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The Florala News

01 Feb

I’ve been gone from this town of under 3,000 for almost forty years, but one thing I took with me when I left for college, and have had ever since, is my hometown weekly, eight (sometimes twelve) page newspaper, The Florala News.

I rarely know anyone featured in the paper anymore, unless it’s an obituary. In the newspaper that arrived yesterday, I saw my fourth grade teacher had passed away recently. RIP Mrs. Evans.

The newspaper is family owned and (at least) the third generation is now running it. The current publisher is a year older than me and produces not only this paper but a sister paper in DeFuniak Springs, Florida. He had three younger sisters, two the same ages as my sister and me. Being friends with the children of the local newspaper owner’s children was problematic from time to time.

Their mother wrote a column featured on the front page. Called “Just Ramblin,'” it was much like a personal or human interest blog today. Naturally, many of her stories centered upon her children (and their friends). If something was done or said that she thought was amusing, she might write about it, but other parents might not have been aware of the event … well, you can see the issue. There was the same problem with school. Students weren’t supposed to leave campus during lunch, but if a carload went home with her daughters during lunch and something happened like, I don’t know, the plumbing got backed up, and she reported it in her column, there had to be official punishment, even if the principal, their next-door neighbor, had been the one to remedy the problem in the first place, but had let it slide until the newspaper came out.

I remember once, at an “away” football game, the band marched in a monsoon. When we left the field my tiny majorette outfit was soaked and I was having chills. It just so happened, this columnist’s sister lived nearby, so she, her sister, and my mom took me to her sister’s nice, warm house, got me out of my uniform and wrapped my in blankets. It was reported (and probably true, I don’t remember) I wanted to put the wet uniform back on to return to the stadium to cheer my team on to defeat. I can’t imagine why.

 

For a couple of decades, she stopped writing her column, but several months ago began it again with the name Ramblin’ Rose. Positioned right there on the front page, it’s the first thing I read so I can learn how many tomatoes they’re planting, if any of their children (and now grand and great-grandchildren) have visited, or if she and her husband have fed any stray ducks (or dogs or cats) that week. Though sometimes reported elsewhere in the paper, you can count on her to let you know who has grown the biggest turnip or has an exceptional crop and she’ll relay who she’s seen or what she’s done in the prior week. Several times, I’ve thought about dropping her a note to tell her how happy I am she started her column again, but I’m afraid she’d put it in the paper as a letter to the editor. Similar note have ended up there or either been quoted in her column.

She doesn’t do include these things to be petty or gossipy as it might seem if others did it. When she reports things, no matter how minute, she somehow makes them seem like news. I can remember on the day the paper hit the streets hearing, “Wonder what ‘her first name’ has to say this week.” She is adored by the community.

The funny thing about small-town papers–they are mesmerizing. Hubby’s been to Florala half-a-dozen times and met a handful of people. Yet there are weeks when he reads the paper cover to cover and will ask if I saw where ‘a frequent letter writer’ had written another letter to the editor… He knows some of the people in my hometown (by reputation) better than I do. What’s really amusing is his largest client, a trucking company, runs ads in the classified section of this small weekly. But my favorite has to be the notice about a weekly AA meeting that, until recently, not only told where and when it would be held but also told who would be the speaker. Anonymous??? Not so much.

I have few connections to the town I spent the formative years of my life. But once a week, I get a reminder of those roots. And you know what? Every childhood friend I keep up with, who has moved away, has a subscription to The Florala News.. I guess you can take it with you.

~ Kay

 

 

 
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Posted in Manic Monday

 

Trash the book, not the author!

15 Aug

My intention today was to blog about Kathryn Stockett’s book The Help and the film adaptation, which debuted last week. As I wrote that post, I realized I needed more time to organize my many thoughts about this book and movie and what they bring up for me, so look for that post on Wednesday.

In the meantime, I will write about my friend Phoenix Sullivan. She was a guest blogger here in March and has a popular blog called Dare to Dream. Until recently, she reviewed queries and synopses on her blog, made suggestions and helped hundreds of newbie writers with these tricky projects. Earlier this year, she invited authors to submit for an anthology, selected the pieces to include, edited them and published Extinct Doesn’t Mean Forever online. She has written two novels and runs a farm (complete with chickens and horses and other animals) all by herself. Many of her followers, including myself, consider her Wonder Woman.

One of her books, Spoils of War, made it through the gruesome process of agents and editors and got all the way to the editorial table at two publishing houses—the last step before being offered a traditional publishing contract. Though both publishers had favorable comments, they ultimately decided to pass on her books. However, Spoils of War got a glowing endorsement by New York Times best selling author Jennifer Blake and Phoenix to publish it online a few months ago.

Her sales had been steady, then . . . over the weekend, Spoils of War went viral on Twitter and various blogs. It all started with a scathing review by January on a popular website called Dear Author.

In her review, January ripped the book apart on everything from historical accuracy to editorial errors like spelling and commas (she later retracted her comments on spelling when she realized the words she sited were accurately spelled; she had made the assumption the author meant to use other words–oh, my!).  Commas, of course, are pretty subjective and, as a former editor, I’m pretty sure Phoenix put commas where needed in her work.

January’s primary attack was aimed at the rape and violence in the book. The heroine was raped by three men (to my recollection) including the hero. More disturbing was the repeated rape of an eleven-year-old enslaved by a much older man who’d essentially made her his plaything.

Are these rapes upsetting? Absolutely. Were they in context for the time frame of the novel? Yes. I think Cliff said it best in a five-star review on Amazon. In part, his review is:

Spoil of War . . . deals with difficult subjects in a sympathetic way without trying to impose 21st century morals on 5th century characters.

Cliff’s review captures what’s wrong with January’s review. She took the actions in the book out of context. Phoenix’s characters and the situations they were in fit the era. Was it historically accurate? I don’t know and I don’t care. It entertained me, and this is not a genre I’d normally read.

The book clearly states the setting is during a disturbing time in history. Here’s part of the product description.

Please note: This novel takes place in a harsh era when spoils were often treated as commodities. While the violence toward women and children is period-appropriate and for mature adults only, it is never gratuitous. The story focuses on adaptation, survival and, ultimately, love in the Dark Ages before Arthur was made king.

January is certainly entitled to her opinion and to blog about it. The 3000+ word attack elicited over 200 comments. (For comparison, my post today is less than 800 words and I’d love to have even 25 comments on a post.) Most of the comments were in agreement with the blogger but few had read the book. The post, as well as many of the comments, was an attack on the author in addition to her work. They questioned her integrity; they all but questioned her parentage. I know Phoenix and I know she is ethical and kind and her personal standards are exceptionally high. The blogger and her followers can trash the book all day long—we all have different tastes in what we read—but don’t personally attack the author. Writers are people too and what we write does not necessarily reflect our beliefs. That’s why it’s called fiction.

To get some balance, the blog Rise of the Slush reviewed the book prior to January’s review if you want to check it out.

Before I get completely off my soapbox, (I am getting a little dizzy), I’ll leave you with this Oscar Wilde quote: “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” Hang in there Phoenix while you’re being talked about and remember, those of us who know you have your back. (Completely off soapbox now!)

I hope you’ll be back Wednesday for my post about The Help.

~Kay

 

Manic Monday: When you can’t write it down . . .

01 Aug

You know how your best story ideas come at the most inconvenient times? And these are the exact elements needed to make your novel not good, but great. Then when you try to recall said ideas . . . they’re gone . . . off to la-la land. We’ve all been there and cursed ourselves for thinking we could remember when we knew we needed to write them down.

A lot of my story ideas come in my dreams. I learned pretty quickly all I’d remember the next morning would be I’d dreamed something extraordinary and then I’d rack my brain all day trying to remember the details. I’ve tried keeping a notebook by the bed but it doesn’t seem to matter whether I turn on a lamp on not, the next morning my notes look like a two-year-old (or a doctor) wrote them.

When I’m immersed in a work-in-progress, my characters often give me storylines while I’m asleep. If I don’t get up and work it into the story right then, I forget their suggestions and it frustrates not only me, but the characters as well. If I do get up, I not only interrupt my much-needed sleep, but I usually find a peanut butter cookie (or two or three) with my name on it. Not good for the hips. No way to win here.

Another place I get good story ideas is on the road. When I’m driving alone, ideas flood my brain, but what to do with them? I can’t write while driving. That would be as bad as texting from behind the wheel and I’d never ever do that. If I can maneuver the traffic and find a safe place to pull over inevitably I don’t have a pen and paper handy. Once I’ve rummaged through my purse and the side panel on my door and finally found a pen and something to write on (usually a napkin with not too much ketchup on it), the idea may still be there, but it isn’t fleshed out like it had been while I was driving.

Oh, what’s a writer to do? Well, my friends, I have the answer . . . if you have an iPhone.

There’s a free app called Dragon Dictation. If you don’t have it, download it now. I’ll wait . . . Pull up the app, press the “tap and dictate” button, and speak into your phone. Then, like magic, the app changes your voice to text and displays it on your phone. When you’re finished, you can send an e-mail to yourself and wa-la! No more lost or forgotten ideas. If you are brave you can even send a post to Facebook or Twitter, but I’m opting not to do that at this time. DD doesn’t always translate “southern” verbatim so there’s no telling what I’d post.

For those of you who aren’t writers, you could use this app to make a grocery list, to send your honey a love message, to remind yourself it’s your turn to make refreshments for Bridge Club, or any number of things.

I was skeptical of DD at first because I’d tried using a small tape recorder in the past but found I seldom listened to what I recorded. Now I’m a believer. With Dragon Dictation, I can read what I dictated and even cut and paste it if needed. I think this is too cool for words—but I still wrote over 600 of them.

This is how I do it. I charge my phone, as I sleep, next to my bed. If I need to record a dream, I don’t even have to turn on a light, I simply grab my phone, pull up the DD app and I’m on my way. It won’t bother Hubby because he says I talk in my sleep anyway. In the car or other places where it’d be distracting to write something down, I just find my phone and record. Pretty slick, huh?

Is anyone out there using Dragon Dictation, or do you have another way to record ideas and thoughts during inconvenient circumstances? Please share.

Until Wednesday,

~Kay

 

 

 

Manic Monday: Home Alone

25 Jul

I am accustomed to working at home. Alone.

Hubby’s total hip replacement has greatly hindered changed how I do it. I left my cozy writing nook upstairs and set up shop on the loveseat in our den so I could be at his beck and call. First with his walker, now with his cane, he goes from the only chair meeting the requirements for him to sit, to the sofa where he lays down and sometimes naps, to the bathroom or kitchen; then he starts all over again.

He has greatly improved during the twelve days since his surgery, so I don’t have to tote and fetch as much as I did in the beginning.  But requests for water, tissues, tucking him in, etc. have been replaced with questions.  Do I know where the instructions for something we bought three years ago might be? Why don’t we start this project or that project? Where is the Blu-ray movie he can’t find? Why don’t we get out and run a few errands? All are questions that require me to stop work and assist him, so his physical improvement hasn’t changed his demands on me.

And then we get into the disagreements. I went to the same presurgery class and read the same 1” manual as he, but our interpretations are somehow different. In the class (and in the book) it was stressed his physician wants his patients to use a walker for two full weeks putting no more than 50% of their weight on the replacement joint. At ten days, however, Hubby ditched the walker reasoning the book was written for much older patients who weren’t very active.

In addition, he is supposed to wear support hose during the day but not at night. But now that he feels well enough to get out and do a few things, he refuses to wear them except at home. Again, the rules don’t apply to him. He is a physician and maybe he does know best, but the last time I listened to him instead of my gut, he ended up in emergency surgery and was in the hospital for ten days.

And bless his heart, all of a sudden the man can’t hear. He turns on the television with the volume as high as it will go. He is sitting (or laying) right in front of the television, but still needs it to blare. When he drifts off to sleep, I mute it, but he’s not napping as much as I’d like. We tried closed captions, but he didn’t like that solution even though last night he wanted to watch an Italian movie with subtitles. I bought some cordless headphones and charged them for sixteen hours as the instructions said. They lasted for one. We charged them another sixteen hours—again they worked for one. Back to the store we went. Cordless headphones aren’t as easy to find as one might think, but we found another pair at a different store. However they don’t have a way where he can switch the volume back to the TV should I want to watch a movie with him. They have to physically be removed from the television.

Then there is his physical therapy–one and a half hours, three times a week. Today we had an appointment to get a scan to make sure he didn’t have blood clots. Next we went to another location to have blood drawn which was followed by PT at yet a third site. Thank you Starbucks for giving me a place near his PT to write. Even with all of the commotion, it was less than distracting than being at home with him.

I’m sure if you have small children you are no stranger to interruptions to your writing. How do you deal with them? Better than me, I’m guessing.

 

Manic Monday: Writing or me?

18 Jul

When I got serious about blogging almost a year ago, I learned, to be successful, I must do three things:

  1. Name the blog. Check
  2. Create a blogging schedule and stick to it. Check
  3. Identify what the blog would be about.

 

You might notice there is no “check” by #3. It’s because I’ve failed miserably on that front. Technically, I guess I could give myself credit, because I decided I’d blog about writing—and I started out that way—but somewhere throughout the year it has become more and more about me and my woes.

Could it be because I had the worst case of bronchitis known to man (all right, known to me) and was out of commission for five months causing me to miss my first tap recital in over forty years? (I didn’t miss a post though.)

Or perhaps it’s because my mother-in-law was diagnosed with stomach cancer, had her stomach removed, and experienced the death of both her husband and her best friend of over forty years in a span of six weeks?

Or could it be because my husband’s business partner’s wife died a few weeks ago?

Or maybe it’s because of Hubby’s recent hip replacement which will keep him at home (with me) for at least six weeks?

Or it’s because our five-year-old godson underwent a 10+ hour surgery (his 22nd ) in Seattle two days after Hubby’s operation and it almost killed me not to be there? It was even worse when his mom told he asked for me (okay, he asked for both Grammy and Pappy) when he woke up from the anesthesia.

Even though I’ve blogged three times a week, joined a critique group, and completely rewritten my novel, I’ve found the subject matter of my blogs seems to be more about what’s going on in my life rather than writing. Well, duh. I have to process this stuff somehow and I don’t have time to see a therapist.

In the interest of full disclosure, with Hubby home for a minimum of six weeks, I don’t see this pattern changing. I tend to blog about what is on my mind and with him underfoot recuperating, I suspect he’s going to be on my mind a whole lot.

He’s using a walker for two weeks then he will graduate to a cane. He has to go to physical therapy three times a week for six weeks. He can’t go to the gym for three months. He can’t ride a bike for a year. Him going without the gym for even three days is like me going without ice cream for a year.

I suspect the first two weeks will be the toughest and, most likely, the worst is behind us as he’ll improve some every day (good God, I hope!).  It’s going to be a busy few weeks so hang in there with me if I blog more about what’s going on in Elamville than I do about writing.

I’ve got a dynamite guest blog for Wednesday on how to format a novel from Glen Strathy of www.how-to-write-a-book.now.com. These are things that weren’t taught in college–at least not where I went.  I hope you’ll come back on Wednesday  for Glen’s rules and again for Friday’s character chat.

~Kay

 

Manic Monday: Hip, Hip Hooray!

11 Jul

It has indeed been a manic couple of weeks around our house. Hubby is scheduled for a hip replacement this Wednesday and we’ve had to ready our home for his return. This includes removing all rugs, putting rails up in the shower and for the stairs coming into house from the garage, rearranging all of the drawers so his clothes are waist high or above, purchasing or borrowing such “equipment” as shower chair, special shower mat, bedside potty, walker and more. None of our chairs or sofas will give him the correct angle for sitting so we also purchased a new chair. We needed a desk chair, so that’s what we got. The height can be adjusted and he can roll around while he’s incapacitated. When he doesn’t need it any longer, it can go upstairs to the study.

 

He’ll use a walker for two weeks, then go a cane. He’ll also do physical therapy three times a week. Luckily (for me), his 24-year-old son is living with us for the summer while he studies for the GRE. Step-son’s plans are to apply for physical therapy school, so he’s volunteered agreed to be in charge of getting his dad to and from PT and supervising his home exercises. I love this kid—really.

 

Hubby’ll most likely be in the hospital until Friday. Then he has to stay home for a minimum of six weeks. Therein lies my problem. The doctor said hubby will feel great in three weeks and will think he can go back to work, but it would be a false sense of well-being. Doc said Hubby’s hip should be the center of his universe for the next six weeks. Ideally, he’d stay out of work for twelve weeks, but if he does well with his PT, six will do. If he feels spry in three weeks, I foresee some battles about his limitations. But I will control the car keys and he can’t so anywhere unless I take him. 

 

I dread the next six weeks and here’s why. He won’t be sick, he’ll be physical limited. This means his mind will be as sharp as always (which is damn sharp) and he can sit around and think of things for us to do. As a business owner he has a unique roll in his company so he plans to do his job remotely. He also wants to knock out several hours of online CME (continuing medical education) while he’s home. In addition, he’s mentioned he might have someone come in to give him guitar lessons and he may do an online typing class . . . see why I’m dreading the upcoming weeks. I’m accustomed to quiet serenity during the day and the next six weeks will be anything but.

 

When I was sick this past winter and when I had an injury a couple of years ago, he took such good care of me. He had so much patience and did all the cooking, cleaning, and even the laundry. (He still does most of that now.) I know, however, I do not have the patience of Job and I fear I won’t be as supportive to him as he was to me. It’s not a contest, but I would like to reciprocate and I fear I’ll fail.

 

How will his being under foot home all the time affect my writing? I don’t know. I enjoy his company (obviously) and if he is watching movies, I’ll want to snuggle in and watch movies too. I’ll probably move from my writing nook, so I’ll be on the same floor as him to better meet his needs (and keep me from going up and down the stairs a zillion times). I’m not as productive away from my nook.

 

I have lined up a few guest posts to use when I’m too busy or overwhelmed to blog. Yeah me for planning ahead, though having him home might give me plenty of blogging topics. I’m just not sure how I’ll tie them in to writing, but that’s my creative challenge.

 

I know we all have unexpected distractions from our writing. I’d love to hear some of your stories so I won’t feel alone in this boat. Prayers and good ju-ju on Wednesday (11 am CDST) will also be appreciated.

 

Thanks for letting me vent. It’s your turn.

 

~Kay

 

Manic Monday: Independence Day

04 Jul

 

HAVE A HAPPY and SAFE

4TH of JULY

 

photo from The Tennessean

See you Wednesday

Kay

 
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Posted in All About Me, BLOG POSTS, Manic Monday

 

Manic Monday: Both sides of a beta read

27 Jun

Happy Monday! Sunshine and low 80’s here after rain over the weekend.

Several of my recent posts have dealt with Beta Reads. Now that I’ve been on both sides of that fence, I can tell you it’s not an easy one to straddle.

The number one thing a writer wants from a beta reader is honesty. It is essential, or the process won’t work. But that doesn’t mean when you get the feedback from a beta reader it doesn’t sting a bit to see all of their comments on what you thought was your finished, polished product. Thank goodness no one has requested a full…yet!

What do you do? You go back to your manuscript with the beta reader’s comments and make the adjustments that feel right to you. If something doesn’t resonate, you don’t have to change it. After all, it is your manuscript and you have the final say. I ran into that with query feedback. I found I was trying to change my query based on everyone’s feedback and what I got was a query without my authentic voice. I had to start all over because the author’s voice is a crucial element of the query. It was a good lesson to learn because it holds true with a manuscript as well.

On the other side of receiving beta feedback is giving beta feedback. I beta read a book for someone in my critique group over the weekend. She writes beautifully and is probably the most lyrical writer of our entire group. I found a few little things here and there, but overall it was a good, smooth read which is always the author’s objective. It was easy to give her feedback because I thought her book was agent-ready with only a few minor tweaks, even though it wasn’t in a genre I normally read or a book I’d typically buy.

But what if I’d hated her book? How would I have handled it then? As I said earlier, honesty is essential. When something (a book, a chapter, a query) is poorly written or doesn’t make sense the author has to be told. Personally, I’d prefer the feedback not be sugar coated, because that sends a mixed message. The rule of feedback is to start with something you like, hit the problem areas, and then end with something good. The logic of that is obvious.

The most motivating feedback I ever got was from a lady with whom I’d exchanged a few chapters to see if we’d make good online writing partners. She basically ripped me a new one.  She was gracious but direct. She said she could tell I was a good writer and that I was great with dialogue. However, she thought I needed to start over with a rewrite—for a number of reasons, each of which she pointed out. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but it’s what I needed to hear. In retrospect, I think others had tried to tell me the same thing, but sugarcoated it to the point I didn’t get the message. After her feedback, I enrolled in the online revisions class and did a complete overhaul of the book. I cut the first three chapters, which was like cutting off my arm. She’d pointed out these chapters were pretty much all backstory, and in my heart of hearts I knew they had to go so . . . delete.  In the end, I liked it better. It was better.

She apologized for her bluntness, but I appreciated it. Her assessment was on the money. No one wants to start over when they’ve already put so much time into it, but it was exactly what I needed to do. So, good for her for being so direct, though I could tell it pained her to do so. She showed me the toughest feedback could be presented in a kind and respectful way. As difficult as it is to be on the receiving end of a hard-hitting appraisal, I suspect, as a writer, it’s easier to receive harsh feedback than to give it. (Reviewers–a different post at a different time.)

When you give feedback do you sugarcoat it or are you direct? Which would you rather receive?

~Kay

 

 

Manic Monday: From Pedicures to Beta Readers

20 Jun

Over the weekend, hubby and I joined another couple for some luscious pedicures. I’d never had a pedi quite like this one. I’ve experienced the lotions and scrubs, but paraffin I’d only had on my hands and, while I’d had hot rock massages, they don’t compare to hot rocks on my feet. Yummy!  I’m not sure I can go back to my plain ‘ole pedicure where the highlight was hot towels toward the end.

It’s the same thing with writing. We may be perfectly happy with our writing until someone challenges us to take the next step. And once we’ve taken that step and experience the feelings that accompany better writing, we won’t be willing to go back to our prior level.

Who can help us leave the regular pedicure behind and progress to the paraffin and hot rocks?

A writing partner with whom we exchange pages would be a good start. Next a critique group with several members so we get varying (and often conflicting) points of view, and finally beta readers who’ve not read our work before but are willing to read and comment on the finished product.

Where do we find these people? I found my first writing partner online. I wanted someone who was at my level (or a little better) and found a guy in Atlanta. We exchanged chapters and notes as we read each other’s entire novels. I got to know him pretty well through his writing and the remarks he made on my work, but I don’t know whether he’s married or single, whether he has children; I don’t even know his last name. In that relationship, it was all about writing.

My crit group consists of seven talented writers. Some are already agented and published, some not–yet. I also found this group online. We are extremely diverse in our thinking and writing. My book is a cozy mystery while others are working on fantasy, steam punk, young adult and other genres. This group has encouraged me to step out of the box and try some new things. They don’t hesitate to tell me when something doesn’t work.I’m a better writer because of them. It’s an honest but kind group. Because this is a long-term commitment, we are getting to know each other a little beyond our writing. I know who has children and who doesn’t. I’ve exchanged private messages with several on topics that wouldn’t interest the whole group. We’ve even created another forum where we could brainstorm ideas or work on scenes that just were not working.

My beta readers were a collection of online acquaintances, readers and writers I knew, and people with occupations similar to my characters. I needed a cop and didn’t know one, so I marched myself into the local prescient and recruited myself a cop. (It was kind of fun, actually.)  I was lucky to have chosen dedicated readers and I’ve gotten superb feedback. In the sake of full disclosure, I also had alpha readers–friends and family who read the chapters as I wrote them. I got some useful feedback, but most of them told me how great the book was (when I knew it wasn’t–yet). In the future I will share works-in-progress only with a writing partner or critique group, and not ask for feedback from people who love me.

So after a writing partner, a critique group, both alpha and beta readers, not to mention a complete revision of the manuscript, gobs of editing and polishing, there’s not much more I can do with my manuscript other than (gulp) send it to agents. So I’m off to the scary land of Queryville. Will I find an agent? Will I get a book deal? Will I live happily ever after? I don’t know, but my toes look great.

~Kay

 

 

Manic Monday: 150 Posts

13 Jun

Wow! 150 posts since I got serious about blogging last August. Three times a week–it really adds up! Thanks to everyone who reads my blog, especially those of you who leave comments.

Back in April I wrote a post on finding a literary agent. Everything in that post still stands, BUT I’ve found an easier way to do it. Query Tracker has it down to a tee. I’ve perused QT for a while and played with it in the limited “free” edition. One of the members in my critique group highly recommended I join, so I did. At $25 a year, it is quite the bargain.

Remember how I told you to look at Publisher’s Marketplace, Preditors and Editors, websites, etc. to check out an agent? Well, with QT, it’s a one-stop shop. In addition, if there is a change of status regarding an agent you are stalking watching, you get e-mail notification. You even have links to the agent’s blog and website. How cool is that? It’s a major time saver.

In addition, they have a formatted spreadsheet of sorts (you know me and my spreadsheets) where you can show, with cute little icons, who you’ve queried, requests or fulls outstanding, rejections, and lots more. One of my favorite features (besides the spreadsheet, of course) is how you can sort, with or without filters, and get a list of agents in your genre with the specifications YOU want. And you can see who isn’t accepting queries. If you prefer you can query straight from the sight, but if you’d like to send your query by e-mail, there is a place to paste the query onto your agent page sent so you’ll know exactly what you sent.

My disclaimer…I don’t know how accurate this information is so I recommend always going to the agent’s website and checking submission guidelines for yourself. Regardless, it is a great resource and certainly worth the money. I say give it a try and see what you think. Let me know–I’m really interested.

Until Wednesday,

Kay