Welcome! Please sit down, make yourself comfortable, and have a brownie or three...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Vacation Time (AND Carrots & Pea Pods & Beans, Oh My!!)


The wee one and I are leaving the rest of the family behind to swelter in the dry summer heat with no air conditioning (and to attend to their activities and jobs).

That's right folks~ I'm in for a HUGE ADVENTURE involving eleven hours on the road (with a three-year-old and a whole bunch of CDs full of kiddie music), lots of bathroom breaks, and a glorious final destination of sunny, beautiful, exotic...


There will be a pool within walking distance of my parents' place, so that's a plus :)

I'll be back in August (which is the same month that YOU will be attending the fabulous & free online conference that is WriteOnCon. Oh, you didn't know you'd be attending? Trust me, you won't be able to resist the sessions and panels. Mark your calendars for August 14th and 15th!!).

Now, what you've all been waiting for (drumroll please)...


Garden: First week in June

Six weeks ago, I shared a few photos of our backyard garden. Things were looking good, but we had no real crops yet. Scroll down for the magic :)

Pumpkin Patch, June

Pea pods in front, carrots in hand,climbing beans in back
Boy, things have changed! Here are a few photos from yesterday.

Pumpkin vines

First Pumpkin!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New Agent Alerts of 2012

Chuck Sambuchino's Guide to Literary Agents blog has been wonderful about introducing new agents to the writing community.

If you're anything like me, you might have days/weeks where you don't have quite enough time to browse all of the writing blogs/articles you'd like to. I thought I'd post a link to each of the alerts listed in 2012, in case you're looking for your agent match.

For your convenience, I've put "*" next to agents who accept Young Adult manuscripts and "**" next to those who also take Middle Grade manuscripts. Otherwise, assume that the agent handles adult fiction and non-fiction (keeping in mind that tastes can change, and that they may open to other age groups/genres at some point in their careers).

At the bottom, there's a link that includes information from other years as well.

JULY 2012:
New Literary Agent Alert: Brenna Barr of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management

JUNE 2012:
New Literary Agent Alert: Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency

MAY 2012:

APRIL 2012:

MARCH 2012:



Here's the Writer's Digest post that contains all of the links, going back to 2007: New Agent/Agency Alerts

Friday, July 13, 2012

It's Friday the 13th!! Looking at Superstition in Books...

Today is Friday the 13th~ feel free to blame any work-related errors, computer malfunctions, query letters sent with typos, burned cooking, or shrunken laundry on bad luck :)

I was going to do a post about books with superstitious themes, but Rachel Seigel over at Pub Crawl beat me to it:

Superstitious Reads for Friday the 13th

*To her list, I might add The Adventures of Huck Finn~ lots of good superstitions in that novel!

~  ~  ~
Want to know more about the day's "bad luck" origin (including some interesting info on the connection between Friday the 13th and the Knights Templar, as popularized in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code)? Click below.

FRIDAY THE 13th (as defined by Wikipedia)

Do you have any recommendations of books featuring superstitions?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cool Secret Passages (For Your Manuscript or Your Home!)

Secret passages have fascinated me since visiting "The Castle" as a young Indian Princess. Indian Princesses is a YMCA program that serves as an alternative to Girl Scouts. It focuses on father/daughter bonding ~ the dads are tribe chiefs. We did a lot of camping and pow-wows and trading with other tribes. I found out later that our tribe's dads enjoyed it because once we all went to bed they would sit up by the fire, drink beer, and tell inappropriate jokes. They scored daddy/daughter time and got their male bonding in, too. I'm not sure, but I don't think my Girl Scout Troop leaders of later years had that kind of fun :)

Anyway, the Castle was an old stone house on state park grounds near one of our campsites, and there was a secret room behind one of the bookshelves. I thought it was the COOLEST thing in the world. Still do. I used to draw house sketches with hidden passageways, and I'd still love to have one included in my home if we ever leave Renter-ville.

Yesterday, msn.com had a feature called What's the Big Secret? It featured real hidden passageways in homes. Since my current WIP takes place in a manor house with a secret hall/room or two, I thought I'd check it out to see if there were any creative ways of masking a passage that hadn't been done before.

One of the coolest things I saw ended up being a hidden garage in San Francisco:

Pretty neat, huh?

Want a secret passage for your own home? Click on these guys:

Whether you're looking for an old wardrobe/armoire that will lead to another room (sorry, no Narnia available), a traditional bookshelf facade, a clever way to hide your "man cave," a stone wall that conceals the entrance to a wine cellar, or just looking to be impressed, this website is worth drooling over.

And you might just get an idea that will sneak its way into your next manuscript!
*PITCH CONTEST NEWS: YAtopia is holding a New Adult pitch contest that runs now through July 10th. Sara Megibow of Nelson Literary and Heather Howland of Entangled Publishing are hosting. Click HERE for entry instructions!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Books I Would Have Saved From The Fire

Fire danger to our home is officially over (I live near the location of the recent Colorado Springs fire).

We were lucky enough to remain on pre-evac and never had to leave our home, but in the moments when I was convinced we would be put on mandatory evacuation, we prepared our “essential items” to take with us—photos, financials, files, etc.

I found myself taking only a few personal items.

Among them were books that I apparently wanted to be there if we had to start over in a new place. I certainly would have grabbed more if it were an option, but you can only fit so much in a car (plus, we took video of everything in the house, and I made sure to pan the bookshelves slowly so I knew exactly what would need to be considered for replacement).

I ended up with mostly kidlit, by the way~ go figure:

Barbara Cooney’s Oxcart Man, Emily, and The Story of Holly & Ivy (hardcovers)
Arnold Lobel’s Fables
Roald Dahl’s Danny the Champion of the World
Beth Hilgartner’s A Murder for Her Majesty
Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Charles Dickens’s Collected Christmas Stories 
Works of William Shakespeare (A biiiiig book)
The US Army Survival Guide (to practice knots and learn about snakes I’ll never encounter)

And cookbooks:

Morton's Steak Bible
Provence: The Beautiful Cookbook
The French Farmhouse Cookbook
City Tavern (Colonial cookbook)
The Cheese Companion

And that's it~ that's what ended up in my pile. My instinct in movies was The Snowman (an artsy, animated short film), Elf (I know, I know—an odd choice, but it’s Will Ferrell in tights and he talks to a claymation narwhal whale! Starting over requires a sense of humor), A Christmas Carol (George C. Scott version), Love, Actually, Little Women, and Pride & Prejudice.

What have I discovered about myself?

-I like the Christmas season.
-Hot weather makes me crave cold weather.
-Craving cold weather makes me crave comfort food.
-I have, and will always hold a deep nostalgia for all things childhood-related.

What books and movies would be on your must-come-with-me-to-start-over list?

DON'T FORGET ABOUT UPCOMING PITCH CONTESTS (check my link list at the top right of this blog)

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pitch Contest this Friday on Savvy Authors!!

(Sorry about the wonky formatting on this post!!)
Have I mentioned that writers can learn a lot on Twitter? Without Twitter, I would never know about Savvy Authors, a website dedicated to "Writers helping writers."

Like YAlitchat, a basic membership to Savvy Authors is free and will get you access to some amazing writing classes, workshops, and events (like contests!). Even more benefits come with a purchasing a Premium Membership.

Here's the contest announcement from their website:

On Friday, July 6th, agent Tamar Rydzinski (of the Laura Dail Literary Agency) will be taking one line pitches on the Savvy Blog from 9 a.m. to midnight (EST).

Tamar is not interested in prescriptive or practical non-fiction, humor, coffee table books or children’s books (meaning anything younger than middle grade). She is interested in everything else that is well-written and has great characters, including graphic novels. A fantastic query letter is essential – “you need to make me want to read your book, and be excited to read it,” she says, “with those first couple of paragraphs.”

There is no cost to enter this pitch contest, but you may need to register for a basic membership. See the links below for details.


Oh, and I took a little peek at their event page and saw LOTS more fabulous pitch contests coming up in July. Agents you can pitch to include: Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, Laurie McLean of Larsen Pomada Agency, and Nicole Resciniti of The Seymour Agency.

If you're a querying writer, I suggest you check out the links above and take a look around :)

*Not sure why Blogger won't let me format this post correctly and has decided to highlight certain things and add unnecessary spaces...my apologies if it's difficult to read!*