked so many of the same things that it was a natural transition into agenting. It is hard work and long hours, but I get to work with books all day. I love that.

KV: How would you summarize your personal agenting philosophy? What do you expect from an agent-author relationship?

MC: I want to be responsive to my writers, never want them to wonder what happened to me. I like to know what my writers are working on and have a discussion before they start a project, and I also need my writers to be flexible. I would never tell my writers what kinds of books to write, however. That never works. In general, I'm more interested in signing writers rather than single books.

KV: What client work do you have coming out soon? What drew you to those writers and/or projects?

MC: We sold a YA zombie trilogy a few weeks ago, and I've recently gone on submission with everything from a YA dystopian to a non-fiction book about a celebrated murder in the Great Depression. I'll be going out shortly with a women's fiction novel with a sharp edge.

I like writers with a good voice and am drawn to natural storytelling.

KV: What genres do you represent? What genres do you definitely NOT represent?

MC: I never planned this, but I've got more YA and MG writers now than anything else. I usually pass graphic novels to my associate, because I don't know what to do with that. Literary has been slow lately, and I had a great, page-turning novel set in Africa that I've had a hard time placing because of the setting.

I have to be cautious about taking on some projects simply because the market is slow or I don't know enough about the category. This is unfortunate, but it doesn't do me or the writer any good to offer on a book that is wrong for me.

KV: What query pet peeves and/or pitfalls should writers avoid when querying you?

MC: I'm turned off by boasting. Also, a lot of writers would be well served by going online and learning about proper query format. I'm not a huge stickler for this, but there's a reason a standard exists. I've got to sort through zillions of queries and standard query format is a tool that helps me determine in a hurry whether or not a book is right for me. Anything that deviates too far from this standard costs me time and I don't care for that.

KV: What are you looking for in a manuscript right now? What are you tired of seeing at the moment?

MC: I'd love to see a good YA or MG steampunk novel. A historical thriller would be a welcome change of pace. I'd like some more popular non-fiction.

KV: What’s the best way to query you?

MC: We take turns with the Veritas slush, and I'm not the one on the front lines at this moment. Katie does, however, forward projects my way that seem particularly appropriate. If you think I'm perfect for your needs, mention it in the query and if it's good, it will find its way into my hands.

Thanks again, Mr. Carr, for these responses! Great information here. And good luck to all who query--sounds like Mr. Carr would be a great agent to work with.

Have a great Friday, everyone! Try not to cross a black cat’s path today:)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

What About Bob?

Several people have asked about Bob's progress of late, so here's a quick update. At the moment, I'm in the middle of a silent read-through, and then I'll only have one more out-loud read-through to do. (I didn't used to read my manuscripts out loud at all. Now, I can't stand the thought of NOT reading the whole thing out loud at least once.)

While reading, I'm tweaking small details, shaving words, freaking out. Mostly freaking out, I'm afraid. (He's awful. He's wonderful! This is taking forever. I'm finished! I'm not. He's awful. He's wonderful!) I'm planning to finish sometime in the next couple of weeks, so hopefully, I shouldn't have to live like this for much longer. I haven't been myself lately.

And now, since I'm a card-carrying member of the Society for Math Nerds, Geeks, and Dweebs, a few numbers:

Current word count (to the nearest thousand): 79,000 (and falling)
Highest word count ever: 80,000
Lowest word count ever: 59,000

Number of betas who've read any part of Bob: 9
Number of betas who've read all of Bob: 7
Number of betas who've read all of Bob more than once: 3 (thank you, thank you, thank you, Myrna, Kelly, and Honey Bear!)

I can't say enough about my awesome, awesome beta readers. Honestly, they've made all the difference. Thank you, all nine of you, one more time.

Where are you at with your works-in-progress?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Interactive Interview with an Agent: Sarah Heller

Today’s interactive installment of “Interview with an Agent” features Sarah Heller of Helen Heller Agency. Details on the interactive part are at the bottom. Enjoy!

KV: How long have you been agenting, and how did you get into it?

SH: Since 2004. It is a family business; my mother, Helen, started the Agency in 1988, and I grew up in it, you could say.

KV: How would you summarize your personal agenting philosophy? What do you expect from an agent-author relationship?

SH: We pride ourselves on being accessible, honest, and straightforward. We are accustomed to working editorially with our clients, prior to sending work out to publishers, if that is necessary to great avail, and being able to do that definitely gives us an advantage as agents.

KV: What genres do you represent? What genres do you definitely NOT represent?

SH: We represent front-list commercial and literary fiction (with a particular emphasis on crime fiction, though this is by no means all we represent), adult and YA, and some non-fiction. I personally am interested in historical fiction, and YA. I am really open to anything that catches my interest, so am loathe to confine myself to any particular genre, or to categorically deny anything because it is or isn't a particular genre.

We do not represent screenplays, poetry, or picture books.

KV: What query pet peeves and/or pitfalls should writers avoid when querying you?

SH: Please DO NOT tell me how you are going to make us both millionaires in your query letter! Also, please do your research. If you are going to query us, it helps to know that you take your writing seriously enough to at least know our names and how to spell them. (Queries addressed "Dear Agent" will most likely get deleted before they get read!)

A query letter should include a brief introduction and synopsis, and if relevant, professional history. If we are interested, we will contact you to see a partial. Please do not include a writing sample within the body of the e-mail.

KV: What are you looking for in a manuscript right now? What are you tired of seeing at the moment?

SH: I am always looking for something that I can't put down! I can't say I am tired of anything specific, but certainly any "big" book encourages trends; in the recent past I was seeing a lot of vampire fiction. Now, I'm seeing a lot of dystopic fiction. But again, if an individual manuscript happened to involve vampires, but I really loved it, I don't think I'd be able to turn it down based on that alone.

KV: What’s the best way to query you?

SH: We are best reached via e-mail.

Thank you, Ms. Heller, for these responses. Lots of helpful information here already, and the best part is yet to come!

If you have a question for Ms. Heller, feel free to leave it in the comments section below. She’ll pop in a few times throughout the day to answer whatever questions she finds down there. We’ll wrap this up at 4:00 p.m. EDT (which is 1:00 p.m. PDT), but in the meantime, ask away!

Friday, May 6, 2011


Just popping in to let you know I’ll post this week’s interview NEXT week, because we all need a little unexpectedness in our lives:) Sarah Heller of Helen Heller Agency will be here next Monday, May 9, to take your questions. We’d love to see you here, too.

Also, I wanted to let you know I’m starting another interview series on the blog, this one featuring agented writers and their agents. If you’re an agented writer or an agent who wants to spotlight a new client (and give us a few querying tips besides), feel free to e-mail me at kvandolzer(at)gmail(dot)com for more details.

Finally, I’m working on a few other blog-related projects (hint: contests, agents, completed manuscripts), so stick around (and get those manuscripts cleaned up!). The next few months should be pretty exciting…

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Katrina DeLallo of The World Crafter’s Inkspot recently gave me this cheery award. (Even though last week was a bit of a downer. Sorry about that. Injecting a healthy dose of optimism now!) Thanks, Katrina! To claim it, I have to tell you seven things about myself. Here goes:

1. I got braces when I was nine and had them for two and a half years. (Yeah, my teeth were that bad.) I also did the whole headgear thing--at night, thank goodness--and wore a retainer until college.

2. Top Chef is the only TV show I watch regularly.

3. When I was four or five, I wanted to be a teacher. At six or seven, I switched to paleontologist. By the time I was twelve, I wanted to be a marine biologist. After Volcano and Dante’s Peak came out, I switched to geologist. By high school, I wanted to be a lawyer. But my freshman year of college, I switched back to teacher:)

4. I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon (although I’ve heard that if you take a four-wheeler over the mountains just southeast of my house, you can get to the North Rim in an hour or two).

5. Honey Bear and I will celebrate our seventh anniversary this Saturday.

6. I have an unnatural fear of choking. I couldn’t swallow an Advil until I was, like, fourteen. I still can’t really swallow pregnancy vitamins. (It only takes about three months for me to give in and order the more expensive chewable variety. This is usually after I’ve gagged on those big pills and made myself throw up a few times.)

7. My middle name is Marie, as is my daughter's, my mother's, my grandmother's, and my great-grandmother's (I think). We're also the oldest daughters in our families, which explains the name-chain.

I’m passing this award on to the following six bloggers:

Amy Sonnichsen of The Green Bathtub
Jenilyn Tolley of Jenilyn M. Tolley
Kayeleen Hamblin of Kayeleen’s Creation Corner
Liesl of Writer Ropes and Hopes
Mary Frame of It’s all fun and games until someone gets an agent (don’t you love that blog title?)
Marybk of Not an Editor

Furthermore, the effervescent Anita Grace Howard of A Still and Quiet Madness gave me the Instrumental Blog Award as part of her first biannual Wonderland Bloggy Awards. She created the badge herself, and it features the White Rabbit because her latest manuscript is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland. Anita signed with Jenny Bent a couple of weeks ago, so if you’re interested in getting an up-and-coming author, definitely give her blog a look-see.

Well, I think that about covers it. Any random facts you'd like to share with the rest of us?