Monday, March 31, 2008

Kelley Eskridge: Executive. Novelist. Screenwriter.
Lesbian Go-Go Dancer.

Yes, you read that right! Skiffy writer extraordinaire Kelley Eskridge is now a bona fide go-go dancer at a lesbian nightclub in Seattle! And for a 47 year old woman, that's kinda hot!

I missed this news from my West Coast pal because she sent the email to an email address that I long ago abandoned to penis enlargement advertisements...which, in retrospect, has a certain kind of irony, considering the subject matter of this post. Upon my monthly checking of this account, I saw the email from Kelley. After falling over dead from awesome, I decided I had to pick myself up and share this, because this is about the coolest thing I've heard in weeks.

Kelley's dancing at a queer club called Neighbors on Seattle's Capitol Hilll ('natch!), at a regular dance party called Hot Flash Dances (I love this!), held on alternating Saturday nights from 5:30-9:30. Hot Flash, as the name would imply, caters to those of us who are no longer 20-something baby dykes. (Yes, in fact there are - GASP! - dykes over 40 who are still hot and looking to meet women for some fun without having to resort to Craigslist. Who'd a thunk it?)

Anyway, Kelley's dancing the first Saturday of every month, starting April 5th. If you're in Seattle and you are of the female persuasion (ladies only!), go cheer her on.

By the way, her go-go dancer name is Lucky and she does accept tips. (No, I'm not making up that part.)

Go, Kelley! Shake that thang!

* Oh, what I could have done with this as a publicist...sigh!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

This week's announced genre acquisitions.

A slow week for genre acquisitions, folks. But here ya go:
Mark Teppo's PSYCHOBABEL, the sequel to hypertext serial novel THE ONEIROMANTIC MOSAIC OF HARRY POTEMKIN, to Darin Bradley at Farrago Press, in a nice deal, for publication in April 2009 (US).

Author of Venus Envy Shannon McKelden's VENUS GUY TRAP, the sequel in which the goddess-turned-fairy godmother finds herself unable to provide an Extreme Love Life Makever because all the "Prince Charmings" have the hots for her, again to Melissa Singer at Tor, in a nice deal, by Deidre Knight of The Knight Agency.

Alison Sinclair's DARKBORN, LIGHTBORN, and SHADOWBORN, a fantasy trilogy of magic and manners, espionage and romance in the tradition of Sarah Monette and Ellen Kushner, to Anne Sowards at Ace, by Caitlin Blasdell at Liza Dawson Associates (World English).

50 WAYS TO HEX YOUR LOVER and HEX APPEAL author Linda Wisdom's books #3 and #4 in the Witches Gone Wild series, in which 700-year-old youths, who were banished before graduation along with the other 11 seniors at the Witches Academy, relive the Salem Witch trials and confront a werewolf pack in modern day California, to Deb Werksman at Sourcebooks Casablanca, in a nice deal, for publication in Spring and Fall 2009, by Laurie McLean at Larsen/Pomada Literary Agents (World).

Vampire High author Douglas Rees's VAMPIRE HIGH: Sophomore Year, in which a student's goth cousin comes to town and, unfortunately for him, fits right in with the vampire kids at school, to Michelle Poploff at Delacorte, in a nice deal, for publication in Fall 2009, by Laurie McLean at Larsen/Pomada Literary Agents (World).

Neal Stephenson sold Anathem to Ravi Mirchandani at Atlantic Books via Rachel Calder at the Sayle Literary Agency. The book is "based in a universe similar to but not our own, where mathematicians and philosophers are sheltered from an illiterate and unpredictable 'saecular' world, until the day they must leave their safe haven to save the entire world from destruction." Expected publication date is September 2008. (via SF Scope)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Congratulations to client Kelly Gay for being an RWA Golden Heart finalist in two categories!

A shout-out to my client Kelly Gay, who learned today that she was chosen as a finalist in two separate categories for RWA's annual Golden Heart Awards. The 2008 Golden Heart Award honors the best in unpublished romance manuscripts of 2007. Winners of the awards will be announced August 2nd at the RITA and Golden Heart Awards Ceremony to be held at RWA’s 28th Annual National Conference in San Francisco, California.

Kelly was nominated for two different manuscripts: in the Paranormal Romance category for her manuscript Bedknobs and Broomsticks; in the Young Adult Romance category for her manuscript Blighted.

Congratulations, Kelly!

Helpful suggestions for submitting a
requested full/partial via email.

Like several of my colleagues at FinePrint, I read manuscripts manuscripts entirely as electronic files. It saves paper and allows for carrying around a tremendous amount of reading material in about four ounces of metal and plastic. I take your manuscripts and turn them into .rtf files that I then load onto my Sony Reader.

Right now, on my trusty little Sony Reader, there is list of the following filenames for several requested partials in my eReader Pro program:
  • First50pages.rtf
  • FirstSixtyPages.rtf
  • Partial.rtf
  • Prepared for CLindsay.rtf
What do these partials all have in common? (Come on, now. Think hard!)

THAT'S RIGHT! Not one of the file names is even remotely close to the title of the actual manuscript.

Now, let's open one of those bad boys, shall we? What's this? A manuscript that jumps right into an action scene with gripping dialogue and fabulous writing?

"Well," says you, "What's wrong with that? Isn't that what you want to read?"

Theoretically, yes. However, said manuscript also contains none of the following very important pieces of information (Y'all ready? There WILL be a test afterward.):
  • The title of the book.
  • The name of the author
  • The phone number of the author
  • The email address of the author
  • The address of the author
So, in the interest of preserving my sanity (and hopefully increasing your chances of not annoying other agents with these surprisingly common mistakes) let me suggest the following tips for preparing a manuscript for an electronic submission:
  • First, submit in the format that the agent has asked for. Some agents will prefer an electronic submission as a Word doc or an OpenOffice doc; some will prefer PDF files or an RTF file.
  • Second, name your file in a way that makes it easy for an agent to identify the manuscript at a glance. A good format for naming your partial is something like one of these (these are all fake titles to follow, lest you think I am mocking anyone who's sent in a partial): STINKYBOYS ADVENTURE_PARTIAL.doc (title; indication that this is a partial); STINKYBOYS_LINDSAY_PARTIAL.doc (first word of title; author last name; indication that this is a partial). See how easy that makes it?
  • Third, make absolutely certain that the first page of your partial contains all of your contact information - phone number as well as email address - and the title of the book.
These three simple steps will ensure that everyone lives happily ever after and that world peace will indeed take place in our lifetime. Or at the very least, ensure that when an agent gets so excited about your partial that they want to phone or email you RIGHT THAT VERY MINUTE, they actually have the information required to be able to do so. (And then the world peace thing will happen, I swear.)

PS: Don't worry; I'm not going to punish anyone for making those kinds of mistakes. Mistakes are just mistakes, after all. But if I do need to hunt down your contact info, it just might take a little longer for you to hear back from me.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

This just in: Academics are nerds!

My pal Cheryl Morgan is attending ICFA this weekend, and she's been reporting on the panels. My favorite report from her so far has been this one:
My first event at ICFA today has been a panel on “technoculture”. The panel was made up of academics, and being academics they spent quite a bit of time discussing whether or not the word should be hyphenated.

Friday, March 21, 2008

This week's announced genre acquisitions and rights sales.

I am trying desperately to ignore the fact that Stinkyboy waited for me to clean the litterbox before crawling inside and releasing a stinkbomb of epic proportion. Bastard.

And, with no segue at all, I bring you this week's acquisitions and rights sales. Just a reminder to those authors and agents out there who read this blog: if you have sale for a skiffy genre novel of any kind - including YA and paranormal romance - or a rights sale you would like to have announced, please feel free to email me your news here. (No short fiction sale announcements, please.)
Ravenous author Ray Garton's BESTIAL, in which Sheriff Farrell Hurley returns for another bout with a town infested by homicidal werewolves, to Don D'Auria at Dorchester, in a two-book deal, by Richard Curtis Associates. (Anyone else think that this was possibly a poorly-worded announcement? Unless the author really is that hungry...)

Gary Braunbeck's FAR DARK FIELDS, in which the Cedar Hill Cycle nears its conclusion in this penultimate novel in the series, to Don D'Auria at Dorchester, by Richard Curtis of Richard Curtis Associates.

Graham Brown's debut BLACK RAIN, described as Indiana Jones meets The Ruins, to Danielle Perez at Bantam Dell, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, by Barbara Poelle at Irene Goodman Agency (World English).

Robin Haseltine's THE CURSE OF THE DRAGON'S SPELL, in which a witch and warlock use forbidden spells during the Duel for Ultimate Dominion of her coven, in a modern fairy tale take-off of Beauty and the Beast that blends Mayan, Egyptian, and Greek mythologies with natural disasters mirroring the tumultuous years that gave us tsunamis, mudslides, and hurricane Katrina, to Margaret Esch and Dona Paus at Tiger, by Kelly Mortimer at Mortimer Literary Agency.

Raz Steel's LOVE WITHOUT BLOOD, about a female doctor in the Witness Protection Program who wonders if the vampire she's asked to hunt is the one who attacked her, or the one she's falling in love with, to Chris Keeslar at Dorchester, by Kelly Mortimer at Mortimer Literary Agency.

Diana Pharaoh Francis's BITTER NIGHT, in which a woman is sent to investigate a murder that hasn't happened yet, and what she learns triggers a battle between two feuding witches and sets off a war of magic that draws in both the Uncanny and the Divine and has the potential to remake the world, to Jennifer Heddle at Pocket, in a nice deal, in a two-book deal, by Lucienne Diver of Spectrum Literary Agency (NA).

David Wellington's CELL BLOCK FIVE, the fourth installment in the Laura Claxton vampire series, to Carrie Thornton at Three Rivers Press, by Byrd Leavell at the Waxman Literary Agency (World).

Tim Aker's HEART OF VERIDON, a steampunk fantasy thriller, to Mark Newton at Solaris Press, via Joshua Bilmes at JABberwocky Literary Agency. (via Solaris website)

Jay Lake sold The Baby Killers to PS Publishing, who will put it out as a stand-alone novella. Publication of the signed, limited edition hardcover (and the trade paperback) is scheduled for 2010. Lake describes it as his "accidental novella" (see this post) "in which I attempt to put the 'punk' back in steampunk." (via SFScope)

Nineteen-year old Kaleb Nation sold world English language rights to his debut novel, The Fairfield Curse, to Lyron Bennett at Sourcebooks for its children's imprint, Jabberwocky, via agent Richard Curtis of Richard Curtis Associates. The book is the beginning of Nation's middle-grade series Bran Hambric. In the first volume, "a boy living in a world where magic is banned discovers he has inherited dangerous gifts from his criminal mother, and the world he knows may not be his own." (via SFScope)

Jeff Sampson's THE LIFE AND DEATH OF EMILY COOKE, the first in a dark fantasy series about a woman who at night transforms from shy and mousy geek girl into a wild thrill-seeker - and full on wolf-girl, to Stacy Whitman at Mirrorstone, for publication in Fall 2009.

Sarwat Chadda's THE DEVIL'S KISS, the story of a fifteen-year-old girl conscripted into the modern-day remnant of the Knights Templar, to Donna Bray at Hyperion, in a major deal, for publication in Fall 2009, and to Lindsey Heaven at Puffin, in a very nice deal, sold simultaneously, at auction, in a two-book deal, for publication Spring 2009, by former Macmillan UK children's publishing director Sarah Davies in her first deal at her Greenhouse Literary Agency.

Gord Rollo's CRIMSON, about a legacy of evil in a small Canadian town, and four childhood friends forced to fight a creature from Hell who brings their worst fears to life, for mass-market paperback release, to Don D'Auria at Leisure Books, in a nice deal, by Jenny Rappaport at the L. Perkins Agency (World)
Rights sales:
German rights to Madeleine L'Engle's A WIND IN THE DOOR, to Bertelsmann, by Annelie Geissler at Mohr Books, on behalf of Edward Necarsulmer IV and Cate Martin at McIntosh & Otis.

Neal Stephenson's ANATHEM, based in a universe similar to but not our own, where mathematicians and philosophers are sheltered from an illiterate and unpredictable "saecular" world, until the day they must leave their safe haven to save the entire world from destruction, to Ravi Mirchandani at Atlantic Books, for publication in September 2008, by Rachel Calder at the Sayle Literary Agency.

Vietnamese rights to Jim Butcher's STORM FRONT, to Luong Mai at Vietnam Culture and Information Publishing House, by Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

Spanish rights to E.E. Knight's CHOICE OF THE CAT, to Juan Carlos Poujade at Factoria des Ideas, by Claire Roberts at Trident Media Group, on behalf of John Silbersack.

Spanish rights to the first book in Ellen Schreiber's VAMPIRE KISSES series to Nabla Ediciones, by Lara Lea Allen on behalf of Ellen Levine at Trident Media Group.

THE COURT OF THE AIR author Stephen Hunt's next three books, to Sarah Hodgson of Harper UK/Voyager, in a good deal, by John Jarrold.

Rachel Caine's CHILL FACTOR and WINDFALL, books three and four of the author's Weather Warden series, to Susie Dunlop of Allison & Busby, in a nice deal, by Lucienne Diver of Spectrum Literary Agency.

Foreign rights to Patrick Rothfuss's THE KINGKILLER CHRONICLE TRILOGY, to R.A.O. in Romania, Azoth in Taiwan; THE NAME OF THE WIND (DAY 1) to Shanghai Wanyu Culture in China; THE WISE MAN'S FEAR (DAY 2) and UNTITLED (DAY 3) to Mynx/ De Boekerij in the Netherlands, bringing the total number of territories sold to 23, by Teri Tobias, with respective co-agents, on behalf of Matt Bialer at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates.

Korean rights to Daniel Wallace's MR. SEBASTIAN AND THE NEGRO MAGICIAN, now sold in eleven foreign territories, to Munhakdongne, by Ines Yeo at Shinwon on behalf of Joe Regal and Markus Hoffmann at Regal Literary.

Mike Carey's THE STRANDED, a five-issue comic book series, optioned to the SCI FI Channel for a two-hour pilot, by Ken Sherman at Ken Sherman & Associates, in association with MBA Literary Agents.

Cara Lockwood's BARD HIGH series, in which students discover that the books they're reading in class have an uncanny influence over the events in their lives, to Susan Alder at Stun Productions, by Sean Daily at Hotchkiss and Associates, on behalf of Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency.

John Shirley's THE OTHER END, optioned to producer Jeffrey Kinart, by Paula Guran at Guran Literary Services.

John Shirley's BLEAK HISTORY, optioned to New Regency Productions ("Mr And Mrs Smith"), by Paula Guran at Guran Literary Services.

Lucy Finn's CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, pairing a practical-minded single mom with an undeniably hunky genie, to Barbara Simpson and Blue Shadow Productions, by John Talbot at Talbot Fortune Agency.

Brendan Deneen's SCATTERBRAIN, a graphic novel about a disgraced
undercover detective, who sees his chance at redemption when a mysterious vigilante appears and begins battling the same forces of evil that he once fought, to Samantha Olsson at Kickstart Entertainment (producers of this summer's graphic novel-based WANTED).

The Star Wars DIY lightsaber kit. (No, really.)

Because I haven't posted anything nearly this geeky in weeks.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

More agent blogs to explore.

This post is really just a way for me to procrastinate about something else I need to be doing, so I'll make it short. More agent blogs for you to explore:
Kae & Jon
Joshua Bilmes
Tina Wexler
Agent Sydney
Caren Johnson
Full Circle Lit
Anita Diggs
John Jarrold
Wylie-Merrick Literary
Matt Wagner
Elizabeth Jote
DHS Literary
Rachelle Gardner
Chip MacGregor
Do note that a couple of the above agents focus primarily on the CBA (Christian) market. Even if you don't read or write in this area, don't let that stop you from reading the blogs, especially Chip MacGregor's. There is a lot of useful advice that applies to mainstream publishing as well. Now, go play.

A More Perfect Union.
Yeah. This guy? He gets it.

If you haven't had a chance to listen to this yet, do yourself a favor and take the time to listen to it now.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Things you think are really original that really aren't.

You may think the following things are highly original YA story elements.
You would be wrong.

Here's a partial list from this week's queries:
  • Vampire spelled Vampyre, Wompyre, Vompyre, or any other way (4 this week)
  • Teenage boy/girl discovers s/he has developed a superpower upon hitting puberty; chaos ensues (7 this week)
  • Teenage boy/girl discovers s/he is really an angel; chaos ensues (12 this week)
  • Teenage boy/girl accidentally opens a portal through time; chaos ensues (4 this week)
  • Teenage boy/girl accidentally opens a portal to another dimension/universe/planet; chaos ensues; dimension/universe/planet is saved (3 this week)
  • Teenage boy/girl discovers s/he is gay; crushes on best same-sex friend; comes out to friends and family; chaos ensues; lessons learned by all and sundry (7 this week)
Just thought this was interesting.
=======================

Edit to Add: Just to clarify - I'm certainly not saying that these kinds of stories won't sell, just that I am seeing a lot of the same trends. I just find it fascinating. By all means, keep sending it. It's how you tell the story that really matters.

Another trend I'm seeing that I neglected to mention above is the broody, angsty, lovelorn guardian angel, which is now running neck and neck with the broody, angsty, lovelorn vampire. Perhaps if the angels and vampires were, ya know, to get all broody and angsty and lovelorn with each other... (Susan, don't you even think about it. You have enough work to do.)

Sir Arthur C. Clarke, may you rest in peace.

Truly heartbroken over this.

When I began working at Del Rey Books, I remember being absolutely stunned that I had now become the publicist for two of my childhood idols: Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke.

As a child, in second and third grade, I used to sneak their books home under my school uniform, stolen out of the library of St. Phillip the Apostle School. We were only allowed to read books that were deemed appropriate for our age level, but by the second grade I was reading on a high-school senior level and the paucity of books available for second graders frustrated me. Until I learned that I could climb just high enough to reach the eighth graders' books. At least, I could reach as high as the science fiction shelf. Asimov. Bradbury. Clarke. It was an interesting way to learn the alphabet. I'd tuck a few under my blouse, take them home, read them, and then return them. I don't know that any of the nuns ever caught on.

I still laugh when I remember Ellie Lang's instructions to me when I took over for her at Del Rey: "Remember, Colleen. It's always 'Sir Arthur' when you talk to him."

Although I only ever spoke with Sir Arthur once by telephone, we began a fairly frequent email correspondence, one in which he regularly regaled my publicity department with tales of the late great Pepsi, his one-eyed Chihuahua. I remember also thinking what a tough old bastard he must have been to insist on continuing to scuba-dive even after being confined to a wheelchair with post-polio syndrome.

Late on the morning of September 11, 2001 - just after the second tower had collapsed and all the phones had already stopped working - the very first communication we received at the office was an email from Sir Arthur, asking if everyone at Del Rey was okay, sending his best wishes and, in typical Sir Arthur fashion, quoting Winston Churchill's famous speech:
Never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
Somewhere I think I still have the print-out of that email.

Ad astra, Sir Arthur. It was an honor working with you.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Writers on writing synopses.

Poking head out of hiatus to point you toward Joshua Palmatier's LiveJournal, where he recently completed the Plot Synopsis Project, wherein he asked about a zillion published writers to post about his or her synopsis writing techniques. Good stuff here for those of you cringing about how to go about writing your own plot synopsis.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Temporary Server Error 502, we hates you!!!

Apologies to anyone who may be trying to reach me by email today. Both of my Gmail accounts seem to be locked in a mysterious Temporary 502 Server Errors. This has been going on since early this morning. I don't know when it's going to clear up, but if you're a friend of mine or a client and you need to reach me today, your best bet is to text or phone me. Sorry!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Oh, dear. Gmail does not like the word "adult".

I use Gmail to collect my email from my work server. Hey, Google has more storage space than God; why not? But I have recently discovered that the Gmail spam filter does not like the word adult. As in young adult novel.

Oooops. Who knew Google was such a prude?

I just found about fifty or so queries tucked away nicely in my spam folder, all of them with the word adult in the subject line.

So just a word of caution: try not to put the word adult in the subject line of your query to me. Gmail might inadvertently eat your email.

This week's announced genre acquisitions.

Not much time tonight; have a phone appointment with an author in about half an hour. But here's this week's acquisitions. I'll catch up on rights sales next week.
Caitlin Kittredge's four new works of urban fantasy: two books in the author's Nocturne City series, and two books in her new Black London series, to Rose Hilliard at St. Martin's, in a very nice deal, by Rachel Vater at Folio Literary Management (NA). (via Publishers Marketplace)

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's untitled sequel to Scout's Progress set in the authors' Liaden Universe series, to Toni Weisskopf at Baen Books, by Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. (via Publishers Marketplace)

Alex Bledsoe's BURN ME DEADLY, in which a professional sword jockey investigates an odd cult of dragon-worshippers that has taken up residence in an abandoned brothel, and THE SWORD-EDGED BLONDE, to Paul Stevens at Tor, for publication in September 2009, by Marlene Stringer at the Barbara Bova Literary Agency (World English). (via Publishers Marketplace)

NYT and USA Today bestselling author Caridad Pineiro's TAINTED BLOOD, in which a gene therapy victim's world spins out of control as she discovers her body has taken on strengths of a superhuman quality and she is being hunted for a murder she did not commit, to Selina McLemore at Grand Central, by Kevan Lyon at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency (World English). (via Publishers Marketplace)

Stan Nicholls's ORCS, the fantasy adventure series that has reportedly already sold over a million copies worldwide, to Tim Holman at Orbit, in a four-book deal, by Howard Morhaim at Howard Morhaim Literary Agency (US). (via Publishers Marketplace)

C.L. Anderson's BITTER ANGELS, about a retired undercover operative called back into the field for one more job -- to complete the mission her ex-partner left unfinished when she was killed in action, to Juliet Ulman at Bantam Dell, by Shawna McCarthy at Shawna McCarthy Agency (World English). (via Publishers Marketplace)

Stephen Graham Jones' new short story collection, The Ones That Almost Got Away, to Sean Wallace at Prime Books via agent Kate Garrick of DeFiore and Company. (via SF Scope)

Jeff VanderMeer's FINDING SONORIA & OTHER STORIES to Jacob Weisman at Tachyon Publications. (via the author)

Jeff VanderMeer's FINCH to editor Victoria Blake at Underland Press. (via the author)

Subterranean Press will publish a limited edition new omnibus of Barry Hughart's The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox, which include his most famous work, Bridge of Birds. (via John Scalzi)

Jim C. Hines sold two new funny fantasies, Mermaid's Madness and The Red Hood to Sheila Gilbert at DAW via agent Steve Mancino at JABberwocky. (via SF Scope)

Simon Green sold Nightside novels #10, 11, and 12 to Ginjer Buchanan at Roc in a six-figure deal handled by agent Joshua Bilmes at JABberwocky. (via SF Scope)

Oh, the things you can do with Lego!

The chest-bursting alien from the movie of the same name. Heh.
(via hertenberger)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The "holy crap, it's been a long time since I did a link round-up" round-up.

Yes, yes, I know I have been lax in my linkity duties, but I have, like, real work to do. Also, on the way home tonight, I was forced to stop on 29th Street and play with a six-month old albino Jack Russell terrier puppy, and my heart seized up and stopped from The Unbearable Cuteness. Anyhooooo, here's some stuff that you should be reading. First, a round-up from some other agent blogs:
Agent Kristin Nelson talks about why unpublished authors may not want to detail their endless queries and rejections online.

Agent Jessica Faust talks about why an unpublished author needs patience while waiting for an agent to sell his or her book. Because sometimes? It takes a really long time to sell that manuscript.

At agent Caren Johnson's blog, several folks are guest-blogging with great posts: author Barbara Caridad Ferrer talks about how to work with your editor and YA author Stephanie Kuehnert tries to answer that age-old question: what exactly is YA?

Agent Nathan Bransford talks about when - and whether - to list your publishing credits in a query letter.

At Editorial Ass, Sekrit Editor Moonrat talks about how never ever to interact with an editor. Upon pain of death. I would venture to say that most of this applies to interacting with agents as well.

Agent Jennifer Jackson discusses writing in multiple genres here and here.

At Redlines and Deadlines (which all of you writerly types should be reading every day!) good discussions on, well...everything! Just go read the whole blog.
And now some goodness from the rest of the bloggy world:

First of all, since I have been so very very remiss in my linking, I want to point you toward a couple of folks who've been taking up the slack and doing a fine job (a far better job than I could ever do, frankly!) of keeping atop the SF/F book world with timely link round-ups. They are:
Now, onto more linkage:
Speaking of SF Signal (we were; look up there!), there is yet another fabulous Mind Meld posted, this time discussing whether modern YA SF/F is too explicit. Really great discussion. Read the comments thread as well. Also at SF Signal, a review of Gregory Frost's Shadowbridge.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks at Isaac Asimov's recently re-released first novel Pebble in the Sky, as well as Iain M. Banks' Matter and George R.R. Martin's Inside Straight.

Andrew Wheeler also discusses Matter. Also, Andy looks at The Dragons of Babel by Michael Swanwick.

At Omnivoracious, Jeff VanderMeer talks up John Joseph Adams' most excellent anthology Wastelands, the Arthur C. Clarke Award nominees, and Toby Barlow's werewolf-novel-as-free-verse Sharp Teeth.

Meanwhile, back at Gilligan's Island, er, um, I mean Jeff's own blog, he's started a great new feature that focuses on published short story writers who have not yet had a book published. Called Conversations with the Bookless, this is a remarkable series of interviews and well worth investing some time reading. His latest interview is with Rjurik Davidson. Check it out! Also, a wonderful post on Creative Writing Tips for Beginners. I applaud each and every one of these tips, especially #1.

Fantasy Book Critic has new reviews of The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner, Black Ships by Jo Graham, and Mad Kestrel by Missy Massey.

At SF Scope, a new review of Galaxy Blues by Allen Steele and Marseguro by Edward Willett. Also, an interview with Michele Lang, author of Netherwood.

A new issue of SF Site is up with their lists of The Best of 2007 (a great list!), plus reviews of The New Weird, edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, Magdalen Rising by Elizabeth Cunningham and more.

Also, a new issue of SF Revu is up, with reviews of Barth Anderson's The Magician and the Fool (also, an interview with the author), Madhouse by Rob Thurman, The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison, Prodigal by Marc Giller (I loved this book!), The Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie, and Dark Wraith of Shannara, an original Shannara graphic novel by Terry Brooks, Robert Place Napton and Edwin David. Plus tons more!

A new agent blog! (Well, a new blog. Not a new agent.)

One of my favorite agents and all around nice guy Joshua Bilmes has entered the blogosphere. Welcome him!

In particular, go read this thoughtful post about the new Border's "concept store."

Hint to would-be query writers: Beware of cut and paste!

Beginning your letter with something along the lines of "Your years of experience in YA book sales make me feel that you are the perfect agent for me" will probably get you a.) mocked, and then b.) rejected. And then, c.) mocked again for good measure.

Why? Well, because as most of you know, I'm a brand-new agent and as such I actually don't yet have any sales under my belt. Or under my bed. Or under the litterbox.

Just something to think about.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Food Court Musical: "Can I get a napkin, pleeeeeeez?"

For fans of Buffy's Once More With Feeling ("They got the mustard ooooouuuuuuut!") and those among you who just plain love whimsy. Treat yourself; watch this all the way through. And I dare you not to smile. :-)

Pimpin' another pal's book:
Kate Brallier's The Boundless Deep

Y'all remember me pimpin' my friend Overly Humble Writer Dave? Well, he is married to Equally-Overly Humble Writer Kate (she has another name, too, but this is her professional writerly-type name, so that is the name we shall use here) and Kate is also one hell of a writer.

If you like your paranormal romance a touch on the literary side, with the added bonus of an ancient mystery to solve, you'll love The Boundless Deep, Kate's second book, which has just been published by Tor/Forge. (And if you haven't read it yet, you should go get a copy of her first book, Seal Island!)

And before we go any further, can we just take a moment to admire this freakin' awesome cover? That is one gorgeous cover, am I right?

Fantasy Book Critic talks a bit about the book in their March round-up and Kate will appearing at New York Comic-Con this spring. But I'm guessing that if you make an appearance at her husband's KGB Bar reading next Wednesday night, and you happen to have a copy of either of her books on hand, she'll be happy to sign one for you!

Lastly, if you want to send Kate some e-love or request an interview, you can reach her here.

Now, go! Buy a copy of this book! Cos I said so, and have I ever steered you wrong?

Friday, March 7, 2008

This week's announced genre acquisitions.

Slow week. Here ya go:
Beth Kery's TEMPTATIONS OF TIME, a present day detective travels back in time to 1906 Chicago in order to save the woman featured in a set of discovered erotic photographs from being murdered, to Leis Pederson at Berkley Heat, in a nice deal, in a two-book deal, by Laura Bradford at Bradford Literary Agency.

Tanya Huff's ONE WOMAN'S JUNK, in which a junkyard becomes a focal point for a half-breed Dragon Prince, leprachauns, witches, sorcerors, and much much more in a new urban fantasy that will be the author's 24th novel for DAW, to Sheila Gilbert at Daw, in a very nice deal, for publication in Fall 2009, by Joshua Bilmes at JABberwocky Literary Agency (NA).

Fiona Patton's THE SHINING CITY, the concluding novel in the author's Warriors of Estava fantasy trilogy, set on a world where gods can take physical form and the emergence of a new god unsettles the established ones and their human worshippers and surrogates, to Sheila Gilbert at Daw, in a nice deal, for publication in Summer 2010, by Joshua Bilmes at JABberwocky Literary Agency (World English).

Kirsten Imani Kasai's ICE SONG and a sequel, a fantasy about a young mother who must cross a continent in pursuit of the wealthy madman who has abducted her infant twins, to Liz Scheier at Del Rey Books by Helen Breitwieser at Cornerstone Literary.

NO CONTROL author Shannon Butcher's BURNING ALIVE, a paranormal romance, to Cindy Hwang at Penguin, in a pre-empt, in a good deal, in a three-book deal, by Nephele Tempest at The Knight Agency (NA).

Lisa Childs' IMMORTAL BRIDE, about a woman who returns from the dead to avenge her murder -- convinced her husband is her killer, to Tara Gavin for Silhouette Nocturne, in a three-book deal, plus one-ebook, by Jenny Bent at Trident Media Group (world).

Where the deer and the antelope...hey, wait just a minute!

I was in the office today doing office-y things and my colleague, who shares the office space, started singing "Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play..." and I was humming along for some reason and then I sat straight up in my chair.
Me: "Hey, wait a minute!"
She: "Hmmm...what?"
Me: "They can't."
She: "They who can't what?" [clearly confused]
Me: "Deer. And antelope. Ya know, play. They can't play. At least with one another."
She: "Colleen, what the hell are you talking about?"
Me: "Antelope! There are no antelope in North America."
She: "What? Yes there are!"
Me: "No, there aren't. They're indigenous to Africa and Eurasia."
She: "Well, why would the put them in the song if they didn't roam with deer and buffalo?"
Me: "I don't know, but I know that no deer or buffalo ever played with an antelope in the United States. Unless, like, they were all in a poorly organized zoo."
She: "I'm sure there are antelope in America."
Me: "Have you ever seen one?"
She: "Yes! Near where I live!"
Me: "Dude, you live in Jersey."
She: "Oh, yeah. They were at a safari park."
Me: "Let's Google it!"

**** fifteen minutes later ****

Me: "Ah-HA! I was right! There are no antelope in America!"
Other Colleague Standing in Doorway: "What are you two going on about?"
She: "Antelope! Ya know, where the deer and the antelope play?"
Other Colleague: "Do they?"
She: "Do they what?"
Other Colleague: "Play. Do they play?"
Me: [deep sigh] "NO! There are no antelope in America!"
Other Colleague: [ blink blink ] "What about pronghorn antelope?"
Me: [ blink ]
She: [ blink ]
Me: [ Googling furiously ] "AH-HA! Pronghorn antelope are NOT REAL ANTELOPE!"
Other Colleague: "Well what the hell are they?"
Me: [ putting on nerd hat ] "They are antilocapra americana; literally: the antelope goat, unrelated to any species of true antelope."
She & Other Colleague: [peer over my shoulder]
Me: [continuing to be annoyingly nerdly]: "They are the only surviving member of the Antilocapridae family, dating back to the Pleistocene era. Also, they are the second fastest land mammal in the world."
She: [ blink ]
Other Colleague: [ blink ]
She: "Hon...you need to date more."

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Imaginary balls, or Why your own mother is more normal than you may think.

Over at Editorial Ass, Sekrit Editor Moonrat shares a touching moment with Mom. (Try not to be drinking liquids when you read this.)

What happens when you mail me a query? Like, on paper?

Despite my having been an agent for a whopping 21 days, I have already accumulated a great deal of paper slush at the office. Large bulky envelopes containing massive amounts of dead trees. (And, as noted in the previous post, one rather antiquated floppy disk.)

Look, I'm not going to tell you not to mail me queries. But I'd really prefer that you didn't.

I'm not actually in the office very often. Maybe once a week, tops. And when I'm there, it's to have a brainstorming session with the other agents or to discuss a project with Peter or one of my other colleagues. I'm reading about contracts, getting paperwork filled out and mailing it off to clients. I'm returning phone calls. But you know what I'm not doing? I'm not looking at paper slush. By necessity, paper slush gets shuffled to the absolute bottom of my to-do list. And I don't actually feel guilty about it. Why don't I feel guilty, you ask? Because I know that not one of the folks who mailed me an envelope chock full of dead former-rainforest bothered to take the two seconds necessary to research my submissions preferences. That's why. (Yes, I actually do know how long this takes because my inner OCD kicked in and I just timed it: type the words colleen lindsay submissions into Google and see how fast you get my guidelines.)

I don't hate paper. And I don't hate you for using paper. Paper is a lovely thing. Money is made of paper. Books are made of paper. These are two of my favorite things! And I daresay my bathroom would be a poorer place without paper. But please keep your queries in the cybersphere, where I promise they will be as lovingly looked after as though they were my own digital children. Cross my heart!

The charms of Wikipedia.

Great essay by Nicholson Baker in the New York Review of Books:
The Pop-Tarts page is often aflutter. Pop-Tarts, it says as of today (February 8, 2008), were discontinued in Australia in 2005. Maybe that's true. Before that it said that Pop-Tarts were discontinued in Korea. Before that Australia. Several days ago it said: "Pop-Tarts is german for Little Iced Pastry O' Germany." Other things I learned from earlier versions: More than two trillion Pop-Tarts are sold each year. George Washington invented them. They were developed in the early 1960s in China. Popular flavors are "frosted strawberry, frosted brown sugar cinnamon, and semen." Pop-Tarts are a "flat Cookie." No: "Pop-Tarts are a flat Pastry, KEVIN MCCORMICK is a FRIGGIN LOSER notto mention a queer inch." No: "A Pop-Tart is a flat condom." Once last fall the whole page was replaced with "NIPPLES AND BROCCOLI!!!!!"

Spielberg to launch social networking site aimed at folks wanting to share paranormal experiences.

Um, doesn't he have enough hobbies?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

What not to do when you get a rejection.

Okay, I wasn't going to post tonight because I'm not feeling all that chipper and I have a deadline to meet on a writing project (yes, I do things other than read queries) and the cats need petting but since I have now encountered this not once, not twice, nay - not even five times - but a whopping seventeen times today alone - seventeen! that's a lot! that's a whole Stevie Nicks song! and a whole Janis Ian song! and it is one more than sixteen, which was fifteen more than I ever wanted to see in my inbox! - I have decided to do y'all a favor and post a piece of advice on how not to respond to a query rejection. I may be a tad over-caffeinated right now, but the advice is sound so follow along, m'kay?

When I send you a note and tell you that I have decided to pass on your query:
  1. Do not write back and thank me for the rejection: While I understand that your mama raised you right and I do appreciate your good manners, a thank you isn't necessary. My in-box is full of enough things for me to read and those half-seconds that it takes me to open and then discard your email really add up. The whole point of e-queries is to expedite the process, for you and for me. [Caveat: It's not that I hate being thanked; it's just that I think you should wait until I have done something to actually deserve your thanks.]
  2. Do not write me to ask me why I am passing on your query: The fact is that I've made my decision. Deal with it and move on. It certainly isn't a value judgment on you or your book. And your life will be all the sweeter if you just take a deep breathe and let it go. Seriously. Also? You'll find that a pint of Ben & Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk often helps.
  3. Do not send me passive-aggressive notes hinting that perhaps I haven't read your query deeply enough and if I'd just take a second look...: While this might make you feel better, it only annoys me and then I will be forced to amuse myself by adding your email address to my spam filter.
  4. If I have taken the time to actually point out that you really need to work on your query letter, it means exactly what it says: Don't ask me for an in-depth analysis of your query letter. I am not your writing instructor. I am not your therapist. I am not your girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, partner, dom, squeeze, insurance salesman, hedgefund broker, grandmother or life coach. I'm just an agent. My job is to find those writers whose work is already professional and polished so that I can do my best to present that work to an editor at a publishing house in the hopes of helping those writers start a career. Your job is to get your writing - including your query letter - up to that professional and polished level. Before you hit "send".
Okay, taking my curmudgeonly and sick self to bed now.

Monday, March 3, 2008

A lame-ass excuse.

I was going to write up a link round-up but I don't feel well. In fact, I haven't felt very well all day. So, this is my official lame-ass excuse: I'm sick and going to bed early. G'nite!

A wee correction to today's PW announcement.

A friend alerted me to the fact that Publishers Weekly ran a mention about me in their People column today. Unfortunately, they got my background info wrong and I wanted to correct that. I do not have twenty years of publishing experience; I have just over ten.

I have more than twenty years total in the book industry, however, which includes my time as a bookseller and bookstore marketing & events manager. But that's not the same thing.

Just wanted to clarify.

La Gringa welcomes a new client: S.E Ward!

On behalf of FinePrint Literary Management, I am thrilled to be able to welcome debut novelist S.E. (Susan) Ward into the fold as a new client.

Susan's work has appeared in Baen's Universe among others and she has a story forthcoming in City Slab. In 2005, she won first place in the ChiZine Short Story Contest. Susan keeps a blog here, and has a website that talks more about her writing here.

Why did I choose Susan? First, like Kelly Gay, Susan's query letter was nigh unto perfect. Concise but packed with information and a great opening paragraph hook. In short, she knows how to sell herself. Second, the concept behind her novel was truly original, fantastically and beautifully so. In fact, I couldn't stop talking about how original it was to friends and colleagues, so in retrospect, I guess it's a good thing nobody glued my mouth shut, huh?

Anyway, welcome to FinePrint, Susan!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Caught in the act.

For the ten years that Stinkyboy the Cat has lived with me, he has refused to drink water out of a bowl. Ever. For any reason. Upon pain of death. This has led to many a snicker from friends, all of whom inevitably comment upon how well-trained Stinky had me.

I tried everything. I bought one of those fancy drinking fountain thingies with the filter to keep fuzz out of the water. He stuck his paw in it, flicked it around disdainfully, glared at me and walked into the bathroom where he sat on the sink for an hour until I caved. I tried a decorative rock fountain, a suggestion from a friend whose own cat seemed to like hers. He dropped his catnip mouse in it and walked away. A vet suggested putting brightly colored stones at the bottom of the water bowl; he said that sometimes cats have difficulty with depth perception in water and cannot "see" the water in the bowl. Stinky reached in, flipped out two of the stones onto the floor and then proceeded to hockey-puck them around the hardwood floors for the next three hours.

It was hopeless. I resigned myself to 3:00 AM treks to the bathroom to give my cat a drink of water.

Now, weirdly, my friends who have done cat-sitting for me swear that they have seen Stinky drink out of a bowl. I am always astonished to hear this and somewhat skeptical. And then I get anxious. What if Stinky just didn't drink any water while I was out of town? OMG! What if he was destroying his own kidneys out of spite? And then I would leave the water running when I left town. And then my cat-sitters, of course, being sensible people, turned off the faucet and politely waited for my gypsy cab to the airport to depart before making that little swirling finger motion by their temple to indicate my sad-but-amusing breach with feline reality.

Yesterday, as I was getting coffee fixings together in the kitchen, I was vaguely aware of a cat in the room. I say vaguely aware as there was not yet any caffeine in my system and I am akin to the walking dead when I first get out of bed. As the coffee was dripping in the pot, I heard the tell-take slurp of Buddy-Cat drinking out of his big red ceramic water bowl. I turned to him to have one of those pointless one-sided conversations that only the truly insane - or unattached dykes - seem to have with their cats and was shocked to discover that it was in fact STINKYBOY at the bowl! I stood perfectly still and watched him drink water out of a bowl like any normal red-blooded American cat. This went on for a good three minutes.

And then I cleared my throat.

"Ahem." I said.

Stinky stopped drinking and stood absolutely still.

"A-HA!" I declared.

Stinky turned, looked at me, eyes as big as basketballs. I'd caught him in the act. He knew it and I knew it. The jig was up!

...until I found myself crawling out of bed this morning at 3:00 AM to give Stinkyboy a drink of running water from the bathroom faucet.

Oy.