Things that made me smile: catching-up on literary things

It’s suddenly come to my attention that I’ve somehow recently shared next to nothing about the current state of my author-ly pursuits.  I mean, I did little but badger you poor readers about writing back in November (well, when I wasn’t trying to ignore everything blog-related competely) as I worked feverishly* on my NaNoWriMo novel. And ever since then, it’s been the Pope this, a hiaku that, or 100-words about some movie the other.

It’s almost as if I’ve been trying to make you think I finally gave up on the whole business.

Fear not! You’ll (hopefully) be glad to hear that nothing could be further from the truth.  In point of fact, I’ve been quite busy lately.

(Before I go any further, though, I should probably point out that, being made to smile or not, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.  But, yes, an offer of representation would make an excellent belated 40th birthday present!)

I recently finished* revising the aforementioned NaNo novel—a MG science fiction adventure tentatively titled Longshots—and am currently looking to put it in front of beta readers.  Speaking of which, if you’d like to read it and are confident you can offer more detailed feedback than, “Um, I kinda liked it, I think,” or “I’m not sure if I liked it or not; maybe it’s not my thing?” please, please, please let me know.

Ok, wow, that sounded desperate.  Errr, moving on…

Wait! There’s more!  Being someone who followers other someones with a similar interest in publishing out in the great, grand blogosphere (which, by the way, is a stupid word and I feel dirty just having used it.  I think I need a “Crying Game”-style shower, thank you), I occasionally find opportunities to participate in contests and/or games hosted by other bloggers.  The upside is that these things will often catch the interest of agents, editors, etc. (if they aren’t specifically involved already).  In other words, either way, it’s a great chance to make publishing contacts even if winning is about as likely as finding a golden Wonka ticket.

Sometimes I feel like playing along, sometimes I don’t.  At the end of last week, I was feeling a little crazy for one reason or another (let’s blame Cincinnati’s multiple personality disordered weather), so I bellied right up to the table.

First, I submitted an entry for the “Great First Lines Game” from Query Quagmire (who is both informative and endlessly entertaining about the Real World of Trying to Get A Thing Published).  The first lines I offered, not surprisingly, are those from the new novel, Longshots:

The universe was supposed to be full of infinite space and limitless wonder.  But to Chase Conrad, it seemed the only thing he ever got to see was other people’s discarded junk.

Because I’m the kind of person who tends to hope for the best while expecting the worst, I figured that, with luck, I’d hear nothing.  And if I wasn’t so lucky, I’d get an earful about how reading a box of saltines over lunch was more entertaining than my first lines.

Color me surprised, then, when I found out Saturday evening that my submission had been one of the fraction posted to the blog with commentary.  It was even good commentary (psst…click the link to read the response)!

So, yeah, that was pretty awesome.  Like, I-got-a-huge-smile-and-felt-like-wrestling-an-adult-rhinocerous awesome.

But today was even awesomer.  Because I entered this second thing, Pitch Madness, which is an online contest aimed at giving writers (you know, like me, the unpublished and unrepresented, but hopefully not unwashed) a chance to pitch their books to agents on the lookout for good stuff.

And I found out this morning I made the first—and deepest—cut; I’m in the second round.  If I can survive that, I’ll be in the portion of the contest where the actual agents consider the actual pitches.  Which, you know, would be more awesome than a birthday party full of unicorns and rainbow glitter.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.  Hope for the best, expect the worst, right?

Anyway, because it’s apparently The Thing To Do if you make the second round, here’s the pitch I submitted (and yes, it’s also from my new Middle Grade science fiction novel, Longshots):

Genre: MG Science Fiction
Word Count: 52,000

Pitch: Needing the reward to bail their uncle out of jail, two brothers “borrow” his ship to rescue the Governor’s kidnapped daughter. Instead, she rescues them, and leads them on a quest to prevent intergalactic war.


The universe was supposed to be full of infinite space and limitless wonder.  But to Chase Conrad, it seemed the only thing he ever got to see was other people’s discarded junk.

His uncle’s salvage vessel, the Itzabella, drifted through space, inching closer to the hull of another ship less than a hundred meters away.  Standing tip-toed, Chase pressed his face against the window in the Bella’s airlock to get a better view.  Or, he would have pressed his face against it, if it wasn’t already covered by his spacesuit helmet.  Instead, his visor smacked against the glass in the door with a clink.

Through the window, the NTSS (New Terran Spaceship) Trustworthy loomed ahead, suspended in the dark, cold void of space.  He sighed in his helmet, his breath making a bloom of fog appear on the clear visor.

“I wish he’d hurry up,” Chase said to the shorter spacesuit beside him, occupied by his nine year-old brother, Lock.  “I don’t like being here.  We’re going to get caught.”

Lock apparently wasn’t worried.  “Let me see. It’s my turn.  You’re gonna make me miss it!”  He gave the older boy a push in the side.

Chase pushed back, forcing Lock take a step.  “No, it isn’t, Cel-brain.  Remember last week? You traded your chance to watch the next docking maneuver for my dessert after Restday supper.  And this is the next docking maneuver.”

Lock frowned in his helmet.  “Oh, crell.  I forgot.”

“Yeah, I’m sure you did,” Chase muttered, rolling his eyes.

And there you have it!  Now you are officially caught up.  I’ll try to be better about keeping you in the loop in the future, I promise.  Unless you don’t care.  Which, you know, that’s cool too.

Oh, hey, and don’t forget.  If you’re interested in being a beta reader, hit me up!


*I was literally feverish; I had a dozy of a cold to start the month

One thought on “Things that made me smile: catching-up on literary things

  1. Congratz! That must be an amazing feeling to be recognized like that – even small things make us swell up with pride 🙂

    I’m interested in how FAMINE is coming along too.


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