Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Start Spreading the News....

I’m leaving (though not today--tomorrow). Off to the Big Apple for some meetings with editors, and so it’s going to be quiet around this blog. I have Gena Showalter guesting on the agency blog for the rest of the week with some very good articles about various aspects of publishing and writing. Here? Well, I think it’s probably just going to be quiet unless I choose to log on from the city and post something—which is quite possible!

Not much to report today except the usual pre-New York drill: packing, confirming meetings, juggling last minute appointments, and figuring out what to wear! I better check the weather. If anyone from the city happens by here, what’s the weather like through the end of the week?


Saturday, May 28, 2005

Random Flyby Chatty Post

It's Saturday. And in the immortal words of my six-year-old--it's summer!! Summer break, that is. She woke this morning with a long list of things she wanted to do, and when she agonized over the possiblity of achieving them all (well, it wasn't exactly agony), I reminded her, "Don't forget, you have the whole weekend."

"NO, Mommy!" she cried gleefully. "We have the whole summer!"

It's funny, isn't it, but a change like school ending creates a change in the atmosphere. Things around the Knight household feel more carefree today. There's Hillary Duff playing off in the next room (obviously not MY choice) and the little people just seem more at ease somehow. They know it's summer. And it brings back a whole raft of memories and associations from my own childhood, a kind of preverbal feeling that I can't quite touch in my mind. That's one of the perfect joys of parenthood, the healing of our pasts and then the reliving of them in a more perfect way.

And while we're talking about my kids, I just have to share this. The other night Tyler (six) was in bed beside me while I was proofing my chapter in my novel, and she asked me, "How did you think up these people?" So I told her I got the idea for the hero in PARALLEL ATTRACTION about four years ago. I then said, "Well, and he's an alien."

She cried, "For REAL?"
"Yeah, for real."
"Mo-mmy," she snorted, "there's no such thing as aliens!"
"I know," I said. "But that's why it's a book."

So she snuggles down next to me, my little reader she does, and then out of the blue asks, "How come the word 'sexy' is in your book?" :) Uh, oh. I'm thinking my reader is a MUCH better reader than I thought she was. "Where did you hear the word 'sexy'?" I almost shouted. Her father the rock snob wanders in and tells me: "She heard Sexy Sadie by the Beatles."

Oh goodness.

Changing gears completely, Gena Showalter has her really cool ad for AWAKEN ME and the other Downtown Books that are part of the summer promo up on her blog. Check it out!

And changing gears even MORE completely I had a big celebrity spotting yesterday. I was at the spa and salon getting my hair and nails done for NYC this coming week, and guess who I ran into? Well, you'd guess if you knew this place because this person is a known guest there. Whitney Houston! In her spa robe standing three feet from me, no less. Rather interesting! And there I was staggering under the blistering pain of a bikini wax. So color me doubly speechless.

I'm sure I'll be around this holiday weekend. More to come!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

It's a Thursday

I posted one of my more ruminative posts over on TKA blog today. Take a peek if you're interested. :)


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I just finished judging a query contest over at www.romancedivas.com. As part of the prize, I offered to post an article about the contest as well as the winning query. Have a look!

By Gina Welborn

“Hey, babe, why don’t you and me make like trees and leave?
“I lost my phone number. Can I have yours?”
“If you were a new hamburger at McDonald’s, you’d be a McSexy!”

Did you think your days of pick-up lines were over? Girlfriend, if you want to be published, then they’ve just begun. Time to pick up your ink-filled pole. Writing a great pick-up query is a matter of using the right bait so you can catch the right fish at the right spot in the right pond.

Over at RomanceDivas.com (divas and diva-dudes both welcome), we love sharing bait and tips of where the biting is best. While RWA chapters offer some fantastic contests, many of our members have never entered any. Thus began our series of WE ALL WIN contests, where no gill plucking is allowed. It’s all about learning what entering a contest is like.

Entries are normally limited to five per member and are posted “anonymously” by the contest coordinator. Over a two week period, divas can judge their fellow members work. Some judges just score; some do a lineXline crit. The five top scoring entrants are then allowed a day to revise their entries before they are forwarded to our final round judge. I’d like to give a shout out to author Deborah Hale and Deidre Knight for sliding into our Diva Judge stilettos. And a special thanks to Deidre for inviting us to post our results after her final round query judging.

Free feedback on our writing is great, yet I can’t help but love the prizes. For our Short Synopsis winner, a copy of FICTION FIRST AID by Raymond Obstfeld. For our Query Winner, a Moroccan bracelet. Yes, the lure of the prize is leading me down the path of the dark side of contest obsession. Who know what our divalicious K-mart (Kristen Painter) will tempt us with next.

Later this fall, in preparation for the Golden Heart, we’ll begin another round of free-to-enter contests. The world is your oyster so...okay, that’s not the right saying. We’re all in this boat together so we might as well take turns rowing. Eh, a little better. Wait, I know.

“More big fish have been caught with words than with hook, line, and sinker.” ~Anonymous

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to fishing I go…

But first, I just gotta announce our Query Contest winner.

Babe King
123 Divalicious Lane
Divaville, RD 12345111-222-3333

May 23, 2005

Deidre Knight

The Knight Literary Agency
PO Box 550648Atlanta, GA 30355
Dear Ms. Knight,

If love is blind, Sebastian Jansky and Tess Talbot have an advantage.

Pulling up the Blind, my second full-length manuscript, aims at the heart and the funny bone. This completed, single title, 100,000 word, contemporary romantic romp is set in the land where kangaroos race Land Rovers and everyone’s your mate. Everyone except Sebastian.
His beastly self-loathing and reclusive social habits render him more blind than the genetic defect which has stolen his sight, his fiancĂ©e, and his self-esteem. He’s fighting to prove he’s still a powerful man by strictly controlling his considerable wealth and image, but that control is about to be challenged by a baby and his mom.

Blind from birth, Tess sees beauty as independent inner strength. She's overcome her childhood "poor blind girl" title, and gained professional peer respect, also managing to provide a warm, safe life for her infant son. Sebastian hires her company to build his conservatory, and she can't resist tweaking the tail of the beast, challenging his attitudes, to wake up the heart he's anaesthetized. When her son and business are threatened by her ex-boyfriend, Sebastian sees his priorities changing away from protecting his image, for love uses a different kind of sight.

I have published numerous shorts and non-fiction articles, the most recent being in "A Cup of Comfort" coming out in XXXX. I have a degree in creative arts, with English literature as a second major. I belong to RWA, several online romance writing and critique groups, including the award-winning Romance Divas where I am a moderator. I am looking to build a career in romance writing and seek representation for future books as well.

Pulling Up the Blind—let a little sunshine in.
I look forward to your response. Thank you for your time and consideration.Yours sincerely,
Babe King

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Message In A Bottle

I've been really swamped this week, so I'm not quite as blog-intensive as I might like to be. I'm all aflutter about the Lost finale tomorrow night. Anyone want to put speculations in a cyber bottle here? But before you do, I've uploaded a few more tips on queries and how *not* to get lost in the masses. Lost. See, I can be thematic when I choose to be.

More tomorrow. I promise to be a good little blogger.

Angela, if you read this, tell me you've been here. I'm considering turning you into an Internet phenom just by talking about you all the time. You could be my equivalent of Counting Crows' Anna or Elizabeth. Just show up in my blog posts in passing all the time. Everyone can speculate about you, in fact. Forget lost: speculate about Angela (except those who know her--that's no fun.)

Ah, the joys of creating an air of mystery about one's self.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Something Funny

All in good humor, had to share this one!


Enjoy the fun.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Stunned Into Silence

Either the weekend blanket of quiet has settled over my corner of the Net, or my pictures of hurricane destruction were decidedly uninteresting. I found them while trying to locate a good picture of hubby since Shannon and Gena asked. And Shannon? There are no good pictures of me. Not many. I am the taker of all pictures since I'm the mother. Maybe I'll get some decent ones soon.

I have the Wyoming snowmobile pics of Jud and me, but we look like Michelin people. I might post them anyway.

Meanwhile, had to share THIS. Apparently my general rejection letter is now featured on a site of rejection letters. Not just publishing rejections, mind you, but a sort of Hall of Fame of Rejection.

Funny. Should I submit the many letters I've received from editors on behalf of my clients?

Ah, but in the end, all is well. We're still here, and after 100 years, this house is still here...

And you won't be leaving by THAT door either...

No, not in Kansas anymore. You don't think you're *leaving* in that six week old SUV, do you?

Wait, Dorothy, where are the ruby slippers? This is the KNIGHT agency, where we believe in dreams and fairy godmothers and pretty back yards!

The Knight Agency! I will post it first and last. I'm sure many of you are curious, so here is our 100 year old agency headquarters at 577 South Main. My haven! And now, next, see The Knight Agency Headquarters after our hurricane last summer....

Thursday, May 19, 2005

It's Knight Time

Ho, ho, ho, look who *I* talked into joining the fun... and is he ever someone with loads of interesting things to say!

Check it out! I love him.

Brainstorm Had a Blogstorm

Diana Peterfreund guested on my agency blog this afternoon with a brilliant discussion about HIGH CONCEPT ideas. Go check it out!


I have huge news--I just signed on a wonderful new author, Jaci Burton!! She's a friend to many of you around these blog parts, and also a member of our new network, Out of the Blogosphere, and so I thought I'd spill the beans HERE. :) Jaci has written twenty books for Ellora's Cave and we're going to be working together to move her into publication with New York publishers. You can visit her blog here:


Jaci, I'm so excited to have you join our agency team!

Just received a copy of this cover art for Michael Brewer's upcoming book. I think it's a magnificent cover and just had to share it! I'm posting this on both my blogs.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Girl With the Retro Pink Blog

You know, I love Shannon McKelden. Not only is she a wonderful client and talented writer, she's a fabulous *person*. And this fellow blogger got some great news today. Great (and I won't even ask how she managed to get a retro pink blog that I covet...at least not today.)

Go check out her news and then congratulate her!

Gena Showalter's AWAKEN ME DARKLY is shipping as we speak!! Woo hoo! That book is getting some killer reviews. She blogs all about it today and this week here. Gena blows my mind because at least once a week she comes to me with some brand new book idea--and almost always a really terrific one. I want to clone her creativity and cyber-fit it into my brain. Like a net of book ideas over my head. Wait, that sounds like a hair net not a cyber-brain.

Okay, you can tell I'm punch tonight. And sorry that I neglected my blog. I know you guys go away when I don't post, so that wasn't very well done of me, to put the Brit-speak to it. And speaking of Anglo-angling...I am still on my Julia Quinn marathon reading venture. I'm re-reading THE DUKE AND I, absolutely my favorite of all of hers. Any Julia Quinn fans reading this blog? Does anyone else agree that Simon and Daphne are their favorite couple in any of her books? I think it's that stammer. The beautiful, cool-eyed duke who hides such secret pain from the world, and of course Daphne both heals his soul and exacerbates his problem. Love that book! The emotion is wonderful too.

I have concluded that if a JQ book starts with a male prologue, i.e. the problem will be hero-driven, I'm much more in love with it than those of the heroine-driven variety. I read for the boys and their conflicts, what can I say?

I ordered about four Jo Beverly books today and she's next on my book list of reading for me. By nine pm I do think I should be able to do that, don't you all agree? Although of course I feel horribly guilty, as if I don't deserve pleasure reading, which begs the question--what am I a pack animal? Geez, the work ethic can actually be out of control sometimes, I think.

Rant and ramble over. Remind me to post some other time when I'm beyond tired...(like the line in THE BIG CHILL: "Remind me to get you some more cocaine in the morning.")


Monday, May 16, 2005

The Uncontrollable Urge to Blog

Just wanted to pop in. Mondays in publishing are always hectic for me so naturally I have to drop off the continental blog shelf at the beginning of each work week. I have some exciting news, however, which is that a group of paranormal romance writers and I are launching a new cyber-circuit (or web ring, if you prefer that terminology.) Some amazing women are participating: Robin Owens, Gena Showalter, Angela Knight, Julie Kenner, MaryJanice Davidson, and many other Cyber Super Women. You can read about it on Out of the Blogosphere or on Gena Showalter's blog or over at Catherine Spangler’s. This should be a very fun way to bring together lots of great news from the paranormal realm. We're still organizing it, and bringing in all the authors who want to participate, so stay tuned for a lot more!

Otherwise, we should all rise from our seats and salute TANYA W who wrote:

That album is All Mod Cons, by the Jam. A truly awesome one, though I prefer The Gift.The meaning? Why, "All Modern Conveniences," as in kitchen appliances, etc, of course!Came to your blog by way of your agency blog. Hope to see you in Reno this summer! All the appointments are booked up, so maybe a giant sandstorm will appear, and we'll be blown away to South Africa, were we'll bump into Dave Chapelle. I'll ask him how the whole "mental health" thing is going, and you can wax rhapsodic over the good old crazy-free days of "Con Air."Free Rick James!"

All right, Tanya! You not only won the triple point score, but you made me laugh about Reno so I think that’s a quadruple score.

Kristin P, thanks for the head’s up on the link to Cathy’s page. All fixed!

So this is, I suppose, just a round up post, but you’ll be happy to know that I shall undoubtedly paper the blogosphere with my thoughts as the week progresses.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

All Mod Cons

I chose that title just for the 80’s title brigade. Name that album! Triple point if you can explain the meaning of the phrase.

Okay, so I’m watching Con Air. I really do love this premise—one airplane transporting a super troop of criminals. It’s like an Amway convention of twisted baddies. Diamonds, Emeralds, Rubies of badness. (Of one guy it is said, “Makes the Manson Family look like the Partridge Family.”) But you know, did all these people really belong grouped together? If I were the convention organizer I would have suspected that one-at-a-time transport would have been best. Why, after all, did we need to create the Lollapalooza of crime?

Early on as the plane takes off, an agent ponders the wisdom of their plan and putting such a too-live-crew together. “All these monsters? All on one plane?” she voices uncertainly.

Good question there, marshals. We have by my estimation at least two dozen prisoners, including three criminals in individual cages. So what, these are like Hannibal Lechter? Three on one airplane? Wouldn’t they have thought to separate this cabal of air terror? I mean, they could have sent each on their merry way with an air marshall, and in a worst possible scenario they’d have landed on a desert island like Kate in Lost.

Of course in a post 9/11 world the idea of criminals taking over a plane—while executing people on board—just doesn’t play the same way as it once would have. But perhaps it's watching it knowing that the movie was made a good seven years ago that allows me to set aside that thought. I can watch this as just Hollywood, and as the criminals seize the plane, and we watch much of the action play out through the eyes of Cameron Poe (Nicholas Cage, showing up in fine drawling form) I can enjoy the ride. Plus the early career appearance of Dave Chapelle is pretty satisfying. But does Nicholas Cage think we buy that Alabama accent? Love the attitude, Nickie, but the accent’s gotta go.

So they land and there’s a sand storm in Carson City. Okay, is this Iraq? Or am I missing something about Nevada. Maybe we’ll even get a sand storm out in Reno this summer. That would certainly stir things up for RWA. Bring on the sheik romances!

And can I just say that I still love John Cusack after all these years. When he finds the schematics of the plane layout in one of the prison’s cell he’s like the welcomed voice of reason. Plus he’s cute!

D (who, having written 14 pages today, felt she could eat lunch and watch CON AIR.)

Spam Retaliation

Well, although I wanted to search online for an icon of a fist slamming down on a Toshiba laptop, I decided instead to go read the recent Smart Bitches entry, which made me laugh when I wanted to scream.

So, I woke this morning and had a--get this! Spam hung in my inbox that kept forcing outlook to load and load and load and load and load and load the same emails repeatedly. It appears that I will have to deinstall my Outlook when, my blog readers will recall, this is my writing weekend. I'm going to force my OCD tendencies out of the way, however, and get at least seven good pages written first. Anyone ever noticed that seven pages are, relatively speaking, easy enough to write, but that in hitting eight or beyond you're truly climbing past base camp? At least for me.

Now I shall go begin those seven, dare I hope eight? Pages.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


In the realm of the equally weird... After my remarks this morning about weekends being slow blog traffic days, would you believe that today I had my highest day of traffic to date? And not only that, my site hits were almost double my previous highest date? I can only wonder what is up with that. Plus, I have a question for all you bloggers who use statcounter. What does it mean when weirdo sites or just sites that make no sense have directed someone to the site? Is this a spammer trying to fish for email addresses (which is my assumption.) Just curious.

So the writing day has been quite good, though a tad short of what I’d hoped. I wound up spending time on another project today and, yes Jeanne, Distraction Man came and had his way with me, that evil fellow. Still, I am happy to report that I accomplished a great deal and now plan to have one more look at the latest chapter before heading to bed. Tomorrow we will begin anew with

Hopefully the brew will not be overly strong, but just right. My family returns tomorrow, so I must work hard before they’re back.


In the realm of how bizarre is this? Comes Blogshares. I’ve been meaning to post this for a few days after discovering that my blog—as well as many of the others represented around here—has been indexed for mock trading. Anyone seen this yet? Apparently my share value has gone up even since I discovered this little piece of cyber-real estate the other day.

Maybe we should form a cyber investment club and do some insider trading, what do you say? Would they have to throw us in cyber prison where in Martha-style penance we’d be forced to tutor inmates on good writing? I can visualize it now…

Deidre Knight escorted into prison with a desperate, forced smile, Chicago Manual of Style tucked in one hand, blackberry in the other. Things turn brutal when, unexpectedly, the blackberry is seized. “No! Not my Internet! I won’t leave the matrix!” she shouts. Guards circle like wolves, “We submitted our Idiots Guide to the Penal System last year,” they hiss. “You rejected us! Rejected!”

Echoing into the howling prison yard is just one word, over and over like her worst nightmare: rejected. Rejected. Rejected….

It was going to be an eternal six months in cyber prison.

Another Cyber Super Gal on Board!

I am absolutely delighted to say that my dear client, Robin Owens, is now on the blog bandwagon. You will all love her--and her fabulous futuristics and women's fantasy novels (she writes for Berkley and Luna!)

Here's a link to her brand new blog. One of the things I really love about Robin is her directness and openness. I think both those qualities will undoubtedly make her a superior blogger. Please go shower her with cyber affection!

(I'm at seven pages now--seven pages that I am very happy with--so I thought I could come floating by...)

Truly Made for This Age

The Allure of THIS is just too strong. I am going to make a new pot for my writing day. Diet Coke will only take you so far.

Made For This Age

I just went to great effort to make a full pot of coffee and it’s horrible. Why is it that some days are good coffee-making days and some days just plain aren’t? Depleted of all my early morning energy, I promptly snagged a 16 ounce diet coke. Yesterday carrot juice, today diet coke. I am a picture of multi-faceted health, my friends.

Ah, where to begin? Since it is Saturday, I have decided I’m fairly due the opportunity to ramble in a disorganized fashion. I’ve noticed that weekend traffic drops tremendously in blogland, just as it does with emails. Normal people (ahem) are probably outside enjoying the balmy late spring weather, and in winter they’re probably off seeing movies or playing sports of shopping. I think I’m one of the only people I personally know who stays well tuned into the Net on many weekends. Someone this week, and I’m sorry I don’t recall who it was, posted on their blog about their gratitude for living in the age of the Net. I’m right there with you. (And before anyone decides my memory is impaired, please take note of the tremendous volume of details that I must keep track of in my daily life. I have repeatedly wowed authors by recalling vivid specifics of their submissions, even many years later. I am not slipping—I promise!) Ahem. Back to the Net revelry.

I was made for the Internet age. It was no accident, for instance, that I launched our agency in 1996, the year that the Net suddenly reached its massive tipping point. A few years earlier, and the space between Atlanta and New York would have been a much broader gulf. These days, editors and I email all day long, making deals, sending submissions, looking at contracts. It’s endless. I’m also Agency Internet Gal with my clients (just ask any of the fine ladies who visit this blog—smooch, love you guys.) It is the single most effective way to keep regular contact with my clients. Nobody has to wait in a phone queue. I can actually send emails while on the phone by the way—done it. Plenty of times. But I can’t talk to two people at the same time. I can, however, have multiple emails in play.

The research factor is priceless to me. In my earlier days of committed writing (visualize black screen and white-lettered crawl: Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away….)I used to go to the Georgia State Library in downtown Atlanta and actually sort through microfiche and the like. Good grief. You could spend a whole day and come away with almost nothing. Now if I decide I want to just look up the phrase “global awareness” or a toy with time travel theory or download Baker Street because my hero loves it, I’m only one second away. In fact, I’d argue that the Net is almost a form of time travel, i.e. the immediacy of information dissolves traditional and long-held boundaries that once limited our human possibility. Just a thought.

And it brings me to The Matrix (and I did promise I’d be self-indulgent here, no?) I caught part of one of my all-time favorite shows last night, Six Feet Under. This series has some of the most brilliant writing I’ve ever encountered on television. If you’ve never watched it, I would totally encourage you to order season one and season two, which were amazing. But we’ll save SFU for another day except this. I absolutely snorted out loud watching it last night; Nate, a new dad, is trying to find someone—anyone—to watch his baby. His little sister Claire tells him in a huff, “This isn’t The Matrix, Nate. Those of us without babies are real.” What a howler! I always prayed I wouldn’t be one of those self-absorbed new moms, the kind who acted like anyone without a baby just didn’t know the meaning of life or obligation.

Ah, and here’s the thing of it with this mini-ramble. I’ve talked and talked and never even come to the idea I started with for this post. I’ve discovered that I often have no idea what I’m going to write here until it begins to come together. It’s a very refreshing format, isn’t it? It draws on a different part of our novelist brains, and probably is a good exercise in creatively unwinding.

So, since I never got to dreams and the power of the subconscious, I shall return with that, most likely tomorrow. I do thank you for listening and reading, my friends.
Happy Weekending!

Friday, May 13, 2005

A Town Called Alice

There’s a town somewhere in Northeastern Georgia, tucked away at the end of a winding summer two-lane. It's overgrown with kudzu, overrun with smalltown corruption. And it’s not called Alice (with all apologies to Nevil Shute.) It’s my town. It lives in my imagination, and in a novel—as yet unwritten—of my creation. There’s industry and dusty Georgia backgrounds and subterfuge. There’s even one very atmospheric title that I’ve been toting around in my brainspace, for nobody but me right now. And, there is this town, a town of epic proportions and a name so evocative, that I tucked into a very important place until I was ready to use it: my mind.

Only, my mind has a mind of its own. And today I no longer know the name of my dusty-backroaded-industry-driven-something-right-outta-Faulkner-town. Kaput. Out of my head.

I’m heartsick. Not because I can’t produce another equally fabulous town name, but because somehow with this small slip, the fabric of my created worlds unraveled a little. The illusion fractured ever-so-slightly. Beyond that, I also realize that in not writing down the copious ideas that were in my mind a year ago (I swear there’s a notebook somewhere! There is!) on my laptop, I made a big mistake. Chalk that up to lesson number 509 that this agent didn’t follow for herself.

It was a symbolic name. A powerful name. A name worthy of a moody, atmospheric southern novel.

I’m thinking that perhaps if I tell myself at bedtime tonight that I must remember this name, that I will wake with it in my mental grasp. What do you fellow dreaming writers think?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

An Invitation to Those in the Bay Area

The NorCal Women's Surf Club
and authors Mary Osborne and Kia Afcari
cordially invite you to the
NorCal Women's Surf Fest 2005 Fundraiser Party

The El Rio Club
3158 Mission St (at Cesar Chavez)
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 282-3325
Saturday, August 6, 2005
3:00-8:00 P.M.
$8-$20 donation at the door

Events at the party:
• Sister Surfer book signing by pro surfer and
MTV star Mary Osborne and surfer Kia Afcari
• Killer raffle! Win surfboards, wetsuits, sailing
cruise, and more!
• FREE outdoor BBQ by Niman Ranch
• Surf photo expo and film premiere
• Live bands and DJs
• Dancing on the back patio and tons more!

Sister Surfer: A Woman's Guide to Surfing
with Bliss and Courage
is the inspirational
how-to guide for women with that seedling desire
to surf. With over 100 full-color photographs it
covers everything from how to conquer your fear
to how to wax your board.

Published by The Lyons Press

The NorCal Women's Surf Club was founded in 2001 and has 500 members dedicated to celebrating women's surfing in Northern California. Net proceeds from the club's annual El Rio Fundraiser Party & NorCal Women's Surf Fest go to the Surfrider Foundation, Surf AID, local beach protection projects, and others. The club regularly hosts other events ranging from local surf days and BBQs to beach clean-ups, surf trips, and more.

Lord of the Blogberry?

It seems that my blackberry and blogging habits can form a nexus--an evil alliance, if you will. Check this out:


I can see it now. When I'm in New York next month, I'll be taking meetings, doing publisher lunches, and meanwhile blogging reports of all that happens. Since I'm seeing Diana, perhaps we can blogberry together?!?

The Breakfast Blog

I also noticed on Marianne's blog that Liz Maverick has launched a blog, and the title of this post will make more sense once you visit hers. From what I could see, it's hysterical. I need to bone up on being funny. The competition is way too fierce out here. Yes, romance author Deidre Knight needs to bone up on her humor--and no comments on my word choice ladies. Maybe I'm accidentally funny. New novel! THE ACCIDENTAL HUMORIST.

Here's a link to Liz's new blog.


It's Way Better Than the League of Nations!


I’m in the company of some outrageously funny women. Diana Peterfreund on THE LEAGUE:

"The League of Extraordinary Gentlewomen is solidifying before my very eyes.

Novelique, our fearless leader, whose super-speed and red-leather-clad cleavage scares away the evil Blank Page

Chaptera, in stark black and white, who keeps up the pace with her no-nonsense approach to procrastination (as put forth by venomous "Not Enough Hours in the Day" or Nehitd).

Fun loving
Comedia, with a cape and a giant C, too busy downing shots at her book launch part to watch the league's formation.

The tireless
Agent Negotiateur, ever our Knight in shining armor, and always the hero to call in a jam.

And of course, yours truly,
BrainStorm, in dazzling midnight blue and ultraviolet leather, the ahem, brains of the organization, capable of all manner of rumination, musing, problem-solving, consideration, lucubration, preoccupation and extraordinary feats of lateral thinking.

Applications accepted on Novelique's
page. "

I take no credit whatsoever for this brilliance. I'm a background superhero until the finish job is necessary. Kind of like that Harvey Keitel movie. I'm "the cleaner." But hey, I'm all about the outfit. After all, I've seen THE INCREDIBLES. I want something very cool designed for me by that little tiny woman in the big house. Something that can trigger auctions with the touch of a single button on my chest. Can deflect irate editors with the lowering of my metallic visor. Design away, ladies!

And as a side note, I LOVED the dreaming feedback yesterday. More to come on THAT later today.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Heroine of My Dreams

Written yesterday—but not posted

I’m dreaming in fiction. Maybe it’s like dreaming in Technicolor, one of those supposed great marks of a creative brain. Last night, for a full hour before I drifted into deep sleep, I was a heroine in a Regency romance. And you think I’m joking, don’t you? The thing is, I read 1.3 Julia Quinn novels this weekend—a treat just for me because it was Mother’s Day weekend. In fact, I had so Quinned myself that by the time I drifted into slumber last night it was no wonder that I dreamed about Regency London. For at least an hour, I was being forced to marry someone after some sort of “incident.” You know that damnable dreaded ton, always rushing to judgment. I dare say I was guiltless.

Fast forward until it was almost daybreak. Forget historic London, my friends—we’d gone all contemporary by then. I was Kate in THE CUTTING EDGE. I had to skate at the Nationals and Doug was my partner—only wait! Doug wasn’t nervous like in the movie! I was nervous, and that plot switch left me wondering if this little time traveling device of mine (back to the beginning of a story I already knew) didn’t signify other, deeper problems in the world of fiction I’d entered.

These dreamscapes are all too familiar; in fact for some time now I’ve been becoming a story character during sleep. And I’ve noticed that this “story traveling” first began as my writing hit a deeper level. It’s more than just the “heroine head hopping” in my sleep, though. My nighttime writing has become deeper and more exhausting at times. I’ve always written songs in my sleep—and edited on stories. Lately, though, this is happening more and more often, until these kinds of dreams dominate my nighttime landscape.

I’d like to hear from my fellow writers—does any of this sound familiar? I know a lot of writers who do create in their sleep. But…?? I’d love your own stories on this topic.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Fireflies in the Georgia Heat

While we’re cataloging aspects of blogging culture, let’s talk about another one. A kind of group discourse often takes place across the blogosphere, even unacknowledged at times. A call will ring out from one blog, and then echo in ten other places. Like fireflies in a summer field the spark is passed from one writer to another to another, rippling across cyberspace. One discussion currently in play relates to reviewers and criticism. I’ve obviously not experienced this yet as a writer (the reviews part, I mean—I’ve had my share of criticism already.) But both as a writer and agent I think Alison Kent’s comments yesterday were dead-on. Here’s a quote:

“See, that’s the thing. If I hear criticism of my work, the first thought that comes to mind is: Does the criticism register? I have never written a perfect book. I send them out into the world in the best shape possible given my skills at the time. But I can point to every book I’ve written and find things I wish I’d done differently. And if those things are ringing a reader’s or critic’s bells, then I listen. I learn. I take to heart the input and do what I can to better my craft. Isn’t that the point of constructive criticism? Whether given by readers, reviewers, or peers? It is for me!”

Let me cheer you on, Alison! Thank you. First of all, every bit of feedback I receive as a writer I welcome, even if it’s not comfortable. How else can I grow? How else can my clients grow if they don’t hear critique from me, editors, and ultimately their readers? And yet you’d be surprised how often, when I actually take the time to send an intensive personal critique on a submission, I’m met not with gratitude that I took the time, that I tried to give them thoughtful analysis of how to make the manuscript better, but rather with argument. I’ve had writers call me to debate me. I’ve had nasty emails that claim, “Well my critique group likes it!” After a while of this as an agent it almost makes you not want to bother. But you hang in because then there are the others. Writers with an outlook like that expressed by Allison above. They want to be the best they can be, and only with reader reaction and thought can their work ultimately be shaped—whether that critique come from editors, agents, fellow authors, or readers.

Let’s face it, writing is a solitary endeavor. Which makes the moment any reader takes up an author’s book a transcendent one—and that kind of mystical cooperation between reader and author shouldn’t be cheapened by the idea that we can drum the readers into lockstep reaction. We can’t make them march the way we ordain. We can only create the work, hope someone will enter the author-reader partnership, and then honor their reading by taking the comments to heart. We don’t have to agree with everything—nor do I expect everyone to agree with me when I give my agently commentary. But I do think respect is the key. Self-respect, respect for craft, and respect for one another.

The Internet age has ushered in the era of anonymous cruelty. Where opinions can turn nasty and abusive, and when you combine that with the age of correctness, dissenting voices (although dissenting from which opinion is the key here) are hammered into silence. At least in theory. Some of the best “voices” on the Net today don’t give a whit about the Netstapo types, and thank GOD for that. In an impersonal and faceless medium, it’s important to remember to hold onto our humanity.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Perfect Skin and Imperfect Snark

When you trawl blog culture a bit, it’s obvious that the sublime snarkers make the most prized bloggers. This revelation has led me to contemplate my own Net value, as in: what do I have to offer? I’m not all that snarky, I’ll admit it…well, maybe a little. Grin. I do have firm opinions about the state of publishing at large and certain publishers in general, but unless I choose to blog anonymously as do others in publishing, I’m not exactly in a position to snark at will. Or even to be honest at will. And I’m not sure I like that fact.

People claim that southerners tend to euphemize everything, glossing over difficulties with a superficial smile and a proffered glass of sweet tea—but I tend to disagree. We may put the warm and friendly spin on even the darkest times, having learned that humor makes a great chaser for the bitter dregs, but I think southerners, as a lot, tend to be pretty much “lay it on you” kind of folks. Which means I have quite the line to walk in this blogging endeavor. I must balance the urge to share insider thoughts, while mitigating that with wisdom. After all, it’s not just my reputation on the line, but that of my clients as well. Several times already in posts I’ve found myself biting back some observation I might have wanted to share. But I think, all in all, that given the anonymous alternative, it’s still worth the compromise. You’ll know who is chatting with you, gain some more direct insights into the life of an agent and author. And in exchange, over time, I may decide to delve deeper into my analysis of The State of The Market. Who knows. It’s a journey of discovery here—for all of us.

If only we could all be three years old; everything would be so much clearer to us then. I sat today with my young daughter on my lap, studying her. Tiny spaghetti arms, the skin unblemished and unfreckled. Her small, blameless hands. I thought of how much she resembled a picture of me at the same age—and then I looked at where my own adult legs were crossed. At the calloused bottoms of my feet. I thought of how life changes the body of a woman as she lives, has children, and lives some more; and then I looked back at my precious girl’s three year old skin. Perfect, smooth, undamaged skin. Skin you can’t keep once you live a little. The state of our body is, in a way, the state of our selfhood. Our scars are a measure of how we’ve lived—or not.

Irony of all ironies, too, while I was writing this post, a lancome offer came through my email advertising Microlift Flash Lifting—in case we missed it, this product lifts, ladies!
Fountain of Youth

As if we could get back that perfect, unblemished skin of childhood. If only it came in a bottle.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Well, look what I found! The Boardwalk does still exist in Daytona! I guess because it was generally so dilapidated when I was a child, I expected it to be gone. Obviously that was a duh moment extraordinaire!

Start Your Engines!

So, every year attendees return from RT with interesting tales; I’ve already heard my share this week. But perhaps of greatest interest to me is the fact that next year’s convention will be held in Daytona! Daytona Beach, Florida. Now, see, I’m a native to the VERY deep south, my friends, so I can make a little joke here (plus our agency represents NASCAR insider, Liz Allison.) What will this be? NASCAR RT? Or, as an editor and I were just brainstorming about the themed vampire ball, how about NASCAR Vampire. Or would that be NASCAR vampar?

Ah, yes, let’s call it the Vampar Ball, shall we? And that just lends whole new meaning to the pit crew (pits of hell crew?)

But seriously, a trip to Daytona Beach will be interesting for me. Just the words conjure up a certain sense of strange childhood nostalgia, of a time when you could still drive on the beach (in my father’s convertible Cadillac Eldorado, no less, burgundy red with all white interior leather!) When the boardwalk still existed (does it now? I doubt it!) and the biggest thrill of my six year-old life was riding the chair lift out over those nighttime waves that seemed so fathomless and black. Those were the days when my father, who was later ill for so many years, still seemed vital and healthy. When he’d actually walk on the beach with us, or take us on the ocean drive with the top down and Aretha Franklin blasting from his 8 Track.

The thing about visiting lost places, though, is until you go back, they still exist. If you leave them alone in your memory, then their misty lack of substance is never disproved. I’ll go back to Daytona next year, I suspect. But I just might keep my eyes closed outside the hotel.

Author Author Everywhere

Since authors abound on this site as well as my agency blog, I thought I'd direct your attention to a helpful link to a query letter Q & A in case you missed it:
Query Question and Answer

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Oh, La La, Lady N.!

By now readers of this blog are familiar with my rapturous love of Audrey Niffenegger’s THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE. So you can imagine my excitement when I read the following post in deal lunch today:

Author of THE TIME-TRAVELER'S WIFE Audrey Niffenegger's novel in pictures THE THREE INCESTUOUS SISTERS, a tale of love, revenge, and transcendence, to Tamar Brazis at Abrams, for publication as an oversize art book in September 2005, by Joe Regal of Regal Literary.

The book was originally hand printed in a very limited edition, several years before the success of THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE.

Now, I’ll admit it: I gave a little squeal when I saw her name, and then as I read the posting in “real time” to hubby, my excitement waned somewhat. Naturally I’d hoped for another “regular” novel, something to engage my imagination like TTTW. However, I’m intrigued about this format, especially given that Lady N. is also an artist, so this "novel in pictures" seems a natural fit for her diverse talents.

I’m curious what to expect. And I’ll be going to Amazon searching this out as soon as it’s up and for sale (but, my goodness—September 05?? Did they post that correctly? In publishing that’s an extremely fast turn-around—perhaps because they want to capitalize on her current momentum with TTW? That doesn’t make much sense given that this book doesn’t seem to be experiencing any slowdown. Not that I’m complaining, mind you.

Oh, but Lady N, please-oh-please set hand to writing tablet again soon, if you’ve not already.

A Child's Dream

Since I am wont to share strange tidbits from my real life here, I thought I’d let you in on my six year old daughter’s nightmare last night. She woke me about three a.m., whimpering, and said, “Mommy, I had a bad dream.”
“Really?” I asked, all a-grog.
“Yes, Mommy. I dreamed you cut off Riley’s bottom (Riley is three.)”
I sat bolt upright in bed. “What???” I said, now wide awake.
“Uh, huh, you cut off Riley's bottom, and then you told her, ‘I’m sorry, Riley, but you’ll just have to be bottomless.’”

So if you ever wondered if I was ruthless—in negotiation, as a mother, as a human—you now know to protect your beloved backside in my presence.

Publishing Lunch--Part One


90 Minutes In Heaven (Inventory!)

It’s a stereotype by now, the concept of publishing professionals gathering to break bread together. Editors and agents do it. Writers and their publicists do it. Authors and their agents sure do—as in, “I’d meet you at Starbucks, but I have to lunch with my agent.” (Intone proper nonchalant-yet-lordy tone.) The “lunch” may assume many different incarnations, but it’s always the same basic concept.

I’m very fortunate in that lunching with my clients always means I’m in for a treat, just as I was today with Don Piper and Cecil Murphey, who together authored 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN, a book that has sold so feverishly that its been dubbed by Baker Books as “90 Minutes in Inventory!” Don is an amazing man who has lived to tell his own phenomenal tale. Here’s the snippet of biography I just pulled from his website:

Following a tragic automobile accident in 1989 in which Rev. Piper was declared “dead on the scene”, he was miraculously revived twice and has been in recovery since that time. Already 32 surgical procedures have taken place and he walks only as a result of miraculous and in some cases medically unexplainable circumstances. During the time he was “dead”, Rev. Piper was granted the extreme privilege of glimpsing Heaven itself.

Needless to say, it’s a bit intense to spend an hour or two with this client of mine, hearing him describe ways in which his book has touched lives. A soldier in Iraq who had been mortally wounded by a car bomb was read the first few chapters of his book by his fellow soldiers before he died—the chapters that describe Don’s vision of heaven. Almost every time he speaks, someone comes forward, someone needing a message of hope, and says, “You were sent to me today.” Don is a man whose every breath seems touched by purpose.

As I drove away from my time with these two clients, I was reminded yet again that we’re placed here on Earth for a very specific purpose. There’s a reason we are to do the things we do. I encourage you to order Don’s book; not only do I believe you’ll feel more inspired about your own purpose in life, but I believe you’ll respond to his epic message.

Don’s website is http://donpiperministries.com

Just had to share. Deidre

Monday, May 02, 2005

You Can Definitely Judge a Book

And Speaking of Covers…

I have been very impressed with recent NAL covers, both for our own clients, and also for other authors. For instance, check out the beautiful Amanda McCabe cover for LADY MIDNIGHT:

Not the best resolution, but I love this cover!

Or that of Cheryl Sawyer’s SIREN (repped by my agent buddy Kristin Nelson)

This is one of the most beautiful covers I've seen in a while.

I also particularly like these two right here—so much so, that I’m tempted to purchase the book, aren’t you? In fact, I'm sure that I will!

A gorgeous NAL cover that makes me want to buy this book!

Another lovely cover from NAL

In general, I feel that hats should go off to the Penguin Putnam art department, who for some time have been coming up with terrific covers for a number of our clients. Next, I will share some of the Berkley covers they’ve done for us that I think are beautiful. But these few covers are real evidence--at least I think--that I will most likely love my cover for PARALLEL ATTRACTION! If I had a better mastery of posting pics, I'd have a lot more to share. If you want to see more covers and books published by NAL, go to:
More soon!