Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What is a friend?

How does one know when they have great friends? I would wager that most people would list unconditional support, or some such nicety, at the very top of their list of priorities. Although I agree that bearers of unconditional things are desirable, downright hard to find truth be told, I find myself wondering—after my friends’ latest shenanigans—if a better test of the metal of friendship might be the satisfying of my rather bizarre whims.

In case you have not been paying attention, I am to be wed in August of this year. It will be a resoundingly small affair, with a rather large gathering—in comparison—after the nuptials themselves. Along with the said ceremony come the many other trivial bits of pop culture that Ali and I must endure to reach the end prize. I shall not bore you or insult your intelligence by listing them all, but safe to say there are a great many. Anyone who has gone through this type of thing before knows exactly what I mean. In particular, there is the bachelor party.

I know… when men (or women for that matter) think of the bachelor party, images of brass poles, beer kegs, and seedy hotel rooms flit into their minds like random bits of mischievous confetti. Not my friends. No, my friends are the best friends anyone would ever want. Not only have they planned a bachelor party for me that satisfies one of my greatest whims, but will also provide spice for my writing endeavors. They have lined up a private trip to the Tuberculosis asylum in which I wrote of in Spirit Asylum.

The Saint Julia asylum is a sprawling mass of concrete on the otherwise beautiful shores of Lake Julia. Nothing but wildlife… and perhaps the inhuman, have inhabited it for fifty years. It has been resold religiously every couple of years because of the strain that it would have put on the purse strings to tear it down. My heart is already pounding as I imagine walking into Saint Julia with video camera in hand, hoping that I have not upset anyone or anything by way of my novel writing. Of course I am being dramatic, but it will be exciting none-the-less… my novel springing to life before my eyes, at least in my mind. Better yet will be watching my friends, as they navigate about in the pitch black, perhaps gaining a small understanding of why I write about the things that live “Within The Shadows”.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Art of Querying

Earlier this month I finally sent out a batch of query letters requesting representation for Spirit Asylum, my second novel. It has taken me awhile, but I believe that I have the manuscript honed to at least a reasonably sharp edge.

I know that perhaps I should have used more of a scattergun approach, but instead I have employed a technique that I thought any agent should appreciate. Having been an HR Manager, I understand a little bit about being approached for a job. I always liked it when job seekers did some research and tailored their materials to match the job I had open. I figured agents can’t be far off from feeling the same way. After all, publishing is a business like anything else. Why would an agent want to represent someone who doesn’t meet the criteria for the kind of author they are looking for? So anyway, I did a little research.

I started on Agent Query with my research and branched out to agency websites. I also noted who represented authors that resembled my style and genre. From there I narrowed down the field by researching each of the agents one by one. I had a wonderful time actually. I read through agent blogs, agent profiles, and any advice that they had rendered available on-line. I took the information to heart and tweaked my query letter for each of the six agents I chose. I can hear my fellow writers laughing now. “You’ll never get a request for a partial after only six tries!”

I would kindly like to point out what a keen eye Mr. Brendan Deneen of Objective Entertainment has. I would also like to thank him for proving my theory to be accurate and for finding my short synopsis “cool”. Brendan was within the top two agents that I decided to approach and I would be ecstatic to begin a professional business relationship with a solid agent and agency. Here is to hoping that Brendan finds my sample chapters equally as “cool” as my short synopsis. The manuscript is already enveloped and stamped, prepared for departure to New York.

Just thought I would share a little information that other authors might find helpful.

Okay, back to No Innocent Victim (my next work in progress). It has been speaking to me from “within the shadows” as of late, feeling neglected. I shouldn’t keep it waiting.