Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I'd write more. If I had something to write about. I'm in transit. A lady in waiting. On the sidelines. Insert your own cliche here. More queries are out, and I'm just plugging away. The agent who requested my partial is at a huge book fair in London, along with the hundreds of other US agents who decided to peruse the European market, so there's quite a lull going on in the aspiring writer world. So I'm going to continue tapping my fingers, eating the leftover chocolate bunny from my daughter's Easter basket, and looking up other agents in the hopes to annoy the hell out of them with my query. Which, after 6 rewrites of what I thought was the master copy, is pretty darn good...finally.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Little Fishy

So I guess the query worked-a fish has nibbled. An agent has requested a partial. Now- note-for the record- I am not bouncing off of walls, not super-excited and losing control. Yes, my heart is a-flutter with visions of acceptance, proposals, contracts, book deals, etc.; however, this time, I'm playing it cool. I'm going to look over my partial another time, make sure it's perfect (again), and then take another day to carefully craft a good cover letter and prevent any stupid mistakes.

My first knee-jerk reaction to my "Cool Hand Luke" front was that I'm setting myself up for rejection again. You know, trying to ease the pain by not getting my hopes up. But it's not that at all. I know my manuscript is good. I know I write well. I know there is an agent out there who will love my characters as much as I love them. So I quickly pushed that familiar nagging in me aside and realized that my best bet is to be confident. I have nothing to lose. So I'm going in with this head high.

Wish me luck. This is a frickin' big agent. Like, HUGE. Like EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS PERSON. oh god...my heart is starting to pound. I gotta go before I start hyperventilating.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My latest query

So I wrote this query that I finally liked. Trust me, writing queries is like having a hot sauce enema. It's just not something anybody looks forward to. And now that I've had 4 hot sauce enem-er, I mean, written 5 different query templates, I'm just looking forward to the cooling off period. Of course, almost every query is personalized to each agent, meaning that I've either mentioned a book that they have represented that I have either read or think my manuscript is similar in theme, or I have sucked up to them in such a way that they know I've done my homework. I think that's the most important thing here. It's doing the homework. I've spent hours just looking up agent names, backgrounds, companies, recent sales to publishing houses- it's enough to make me vomit. I can tell you which agent recently left one company because they were seduced by another lit agency. I can tell you which agent recently got married. I can tell you which agent seems to spend more time "tweeting" than physically possible. Do I try to convey in my query that I've been researching [stalking] them? No, but I write my letter with as much wit and professionalism as possible that it obvious to them that I'm not some shmuck who's writing on a wing and prayer and just sending off random queries at her leisure.

Anyway, we'll see what happens with my most recent queries that went out last week. I'm taking time off today for cooking for Passover dinner tonight with the in-laws, and taking a moment to dance to Mickey Mouse's "Hot Dog" dance with my kid.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


In the middle of writing more queries, I got caught up in the 2009 NHL Playoff Challenge Pool. My bad. I've been spending the last hour scouring NHL.com, gettin' giddy and wide-eyed at the possible playoff contenders. I'll write tomorrow with something more substantial than my hockey fantasies. :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Let the games BEGI---er...CONTINUE!

So I'm rewriting my query. AGAIN. Looking back, my other queries were too detailed, too long, then too short, too boring, and too vague. I've never had so many issues writing a letter before in my life. I feel like I'm advertising not my manuscript, but myself. And I know that that's partly true. I'm pitching my voice, my fluency, my ease of grammar and sentence structure...yeah. You get the point. Then it's on to selling my characters, but all the while not mentioning more than two characters' names (or else it's way too confusing for the agent). Then it's showing off my unique story line, my interesting plot twist, and a hook to keep an agent asking for more. Oh yeah, and this all has to be done in just a few sentences.

So, I'm off to work on the query again before I bring my kid to get some fresh air for her cold to forget about said query. But just before I go, I'll mention that I've become a huge fan off all the blogs I've been following, and their followers, too. I have been talking [corresponding] with many new authors, some published, some unpublished, that just want the same thing I have wanted all my life. And that's just for someone to enjoy the words I have on paper. Not for the money-I figured out VERY quickly in the game that if you're doing this for the money, you're a)out of your mind and b) need to find another job FAST, but really, just to have someone say, "Damn! I'm glad I read that! That was a good story!" Because isn't that what we all need right now? Just a good story? Mine even has a happy ending. (Okay, kind of.....not without some sacrifice, of course....) Anyway, I'm just thankful to have met some very cool people in the past few months.

I should say to Rosemary Harris and to Meredith Cole that I am extremely bummed I missed you at the New Canaan Library yesterday. I went and purchased an autographed copy of Harris' Pushing Up Daisies book to make up for it (I still need to get The Big Dirt Nap, but I need to get Cole's book still. I meant to get it yesterday before I met her, but my daughter was a handful. I try to catch Cole before she settles down to work on her next book after her Posed for Murder.

That's it for now. I'll be writing more next week because I've decided that my experience with rejections and queries now will be something to blog about. Not in a complaining way, though. (Although there certainly might be a leakage of it...) I'm just going to post what to do and what not to do. It'll serve as a reminder for not only myself when I look back on this crazy ride, but to anybody who just needs a blatant list of the shit you cannot pull with literary agents. They are a wild bunch. Very picky.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Finally A Reason!!!!!!!!!

See? An answer to one question that my mother keeps asking me: Do you have to curse so much? Well, ma, yeah. I do. And: This is my excuse.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Best Remedy

Wanna know what the best remedy to rejection is? Dancing with your kid. And not some little hop-hop-hopping around the room to some Raffi. I'm talking The Asteroids Galaxy Tour blasting off the biggest speakers in the house and screaming and twirling and spinning around while your kid jumps to the beat, squealing with delight, thinking it's the coolest new game that mommy is playing, all the while you try to fight back tears when an agent says you're not good enough.

So I'm gonna get back to dancing with my kid who think I'm good enough for her. Later.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Flu and Failure and F*ck You, Oh My!

So after contracting some sort of mysterious stomach bug, I'm back on track. It turns out every time I sat down at the computer to write about my current agent submissions, my stomach bug (that was finally gone last week) mysteriously reappeared. I guess when I tried typing "rejection", my stomach would flip-flop back into nausea and my palms would sweat and my mouth would run dry. So I gave up on blogging for a week or so.

So yeah, I'm back to discussing what a pain in the ass this whole process is. I was sent a form letter rejection in the mail the other day, claiming "as you know, fiction is extremely difficult to sell these days," (no shit, Sherlock), and although I enjoyed your story (I'm sure you only read 2 pages), I'm afraid (they're all afraid-why are they afraid? That I'm gonna go ape-shit on their ass after they reject me?) that I'm not the best representative for your work. I wish you luck (yeah, yeah. No, you don't. You won't even remember me after you put the postage on the envelope) in your career. (Career? CAREER? If I had a career I wouldn't need you to be my frickin' agent!)

You know, I gotta say, that for all the work that I put into my own queries that are sent to these agents, choosing my words carefully, placing that stamp on my SASE so meticulously, making sure the mailing is done just right- these agents sure as hell don't spend a lot of time choosing their words carefully for struggling writers.

GRRRRRR!!!!! I'm over it. Don't worry. It only took 3 glasses of wine for that rejection not to sting anymore. But I'm cool. I still have a partial out, and I still have 6 other queries on peoples' desks. And after those avenues are exhausted, I still have other contacts. I'm just getting tired of it. And besides, I'm having more fun working on manuscript #2. It's reminding me that my writing is what I love. Not needing other people to tell me that they love my writing. I love it. And that's plenty enough for me.

Stay tuned for more agent bashing (too bad I'm not on Twitter-can anyone say "#query postings are MEAN?"). To all those agents who now think it's fun to real-time reject and make fun of the queries that they receieve and post it for the world to see, a big F YOU.

Friday, February 27, 2009

As I Was Saying...

So I got another rejection yesterday. Ugh. Someone who thought "the writing was first-class", but "not in love with" my characters. I forwarded the email to my husband with a big "Oh, well", attached and moved on. There's still more agents out there with my stuff. Only a few rejections with only kind words to say. That's not too bad, considering some of the stories I've heard, right? Right? right? right?

So last night I did some writing while listening to Fleet Foxes and Glasvegas, and I gotta say, their music is very cool for the inspiration in me. Albeit a little depressing (my writing as well as the songs I chose), but it's good prose.

Today I'm working on my second novel and breaking it down into outline form. Right now it's just a swirl of scenes and characters in my head, so I'm figuring I need some concrete evidence that I am indeed working on another piece, instead of just telling people, "Yeah, so it's about this chick...."

But first I'm going to the gym! I know!! I know! You're all like, "Huh?" "Wha-?" "Kathy-physical movement?" But you have to remember last year around this time where I got off my butt and decided to run a 5K. I have this little fat hamster in me somewhere that's determined to run in his little wheel again.....It's just a squeaky start. But instead of a 5K this year, I'm just working out my arm muscles so I can type a shitload of words. Biggest workout I've ever done.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Back in the Game!

Holy crap, there must be something in the water here. I'm going to the gym, planning lunch dates with my friends, keeping appointments, actually showering everyday (yeah, yeah, gross, I know-be quiet.)

And I'm feeling good after sending out more stuff to agents. I'm reworking some of my queries before I send them out, and above all that, I'm not going to stress about this waiting game. I'm gonna take it like it comes, and just be happy. (Okay, I know you're saying right now that I'm ridiculous, and all I need it one bad day or another rejection to set me back 10 paces, but just nod your head and say, "Yes, Kathy, whatever you say).

And to top it all off, I'm working on my second novel. Yeah, screw those agent bastards, I say (just kidding to any agent that might be reading this-just picture a tiny little person holding a lonely "Yay Me!" sign standing on her soap box)! I'm gonna continue writing because, by golly by gosh, it's what I want to do, no matter what! So....yeah!

Oh, and did I mention I got my nails done? I'm trying this new feminine thingy. It's cool, because it makes my fingers look all long and pretty, but the best part is that it makes a cool clicking noise on the computer. click click click click

Here's to a new me! (This week)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Who, Mua?

It's been a while since I've last written because I've been sick. This damn cold that everyone is getting, spreading, suffering from, etc. It's like kind of being hit by a garbage truck and swallowing the slime that sprayed from the impact, so you're left with wanting to go to bed and hack up green shit. It's as pleasant as I can describe it.

So my being sick of course stopped me from being my creative, personal, and witty self at your entertainment disposal. I apologize to my family and friends for not supplying you with your daily montage of curses and Kathyisms. Speaking of cursing, my daughter is now saying Shit. Over and over again. So it comes out shitshitshitshitshitshit as she walks around with her Minnie Mouse doll. I am mortified and utterly embarrassed. I really need to push hard for this New Year's Resolution (from 2007) that demands that I cut out the cursing. I'm working on it. Slowly, but fucking surely.

As for my hell that is my literary bubble, it is fast deflating around me along with my ego as there is a silent period. No letters sent out from me, no responses back from people I emailed over a week ago. I knew there would be lulls, so it's okay. But it's kind of putting me in this funk that's making me think of just the rejections that I've received. Grrr. As for that agent that requested material, bless her little heart, my stuff will be in the mail tomorrow. Yeah, it should have been out last week, but I'm blaming it on proctastination caused by my garbage truck incident. I slowed to a crawl but I'm gonna pick up the pace again. Just a little bit of music and positive thoughts and I'll be good. Oh, and some phonecalls and love notes from people saying how cool I am could certainly help.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


So I had all weekend to just do one last check of my partial manuscript before sending it out today. Of course I started on Saturday with a vengeance, taking my pencil in hand with eager readiness, willing to tackle any last bit of shoddy writing that may have been left.

And then I decided that I needed to pour myself a glass of wine while I do it. I thought of myself as the female Hemingway, taking liberties with alcohol to expel my genius onto my written word. And then I had another glass of wine, toasting to the fact that there was more drinking to do than editing- my work was pretty damn good! This was great! Success! I had finished----2 pages.

Three glasses later, I went to bed. And then I woke up the next morning too tired to do anything. I though I might be getting sick. Much better to rest up the brain, if I am indeed getting a cold. God forbid I try to edit while my head is fuzzy, I rationalized. So Sunday was spent while I told myself over and over again that my brain was not in the right state to look at paper. Or read paper. Or mark paper. It was just...fuzzy. Sure, like my brain wasn't fuzzy on wine the night before....

And then there was yesterday-a holiday! Surely a day to buckle down and get cracking on the rest of my partial, a day to reflect on what edits were necessary....but there was one thing holding me back. I broke a nail. Like, major tip breakage. I really needed to get it fixed because as any chick knows, having a broken nail will just halt all activities until further notice.

Then I needed to clean my house and do laundry. Major priorities. (Considering they usually never are, and my husband had to hire a cleaning lady to remind me that "No, Kathy, the house DOES NOT clean itself, contrary to your beliefs".) Finally, with refreshed nails and fresh towels, I realized that I could now......no. I couldn't edit. I was too hungry to concentrate. And nibbling, as I learned from my mother, is an hour long affair. And so...yeah. By the end of the day, I was so tired I just couldn't possibly look at pieces of paper.

Until this morning at 6am when I swore that I would jumpstart my morning with 2 cups of coffee and a sharpened pencil. I plumped up my pillows, sat up in bed with my coffee in hand and fanned out the fabulous edit I had made on...well, a long time ago. I looked at what I wrote.

Holy crap, was I drunk when I made these edits? I asked myself.

Why yes, Kathy you were
, I answered myself.

I have a lot of work to do today. After I go see what's in the fridge. I think there's leftover No Pudge Brownies from last night......

Friday, February 13, 2009


A month into my queries, and one of the first agents I sent a letter to has requested a partial. (First hundred pages). HELL YEAH. Okay, now don't get too excited, it's just a partial, it could still get turned down, it could totally suck to them, but, but....but....how cool is that? I actually sounded interesting to someone! I actually wrote something that intrigued an agent. Wow. Let me just bask in this moment. Only two rejections and one request so far. I think this is good. (Well, from what I read about the horrors of this business, my situation is a good thing.) Oh! And it's not some pussy agency (although- to all the pussy agencies out there, I'm sorry, I'm sure you're fabulous.) This is like, a really big, BIG f*ing company. (Of course, I'm maintaining my professionalism as of right now by not revealing any more information and by keeping my composure.

Holy shit.

This is so fucking cool.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Let's Try This AGAIN.

New letter. New query. New format. New hook. New inspiration. All lies lies lies! It's impossible to sell a book in 2 tiny paragraphs!!! Okay, not impossible, but seriously, like, really, really annoying. So I busted my ass yesterday on writing this exciting and sharp new query letter. Now wish me luck as I mail these suckers out in today's mail and then sit on my ass again waiting for a)some assistant to open the mail, b)actually read, not skim said mail, and c)decide it's worth passing on to their boss (aka literary agent) where it will promptly sit on their desk waiting for a)said literary agent to glance at their query mail pile, b)read, not skim said query letter, and c)decide if it's worth giving me a call for a full manuscript where I can spend more money at the post office to mail a 300 page manuscript where a)it will sit on the desk of said literary agent....

You get the point.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Why I Choose to Torture Myself

As I sit here eating wasabi peas for breakfast, my mouth in flames and eyes brimming with tears, I want to touch upon why people choose to make things harder for themselves. Take me for instance.

I could easily choose not to write letter after letter to agents who, let's face it, are interested in vampires only these days (thanks a lot Stephenie Meyer...) and who have no problems in rejecting me. I could choose not to sit up late almost every night figuring out the right hook for said letters. I could choose not to obsess over what time I should send these letters (first thing Monday morning? Or after lunch? What about afternoon burn-out time, where an agent will find my query inspiring and motivational? Decisions decisions...).

Anyway, you get the point. I was perfectly happy in my little bubble of a world, where all I needed to worry about was what Abby was going to have for lunch (mac and cheese), if I scheduled her doc appointments (not yet), and if I let the dog out (a half hour ago). See? Simplicity.

Instead I have turned my insides upside down and now can't sleep, can't focus on anything but words words words, and will only eat things that require one hand as the other is tap tap tapping away at my keyboard. I was up at 4:30 this morning writing in the dark because I thought I had a good idea for my revision. And now, even as I write this, my head hurts thinking about a second novel. Why have I chosen to do this to myself? ARGH!

I told my husband the other day that I've never felt so...excited. So nervous. So perched on a threshold, ready to fall. I don't know this feeling. I've never felt it before. Everything else in my life I've always been confident of, so self-assured. This whole writing thing-not so much. I don't know the outcome. I am unsure of acceptance. And I'm scared of rejection. But I can't stop thinking of how cool it all is. I don't know what's past the threshold. But my husband said something that I'm trying to remember through all this. And it's that I have nothing to lose. He's right. So I'm just going to let myself go, and try to enjoy the freefall for what it is: an awesome and thrilling ride.

Friday, February 6, 2009


I'm off to grocery shop. But today, I'm adding a few things to my list.
Today, I'm going to buy some refreshing optimism. I think it's located in the organic section next to Annie's Mac and Cheese.
Then I'm going to buy me some good ol' barbecued wit. I need more, as I'm running out constantly with trying to make my query letters sound like I'm an undiscovered genius.
Next on the list is chance. It's near the day-old bread section, where you can sometimes find really good marked-down items. I need chance. It's more than just luck. I need someone to see my work and tell me that there's potential. I mean, I know there is, but I'm not the one who can slap a cover on my book and call it published.
And last but not least, I'm buying some Depends. Because WHEN an agent calls or writes back, I'm going to...well, nevermind.
Let me know if I missed some groceries that should be on my list.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Oh, the Negativity...

Between Karin Taylor leaving New York Center for Independent Publishing after twenty years and Stephen King dissing Queen Mother Stephenie Meyer, I've decided today needs a bit more uplifting. So here's a cool new site that provides more than just that tiny snippet from the New York Times Bestseller List. John Herren creates an interactive site called Reading Radar that lets you see the reviews, see related links, and of course, lets you be linked to Amazon to buy that bestselling novel. It's helpful. And it beats out any bitching that I have to do about my query letters today. So happy reading people. I'll be back to my pessimism tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Okay, new day. New optimism, not yet squelched. I am taking advantage of this opportunity to be positive.

I plan on writing more queries today using my fantastic wit and dramatic flair. We'll see how far it gets me before I start cursing. Which, for those of you who know me, might not take very long.

I was checking out other blogs last night, curious for any glimmer of hope in an otherwise bleak and depressing publishing world, when I read Publisher's Weekly article on the bleak winter for the book business. Sigh. That didn't help. Can't we all think positively, people????

Yeah, I picked a great time to write a book. Sheesh. It's like that time where I decided to climb a water tower with no treads on my shoes. Stupid stupid stupid. From my view, I am about to have this long, arduous journey [that may or may not, with luck or without any luck, for profit or not-for-profit, with weeks, months or years or waiting,] to fulfill this one goal that I set for myself when I was just a kid: that I would have lots of people read a really cool story that I wrote. The only change from my seven-year-old dream is that the story doesn't include a young princess riding a purple elephant who takes her to a magical underworld of devil fairies. Otherwise, I'm still hoping.

And wishing.

And praying.

Good enough, right?

Off to write queries and become bitchy.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

LET'S PLAY A GAME: "I'd Rather..."

I'd rather stick a toothpick dipped in vinegar in my left eye than read my manuscript for the twentieth time.

I'd rather rub salt in the open blister I have on my pinky toe than wonder if my character can "laugh loudly", "burst out laughing", "chuckle", or "just fucking laugh".

I'd rather eat a pound of pearl onions than write another query letter. I'm tired of fitting my book into 2 paragraphs. That's like asking a woman to fit her fat ass into her high school jeans. It just won't look right, no matter what you do.

I'd rather stuff myself into my high school jeans and walk around in public than agonize over the waiting that I need to do now.

I'd rather be sleeping. I think I'll do that now. Good night.