Category Archives: agents

Another rejection/It’s nice to have friends/Eardrum-blowing sadness


As evidenced by the title, this post is a jumbled collection of ramblings:

I had another rejection yesterday. Not a big surprise though; this firm was a long shot. Still, I had to wallow in the requisite five minutes of self-pity, followed by a quick burst of nagging self-doubt, and then end it with my usual fallback of, “F**K ’em all” (while still secretly wishing those cool kids would finally let me in their treehouse).

My spiral of negativity was cut short by my newest personal rock star, Steve Malley, who popped in to point me in the direction of a new agent who just might tolerate my hyperverbosity. Now, Steve didn’t have to do that. In fact, he didn’t have to think of me at all–I’m sure he had better things to do (at least I hope so). But, he did. And that made me remember how nice it is to have friends in my current business of currently not doing business. So, thanks, Man.

I have come to accept that Resonance may not be my starter novel. I wholly believe it is publishable, but it may not be the one to get my foot in the door. I’m not ready to shelve it, yet, because eight rejections really isn’t so many. Still, I’ve broadened my view and am no longer pinning every one of my hopes on that one novel. The new book has been started in earnest and I’m looking to make it shorter and more mainstream-friendly than Resonance. If this new one gets my foot in the door, so be it. Either way, I’ll have an additional finished novel ready for round two, whenever it happens.

Tomorrow is my trip to Philly to see Ministry in their final tour. For one last time my eardrums will be blown, and, I suspect, so will my mind. My excitement is mixed with a profound sadness; after the last encore of the night there will be no more albums, no more concerts. The stage will go dark and thirty years of ass-kicking music will come to an end. Al Jourgensen is now my fallen god and all is wrong with the world.

Gee, I hope I don’t forget to buy a tee-shirt.

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Serious Dry Spell Ahead (and Behind)

Sorry I haven’t been making the rounds, or posting, as of late. Between getting together submission packages, working on the new novel, and, oh yeah, buying our first house, I just haven’t had time. Between letters and synopses there are calls from real estate lawyers, loan brokers, and the seller. In between stuffing envelopes with hopeful queries and running back and forth to Staples (my printer decided now would be a nice time to die), I’m frantically calling the city housing commission, home inspectors and many other licensed professionals keen to part me from my sparse pile of cash.

This is our first house purchase–we’re late bloomers–and it’s a crazy process. I have to applaud anyone who still has even a fraction of their original brain capacity after going through this. That it’s the house we’re currently renting is simultaneously easier and more difficult; on one hand, we don’t have to move our considerable piles of crap, but on the other, if I (for it is I who deals with everyone since I’m home all day) make one little slip, cause one unintended hurt feeling on the part of our seller/landlord, I can bet the Architect and I will be moving all our piles of crap, and in a big hurry, to boot.

Regardless of these pitfalls, I like this little house. It has zero insulation, a weird interior layout, and it needs a good deal of work done to it. Fortunately for me, I have an architect at hand, and he just happens to be a carpenter, too. Plus, there are his parents, who already have hammers in hand–as they have built or renovated every house they’ve owned in the half-century they’ve been together and aren’t anywhere near ready to stop tearing things up. Me? I’m great at fetching, anticipating needs (that former “assistant” thing coming into play) and holding the Dumb End. AND If we can get the paperwork in order and no one beats us to it, there’s a lone home conversion grant left in the city housing office, just waiting for us to claim, and that would buy us quite a few Dumb Ends.

This is as much as I can do for right now, hope you all understand. I have phone calls to make and character profiles to lay out–and many miles to go before I sleep (or can officially hang the Home Sweet Home Sign).


Rebound

After much head-banging, cursing, pacing and even one minor hissy fit, I managed to rewrite my query letter. Thanks to the patient and visionary Architect, it turned out pretty damn gripping. Where I could only see the re-arranging of words, the Architect saw a grander picture, and helped me develop the best query I’m capable of producing–thereby securing every dedication page in every book I ever write.

It’s funny how I wrote the damn thing, yet couldn’t for my life give it the summary it deserved. As usual–and true to my obsessive nature–I kept focusing on the minutiae, the tiny parts I felt terribly crucial to the summary. It took someone who designs individual spaces, yet understands their effects on the whole to tell me I was going about it the wrong way. And I was. Once I looked at the whole, the minutiae I was so concerned with somehow tied in, giving a broad, but still intimate, snapshot of the novel.

As for the novel itself, I ended up revamping the first three chapters. Nothing major, just a few tweaks I felt needed to be made. In all, I think it’s a stronger opening for it, and hopefully engaging enough that I’ll at least get some requests for partials.

This afternoon will see another round of submissions, and, while I may not be as rosy-cheeked and doe-eyed about the outcome as I was just a month ago, I’m determined to see it through one way or another. It’s either that, or give in and find a day job–and that’s just not happening.


Firsts


Everyone remembers the first time they had sex. My first time was awkward, embarrassing, and brutal to my ego. Still, I remember it clearly–and with some fondness–because it was my first. There’ll never be another of those.

True to Charles’ prediction about the silence bubble bursting, I received my first rejection letter yesterday, less than a week after sending out the query. And, to again echo that First Time, the event was graceless, shaming–and mercifully brief.

The sword drove in so fast I didn’t really see it coming. Nevertheless, the cut was quick and true. Being run through is never pleasant, but, as it was done with a polite explanation and a sincere apology, I’d have to say it was a fairly bearable sensation given its nature–sort of like being skewered by a velvet-clad blade instead of plain, cold steel.

Despite the disappointment, I feel the need to enjoy this moment. I’ve passed many milestones in the past year: finishing my novel, writing a synopsis (no mean feat for me), and then relinquishing the privacy of my work for the judgment of the professional world. Those markers now stand behind me, granite obelisks charting the distance I’ve trod on the road to becoming an author. And now I have one more monument to add to my collection.

For good or bad, the emotions evoked by all subsequent rejections will never compare to this one, the one that started it all. Like that initiatory romp in the sack, there can be no other firsts. Many may–ahem–arrive after, but none will ever be its match.


The Pros and Cons of Invisibility


‘They’–the illustrious hearsay experts–liken a writer’s existence to a vacuum. I’m starting to realize ‘They’ aren’t wrong. Between the sucking vortex of silence on the receiving end of my agent queries to the ominous passing of contest deadlines, the vastness of my professional solitude has begun to wear on me a little.

In fact, there was a moment a few days ago when I thought I had died.

In those brief delusional moments, I surmised everyone around me was a manifestation of my subconscious, nothing more than elaborate scenery for my postmortem ghost-drama. I imagined my possessions were only echoes of what I used to own–my computer, my printer, my paper–all shades of what I’d had on my earthly desk. It made perfect sense; I wasn’t getting feedback because I wasn’t sending out anything physical.

On many levels, I find my plane of existence not being on a mail carrier’s route a more preferable explanation than the fact I might not have whatever it is the publishing world wants in an author. Then again, the poltergeist-in-residence scenario would be a little too Beetlejuice-ish even for me (and since I left my veiled beekeeper hat in nineteen eighty-seven, I’m not really dressed for that particular event, anyway).

The deadline for notification of winners in that one writing contest is supposedly the twenty-first of this month. I’d already figured I hadn’t won, but I felt the few weeks between now and the release of the December issue of the magazine (which makes public the list of winners) would let me down gently–ease me out of expectation into acceptance. But, I opened the mail today and there was that December issue, sitting in my mailbox, the winners of the contest tucked neatly inside. It was enough to make me want to crawl back into my imaginary grave.

The lack of communication in this business is disheartening, at best. At least at my old job people were lining up to tell me how much I sucked. I didn’t have to guess. But, then again, my old job was hell, too, just a different kind–an inescapable realm of monotonous torment packed to the brim with neurotic, nouveau-riche malcontents.

I guess when I look at it that way, this vacuum ain’t all bad.


Abercrombie, Fitch and the Wardrobe, and Other Things


I was subjected to yet another odd dream a few days ago. This time, I went into my attic and it had transformed into a large warehouse lined with doors. I went through one of the doors and ended up in a gigantic mall. At first, I was angry that no one told me they were making my attic into the storage room for this new creation. Then, I realized the handiness of having an entire mall waiting for me on the other side of an attic door. The Architect aptly titled this dream, “Abercrombie, Fitch, and the Wardrobe.”

On drearier fronts, I took the two ‘kittens’ to the vet yesterday for their first year’s wellness check. Sid Vicious is fine, but Minister has a heart murmur and has to go to a cardiologist next week for an echocardiogram (that’s him in the photo above, helping me work out plot issues this past winter). This is all too familiar territory for me. Three years ago our oldest, Elwood, developed a murmur. That turned into restrictive cardiomyopathy, and he was gone in less than six months. He died in misery. Thinking that this might just happen again–and with a virtual kitten, no less–well, let’s just say I’m not happy.

Since we live in a rural area, I have to drive the little guy all the way to Annapolis for this appointment. It’ll be the first extended period away from his brother for him. And they’re like glue. I just hope it’s not the beginning of a larger, more permanent trend of separation. I found myself thinking yesterday if it might have been better had we never adopted them at all, rather than possibly go through the nightmare of shoving pills down reluctant throats and eventually watching a helpless being die in terrible pain yet again. But, then I told myself to get a hold of myself–which I promptly and firmly did–and wait to see what the doctor has to say.

On the vague front, still no word from the agent. The days are quickly winding down to the end of the two month’s response time stated in their submission guidelines. As I’ve said before, no news means no rejection, but I’m still getting a little tired of the stasis of it all. I suppose I should just get used to it, because it’s most likely going to happen some more.

Today will be about plot outlining, avoiding thinking about and endlessly Googling potential diagnoses for Minister, and also avoiding going outside, because it’s crazy hot out.