Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bestselling Authors What Don't Write English Good

So.  Tom Rob Smith, author of a great debut thriller, Child 44.  A Soviet detective who tracks down a serial killer in the early 50s.  Interesting that he uses his full name and writes about Soviets, just like three-name Martin Cruz Smith (Smith!) of Gorky Park-Arkady Renko fame.  But that's a sidebar.  I've just read his follow-on thriller, The Secret Speech.  Pretty good, though I had some too-much-suspension-of-disbelief problems and gripes over some saccharine sentiments.  But I was struck by this sentence:

Taking place in the courtyard of her apartment complex, Fraera intended to host the first victory celebration.

Now, clearly this sentence states that the character Fraera is "taking place in the courtyard," not the celebration.  OK, OK, happens to the best of writers.  Norman Mailer famously opened Ancient Evenings with a dangling participle, too.  But the above sentence is immediately followed by:

Open to all, she provided crates of alcohol...

Now, I suppose you could argue that he's saying Fraera was "open to all," but I think he clearly means the victory party.  (Since it takes place during the Hungarian Revolution, the "victory" part turns out to be premature.)

And this guy went to Cambridge!  The worst part is, there are many more examples of this kind of sloppiness.  And yet he's sold bazillions of copies.  You'd think the publishing industry could hire just a few copy editors who know what they're doing, if for no other reason than to prevent the embarrassment of their big players.

Just sayin'.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Still Lost After All These Years

The finale of 'Lost' -- WTF?  What kind of resolution was that?  I still don't know where the dang island came from in the first place (my theory's always been Atlantis).  Who made it?  And if the light-filled water cures the dead but makes them evil (Man in Black, Sayeed), why would you protect it and the stupid island in the first place?  And how did the Dharma folks know to keep the Black Smoke out with some fancy electronic squealing?  Ah, too many unanswered questions after six years.  The ending itself -- meeting up after they're all dead -- feh, OK, I suppose, but not a real winner.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

WIP: No Progress

Man, between the online writing, the household chores, dealing with the spousal unit and ferrying the child units around looking after my family, I am just betwixt and between and feel as if I've got no time to sit down and make some notes.  I get a few ideas now and then but don't scribble them down.  How do the rest of you with families and jobs make time for writing?  It's killing me.

Friday, May 14, 2010

My Ten Favorite Literary Agents

Hi, devoted followers and those who wander in.  I haven't blogged much lately because I've had nothing to say and have been devoting so much time to writing stupid articles for the online Man, trying to keep the wolf outside the door, which has left me exhausted, but slightly less poor. 

Anyhoo, here's my list of favorite literary agents I've encountered over the past nine (!) months of AgentQuest (TM).  Now, understand, all of these agents rejected me.  (Not me.  My book.  Repeat.  Not me.  The book.)  This list does not contain the nice agent lady currently working through some edits on my ms.  (You don't seriously expect me to share her with you, do you?) But these ten either rejected my full/partial/query with some helpful commentary and/or responded to my query with alacrity and a form rejection that seemed above par.  I won't say which did which, as I want to preserve my anonymity and what's left of my dignity. I would recommend querying any of them, if you need an agent and if your genre fits their interests.  Herewith, in no particular order, my top ten agents:

Ann Collette, Helen Rees Literary Agency
Anna Cottle, Cine/Lit Representation
Sorche Fairbank, Fairbank Literary Representation
Kate Lee, International Creative Management
Laney Katz Becker, Markson Thoma
Renee Zuckerbrot, Renee Zuckerbrot Literary Agency
Daniel Lazar, Writer's House
Nathan Bransford, Curtis Brown
Jenny Bent, Bent Agency
Paige Wheeler, Folio Literary Management

Of course, your mileage may vary, and they could wind up behaving like complete jerks with you...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Nice Agent Lady: Still Nice

Whew.  The nice agent lady got back to me, said she was still working through my ms., not wanting to rush it, while dealing with the typical kaleidoscope of queries, foreign rights, printer break-downs, admin crap & cetera, and said she was sorry not to have let me known sooner that it was going to take longer than she'd thought to finish the edits.  This is why I call her the nice agent lady.

I sort of feel bad, because I have twice doubted her and now twice been shown to be a paranoid twit.  I think searching for an agent does this to you.  Well, it has done it to me.  So...I shall now relax about the whole thing.  I told her to please take her time.  The delay itself doesn't bother me.  This whole process has proven to be so ridiculously long that throwing a few more months in the way won't make a difference.  In fact, I have thought that delay might be good: if the economy continues to improve and publishers start to crawl out from under their beds, they might loosen up a bit, giving more of us newcomers whose books don't have "next Dan Brown" written all over them a better shot.

And I've got that WIP now to work on.  So...big exhale...big inhale...big thanks, nice agent lady.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Onward and Upward

Well, I still don't know WTF's going on with the nice agent lady, but at least I've started up a new WIP -- "started up" in this case meaning making notes and beginning to come up with characters and plot points, always the hard part for me.  It is not a sequel to the ms. currently being considered by lost under the desk of the nice agent lady.  No way I'm writing a sequel unless the prequel finds a publisher.  And, working like a dog -- a big, slobbery dog like a Newfoundland -- I'm bringing in some bucks with the online gig, staving off the poorhouse for the moment.  Now if spring would just finally get here and stay awhile.  Jesus, there was frost here the other day.  This is the Northwest, not the fucking Northern Plains.  That kind of crap just shouldn't be happening here in May.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ignorance Ain't Bliss

Well, I sent an e-mail to the nice agent lady last week letting her know I was still alive and waiting for edits (in a very nice and roundabout semi-funny and not-whiny way) and her response was...no response.  It's a good thing that despite my advanced years I have most of my hair, otherwise I'd have nothing to tear out.

In the meantime, let's all congratulate Kristen on getting herself an agent.