Yes, this is filled with whisky

Yes, this is filled with whisky

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Query Question: more on waiting time

I am a contemporary romance writer and have been submitting my third novel to agents.

I'm delighted to say that I have had 6 Full requests and 2 Partials (the most positive responses I have ever had) since 25 May but have not heard a thing back from any of these agents so far.

Could you tell me please what the "average" process is when an agent might be considering offering representation to a writer and how long these things can take?

I'm trying to keep busy with other writing (and planning Book 4) and the last thing I want to do, is come across as impatient! I have only "checked in" with one of the agents so far (after 10 weeks) and she apologised, saying she was swamped and would get to my MS asap.

I suppose I'm just apprehensive that all 8 are going to reject my work!

Of course you are. You are a writer. Worrying about things you can't control is pretty much #1 on your To Do list each and every day.

The industry standard for full manuscripts is 90 days. That means you don't utter a word till August 25.

After August 25 you can email ONCE every six-eight weeks, very politely, asking for a status update.

I will tell you that I'm running VERY late on requested fulls right now because I've had a lot of client work come in, and that comes first.

I think everyone is running long right now except those efficient elves AWESOME AGENTS and FIERCE WORD WARRIORS, KICK ASTERISKS AND TAKE NAMES Sarah LaPolla and Jessica Faust

I see those tweets and I look more like this:

I know you're anxious, but the very best thing to do is keep sending out queries, and work on your next book.  The pace in publishing is glacial for the most part.  Time to fortify your coping mechanisms.


Audrey Shaffer said...

First? OMG!

Audrey Shaffer said...

Of course LaPolla and Faust are caught up. They aren't sharks! Elves don't have the workload a shark does.

Laura Mary said...

I sometimes have this wild and crazy idea (straight out of 'Very bad advice writers should never follow')that I should start submitting to agents now, and by the time anyone shows any interest I might have finished the novel!!!!
Luckily submissions are harder to write than novels, (and I do have a small amount of common sense!)so looks like I will be behaving myself!

Kara Ringenbach said...

The first sentence of the reply and the dog picture made me laugh out loud. A good start to the morning...

DLM said...

Laura Mary, that's the kind of genius/evil temptation that keeps me writing at all sometimes. Just thinking about doing it is fun enough to keep me *from* doing it, thank goodness.

Back to research! I found a great pair of resources at Orca Books in Olympia, WA on vacation last week. NOM NOM.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

I feel better about having not nudged on my full yet. I know I sent it not long before a bevy of conferences (confluence? no. Ummm...camaraderie?)

I'm unclear as to how I ought to word it, though. "Dear Agent, emailing to check the status on the full of TITLE sent DATE. Kisses, have a good summer!" (maybe not with kisses. too early in the possibility of a relationship).

Lucie Witt said...

For a little perspective one agent has had my full since May ... of 2014!

Beth said...

Laura Mary, I know that temptation all too well. I've managed to resist so far, since my logical brain knows it's a bad idea and I really should be working on my ms. It's doubly hard when my non-writer friends are pushing me to "Just publish already! It's probably ready to go!", when I know it isn't.

SiSi said...

The first thing on my to do list everyday is read this blog. Worrying about things I can't control is #2.

Unless I wake up super early. Then the order is reversed.

Timothy Lowe said...

In my (admittedly limited) experience, the "quick" responders usually take about 1-2 months. I just got a reject on a full from January 2015, and I have 2 more out that I'm expecting will take a long while (one could be more than a year). The waiting is hard but working on something else does help.

Interestingly, now that I'm approaching finishing the second MS, I feel a weird urge to drag my feet. That didn't happen the first time. I think knowing what's coming (the querying process) is actually making me take pause and relish the much more fun process of the writing.

That said, I also now know not to send out queries immediately when done. I didn't stumble across that sage advice (mostly from this blog) until after I'd send quite a few queries. It will take a full line revision (even though I pretty extensively revise while writing - I know, not recommended) followed by undoubtedly some rewrites after letting it sit. When I finished my first MS, I was pretty sure it was as good as it could be, but after having some people read it and relooking at it, I noticed some undeniable holes and did a pretty decent rewrite which made it much stronger. I learned that even the most careful first drafts are going to have holes.

Take heart: there's always the occasional flash fiction contest to occupy all of our feverish brains!

french sojourn said...

I sent out a query...O.K. three and thankfully got rejected. I'm still not 100% on m/s one and m/s two is 110k words and three quarters done. Don't send out till it shines unless you like pouring gas on bridges.

AJ Blythe said...

Waiting is hard - although, when I see an email pop into my inbox, I suddenly don't want to open it. The not knowing seems far better!

Kitty said...

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway,
And I wonder if I'm really with you now
Or just chasin' after some finer day
Anticipation, anticipation
Is makin' me late
Is keepin' me waitin'

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Congrats to the OP for the full requests and for finishing the third book. Finishing enough to query that is. Finished is after publication, not that I know from first hand experience.

I look forward to querying. My deadline keeps slipping because I have axed so many scenes and am reogranising. Right my personal deadline is slipping because I'm avoiding jellyfish with a glass of côte de Provence in hand. Back to work on Monday.

french sojourn said...

Bon continuation!

Linda Strader said...

I know the anxiety well. I'm not a patient person, but I am learning that I have to be in the case of waiting for a response to query letters and partials. I find it helps to work on other projects. My fingers get itchy when I don't write every day...

Colin Smith said...

I presume query responses are generally much quicker because they're quicker to read and the decision is usually a straight yes/no (if any response at all), not represent/don't represent/revise and resubmit. For that reason alone it's unwise to fall to the temptation (which I have had too) to query before the novel's ready. Some agents with fins have quite a fast turn around with queries, so I'm told... :)

And look at Audrey, our newbie to the comments already becoming a First Comment of the Day winner. Next she'll be wiping the floor with us in the flash fiction contests. :)

Lucy: Wow! I presume you've nudged this agent? :)

SiSi: Do you check the comments from the previous day? That seems to be necessary these days. :)

Timothy: I actually enjoy the query process. Maybe I get so much junk mail, it's nice having something to look forward to in my inbox, even if it's a form rejection. :) And revising while writing isn't a bad practice. It works for some people, but not all. There are many good, published writers who start their writing sessions with a review of the previous day's work. If you tend to be a procrastinator, or easily distracted, it's probably best to write that first draft as quickly as possible. But if you can do the revise-while-you-write method, you end up with a cleaner first draft. Not by any means finished, but cleaner.

Oatmeal for breakfast this morning. Kind of like Mushy Co-Co Krispies, only warm and made with hot water, and not chocolaty. But probably better for me. :)

And someone mentioned mushy peas toward the end of yesterday's comment thread. Mmmmm! I never used to like mushy peas when I was young, but came to like them as I got older. And now we have to go to places that sell over-priced "foreign food" to find them because they're not a thing in the US. I say "we" but I'm the only one who eats mushy peas in my family. Clearly my wife and kids don't do mushy... :)

Susan Bonifant said...

I think I'm going to have to steal the picture. There are just too many people who will laugh at it like I did not to share, and captions, captions everywhere.

Love, love, love it.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Arghhhhh. My @#$% internet connection. I just lost my response. So glad to be moving the end of this month and not sharing internet with a houseful of people, so I can sort out whether it's the provider, the router, too many electronics on it, or (gulp) my laptop is dying.

So to recap what I just tried to write...

I also like Janet's first line. Us critters from the woodland worry about things we can't control. "pretty much #1 on your To Do list each and every day." Ha.

DLM: a great pair of resources? Nom, nom? Are you going to share with us?

Audrey: You just came out from lurkdom this week. See how addictively fun it is to participate within this community.

Beth: I have a BFF who is a wonderful critique partner for my non-fiction writing, who says "Publish that baby already." But like you, I know (as do my crit partners) that my novel has miles to go before I query from these lovely woods, dark and deary.

(And that's how many moons it took to re-start then re-write. Jeesh.)

DLM said...

Lisa, the resources are research for my novel; not sure how many of us can use arcane peeks into the spiritual psyches of Late Antiquity, but if y'all clamor I'll certainly share! ;)

Theresa said...

Great advice this morning, and since I've never heard Janet's voice, I have Carly Simon's song stuck in my head. And Tom Petty's too. There's lots of waiting involved in this being-a-writer life.

I love the dog picture!

Laura Mary said...

As much as I do like to stir up shenanigans, I feel I should shut this one down fast... DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, EVER, QUERY BEFORE YOUR NOVEL IS FINISHED!!!!!
It makes for a satisfying daydream, but that is where it should stay! You are not a special and unique snowflake. It will backfire!

Right, back to work.

PS Channelling my inner Tyler Durden. Of course you're all beautiful snowflakes!

Amanda Capper said...

Timothy, I think you're on to something! My second book is oh so near completion but I'm getting more and more reluctant to work on it. Could it be...could my own head be sabotaging the book because I'm subconsciously fearing rejection before I've even submitted the *$#! thing?

Holy crap that's deep. I best be taking to bed with book and brandy for a day or two.

Colin Smith said...

Good Koogli Mooglies!! Andrew Grant will be at Bouchercon?? And... and... *deep breath*... Barbara Poelle?! You mean, I might actually get to meet BOTH Shark AND Snark??!

Sorry... just looking over the list of attendees and marveling at the incredible amount of writing talent that will be all under one roof in MY STATE'S CAPITAL CITY!!


DLM said...

Laura Mary, of course we won't - but it is just kind of fun to DREAM about robbing the bank sometimes, right?

Timothy and Amanda: oh. so. YES. Also, oy gevault, writers' brains. Also, I hab a code, and would love to take to my bed with book and brandy, but I am soldiering on. And it stinks.

Colin, I've got to say - oatmeal is like oatmeal, and that is better than Cocoa Krispies. :P And I vote brussels sprouts or kale over mushy peas. Ew, mushy peas.

DLM said...

Dysfractionation with Colin - I've heard "Great googly moogly" but not "good koogli mooglies" - now you've done it. I have to go etymology geek and try to look that up if I can scrounge a moment.

Also - you do make Boucheron sound good.

Colin Smith said...

DLM: Taste-wise, chocolate every time (just about). But I like oatmeal. And while I like mushy peas and kale, definitely Brussels sprouts FTW.

Colin Smith said...

DLM--sorry, Diane (I much prefer using your actual name): We had a discussion on the phrase the other day/last week. I think Donna gave us the correct form (and even the origin if I recall correctly) of the phrase. That's my version of it, which I got from my wife. So that's the version I use. :)

Timothy Lowe said...


Don't let it get to your head. Soldier on. Since I just broke an ankle, I have no more excuses. What a silver lining: all the time in the world to finish the damn thing.

That said, it will be pretty easy to wait the recommended month to let it get a little cold before I even think about trying to put together a query (which is my least favorite part).

I kind of wonder if this is purely a sophomore effort kind of phenomenon.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Colin: Oatmeal is good when made with milk and then add some dried bits of fruit and some nuts. However, I remember when in Scotland, they preferred salt in their porridge rather than brown sugar. So perhaps that is your take too? And mushy peas...yum. I like them. But only with fish and chips. There's something about that trinitarian theme.

And back to the topic!
Opie: a belated congrats on having Fulls and Partials out. How wonderful.

Colin Smith said...

... oh, and yes, Bouchercon is looking REALLY good. Sophie Littlefield, Jessica Faust, our own TLC, Donna Andrews, Karin Slaughter... and that's just those I can recall in a giddy moment! :)

Here's the list. Not too late to sign up! I know there'll be a few other fellow vommenters there. Always room for a few more: Bouchercon 2015 Attendees

Julia said...

I heard this great agent speak this weekend. She said, "Don't send test Manuscripts." She went on to emphasize the point and to explain in depth what she meant by that, and intentionally submitting incomplete MS's did happen to come up. Just mentioning.

Re timing. I have a 50 pg partial and revision that I first sent last Nov and resent in April that I've heard not a whisper about since just floating out there, and a query sent to someone who says, "If you haven't heard back in 2 weeks, email me; I respond to everyone," that I sent in May. Yes, I pinged her. Once. No idea what's up. Or what to do.

Shrug. I don't wish to be rude.

I do wish to know where I stand.

I suspect my wishes are mutually exclusive.

Et la.


Colin Smith said...

Lisa: I usually make my oatmeal with hot water and drizzle (in a very heavy-handed way) honey on top. But milk and dried fruit sounds good. I'm not a huge nut fan, so I could skip those. It's been a long time since I've eaten porridge, but I wouldn't put salt on it. My Scottish blood doesn't run that thick. I'd probably have it plain, or with a light dusting of brown sugar.

Chips and mushy peas. Mmmm... now that takes me back! (I never much liked fish, even in my pre-veggie days.)

Donnaeve said...

This bears repeating. (see yesterday's comments - which turned the corner into this morning's comments before this post went up)

I like Fruit Loops. Surprise. Surprise. Surprise.

Great googly moogly - from blues music, Frank Zappa song made it popular - and that song had a title even more strange than the expression. Nanook Rubs It. Um. Okay.

On topic - I'm an impatient person. Two very specific things have taught me more about the art of patience than anything else I've experienced in my lifetime. 1)The path to publication. 2)Dogs.

1)As QOTKU said, the publishing world is glacial. Except for the occasional meteorite out there, (i.e. the stories we've all heard of swift and expeditious representation or offer on books), one can expect "waiting" to become their new BFF. Maybe give BFF a new name. Something positive, like...Patience.

2)Dogs. Ever wait for a dog to do it's business in the rain, and when it's below freezing? You can't mess them up either. At least not Little Dog. If you "mess" him up, he won't go. Must be quiet. And don't look at him.

Similarly with the fulls and temptations to PUSH, I mean nudge the quiet. Don't "look" at them. Don' mess it up.

Laura Mary said...

I know that some agents are 'no reply means no' at the query stage, which is annoying but I guess understandable - what is the etiquette form an Agent's perspective with partials/full requests? I naively assume that that would warrant a reply, even if it is a 'not for me' 12 months later.

Julia - that's not a happy place to be. I guess nudge in another 6 weeks? Otherwise you may just have to do your best to make peace with not knowing :-(

Colin Smith said...

And if I might just say something else about Bouchercon (and then I'll shut up about it--unless you all carry on talking about it...), I'm actually looking forward to the fact that this is, essentially, a fan event. It's not a writing conference, so I'm not going to be there trying to get published, and agents are not going to be there trying to build their client lists. This means we can all relax and have fun, which is a much better way to get to know people. That's not to say I don't want to go to a writing conference. Heck yes I do. But this sounds to me like a much better atmosphere in which to meet the likes of Janet, Barbara, and Jessica for the first time. Especially given my relatively inept social skills. :)

DLM said...

Colin, it would be so tempting if (a) I made significantly more money than I do and (b) I didn't have the James River Writers conference the following week. (Or if, (c) I wrote anything remotely appropriate to the genres Boucheron caters to!)

As it stands, when I do a conference I get inspired enough that to do two so quickly in succession would actually interrupt the resultant flow of productive creativity. JRW fires me up every time, so I'll content myself with that.

Oatmeal: brown sugar and lots of butter, cooked with a dash of salt though to enrich all these flavors. NO milk, because I prefer my oatmeal thick enough to stand a spoon. Fruit is acceptable, but a bit newfangley for my crone-ish sensibilities. Granola - meh. Oatmeal has enough texture of its own not to need these things, really. And it is a butter and brown sugar delivery medium - again, no frills required! :)

Donna, I remember Frank Zappa's immortalization, but I feel sure the exclamation came up in cartoons, or perhaps vintage comedy short films, I saw as a kid before I would have been exposed to (heh) the big, freaky Z.

Watch out where the huskies go, and don't you eat that yellow snow.

Colin Smith said...

Laura: My understanding is that you can reasonably expect an agent to respond to something they've requested (i.e., a partial or a full). Most will say how long you can expect to wait before you hear something, so if you don't hear in that time frame, a polite nudge is not out of order. I know I'm not an agent, but that's what I recall agents saying. Janet can, of course, give you the facts from the shark's mouth. :)

Colin Smith said...

Diane: As wonderful as it would be to see you there (and I mean that most sincerely), I totally understand. If it wasn't for the fact that I'm only 80 miles away from the event and I have family who live in the area, I wouldn't be able to afford to go either. But since it's right on my doorstep, how could I pass it up?

DLM said...

This is me: ENTIRELY skeptical of of Colin's claims to social awkwardness of any kind. :)

The community we have here really is a delight.

BTW, cracking up at Julie's exclusives. :) I failed to mention this in my simultaneously jet-lagged and cold-medicine-headed state.

I also failed to congratulate our OP on the requests. Way go to!!!

Steve Stubbs said...

If this lady thinks a few weeks is a long time, wait until she gets a contract to publish. It will be at least a year before they get the ink out – possibly two – and they won’t owe her a royalty check until 90 days after the end of the fiscal year in which the book is published. When she gets it, the postmark will show it was mailed at midnight on the 90th day and sent out by pony express or slow mail boat from China or something like that. That is compliant with the contract so there is nothing wrong with it. The trick is just not to count on anything. If you count on your royalty check to pay next month’s rent, you might as well start checking out the Salvation Army shelter because you are trying to break into the wrong business. Think of it as a hobby, make it, fun, keep it fun, and chill out.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

So far as oatmeal goes, I'm not a tremendous fan of hot. But I do like doing "overnight oats", using milk and some greek yogurt and then mixing in whatever my heart desires (usually things like cinnamon, ginger, and blueberry), letting it "cold steep", as it were, and then eating it the next day or hours later at work. but I know I'm strange; I ice my coffee even in winter when it's too cold to stand barefoot on my kitchen floor.

I missed out on a con this year in Albany (within 2 hours of me) because I didn't know it existed (Albacon, I think). I'm not sure if, post being rich and famous with a many book contract (positive thinking, natch), I'll be attending m/any writing conventions.

Marc P said...

@ Donna - sorry have no idea how the threads work here for comment and chat lol, so will repost a reply to your question in this the latest - hope that's ok Janet ,, and for writers who are published to dip in and ut here as well by the way what with the FF and all???

@Donna - hi sorry been away and ahah! No i didn't realise the scaffold story was yours oops... very nice piece. Nice is a good word over here by the way :) lol. Thanks for agreeing with my analysis too. lol.. people always talk about taking your characters on 'a journey' over here... sometime forgetting it is the reader's journey that is the most important! Should be the same thing of course. In my story the agent was ripped open with a sharp knife, her rib bones removed one by one, and her flesh and lungs etc spread to one side ready for griddling. I personally think this an overreaction to an agent not getting you some work very quickly so was in no way autobiographical! And your approach is far more sensible! :)

Colin Smith said...

Marc: The thread here is like a stream of consciousness interrupted each day by a post from Janet... ;)

Laura Mary said...

Hahahaha! Colin, that is *exactly* right! I mean it's been Oatmeal and Fruit Loops for two days now!
Oh yes, short stories, very interesting, but do you like your oatmeal hot or cold? What to do whilst waiting for an agent to respond? Discuss the differences between coco puffs and coco pops.
I prefer plain ol' rice crispies myself, no milk, eaten out the packet.

Julie.M.Weathers said...

I don't worry about stuff that is out. I'm not sure if that means I'm a zombie or suffering early dementia. I would have to look at my spread sheet to see how many partials, fulls, and queries are out.

It's not that I don't care, it's just something I have zero control over once I hit send.

Or maybe I'm like those two old ladies on the porch. "See that Lydia? There's a big fire on First Street."

"Really? Wish I was turned around that way so I could see it."

Maybe I just don't have the gumption to turn around and fret.

I occupy my mind with new work once one goes out to the nethers. If a rejection comes in, I update the spreadsheet and send out another query.

Holy tap dancing terrapins I love that dog's look.

Lucie Witt said...

Colin: I periodically nudge and I know said agent is just very behind with fulls. I consider it honing my patience skills.

Colin Smith said...

Julie: I believe that is the attitude we should adopt, though I know we all struggle and fret. As much as we can do to be ready to respond to requests, but focus on something else, the better for our sanity. Though it is good to make a note on your spreadsheet how long to expect between a request and a response, and perhaps even plug a little formula in there that will highlight the row if requesting agent goes beyond that date without responding. That way you just need to check the spreadsheet periodically to see if you need to nudge anyone. I haven't done that for any of the agents I've queried in the past--I've used QueryTracker. But I'm thinking about trying a spreadsheet approach for the next one.

Donnaeve said...

@Marc...I'd forgot about leaving you that comment from a few days ago, so I'm glad you followed up! I bet Janet won't forget that story. You might want to create a more tender moment in your next FF - you know, in case you query her? :)

A journey is discussed here too. Funny though, I used to read more about that in writerly mags, etc., than I have as of late. It's been more of "move the story forward!"

Colin Smith said...

I should add: not that I have a problem with QueryTracker. Great app. Just that variety is the cumin in the curry, so to speak. Wow... it's all about food at the moment... :)

kaitlyn sage said...

I tend to view my partials and fulls as little unicorns I put out to graze and get fat on the lush grass of being read by strangers. Maybe they come when I call to check on them, maybe they don't. They're unicorns. Suckers have minds of their own.

Thus far, though, the longest I've had a full or a partial out is 4 months. I'd put good money on me stomping out into that field with a lasso (or rather a brief, polite email) and wrangling that sucker home after a year.

Insofar as oatmeal is concerned, I like mine with a touch of salt, some very sharp cheddar, and green onions. I also prefer it to be made with ground corn rather than oats. Basically, I want grits. Why aren't we having grits for breakfast(she says as she eyes the green smoothie glaring at her from her desk)?

Julia said...

OK. I'll say this here because Tweeting it will summarily end my career.

The term "Cozy Mystery" has always simply baffled me. Not because I don't understand it - I do - but because it strikes me as purely oxymoronic.

It is not "cozy" to be murdered.

Does the victim feel "cozy?" No.

Is his soul floating above the scene, staring down at his mangled body, thinking, "Oo! How cozy!"? No.

He's thinking, "What a godawful mess." Or, "I hope someone kills that bastard." Or, "How could s/he do that to me?!"

But not, "Wow, what a cozy scene!"

And yes, I know it occurs within a "cozy" community. I get that. But the genre itself is titled "Cozy. Mystery." And the mystery isn't cozy - it's awful.

I don't care how close-knit my novel's community is. I shall never happily label it a "cozy" mystery. My agent can do it; my publisher can do it; my editor(s) may do it. But I will only start doing it when someone says, "You know this is a cozy. Don't you?"

And then I'll scrunge up my face and say, "Yeeessss..." and submit. But inside, I'll be thinking of that victim's soul up there, thinking, "Cozy what, now?"


Unacceptable rant over.

Back to work.

On my uncomfortable mystery.

Sea Cucumber

Donnaeve said...

Cereal. Aside from loving Fruit Loops.

Oatmeal? I'll eat it any ole way. Milk, water, fruit, nuts, sugar, honey. Wait. Not any ole way. Not cold.

Coco Pops? Yes, but not soaked down to MUSH. That might look like a bowl of something else. Can't manage that.

(I looked up Coco Pops and that's what they are known as outside of U.S., whereas here, it's Coco Krispies. These tidbits of info are important aren't they?)

Cream of Wheat! I'll eat that any ole way too. Hot. Not cold.

GRITS!!!! Ho boy, here we go. With red eye gravy. Yes! Salt, pepper, butter. With an egg on top and all mashed up. Yes! With sugar, butter, milk, yes!

Btw, where's W.R.? I can hear this in my head, "I love me some..."

Julia said...

Oh. And ColinCo - on oatmeal.

Stovetop. Apples and pears preferred, always some kind of fruit.

Cinnamon, pinch of nutmeg and allspice, and salt. Perhaps vanilla if I'm feeling need for sweet. Perhaps walnuts or pecans if I haven't been eating.

Brown sugar and tiny bit of maple syrup (real) when just about done. Stirred well.

Et la.

If using berries, omit nutmeg and allspice, use vanilla. Perhaps crushed walnuts or pecans.


And on grits - my dad came from Miami. He hated grits. It was a setup. I can't stand them. My husband can't stand them either - them or polenta.

Moving on to pasta, homemade meat sauce that sits on the stove no less than two hours, best on thick spaghetti, but kids like ravioli. Cheese. I think it's too much and can only take a little. My nine year old son will eat THREE HEAPING PLATES in one sitting, which makes me suspect he's headed for lumberjack-dom.

If in a rush, hamburger in good marinara over bertolini three cheese ravioli or chicken tortellini.

Sea Urchin

Julia said...

Cereal. Pretty much anything but Grapenuts or Allbran, both of which strike me as cement or rodent food.

Dena Pawling said...

Jury trials this week. Makes my commenting time severely restricted. But I didn't comment at all yesterday and Colin ended up in exile. Hmmmmmm. I wonder if there's a correlation there?

I kind of agree with whoever above said that sometimes not knowing is better than getting that rejection. At least when you don't have a response, the hope is still alive.

Of course getting the positive response is best of all. But as Janet says, it's out of my hands at that point so I try not to worry about it and keep moving forward.

Congrats to the person asking, for all those partials and fulls out there! Keep the faith.

kaitlyn sage said...

Julia, your cozy rant had me in stitches. I had to close my office door. It's like you were channeling my own thoughts.

Then you had to go and ruin it with your distaste for grits. *shakes head in dismay*

Your pasta sauce sounds pretty good though. IS IT LUNCHTIME YET?

Colin Smith said...

Julia: The "cozy" is a strange beast. As I understand, the cozy is supposed to be the opposite of the "hard boiled"--usually takes place in a "homey" atmosphere (small village, neighborhood, etc.), with some kind of small-time detective (e.g., a private eye, or commonly a layperson--Miss Marple-type). There's usually no graphic violence or sex, and not much profanity. However, I think the boundaries on the cozy are being stretched more and more, probably in line with society's tolerance for sex and violence (what was "too sexy" 50 yrs ago is fairly tame today). But you're right; the term is a misnomer. Murder is never cozy, and shouldn't be. Janet (or others) may have more insight on the history of the term in relation to crime fiction.

Donna: Grits with a runny-yolk fried egg on top--whooo boy! Music to my taste buds. I do like grits, for the record. Most anyways it comes (as long as it's meatless, of course). My wife's grandmother used to make cheese grits from scratch. Very good. :)

Julia (again): Grapenuts--ikkk! Allbran I can eat, though.

Dena: JURY TRIAL!! I must say, I really enjoyed my jury experience. Wish I could be there, though I'd probably be excused because I know one of the attorneys... :) I don't know how much more trouble I can be in than my now PERMANENT exile--banishment, even. But if your commenting can help keep me on the straight-and-narrow, I appreciate it! :D

Laura Mary said...

Ok folks, fill me in...

What the hell is grits??? Presumably not made of *actual* grit...

Colin Smith said...

Laura: A southern delicacy. I should leave it to Donna to give you the lo-down, but imagine porridge made from corn meal. That should give you an idea of the texture. You can feel the bits of corn meal when you eat it, which is probably where the name comes from. But I defer to the experts... :)

Colin Smith said...

Laura: I should add, if you hadn't already noted, it's commonly eaten as breakfast food, but can be used as part of a main meal. I've seen it offered on restaurant menus as part of seafood dishes. Shrimp and Grits is common down here.

Colin Smith said...

Laura: From a consistency POV (not taste), a reasonably (but not too) thick Ready Brek would also be a valid comparison, I think.

Julia said...

@Colin, re:cozy history and nomenclature, I know, I know, I know.

But I can't get this whole, DUDE, THERE'S A MANGLED BODY ON THE FLOOR, WHAT'S COZY ABOUT THIS?! thing out of my head.

No matter how much Jessica Fletcher kills Martha Stewart you throw at me.

Lizzie said...

I wish it was more professionally acceptable for agents to post status updates on fulls even if they are a year or more behind. The waiting is a bummer, sure, but it's the daily today-could-be-the-day suspense that niggles.

Colin Smith said...

Laura: I'll shut up now and let the REAL Southerners tell you all about grits! :)

Julia: The floor has a nice plush carpet. :) Yes, yes, stained with mass quantities of congealed blood. But still... niiice carpet... :D

Lizzie said...

PS -- Last week I read The Breach and was so bowled over the awesomeness that I immediately picked up Ghost Country. Holy smokes!

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

I haven't yet had grits prepared in such a manner that I enjoyed them, but until a few years ago, that was correct with corn bread as well. I've since found a cornbread recipe that's palatable to me, which is my general tactic. I don't like red sauce either, as a rule, but I've derived a vodka sauce that's acceptable. Really, though, I'm happy with nearly any kind of pasta with just some cheese on it. As a child I pretty much survived on mac 'n' cheese, yogurt, and honey sandwiches and/or fluffernutters.

Colin Smith said...

Lizzie: I'm guessing here, but I think query updates are more acceptable because most agents respond to queries in the order they receive them. Not necessarily so with requested partials/fulls. I suppose it's possible a ms might jump the queue for some reason (e.g., agent receives msg that the author has had an offer, agent really excited about the ms just received--lots of potential, ms came with Jack Reacher's private cell phone number...). In which case, the response time for each ms will be different. Just my guess, though. :)

REJourneys said...

I get the anxiety, I live by the anxiety (which happens to be by a fish market.)

But look at the bright side (I swear that is my catch phrase, and I'm a "glass half empty" kind of person), if you take the Shark's advice and write/work on things while the requests are out, it's like you are multi-tasking. You are moving forward, despite not actually working on both projects. I want to put an analogy involving a rail car here, but the hunger is affecting the thinking...

Julia said...

Maybe we're all taking the wrong approach.

Maybe we should be like Olaf. You know, "I'm Olaf, and I like warm hugs."

"I'm Julie, and I like any kind of pasta, but I really like a good lasagne. And by the way, just wondering, have you gotten to my partial by any chance? Here's some lasagne. And a mix for oatmeal. Have a nice day."

Amanda Capper said...

I want to comment on all the comments but I forget who said what by the time I get to the comment box. But I do remember one...Colin's stream of conscious being interrupted by Janet's posts. Laughed out loud.

And congrats to Opie for getting her stuff out there and good stuff it must be to have full and partial requests. Patience, Opie-Wan Kenobi. Patience.

Donnaeve said...

Colin, for a British lad, you've done right by the grits. With the mention of a runny egg on top? You should be given a ticket off Carkoon. That is pure tee heaven. I'm actually getting hungry now, whilst everyone around us is retching.

I tried to feed my Canada friends a "southern fare" when they visited from Toronto and Ottawa - back in the ole Corp days.

Barbeque, Carolina style (think vinegary/buttery and hot!) Cole slaw. Hush puppies. Brunswick stew. Banana pudding. They HATED everything but the banana pudding.

There are definitely some acquired tastes. Okra anyone?

Marc P said...

Thanks for the heads up Colin I shall leap threads like a salmon henceforth. Not that they do, in fact a salmon stays in a single river of a thread really unless in the sea. And probably good advice @Donna - re querying but where is the fun in that lol!! What I shall do as I am clueless about the rules of the FF in general which I was;t even aware of as a genre/exercise - is put one of them in the next book!

Colin Smith said...

Donna: Thanks! :D Apparently, Eastern NC barbeque is even different to other NC barbeque. Not that I would know anything about that. As for okra, I did fry up some one time and found I prefer it really well cooked and with butter. I'm sure there are better, more creative ways to do okra. My SecondBorn was going to try some recipes, but don't know if she ever did.

Marc P said...

Of course Okra is called a Lady's Finger over here... I only mention if some confusion arises in any further posting. It can of course be open to scandalous misinterpretation at times. ;)

Ardenwolfe said...

Yep. Welcome to the hell that is waiting as a hopeful writing. Ain't it glamorous?

Colin Smith said...

Marc: Yes. Frying lady's fingers with butter has a distinctly Hannibal Lecter ring to it...

Julia said...

On Southern Fare:
Watch out. Extra yummy. Extra pounds; extra triglyceride; extra cholesterol.

That having been said, after my time as an Arkie (which I ADORED, although I maintain that certain areas in the Delta require the United States' collective attention DESPERATELY; there is poverty down there such as most people in the US have never and will never see. I've seen Honduras, and as God is my witness, the two come awfully, awfully close.), I developed a definite taste for some things I'll never be able to eat properly up here, because nobody up here can make them:

Cinnamon buns, made and baked upside down on their own tray in an oven by a Southern baker who learned how to do it decades ago from her mom.

Pineapple cream cheese pie. Don't say "OMG ICK!" until you've tried it. Really.

The value of Sonic. Nuf said.

Okra, breaded and fried.

County fairs done right.

Fried Chicken, preferably called "Aunt 'x's' Chicken"

Root beer that can only be bought at a certain small store and comes in a glass bottle

BBQ of any type, as long as it is a secret family recipe - and properly cooked

Lemonade. Cold. Homemade.

Sweet tea. Cold. Homemade. On a porch or deck or in a back yard.

Cherry Coke.

Chicken Fried anything.

Biscuits. With anything. Or alone. Preferably stolen before what they're supposed to be served with.

REAL Mexican food. Ideally bought in circumstances in which you have absolutely no idea what you've ordered because you don't speak Spanish but trust the proprietors because they're awesome and make fantastic food. And neither of you speak each other's language, but there's a lot of smiling that goes on and the Mama comes out and grins at you and points at the food. And you grin back and nod.

And then you go home and take lots of Tums.




Maalox or Mylanta.



A good GI doc found at the local Sparks or St. Edwards center.



John Frain said...



Or maybe I'm like those two old ladies on the porch. "See that Lydia? There's a big fire on First Street."

"Really? Wish I was turned around that way so I could see it."

Oh, what I'd give to sit on a porch with you one lazy afternoon into evening into late night, good morning.

John Frain said...

Also, congrats to the OP. Awesome stuff.

I think it says only ONE THING if they haven't gotten back to you yet. And it's pretty simple. They haven't gotten to your ms yet. They wouldn't have requested it if they weren't interested. Just keep being flattered a little while longer and use the energy for that next ms.

Julia said...

Can I just add that I'm so (like, SO) tempted, repeatedly, to steal Janet's images?

The dogs, the cats, the Beauty and the Beast horse pics...

Every time they go up, it's a struggle.

I ran a "funny pic contest" on my page last fall, with the winner getting to pick a charity of their choice for me to advertise for the week; ran through Christmas and then it got overwhelmed by Christmas stuff and just never started up again. Anyway, I started wanting to steal those pics then, and now every time I see those pics, I SO want to pull them and restart that contest.

It's such a moral dilemma.


Julia said...

And then there's this. Okay, so I'm totally not lurking. It's like pledging to go on a diet and then not doing it. Anyway, in the peri-con revision ruffle, I have all these versions of my MS's, and I CAN'T FIND THE STUPID FULL WORKING MS!!!


It's like, "Nope. Nope. No, that isn't it. Nope. Nooo, that's only the first 50 p. Nope, just first ten. Drat. Where the h...?"

Julia said...

Aaaand.... yes. I have a migraine. (See, Janet? Where's your cat-with-ice-pack pic?)

Colin Smith said...

Julia: I know what you mean. There have been times in the past when I needed to submit my ms and I had to go through a few iterations to find the "current absolutely bang-up-to-date including tips from kindly agent" version. In light of that I developed a system: Folder for drafts, each draft receiving a version number: 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, etc. Those version numbers represent stages (1.x = my review; 2.x = first reader review; 3.x = beta review), and the .x is for each review. I then create a sub-folder for the FINAL version, and in there goes the "finished" ms (with proper file name), a 5-page synopsis, a 2-page synopsis, the query letter "blurb", the 1st 5 pages, and the 1st 50 pages. This enables me to respond quickly to requests, and be flexible with query submission guidelines, since I think this about covers all the bases. No, I don't do a 1-page synopsis; such a thing is simply insanity. If an agent asks for a 1-page synopsis I usually [AGENTS STOP READING HERE] send the 2-page synopsis and hope they don't notice! ;)

Amy Schaefer said...

84 comments? I can't read 84 comments; I have a million things to do today. So I'll just wave at you all instead. Good morning/afternoon/[insert appropriate time of day here].

Colin Smith said...

Amy: Here's a summary of today's comments (so far):

- Breakfast: Mushy Co-Co Krispies, fruit loops, oatmeal, and grits.
- Dinner: Southern cooking including ocra and cherry Coke, fish and chips and mushy peas.
- What's up with "cozy" mysteries??
- Newbie Audrey wins First Comment
- And then there are a whole bunch of comments to do with submission wait times. Not sure what that was about... ;)

Did I miss anything?

Julia said...

Colin - usually (usually), I'm the most OCD, end of the digestive system, unbelievably control-freaked person you'd ever meet about my MS and saving and revising and such.

This is because I've been burned.

Many, many times. And I know I'll be burned again. I spent the ENTIRETY of last late May and into June re-writing TWELVE WEEKS' worth of work because I systematically, unknowingly, wrote over them on both computers and both hard and thumb drive versions that I had.

I still cringe thinking about how that happened. It was painful and awful and my kids still bear the emotional and physical scars.

Janet is a fearsome creature? I was an absolute horror to be around from the instant I realized what I had done through until weeks after I had rewritten the stuff.

So I'm beyond meticulous.


After this summer's I-think-pancreatitis-and-renal-failure-is-a-good-idea-now thing put me five weeks behind, I did, truly and really, try to revise 1100 words worth of work in three days. Because I'm like that.

Don't look at the screen like that, you guys would've done the same thing.

And in saving the documents, it went from: KI (for Kennedy I) 5 (Version 5) 20150730 to KI-R (Kennedy I - Revised, something I've never done) 20150730, and I just kept labeling things KI-R with different dates, relying on that to save me.



Now I'm on the other side of it wondering which KI-R was the actual last full manuscript I was working with before I actually started to revise, because I've got literally nine of them. And then there are about six Chapter One's.

And the same is true for my AI (Angylaidd) MS's.

It's a bloody mess.

Not a big deal in the scheme of things, but I do have a terrible migraine now, not really brought about by work, per se, but by the fact that I caused myself inefficiency. I loathe inefficiency, which was one reason I loved NYC. It seemed as if everyone there also loathed inefficiency. Even the woman on the corner snorting whatever she was snorting seemed to be doing it efficiently. (And by the way, what is it that one snorts? Is it heroin or cocaine? I never did get that down, even in the ER. Someone once was telling me how much their habit cost them, and I had no idea whether that was an expensive habit or not. I just frowned sincerely and nodded.)


Back to KI-R 20150730.


Colin Smith said...

Good Koogli Mooglies, Julia! And here I thought I was being organized!!

Hope you get some headache relief. Hope you don't have to snort something to find that relief. Unless it's Flonase. :)

bjmuntain said...

See? I get online late (sorry, slept in), and now I have to wade through many, many comments. So I will probably have to cut my own comments into two or three pieces.

I think that's something that a lot of writers have problems remembering: an agent's *current* clients have first dibs on her time.

Which is great for the clients, because they have a great agent already who is working hard for them.

I find I've got myself pitching to two Canadian publishers at a conference next week. I wonder if American agents hear much about Canadian publishers, and if being published by a Canadian publisher will help or hurt my future chances with an American publisher.

The publishers I'm pitching to are Edge and Bundoran. I'm also trying to talk to someone from Tyche Press. Has anyone heard of any of these? (Edge is the only one of these publishers I'd heard of before a year or so ago.)

PL Alston said...

Amy - I understand completely. I tend to lurk, but only check in every other day, or maybe twice a day if I need a break from research/writing. Which brings me back to a topic from yesterday(?) - a forum-type of discussion board founded by the wonderful regulars of this blog.

It would allow for a grouping of topics, writing help, or page building help, or building appropriate social skills (a big one for me) you could see at a glance if something new has been added, and would be easier to peruse when time is short. At least, I think it would. Maybe I'm misunderstanding how a forum works. Oh, and recipes - to try and stay within today's range of posts.

Oatmeal - yes, grits - no

bjmuntain said...

Audrey: Welcome!

Jennifer: When I nudge, I usually say something along the lines of:

"Dear LovelyAgent,

Thank you for requesting the first three chapters of (or 'my manuscript', if it's a full), The Best Novel Ever. I haven't received a response yet, so I just want to make sure it didn't get lost somewhere."

Beth: Your non-writer friends are telling you how to run your professional life? That's like the judge's wife saying, "I don't like that guy. I think you should send him away for the rest of his life." They don't know how things work. If you don't want to explain to them how they work (or if you have, and they won't listen)... I'm sorry. At this moment, I can't think of anything to say that won't come across as nasty in some way.

Colin: Maybe your kids will learn to like mushy peas as they get older, just as you did.

Diane: Share the resources, already!

Timothy: Sorry about your ankle - I've never broken mine, but I sprain them repeatedly, so I can commiserate, at least. I've actually taken to writing draft query letters in the first draft stage, mostly to give me focus and inspiration.

Re cereals: I used to love my oatmeal with lots of brown sugar and butter. (Diane described it perfectly.) There is nothing wrong with Froot Loops.

Donna: My biggest problem with Little Girl Dog is that, in the winter, when the ground is icy and snowy, she'll sniff around for the right place... and then start picking up all her feet, because they're freezing. Not easy for a dog to do her business when she's got 3 feet picked up off the ground...

Jennifer: I prefer iced coffee all year round, too, even here on the ice cold plains of Canada. But that's more because I tend to spill hot coffee more than cold coffee. I know I'm weird, but that's just the way my klutziness runs.

Was Albacon a writing conference? Or a fan convention? Normally, something with 'con' at the end is a fan convention, which may or may not have a writing side to it. I've been busting my very small bank account on writing conferences this year (1 a couple weeks ago, 1 next week, and - I really hope - one in October), and if you have a chance, they're really great experiences. Not just for the contacts, but for the energy.

Being in a hotel full of writers gives the air you breathe a creative energy, and bolsters your writing immensely. Plus, being surrounded by writers helps to allay social anxiety, because if nothing else, you can always ask someone 'what do you write?', or they will ask you. You've got something terrific in common with every single writer there.

Colin Smith said...

... and now I'm wondering if drug users would ever use Flonase dispensers to snort their stuff. Powder form would probably be difficult to use that way... but if it was with water so it could be sprayed... that's assuming you can remove the lid of a Flonase dispenser and put your cocktail of choice in the bottle...

Not that anyone here has first-hand experience. Just, you know, writers and the things they research... :)

bjmuntain said...

Oh JulieH: That's so funny! 'Cozy' relates to the investigator, not the murder. Murders are, as you say, never 'cozy'. Investigators can be cozy people you don't mind spending time being around. (No one wants to spend time around a murder victim - that's pretty much a downer.)

Lizzie: You are very right - it's the 'today could be the day!' feeling. That happens in everyday life, too. Yesterday, I found out that one of those feelings was completely off-the-wall because someone hadn't sent off the information needed to make today 'the day'. Very frustrating. So much easier in the publishing world, since you're in control of the sending out.

Donna: Don't take your people from Ontario as representing Canada. They're their own kinda people. Westerners and Easterners have their own likes and dislikes, too. I'm sure they don't represent everyone from Ontario, either.

Here in the west, Cole slaw is a staple. At many restaurants, it's used almost as a garnish - it just comes with meals, without asking. At others, it can be chosen instead of a salad. But remember: Saskatchewan was settled about 75% by people with German, Ukrainian, Russian, and Polish backgrounds. (Unfortunately, Cole slaw - as well as pickles and lettuce - is not my thing. I do, however, love cabbage rolls.)

Regarding ms files: I've started dating my full versions. I often go back and make a few changes (small or large), then rename the file, "MyNovel_Aug2015.docx". If I'm sending a partial, I'll name it: "MyNovel_1st50pp_Aug2015.docx". I dread losing my work. Hmm. Might be time to back it all up onto DropBox again... and maybe on a dongle or two...

bjmuntain said...

Colin: Regarding Flonase: You can take the white top part off, and maybe even get it back on. However, under that, there's a metal bit that just can't come off. (I only know this because one broke on me, and I wanted to replace it with one from another bottle. No dice. Also, because I used a lot of Flonase at that time, I wanted to put the leavings from a number of bottles into another bottle, and therefore not have to buy more for a week or so... but no dice. You just cannot get that metal piece out. At least, not without breaking it and making it useless.)

Colin Smith said...

bj: Thanks for that! Curiosity sated. Duly noted NOT to have drug users making use of Flonase dispensers to inhale narcotics in any stories.

I'm surprised I didn't know this actually. I temped for a while at Glaxo (before it was even Glaxo-Wellcome), and was at their Allen & Hanbury's sub division (which has now long gone) in the marketing department when they launched Flonase in the US. I helped get all the FDA submissions signed off on, saw packaging proofs, gave my 2c on possible TV ad spots. Very interesting experience.

Didn't get any free samples, though.

bjmuntain said...

I got some free samples from my doctors - at that time, when they had free samples from the supplier, they would sometimes give those out if you couldn't afford to buy them then. The free samples only held about a quarter of the bought bottles.

That would have been a cool job.

Recaptcha made me choose 'food'. That's so arbitrary. I'm sure the bug on the calla lily was food for something.

Colin Smith said...

bj: It was an interesting peek behind the curtain at one part of the drug industry. I don't want to wander very far into this minefield, but when you see the amount of people and effort that goes into just submitting a drug for approval to the FDA, let alone actually conducting research and development to produce the drug, it brings some balance to the whole "how much should we be paying for medicine?" debate. It did for me anyway. Not to say drugs are not overpriced. But there is a cost in bringing these things to market, and it's not cheap.

bjmuntain said...

Colin: I used to work for a major charity that does research in health advances. I know, too, how LONG it can take to not only develop something new, but then to get federal approval (even in Canada). All the testing, all the tweaks... and even then, there can be disappointment, as it just doesn't live up to it's original promise.

Donnaeve said...

bj, Little Girl Dog sounds a lot like Little Dog (boy) although he's a stoic little feller. He only tries to lift two legs. :)

As to the Ottawa folks - duly noted. I still hear from a few of them time to time and we "joke" about the barbeque.

Colin, yep, west of the Piedmont they prefer the red sauce to the vinegar sauce. For folks who think the "barbeque" I'm talking about is cooking out on a grill - no, it's pork, cooked to the point it can be shredded, and then soaked in the vinegar sauce. Eat it on buns with slaw or a plate supper with all the fixings...i.e. all that stuff I mentioned before. Or, even better, a pig pick'n.

Marc P - Lady's Finger? We have a cookie here called a Lady Finger. Funny, when I googled it, what came up? Both pics! Ha! Learn something new every day.

Julia! Great list of southern foods - as to the Cherry Coke? NC is responsible for Cheerwine, which closely resembles Dr. Pepper, but I think with more cherry kick. Of course we're also known for sweet potatoes, peanuts, pickles (Mt Olive), Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Pepsi, Texas Pete, and Hardee's. Bet ya'll didn't know that. :)

And Julia, if you it turns out you have a cozy, you should query my agent. He reps quite a few cozy authors.

Julia said...

BJ & Colin:

That is all.

Colin Smith said...

Julia: LOL!! :D

Donna: Sounds to me we should have our Vommenters Conference in NC, since that's where all the best eatin's happenin'. :)

Julia said...

BJ: I'm Julie, and I write Cozerotica.
Or, I'm Julie, and I write Cozmance.
Or even, I'm Julie, and I write Cozlitical Thrillers. At a stretch. If we're in, say, Monaco. Or the Vatican.

But, I'm Julie, and I write Corror, or Cozysteries, or Let's all Reach Around and Cozy Up With Reacher, or ANY Cozy Mangled Bodies Flying Every Which Way For Any Reason At All... really...

I.... Can't... DO... IT!

Oh, Cozy.
A Cozy Alien Demon Clown is Cozying up to me....

Cozy Clownfish

Colin Smith said...

"My name is Julie. I'm cozy. My stories aren't. BWAAAHAAHAAAA!!" :)

Julia said...

Victims, Colin.
My VICTIMS aren't.
No, wait. That came out wrong.
Do over....

BTW, anyone up for a 20 p beta/crit? (Ducks...)

Julia said...

It's on a CRIME fic.

bjmuntain said...

Donna: What you call bbq, we call pulled pork. :) I agree - it's very good. :)

All this talk of food, and this time Recaptcha makes me pick pictures with french fries. Of course, both pictures also have a hamburger in it.

Marc P said...

@Donna All I can say is I hope your lady finger tastes better than mine!

Julie.M.Weathers said...


That pineapple pie is probably millionaire pie, which is decadent, right along with hummingbird cake.

John, we could sit on a porch or a gallery and sip sweet tea to your heart's delight.

I like good bbq, but good bbq is not as easy to come by as people think. It should be slow smoked, preferably with mesquite or hickory with a minimum of sauce. That stuff that is boiled and drenched in ketchup and brown sugar sauce, barf. Add whatever favorite homemade sauce on the side if you insist, but good meat doesn't need to be disguised with all that stuff.


Smoked brisket for me, please.

Colin, I do have a column for expected response time and that date. I have only nudged twice. Once when the agent promised an answer on a full in six weeks and it went to six months. I had some revisions and asked if I could send the revised version.

The other had posted answering all queries and I hadn't received a response. She had, but I didn't receive it.

I try not to nudge. They'll get to it when they get to it.

Being the mother of rodeo cowboys teaches you not to get rattled by the small stuff. Life gives you plenty of other things to freak out about. Being the wife of a rodeo cowboy teaches you how to wait without complaint.

Julia said...

Is working through Paula Munier's Plot Perfect exercises...
The d... thing is brilliant. D'you hear me? Brilliant!

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Hey you guys, the heck with your southern cooking how about a northern Lobsta' bake.

Clams on the half shell, that's pry open the shell and eat raw with hot sauce.
Clam chowda', New England only, thick, creamy and loaded with clams.
Steamas', (piss clams) with broth and drawn butta' for dipping.
Boiled lobsta', served in the shell please, with bowls of melted butta'.
Corn on the cob.
Mounds of coleslaw.
Strawberry shortcake.

The best is when the lobstas and corn are cooked in a pit on the beach while covered up with smoldering seaweed.

What was the question, oh waiting time. May drop by for a rant after dinna'. I really have a problem with you talented writers who sit on your hands. Be back latea'.

Donnaeve said...

Julie, I made a hummingbird cake for my book club. Several members were on the floor swooning. I made an Italian Creme Cake (which doesn't sound southern, but it is) about two weeks ago, and it laid everyone out too. Channeling W.R...I love me some cake.

Speaking of smoking...

My husband has become quite the expert at using various smoking techniques, with everything from apple, pecan, hickory, alder, etc. He doesn't use mequite. I'm okay with LIGHTLY smoked meats - but sometimes (two weekends ago) it had just a little too much SMOKE. I don't want to eat a cigarette.

bj - yes, pulled pork, same thing. GOOD.

Colin - we should! I could have everyone here for a pig pickin'! :)

Donnaeve said...

2N's - here we do a low country boil also known as Frogmore Stew. (South Carolina low country)

Crab legs
Polska Kielbasa
Red skin potatoes
Corn on the cob (small cuts)
Old Bay, salt, pepper, vinegar

The boil is a layered technique. We do it's so good in the fall.

Marc P said...

Is a pig picking as cruel a game as it sounds lol!

LynnRodz said...

AAHHH!!! 115 comments! I don't have time to read them, not after reading the rest of yesterday's comments. seems after I left yesterday, there were a few schoolyard brawls. I would have posted,

"Children, children, let's play nice!"

But, really I'm surprised for as long as many of us have been here on Janet's blog, there isn't a lot of contention among us kids. Yes, we are like children and I say that in a positive way. Afterall, who (whom, I never know when to use that darn word) besides children have such creative minds to invent stories? Only writers, of course!

And now drum roll...


No, it's not what you think. No queries have gone out yet. I'm talking about Colin leaving Fuzzy Prints LM for a teaching job! Yes, just yesterday I had typed a letter of resignation as editor of Dino Porn and I was about to apply for a post at the new Goofball Literary Agency here on Carkoon, but now I don't have to. I am the head of Fuzzy PLM! Therefore, my first decree is, all Dino Porn queries and MSs will no longer be accepted! IF - some come in and I'm in a good mood, I will forward them to 2Ns at the GLA. (You know, the gal with the white go-go boots and mini skirt holding a transitor radio. Yeah, her.)

And, now I know why Angie has never been sent to Carkoon. She sends Janet virtual books! Well, I'm going to start sending Janet some of my favorite books like that as well. Be on the lookout for them, Janet!

I know I'm forgetting a lot of stuff I was going to vomment on, but this here is a day late and a dollar short! Oh, I know, I've never worked as a bank teller or a cashier, but I face all my bills the same way too. Euros come in different sizes so we don't have to alternate them, btw.

Someone mentioned (sorry can't remember who) about a place where we can talk about anything and everything...with all the topics running wild around here, what do you think this is? Nuff said.

PS: Love that doggie photo, Janet!

Julia said...

Cake. Cake! CAKE!!!!


Oh, and the Clambake and low country boil as well, BRING IT ON, I'M HUNGRY!

'Cept I can't eat the lobster, I'm allergic to it, but the rest of it, Good LORD, FEED ME, SEYMOUR!


Omigosh. No. I lost all that weight. Keep it off.

Virtual Clambake. Crabfest.

Ooooohhhh.... I'm SOOOO hungry.

Julia said...

Baked stuffed shrimp, anyone? Stuffed quahogs? Littlenecks on the half-shell?
CHOWDAH! With plenty of oyster crackers, please.


Donnaeve said...

@ Marc P - only if we leave the head on. :)

bjmuntain said...

Donna: I love that you have Polish sausage in your stew!

The best sausages are the German ones, though Polish is a close second.

Canada isn't as much a 'melting pot' of culture as the US is - more of a mosaic of cultures. So rather than regionalized foods, we're more likely to have cultural foods.

The only food I know of that is actually regionalized is shishliki (with many different Anglicized spellings). It seems to be pretty rare outside of the area in Saskatchewan where I grew up. It's like a Ukrainian shish kabob, but bigger. They say it started in Turkey: chunks of meat cooked on swords over a fire. I don't know how true that is, but it's basically this:

- hunks of lamb (or pork or chicken), about the size of a cup, I think (I was going to say 'size of my fist', as that would be accurate, but I have pretty small fists).
- marinated for at least a day, if not longer, in a mixture that contains salt, pepper, and I think lemon juice?
- placed on long, thick skewers. Not the kind you get with a regular barbecue, but the kind you use when barbecuing over a pit or - even better - over a half of a big old iron barrel.

Now I'm getting hungry...

ReCaptcha made me choose wheelchairs. There was a normal one, a racing one, and a motorized one.

Donnaeve said...

Julia: This is for you. I wish I could get my ever lovin' links to work but I can't. Still, just cc/paste and DROOL.

Donnaeve said...

bj - my husband? German heritage. Yep, he loves him some sausages too. And beer. And potatoes. And. Sausage. :)

Julia said...

Donnaeve - CAAAAAAAAKE....

Colin Smith said...

Donna's link:

Donnaeve said...

Colin, you've turned into a southern gentleman. Thank you. :)

Colin Smith said...

Donna: Why thank you. And you're most welcome, ma'am. :)

Lance said...

Grits are the fines left over from making hominy (thus the term hominy grits), which is the whole kernel (corn) treated with lye to remove the husk. Grits go really well with boiled shrimp.

Okra as some said breaded and fried. Or in gumbo.

Interesting post on time. Very helpful. Patience, but don't wait: write, revise, repeat. Thank you, Ms. Janet.

Julia said...


Audrey Shaffer said...

Colin: Apparently I get up at the perfect time. I hit the snooze button 2 or 3 times, fall out of bed, stagger onto the deck for a smoke, then sit down to check this blog. It’s serendipity. And yes, I’m looking forward to/terrified of the next flash contest. *gulp*

Lisa: I’ve been reading Janet’s blog for over a year. Just finally got up the nerve to leave a comment. :D

Breakfast: Oatmeal, yes. But French toast beats everything else.

Forget the barbeque. I want to go to 2Ns lobsta’ bake!


Cake…any time, anywhere. *sigh* said...

Took me a while, but I finally read all the comments. *blinks* No longer sure what the hell I wanted to say about any of it, but there were things. Lots of things.

My favourite way to eat oatmeal is in klub, which is a Norwegian potato dumpling sort of thing. It has oatmeal in it. And a chunk of ham at the center.

We had a delayed/postponed birthday dinner celebration tonight for my son, who is now old enough that I'm convinced I must have given birth to him (and his younger sister) when I was 12, and I'm stuffed full of good food and feeling mellow from a couple glasses of wine. Great conversation, much laughter, my heart is light.

Topic? What topic?

One of the many reasons I love this blog is that Janet understands exactly how batshit crazy we writers are and seems to like us in spite of it. Or tolerate us, anyway.

I remember saying a couple weeks ago that I might be scarce around here because I was going to get back to a serious writing schedule. Instead, I've commented more often. This is quickly becoming The Summer of My Missing Content (apologies to Shakespeare). Apparently, drastic measures are required. I'm going to have to forego FF contests and perhaps even [gasp] shut down the internet for a while. Not that anyone will read this tucked away in triple digit comments and at this late hour, but if you wonder where I am in coming weeks, I'll be slaving away at my luxurious writer's retreat (ie, my kitchen table).

You all behave while I'm gone. Well or badly is entirely up to you.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

BJ: Well, I know the full didn't get lost like spam lost, because I got a not-automated (or very time delayed) "I got your MS, looking forward to reading it!" style email. But I'll probably word it somewhat along those lines. I just knew here was definitely the place to ask ^^

Albacon wasn't a full on writing thing, probably more of a genre convention if I had to guess (I actually haven't looked it up since), I just know one of my writing group folks went, and came back with resources he shared. And some Tor person was there and gave a talk. I've only been to one con in my life, actually, and that was SIMCon at Suny Rochester, I think? It was during college, and Phil Brucato formerly of White Wolf Publishing fame was there (he was one of the second edition Changeling people, if I remember aright), and Reaper miniatures folks were there, they had a 24 hour anime room, that kind of thing. I mostly took part in the Dungeons and Dragons "competition" (their criteria for "win" was wacky) and got second place (probably because I had a philosophical difference of opinion in what "Lawful Good" as an alignment might mean depending on the culture).

And oh, the tribulations of getting a dog to potty when the whether is inclement! Elka will look at me as though I'm abusing her if it's raining, and if it's bad enough, she gets outside, assesses, and goes right back to the door. She can, will, and has "held it" for a very long time without incident as an adult dog, based on weather particulars. But she loves both snow, and playing in puddles. Go figure, right? Now if it's nice out, warm and sunny, or there's birds around, I have to plead with her to get the job done. I in fact will count when I've had enough. On "two", if she knows the jig is up, she just returns to the door. If she still actually has to go, she'll do it on two or three typically, but her body language on "one" lets me know. We refer to this as "pee lies" in the household. Who knew dogs had imagination, right?

Marc P said...

@Donna Ah the 'pig picking' references the food product. I thought it was something to do with a cross between Lord of the Flies and a Lady's Finger... I shall make no reference at all to that film with Burt
Reynolds in and a catchy guitar and other five stringed instrument duo!

Cheyenne Campbell said...

That face!!! LOL...

I've actually asked a question regarding this before, and Janet's answer saved my brain from anxiety-meltdown (as did all of your kind, encouraging, and supportive comments). And I am still waiting on a handful of fulls, many, many weeks after the question was posted.

"You are a writer. Worrying about things you can't control is pretty much #1 on your To Do list each and every day."

This is 100% truth. I grew up an anxious worrier, but am learning and trying to fight this every day, in every aspect of my life, though writing of course is a big one. I feel OP's pain.

While I'm now nearly ready to query my next manuscript, after having queried 3 others before this (including the one that's been out with agents for donkey's years), I've slowly come to realise this: yes, I want each MS to be loved by one wonderful agent. But for me, it's about letting go of the "THIS HAS TO BE THE ONE THAT MAKES AN AGENT OFFER REP." That belief, that stronghold in my head, makes it really, really hard to keep the creative juices free and flowing. It lays on ridiculous, unnecessary pressure. So while I'd love for an agent to finally say (regarding previous MS that's still out), yes, this is the one, let's get to work.... I have to be okay with the very real possibility that that won't happen, and that maybe this current MS is it. Or the next one.

I always cringed when people said such blasphemy before, but I think just considering it has made my brain loosen its stranglehold on sanity that little bit.

Best of luck to OP!

Colin Smith said...

kd: Some of us have cottoned on to the fact of how addictive vommenting is, and even the next day people might be posting comments to the previous day's article. :)

Your wit and wisdom will be missed, so I hope this break is worthwhile. Have a fun and productive time. See you on the other side of it. :)

Julie.M.Weathers said...

Where is Captain Meerkat?

I'm on limited computer time until Friday night, but I haven't seen him lately. Maybe I'm glancing over him.

You know, I hate to say it, but I can see Janet doing that stink eye just exactly like the dog is doing.

Donna, yes, Italian Cream Cake is one of my favorites. My family likes rich heavy chocolate cakes, so Rodeo Cake became a staple in the house. The recipe is somewhere on my blog. I'll link it one of these days when I have more time.

bjmuntain said...

Jennifer: I highly recommend a writers conference, for help with craft and the business side of writing. Cons don't have as much on the writing, as they tend to be more focused on the fan aspect.

Dogs have much imagination. And can be very savvy. They are very good at training us.

Your mention of Elka holding it reminded me of an article I read one winter, when another city in the province had a snow so bad people couldn't open their doors to get out. One woman had a dachshund that refused to pee in the house - even though there was no way to get the pup outside. Papers on the floor? Nope. Kitty litter? Nope. Nothing. The poor thing had held it for so long, it was looking sickly. So the woman opened a window and held the doxie outside. She said in the article that the look on that doxie's face as he relieved himself out the window was pure relief...

I had to choose surfboards! I'm sure glad Recaptcha took the ones I picked, because there were different kinds, and I've never really seen a surfboard in person.

Colin Smith said...

Julie: I too have noted Brian's absence. I hope everything's okay with him.

Julia said...

Colin & Julie - is he on the blog commenters' addy board? I'll track him down if y'all want. Also, I posted about today's FF on my own FB page.

AND, so glad y'all are posting today! :)

Off to B&N to work on MS - I've been wanting to all week, buy my DH has been at a conf of his own, so I've gotten NOTHING done. Grr. Today's the day! :)

Julie - What do you write, anyhow? Is it fantasy, western, or crossover? Or some cozy non-mystery? :D


Brain Coral

bjmuntain said...

I came across this, and was reminded of the horse Janet uses...

IFLScience - Horses have similar facial expressions as humans and chimps

In case we didn't already know, it's been scientifically proven.

Julia said...

At WD Con, took notes on how to pitch (Sambuchino), how to write what sells and how to plot (Paula Munier from Talcott Notch Lit, who was awesome and is now on my hero list), how to write fantabulastic QLs (QOTKU), how to write hist fic (I forget but he writes Civil War era NYT bestselling stuff) and keynotes from Jonathan Mayberry (who responds to Tweets) and Jacqueline Woodward (who doesn't). Both of these last spoke about how they got to where they are and were incredible. Mayberry joined my hero list and will be aiding my poor League of Vermont Writers - if the Board decides in favor of accepting his help.

Are the highlights of any of these of interest?

Into BN to find similar contemporary stories to mine.

I don't think they exist.

I suspect the Queen would know differently.

Can I download her brain???


Julia said...

Help! Help!

Is anyone on? Anyone who can relatively rapidly eyeball a QL for me?


bjmuntain said...

I can, Julia - bjmuntain at sasktel dot net

But only for the next 10 minutes. If you take longer, I won't get to it as quickly. (Have to leave the house in 10)

(how's that for rapid?)

bjmuntain said...

(If you get it to me later, I still might be able to get back to you in a couple or few hours. Just not right away.)

Marc P said...

I can give a non QL expert eye if still required. Have never written one, have no idea of what format is required - but maybe that is useful. :) Have some common sense and a great recipe for flour free bread I just tried :)

bjmuntain said...

Oooh. Flour-free bread? Does that mean it is also gluten-free?

Marc P said...

Yus, Just almond flour and some husk powder of something begining psy I think :)

bjmuntain said...

Can you send it along to the e-mail address I gave before? I'd love to try (or see if my mum wants to try).

(By it, I mean the recipe. Although if you want to send the bread, I wouldn't complain.)

bjmuntain said...

And... I gotta run. I'll try checking my e-mail for you Julie in an hour and a half or so...

Julia said...

FABULOUS, thank you - I just committed the most fantastic Janet-related faux pas, it's just lovely, and I'll send it off - no more hurry, I've pretty well wrecked that particular submission, but I have others for that one, so still need eyes. :) Marc, can you somehow give me an em or something?

Julie.M.Weathers said...


"Julie - What do you write, anyhow? Is it fantasy, western, or crossover? Or some cozy non-mystery?"

FAR RIDER, the manuscript I have on submission, is high fantasy.

THE RAIN CROW is a Civil War paranormal about a lady Confederate spy, her Confederate fiance who rides with JEB Stuart, and a lamia. I'm about 35,000 words in on it.

I'LL TAKE THAT HORSE is the historical about lady bronc riders. I've just started that.

I lean towards fantasy and historical.

Julia said...

Oh, Julie... This could be the beginning of a....

Beautiful Friendship.

Colin Smith said...

Sorry, I've not been vommenting most of the day, partly because of work, partly because I've writing flash stories for Flash! Friday, and partly because I've been thinking about the contest... and partly because it dawned on me we could continue commenting on this article even though it's yesterday's. And I see some of you had the same bright idea! I say we make this a thing now on contest weekends: just continue commenting on the previous day's article.

So glad you've started on the lady bronc rider story, Julie. I hope you love it--I'm sure Janet will. :D

Colin Smith said...

Julia: And wouldn't it just be the way things go if that "wrecked submission" was the one that got you an agent? :)

Julia said...

THUD! <----- Forehead. Meets. Desk.


I haven't submitted anything to QS since 12/2013.

But, hey, guess what? TODAY WAS THE DAY!

And no coincidence - today was also the day that I figured out that I submitted a partial without a query!

So I sent my query, very apologetic, to the agent! And guess what it said on top?

Yes. Yes, I did. I submitted a live query with "By submitting this query, I agree it may be posted and critiqued on the QueryShark blog and included in the archives for the life of the blog." on top. Right. On. Top.

*KISS* *MWAH!* There goes that partial.


I have the ability to be a professional. Dressed with my clothes facing the right way for years. Really. Had patients who would only see me; my students and their parents seemed to think I wasn't a complete moron; but put me in charge of my own stinking submissions, and the very first one, I put through the meat grinder.

I'm not sure which of you are laughing and which are groaning, but... anyway, that's what happened.


Chum in the Water.

Julia said...

So this is about how that makes me feel.

After all, what's going to happen is just...

Good Business

(And by the way, yes, Tom Hollander is beautiful in this movie. I don't care that he's the bad guy. He's beautiful.)

Colin Smith said...

Julia: And I know that's going to bug you and cause you sleepless nights. But that agent probably laughed and read your work anyway. Heck, if they asked for a partial, not only is that a BIG win right there (congratulations!), that query was just a reminder of what they asked for. I can't think your boo-boo will make that much difference to whether or not they reject. At this point the agent's looking at your writing and considering whether to ask for a full.

That's my take, anyway. :)

Colin Smith said...

And I hope you don't mind that I've reverted back to calling you Julia. While you may prefer Julie (I think you said so at one point), Julie H and Julie W seem so formal--like roll call in school. :)

Julia said...

Colin, just call me Lord Beckett and call it a day. Or any similar recognizable character who buried themselves with their own actions.

That's pretty much all of us at some point.

But today's my day.

(I have lots of them, actually. I think someone I respect quite a bit recently used the term "scatter-shot" in reference to something I "penned," and that seems accurate, although "inordinately rushed" might be more to the point. I was trying to get it there BY FIVE, GOSH DARN IT!!!!, and... well. So, anyway, "Scattershot" may become my new handle. Around friends. Not professionals. Except Janet.)

bjmuntain said...

Can we call you SS for short? :) Or is your answer just "Call me anything, but don't call me late to dinner?"

I'm sure agents see a LOT of oopsies in their days of reading queries. At least that one will get you remembered - and being remembered is good. :)

I send you a response on the query letter. Just remember: I haven't roped an agent yet, either, although I have a great query letter (with immense help from Ms Janet). You just recently had a Janet experience. I think you can trust what you learned there. :)

Colin Smith said...

The Jimi Hendrix Experience
The Janet Reid Experience

That works. :)

Marc P said...

Back on topic. I am waiting to hear back from a publishing managing editor/director and an Agent re a chocolate promotion. Luckily I have had the chocolate so that's the main thing lol!

Julie.M.Weathers said...

I went back and reread the original post and this stuck out again.

"I'm delighted to say that I have had 6 Full requests and 2 Partials (the most positive responses I have ever had) since 25 May but have not heard a thing back from any of these agents so far."

That really is wonderful news. You're doing something right.

You've had these requests SINCE May 25 and we're going to assume they didn't all come in on May 25. The clock has just barely started ticking. You're going to drive yourself crazier than a one-needled knitter if you keep watching the clock while the glacier melts.

"I suppose I'm just apprehensive that all 8 are going to reject my work!"

I don't want to rain on your parade, but that's entirely possible. What you do is keep yourself busy writing. After you write, you read. Your job isn't done when you finish a book. It's just beginning. When you get in a rejection, you send out another query. You don't ever give up.

You've written three novels. That's a tremendous accomplishment. That makes you a big damned hero.

Marc P said...

One of the things I have picked up from reading this thread and blog recently, and general traffic on twitter - is the general comment that things are indeed glacially slow in publishing. The best advice here is Janet said to get on and be busy with more writing. My added thought is it pays to get busy in other 'forms' of writing too. Also if it is the norm to wait for responses from agents publishers and editors and etc for non solicited work - the old adage of who you know works as well here as anywhere else. The published part of the industry taking in non published work is the pin point on the needle on top of the compass in the explorers hand who has climbed the iceberg.

The unwritten message here - is make yourself different. Don't make yourself different by not understanding the rules - but being the catcher number 22 in the Rye. And by writing good of course. That's the tricky bit.

Laura Mary said...

Grrr... anyone around to help me figure out how to delete a comment? I click the trash button and get a pop up saying 'delete this comment'... and that's it! no yes/no/maybe to click on, no way to make my mis-typed entry disappear! :-(

Marc P said...

Just do what you did and click out of comments and back in again and your post will have disappeared as if a hungry hound snaffled it out of your box.

Laura Mary said...

I've done it a few times but the treacherous post is still there! Might try from a different computer...

Marc P said...

I want to see the post now Laura .. LOL

Laura Mary said...

Just a rogue 'and' from where I miss-pasted from word :-( completely efs up the entire sentence though!!!
This is over on the contest post - so not like it's anything important! *facepalm*

Marc P said...

Oops - well I will definitely read it now. I am sure it is sortable - seems very odd. Fingers are crossed for you!

Laura Mary said...

Done! Was my ass-hat internet browser playing up - couldn't click the final 'delete' button!
Nothing a reboot couldn't fix apparently! Thanks for the support in my hour of need!

Marc P said...

No worries in the wintry days always good to have support!

Julia said...

My daughter has now fallen into two inescapably deep pits of despair.

One. The Lord of the Rings.

Two. Worse. Much. Worse.


Julie.M.Weathers said...

I'm laughing my head off. This is so typically West Texas.

My oldest son is the cowboy in the black hat at 13:15 mark.

Man I wish I had something to sell. I'd pitch these guys in a heartbeat.

bjmuntain said...

You'll never get her back now, Julia. She's ours, now.


ReCaptcha made me choose commercial trucks. How is a commercial truck different from a Ford F150 with a logo on the side? Is there a difference? What the heck does 'commercial' actually mean? And how would we necessarily know this from a picture?

I chose wildly. I guess I chose correct. I shall now go lie down.

Julia said...

BJ, Captcha always is out to get me. That's why I don't do it any more. I gave up when they asked me to choose salad and gave me a montage that included a cake with cucumbers on it, I swear. I blinked and blinked and purposefully chose wrong in order to force it to give me something else because it was out to get me.

Now I skip the Captcha and it doesn't care.

We are mutually ignoring one another.

Julia said...

Alllll right. Time for a family pic.

Patrick is going to camp on Mon, and we've all been hiking a bit; he's the only one without his own boots.



Patrick and his first boots!

My little man. :)

Julia said...

Blogger Julia said...
@Julie - this reminded me of you.

Horse for Julie

bjmuntain said...

Julia: That's because you log in with your Google/Blogger account. I log in with my Wordpress account, which Blogger finds suspicious. If I try to ignore ReCaptcha, Blogger sends me right back down to the comment, like a naughty child told to clean up the food he dumped on the floor.

Megan V said...

So many comments!

I tried playing catch-up and reading them all, but I'm afraid I may have skimmed a few. Sorry!

It's interesting to see everyone's take on the glacial pace in publishing and I like seeing how everyone approaches the wait. But the long and short of it is that it comes down to patience.
Random story:

Sometime last year I was checking my e-mail and muttering to myself when my then three year old niece tapped my knee, pointed to my computer screen, and asked "Auntie Dragon, why are you watching that?"
I told her I was waiting for a very important e-mail.
"Oh. You're waiting."
"Waiting is hard. You have to be patient. Like this—1, 2, 3, 4, 5..." she counted all the way up to fifty before she grinned at me and said "See. Patience."
I laughed. Then I told her the e-mail still wasn't there. She took a moment, frowned, and then said, "When I run out of patience I play. Maybe you could come play with me?"
Of course I couldn't refuse.
Life moves fast even when you're stuck on what if.
(And boy can the what if be a long one in publishing— I once waited two years for a form reject on a full).

Besides, if people in publishing used my niece's version of patience, I'm pretty sure they'd reach the hundred-thousands by the time the response arrived.