Saturday, January 31, 2009

Another Rejection

Yesterday I recieved a very nice (if form) same-day rejection letter. One more down....I don't know how many more to go. :)

I have been working super hard in Khaladin these past two days and I have written several thousand more words. My word count is now up to 38K! I'm so excited! The story is sounding SO much better and it's very fun to work on. :D

Friday, January 30, 2009

I Decided To Stop Waiting

OK, an important question was put to me by one of my blog buddies. Why wait till February to send out more queries to agents?

Good question.

Honestly, my replied answer didn't sound good enough, so I decided to go ahead and send out nine more queries. I have ten agents, but I can't find the letter I wrote to one of them. If I can't find it, I guess that means I'll just have to write it again, huh?

Say a prayer for me! :D

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Love It When....

....people read my work and give me great comments as my Beta for Khaladin did. She helped me SOOOOO much and I am very grateful. She pointed out several places where I could tighten up my writing, which is great because I don't easily spot that on my own. Guess I need to work on getting better at that, huh?

February is fast approaching and that means 10 more query letters will be going out for The Ultimate Evil soon. If I get rejected by these ten, I don't know if I will continue to query this story, or put it on the back burner for a while as I try with another. It will depend on how complete Khaladin and Help! My Parents Are From Outer Space! are. Both are finished, it's just editing now.

The query letters for these other ten agents are already written out. All I have to do is e-mail them. As of right now, I am working on query letters for Khaladin and Help! My Parents Are From Outer Space! just in case The Ultimate Evil doesn't sell.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Edits Never Seem To End!

More edits have been started in both Khaladin and Help! My Parents Are From Outer Space! My Beta for Khaladin finished and sent me her comments, but my stupid computer wouldn't open them. Hopefully we can get that straightened out soon. I want to read her comments! I hope there are some harsh ones! :)

My Beta for Help! My Parents Are From Outer Space! hasn't had time to read the story, which is understandable when you're juggling a college schedule. I told him there's no rush. It's strictly on a "read it when you're ready" basis.

A lot of writers I have met hate edits. LOATHE them! Me? I LOVE editing! It's wonderful to see your story morph and change into something better than it was before. I don't mind the editing process, though there is a part of me that wishes it wasn't so long. :D

Monday, January 26, 2009

You Tell Me

Gotta a question for all of you out there, and you don't need to be a writer to answer. I just want your opinion. :)

You have lots of stories that are complete. Which one is your best work to send to agents: the one that's most polished or the one with the best story?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Need Your Advice

Many of you know that I am seeking an agent with my YA novel, The Ultimate Evil. However, I'm wondering if that's my best course of action.


You see, there's been a lot on the web lately about agents and editors wanting (needing!) middle grade fiction. I have my two completed MG novels, Khaladin and Help! My Parents Are From Outer Space! What I'm wondering is this: do you think I should query those ten other agents I found for The Ultimate Evil, or do you think it'd be a better decision to wait on that novel and pick one of the other two to pitch?

Speaking of pitching these novels, there's a poll in the sidebar of my blog about which MG story I should pitch. Even if you already told me your opinion several posts ago, please vote over there. It's an easier way for me to keep count. :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

A New Look!

Hey, everyone, I made over my blog! I was getting tired of the old look and wanted something a little bit more hip and cool....and I found this template. Awesome, isn't it?

I wanted a new look to go with my new outlook. I've been doing a lot of soul searching recently and I just feel so much more peaceful inside. So....every thing's good (even with rejection after rejection!). :)

More writing updates. More story ideas are in progress (what, again?) and I finally have a dedication for Help! My Parents Are From Outer Space! I had a hard time finding out who to dedicate it to, so I asked one of my friends if he'd want it dedicated to him (no one else I know really likes SF all that much) and he accepted.

Anyway, with three completed manuscripts and two in editing, I'm looking for my next story to write. I'm teetering with two: another MG sci-fi called (tentatively) Space Kids or a YA fantasy called The Prophecy. I don't know which one to choose yet.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I have a lot of friends who wonder how I keep all my materials concerning a story organized. They used to not be. But when you have notes, pictures, pieces of old cancels manuscripts, and more, then you need to find a way to keep everything together.

How do I do it? Folders. I get a regular plain folder and write the title of the story on it with my trusty Sharpie.

I keep all the written pages on the left side of the folder. This picture shows (from left to right) a page from an old manuscript with highlighted marks that I used in The Ultimate Evil, a brief idea, query letter help, and finally the beginnings of my acknowledgements and dedication page. I always write one for every story whether they get published or not, because it's nice to look back and see who helped you the most with your work.
On the right side I keep all my pictures, drawings, maps, and the like. Here (again from left to right) I have a drawing of Arvil that a friend did for me, along with a tracing that I did to add the scars and chipped horn. The next is a concept for a creature I created called the Vorrion (think a cross between a lion and a saber-tooth tiger). I also have a map of Morlaya and a creature that Arvil turns into that my sister drew for me.

I have a folder like this for every single story. I find it easier than keeping everything on the computer where you're flipping through two or more documents.
The one thing I do not keep in the folder is my manuscript. Mine are so long that I can't print them off (otherwise my parents would make me by the ink for the printer, and I don't have a job, so I couldn't pay for it!) so I just keep them on my computer and Jump (Flash) drives.
Anyway, that's how I keep my story stuff together.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Short Post

Just to keep you updated:

The Ultimate Evil was rejected by two more agents. That's 4/7. I found ten more agents to submit to, but those won't go out till February (unless I get rejections earlier).

Khaladin and Help! My Parents Are From Outer Space! are with thier Beta readers.

And that's all I have to say right now.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

More Agents, More Queries

I submitted The Ultimate Evil to four more literary agencies yesterday. It is now with five agencies. I have submitted to a total of seven, but two have already replied with rejections.

You know how sometimes when you query an agent, they will send you an e-mail two minutes later that basically says, "Hey, we got your query!"? Like I said, two minutes later. But I'm super confused about something. When I submitted yesterday, on a Saturday, I got one of those letters, but four hours after I sent my query. For all you who find out all the scams, this is a reputable agency. Andrea Brown Literary. So, do they have those e-mails sent out on a timer on weekends, or did this agent look at my query on a Saturday and send me this as a "hey, I may be interested in your work" type deal? I don't know, so I'm not reading anything into it.

Speaking of reading, I finished my second round of edits in Khaladin. Even though I took away a lot (as I can get wordy) I added about 1,000 more words. There's more to be done and I'm thinking about getting a Beta reader for it. Not the whole thing, only part. See, with my Beta reads, I like to see the mistakes people find and then correct them and find them on my own throughout the rest of the manuscript. That way I'll learn. Unfortunately, AW is down right now (which stinks!) so I can't post that I need a Beta reader. I do need to go back and see how many chapters I want read before I put that post up though. That way I can get the word count. Khaladin has twenty-eight chapters, but is only 33K. But I know if I just say I need the first ten chapters read and don't put down any word count, people aren't going to want to read it. At least, that's the pattern I've seen.

I'm over halfway done with my first round of edits in Help! My Parents Are From Outer Space! Those are going really well and when I finish them, I'll send the manuscript to a friend of mine who has offered to read it. He said he wanted to read something of mine that did not contain unicorns, and this new story doesn't even mention them. I think he's happy about that. I am too. The last thing I want to become known as is "The Unicorn Writer" though I can't not write about unicorns. I love them too much. :D

Saturday, January 17, 2009


So, yesterday after I a rejection letter from Ms. Nelson, I sent a query on a complete whim to Nathan Bransford. About twenty minutes later he sent me a (personalized!) rejection letter. Getting him would have been really tough, anyway, considering the fact that he doesn't normally represent fantasy.

But though I am still receiving rejection letters, I am still optimistic. I kjow that if it is God's Will, I'll find the perfect agent with the perfect story one day. :D

I have also been editing Khaladin and the edits are coming along nicely. I've been able to get rid of some of my wordiness and passive voice. For some reason, that story got loaded with passive voice. Agh! Not good! At least it's fixable. :)

Poll results:

Khaladin: 2

Help! My Parents Are From Outer Space!: 2

Yeah, I have a tie. I have to ask more people. If you're reading my blog and haven't voted yet, please do. Help me choose! :)

Friday, January 16, 2009


Well, as you can tell from the title, my dream agent just sent me a rejection letter. :(

But, you know what? That's OK. YA fantasy is a tough sell right now.

So, here's my stratagy. I am only going to query The Ultimate Evil to a few more agents. Most agents are really looking for middle grade fiction right now and Khaladin and Help! My Parents Are From Outer Space! both fall into that catagory. So, I'm going to try The Ultimate Evil a few more times while I REALLY work hard on finishing up these other two manuscripts before I start querying them off. I have read several stories about authors getting thier first work rejected, the second accepted, and the first gets published because of the second. Pretty cool, huh?

And, if no one wants The Ultimate Evil, then I can dismantle it and turn it into another story. I'll make things work.....somehow.

Anyway, I have a question for everyone. If I were going to pitch one of my middle grade novels now (but I'm not yet, they're not ready) which one should I pitch?

Khaladin: Horse gives birth to unicorn foal.


Help! My Parents Are From Outer Space!: A girl finds out her parents are aliens and, after a great, kinda messed up adventure, has to save two worlds, her father, and the President of the United States.

So, which would you choose to pitch?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

So, I Finished

Yeah, last night, I finished the first draft of Help! My Parents Are From Outer Space! I already had about half of the manuscript written, so it didn't take me long to finish.

So far, it has 26K and 20 chapters. It's been a lot of fun to write because it's in first person and my first time finishing a novel in that format as well. Since I'm so used to third person, I'm learning new things and it's been great! It's harder to write first person because if you say something that is completely out of sync with your character, it shows more. There's not as much leeway in first person as there is in third, not that there's much in third anyway! :)

Also, I just submitted The Ultimate Evil to my dream agent. I hope she bites! :D

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

And My New WIP Is.....

.....a MG sci-fi story called, Help! My Parents Are From Outer Space!

I have been working on this story for several years (I came up with the idea when I was ten) and only since last year has it really started to come together. I had writer's block on the project, but that seems to be gone now, as I am MUCH closer to the climax of the story.

Here's the basic low-down: This story is told in first person by Stacie, a typical teenage girl who wakes up one morning on a spaceship (surprise!) and soon discovers that her adoptive parents are really aliens in disguise. Now she's being forced to live on thier planet, called Z'ghon, and can never see anyone from Earth again. Her life becomes a MAJOR rollarcoaster when her father and the President of the United States are both captured by the evil Z'ghonian leader and she has to save them, not to mention both Earth and Z'ghon. Pressure? Just a smidge.

It's been a lot of fun to write and I'm even more excited about it right now because I am nearly done with the first draft. I don't know how close I am, but I do know that I've passed the half-way point in the tale. This is my first real attempt at first person so I'm learning new things about storytelling as I go and it's been (and will continue to be) a great ride! :D

Question: Has anyone noticed that a lot of my ideas I say I've had since I was little? Does that strike anybody else as being weird? Just curious. *shrug*

Monday, January 12, 2009

Khaladin All Debated Torture Scene!

OK, here it is! I have revised it a little, so it's no longer the same one that's over on AW. Remember, I love honest opinions, so tell me what you think!

Here goes:

Vaccaro’s men stormed into the barn, many ropes in their hands. After getting them securely on the twins, they tugged Raala and Raama out of the barn. Khaladin whinnied after his companions. He knew they couldn’t understand him, but he wanted to tell them not to worry. But even if they had understood his language, he doubted he could convince them when he himself was unsure about their fate.

With the twins gone, the remaining men swung their ropes and Khaladin could feel them tightening around his neck and he barred his teeth angrily at his handlers, but Vaccaro leaned casually against the stall, unmoved by the half unicorn’s thrashing. “Tie him up!” he ordered.

The men obeyed, pulling Khaladin into the asile. They tied him down so that he was forced to stand in the middle of the barn, unable to move. A makeshift halter was pushed roughly over his head and tied behind him, keeping his head thrown back.

The position made breathing difficult because of the strain it put on his throat. However, he didn’t want that to phase him, so he kept an angry eye on Vaccaro, his thoughts equally determined.

Vaccaro came around to face him. “I really do have to admire your spirit. Now, if you cooperate, this will go smoothly. If not. . .”

“What do you want?”

“I got a serious problem,” Vaccaro said. “Your friend, the one who’s on eBay, is generating more money than I thought. That’s a good thing. However, my supply of unicorns is very limited.”

“It may be more limited than you think,” Khaladin said, trying not to let his lack of breath show in his voice. “I am only half unicorn.”

Vaccaro waved his hand at the statement. “That doesn’t matter. No one can tell the difference. Now, as I said before, my supply of unicorns only consists of you and your two friends.” He stepped forward, clasping his hands behind his back and leaning towards him. “Do you know where I can stock up my inventory?”

The Valley, Khaladin thought. He wants to know about the Valley! But I won’t tell him!
Vaccaro saw the determined gaze settle over the half unicorn’s features. “Ah, I see that you do know and are unwilling to tell.”

“Give it up, Vaccaro,” he said. “You couldn’t get there even if you tried.”

“Oh, but I intend to.” He stepped up closer to Khaladin. “Would you rather me question your friends?”

“They can’t take you there any more than I can.”

“Oh?” he said, interested. He folded his hands over his chest. “And why is that?”

Khaladin shifted his gaze, refusing to answer the question.

“You won’t tell me?”

He continued to ignore the greedy human.

“Fine,” Vaccaro said, stepping back. “Have it your way.” He left the barn.

Minutes passed and Khaladin could hear them ticking by, annoyingly slow. The passing of time did nothing to help calm his nerves. His breathing was quickening and sweat trickled down into his eyes and rolled down his flank. Just what was that greedy human bent on doing. Had be become bored with him and gone to Raala and Raama? Where were his friends. . .where had they been taken? Were they all right?

Khaladin tried to shake his head as if to banish the questions, but the ropes held him fast. He grunted in frustration and nervousness, unsure of what the coming hours would hold. His neck and chest muscles were aching and he could feel the pain in his legs and back as well. A few of his muscles were starting to cramp up on him, but there was nothing he could do about it, so he simply ground his teeth and endured it.

Khaladin didn’t know how long he had been standing there when he finally heard the barn door open again. He tilted his ear back to hear the footsteps and recognized them. They belonged to Vaccaro.

When Vaccaro came into his line of sight, Khaladin saw that this time he carried a hot iron in his hand. The end, which glowed red, had the letters “M” “E” and “V” on it, except they were backwards. His heart leaped when he realized what Vaccaro had planned, yet he simply laid his ears back flat against his skull.

Vaccaro ignored Khaladin’s hostile glare and hefted the iron in his hand. “Do you know what this is?”

Khaladin didn’t answer.

“This is a branding iron. It belonged to my grandfather. He used it for the cattle he once owned. See the initials? Same as mine. Something I don’t write in my signature is that I am Michael Earl Vaccaro, III.”

“Like I care,” he snorted.

Vaccaro nodded. “Yeah, I bet you don’t.” He stepped forward. “But you will if you don’t tell me where I can find those unicorns.”

“Nothing you do will make me tell,” he stated.

Vaccaro shrugged. “All right. Have it your way.”

He walked around to Khaladin’s back right hip and pressed the iron against his white coat. The flesh singed and Khaladin felt a searing pain that seemed to grow more and more painful with each second the iron remained on his skin. His eyes bugged out and his body tensed as he fought showing his emotions, but the torment didn’t cease. Vaccaro thrust the iron more heavily into his skin and Khaladin couldn’t hold back his screams of pain any longer.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

First Beta Read Done!

So my friend finished Khaladin and, to use his own words, says it's awesome! I was afraid he wouldn't like it because it's totally different from The Ultimate Evil. He even said he likes Khaladin better than The Ultimate Evil. I thought it'd be the other way around.

Go figure.

Apparently, the story kept him on edge because he told me he was wondering how in the world Judy and Khaladin were going to be able to work everything out. I thought it was pretty obvious reading through, but apparently not, which is great!

About the torture scene in this story, he didn't mind it. He liked it because there's not a lot to it. Someone over on AW said the piece about the torture was lovely and they would read the story. Holy major compliments, Batman!

If you are a member of AW, you can find the torture scene in the Children's SYW section with the title: Khaladin All Debated Torture Scene! If you're not a member, don't worry. I promised that I would post the scene on here after I was done with it, so I'll put that up here for you guys in a day or two. I don't have my JumpDrive on me right now. :(

Overall, I am very pleased with the way things seem to be turning out. The Ultimate Evil is in the querying stage and in case it is good enough to snag an agent (I think it is, but I'll let the agents give the deciding vote) I already have Khaladin ready and waiting. Now I need another WIP because I loathe not writing. I have several ideas, especially this one I'm toying with called The Prophecy, but as we say, that's another story. :D

Friday, January 9, 2009

Why Do I Write Fantasy?

I have been asked this question a thousand times. My answer was always this: "Because I can escape from reality for a moment and create new worlds and creatures and situations for them to overcome."


But how did I get the inspiration? If you had asked me this two years ago, I would have said it just sprang from my always present love of unicorns. Now I know that this is wrong.

Has anyone ever seen the old movie (well, it's only 30 minutes, but I call it a movie) FIREFLY'S ADVENTURE? It a 'My Little Pony' thing for those who don't know. But it's got this magical land, a dark lord wanting to take over all, and all these other fantasy elements. My sister and I watched it SO much when we were little.

That's where my writing fantasy started. And, for those wondering, my love of science fiction came from the original series of Star Trek. Go figure. :)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

First Round Of Edits Complete!

Yes, I did it. In four days (wow, only four days?) I have read Khaladin from beginning to end and edited everything that I found. I didn't find a lot that needed changing.

I'm worried.

Honestly, you'd think that since there wasn't a lot to change I'd be happy. I'm not. Why? Because, truthfully, I thought there was more wrong with the story. Maybe there is, but I just haven't put it away long enough to see them yet.

Yeah, that's probably the answer right there.

In my edits, I only added about 1,000 words, so the word count for this middle grade fantasy is now 31K. I'm surprised I was able to add that many words. This story is TOTALLY and COMPLETELY different than The Ultimate Evil. It's told in a completely different voice and I really like it.

Do I like it better than The Ultimate Evil?

At this

The Ultimate Evil is currently my fav of the two. I've talked to many writers and authors who say that they can't chose which of their stories they like the best because that's like choosing between your children. Honestly, I don't see my stories as my children, even though I have called them 'my baby' before. I truly feel like my stories are pieces of art. Some are going to turn out better than others. That's just natural.

Anyway, Khaladin is already off with it's first Beta reader. This is the first time I have let someone read my very first draft of something.....I sent the story to him before I started my other edits. I'm glad he has the very first version. A lot of it is just bone and joints. Maybe he can help me add the meat. :)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I Finished!!!!

Yep, you read right. New Year's Resolution #1 is now complete. Last night, at about 1:30 AM, I finally completed the first draft of Khaladin!

I am SUPER excited right now! I finally connected the middle with the end (I had already written the last three chapters). It's done at 30K, which isn't bad, considering that most MG books are 20K-40K. I was hoping for 60K (don't know why) but I really doubt I'll have that much more to add.

Really, the first draft is all about putting down the basic feelings, creating a basic landscape, then moving on. There's plenty of time for details later, since you know you will spend a LOT of time editing.

Right now, Khaladin is complete with twenty-eight chapters. The original title for this story was "Judy and the Unicorn Herd" but that title didn't work when I revamped the story, so that title is now being used in chapter twenty-five or twenty-six.

I think.

Anyway, I have now begun the first round of edits. Khaladin is really naked in some areas with not enough detail, so I have to fix that. And the grammar. Then I have to chop things out and add some more......wait, most of you are writers. You already know all this.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Another Year Come And Gone

Agh, I haven't posted on here since last year! Yikes, boy, have I been lazy!

Just kidding.

Today is the first day of 2009. Can you believe it? 2008 just flew by, didn't it?

Well, I accomplished a lot this year. I started this blog, which has been so much fun! I also completed The Ultimate Evil and submitted it to Literary Agency #1: Firebrand. I have nearly completed the first draft of Khaladin and a children's chapter book called The Clef Brothers and started many other projects. I held my first Q and A with author Marianne Mancusi and even talked (over e-mail) with Bruce Coville. I joined my first writing forums, FW and AW. (For those who don't know, those websites are and I have discovered my writing voice and networked in a way that I never have before. I tied for second place in my first writing competition and, for the first time, submitted a story to Highlights magazine. I also wrote a few articles for one of the blogs I follow:

As with previous years, I remain unpublished. But, hey, regardless of that, I did do a lot this past year. Overall, very successful and I am happy!