Friday, September 7, 2012

It's been a few months...

... and they've been busy months.  I last posted in March! 

Summer involved two rewrites of the novel I'm writing with Sarah, three cons (Con Carolinas, FandomFest, and Dragon Con), and some new opportunities.

The rewrites of Knychtspelle went well.  Hopefully the last set of rewrites before we do rewrites for money. We'll see.

The cons were lots of fun. Lots of socializing, parties, chatting, connecting, learning, buying books, getting books signed, etc.  Dragon Con was amazing with all the costumes and stuff. I even bought a trebuchet--well, a miniature model of one. A real one would be cool, but perhaps too much work to transport. It's a medieval siege weapon that hurls stones over walls via a swinging weight system. I'm going to use it in my medieval and renaissance classes, to shoot things (good things like marshmallows) at my students.

The Newest opportunity that I'm excited about at the moment is editing an anthology with John Hartness tentatively called "The Big Bad." It's focus is all on villains--the MC has to be a villain. There really aren't any other requirements.  So far we're reading slush and I'm really impressed with some of the stories. They're really creepy and good.  If this goes well, we'll be editing another anthology in the next year--a spec fic one with the theme of corsets. That one will certainly be interesting.

I also published a piece in Drafthorse: A Literary Journal of Work and no Work called "Form 99B." 
I've got an academic article on the Siege of Jerusalem coming out in October in the South Eastern Medieval Association Journal. I'm excited about that too. 

All of this, though, has cut a bit into the writing I want to do on my new YA idea. It's forming in my head, which is a good thing, but I need to get it all out on paper, too.  I'm excited about it, because I love the main character and I think it is going to be dark and adventurous, but not dystopian. And it is set in a Fae world, too.  The MC is Cassie, and I'm enjoying getting to know her better.  I'm hoping once I get a conference paper written, I can turn back to Cassie and see what she's got to say and do.  It's the first novel I've written from a one-pov perspective, and it is in first person, too, so I'll have to see how that goes. 

And school is going on, which is a good thing. I'm enjoying my classes--I've even got a great, enthusiastic 8:00am class, which is awesome. 

So, all in all, while there's a fair bit of stress, most of it is good stress, or hopeful stress, and that is something I can cope with.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hell Mary is out in the world, and the Huntington is beautiful.

At the end of last week, finally, I sent off my novel, Hell Mary: Full of Fire, to a few agents. I started with my "it would be so cool if..." list of agents. These are  folks whose reputations I know primarily because I've either met them or know the authors that they represent fairly well. Now I wait.

I will say, I wish there was one, universal set of information that agents want. I know each agent is a little different, but why do some agents want 50 pages, some 40, some 2 chapters, some 10 pages, some 5 pages, etc. Now, realistically, I'm pretty sure that an agent can tell if a book is one, good, and two, what they are interested in, within about 2 pages, max. They can tell they don't want it, for whatever reason, in about 2 paragraphs.  Some want a synopsis, some don't. Some want a 2 paragraph synopsis, some want a 10 page one. Others want everything inbetween. It's a buyer's market, of course, so I do what they ask, but there comes a point where I want to scream. "Was it four pages? Or fourteen? ARGH!" And my question is "does it matter"? I mean, if I totally blow off submission guidelines, stalk the agent at her favortie restaurant, call his personal number, don't send anything at all, yeah, blow me off (or call the police), but you know, if I send an agent 32 pages and not 40, is it the end of the world?

The problem is that I see their point. As a teacher I find myself muttering "I gave you instructions. 4-6 pages. Not 15! or not 2!" and if they don't do what the assignment requires, it is very, very hard to get a passing grade. So I get it. Some of the point of submission guidelines is simply "can you follow directions?" Which also helps answer the question "Do I think I can work with this person?" Because no matter how awesome a story/novel is, if the writer is absolutely impossible to work with, why bother?

Well, here's hoping that the people who didn't ask for partials ask for them, and the folks who asked for a few pages ask for more, and the ones who asked for a lot of pages want to read the rest.  Right?

Oh, and 75 and sunny at the Huntington Library and Gardens? THAT makes me understand why folks might like living in LA. The traffic? THAT reminds me that I can visit the Huntington once or twice a year. I don't need to live in LA, or indeed in California.

My favorite part of the Huntington art collection is the gallery of portraits, part of their permenant collection. The Blue Boy, Pinkie, Sarah what's-her-name (famous actress). The paitings are awesome. Of course, in the Library, the Ellesmere Chaucer almost makes me cry (yes, literally), as do first editions of Much Ado About Nothing and other gorgeous pieces they have. I love the physical arts (sculpture, painting, even manuscripts). I fully admit I don't understand much about them, but beautiful pieces of art make me cry, and I can't explain why. I guess that's one of the reasons it's art.

The Huntington Gardens were gorgeous, too. The Rose Garden is my favorite (and the Tea Room was yummy). All in all, a great way to spend a Saturday.

If nothing else it took my mind off the novel for a few hours. :)