Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Boomer Chicks or Boomer Babes?

Well, the results will be in tomorrow.

In a hen lit group that I am a member thereof, we've decided to set up a group blog just for us hen litters. I came up with two suggestions for a name for our blog - Boomer Chicks or Boomer Babes and it seems that there is an even distribution of votes so far for both. Ouch. So, what's it going to be?

Guess we'll see what the poll says tomorrow and go from there.

Frankly, I like both so either is fine with me, but the Boomer must stay.

Speaking of boomers, my hen lit is almost done. Last chapter. And guess what. I have writer's block again. Well, not exactly writer's block, but ending block. I want a spectacular ending and I think because the book has been with me for months, the ending might not be as spectacular to everyone else as it is with me and I'm fretting. So, I'm going to let it stew overnight and look at it again tomorrow.

Still no word from either agent. Ewk.

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Mind-Boggling World of Simultaneous Submissions

I'm really nervous about this querying agents thing - not the actual query itself - but of the advice my well-meaning peers are giving me about the process. They're telling me I'm going about this all wrong.

When I told them that I had just one partial request from one agent and that was it, they jumped on me. "Dorothy, this is only in your best interests - query as many as you can, girl! Time is not on our side and what if this agent turns you down?"

Yowzers.

Okay, so no, time is not on my side, so I queried Agent #2. Both are in the big leagues.

So what do I do if agent number one and two wants the manuscript? Hopeful thinking, I know, but what IF that happens?

"And what if Agent #1 and #2 turns you down...don't you have an Agent #3 in mind?"

Egads.

Well, hell.

You're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

I know I'm new at this querying agent business, but my gut instincts were to just wait to hear from Agent #1 in the first place. I like her, like her agency and I just feel...eh...good vibes.

"Dorothy, good vibes don't mean a hill o' beans. This is for your protection. And I don't want to have to dry up your tears if she turns you down."

Who is that talking to me, anyway?

Oh...my subconscious, you say? Well, I'm going to tell you a thing or two, Ms. Subconcious High and Mighty. You might be right, but what Ms. Gut Instincts? Doesn't she have any clout here?

"Excuse me, Ms. Subconscious. This is Ms. Gut Instincts. You want to duke it out right here? Okay, since you provoked me. I've been living with Dorothy for quite some time. Most times she's in the right on things and other things that she isn't, I let her go because she's so damn defiant, but this one I have to side with her on. So, you can take your little Ms. Subconcious High and Mighty Self and fly it right out of here. You're going to turn Dorothy into a nervous wreck! It's bad enough she sees walls dancing around here, so back off, you hear me?"

"Whatever. But, I'll tell you something, too. Without me, she's nothing! Nothing, I tell you!"

Will everyone just shut up a minute? I have to live with both of you so we're going to come to a compromise. I've emailed one other agent so that should do it for you, Ms. Subconcious - for now anyway. And as for you, Ms. Gut Instinct, I've got my fingers crossed. *very big grin*

Doll Characters For Your Novels?

I read an interesting post on MJ Rose’s blog, Buzz, Balls & Hype where Doug Clegg, her co-author of BUZZ YOUR BOOK has come up with a fantastic marketing plan for his next novel, PRIEST OF BLOOD. One of his plans for promoting his book was to create clay and cloth dolls for the characters in his book. What an ingenious idea!

He has them up on eBay if you’d like to see them. I took a peek and, to be truthful, I really expected something more handmade – but these things are beautiful!

Which led me to think about my book – whose partial is with the agent so hopefully there will be GOOD NEWS soon.

My main characters are three women, Celia Gladstone, Babs Culpepper and Bunny Whimpelton who are about to approach the big 5-0. I did some brainstorming in what I’d like them to look like and they are surprisingly similar to The Golden Girls, only younger, and more hip – not to say The Golden Girls aren’t hip for their age…cause they are!

It’s not so much the facial characteristics or their physical features, but it’s more in the line of their ATTITUDE. Rose is very similar to Bunny with a more easy-going attitude; Dorothy is without a doubt, Babs with her domineering fa├žade, but Celia is nowhere near Blanche in her physical prowness, but she keeps herself looking good anyway. You just never know when the right man will come along, do you?

So, anyway, my question is…

How would I do this? I can’t make clay dolls and I hate to sew so obviously I’m going to have to find someone who can do this for me. I don’t want to sell them – just display them for promotional items, say at booksignings, what not.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

(BTW, I'm having blogger problems tonight so the links won't be available until tomorrow.)

Saturday, May 21, 2005

My 70,000 Word Goal Has Been Reached!

Okay, I know this might not be exciting to anyone else, but last night, I reached my 70,000 word goal for my manuscript that I had an agent request a partial for. When I queried, I knew that if I told her it was only 50,000, she'd laugh and say, "Next!," so I fibbed a little.

Ordinarily, I'd say never ever do that (send a query to an agent/publisher saying the book is written) but I knew I had plenty of time to get it done. I do write fast - extremely fast - and I knew how it wanted to end and didn't think I'd encounter any problems. Two weeks after she said send the partial, I wrote 20,000 words! REMARKABLE?

Heh...well maybe...but truth be known, this book means sooooo much to me. I sacrificed blood, sweat and tears for this and I'll go to the ends of the earth for it. It's a genre I just absolutely love and I have fallen in love with the characters and I just can't let them down. If the agent strikes me down, I'll keep on keeping on (after I cry for months).

So, tonight, I'm going back in an revising something that's been bugging me and then I'm going to try to finish at least the rough draft. So, if you need me, you know where I'll be....I'm coming Celia, Babs and Bunny...I'm coming...(they are stuck in a cave and have no way out and I've had them there for days)...nooooo....you guys aren't coming out until I say so!

Sheesh...you'd think they had minds of their own or something.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Beyond Chick Lit

Well, FINALLY, someone has something good to say about chick/hen lit. Visit this link and you'll see what I mean.

Is there anyone else in here besides me having trouble seeing the whole page? If you are, "refresh" the page again and everything will come up. What's wrong with this darn thing for it to keep doing that?

Ahhh...and you know what else gets my crawl? EVERYTHING.

Why is it the midlife crisis has to make you so evil?

I got up from a nap today and had to grab the wall because I was so dizzy. I've got a doc's appointment on the 6th...might be anemia or low blood, who knows, but I had to call out from work. Now you KNOW I'm sick when I do that.

So, my daughter decides she's going to visit someone who has the flu. Does anyone see what's wrong with this picture???? Is it me??? I went off on her when she came home because the flu IS THE LAST THING I WANT RIGHT NOW.

ARRRGGGG. Does this thing ever go away???

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Chick Lit/Hen Lit - Literary Fiction...or Not?

I was over at Bronwyn Parry's blog today and found a quote by Otto Penzler "dean of mystery-writing in America" who says about the authors of the chick lit field:

"The women who write (cozies) stop the action to go shopping, create a
recipe, or take care of cats," he says. "Cozies are not serious
literature. They don't deserve to win. Men take (writing) more
seriously as art. Men labor over a book to make it literature..."

Well, ho-ney, maybe I should have grabbed a cup of coffee to calm me down first, but I couldn't wait to air my feelings on the subject in Bronwyn's comment section:

I believe that books fall into two main categories: literary and
entertainment (fun, good reads). I don't feel that anyone should "cut down" a
book just because it isn't in the literary category and perhaps they just might
be missing out on a good, fun read (chick lit, e.g.) just because they were
listed in the entertainment category.

I write something that's been thrown in the "hen lit" category which basically is defined as older protaganists with a kick ass attitude, but I wouldn't call it "literary."Now, would that make my book less worthy? I guess it depends on what you feel is literary or not. Since it does not fall in the literary field, and does fall in the entertainment field, am I supposed to hold my head in shame?Of course not. My "hen lit" characters do not stop what they are doing to "go shopping, create a recipe, or take care of cats;" they take on the world and show the readers what strength they have and how far they will go to prove their wit and intelligence.

Granted, there are chick lits that do do these things (and a lot of them are fun reads because I have almost a whole library of them), but I feel that chick/hen lit is growing away from that and are becoming stronger characters within themselves.I know there are a lot of chick/hen lit writers/authors who are discouraged that the
industry thinks of their works as not serious.These are very serious writers
that feel that maybe, just maybe, the world needs something else to read besides
literary fiction and are ready to give these readers what they are craving
for.

Sorry for going on so, but everytime I come along and find yet another place
that condemns chick lit (not yours..I was speaking of Otto Penzler in this
respect), it really gets into my crawl because these books pass every test from
agent on up to the big NY houses before they are allowed to be published. If
these agents - and I'm talking about top agencies - and publishers thought of
this genre as nothing but "women who go shopping...," then what does that say
about these agencies/publishers?

No, these books are not literary, per say, but that still does not put them in a category that is beneath them. They stand on their own and I believe that you will be hearing great things from these authors in the future.Thanks for letting me rant. Whew...now for that coffee...;o)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Birth of my Prequel!

Well, I've gone and done it - started on the prequel to a book that isn't even published yet, but hey, maybe this will be good when my NY publisher-to-be asks if I have anything else? You noticed I said "when" and not "if" because I truly believe in this book. Of course, doesn't everyone believe in their own books?

My characters, Celia Gladstone, Babs Culpepper and Bunny Whimpelton go back in time through the voice of Celia to when they were young'uns. Now this one is incredibly my voice, much more than the first one.

Growing up with movie stars and all that was really a part of my real life. When we moved to California, back in '61, a whole new world opened up to me. As I had been raised in a little town in Virginia where it was perfectly safe to leave your door open all night and no one would break in and steal you or something, Burbank, California, was, well quite different.

Mother would have parties and everything and there would even be a few movie stars in the crowd. The only one I knew by name was Eddie Fontaine, who serenaded me in his lap. Seemed he went on to make records or something.

I did get to see my dreamboat, Jon Provost (Timmy in "Lassie.") We were at the Hollywood Lane Parade and all these cars and floats were going by and I was right out in the front of the line, sitting on the street. And then - Timmy comes rolling by. And then - he throws me some candy.

I don't believe I ever ate that candy and saved it for weeks until it got moldy and I had to throw it out.

Lassie would come on the television every Sunday night, right after Walt Disney. I don't care what I'd be doing. I'd run inside and plop my butt right in the front of the TV.

Well, that gave you a little idea of where I'm going to take this book. Sound like fun?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Mailing the Partial Tomorrow!

The sun'll come out, tomorrow, tomorrow...

Dang, can't get the song out of my head. Tomorrow, I'm finally mailing off the partial to Agent #1. Well, actually she's the only agent I have submitted a query to for my book, OVER THE HILL, but I'm going to keep track of them this way because with my luck, there will be many more I'll have to query.

Oh, this is so exciting. I printed out the first 30 pages as she requested - well, actually 35 because I didn't want to cut the second chapter short a couple pages. I went back to the letter she sent to see what else needed going in the mail and she said she wanted a cover letter with a short but detailed bio highlighting my publishing credentials and/or related information about me and a one-paragraph blurb that summarizes my work and highlights my pitch. Direct quote.

Well, I started on the cover letter this morning and hit the biggest block I ever had. I really loved my query and she must have, too, to request a partial and I absolutely couldn't think of another way to word it without saying the same thing.

Enter Michelle Grajkowski, agent for 3 Seas Literary Agency, who just so happens to be my guest for the week in TWL Author Talks. When I told her my predicament, she said:

"I would use the same one - just mention
that you are sending requested material."


That was music to my ears!

So, I reworded the first sentence mentioning that it was requested and bingo, bango, printed it out. Everything is ready to go tomorrow! Tomorrow...tomorrrow!

Michelle is a wonderful guest! Stay tuned and tomorrow I'll give you the highlights of her talk.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

3,000 More Words! (hen lit in progress)

Egads, I've made my 3,000 word goal tonight. Thought it wasn't going to happen. Talk about work!

I'm now up to 64,000 words! Wahoo!!!

Today was my day off and I started out with an idea of what I wanted "the girls" to do while they are being held hostage. Oops, I didn't let that slip, did I? Oh well, I guess you're bound to find out.

They're in some kind of a cave, only they don't know where. And - they have no idea how they're going to get out because I don't know...heh.

Well, I do have an idea but I just have to find the right words. I can't leave them stuck in the cave with no food or water, can I? Hee hee hee *sinister laugh*

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Road Block Crashed! (Hen Lit in Progress)

WAHOO! I did it! I did it! Road block is down!

I was trying to figure out an Indian Reservation within walking distance of the Grand Canyon and guess how I overcome that obstacle since there were none?

I went - hey, this is fiction, isn't it???

So, I made one up.

Since this is my first fiction novel/hen lit, I wasn't comfortable at first writing about things I'd never seen or experienced since I've always written non-fiction. And that's what caused the road block! I had never even been to the Grand Canyon, so how could I portray the area authentically?

I thought about it awhile and decided that what I could find out about the area through Google and pestering the members of my writing groups who had been there was going to have to do - and started writing.

And guess what?

I did it!

The story has taken a really different twist and all because I let my imagination do the talking. And it worked! These women might be over the hill, but they can kiss ass! Indiana Jones, move over, the Over the Hill Chicks are taking over!

I got the manuscript up to 59,385 words last night and surpassed my 3,000 words a night goal! I'll be able to finish it in less than a week at this pace, so I'm going ahead and sending the partial to the agent tomorrow. I know how the book is going to end and all I have to do is write it.

But, I discovered something that really shocked me. I love writing fiction! When I went to bed last night, all I could think about were my characters in this uncompromising positions out in the middle of the Grand Canyon. I threw in a few surprises (even to me!) which are going to blow you away.

I'm going to miss my goal tonight because I had to work, but tomorrow I'll make up for it.

Okay, lots to do...be back tomorrow night.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Road Block! (Hen Lit in Progress)

No, this isn't the name of my book. It's the curse of the demon gods when you are on a deadline.

As I stated in my last blog entry, I have had an agent request a partial of a hen lit that isn't even finished. Am I totally zonked?

Writing comes easy for me and I find that I can whip through a book in nothing flat, but then...dum de dum dum...I hit a ROAD BLOCK.

Now, a road block is a writer's block, only it has to do with my characters being on the road. They are traveling to the Grand Canyon only there's one teensie weensie problem. I've never been.

Okay, there's Google and there's the wonderful members of my writing groups to help - which they have - and still I don't think my questions are answered so I can get past this road block and finish the darn thing JUST IN CASE the agent requests the full. Let's hope the demon gods are out punishing jay walkers or litterers or something so she will. Anyone have a good luck spell to ward off those evil-mongers?

Anyway, I need to know if there are any Indian reservations around. I found at least two, but can you get to the Grand Canyon on foot or mule from there before nightfall?

Eek, I'm stressing.

I did get 5,000 words written yesterday and wanted to put another 5,000 on it today, but there's this damn road block in my way. I've got to find a way out of it. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

What's a Hen Lit Writer?

This is so exciting. I feel that I'm almost ONE OF THEM.

Who is ONE OF THEM, you ask?

Oh, but the most wonderful genre of authors that is making a splash in NY and one day, I'll be ONE OF THEM.

Why?

You are being so nosy.

Okay, here's the beef. I'm a kick ass kind of girl. Only, I really can't call myself a girl at fifty years old, can I? Eek, even writing it sounds over the hill.

So, I'm an over the hill boomer chick which makes me really a hen lit writer.

There's a little teensy weensie difference between a chick lit writer and a hen lit writer and I just knew you were going to ask. It's easy, really. Instead of writing about twenty-somethings, I write about forty and fifty-somethings, sometimes even older. Why?

Dang, I'd like to get off here and work on my WIPs but o.....kay.

Well, to begin with, I'm what they call a baby boomer - born in the fifties and raised in the sixties and believe me I have stories to tell that you'll never believe. Betcha never heard of bra burning, did you? Well, we did this and more when I was growing up because - well - we just wanted to. That was the way our generation was. The "establishment" - to clarify, OUR PARENTS - didn't know beans and we did because we were more educated than them I suppose or at least thought we were. We'd been through a lot and because of this, we just thought we knew more than anyone of our parent's generation. Call us crazy, but it's true. Anyone that can get away with streaking across the gymnasium during graduation had to have the IQ of Einstein, don't you think? Yeah, we were a crazy bunch, but there was a reason for this.

We were the emerging hen lit writers of the world. If we didn't go through all that fun stuff, we'd be writing like John Grisham and Nora Roberts, but nooooo...we had to go beyond all that educated stuff and write about our lives as we know it as baby boomers.

Now don't think we can't write like the best of'em just because some people out there call our books silly. I'll give an example - Rebecca Wells. She's my idol. If I could ever come up with anything closely resembling her "YaYa" books and not get arrested for plagiarism, then ho - ney, I'm there.

So, that's my story. I'd really like to get back to my hen lit now, if that's okay. An agent has requested a partial and guess what? I have 20,000 more words to write. But that's okay. That's the kind of writer I am - a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl. One of these days I'll learn to have a finished book before I start querying, but then that would change the whole karmic process - gotta run!