An Omen: When Your Dog Soils Your Query

It’s a beautiful Sunday in the neighborhood, and while the sun shines and the temperatures are mild, I figured I would get up early and finish weeding and planting my vegetable garden. I made significant progress yesterday and want to finish NOW, so I can enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Gardening used to be a lot easier when I was young(er). I bounced out of bed today with an aching shoulder and a bum knee. Still, I’m on a mission – to eradicate weeds and plant more tomatoes. (Sorry. It’s my Army brat upbringing. Plus, you can never have too many tomatoes!)

On my way to locating my tennis shoes, which were next to my laptop and a six inch pile of printed manuscripts waiting for me to edit, I noticed that my dog had a gastronomical accident. On two pieces of paper that had escaped the tower of editing. Those two pieces of paper happened to be my query. On the query I sent to and received back and edit from a Big Name Agent as part of the Writers Digest class I took on querying back a couple of months ago.

Nothing says “YOU SUCK” better than runny diarrhea on my corrected query.

This, my writing friends, is an omen. First of all, I should have never left my query on the floor. Secondly, I should have spiffed it up and produced a better query from Helpful Agent’s notes a long time ago. Thirdly, I should really impress upon my husband that feeding the dog steak bones and whipped cream is not good for a Boston terrier.

Of course this disaster could be a more serious omen. Like God telling me I should ditch that particular manuscript (FINDING CADENCE) and perhaps channel my time more wisely into something that has more than a snowball’s chance in hell of making it past an agent’s assistant. Or maybe that I should give up writing altogether.

Yeah. Giving up. That would be the easy way out.

After I finish my urban farming, I’m going to work on my edits, dammit. And I’m going to make serious headway.

Because somewhere in my email, I have a copy of that edit from Helpful Agent.

Take that, Powers That Be. Your nasty little omen is powerless against this writer.


Birth of a Query Letter, With Explanations

Well, I finally took the plunge.

This morning I sent out my first bona fide query letter to a real-life literary agent, in NOO Yawk City, no less.

Why, you ask, would it take me so long?

Well, despite the fact that the book is complete and has even merited an Honorable Mention in a contest, I am not that self-assured. Unlike some writers who view their babies as monumental literary masterpieces, I know my novel is flawed.

After the initial hoo-ha and jumping up and down with the thrill of victory, I then realized I was asked to submit a partial. Hit the brakes. Is my story truly ready for inquiring minds? I wasn’t so sure, so I edited it again, then again and again before today.

It’s still not perfect, but oh, well. It’s time to dive in.

So, here is part of my query letter, with explanations:

Dear Ms. (Fill in the Blank) You know who you are. And yes, I know you are a woman. I checked the web site. I figured ‘Ms.’ is the preferred title. I know I am partial to it. By the way, you are a beautiful woman.)

Thank you for awarding my submission, VIRTUALLY YOURS, an Honorable Mention in the recent QueryTracker romance contest. (Oh my God! I was delirious with joy! I jumped up and down for three days straight!  I emailed everyone close to me, and everyone not close. I posted the results and the web page on Facebook and Twitter. It was my birthday weekend, too, happy birthday to me. One out of FIFTY! Fifty? Holy moley!) Per your request, I am submitting the first ten pages of VIRTUALLY YOURS for your review. (I’m ready. I’m not ready. I’m ready. I’m not ready…)

(Brief description on the characters, Internet based, making it relevant (I hope) to modern readers, with a unique plot twist… Blah, blah, blah. Don’t worry. It’s not over one page. Check it out under “Novels” if you are so inclined.)

VIRTUALLY YOURS is a 75,000 word chick-lit romp, light in heart but includes serious perspectives on the lives of modern moms. (So I’m old school. A story isn’t a story without a moral or two.)

I am a businesswoman by day and clandestinely rendezvous with my Muse to write by night. (I don’t know where the fine line is drawn between brilliance and hokey. This is my first query, remember?) My writing credits include frequent contributions to Blog Critics and Associated Content, and I am a member of both Romance Writers of America and the Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America. (It’s all I have. I could have fluffed up, but why stretch the truth?)

Thank you again for your consideration. (Please, please, please give me more than a form letter rejection. I’m really looking for feedback. And oh, did I tell you I think you are a stunningly beautiful woman? Because you are.)

Oh, my. I’ve fallen off the deep end.


The First Query

I sent out my first query for Finding Cadence yesterday by Internet. I twittered and posted that I’m waiting for a rejection. Hope that doesn’t sound self-defeating. I know there will be plenty of rejections in my future, and while I have faith that I’ll be published (someday) I’m just keeping a level head. It’s also important not to take rejection seriously.

I guess I’ve been used to that all my life. This is what I believe, don’t expect too much and life will never let you down.

Back to editing and re-write…