Thursday, August 23, 2012

Query Me This

A month ago, I decided to get serious about querying.  I've struggled with my query letter for years.  Along the way, I had help from my critique group, a kind-hearted published writer, a how-to pitch seminar, my husband, my daughter and at one point, I may have asked the mailman for his advice.  Writing a query is about the hardest writing I have ever done.  Finally, the hard work has paid off and I have a query with promise. 

To my family's chagrin, I'm now spending practically every waking moment on my computer. (Yeah, I mean more than usual.)  When I'm not writing, I'm scouring the internet for likely agents or doing critiques or commenting on other people's posted work.  I'm entering every contest on every blog I can find. 

It is paying off.  I won an honorable mention in the Teen Eyes Query Contest on the Miss Snark's First Victim blog.  I got great feedback and some actual interest from publishers and an agent at  At this moment, my query is up for critique on three different blogs. The past few weeks have showed me what I can accomplish with sustained, focused effort. I've always known this to be true but this has really made it clear. 

Getting published requires a ton of sweat and toil and a little help from your friends.

You can stop by and check out my queries on the these wonderful blogs.

Brenda Drake Writes...Under the Influence of Coffee, currently holding a Query Workshop

The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment, wherein writer Matt MacNish posts and critiques queries and invites his blog followers to chime in.

Unicorn Bell is running a query workshop, with a contest coming over the weekend.

The internet writing community is amazing.  Is there any other on-line community of people that is so helpful, supportive and giving of their time?  I can't imagine any. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Scholastic Book Club

In my grade school days, the Scholastic Book Club was one club that always wanted me as a member.  I love books and the opportunity to pick my favorites was irresistible. Come on.  Who can resist a new book?   I remember reading the short descriptions on the paper order form and getting all excited over a story.

Back then, the books were only about 50 cents. I'd go through the list and tick off all the ones that sounded the least bit interesting and end up with over a dozen choices.  That's when parental frugality would come into play and I'd have to pare the wish list down to three or four favorites. After that, I only had to make sure I brought the money to school and turned the form in on time.  With me, things like that were never a foregone conclusion.

Then came the magical day when the books arrived and I waited for the teacher to call my name so I could claim my stack of crisp, shiny new books.  I'd peek over at what my neighbor's books and think, "Oh, I wish I'd ordered that one too."

I carried those sweet little paperbacks home in my bookbag, tromping through the snow in snowboots and stocking cap, wearing those thick snow pants that make shooshing noises when your legs rubbed together.  I'd read lying on the couch, while sipping creamy chocolate milk from a carton, or while rocking in our huge green vinyl rocking chair--the one that would tip over if I rocked too hard, and I'd end up reading while lying on my back with my feet in the air.  I liked it that way. And sometimes on the weekends, I'd just lay in bed all day and read. Just thinking about the Scholastic Book Club makes me smile.

These are a few of the books that sparked my imagination back then.  They're classics now.  Click the link below to see a lot more books and more wonderful memories. What were some of your favorites?

Nostalgia for the Scholastic Book Club, circa '60's & '70's