Posts Tagged ‘queries’

Still working on the blurb for BEYOND THE PROPHECY.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????If beginnings are hard, blurbs (or queries) are even harder.

Here’s what I have so far–on the third try. Still not there, yet.

Being one of a handful graced—or cursed—with both kinds of magic places Vatar at the center of turmoil. In more ways than one.

As power shifts in his adopted city, Vatar must choose. Support the traditional rulers for the sake of stability, even though their rule is based on a lie. Or reveal that lie and help those who would create a new order. Only Vatar, with ties to both sides, is in a position to decide which is best.

But that choice will have to wait while he tries to find a way to deal with enemies gathering on the border. Foes that could mean disaster for both his city and the plains-dwelling tribe who raised him. Only magic can provide a reliable defense. Magic the plains people fear more than any enemy.

But when he’s captured by one of those enemies, Vatar will have to prove his boast that it’s impossible to imprison anyone who can do what he can—or die.

Now, if I can just find a way to work in some of the unique aspects of the world without driving the word count up.

Yeah, blurbs are hard.

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I had three goals for this few weeks when I need to let the first draft of BEYOND THE PROPHECY cool before starting the revisions. I’m doing well on all three of them.

  1. “Modgud Gold”: This is a tie-in short story to the Dual Magics series, about what Arcas was doing during the events of the first half or so of THE SHAMAN’S CURSE and explains, among other things, how he knew enough about the Modgud to get help for Vatar. I’ve been through the manuscript once and I’m halfway through the second pass. In this revision, I’m primarily deleting an unnecessary character. Yes, Kiara would be there if this were part of the book, but she’s just window dressing in the short story. She has no real role to play. One more pass, concentrating primarily on some descriptions that may not be needed and it’ll be ready to go.????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
  2. DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING: I had decided to e-publish this one after all. It only needed a quick read-through and some formatting. It’s available for pre-order now and releases May 18th.???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
  3. MAGE STORM: This is my middle grade fantasy. I’ve finished a read-through of the story, making very few changes. I need to do a little work, changing the query and possibly polishing up the synopsis. (I hate synopses.) And then send it to a publisher. Middle grade is still very much of an uphill slog for e-publishing. (How many ten- to twelve-year-olds have an e-reader–or a credit card with which to buy their own books? The answer to the first question is an increasing number. The answer to the second isn’t. So it’s much more necessary to find a way through the gate keepers–parents, teachers, and librarians–with middle grade fiction.)

I expect to have “Modgud Gold” done within a week or so. Then I’ll be ready to get back into BEYOND THE PROPHECY and turn it into the story I know is in there.

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A few weeks ago, I entered the Pitch Plus 5 Contest over at Adventures in YA Publishing. Then, life being what it is, I lost track of when the first round of results were due. Apparently it was yesterday. Now, the way this contest works is that the first 50 entries make it into the contest. (Actually, the first 25 at an impossibly early–for the West Coast–entry window and the first 25 for a window 12 hours later.) Then, those entries are judged on a standard form by respected book bloggers on a standard scorecard. Based on those scores, the top 25 entries make it to the next round.

This time, entrants also get a short critique from that first judge. Email being what it is (newest on top), I read that critique before the announcement of who got in to the next round. The first sentence is “The opening didn’t hook me.” So, naturally, I thought that I wasn’t going any further this time. Then I get down to the list–and DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING is on it.

Here’s the initial entry, by the way.

So, now I have two days to make revisions and also do a little work on the query and get it in by midnight (9 p.m. my time) tomorrow night for the next round, judged by authors.

Yeah, that means that the first draft of BEYOND THE PROPHECY (book 3 of the DUAL MAGICS series) will be put on hold until Tuesday. (I have written a new first chapter for it, that does a better job of telegraphing the kind of story it will be.)

Meanwhile, I’m in the middle (exactly) of painting the final wall in what will be my new writing space.

Digital CameraWhat I want to know is: who had the bright idea for all those louvers?

Going to be a busy couple of days.

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Posting a little early because tomorrow I expect to be watching the parade and taking down the Christmas tree.

So, now it’s time to set goals for the year ahead.

  1. Publish THE BARD’S GIFT. I’ve already got the files formatted, uploaded, and checked. All I have to do is press the button. Release date is January 30th.TheBardsGiftCoverSmall
  2. Continue to query MAGE STORM
  3. Complete, polish, and publish THE SHAMAN’S CURSE and THE IGNORED PROPHECY.
  4. Complete the revisions to MAGIC AND POWER (or whatever the final title will be) and start querying that. It’s going to be awesome when I get through with it.
  5. Write something new, hopefully Weird Oz. Maybe, if I’m very good, two new things.
  6. Continue to learn and improve. Specifically, this year, really try to find the right formula for indie book promotion. The blog tour didn’t do a lot of good. Neither have Goodreads giveaways. I’ve got a whole month to figure something out for THE BARD’S GIFT.

Happy New Year Everyone

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I don’t make resolutions anymore, but I do set goals. And now it’s the time of year to look back and see how well I did. So here are my writing goals for last year and the results

  1. Prepare to query THE BARD’S GIFT. I did. I got it polished up and ready. I queried widely. And the only positive thing I got out of that was four personalized rejections variously praising my writing and the story. Rejections like that are not supposed to exist. Agents just don’t have time. I got four. If four agents took the time to do that, I can only conclude that they saw something good, but just didn’t think the story was commercial enough. THE BARD’S GIFT is now up next to be e-published, early next year.TheBardsGiftCoverSmall
  2. I also set a goal of getting my rewrite of MAGE STORM ready to query again. I met this goal, too. MAGE STORM is currently a first alternate in Pitch Wars. Wish me luck.
  3. Last year, FIRE AND EARTH was a first alternate (with a different mentor) in Pitch Wars. Ultimately, I decided to e-publish it.Fire And Earth Cover (Provisional)
  4. I set a goal to e-publish BLOOD IS THICKER and met that one.Blood Is Thicker Cover
  5. I intended to enter Writers of the Future at least once, but I didn’t. I just don’t write that much short fiction. The one I attempted this year turned into a novel.
  6. Write two first drafts. I guess I met that one, too. MAGIC AND POWER was a completely new first draft and I did a complete rewrite of THE SHAMAN’S CURSE, too.
  7. Learn and improve. Well, that’s an ongoing goal and a little too vague, really. I met it, but for next year it might be nice to specify some target areas.

Next post, I’ll start looking ahead to next year’s goals.

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Well, we’re about half-way through the year and I guess it’s time to look ahead to my plans for the rest of the year.

I’ve got a number of revisions under way.

  1. MAGIC AND POWER: I’ve just started the second draft. It’ll take at least one or two more drafts and some beta readers before I decide what I’ll ultimately do with it. It’ll need a new title, at the least. This is the story that grew from a planned novelette into 75,000 words.
  2. BLOOD IS THICKER: This is the sequel to BLOOD WILL TELL. I’ve just completed a revision on this. I’m finally happy with the story. (Did I mention lately that sequels are hard?) It needs at least one more pass. I plan to start serializing it on wattpad as soon as BLOOD WILL TELL is complete there. (Next Sunday, in fact.) And I need to start planning a launch for this for sometime this fall. Note: This time I do actually intend to plan about three months ahead. Guess I’d better get started.
  3. MAGE STORM: I’m just beginning to get feedback from my beta readers on the newly revised version. I’m excited about this one. It’s my middle grade fantasy and I want it to be ready to pitch at WriteOnCon in August. That means I need to rework the query and synopsis, too.

Hopefully about the time I finish these revisions, I’ll be ready to start writing my “weird Oz” story. I’m getting excited about that one, too. It’s likely to be the first novel-length work I’ll attempt in first person. At a minimum, that’ll be an interesting adventure.

Meanwhile, at least until MAGE STORM is ready, I’ll continue querying THE BARD’S GIFT.

Eh, when I put it all down like that, it’s no wonder the house is a mess.

The next-to-last chapter of BLOOD WILL TELL is up now on wattpad. Final chapter to come on Wednesday.

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Well, after a break of a few months, I’m back in the game. I started sending out queries for THE BARD’S GIFT yesterday.  Hopefully, this is the one.

The query:

Sixteen-year-old Astrid keeps mostly to herself, amusing herself with the stories her grandmother used to tell. She’s too shy even to talk in front of the young man she secretly dreams of, Torolf. Then the Norse god of eloquence appears in Astrid’s dreams and forces her to drink the Mead of Poetry. Suddenly, she’s compelled to tell her stories. In public. Even in front of Torolf.

This leads her to actually talk to Torolf–and find out that he likes her, too. They’ve barely enjoyed their first kiss when the seeress makes a prophecy that splits them apart. The gods have chosen Astrid to bring her people to a new future in the part of the map labelled “Here be dragons”. Meanwhile, Torolf undertakes a hazardous voyage in the opposite direction to supply the fledgling colony.

But an ambitious rival plots to control Astrid’s abilities and status to take power. The only weapon Astrid has to thwart this attempted coup is the ability to know the exactly right story to comfort, inspire, instruct, or warn. Failure will mean disaster for all of them.

THE BARD’S GIFT is an 84,000-word young adult alternate history set in late fourteenth century Greenland–and beyond.

I still have to work out a shorter 35-word pitch. Eep. I’m no good at that, but I need it for an upcoming pitch fest.


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I’ll be over at IndieReCon most of today, trying to learn about this marketing thing that I still haven’t figured out. Pop on over. It’s free.

Meanwhile, I’m working on my query pitch over at the workshop preceding WriteOnCon’s Luck of the Irish Pitch Fest.

And Saturday, I’ll be taking a class on how to make a chain mail bracelet. Just in case, you know, I ever write a character who makes chain mail.

English: ChainMaille Dragon's Back Bracelet or...

English: ChainMaille Dragon’s Back Bracelet or Roundmaille Weave Made from non-tarnish silver Artistic Wire Jump Rings from Beadalon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All while still working on the revisions of THE BARD’S GIFT (so it will be ready for that pitch fest up above) and trying to keep up with my critiques.

My head may explode.

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I’ve come to the conclusion that part of my problem recently is that I’ve just been doing revisions for too long. Now, I don’t normally mind revisions, but I’ve been doing them for an awfully long time, now. First getting THE BARD’S GIFT ready for first readers, then the revisions to FIRE AND EARTH that came from my Pitch Wars mentor’s comments, and now on THE BARD’S GIFT again.

I love both stories, but I think my brain just needs to be allowed to go play in a new sandbox, with new characters and ideas. There’s nothing fresher than my “Jurassic Oz” story. It’s not ripe yet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t let my mind go play with some world building so I can be ready to write it. I have a couple of good ideas, but they’re not enough, not yet. Plus, I still have to figure out how I’m going to get my “Dorothy” to Oz. I did a little Halloween story on this idea, and that might be a good starting point, but it needs a bit more development.

Or, I could play with my secret history idea that plays on the legend of King Arthur (to start with, anyway). That one needs a little more development, too. You know, as long as I’m just dedicating some time to letting my mind out to play, it doesn’t have to be one or the other.

Meanwhile, I have to stick to the revisions for just a little longer. My goal is to have THE BARD’S GIFT ready to start querying next month. I’m almost there. This is no time to quit.

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Not much to say today. I’m just having one of those days where everything feels like I’m Sisyphus perennially trying to push a boulder uphill, only to have it roll back down to the bottom again. (Gotta love the Greeks for imaginative punishments in Hades.)


Sisyphus (Photo credit: AK Rockefeller)

I’m basically an optimistic person (which is very useful for an aspiring writer), but every once in a while . . . . Maybe I’ve just been doing revisions for too long and it’s time to start on something brand new. Maybe I just need to go outside and dig up some ivy. That should help.

Well, enough of that. Since I can’t come up with anything else, here’s the latest (but not the last) version of my query for THE BARD’S GIFT:

Sixteen-year-old Astrid keeps mostly to herself, amusing herself with the stories her grandmother used to tell. She’s too shy even to talk in front of the young man she secretly dreams of, Torolf. Then the Norse god of eloquence appears in Astrid’s dreams and forces her to drink from the Mead of Poetry. Suddenly, she’s compelled to tell her stories. In public. Even in front of Torolf.

This leads her to actually talk to Torolf–and find out that he likes her, too. They’ve barely enjoyed their first kiss when the seeress makes a prophecy that will split them apart. The seeress proclaims that Astrid’s gift for knowing the exactly right story to comfort, inspire, instruct, or warn is the key to a new future for their people. According to the seeress, Astrid must sail with the people to the part of the map labelled “Here be dragons”, while Torolf undertakes a hazardous voyage in the opposite direction, to Iceland, to supply the fledgling colony. 

What they don’t know is that ambitious Helga has a plan to control Astrid’s abilities and status to take power for her own family. First, they need to get Torolf out of the way, so they arrange for him to be stranded in Iceland.

It will take both of them to thwart Helga’s plot. Torolf strains his inventiveness to its limits to get back. And Astrid has to learn to trust herself and her stories to keep her people from repeating past mistakes and hold off Helga’s attempted coup which could doom their only chance.


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