Friday, May 30, 2008

Welcome to the world, Baby Greenleigh!


La Gringa would like to extend a hearty congratulations to good pals Viking Warrior Princess and Hexboy (aka Jen and Evan) on the birth of their first child, Baby Girl Greenleigh Leslie. Baby Greenleigh was slow to exit the confines of Viking Warrior Princess's netherparts, so bribes and negotiations ensued. Finally, after much cajoling, Baby Greenleigh made her grand entrance into this world, sans feather boas or tattoos (sadly, as feather boas and tattoos are her mother's favorite accessories). Baby Greenleigh weighed in at hefty 9 pounds 10 ounces, a true Junior Viking Warrior Princess!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

First official agenty squeeeeeee of joy!

Go congratulate Alan. (You'll have to actually, oh, email him or phone him or something since the comments function on his blog has been broken since way back when Lost was still worth watching....)

=============
Edit to Add: Looks like Alan got his comments working again. :-)

In other news, I'm up on the FinePrint website now!

Go forth and mock the photo. You know you want to.

(PS: Ellen Datlow took the photo last year at Chris Barzak's KGB reading.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Much wisdom from a FinePrint colleague

My colleague June Clark at FinePrint specializes in non-fiction. She is a wonderful agent with a ton of experience. She also has a nifty website where she has a couple of pages of great insight for writers! Those of you who are looking to write non-fiction would do well to go read this and this right now. And those of you who aren't writing non-fiction should still read it, because she answers a lot of questions that beginning authors have about payment and sales.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Why Salman Rushdie wrote a fantasy novel.

From today's Guardian UK:
The Enchantress of Florence, his first truly fantastical work of fiction since Haroun and the Sea of Stories, is the result of this drilling back down into story and fantasy. "We all began as readers with a very fond relationship with the imagination," Rushdie told interviewer Mariella Frostrup. "But what happens as we grow up is we begin to think of that as childish. I've never thought that."

Perhaps he has his eye on JK Rowling's audience now that she is semi-retired. The Enchantress of Florence is filled with bad faeries, imaginary dragons, ogres, sorcerers, witches, an imaginary queen, hexes, and love potions. There's also a princess who travels from east to west and becomes renowned for her capacity to enchant - until she becomes enchanted herself and learns, as Rushdie said, in love "you don't always act in your own self-interest."
More here. (Via my pal Cheryl Morgan)

More agent blogs...

I just keep finding new ones.
Peter Cox of Redhammer Management
Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary
Adrian Weston of Raft PR (a UK agency)
Simon Trewin of United Agents (another UK agency)
Scott Eagan of Greyhaus Literary

Sunday, May 25, 2008

How not to begin a query letter.

What if you opened your email one day and you got a really badly-written query letter? And what if the first paragraph of that query letter was composed entirely of annoying rhetorical questions? And what if those annoying rhetorical questions never actually told you anything about the plot of the proposed novel? And finally, what if, after opening this email, your head actually exploded?

Okay, pay attention: See that paragraph above? See how annoying it is? Don't ever do that in the opening of your query letters.

That is all.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Book Launch 2.0 (Hilarious!)

This is bloody brilliant (and more accurate that you might imagine). This is a writer talking to his editor about the paperback re-release of his book. Enjoy!

Friday, May 23, 2008

A boring update, gratuitous cat stuff and updated
submission guidelines for your reading pleasure!

Those few of you who have been following the exploits of La Gringa and the Furry Machiavellian Persons for the past year or so will note that my sidebar is in a lamentable state of neglect and the links are sadly out-of-date. I plan to address that this weekend. The boys with whom I'm couch-surfing are in Texas (why two gay men would intentionally go to the state of Texas for a vacation is beyond me, but there you have it) so I have access to their G5 all weekend. (Cue evil laughter.)

Note: I also have access to their elderly and exceedingly cranky feline, Flounder. Flounder reminds me a bit of the late great Miss Mona, a dignified and independent old lady. She's half-blind, very vocal and is a frightening four pounds of fangs, fury and furballs. We had breakfast together this morning, then she proceeded to head-butt my right foot for fifteen minutes.

What else? I know I'm missing something.

Oh, yeah! I have updated my submissions guidelines a bit; you might want to pop over there and take a look at them if you haven't read them in a while.

Women writers in SF/F...why aren't they taken seriously?

Great op-ed about this topic in today Guardian UK.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rory Root, rest in peace.

From ICv2 comes this sad news: San Francisco Bay Area comic retailer and all-around incredibly nice guy Rory Root has died. Those of you involved in comics and the graphic novel industry know what a huge loss this is to the community.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Announced genre acquisitions for May 1st through 14th

As promised...
Richard Knaak's DRAGONREALM series, FIREDRAKE, ICE DRAGON, and WOLFHELM, to be published in one omnibus volume, to Marco Palmieri at Pocket, in a nice deal, by Donald Maass of the Donald Maass Literary Agency (World English).

P.N. Elrod's DARK ROAD RISING, a new Vampire Files novel set in 1930s gangland Chicago, to Ginjer Buchanan of Ace, in a nice deal, by Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency. [La Gringa interjects: What a great idea!]

Lucy Snyder's SPELLBENT, the story of a young mage who must face angry wizard councils, demons, and hell itself to rescue her lover and mentor, to Liz Scheier at Del Rey, in a three-book deal, by Robert Fleck at Professional Media Services (World).

Richard Kadrey's SANDMAN SLIM, to Diana Gill at Eos, in a good deal, at auction, in a three-book deal, by Ginger Clark at Curtis Brown (NA).

D.D. Barant's BLOOD OF MONSTERS, featuring an FBI profiler, who's been yanked into an alternate universe where vampires, werewolves, and golems now comprise 99% of the population, to Monique Patterson of St. Martin's, in a nice deal, in a three-book deal, by Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency (world).

Bride of Blackbeard author Brynn Chapman's PROJECT MENDEL, in which two genetic stem cell scientists must flee the war-torn U.S., after their genetic enhancement vaccines cause amazing and horrific side effects in the nation's military children, to Leanne Burroughs at Highland Press, by Lois Bennett.

Susan Krinard and Janet Mullany's BESPELLING JANE, a star-studded anthology featuring the paranormal and Jane Austin created by Susan Krinard and Janet Mullany, headlining Mary Balogh, to Tracy Farrell of HQN, in a good deal, at auction, by Lucienne Diver of Spectrum Literary Agency.

Laurie Notaro's SPOOKY LITTLE GIRL, about a woman who is hit and killed by a bus shortly after being dumped by her fiance, and who returns to wreak havoc on all who have wronged her; and a collection of essays, to Bruce Tracy at Villard, by Jenny Bent at Trident Media Group (world English).

::: young adult :::

Penny Blubaugh's WHEN PUPPETS ARE OUTLAWED, ONLY OUTLAWS WILL HAVE PUPPETS, in which a troupe of puppeteers, including a member of a royal Faerie family and a teenaged runaway, stage elaborate illegal shows blending magic and social commentary, to Jill Santopolo at Laura Geringer Books, by Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agency (world). [La Gringa interjects: I think this may be the best title I've ever heard!]

Dan Elconin's NEVERLAND, a modern and gritty retelling of the story of Peter Pan, where Peter is the antagonist and Hook is a friend to Ricky, to Anica Rissi at Simon Pulse, with Michael del Rosario editing, in a nice deal, for publication in Fall 2009, by Gretchen Stelter at Baker's Mark Literary Agency (World).

Author of Evil Genius and Genius Squad Catherine Jinks's THE REFORMED VAMPRIE SUPPORT GROUP, an irreverent look at the blood-sucking life through the eyes of 15-year-old vampire, Nina Harrison, who's been stuck for 51 years in a support group of hemo-addicts that has never had anything exciting happen to them -- until one of them is murdered with a silver bullet, to Kathy Dawson at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's, for publication in April 2009, followed by The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group in 2010, by Jill Grinberg at Jill Grinberg Literary Management. Film rights are with Jerry Kalajian at IPG.

John Dickinson's THE FATAL CHILD, the final book in the trilogy begun in THE CUP OF THE WORLD, to David Fickling at David Fickling Books, in a very nice deal, by Ginger Clark at Curtis Brown (World English).

Co-author of Baltimore, or, the Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire Christopher Golden's POISON INK, about five very different girls who decide to all get the same unique tattoo to honor their friendship, unaware that there's dark magic in the ink, and dark intentions on the part of the tattoo artist, to Stephanie Lane at Delacorte.

NYT bestselling author of Frostbite Richelle Mead's untitled fourth and fifth novels in the VAMPIRE ACADEMY series, about two best friends at a secret boarding school for vampire royalty, to Jessica Rothenberg at Razorbill, by Jim McCarthy at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (World English).

Announced genre acquisitions for April

Okay, I've been very remiss in my duties here at The Swivet. I just realized that it has been six whole weeks since I did a round-up of genre acquisitions and rights sales. Yipes! When I fail, I fail spectacularly. (Ask anyone!)

So, here is a belated round-up of the past month's genre sales. I'll do a separate round-up of what's been acquired in May, and - if I'm not too tired - a third post for rights sales.

Okay, here we go:
Warren Fahy's FRAGMENT, about a reality TV show that lands on an unexplored island only to discover the first cataclysmic invasion of Earth may not come from outside our planet, but from within, to Kate Miciak at Bantam Dell, in a major deal, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, by Peter McGuigan of Foundry Literary + Media.

Ann Aguirre's two next installments in the Sirantha Jax series, again to Anne Sowards at Ace, in a nice deal, by Laura Bradford at Bradford Literary Agency.

Diana Rowland's MARK OF THE DEMON, about cops, demons, and a homicide detective whose supernatural powers get her caught between them, to Anne Groell at Bantam Dell, in a two-book deal, by Matt Bialer at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates (World).

Retrievers series author Laura Anne Gilman's VINESPELL, the first in the Vineart Wars, in which magic is the province of winemakers and a young apprentice must save the world, to Jennifer Heddle at Pocket, in a very nice deal, in a three-book deal, for publication in Fall 2009, by Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Literary Agency (World English).

Lisa Renee Jones's BLACK TIGER RISING, about a chosen Guardian against evil and a lethally charming shape-shifter who is heir to the Black Tiger throne, to Paula Guran at Juno, for publication in October 2009 (World).

Lori Devoti's next three books, continuing her "Unbound" series of witches, hellhounds, and Norse mythology, to Tara Gavin at Silhouette Nocturne, by Holly Root at Waxman Literary Agency (World).

HALTING STATE author Charles Stross's 419, in which the Scottish police investigation of a serial killer who targets spammers uncovers a massive international "blacknet" conspiracy; ROGUE FARM, a short story collection; and THE FULLER MEMORANDUM, the third book in the Laundry supernatural thriller series, to Ginjer Buchanan at Ace, in a good deal, for publication in July 2010, by Caitlin Blasdell at Liza Dawson Associates (NA).

NYT bestselling author Allison Brennan's new paranormal series based on the Seven Deadly Sins, to Kate Collins at Ballantine, in a major deal, in a three-book deal, by Kimberly Whalen at Trident Media Group (NA).

M. M. Buckner's GRAVITY PILOT, in which an extreme skydiver becomes the new Orpheus when he descends into a dark addictive wikiverse to rescue his entranced girlfriend, to David Hartwell of Tor, by Richard Curtis of Richard Curtis Associates (NA).

Demonkeeper and Goblins author Royce Buckingham's SCARY MONSTERS, to John Rudolph at Putnam, by Ken Atchity at AEI Literary Management.

Michael Flynn's UP JIM RIVER, two more novels in Michael Flynn's new science fiction series that began with THE JANUARY DANCER, to David Hartwell at Tor, in a two-book deal, by Eleanor Wood at Spectrum Literary Agency (NA).

Kristin Landon's sequel to The Cold Minds and The Hidden Worlds, in which two people return to Earth's solar system to find the remnants of humanity -- and the secrets behind the power of the Cold Minds, to Anne Sowards at Ace, in a nice deal, by Donald Maass of the Donald Maass Literary Agency (NA).

John Grant's LEAVING FORTUSA, to Vera Nazarian at Norilana Books, for publication in October 2008, by Pamela Scoville at Pamela D. Scoville Literary Agency.

Linda Robertson's VICIOUS CIRCLE, about a modern-day witch who takes on a contract to assassinate a murderous vampire while dealing with a budding romance with a rock'n'roll musician werewolf, to Paula Guran at Juno, in a nice deal, for publication in March 2009 (World).

Karl Alexander's JACLYN THE RIPPER, a sequel to the author's Time After Time, and the reprint of TIME AFTER TIME, to Jim Frenkel at Tor, in a very nice deal, for publication in January 2009, by John Bennett at Indiscretion Films (NA).

Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's JESSICA OF DUNE, IRULAN OF DUNE, and LETO OF DUNE, three sequels to Frank Herbert's DUNE, on behalf of the Frank Herbert Estate, to Tom Doherty and Pat LoBrutto at Tor, in a major deal, by John Silbersack at Trident Media Group (NA). Additionally, the authors' HELLHOLE trilogy, to Tom Doherty at Tor, in a major deal, by John Silbersack at Trident Media Group (NA).

Margaret Leroy's COLDHARBOUR, a paranormal murder mystery about a single mother and her troubled four-year-old daughter, to Sarah Crichton at Farrar, Straus, for publication in 2009, by Kathleen Anderson at Anderson Literary Management (NA).

Michele Lang's LADY LAZARUS, the first book in a historical fantasy trilogy set on the eve of World War II, in which a hereditary witch with the power to call souls fights to avert the horrors of her sister's visions; pitted against her are SS werewolves, wizards, and demons, including the one who has possessed a willing Adolf Hitler, to James Frenkel of Tor, in a very nice deal, by Lucienne Diver of Spectrum Literary Agency (world).

William Sanders's EAST OF THE SUN AND WEST OF FORT SMITH, a short fiction collection which combines in one volume all of the author's previously collected short work in addition to several previously unseen originals, to Vera Nazarian at Norilana Books, for publication in September 2008.

Mark Kneece's ROD SERLING'S THE TWILIGHT ZONE, graphic novel series, an 8-book series of graphic novels based on the original television scripts, to Emily Easton at Walker, in a good deal, for publication in 2008, 2009, by Anna Marlis Burgard at Savannah College of Art and Design (World).

Lori Devoti's AMAZON INK, about a modern-day family of Amazon women who've left their tribe to live among normal humans and run a tattoo parlor, until a murdered teenage Amazon left on their doorstep forces them to once again make contact with the Amazon tribe they left behind, to Paula Guran at Juno, by Holly Root at Waxman Literary Agency (World English).

Two novels by longtime fantasy novelist Richard Knaak, a new title tying into the electronic game WarCraft, plus a second novel tying into the game Diablo, to Marco Palmieri at Pocket, in a nice deal, by Donald Maass at the Donald Maass Literary Agency (world).

Jeff Carlson's third novel, MIND PLAGUE, a sequel to his first two science fiction thrillers, PLAGUE YEAR and PLAGUE WAR, to Anne Sowards at Ace, in a nice deal, for North American rights, by Donald Maass at the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

Cynthia Eden's next three paranormal suspense novels, again to Megan Records at Kensington Brava, in a nice deal, by Laura Bradford at Bradford Literary Agency.

Anne Bishop's untitled sequel to the forthcoming Shadow Queen, in the same setting as the author's Black Jewels trilogy, plus an untitled collection of Black Jewels stories and a fantasy novel, to Anne Sowards at Roc, in a good deal, for publication in March 2010, by Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Literary Agency (World English)

::: young adult :::

THE WARRIOR HEIR author Cinda Williams Chima's DEMON KING trilogy, following the intertwining fates of a peasant boy and a princess as they uncover secrets of their pasts and fates in a kingdom at war, to Arianne Lewin at Hyperion, in a significant deal, for publication in Fall 2009, by Christopher Schelling at Ralph M. Vicinanza (World English).

Maggie Steifvater's BALLAD, the sequel to Lament, in which a gifted teen at a music boarding school draws the attention of a dark faerie muse who strikes a Faustian bargain with her victims, and, when Halloween descends, he must choose between his long time friend/crush and the dark faerie herself, to Andrew Karre at Flux, by Laura Rennert at Andrea Brown Literary Agency (World).

Author of Airball, Lisa Harkrader's AFTERLIFE, about a seventeen-year-old whose psychic flashes lead her to investigate a mystery that could destroy her dreams of a future as a crime scene investigator, to Nina Hess at Mirrorstone, in a nice deal, for publication in May 2009 (World English).

NYU creative writing MFA student Lauren Oliver's YA debut, IF I SHOULD FALL, about a girl who relives the day of her death seven times until she discovers that the life she needed to save was not her own, to Brenda Bowen at Bowen Press/Harper, in a significant deal, in a pre-empt, for two books, by Stephen Barbara at the Donald Maass Literary Agency (NA).

Carolyn MacCullough's ONCE A WITCH, about a teenage girl who feels alienated from her family of witches since she herself has no power, or so she thinks, until a handsome stranger, a dangerous love spell, and a treasure hunt through time prove otherwise, to Jennifer Wingertzahn at Clarion, in a very nice deal, in a two-book deal, for publication in Fall 2009, by Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Trident Media Group (NA).

Temple Matthews's THE NEW KID, the first title in The New Kid series, pitched as Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Supernatural, to Glenn Yeffeth at BenBella Books, for publication in January 2009, by Patrick Hughes at Hughes Capital Entertainment (World).

Mother-Daughter team Shirley Jump and Amanda Jump, writing as AJ Whitten's THE WELL, a Shakespearean-based horror series, the first about a teen-aged boy who must find a way to survive as his mother repeatedly tries to kill him, to Julie Tibbett at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, in a nice deal, in two-book deal, by Pamela Harty at The Knight Agency.

Linda Gerber's CHARLATANS, the story of two sisters' journey as they discover their sideshow trance-writing act has deadly consequences, especially when the premonitions start to come true, to Angelle Pilkington at Puffin, in a nice deal, by Elaine Spencer of The Knight Agency.

LIGHT YEARS author Tammar Stein's KINDRED, the story of an agnostic, irreligious college student and the visiting angel that overturns her life and divides her family, staying with Erin Clarke at Knopf, by Stephen Barbara of the Donald Maass Literary Agency (NA).

Rachel Vincent's MY SOUL TO TAKE, featuring cute boys, dead girls, and the urge to scream, as a high school junior is sure she's losing her mind until she discovers she's a perfectly sane teenage banshee, now she just has to figure out who's killing the girls, to Mary-Theresa Hussey at Mira, plus two sequels, in a good deal, for publication in late 2009, by Miriam Kriss at Irene Goodman Agency (world).

FinePrint Literary welcomes a new client:
Michael Jasper

On behalf of FinePrint Literary Management, I am thrilled to be able to welcome novelist Michael Jasper into the fold as a new client.

Michael is a seasoned writer with several published novels already under his belt, including the recent - and critically-acclaimed - Wannoshay Cycle, as well as two forthcoming titles, A Gathering of Doorways (due 9/08) and Maps and Legends (due in 2009), both being published by Prime Books. You can read more about Michael at his website or on his blog.

For those of you out there who are always looking to learn more about how publishing and agenting works, here's a piece of info for you: Michael did not come to me via a standard query letter. Instead, Michael came to me as a referral from another fine writer, Ekaterina Sedia, author of The Secret History of Moscow. (Thanks, Kat!)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Where are all the books for grown-ups???

Just a thought:

Of all the queries I've read in the past week or so, the vast majority of them were for young adult fantasy. I love young adult, but it's certainly not the only thing I want to represent nor is the marketplace big enough for me to only do YA.

Send me some book ideas for grown-ups, please! Genre, non-genre, thriller, literary fiction, women's fiction, dragon steampunk: it doesn't matter. Just make sure that both your query and your writing are polished and that your storytelling is flat out amazing.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Wishful thinking, or query marathon over!

Well, I didn't quite make it to every query submitted prior to April 15th. But I did end up reading well over 200 queries this weekend. The rest will have to wait until after next weekend, as I'm going to focus on partials and manuscripts this week.

Patience, gang. There are only so many hours in a day and reading queries isn't the only thing I do.

What I did want to point out is this: of the 200+ queries I read this weekend, more than half of them bore no resemblance to an actual query letter. Meaning that it was apparent to me that little or no thought had gone into writing them. A fair number of them began with "Dear Sir or Madame". And three of them were simply letters telling me how totally awesome the writer's book was and could I please write back and tell them how to submit a query? (Dude, if you can't be bothered to Google me and find my submission guidelines, you really don't deserve a response.)

Sigh.

However, while I often share agent Nathan Bransford's dismay at the state of dreadful query letters I've been receiving, I do want to thank those of you who not only put real thought into writing your queries and pitches, but actually made a genuine effort to research my submission guidelines and personalize your query letters a little, too.

Maybe you think I don't notice. I do. Even if you received a rejection from me, I did notice all the effort that went into your query. And ultimately that effort is what will help you finally land the right agent for your project.

Okay, I need chocolate now. And I have to (shudder!) iron a pair of slacks for a meeting tomorrow. God help me, this is job forces me to iron! Whiskey tango foxtrot??? There oughta be a law...grumble grumble...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I think I just broke my own record for number of queries read in one sitting.

Seriously? I think I've just burned out my retinas. (Owwwwww.)
Queries read between noon and 6:20 PM EST: 93
Queries left in my inbox that still need to be read: 623
For those of you wondering, that would be 4.08 minutes per query. Not bad. If I continue to read at that speed (which I probably won't but what the heck, let's pretend), that means it would take me just over 42 straight hours to read the remaining queries.
::: blink blink :::
Of course, queries are not the only thing I have to read as an agent, so I won't actually have 42 straight hours to devote to this anytime soon. But I thought the numbers were impressive and wanted to share.

Back to the computer while I await the arrival of the esteemed Mr. Mumpsimus for dinner. (Yes, I actually tricked him into coming all the way into Brooklyn to have dinner with me and the boys. God, I'm good!)

Getting caught up. (Finally!)

Okay, okay, okay! Bad La Gringa! No cookie for me!

I've gotten ridiculously behind in responding to queries and partials and I still have a couple of fulls that I need to follow up with. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

But now that the moving craziness is behind me and I'm sort of settled in my temporary digs, it's time to get caught up on everything. So, this weekend I will endeavor to get through the majority of my backed-up queries, and I will try to get back to everyone on partials and manuscripts submitted through April 15 by the end of this coming weekend. (To re-cap: queries by the end of this weekend, partials & manuscripts by the end of next weekend.)

And, because you guys seem to like this stuff:
Queries read this week (from 5/4 through last night at midnight): 146
Manuscripts requested: 2 (YA and literary fiction - yeah, I know, I know, but I tend to dream big!)
Partials requested: 3 (Urban fantasy, epic fantasy and commercial fiction)
Number of times a young boy coming-of-age discovers he has superpowers in the above queries: 13
Number of Star Trek queries submitted: 2
And now back to work...

More on understanding racism and the
experience of Other

If you've been anywhere near a computer these past few days and you are in any way associated with the SF/F online community, you're probably aware of the discussion (kerfluffle, flame war, debate - intelligent or otherwise, finger pointing, and name calling) that has been taking place over this story at Fantasy Magazine. Take the time to read through the comments thread there so you can fully appreciate the extent to which some people's buttons were pushed.

Various folks have been writing commentary on the story itself - is it racist or isn't it? (personally, I think it is, but that it was wholly unintentional - which doesn't excuse it, however), as well as the way people handled their own reactions to the story. 

Writer Kelley Eskridge has written what is probably the most level-headed commentary I've seen so far on the whole situation. You really should go read it right now.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Steampunk is fashionable. Who knew?
(We did.)

Great piece in today's NYT about the steampunk culture (not just the writing subgenre). Some great mentions of the writing genre that started it all, however.
Devotees of the culture read Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, as well as more recent speculative fiction by William Gibson, James P. Blaylock and Paul Di Filippo, the author of “The Steampunk Trilogy,” the historical science fiction novellas that lent the culture its name. They watch films like “The City of Lost Children” (with costumes designed by Jean Paul Gaultier), “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” and “Brazil,” Terry Gilliam’s dystopian fantasy satirizing the modern industrial age; and they listen to melodeons and Gypsy strings mixed with industrial goth.
More here.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

When does your fan-fic become copyright infringement?

When you make an entire novel out of it and then ask me to represent it to a publisher.

I just received a query from someone wanting to write a novel set in the world of a very popular science fiction franchise, one that currently enjoys a booming (and legit) business through a major New York publisher by licensing that publisher the rights to use the characters and world. (No, it was not a Star Wars novel, but you're getting warm. Think another long-running series that begins with the letter S and has about a billion books associated with it. Also, bald captain. Thinking...Thinking... Ha! Got it? Good.)

Here's a piece of advice for you would-be-writers: Do not EVER - under any circumstances - send an agent a query for a novel based on someone else's characters or world. Just don't.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

It is Mom Gringa's birthday today (yes, her birthday is on Cinco de Mayo - I don't think my grandmother planned that, by the way) so I want to embarrass her mightily by wishing her a very Happy Birthday on this here blog. (Hopefully she is not yet sorry that she spawned me, but, well, the century is still young.)

Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you!

xoxox,

La Gringa

Orbit hiring a new SF/F editor

If you're an editorial assistant or assistant editor looking to work in the SF/F field, Orbit is hiring for a full editor position. Details here.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Lessons in how to never get an agent:
Part One - Hate Mail

A colleague of mine, also an agent, recently received the following missive in his/her email box after rejecting a would-be writer's submission. I read the rejection. It was polite and concise and offered nothing that could possibly be construed as a value judgement. What s/he received in response was totally unprofessional and - quite honestly? - uncalled for. I asked my colleague for permission to post a portion of this letter, with the obvious identifiers removed, so that you can understand what some agents have to deal with when they reject a query. This particular rejection was sent in response to a query whose writer had obviously not taken the time to research my colleague's submission requirements.
Dear [agent's name]

MY NAME IS [author's name removed].

This is NOT a form letter. Your reply is rather generic and offers no insight as to what you want. Unless you had ESP there is now way to know what my material is about.

IF you judge talent on a one page query letter I'm sure you have MISSED a lot in life, especially up and coming writers who need a damn break. [La Gringa notes here: this particular agent asks for a writing sample in addition to a query, something this writer had failed to provide.]

If Spielberg, Poe, or another great came to you would you blow them off too? Without knowing what geniuses they are? IF SO; I'm surprised there are any writers at all with your agency. Are they related to you?

I get the feeling you don't know talent when it stares you in the face or emails a one page query letter. If you base all your judgements on a one minute note, you are either psychic or don't have a clue that there is much more to this world than your office or small stable of writers who somehow bribed cajoled or kissed someone's ass to get there.

I'm not willing to cajole, I haven't the money to bribe, but I certainly kissed a lot of ass in the [xxxxxx] business for over 40 years but ran my OWN label and Production Company to cut out the non believing assholes.

Here's what you missed by overlooking my talent. IF you take the time to read this list you will see that I am not just another idiot looking for a deal.
The letter continues on in this vein for approximately fourteen more paragraphs, whereupon the writer lists every single (unsold) project that s/he ever wrote. Then, it continues (the all-caps, by the way, are the writer's.):
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MAKE A PERSONAL MARK ON THE LITERARY WORLD OR MUSIC INDUSTRY?

Can you write, paint, play an instrument, or compose music? If not, is that why you became an agent? If not, how can you judge another person's work if you don't have the talent to do it yourself? Is that the power derived from being a watcher and not a doer, a tight hand on the purse strings? IF you have written a thing I will look it up and read it so I know where your talent lies. I'm looking for a brave, fresh, innovative visionary who can actually realize the money to be made form a talented script such as myself. Seen a film lately? Hollywood is boring audiences to death with remake after remake. Play it safe, represent the same old BS.
Those among you who are writers may wonder why it is that many agents these days choose only to reply to those queries in which they are actually interested. The above letter would be that reason.

If you get a rejection, don't blow your top, lose your temper or otherwise behave like an asshole. Remember: A rejection isn't a value judgement on you or your work. It is simply an agent telling you that your particular manuscript wasn't right for that particular agent. Period. End of story. Accept it gracefully and move on.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

La Gringa is interviewed; hilarity ensues!

Popping in quickly on someone else's borrowed laptop (I haven't unpacked mine yet) to post this:

I was recently interviewed by Maria Zannini for the May newsletter of the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror. You can read the full interview here. (Scroll down toward the bottom.)


I am now going to take a shower as I am completely covered in grime, dust and packing tape fragments. Feh! But the apartment is sparkling clean and the Victor the Super now has my keys. And my ladder. And my air conditioner. And a bitchin' set of Hold Everything kitchen shelves...