Wednesday, August 11, 2010

agents, and publisher, and facebook, oh, my...

Authonomy Update: 43!

agents, and publisher, and facebook, oh, my...

Pearl has had quite the roller coaster ride in the last couple of weeks.

First, I skyped with an agent and talked through Pearl's first chapter. He had read it and critiqued it, and this was a culminating exercise.

He had good things to say about the premise and had some insights on the writing (simpler is better). I think the meeting went well, but since he doesn't agent fantasy, he won't be picking up my book. Bummer. He seems like a really nice guy and would be good to work with.

So, these are some things I learned from the process:

1. Know your agent: This critique came from a seminar in Montana, and it was a very last minute submission, so I didn't have time to research Mark and find out if he would be a good fit for the book. Although, as stated, he was nice, if he doesn't rep my genre, he doesn't rep my genre.

2. Time is relevant in the publishing world: I submitted the first chapter in May, and didn't get the critique until last week. I totally understand the chaos of life and especially summer, but it seemed like a long time to wait. To his defense, he did apologize. To mine, I should realize that these things take time.

3. Simple is better: I had decided to add a bunch of things to my first chapter and it got bogged down. It really did. My husband in his infinite wisdom told me that I needed to go back to when I first wrote and look at the freshness of it. I did that and realized it was pretty good. With a couple of tweaks, it is back to the original. Simple.

Next on the ride:

I received a really nice rejection letter from an agent. Truly nice. In fact, she said she was probably crazy for rejecting it and gave me several things that she saw to improve, and I had an aha moment. I wrote back and thanked her (which you should always do), and she wrote me back (which they never do) and told me if I revise, to let her know. So now, I need to decide: To revise or not to revise, that is the question. Or aye, that's the rub.

On the same day she rejected me, a small publishing company asked for a full manuscript.

So here are the stats:

1 agent critigue
1 agent semi-sorta rejection
1 publishing company ask

Oh, and I also had another agent ask for the first 50 pages, so add 1 partial to the list. Annnnnddd....I now have 158 fans on my FB page.

Pretty good couple of weeks, I'd say.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Authonomy Update: 50! Amazing!! Here's a picture of it (Yeah, I'm proud, and yeah, I know you can't read the numbers. :) Below the picture is the word, Public. Below that it says Rank: 50 (+2))


My friend, Peggy, had two extra chickens in her freezer that she very graciously gave to her pastor's family (us :)). While extremely grateful for the gift, I will admit I was a bit apprehensive about roasting them. After all, I am more of a baker than a cook. In fact, this morning I already made gluten free blueberry scones...and ate two of them without hardly blinking. Yum!

I also spent three summers in college baking at a guest ranch in Colorado. I was in charge of most of the desserts, which made me run about five miles a day to alleviate the effects of sugar, butter and chocolate on my waistline...and on my diabetes.

Baking is what I do for fun. Cooking...well, that's what I have to do to feed my family. If only they could live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. :)

So, back to the chicken.

I also need to note that my mom gave me Mastering the Art of French Cooking (and the movie, Julie and Julia) for Christmas. Obviously I'm not either Julie or Julia, but I've been trying some of the recipes.

Julia writes passionately and poetically. Here's a blurb about Roast Chicken: "While it does not require years of training to produce a juicy, brown, buttery, crisp-skinned, heavenly bird, it does entail such a greed for perfection that one is under compulsion to hover over the bird, listen to it, above all see that it is continually basted, and that is is done just to the proper turn."

Me! Me! Pick me! I have that greed! I also turned the bird four times during its hour and forty-five minute party in the oven (and basted it every ten minutes).

But, most of all, look at her writing. She could have said, "Anyone can roast a chicken." Instead, she makes me want to roast a chicken her way.

The result: A pretty fine heavenly bird, if I say so myself!

For the second time today....Yum!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

eclipse disappointment

Authonomy Update: 56. Today is the last day of the month, and tomorrow Pearl will go down 5 spaces. As we're clawing our way to the top, we should be at 50ish soon. Yea!


So my eldest daughter and I joined a big group of friends (hers and mine) for the midnight premiere of Eclipse last night. They were all troopers and sat through Twilight and New Moon first (and saved seats for us...thanks, guys!). We just showed up for Eclipse and had fun hanging with our friends!

Now, I've read all four of the Twilight series books. I've even read the one posted online, Midnight Sun (part of the first book told from Edward's POV). Quite honestly, writing aside (which is a whole other conversation), Meyers tells a good story. Vampire boy meets human girl. Werewolf boy meets same human girl. Love triangle ensues. Hearts wrench. Ahhhhh...

I love that Meyers has morals and her characters convey things like, sex before marriage is wrong. She even tries to make her main vampires good by their being "vegetarian," meaning they suck the blood of animals, not humans. A stretch, but still, she tried.

But, this is where my disappointment came last night.

The characters manipulated each other the whole way through to get what they wanted.

Edward wants Bella to marry him. Bella wants Edward to change her into a vampire. They both want to consummate their love, but Edward won't before marriage (good for him!) and Bella won't marry him until she is changed (hmmm...). However, she finally agrees to his proposal.

Then, Jake loves Bella. Bella loves Edward. After stealing a first kiss, Jake tells Bella that he won't kiss her again until she asks him to. Jake goes off to fight vampires while leaving Bella upset that he's mad at her. She calls out for him to kiss her before he leaves, he turns back for a long passionate kiss, while Edward (her fiance!!!) is standing not far from them.

What?? What??

And this is what happened in the theater: During that kiss, much sighing was heard.

And all I could think of was that my teenage daughter and her friends were watching this movie that was telling them, "It's okay to manipulate others to get what you want. It's okay to be manipulated."

C'mon, Hollywood! C'mon, Meyers! Thousands, maybe millions, of teenagers will get that same message loud and clear. You threw a great teaching moment away with this movie. By the very nature of being wildly successful among impressionable kids, you have a responsibility to them. In my opinion, you blew it.

Good thing my daughter and her friends have good parents to help them process it.

On another note:

They showed a preview for Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Now, CS Lewis is an awesome story teller. At the end of the trailer, a guy down in the front of the theater yelled, "For Narnia!!" I wish we all had shouted it. :)

Friday, June 4, 2010


Authonomy Update: 65

I entered the skiing chase scene (rewritten and edited) in a contest. Here's the scene (and the word cloud). Skis is the number one word in the scene.

I think contest would be the number one word on my blog.

Nope Authonomy. Nope Pearl. :) Have a lovely day!

Skiing Chase Scene • Pearl Edda

I whacked Iven with my ski pole. Right across his cheek.

Not very ladylike, I know, but I was ticked. I mean, we’d avoided each other all week, and had just patched things up when he pushed me – after insulting my skiing. Really? Like skis hadn’t been strapped to my feet every winter since – I don’t know – forever?

He didn’t look fazed. Instead he perused the darkening mountain behind us. “We need to go, Mia,” he said, rubbing the pole-inflicted welt. “Now.”

And then the egomaniac reached toward me again.

I harrumphed, planted my poles, and propelled myself down the slope. Keenly aware that he pursued me. Mad that I was a little pleased.

Traitor heart.

Olivia and Tait had already veered off onto a little used run, a drainage that cut through the forest and narrowed into a chute, and I shot off the lip, dropping down after them. Towering pine trees clustered together on either side of the trail, only allowing light to sneak through in muted patches, and I could barely track Olivia’s bright red jacket as it darted through the murky labyrinth.

Iven skied, wordlessly, beside me. The forest, too, was still, and the only sound came from our skis schussing in sync. I almost laughed from the stupidity of it all when I sensed something behind me. Its cold, dark shadow curled around my boots like wisps of smoke. It squeezed my ankles – firmly, once – and then backed away.

What the crap?

I looked toward Iven, but he grabbed my arm. “You said you could ski, Mia,” he hissed through clenched teeth. “Do it now. Like your life depends on it.”

He again pushed me, and I surged forward. This time he didn’t follow.

My hammering heart shot into my throat, and I brought my skis together while bending my knees. I realized the moguls of our previous run were nothing compared to the speed of the trees coming at me now. As boughs slapped me, their snowy blankets exploded, peppering my body with icy crystals.

Knowing better, a lot better, I ignored the cardinal rule of every horror movie ever made and glanced back. My entire body heaved as I immediately faced forward again, gasping in short, staccato bursts, while rapid-fire questions erupted in my brain.

What the heck? What the heck? What the heck is THAT?

I forced myself to keep on top of my skis, but a numbing breath streamed up my back. A low growl and what sounded like the snapping of teeth followed, and the hairs on the back of my neck stood straight on end.

The owner of the shadow had arrived.

And I was alone.

Bwahahahahahahhaha (Okay, I just tacked that on at the end. :))

Friday, May 28, 2010

ya highway contest

Authonomy Update: I'm taking a break this weekend from Authonomy, so I can spend some more time with the family and maybe get some writing done.

contest • contest • contest

So, YA Highway is celebrating their one year anniversary with a cool contest. They have fun giveaways, including some critiques (can't have too many of those, I say!) :) Check it out!

If you want to enter, go to:

Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

adventures in critiques: part deux

Authonomy Update: 69. Annnnnnd....361 comments. Wahoo!

Another critique opp! Another critique opp!

I'm entering Pearl in a contest put on by Writer's Digest. Chuck Sambuchino (who writes their Guide to Literary Agents Editor's Blog) posted the contest recently and Pearl fits the category!

He's asking for the first 200 words, so I've honed and revised. (It's hard to get the gist of a story into 200 words. Hopefully, I did it.)

Then, if he and the agent judge like it, they are offering the top 3 entries a ten page critique and a year's subscription to WritersMarket Online. Woot! Woot!

Chuck has some great insights and tips on finding agents, the business of writing, querying, writing...and so much more on his blog.

Check it out at:

Or you can click on the Guide to Literary Agents link under Blogs I Like.

I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

adventures in critiques

Authonomy Update: 71 :)

The last couple weeks were adventurous for Pearl. I promised I would blog about it earlier, and now here it is, Sunday night, two weeks later....

My family is watching the last episode of Lost (after a busy day of church, parties and a piano recital), and I'm revising and editing, oh, and blogging. :)

Cool Adventure #1:

I know this seems like my blog is turning into a Nathan Bransford marathon, but this is really cool. He is doing a 1st page critique on Mondays and last week, Pearl got in. Basically, he allowed his blog followers to critique my first page, and after awhile, he chimed in with a red letter critique.

There was a lot of banter about the writing, especially about dream sequences (should a book start with one or not). People seemed to be somewhat divided, but most said no to the dream (although they seemed to like the writing).

You can check out the comments, if you want, by heading over to his blog and clicking on last Monday's post.

What I learned...

Writing is totally subjective. Who knew? :) What one person likes, another hates. What one person says to scratch, another says to keep.

I, as the author, have to be willing to listen to my peers, while at the same time, listening to my gut. Sometimes that's hard to do.


Pearl got some exposure. Wahoo!!!

Nathan has over 3600 blog followers, and he is well respected as an agent. I'm still thinking about whether or not to query him.

And...I got a couple new followers here (Hello! and Welcome!).

Not a bad day's work, I say!!

Cool Adventure #2:

The SCWBI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) Montana chapter had a workshop in Bozeman on Sat. At the last minute, the head of the chapter called me and said there was an opening for the agent who was presenting to do a critique on the first 10 pages of Pearl.

I quickly whipped up a query and sent the first pages. My mom (bless her) drove over to Bozeman and sat in on a couple hours of the workshop and paid for my critique.

The agent will contact me and hold a Skype conference call with me soon.

Cool Adventure #3

I met with an editor friend of mine a couple weeks ago. He doesn't edit my genre, but he has read a significant portion, and he had some great pointers and insights.

So that is two Agents and one editor in the last couple weeks who have seen Pearl and critiqued it. Pretty exciting stuff!!!

Cool Adventure #4:

Pearl is on Facebook and Twitter. Look for the links on the side of the blog.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Authonomy Update: 74. Woot! Woot! Seriously, I am super stoked. Pray that an agent spots it soon.

So, Nathan Bransford's blog today talks about the importance of condensing your plot into three short pitches.

First, the one sentence stripped down, rattle it off to save your life pitch.

Next, the one paragraph with just a little bit of wiggle room teaser.

Finally, the two paragraph, breathe a little but don't completely exhale the plot summary.

I've whittled Pearl's pitch into the following:

One Sentence:

When the Norse god world collides with a Montana cowboy community, four teens discover that more than just the fate of Yellowstone National Park is at stake.

One Paragraph:

When twins Iven and Olivia Taylor show up at Mia Holden’s Montana high school near Yellowstone National Park, they set loose the turbulent world of Norse mythology -- a place where gods reign, giants destroy, best friends lie, and worlds end. Oh, and where love between humans and gods is forbidden. Which is a problem. Especially when Mia discovers what her best friend has known his entire life.

Two Paragraph:

When twins Iven and Olivia Taylor move to Mia Holden’s Montana cowboy community, not only is the turbulent world of Norse mythology set loose, but Iven and Mia are thrown into a relationship hindered by murderous Frost Giants, jealous Norse gods, and, perhaps scariest of all, High School.

As the end of the Norse god world looms and Frost Giants threaten to destroy Yellowstone National Park, Iven and Mia find that risking their lives is nothing compared to risking their hearts in a place where love between humans and gods is forbidden. Especially as Mia discovers what her best friend, Tait, has known his entire life.

And "still my favorite" one sentence:
Mia’s prince is really a Norse god, and the end of the world is ruining her happily ever after.

In other news....
Pearl Edda 2 (which totally needs a real title) is coming along nicely. Those Frost Giants just don't know when to quit....

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Of Blogs and Tortoises

Authonomy Update: 82 Yea!

You know what I really like about blogging?

All the cool blogs there are to read out there.

I just found another new one: Hot Diggity! by Jenna Glatzer. She is totally laugh-out-loud hilarious...

And...she's promoting this cool book that she co-wrote:

Unthinkable by Scott Rigsby.

It's about a double leg amputee who "on October 13, 2007, after arduous training, he became the first double-leg amputee using prosthetics ever to cross the finish line in the sporting world’s most grueling and prestigious event, the Ford Ironman World Championship triathlon in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii."

Talk about an inspirational story! Check it out! She is giving away an autographed copy of his book. The contest rules are stated on her blog.

Another thing I like...

Our two Russian Tortoises.


I know, I know. When we first got them, I was totally like ewww...

Now I think they're pretty cool.

Except the other day, when one of them disappeared in the yard and we couldn't find her. We looked for four days, and then yesterday, she appeared. Happily munching on the dandelions that have pervaded our grass. Whew!!

We were telling one of Annika's friends about chasing the turtles, and he said, "C'mon, do you really chase turtles?"

I guess I'm pathetically slow. Really. Those buggers are quick!

Maybe I'll slap a video of them up here and you can see for yourself how fast they are...

Oh, by the way, things I don't like:

Spiders. Definitely spiders.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

query contest

Authonomy update: 93 :)

Nathan Bransford, an agent with Curtis Brown, is doing a contest this week. Basically he asked for his blog followers to send in a query and the first 30 pages of their manuscript. He randomly chose five (I didn't make the random cut. Bummer.), and posted them on his blog for voting.

It's a lot harder than it seems, and I don't think I will sign up to be an agent any time soon.

All five queries are good. One completely stood out to me. But I would have a hard time choosing.

Tomorrow he is posting the 30 pages of each, and then he is having a discussion about what they discover on Thursday.

He is an agent that I would love to work with, but I'm obviously waiting until after Thursday's discussion before sending a query his way.

If you want to follow the contest:

I can't get it to link, but you can also click on his name on the Blogs I Like list.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Must. Stop. Obsessing. About. Authonomy.

Seriously, I'm not sure I can continue at this rate.

Reading, reading, reading, backing, backing, backing, commenting, commenting, commenting.

Lather, rinse, repeat. As needed.

A friend of mine who made the editor's desk told me that during the month she was in the top five, she read one book every 15 minutes for 18 hours a day. That's like....hmmmm....a lot of books. (I'm an English with me here.)


Pearl is at 115!!!


I am at about minus...hmmmm....a lot of money for the hours spent ratio.


Pearl is at 115!!!

Going. Back. To. Read. More.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

getting into the game: the pitch

Authonomy's website has been down for most of today. Bummer. Pearl was at 146 before the site crashed. We'll see if it catches any momentum when the site gets back up.

So, I've been messing around with my pitch (the blurb that catches the attention of readers, making them want to crack open the book), and I'd love some feedback. So put on your 12-18 year old girl helmets, and step up to the plate...please! :)

The following is my tagline. What does it say to you? Does it work?

What if your prince is really a Norse god, and the end of the world is ruining your happily ever after?

Next is the current pitch:

When you're a seventeen-year-old Montana ranch girl, you can handle pretty much anything. Right?

Well...unless it's the hot guy who moves into your sleepy town and propels you into the turbulent world of Norse mythology -- a place where gods reign, giants destroy, best friends lie, and worlds end.

Oh, and where love between humans and gods is forbidden.

Which is a problem.

Especially when you discover what your best friend has known his entire life....

This is the previous pitch:

Mia Holden' Montana life is pretty average. She downhill skis, rides horses, dates (and breaks the heart of) the town rodeo champ, and hangs with her best guy friend, Tait. Ordinary. Until Iven Taylor moves into her sleepy town and propels her into the turbulent world of Norse mythology. A place where gods reign, giants destroy, best friends lie, and worlds end. Oh, and love between humans and gods is forbidden. A dilemma. Especially when Mia discovers what Tait has known his whole life.

Which one works better? Do either of them make you want to open the book and read? Any comments/suggestions would be most welcome!

Next I'll upload the book and ask for the same thing! :)

Just kidding!

Monday, April 12, 2010

the query process

Pearl Edda is rising on the Authonomy Charts. Today it's at 151. I'm hoping to get under the 100 mark soon. Yea!

I sent four query emails today to different literary agents. It's quite the process.

First, I go onto a site called Query Tracker ( It brings up a list of agents who are interested in my genre (Young Adult Fantasy) and who accept unsolicited queries.

Once I find an agent who looks compatible (who knew there were so many agents out there?), I go to their agency website and nose around to see if they are truly a potential fit.

Then, I search his/her name on a site called Preditors and Editors ( This site is designed to weed out those agents who are shady (preditors) and recommend those who are excellent (editors). I look to see if the agent is recommended and if he/she has any other distinguishing accolades.

Then, I go back to the agent's website and look at the submission guidelines. They're all different. Some want just a short letter with the pitch and a bio. Others want to see a few pages. Each email needs to be tailored to the specific agency (and make sure you don't add anything to what they want).

Finally, I put it all into an email and send with a prayer.

And then the waiting begins....

On another note, today is Britta's 9th birthday! On the charts for good parenting, I allowed her to wear eyeshadow and liner to school. :)

Monday, April 5, 2010


Okay. So here's the deal.

I've posted part of Pearl Edda on Authonomy. It's a website put out by Harper Collins for authors to upload their writing and get feedback from fellow authors.

The uber cool thing is that when my book gets placed on others' virtual bookshelves and receives comments, its ranking gets higher. Once it reaches the #1-5 slot and stays there until the end of the month, Harper-Collins will take a look at it.

Right now it's at 178 (it started at about 1500, so I'm stoked). I've also received 232 comments on it.

Now...I could use your help.

Would you be willing to register at the site, shelve my book and comment on it? If you want to read it while you are there, that is awesome too.

The following is a short blurb:

When you're a seventeen-year-old Montana ranch girl, you can handle pretty much anything. Right?

Well...unless it's the over-the-top gorgeous guy who moves into your sleepy town and propels you into the turbulent world of Norse mythology -- a place where gods reign, giants destroy, best friends lie, and worlds end.

Oh, and where love between humans and gods is forbidden.

Which is a problem.

Especially when you discover what your best friend has known his entire life....

It's geared for 12-18 year old girls, but I've had older (both male and female) people read it and they've liked it.

Click on the novel cover on the left to get to the book online.


Sunday, April 4, 2010


Writing a novel is like reading a book that you can't put down.


Thoughts, characters, action constantly swirl in your head until they are put on the page. But, even after the words meet the paper, sentences still need tweaking, voices need adjusting, descriptions need brilliance.

Eventually, the swirl melds together and the story becomes cohesive. And interesting. And gripping. Hopefully.

I didn't start out to write a novel.

Like anything creative, Pearl Edda, began as a thought, a whim, a whatif. As I dabbled with a couple paragraphs that I had written a few years ago, the whatif grew, exponentially. It came into its own.

And took over my life.

For a year.

I wrote when I had the time. And mostly when I didn't have the time. I would write into the night, my eyes barely focusing, and then I would wake up with moments of clarity. Those "ah-ha" times that seemed to come sporadically, but were ultra precious.

My characters would have conversations in my head. While I was nowhere near my computer. Frustrating. Especially when I was driving. Or needing to be listening intently elsewhere.

Like to my children. Or my husband.

Several God moments happened along the way.

The evening before my laptop crashed, I listened to the still, small voice that told me to email to myself the fifty pages that I had written.

Walking into a place that I had not been for awhile and seeing a friend whom I had not seen in a year, the first thing she tells me is that she has been teaching Norse mythology as a grad student, and would be happy to help me with this project. And she gave amazing feedback.

Choosing a Norse god who has a story, but not much written about him, enabling me to create his character.

Joining a writer’s group of wonderful, wacky people with enormous insight, brilliant minds and off-beat humor.

Having uber-cool friends who were willing to read the first draft. And the second. And the third.

Being able to write at a wonderful bed and breakfast in Montana and actually immerse myself in the very setting of my characters.

So, a novel has been born.

Pearl Edda.