Sunday, August 31, 2008

An apology to some of you who sent queries in March and late June:

As many of you may know, I use Gmail to collect my agency email. This has worked most of the time. Gmail has great functionality and a lot of customizable filter options. But it does have a few weird quirks and last week I discovered a new one. Apparently, for some unknown reason, Gmail will occasionally store unread mail in an invisible folder. The mail exists and it isn't in the spam folder, but you still can't see it. However, if you do a search under "show search options" and ask Gmail to show only unread mail, it will bring up this hidden mail. You can then move it into your inbox to read it.

So on a whim I tried this last Monday...and was horrified to discover nearly 150 unread queries, most of them from a specific two week period in late June/early July and the rest from the last week of March.

Ahem.

YIKES!

I am so sorry! I've been responding to these queries as fast as I can (mostly with a big fat apology email) and will get through the rest of them by the end of the weekend. But please feel free to re-query me if you want; I know that some of you may have changed your query by now or revised the first few pages. Now's your chance to re-send; no harm, no foul.

Anyway, just wanted to let y'all know what was going on. Ducking my head back down in embarrassment now to finish catching up on queries and older partials. (And yes, now I run that special Gmail search at the end of every day, thank you very much!)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Planet of the Cats.

This long weekend I'm busy catching up on all queries and partials from prior to August 15th so in lieu of actual content, you get this. If you're an animal person, this video is guaranteed to warm the cockles of your heart. (Whatever those are.) If you're allergic to cats, however, this video may just kill you dead. So don't watch it.



Need more kitty goodness? Visit the official website for The Cat House on the Kings, the shelter featured in the video.

Just in case you missed Barack Obama's speech
on Thursday night

The most important thing to remember
about Sarah Palin...

...is ya' just know Tina Fey is gonna rock this on SNL.



(Kinda freaky, ain't it?)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Del Martin, pioneering LGBT activist, dead at 87.


Coming to terms with one's sexual identity can often be confusing as hell. When I was twenty years old and starting to struggle with my own sexual identity - indeed, it would be several more years at least before I would feel comfortable enough to embrace it fully - there were two books that changed my life, two books that really helped clarify things for me, gave me reassurance that I wasn't the only woman who'd ever had the kinds of feelings I'd been experiencing, and that it was really okay. The first book was Annie On My Mind, the now-classic YA novel by Nancy Garden. The second was the groundbreaking collection of essays Lesbian/Woman by San Francisco-based lesbian activists - and life partners - Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, a book that Publishers Weekly in 1992 named one of the twenty most influential women's books of the past twenty years.

Del Martin passed away this afternoon, after having spent more than half a century as an activist on behalf of the LGBT community. She is survived by her partner of fifty-eight years, Phyllis Lyon, who continues the fight against legalized homophobia .

The photograph below was taken on June 16 of this year, when they became the first same-sex couple to be legally married in the state of California. This coming October, I'll be flying back to San Francisco to attend the wedding of my little brother Craig and his longtime partner Jack, a wedding that would not have been possible without the work of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon.

If you'd like to honor honor Del Martin's life, her family has suggested that donations be made through the National Center for Lesbian Rights to the No On 8 PAC campaign, to help defeat the California marriage ban.

Rest in peace, Del. You are already missed.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Excellent interview w/ legendary literary agent Molly Friedrich

Poets & Writers Magazine has a very lengthy interview with legendary literary agent Molly Friedrich. It's a five-page interview but well worth reading in its entirely, really thoughtful and filled with great advice. (While you're there, go through and take the time to read all of the agent and editor interviews in the right-hand sidebar.)

A refresher on word counts...

Recently I've been noticing that the word counts included in the queries I've been receiving have started to get progressively higher again, particularly for YA. Many of the query writers included Stephanie Meyers or JK Rowling as an example of why it's acceptable to have a YA word count that is north of 160k.

Now, I've said this before but I'll say it one more time: Often the first book in a successful series has a considerably shorter word count than the subsequent volumes in that series. So if you're querying for something that you'd like to develop into a series, the first book at the very least had better not be a door-stopper.

And just for the record, the word count for Twilight, the first of the Stephanie Meyers YA vampire books, was approximately 115k. That's a bit high but not outrageous. The word count for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was approximately 77k, which is right in line with word count guidelines for upper middle-grade and YA fiction.

Here's a link back to an earlier post about rule-of-thumb word counts for various fiction genres; hopefully it'll be helpful to some of you who may be struggling with this issue.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Best comic book reviews EV-AH!

Forget de-constructing comics! Who needs critical theory when you can get the unbridled enthusiasm of a seven-year old comic book geek!

Meet seven-year old Liam, the nephew of my pal Darth Duff (also a geek, but I'm guessing his fake Internet name gave that away). Liam is an avid comic book fan and has his very own awesome comic book reviewing blog called The Kid's Comic Book Reviews.

And Liam's one helluva reviewer, always cutting to the meat of the story. Consider this thoughtful snippet from his review of The Amazing Spider-Man #566: "It was weird that Peter stands on the ceiling when he’s at home and talks to himself." (Well, it really is weird when Peter Parker does that. Let's get real here.)

Liam is also an ardent feminist, as evidenced by this excerpt of his review of Venom, Dark Origins #1, wherein he takes Eddie to task for his treatment of the woman in his life: "I can’t believe that he told the gang of bad guys to just take the girl he liked. First he liked her and then he didn’t. He was a big chicken to just tell the bad guys to take her and not beat him up." (I couldn't agree more, Liam.)

Occasionally Liam is also joined in his reviewing by his younger brother Ethan and you'll get enlightening Ebert & Roeper-esque exchanges like this one:
Ethan: "This book was so funny. The little superheroes were so cute. I love baby Mr. Freeze."

Liam: "Yeah, little Mr. Freeze was so funny. He’s holding a gun filled with ice cream. I like that at the end all these little tiny bad guys show up."

Ethan: "I like baby Joker and baby Croc. They look funny."

Liam: "They were all real funny. Even Two-Face. It looks like he has gum all over half of his face."
So, if you're looking for an excellent new comic book blog, I say go bookmark The Kid's Comic Book Reviews!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The new & improved bad haircut.

My recent hair history: Had a buzz cut. Buzz cut starts growing out. Comes perilously close to becoming a pre-mullet. Desperate measures are called for. Tragic haircut ensues.

La Gringa now bears an eerie resemblance to Dennis the Menace.

Note to self: Crazy Russian barber across from Grand Central Terminal? Bad idea.

"Bill had been reading Jean Paul Sartre and it was beginning to get to him."

Via No Home-Like Place, one of the funniest things I've seen online in weeks.

Bill the Monkey vs. Existentialism.

Penguin Books to launch a dating website for readers.

And speaking of publishers embracing Web 2.0...

"The pro-Obama Dungeons & Dragons crowd"

The Wired magazine blog has a hilarious response to the McCain campaign's labeling of all Barack Obama supporters as Dungeons & Dragons players. (Really? RPG players? Not Xbox or Wii afficianados? Really???)

So Wired asked its readers this crucial question: If John McCain were a D&D character, what kind would he be? Needless to say, the D20 gang has been having a wicked good time over there in the comments field. Go check it out. (Thanks for the heads up, Ranger Ted!)

Michael Chabon on making the literary world safe for genre fiction.

Excellent LA Times interview with Michael Chabon on making the literary world safe for genre fiction and expanding the idea of what a serious work of fiction can be.

What publishers can learn from Web 2.0

Via Publishers Marketplace, a link to this thoughtful post by BusinessWeek reporter Sarah Lacey on how publishers can learn from Web 2.0 and social networking technologies.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why I love Andrew Wheeler.

Because behind all that snark is a smart, smart man. (And funny, too.)

Changing the field of SF publishing?

John DeNardo recently asked me to contribute a response to a new Mind Meld question for SF Signal. This week's question was: If you could change any aspect of the science fiction field, what would it be? Click here to see all the responses.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Live in NYC? Meet Jeff Somers Wednesday night at the KGB Bar!

Hey skiffy fans! If you're in the NYC area, here's something wonderful to do tomorrow evening: One of my FinePrint colleague's (the inimitable Janet Reid) extraordinary clients - Jeff Somers! - is reading at tomorrow night's Fantastic Fiction salon at the KGB Bar. He'll be reading with another powerhouse writer, Hugo& Nebula winner James Patrick Kelly. You don't want to miss this one, gang!

KGB Bar is located at 85 East 4th Street. The reading starts at 7:00, but the place is fairly small and these guys will certainly draw a crowd, so get there right around 6:30 to grab a seat.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

"Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?"

What happens when the entire Verizon network actually does show up on your doorstep when you're trying to make a phone call? Well, this happens. Hilarious! (via genderwarrior)


http://view.break.com/537412 - Watch more free videos

A note on sending me queries

(Yes, I'm writing this at 1:00 AM. I've had a lot of coffee today.)

I'm getting an awful lot of queries from folks who start off by saying something along the lines of "I'm an avid reader of your blog..." These query writers then go on to demonstrate that they haven't actually read the most important part of my blog: my submission guidelines. And in every other place online where you may find my name listed as literary agent, you'll also find those very same submission guidelines posted, submission guidelines that ask for the first five or six pages of your manuscript cut and pasted into the body of your email query.

I ask for the first few pages of your manuscript for a really good reason: I want to see a sample of your writing. When you send me a query that doesn't include a sample of your writing, you're wasting my time and doing yourself a great disservice.

It doesn't matter which agent you decide to query; you should always take the time to research that agent's submission guidelines first.

We all have a limited amount of time that we can spend on each query letter; make that time count for something when we're reading yours, okay?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Milo the Puggle Who Hates Me and Other Observations About The New 'Hood

So I've officially been in my new place for an entire week now and I've got a couple of brief observations about the new neighborhood so far:
::: Milo, The Puggle Who Hates Me: I live in the top floor of one of the typical fairly ugly two-story brick row houses that seem to make up 85% of the borough of Queens. I have a big porch and a stoop, something I still get excited about every morning when I walk out the door. However, next door to me, in the row house directly to the right, lives Milo the Puggle. And Milo hates me. He has taken a particular dislike to me for reasons that I can't comprehend because, really? Who knows what goes on inside the head of a Puggle. (For one things, they're called Puggles, which probably really pisses them off.) Whenever Milo sees me he erupts into the most spastic, spittle-spewing, Puggle-shaking volley of hysterical barking that ever came forth from an animal that stands only eighteen inches tall. It is a bark of pure, unadulterated hatred and it is directed only at me. He doesn't bark at anyone else. No, there is something about me that sets him off. Maybe it's my overall lack of fashion sense. Maybe it's my bad haircut. Maybe it's the fact that he knows that I mock the name "Puggle". Who knows? But I suspect that Milo and I will never become buddies.

::: Cricket: You know that you're in a totally alien environment when the neighborhood kids knocking around balls on the street are knocking those balls around with cricket bats. My old neighborhood (Astoria) was a neighborhood filled with mostly Greek, Egyptian, Russian and Dominican families. The kids in the neighborhood played basketball and baseball and sometimes touch football. But the new neighborhood (near Jackson Heights) is comprised of mostly Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi families. And a lot of the kid play cricket in the street. It's very cool!

::: Giant Supermarkets That Don't Really Stock Anything: In Astoria, there are a lot of small supermarkets that nevertheless manage to carry a huge variety of ethnic and organic foods. In the new neighborhood, we have a Waldbaums. Waldbaums is an enormous store, roughly the size of an aircraft carrier. I haven't seen a grocery store this big since I last visited my brother and his family in Georgia and had to choose between a Kroegers, a Publix, a Super Target and a Wal-Mart all on one strip mall. That's an overwhelming amount of choice for someone used to the cramped aisles of a Trade Fair or a C-Town. It inspires a freakish sort of specialized agoraphobia. (Is there a name for fear of wide open spaces in supermarkets?) Yet despite the enormous size of the store and quite unlike Kroegers or Public, Waldbaums doesn't actually stock much variety of anything. Not a lot of ethnic food, almost no organic or natural foods and - dammit! - no Kashi Bars! (I live on Kashi Bars.) I'm jonesing for a decent organic or natural foods store (where will I buy my Dr. Bronner's?!) so if you know of one in the Jackson Heights/East Elmhurst area, please drop me a line.

::: Stealth Big Box Retailers: This is the kind of neighborhood where you walk down the street for blocks and see nothing but row houses and more row houses and then - WHAM! - a stealth Home Depot jumps out at you, right next to the stealth Bed, Bath & Beyond. And next to them? A bodega. Then more row houses. It's as though urban planners had temporarily lost their minds when they put together the plans for this neighborhood.

::: The Staples: Thankfully this neighborhood does have the three essential things that any good New York City neighborhood needs: a laundromat, a bodega and an Irish pub (which is where my new roommate and I had breakfast this morning), all within a block of my apartment. There's also a decent Greek place, an absolutely amazing patisserie called Canelle's (which looks so weirdly out of place within the strip mall that I always do a double-take when I happen upon it), a post office and a branch of my bank (yay!).
So far, so good. That's all you get right now. More as I explore the area further.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tornado warning in NYC.

Um, okay, then. Tornado warnings. In Manhattan and the Bronx. Just thought I'd throw that out there. Cos from my office window? It looks like the Apocalypse is heading for midtown in about five minutes.

Here's what we received a little while ago:
* TORNADO WARNING FOR... NEW YORK (MANHATTAN) COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST NEW YORK... BRONX COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST NEW YORK... EASTERN BERGEN COUNTY IN NORTHEAST NEW JERSEY...

* UNTIL 545 PM EDT...

* AT 515 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO NEAR ENGLEWOOD... OR NEAR BERGENFIELD...MOVING EAST AT 19 MPH.

* THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR... RIVERDALE BY 525 PM... EAST TREMONT BY 530 PM... CO-OP CITY AND CITY ISLAND BY 540 PM...

IN ADDITION TO THE TORNADO...THIS STORM IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE HAIL AND DESTRUCTIVE STRAIGHT LINE WINDS.

THE SAFEST PLACE TO BE DURING A TORNADO IS IN A BASEMENT. GET UNDER A WORKBENCH OR OTHER PIECE OF STURDY FURNITURE. IF NO BASEMENT IS AVAILABLE...SEEK SHELTER ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF THE BUILDING IN AN INTERIOR HALLWAY OR ROOM SUCH AS A CLOSET. USE BLANKETS OR PILLOWS TO COVER YOUR BODY AND ALWAYS STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS.

IF IN MOBILE HOMES OR VEHICLES... EVACUATE THEM AND GET INSIDE A SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER. IF NO SHELTER IS AVAILABLE...LIE FLAT IN THE NEAREST DITCH OR OTHER LOW SPOT AND COVER YOUR HEAD WITH YOUR HANDS.

LAT...LON 4094 7404 4097 7390 4093 7390 4091 7386 4091 7384 4089 7383 4089 7379 4086 7379 4086 7380 4083 7379 4083 7406 TIME...MOT... LOC 2116Z 268DEG 16KT 4090 7396
Not such thing as global warming, he says. All made up by them damned liberals, he says. The environment is fine, he says. Mutter mutter mutter...

For the knitters among you: Knit your own Anne Boleyn. With, um, detachable head.

Via Ellen Kushner. I know at least two people who are going to want to try to knit this damned thing.

::: head desk :::

What's in a book title?

A lot of blood, sweat and tears, apparently. Del Rey Editor-in-Chief Betsy Mitchell writes about the difficulty of coming up with the perfect book title. Good stuff!

Fantasy writer Dave Keck discusses the crucial importance of wolf dung in Chinese martial history.

No, I'm not making this up. (And if you read his hilarious LiveJournal more often, you'll learn all sorts of odd but fascinating history facts like this.)

Book publishing accounting: Some basic concepts

Via my colleague Peter Rubie, this link to an article on the AAUP (Association of American University Presses) wiki that provides an excellent breakdown of the convoluted economics of the book industry.

More on the cancellation of The Jewel of Medina

My colleague at FinePrint, Peter Rubie, has some definite opinions about Random House's cancellation of Sherry Jones's The Jewel of Medina.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

LOLympics?


Okay, I just laughed so hard I nearly snorted a peanut butter sandwich out my nose. Seriously. More silliness here.

Funniest response so far to Orson Scott Card's nutty rant against gay marriage.

This essay by Michael Swain is not only the best response I've seen to the whole OSC homophobia brou-ha-ha, it is by far the funniest thing I've read in weeks.

Some choice excerpts:
And really, what the hell does it matter to you if two hot lesbians want to settle down and be respectable (which isn’t the way I like my hot lesbians either, believe me)? Until such a time as they bring down your property values with raging lesbian drug orgies, you’ve got nothing legitimate to complain about, and even then, I’ll trade houses with you.
and this...
Clearly you have taken it upon yourself to prioritize certain portions of the Bible. I am forced to ask then, why in the world would you choose to prioritize the relatively tiny portion about hating and oppressing your fellow men and women, instead of giving precedence to the mountain of passages espousing the virtues of love and compassion for all of God’s children? Or at least the hilarious parts about people having sex with gold statues (Ezekiel 16:17 NIV)?

What would Jesus do? If you can answer that question with anything other than “shower the world with endless love and understanding, then flip a wicked ollie on a flaming skateboard,” then you and I have a very different understanding of the man.
Just go read the whole thing. (Via Kameron Hurley)

Nicola Griffith on the science of reading fiction...

Or, why reading made-up stuff is good for you. Very thoughtful post. (Just be careful. She's totally got it in for your mirror neurons.)

Jeff VanderMeer writing for The Huffington Post!

Our favorite Evil Monkey has a new gig, writing a regular column on political SF/F over at The Huffington Post. The first column just went up. Go check it out!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"See you at the debates, bitches."

Paris Hilton for President? Oh, just click the damned thing! You know you want to.

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

The Lazy Bloggers Post Generator

This website is a lot of fun. Here's the post I just generated:
OMFG! I just twigged that I have not updated this since Paris Hilton was in jail... You would not believe I'm normally a control freak. I prostrate myself in sorrow and beg thy forgiveness..

I am absolutely consumed with setting fire to people wearing Crocs, watching Dexter, just generally being an embarrassment to the bodyguards of the blogger I am stalking, my day often feels wasted from 8am to midnight. I am beyond drunk most of the time. it will be fun fun fun till they take my TBird away.

I swear on the bones of my ancestors I will update you with my nefarious activities as soon as I get a chance. Seriously! What do you mean you don't believe me?
Yeah, that's about right.

For those of you who care


I've updated my Agent Query listing and my Publishers Marketplace listing and my FinePrint website listing. Note that every one of them now state very clearly that I don't accept snail mail queries (with the exception of graphic novel queries).

So NOW will you please stop mailing me things that will just get thrown away? Pretty please?

Neanderthal DNA decoded. Whoa!

Via my pal Cheryl Morgan, this fascinating story.

Honestly? I just do it for the cookies.

Donate blood today at lunch. Nice phlebotomist lady gives me a little blue rubber doo-hickey and tells me to squeeze it.

"But not too hard!"

"Okay!" says I, giving it a good couple of hard pumps. Then I ask how long it'll take for them to retrieve a pint, as it's been a little while since I've donated blood.

"Not too long. Anywhere from 10 to 20 min --- oh, hang on." Squints suspiciously at bag. Lifts bag. Bag is already full.

"Um, looks like you're done already." Waves very full bag of blood at me.

"Wait, what? It's only been two minutes. You just plugged me in."

She looks at bag, looks back at me, eyes narrow: "Lady, just how hard did you squeeze that thing, anyway?"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Query Dissection:
Kelly Gay's The Better Part of Darkness

Today is Query Dissection Day!

As often as a writer may hear agents and editors talk about the importance of a strong query letter, it's rare that they get to see a query letter that actually worked, one that intrigued an agent enough to ask for a full manuscript. So - as promised - today I'm going to talk about Kelly Gay's query for The Better Part of Darkness. And, as an added bonus, Kelly is also going to be writing about her query letter over on her own blog so that you can get the writer's viewpoint as well as the agent's.

I wrote in an earlier post that Kelly's query helped her land me as an agent. That's not entirely accurate. The fact is that a strong query will only get a writer so far. A query is really only a tool for getting an agent to sit up and notice you. A good query may get an agent to read your manuscript, but ultimately it's great writing and talented storytelling that will get you an offer of representation.

That being said, let's take a look at the query that Kelly sent me this past February. The red portions are Kelly's original query; my comments are in italics below:
Dear Ms. Lindsay,

She starts off the right away - do you have any idea how many queries I receive in a week addressed "To Whom It May Concern"? (No, I'm not kidding.) Although I am not overly fond of the honorific Ms., I'm okay if someone uses it. I'm also fine with someone addressing me as Miss Lindsay or just Colleen. I'm fairly informal in that regard but I certainly don't expect others to know that.

I’m seeking representation for my 90,000 word urban fantasy, THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS, where the beings of heaven and hell have come out of the closet, and they aren’t the things of Sunday school lessons and Hallmark figurines.

This is pretty much a perfect opening paragraph. In one well-structured sentence Kelly not only clearly identifies both the genre and word count, but also provides a compelling one-line hook. As someone whose background in the publishing industry is primarily marketing and publicity, I always think in terms of media pitches and marketing hooks, so this paragraph really worked for me. It's straightforward and gives me all the info I need to want to keep reading the query.

Often a writer wastes time and space and ends up with a bloated query by telling me things I really don't need to hear: I don't need to know where you found my name; I don't need to know that you like my blog (I mean, thanks; I appreciate the sentiment, but it really isn't relevant to your query); I don't need to hear that you've wanted to be a writer since you were in grade school; I don't need to hear that your writing can be compared to X, Y and Z writer (because, really? it probably can't be, and that's just going to annoy me). What I do need are three basic pieces of information that Kelly provides above: What genre does your book best fit into, what is the word count and what's your hook?

Eight months after dying on the job and being resuscitated an hour later, CHARLIE MADIGAN is back patrolling Underground Atlanta for the ITF, Integration Task Force, an agency designed to police and monitor immigrant beings from Elysia (heaven) and Charbydon (hell).

With her partner HANK, a siren from Elysia, Charlie makes sure the co-mingling of species goes without incident. But when her pre-teen daughter, EMMA, learns that her babysitter is lying comatose in a hospital from accidentally ingesting After Glow, a new off-world drug, Charlie takes it personal. She discovers a link between the new drug and the Charbydon Political Party, becoming a target and a possible tool for bringing darkness to the city of Atlanta.

Now that I'm intrigued enough to want to keep reading, I also want more plot details. Here, in two short paragraphs, Kelly has done a wonderful job of giving me a tight synopsis that covers the specifics of all the major plot points while also briefly introducing several of the major characters. When an agent asks you for a plot synopsis for a work of fiction, this is exactly what s/he is looking for.

My character, Charlie, is a tough woman typical of urban fantasy heroines, but she’s also a single mother to a headstrong kid, and a divorcee to an ex who wants her back so badly, he’s bartered his soul to a demon who’s come to collect. Her personal life is just as complex as her work, making her, I believe, a unique addition to the genre.

In this paragraph I get to learn more about Charlie Madigan, the main protagonist of the book. I also learn that Kelly has done her homework in the urban fantasy genre; she lets me know how her heroine is different than many of the strong female urban fantasy characters. I was intrigued by the idea of a single mom who was also a cop and a demon hunter. In my head, I was already composing the tag line that I would use as I was pitching the manuscript to editors ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a soccer mom? Hey, this could work!"). By the end of this paragraph, I knew I wanted to at least read a good portion of the manuscript.

I’m a 2005 RWA Golden Heart finalist in the paranormal category and a 2005 Laurie winner for best single title romance novel. I’m also a recipient of the 2005/2006 North Carolina Arts Council grant fellowship in writing.

This is a exactly the kind of bio I want to see in a query. It tells me about Kelly's writing background, gives me very specific examples and - more importantly - the examples she gives me are worth taking the time to tell me about. RWA's Golden Heart Awards are nationally recognized and any editor/agent who is interested in romance, paranormal romance, urban fantasy or YA will pay attention to this piece of information. Likewise, a writing fellowship from a prominent organization is a good thing to tell me.

Too often in a writer's bio, s/he will list a contest or an award that really has no meaning to a publisher or an agent. Rule of thumb: if you've placed or won an award in a contest that an agent or editor is likely to have heard of, then by all means, add it to your bio. If you've attended a writing workshop that is well-known and specific to your genre, please let me know. (Personally, I always like to know about Clarion or Odyssey attendees.) And if you've previously published a book and/or short fiction, you absolutely must include the name of the book and the publisher, or the magazine/online 'zine where your work appeared.


I've pasted the first few pages below, and I hope to hear from you at your convenience.

Best Regards,

Kelly Gay

Nice closing, extremely professional throughout. Really, a very well-written query letter.
So, there you have it: a query letter that worked for at least this one agent. The two crucial keys to a successful query are brevity and clarity; Kelly's query wonderfully demonstrates both.

I hope y'all found this helpful in some way. Questions/comments are welcome! Now go read what she had to say about her own query letter.

(I'm cross-posting this to the FinePrint blog as well; just an FYI.)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Testing my Mobile Blogger



Hey, that was the view outside my cab at lunch. Not that you care. Just checking to see that the Mobile Blogger I set up actually works. Yeah, you guys are in trouble now.

FinePrint agent Gary Heidt interviewed at Pen on Fire!

My FinePrint colleague and fellow agent Gary Heidt was recently interviewed at Barbara De Marco Barrett's blog Pen On Fire. Go read it! (And, yes, he really is that suave-looking in real life.)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"Polonious is no longer online."

Via Justine Musk, the utterly hilarious Hamlet: The Facebook News Feed Edition.

Yeah, sometimes McSweeney's really outdoes itself.

Lucienne Diver on "Five Things That Will Make You More Attractive to an Agent or Editor"

Great post. Seriously. Go read it now.

Drive a conservative crazy, Lesson #1:
Dress Barbie in fishnets and leather.

From today's ICv2.com, this hilarious story about how the new collector's edition Barbie, dressed as D.C. Comics' Black Canary superhero character, is causing an uproar among conservative adults who...um, play with Barbie?

My favorite line: "Barbie has always been on the tarty side."

Come on, didn't you always suspect Barbie was a dom anyway?

Monday, August 4, 2008

La Gringa is no longer portable or, moving news, sans LOLcat speak

I had to take down that LOLcat announcement about finding a place to live. It was just too silly.

But indeed, La Gringa will no longer be The Portable La Gringa after August 9th. I finally found a place in Queens, and will be taking off part of this week to move. Hopefully the Furry Machiavellian Persons will be joining me on Sunday after I get unpacked.

You know what this means, right?

NO MORE CRAIGSLIST ADS!

(Oh, thank God!)

It also means I'm probably going to be light on blogging or email responses until Sunday or so. Just a heads up, kids.

PS: I've said a fond farewell to Nixon the Dog and have moved on to another set of four-footed pals. This week's cute animal pet-sitting experience are two kittens in Brooklyn, Cricket and Spooky. I'll try to get pics of them. So far, they are frakkin' adorable. Also? Their mom left me all of Battlestar Galactica Season Three on DVD to keep me busy.