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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Query Got Ya Down?

Mine sure does! I'm back at it again; my third attempt did not turn out so well.  I wish I could snap my fingers (or tap the keyboard) and have a perfect query appear.  But that isn't going to happen.

I've gotten great feedback on each of my attempts, so I'm glad for that at least.  My biggest problem initially was keeping my query from reading like a synopsis.  Now I'm having a hard time narrowing down what to put in the query.  There's a lot going on in the story.  My MC (Emily) wants her friendship with her best friend (Nicky, a guy, not a girl) to become something more.  She also is dealing with alcoholic/abusive parents, and her not-so-great relationship with them becomes worse when their friend rapes her.  And on top of all that, she's trying to figure out her relationship with God.  She believes in God, but she has trouble believing Him to be a loving God considering everything she's been through.  How the heck do I narrow all that down? Plus, part of the story takes place when Emily is still a child.  Actually, it's a pretty good chunk.  And I really think I have to get that across in the query somehow.  But maybe I'm wrong.  I don't know.  When it comes to queries, I have a lot to learn still!

Eventually I'll have a workable query, and when I do, I'll post it to share.  And in case I don't get a chance to post in the next few days, HAPPY NEW YEAR'S! Come on 2012...bring on my dream agent!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas

Ah, just a few more days until Christmas.  Crazy isn't it? I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, but I'm pretty sure there will be no snow in our neck of the woods, unlike several other areas in the United States.  But I don't envy them.  My definition of a white Christmas is an inch or maybe even a few, but not a foot of snow.  That's a bit much considering the amount of people who have to travel in that.  So I guess I should be happy we'll have sunshine and no rain.

We won't be traveling much this weekend unless going forty miles counts.  My brother in law and his wife are hosting the celebration this year, so we'll be headed their way on Sunday.  Then my husband and I will travel to my mom's house for New Year's.  That's a four and a half hour drive (she lives just North of Chicago), but it's one I'm used to.  The weekend after that we'll be traveling to Tennessee to see my dad and step-mom.  Eight hours in the car.  I don't mind though; I enjoy road trips. 

After all the traveling is done, life should get back to normal.  As for a writing update, I have completed another draft of my query.  The jury is still out, but I'll hopefully get some good feedback over the next couple days. 

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Movies

One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is watch Christmas movies.  I grew up watching Rudolph, Frosty, the Grinch, along with classics such as It's A Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street.  I could name a dozen more, but I'm sure you get the point.  Christmas just isn't complete without Christmas movies.  I watched Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer when it aired on TV a few weeks ago.  Earlier this week I rented Miracle on 34th Street and Prancer.  And to my dismay, I fell asleep during Miracle on 34th Street.  (I know, I know.  How could I do such a thing? But my exhaustion hit me like a ton of bricks!) Anyway, I finally was able to finish that one last night, and my husband watched Prancer with me.  If you haven't seen Prancer, you should check it out.  But be careful; if you have a sentimental heart like me, the ending will make you cry.  Over the next week and a half, I plan to watch It's A Wonderful Life, Santa Claus 1, 2, and 3 (with Tim Allen), and Jack Frost (the nice one with Michael Keaton, not the horror movie).

So I'm curious to know: what Christmas movies do you have to watch every year?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Here Comes Christmas

We are just about half way through December and Christmas is almost here.  My husband and I finished up our shopping over the weekend.  My dining room table is currently covered with gifts and wrapping paper.  Within the next day or two the presents will be ready to be placed under the tree, unless I decide they would be safer on the table.  I know Tucker won't mess with them if they are under the tree, but Chip might.

With Christmas around the corner, I'm trying to take time to enjoy the season.  The older I get, the faster time goes by, and last year I felt like I didn't have a chance to really enjoy Christmas.  That being said, my writing has been neglected.  My query letter is still not finished, though I do have a nice list of agents I'd like to query once I'm ready to start that process.  I had hoped my query letter would be done by now, but it just might be January before it's finished.  My husband and I have so many other things going on, I'm trying not to be overwelmed.  And we'll have a bit of traveling to do soon.

So I hope everyone else is taking time to enjoy the holiday season.  Don't forget to admire the Christmas lights, sip eggnog by a warm fire, and relax.  That's what I'll be doing.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December Blog Chain

Today's post is part of the Absolute Write December Blog ChainThis month's prompt: Home for the holidays.  Write about a holiday memory.  It can be fiction or non-fiction.

I have chosen both fiction and non-fiction.  The following story is based on three Christmas traditions we had when I was growing up, which I hope to continue when I have kids. Those traditions are:

~Making cookies
~Placing the baby Jesus in the nativity scene on Christmas Eve
~Eating cake for breakfast and singing Happy Birthday to Jesus

After reading, please check out the links for the other participants in this month's blog chain.  Enjoy!

The whole family was celebrating Christmas at Grandma’s this year. When everybody was there on Christmas Eve, my cousins and I surrounded Grandma’s table, eager to start baking cookies. I sat impatiently as Grandma rolled the cookie dough out for us. As soon as she was done, I grabbed a star-shaped cookie cutter and got started.

“I want that one,” my cousin Jessie whined.

I glanced up from the table. Jessie wasn’t talking to me; she was fighting with her brother Joey. Grandma reached for the tree-shaped cookie cutter my two cousins were having a tug of war with. “Can’t you two learn to share?” Grandma asked.

I went back to work on my cookies, thankful my cousins didn’t care about the star, but I was sad, too. I liked the star because it made me think of the star that shone in the sky the night baby Jesus was born. I wished my cousins understood the true meaning of Christmas.

Once we had a few cookie sheets full of decorated cookie dough, Grandma put them in the oven. The smell of sugar cookies soon filled the house. My cousins and I went to play in the back living room while the cookies baked.

“Hey, it’s missing something.”

Jessie and I looked up from our game to see what Joey was talking about. He was studying the manger scene on Grandma’s table. Jessie stood and went over to her brother. “Hey, the baby’s gone!”

“Well duh!” Joey replied. “I said something was missing.”

“Baby Jesus isn’t supposed to be there yet,” I replied, remaining on the floor. “Grandma let’s me put him there before we go to bed. Because Jesus was born on Christmas.”

Each of them rolled their eyes at me. “Who cares when he was born? I just want the presents!” Joey stated.

Jessie nodded in agreement. “I wonder what Santa will bring us?”

I just shook my head. Jesus was more important than Santa. Didn’t they know that?

Grandma wouldn’t let us eat any cookies until after dinner. Joey and Jessie ate a whole pan full, but I only ate a couple. I didn’t want to go to bed with a full tummy because I wanted to have plenty of room for the birthday cake. I was helping grandma put the frosting on it when Joey and Jessie ran into the kitchen. “We get cake too?” Jessie asked.

“Not so fast,” Grandma replied, pulling Joey’s hand away from the cake. He still managed to get a scoop of frosting on his finger, and he licked it greedily. “That’s for breakfast.”

“We get cake for breakfast? Cool!” Joey said.

“Mommy and Daddy never let us eat dessert for breakfast!” Jessie added.

“Well tomorrow is a special day. Tomorrow is the day we celebrate Jesus’ birthday. And this cake is for Him.”

I nodded happily. Jesus’ birthday was the best day ever.  My cousins shrugged as if the reason for the cake didn’t matter, but it mattered to me. And when I went to bed later, I looked out the window and stared at the sky. “Thank you, Jesus.”

Here is a list of the other participants:
Ralph Pines
more to be added...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Researching Agents

Okay, so I haven't finished my query yet, but I have received some good suggestions on it over at Absolute Write.  I will be revising over the weekend, and here's to hoping to getting it correct.

I also had a chance to go to the bookstore yesterday.  After browsing the Christian Fiction shelves and the Young Adult shelves, I think my beta was correct to indicate my story fits in more with Young Adult rather than Christian Fiction.  With that knowledge gained, I began researching agents.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the publishing process, finding the right agent isn't as easy as you might think.  We writers must do our homework.  And I mean MUST.  We have to know what genres agents represent.  Sending a query for a YA Romance to an agent who represents fantasy and sci-fi will garner an instant form rejection.  Writers: don't do this.  It also helps to know what an agent's track record is.  How many books have they represented recently? Many agents have their own websites, so it is to a writer's advantage to check that site out.  By doing so, you'll find recent titles that have sold, what that agent's tastes are, and not to mention the submission guidelines which writers also must know if they want a shot at having the agent seriously consider their query.  Did I already mention writers must do their homework? Take this seriously.

So I have started a list of agents I would like to query.  But before I can start that process, I need to get my query revised.  Here I go...