After our last post, Suz and I know what you've been reading. But here's the burning question.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
After our last post, Suz and I know what you've been reading. But here's the burning question.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Today as I sat down, I found myself wanting to share the magic with you.
And so our wish for you is that you will find childlike wonder in your holidays.
Wishing you and yours peace, joy, and happiness.
Suzette Saxton and Bethany Wiggins
Monday, December 21, 2009
This is a kissing scene from the fourth book I wrote. Enjoy!
She pushed her dripping hair from her forehead and scowled. “Leave with them, Golmarr. I don’t want you here. You will never see a horse again! You will not be the Horse Lord!” Lini cried.
“I know what I will not see, and what I will not be! I have thought that exact thing hundreds of times. This is what I want to be!” He pointed to his short hair and shirtless torso.
“You hate this place!” Lini said.
“I am staying."
“No. This is my island, and I say you must go."
“Your being stupid, Lini. You know as well as I do that if I leave, you will be alone for the rest of your life. I am not going,” he persisted.
“I can handle being alone. I like being alone! I want to be alone!” She didn’t mean to yell. “Go back to Glennis. I don't love you any more.” It was a lie, but if anything would convince him to leave, that was it.
“No. You can take your heart back, that’s fine. But you can’t make my choices for me. I left you once and that was the biggest mistake I ever made. I will not do it again."
"I hate you," she said, turning her back to him, and stormed away.
“Lini stop!” Golmarr commanded. She froze and watched his tall shadow approach. And then he stood behind her. He grabbed her shoulders and forced her to face him.
“I… Will… Not… Leave… You! Not ever! I am empty without you!” he yelled, shaking her shoulders with each word. “I don’t care if you pretend I don’t exist, or if you hate me! I have already made my choice and—“
His touch was too much. Lini grabbed his short, sea-soked hair in her hands and forced his face to hers. She kissed him, pulling his lips hard against her own. He wrapped his arms around her waist and lifted her from the ground.
It felt so right being in his arms. Everything about him seemed to fit against her, to match, to harmonize. He set her back on the ground, but her mouth refused to relinquish his. She grabbed him more securely behind the head and pressed her body against his, as if afraid he might try to leave.
Finally, with great force, he pushed her away enough to gasp a ragged breath of air. “Lini!” he said between breaths. “Why didn’t you do that the first night on the boat?” He stared at her for a moment before asking, “So I guess this means that I can stay?"
Friday, December 18, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
... getting a slab of granite and being handed a chisel, and then uncovering David.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Elana Johnson's Blog
Lisa & Laura Write
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
This book has been a goldmine (SK is brilliant!) but what I want to share with you is something author Peter Straub said 1n 1979 when he was co-interviewed with Stephen King. I think it has HUGE bearing on the state of publishing today (the bold text is my addition):
But I have another little theory - which I've just invented - that the whole fiction market, the whole publishing world, changed a couple of years ago when the price of paper went so high. Publishers started turning down books that they normally would have accepted. It got much harder to be a first novelist. It was much harder to be a first novelist in 1977 than it was in 1973, when I was a first novelist. There was a certain handwriting on the wall, and I think one by-product of this is that many younger writers read the writing on the wall and wanted to exercise their talent in some form that would be acceptable to publishers. If you're very, very good - if you're really good - there's always a place for you: you're always going to be read, and you're always going to be published.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
The end of the year is approaching. I have something I would like to throw out into the blog world before it gets here. Because if you're like me, the new year is a reminder of everything you didn't accomplish. For instance, when January 1st 2009 rolled around, I was like: Yay. Crap! Still holding onto those five extra pounds. And yeah, wrote another book. Ouch... wrote another book and, double ouch, still no agent. Sheesh--not only no agent, but no one even wants to read my manuscript once they read my query. Hmmm. Did I write the wrong book? Or does my writing just plain suck? Or both? Now, this sounds like the most depressing post ever, I know. But read on.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
My friend Erin (see photo--yep, that's the beautiful Erin) dyed her hair black. So what, right? Well, when her hair was black, her eyes looked gold. And all I could think as I stared at her, and probably freaked her out with my scrutiny, was, "Her eyes look like cat eyes." What does this story have to do with a blog that centers around writing? Everything. When I saw those gold eyes, a character was born. An entire trilogy was inspired. All because Erin dyed her hair (thanks, Erin!).
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
I have accepted an offer of representation from Brendan Deneen of Fineprint Literary Management. I've worked with Brendan in the past over at the QueryTracker blog, so I already know what a terrific guy he is, and I'm honored to be working with him in this capacity. For more info about which project of mine caught his eye, check out Mary's post on the QTblog.
What makes my journey and Bethany's unique is that we set out together when we made a pact to write. Seven years and many novels later, we have reached agenthood within six weeks of each other. I love ya, sis, and have enjoyed sharing this journey with you!
Thanks to each and every one of you who follow this blog and who have offered your unfailing support. You have helped me grow as a writer and as a friend.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Take opera. My exposure to it consisted of Pretty Woman, when Edward Lewis (played by Richard Gere) said, "People's reactions to opera the first time they see it is very dramatic; they either love it or they hate it. If they love it, they will always love it. If they don't, they may learn to appreciate it, but it will never become part of their soul." I made a point of listening to a smattering of opera after that - nothing happened. I figured I was one of those who would never have it in my soul. Many years later I bought a collection of classical music, and tacked on at the end, almost as an afterthought, was a very short opera piece by Puccini. I was so stunned by its beauty I found myself crying. That one piece unlocked a window in my soul, and I have loved opera ever since.
Another involves Flaming June, a painting I think you all know I love, as I use it as my Google icon. (Sweet Cynde even sent me Flaming June emery boards!) On a recent trip to the museum I found myself face-to-face with an original 4x4 inch oil study that was part of the planning stage for Flaming June. To see the actual brushstrokes of Lord Fredrick Leighton ... I stood riveted to the spot as a long line of patrons accumulated behind me. When one of them finally cleared his throat, I gave up my place and moved to the back of the line to await another turn.
Other life-altering moments that come to mind include a recent camping trip I took with my children, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, and sunsets in general, which never fail to spur spiritual growth. This past weekend I swam in a million-year-old crater pool. Once I got used to the fact that I was floating atop 65 feet of water, the experience was profound.
I want to know about those subtle, life-shaping moments that make you who you are.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
First, I'd like to thank the following for giving our blog an award:
Danni at Romantic Harbor
Angie Lofthouse at Notes from the Writing Chair
Michelle McLean at Writer's Ramblings
Andrea Cremer at A Blurred History
Pamela MacLean at From Barbies to Words
If you have given me an award but don't see your name here, please let me know!
And now for the unorthodox part. I have the hardest time singling out blogs for awards, and then worry that I've missed someone. So here's the deal - if you leave a comment on this post, you get an award. You can choose one of the awards from below. Leave a comment letting me know which one you've nabbed and I will put a link to your blog in the post. Voila! We're all happy.
And now for the awards:
Judith Mercado at Pilgrim Soul
The Splish-Splash Award
Wendy at All in a Day's Thoughts
Diana Paz at Writing Roller Coasters
Crystal and Pamela at Two to Write
The Zombie Chicken Award
Stephanie Thornton at Hatsheput: The Writing of a Novel
Danyelle Leafty at Myth-takes
Angie Lofthouse at Notes from the Writing Chair
JM Diaz at An Ulterior Motive
The Kreativ Blogger Award
P.S. Special thanks to The Book Bundle blog for a special package I got in the mail today - from Ireland, no less! I won their first contest and am looking forward to reading Crossed Wires by Rosy Thornton.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
It feels surreal to be writing this. I have an agent! Marlene Stringer of Stringer Literary Agency! Just typing these words brings butterflies to my stomach.
After reading my query letter, Marlene Stringer requested the first fifty pages of THE HUNTED and I accidentally sent the wrong manuscript (I had titled two partials with the same title). I sent a traditional YA fantasy which she very promptly rejected. I emailed her right away explaining my mistake and she graciously allowed me to resubmit.
Three weeks later, she requested the full manuscript.
A bit of time passed. On an ordinary Tuesday afternoon, I had an email from her. My stomach was in knots. With trembling fingers I opened the email.
“As promised, I have read THE HUNTED. I really enjoyed it, and tried to phone you on the number listed on your email.
I think I connected with wrong number.
Please advise a number that I may reach you by phone so we can talk.”
I had to read the email four times before it sank in. I emailed her my home number. She called within minutes and we had a nice long chat about her agency and my writing. She offered to represent me.
And that is the beginning of my story.
Anything else you wanna know? Ask away. I’d love to answer any questions.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
BOO to spammers who use comments on others' blogs to promote their pornographic websites. We've had a few of those lately, so I've had to turn comment moderation on. (Sorry!) Have you had problems with spammers? If so, how do you deal with them?
I wish you all a most amazing week.
P.S. Be sure to check out my post today on the QueryTracker blog. :)
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Some of you have wondered if I'm actively querying, and the truth is, I'm not. I have a few queries floating around out there for a couple of different projects, but for the most part I've decided to take it slow and easy and enjoy each day as much as I can. There have been times when writing was all-consuming; when I was not writing I was thinking about it. And as thrilling as that was, I'm striving to find the perfect balance between family and writing. Because I still have a little one at home for this final year before she goes to school, writing will not quite be a full-time endeavor --- and I am okay with that.
Does the change of season affect your writing? Where are you in the writing/querying journey? How do you find balance?
P.S. My dear friend Angie Lofthouse has a short-short story in a contest, and I would love it if she won! (Voting closes August 22nd.) Check out her blog, Notes from the Writing Chair, for details... and for a FREE CHOCOLATE contest!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
Silver, you are worth your weight in gold. *wink* Thanks so much for thinking of me for the One Lovely Blog Award! Without further ado, I'd like to pass this award along to the following lovely blogs:
I've had the honor of reading so very many amazing blogs that it was incredibly hard to choose just ten.
Tips from Ina
Cynde's Got the Write Stuff
The Virginia Scribe - Reflections by Amy Tate
Eric's Working My Muse
* * * * *
For downright sweetness I give the Humane Award to the following:
Andrea Cremer's A Blurred History
Coffeelvnmom's My Thoughts Exactly
1. Accept and post the award on your blog.
2. Link to the person from whom you received it.
3. Pass the award to 5 other blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment.
4. Let them know they've been chosen for this award.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
By the way, go to the QueryTracker blog to check out Suzette's interview with the amazing YA author Sara Zarr.
Monday, July 20, 2009
There is one thing I like better. Srsly, it is more fun than blogging. What is it? Meeting fellow bloggers in real life.
I'm on the left. I got to hang with, from left to right:
- Michelle Argyle, also known as Lady Glamis whose blog is The Innocent Flower.
- Elana Johnson. We met online in the QueryTracker forum about a year and a half ago and have hung out in RL several times since. Seriously, this gal is a laugh a minute - and one of my best friends. Her blog is Mindless Musings.
- Tess Hilmo was gracious to host us all in her beautiful home. The kiddles ran through sprinklers and Tess had a barrel full of iced drinks. (How cool is that?) Her blog is here.
- And the cute-as-a-button Natalie Whipple. Though I'm sure her kids are cute as buttons, I didn't get to meet them. Her blog is Between Fact and Fiction.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
At last, the long-awaited news!
Some of you may know that my sister, Bethany Wiggins, writes YA fiction, urban fantasy in particular. She and I started our writing journey together after I heard the most inspiring bit of advice imaginable from Louis Sachar on the bonus features of the Holes DVD.
This is a picture of Bethany and I (she's on the left) at our little sister's wedding reception a few weeks ago. Our brothers-in-law are on the right. My wonderful husband took the picture.
And now, we've decided to join forces and take on another journey together. Blogging. That's right, Bethany has graciously agreed to co-author this blog with me. And who knows - you may see a co-authored book from us before too long!
I've told Bethany of all the wonderful friends I've made while blogging, and she's excited to get to know all of you. Let's extend a warm welcome to her.
And for those of you who don't know, I write books for children of all ages. To see what I write, come visit my website: www.suzettesaxton.us
Thursday, July 2, 2009
(pssst... stay tuned, at the end of this post I'll reveal something little-known about me!)
Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them all. ~Henry David Thoreau
Have you ever happened upon a book, one that nobody's heard of, or one you would never had heard of if someone hadn't recommended it to you, and then found it to be the loveliest little treasure? I want to know about it. Let's give these books the recognition they deserve!
Any genre will do. Let me know (in the comments) your obscure favorite and I will post it here and see if we can't get some word of mouth going for these amazing authors and/or illustrators. (I'll also be linking back to your blog!)
Homeplace by Anne Shelby. I was stunned to learn that this book is out of print! Without doubt, the story and illustrations make this the coziest, most beautiful children's book I have ever read. This one I'm passing down to my children... and grandchildren!
What do you Love? By Jonathan London, author of the popular Froggy series, this book is often overlooked though it is still in print. The illustrations by Karen Lee Schmidt are stunning and truly capture love in print.
The Black Rose by Thomas Costain. On a vacation to my grandmother's house in Whittier California as a teen, I found this in her guest house; an original version first published in 1945, and could not put it down.
I saw the kids book you listed and immediately thought of a book called 'Someday' by Alison McGhee. I saw it on the shelf in Walmart and began reading it. I knew I had to get it when I couldn't control my tears right there in the store! Bought it as a gift for a friend who had a baby girl right around that time.
I thought of another one myself. This dystopian YA will stick with you! The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick is one my family happened to listen to on tape while on a road trip. We found ourselves driving extra hours at the end of our trip just to keep listening.
The one which springs to mind for me is The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge. Recently made into a film, this book is my mother's. I must have been leafing through her bookcase (I can't remember...I've had it on my shelf for years now!) and started reading it. It's a lovely, historical fantasy (that's how i place it) Written in...possibly 1940's, it's a sweet tale. Might re-read and review at some point. A rich girl gets sent to the country with her companion/governess, to live with her uncle. It turns out she's not just a guest, she's The One to bring joy and safety back to the village.
Eileen Astels Watson
Childrens books are always so wonderful to look back on. Max Lucado wrote one, I believe it was called "I Love You This Much" that read over and over again to my girls. I need to go on a hunt for that one, not that you've reminded me of it.
Andrea Robertson Cremer
Hooray for The Black Rose and The Little White Horse, both amazing.
I also loved, Birth of the Firebringer. A YA fantasy about unicorns that is amazing and I think little known.
I LOVE Annie Dillard. She doesn't write fiction, per se, but it's kind of like fiction. She is poetic, too. Her love of nature, and the way she writes about God and our world really helps me with writing. Pilgrim At Tinker Creek is my favorite.
I recently rediscovered a little book published in 1950 called Mr. Snitzel's Cookies. It was in my grandmother's house when I was a kid and I remember sitting on her lap, being read to. Somehow it survived, though it's rather tattered, and I read it to my daughters the other day. It's a great little story about generosity.
NOTE: I was unable to obtain a picture - sorry!
Yes....Beauty by Susan Wilson. I enjoyed it throughly and past it on to my daughter who fell in love with it as well. Its about love and how it cuts through all things.
I am going to read the Black Rose very soon. A fav from my youth in the YA fantasy area would be any of the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander.
When I was a teenager, my older sister worked in a book store. In the early mornings before school started and she was still asleep, I'd slip into her room and sneak whatever new book she had just finished reading. That is how I discovered Patricia McKillip's "The Changeling Sea." I don't know why, but that book has stuck with me for nearly two decades. I have read it several times since (my sister keeps it in her guest bedroom so I read it every time I visit her) and it still holds the same magic for me.
LITTLE-KNOWN FACT: Bethany Wiggins is... MY SISTER! It's true, and I am the owner of The Changeling Sea. Bethany is a writer just like me, and in fact, we started our journey out together. Stay tuned, in the near future I'll have an exciting announcement to make regarding this blog - - - and Bethany! *wink*
Monday, June 15, 2009
I'm about to let you in on a little-known secret. Contests are a great way to get your work noticed! And if you place in a contest, you can mention it in a query to an agent or editor.
How do you find a contest? Google, of course!
The first thing to do is look for contests is in your local area. Most states have a league of writers, and most leagues have one or more contests per year. Annual membership fees are nominal, and more often than not, you don't even need to be a member to enter! (Though you will get a discounted entry fee if you are a member.) Also, Art Councils usually hold annual contests in every state.
The next step is to look for contests on a national level. The resource I use most often is Stephanie Smith's Contest Chart for Writers. Though your chances of winning are slimmer because there are more entrants, it is still worth a shot. Often, national contests are free.
Some trivia. Without doubt, the romance genre has the most contests. Rumor has it that in order for an author to be successful writing romance, he/she must win a contest. Romance readers look for it! The genre with the fewest contests is, most unfortunately, Childrens. (With the exception of YA.)
Thank you Liana for bringing up sci-fi! WRITERS OF THE FUTRE has an acclaimed contest that is free to enter, and winners are published in an anthology. The judges are well known sci-fi authors. Entries can be up to 17,000 words, and the contest runs quarterly. Check out this LINK for contest rules.
A good friend of mine entered a YA contest. One of the judges was an editor for a rather large publishing imprint. Though my friend did not win (she placed in the top 3) the editor offered detailed revision suggestions and asked to see her full manuscript, which she recently submitted.
Another kind of contest is one held on a blog with an agent as a judge, and submissions to that agent as prizes. These contests are super easy to enter, as everything is done online. As I write this, agent Mollie Glick with Foundry Literary+Media (who is, by the way, an absolute delight to correspond with) is accepting elevator pitch entries in the third QueryTracker blog contest, which ends at midnight PST June 16th. Here are her genres:
- adult fiction
- YA fiction
- narrative non-fiction
CONGRATULATIONS TO MY READERS WHO HAVE WON VARIOUS CONTESTS!
- KATIE who placed in Inspiration for Writers
- STINA LINDENBLATT who placed in Miss Snark's First Victim
- LORI CALABRESE recently won 1st place in Dragonfly Publishing Inc.'s 2009 Picture Book contest and will have her first picture book published next year
- LORI CALABRESE also came in 2nd place in the Children's Writer nonfiction sports contest!
- LACI SMITH for placing runner-up in the QTblog one-sentence pitch contest with Brendan Deneen
- ANA RIOS for finaling in a poetry contest (and thanks for the great link in the comments!)
- BARMAID for winning the National Writers Association scholarship contest
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Hello, this is ***** with the ******* ******* Literary Agency. How are you this evening?
I'm fine, just fine. How are you?
Can't complain. Do you mind if we talk about your book?
Not at all.
I am looking for a few special manuscripts to represent, in both middle grade and Children's. I have strong contacts in the publishing industry, and have a good sense of what the Children's book market is looking for. That's why your book caught my eye. Can you tell me a bit about what inspired you to write it? I'd also like to know who your favorite character is and why.
Before you start sending me congratulatory messages, you need to know:
This was a test. This writer was conducting a test of the Emergency Agency System. This was only a test.Tis true. It was a practice of "The Call" and I had a lot of fun "playing" the agent. A dear friend of mine was expecting The Real Call the following day, and needless to say, she was a bit jittery. (Okay - panicked!) She had never talked to an agent before. And while she found it strange that my sister Wiggy (also a writer) and I often surprised each other with out-of-the-blue-pretend-agent-calls-just-in-case-a-real-agent-ever-calls-one-of-us, my friend agreed to a practice run.
The next day she aced The Call, talking coherently and even intelligently with a dream agent.
Is it a good idea to call a friend up and pretend to be an agent? Yes! If they know in advance you are going to do so. (It's always a good idea to use your real name when calling.) Just as with a pitch you plan on sharing with an agent at a conference, practice is a good thing!
I'm lucky enough to have fielded a call or two myself, and am always surprised by how down to earth agents are - I think sometimes we tend to forget that agents are people too!
Have a fantastic June.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Because we're having a party!
Click on the picture below for more details. Oh, and there's also a little blog chain contest going on. The grand prize of this hulla-baloo is a FREE WEBSITE designed by the awesome Carolyn Kaufman and QT's daddy, Patrick McDonald. That's right. FREE. (They're the Purple Squirrel Web Designers. Check 'em out.)
You want that, don't you? Um, yeah.
You get one entry into the grand prize drawing for every contest you enter. (Details on the carnival page, click below.) You can also get another entry by helping us advertise!
Now here's how you do it: Simply make a post like this one you're reading on your blog. Make sure to use the wicked fun graphic and direct them to the carnival page for more deets. Then come back here and leave a comment with your link and real name. Or email your link with your real name to SuzetteSaxton(at)QueryTracker(dot)net.
I'll make sure you get in the drawing.
Be sure to tell your readers to EMAIL ME (or comment here) their link and real name so I can put their name in the drawing. You can link to this post so everyone knows how to make sure they're entered for the FREE WEBSITE!
And hurry! You must have your blog post up by next Saturday, May 23 to get the extra entry.
Spread the word! Win a website!