Friday, February 26, 2010

Yoohoo for Jennifer!

A bazillion congratulations to Jennifer for snaring an agent and giving hope to us all. Best luck on your road to publication! Please remember the little people when we come to your Barnes & Noble book signing.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Merci pour l'amour

Thanks to everyone who commented on my funk over the past couple of days, whether with heartfelt sympathy or imperious demands that I stop feeling sorry for myself, get up off my ass, and start writing again.

I'm by no means cured of my melancholia but am feeling somewhat better. For one thing, I sat down yesterday and read my book. And I still believe it's rock-solid good, strongly written with an inventive plot that builds suspense and a killer ending. Maybe not Pulizter Prize-good or Edgar-winner good, but, honestly, as good as a lot of mystery/thrillers out there and a damn sight better than many. (I know, every author thinks the same.) Certainly better than the Sue Grafton mystery I'm reading now, which takes forever to get going, and in which she wastes two pages describing the inside of a motel room, a couple pages ruminating on a Burma Shave sign in an antique shop, along with other decidedly dull diversions. Of course, she's a fucking bazillionaire with a boatload of published books and I'm just a guy who can't convince an agent to take me on, so WTF do I know?


Whatever ever the reality, I felt confident enough to send out another five queries. I'm still bummed that so many of my January queries have gone unanswered and fear they were just deleted...though among them are some snail-mail queries with SASEs, I don't know. As usual, waiting is tough.

I still feel like Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman some of the time, carpet-bombed by discontents and regrets. Hopefully the arrival of spring will help. It does get gloomy up in this neck of the woods at this time of the year.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm Not in the Mood...

Warning. This whole post is a fucking downer.

Matt and Tina gave me awards in which I was supposed to reveal ten things about myself and ten things that make me happy, respectively.

To be honest, I'm not in the mood. As I put it to Sierra, I'm currently engaged in a lacrimose, self-referential pity party. I'm down, I'm blue, I feel like I'm living that old Cream lyric, if it wasn't for bad luck, you know I wouldn't have no luck at all.

Today's the six-month anniversary of the start of AgentQuest (TM) and more and more it feels like WriterFail (TM). Last week I nudged on my last remaining partial (it'd been well over three months) and two days later got a form rejection in reply. (This, by the way, seems to be a common experience: if you need to nudge, the answer's a foreordained no.) Leaves me one full out there in Agentland (TM) and I know the answer, if it deigns to be more than a form one, will be something along the lines of Sorry, but your book's just not unique, the market sucks, I'm not in love with it, yadda yadda. When that rejection comes in I'll be back at square one with nothing to show for the last six months except a heap of disappointment and a seriously shrunken list of potential agents to query.

Mirthful, hopeful idealism crashes up against the jagged-rock seawall of realism. Story of my life.

In addition, there's just been a train wreck of other crap going on which I can't begin to discuss without first downing a couple of glasses of scotch and boring the bejeesus out of you.

Usually when I get down I fall back on my children, reminding myself how much I love them, how special they are. After one woman I loved was killed by a drunk driver when I was 28, and the one who came a couple years later broke my heart over and over and over, I spent my thirties in a wasteland of loneliness and despair. The one thing in life I knew I wanted for sure was to be a father and it looked like it would never happen. Finally, finally, it did and I have loved it all even though my failings as a parent have been legion.

Now, my wife and daughter confuse my son's voice on the phone with mine, a reminder that all too soon he will be an adult and go off to college. My ten-year-old daughter's blossoming Dolly Partons are the subject of my hatred because they, too, are constant reminders that my little girl will soon be nothing but a memory, replaced by a young woman. Can I be happy for her and hate her metamorphosis at the same time?

Then what, what's to fall back on when the kids are gone? A loving, fulfilling marriage? See "jagged-rock seawall of realism" above.

And writing? Why am I not writing? Don't I have ideas? Oh, I have ideas. But are they unique? Are they special? Are they inspiring? Are they evocative, true, fantastical, moving, interesting, [insert adjective here]...? If I spend another year or two or more writing another book only to face the same WriterFail... What the fuck is the point?

I need a vacation. Bad. I just can't afford one.

To steal from Amber, fuckitspice, I'm going to go weed the fucking garden.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Damn Dreary and Dreadful

These are the dog days of winter here in the Great Pacific Northwest. The weather gods pulled their usual February tease -- clear skies and 60-degree temps -- to lull us into thinking spring was just around the corner, but a cold, unending rain has followed. It matches my mood exactly. Why TF have so few answered my January queries? WTF is the status of my submissions? WTF's the point of all this, anyway? The book market sucks. Nothing but gloom ahead. Aarrghh. Frak it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Things That Drive Me Nuts

So I'm reading Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, and it's quite good and all, but every so often she'll employ an Anglo-Canadian expression or word, even though the novel is set in the U.S. Now, Atwood is Canadian, but she knows that Americans don't say "rubbish" when they mean "garbage" and that no one down here says "bugger off" when they mean "fuck off." This kind of anomalous stuff makes me crazy.

Also driving me crazy is that fact that 30-some agents haven't responded to my January queries, making me fear they got back to their desks after the holidays, saw a thousand queries in their queue, said, "Oh, fuck" (or possibly "bugger," if they were born up there) and deleted all of them without a look. Not that there's any way of knowing that.

What's driving you nuts these days?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

More Queries!

Fired off a bunch of queries today -- well, five or six. Don't know why. Maybe since I hadn't sent any in a month. Oh, well, WTF, can't hurt, right?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Don't Infer That I'm Implying Anything

OK, I usually don't write about stuff other than the AgentQuest (TM), but I'm reading an otherwise well-written book whose author confuses "infer," which means to gather an idea of from facts or statements, with "imply," which means to suggest indirectly. So, damn it, (1) don't any of you do that and, (2) WTF is up with copy editing these days?

Also, if you've been watching Caprica on the Scify channel -- and by the way, why is that "Scify" and not "SciFi"? -- you'll have noticed that young William Adama's eyes are brown even though old William Adama's eyes were blue. If they made Edward James Olmos wear blue contacts for four years the least they can do is make the kid who's playing the admiral as a youngster do the same.

Done ranting for today. So far.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I Got Nuthin'

By which I mean of the 30-some queries I sent out the first week of January, I have yet to garner a response on 20. That's a lot, even for the notoriously slow and non-responsive community that is literaryagentville. Anyone else finding this to be the case?

I also have an unresponded-to snail-mail query dating back to 10/29, and one to 11/30. You'd think the least they could do is scrawl "no" on my query letter and stick it in the SASE I sent along with it.