Obligatory Post Proving I’m Still Alive

Oh, look.  Has it really been a week since I last posted?

There’s a reason for that, honest.   The day job has been the stuff of nightmares lately and I really haven’t had the energy to muster up anything creative.  I honestly believe jobs do that right before a scheduled vacation just to make you appreciate the vacation more.  At least that’s what I’m hoping.

The week has not been a total loss.  I’ve started reading Donald Maass’ The Fire In The Fiction for next month’s workshop.  Very interesting and I’m looking forward to hearing him speak in person.  I was also able to complete vastly overdue critique owed to VP bud Miranda Suri.

Steph and I also discovered that we have a new bookstore in town.  We stopped by on Saturday and I was instantly impressed and jealous (I’ve always wanted to own my own bookstore).  And finally, Steph knitted me a new hat to replace the one I stupidly sent through the washer.

Oh, yeah.  I had one last critique of Genie Memories too.

I don't think he was impressed.

Fired Up

Over on the Viable Paradise mailing list, a few people were chatting about an upcoming seminar in Madison, WI called Fire in Fiction with Literary Agent Donald Maass and author Nalo Hopkinson. I know of Maass.  In fact, I’ve got a couple of rejections from his agency when I queried Asymonte all those years ago.

The comments regarding the seminar ranged from “OMG OMG OMG” to “I wish I was near Madison so I could go.” Fellow Iowan and VP bud Cath blogged about her conversation with her husband about her decision.

I’m not too far from Madison, only three hours.  Of course, the seminar is pretty expensive and it happens right before we head off to England (literally – it ends on Sunday, we leave on Wednesday).  So I went back and forth over if I should go or not.  Our conversation (spread over several days) went a lot like this:

Me: “I’d like to go but God, it’s expensive.  Add in the hotel room and it’s right before we go to England.  I don’t know.”

Steph: “Will it make you a better writer?”

Me: “Donald Maass is one of the top agents representing my field and has written some awesome books.  I got one on my shelf.  I’ve never read Hopkison but she’s pretty popular and a former instructor at Clarion and apparently got some recent professorship in California, so yeah, I think it would.”

Steph: “So go.”

Me: “But the money and –”

Steph: *THE STARE*

Once I shook myself out of my terrified stupor some time later, I reserved a space and booked a room at a hotel up the street and put in an inter-library loan request for his and Nalo’s latest books.

Darn spouses.  Always making you do what’s in your best interest.

Yes, It Applies To You

A couple of days ago on Twitter, I did a bit of ranting :

Working in Tech Support, I see this on a daily basis (twice alone today).  It is frustrating to know that you’ve put a lot of work and effort into making the steps as clear and easy as possible, only to have someone ignore them because its too much work.  Of course, this isn’t just limited to computers.  Oh no.  This crosses over into Writing.

I am at the point in Genie Memories where it’s time to look at Agents and Publishers.  This means I have to write up a Query Letter and a Synopsis.

I hate these.  I hate them with a passion that rivals my hatred for dentists.  I am of the firm opinion that these requirements are a pre-emptive strike from Agents and Publishers to get back at us writers for making them wade through so much crap.

I know I am not alone in this belief.  I’ve yet to meet a writer who says “What?  You mean you want to condense my 150,000 word masterpiece that I slaved over for three years into a single page?  AWESOME!”

Um … yeah, no.

And yet, here I am working on both. Because the rules apply to me and I want to be a published writer.  And quite frankly, I’m smart enough to know that writing Query Letters and a Synopsis do make me a better writer in the end.

Of course, if you don’t want to, that’s perfectly fine by me.  Less competition. 🙂 In fact, follow these pieces of wonderful advice from Stevie Chuckles (aka Steven Gould) : Behaving Badly as a Career Strategy

I Am That Is

Redwall by Brian Jacques was one of the first fantasy novels I’d ever read.  The dog-eared copy still sits on my shelf and I read it every year or so.  It’s a wonderful book and I have enjoyed it tremendously no matter my age.

How much have I enjoyed it?  On the wall of my office hangs a collection of book covers in frames.  Each one comes from a book that I believe has had a huge impact on me as a writer and a reader.   The above cover is on the right side and in the center.

Brian Jacques died today at the age of 71.  Pardon me for having a bit of something in my eye.