Thursday’s Children May 30, 2013

Inspired by Bedrooms…

A weekly blog hop where writers share their inspirations. Please join us!

A weekly blog hop where writers share their inspirations. Please join us!

Alright, alright, get your minds out of the gutter, I’m talking about what bedrooms look like, not what takes place in them. To date, all my books have been YA. Teens usually don’t have much say when it comes to how a house is decorated, with the exception of their own bedrooms. A bedroom is a private domain, sometimes a refuge from what happens in the rest of the world. This room is also the one that is most likely to reveal the interests and fundamental traits of its teen inhabitant.

Writers can exploit this sneaky way of “showing” the reader facets of a character’s personality.


Here’s what my MC has to say about her own room…

I found I had a strong opinion about what color to paint my room. I’m not sure who was more surprised—me, or Mom. Instead of going along with the bright pastels she preferred, I insisted on a color which she named Dismal Drab. It was neither blue, nor green, not gray, but a soft misty tone that hovered somewhere in the middle. Like me, it was vague, nondescript, elusive.


She is obsessed with a boy named Sam. Here’s what she has to say about his room…

He slid what looked like an old barn door along its track, revealing a spacious, airy room inside. A row of windows at the back looked out at the sea. Mounted on the walls were several skateboards, a surfboard, antlers, a longbow, stone arrowheads in a glass-fronted case, and shelves holding the skeletal remains of numerous small animals. Suspended from a branch in one corner was a huge paper wasps’ nest. Long planks ran under the windows, forming a desk covered with scattered papers, drawing pencils, shells, and feathers. Comic books, skater magazines, CD cases, and hunks of driftwood littered the floor. So. This is where Beauty lives. It was perfectly imperfect.

photo from ebay

photo from ebay

photo from pbase(dot)com

photo from pbase(dot)com

In my book FOOLISH, the MC’s mom is a hoarder. Sparrow’s room is her safe haven and it’s neat as a pin. An OCD pin.  She has laid down the law. Phil (her name for her mom’s hoard) is not allowed entrance.

Do you use decor to help readers learn about your characters? Which rooms do you like describing?
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The Claw, er, The Call…

This is the post I honestly despaired of ever writing.

Three completed books and two years stumbling in and out of the query trenches brought me to this moment. Finally!

Yes, I’m about to throw another Toy Story reference at you. Here it is…I feel like one of the aliens. Except that bratty Sid plays no role in my story.

If you’re reading this and you aren’t a writer, then you may have no idea why anyone would want/need an agent. Or why agents aren’t lining up at writers’ doors/inboxes offering to represent them. They stand to make some cash if they sell the book, right? Or can’t a writer just “hire” an agent?

Trust me when I say – that’s not how it works.

A decent agent receives a deluge of a few hundred query letters from writers, EVERY WEEK, in which the writer describes her awesome manuscript and anything about herself she thinks might hook the agent (namely previously published work). Out of those queries, the agent might ask for a few partials or even a couple of full manuscripts to read.

The overjoyed writer says a prayer, or lights a candle, or whatever, and fires off the submission. And then waits. And waits some more. Most of the time the agent writes back a couple of months later and says “Thank you, it was very nice, but I didn’t fall in love with it enough to offer representation.” Or something to that effect. The typical agent will actually offer to represent only a few people during a year. She hopes (usually) that these authors will be “career” writers, not just one book wonders. A busy agent might have thirty clients. Period. No room for more. Until somebody dies. And even then she’ll keep representing that author’s estate, trying to make more money for that estate, and of course herself.

An author wants an agent because, with the exception of smaller presses, publishing houses will not even read a query from an unagented author.  The publishers rely on agents to filter, or gate-keep. And to find what the publishing house editors have told the agents they want. So, for the most part the only way to get a book into readers’ hands without an agent is to self-publish, or query a small press. Self-publishing and small presses work out very well for some authors, but I prefer to go the traditional route, at least for now.

Of course having an agent does not guarantee getting a book deal from a publishing house. There’s a whole lot of submitting to editors, gnashing of teeth, chewing of nails, ranting at anyone who will listen, and eating of chocolate. Yes, writers do a lot of waiting. And eating of chocolate. Agents probably do too. Mixed in with frantic bursts of revising, synopsis-writing, etc.

So, now non-writers and writers alike will understand why I am delighted to announce-


I’ve been doing a lot of this…

The Backstory-

Yes, I entered a bunch of contests this fall. I got some requests, but no offers.

I mailed out a few small batches of queries.

I got a “revise and resubmit” with a verbal intent to offer for TENDRIL. Then from a different agent I got an actual offer, also for TENDRIL. After a whirlwind of querying and follow-up “nudging” a week or so later (stating that I had an offer), I got a bunch more requests. Eventually I ended up in that enviable, but unexpectedly difficult, position of having more than one really good offer. There are still agents who have fulls, but didn’t get back to me by the deadline I set.  And I also have a few partials out there for FOOLISH.

On December 22, I accepted the offer from Stefanie Lieberman at

Janklow & Nesbit Associates in NYC.

Until today I kept rereading her emails to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

But today there was something outside my front door.


and inside the envelope was the contract…