Posts Tagged ‘Jennifer Jackson’

Cats and outlines

I feel guilty because I haven’t been posting much lately, but at the same time, life has sort of narrowed down into things that aren’t very interesting.  Or, rather, that aren’t very bloggable especially not after the flurry of props and puppetry posts.

Yesterday was fairly low-key, largely because I spent the day hanging out in the kitchen. Maggie would eat a few bites at a time if I was in there, so I hauled a chair in and hooked the computer up.  She eventually ate some White Chunk Tuna in oil with a fair bit of enthusiasm and even had some kibble.

Today, mysteriously, she likes the kibble and not the tuna.  The ways of ailing kitties are mysterious.  The kitchen floor has seven bowls of different food set out to tempt her. It’s a kitty buffet.

My big accomplishment yesterday was finishing the outline for Glamour in Glass, the sequel to Shades of Milk and Honey.  With the help of Michael Livingston, I pounded out some details to make them clearer for people who aren’t in my head.  You know how it goes. “Interesting scene with local characters” makes total sense to me it’s just, um, not particularly clear to the rest of humanity.

I actually like outlines and at some point will post the two versions of the outline for folks to look at. There’s the one that’s meant for me, and there’s the one that’s “unpacked” to make sense for other people.

I sent the outline off to my wonder-agent, Jennifer Jackson
to see what she thinks and spent the rest of the evening hanging out with Maggie and Rob in the kitchen.  Today, Maggie seems to be feeling better, so we are alternating between the kitchen and the sofa.

Happy Release Day, Ken Scholes!

lamentationMy literary dad, Ken Scholes, introduced me to my wonder-agent, Jennifer Jackson. Today is the release of his debut novel, Lamentation from Tor.

Ken is one of my dearest friends and he’s also one of my favorite authors, which is a handy combination.  If you’re in the Seattle area, you can head over the the U-bookstore for his signing.   But if that’s too far away and you want a sampling of Scholes, Tor.com has one of his short stories up.

A Weeping Czar Beholds the Fallen Moon by Ken Scholes.

Frederico leaned close to smell the poison on his thirteenth wife’s cold, dead lips. It tickled his nose and he resisted the strong desire to kiss her that suddenly overcame him.

That you might lose yourself from sadness by my lips, my husband and Czar, her open, glassy eyes promised him. He looked away, uncomfortable with her empty, inviting stare.

Behind him, the Minister of the Interior cleared his voice and spoke. “The cabinet feels it would be more stabilizing to consider this an assassination. Jazrel was a most popular wife.”

As a bonus, they have an audio version available as well, read by me.

Favorite Childhood Food Potluck

Birthday streamersAs part of the month of birthday experiences, I threw a Favorite Childhood Food Potluck. The rules were that you could bring the actual item or a grown up rendition of it. It was a tremendous amount of fun, but not clearly thought through. Why? Because everyone’s favorite childhood food was a dessert.  We had an entire table of sweet, sweet desserts.

There were two notable exceptions. Liz Gorinsky made a homemade version of Stouffer’s frozen macaroni and cheese that was a god send in the midst of all that sugar. It vanished very quickly. My favorite visual memory of the evening came after everyone had left and Rob picked the giant serving spoon, scraping the edges of the tin to get out the last of the mac and cheese. The spoon was so oversized that he totally looked like a small child.

The other exception was one of my favorites, shrimp cocktail.  Apparently, when I was very little, I loved it. Mom tells this story about putting away my sweater after some part and discovering, in the pockets, handfuls of shrimp. Upon questioning, I explained that I was saving them for later. Fortunately, I didn’t feel the need to recreate that entire dish: Day Old Shrimp with Finely Shredded Cotton Fibers.

Other favorite foods included Katie Menick’s homemade girlscout cookie Samoas, Fabulous Girl’s Mother’s Lemon Poundcake, Jennifer Jackson’s grandmother’s coffee toffee bars. There were flapjacks, Capri-suns, Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes. (My idea, via Martha Stewart, to combine two childhood favorites in one) Graham Crackers and White frosting, and… somewhere in there a sugar coma set in.

Novel + Sold = Best Birthday present EVER

I’ll start with the important stuff. Shades of Milk and Honey, my Jane Austen with magic novel, has sold to Liz Gorinsky at Tor in a two-book deal. My fabulous agent, Jennifer Jackson, and I have been sitting on this news for a little over a week while we worked out details. Hardest thing ever. It was like having a birthday present that I could pick up and shake but not open.

So today, I was sitting in a Thai restaurant with John Scalzi when the phone rang. Normally, I ignore it when I’m on social time, but I had it out because I was on call for the theater. Needless to say, I’m glad that I picked the phone up because Jenn told me the amazing, amazing news that we’ve sold not just one book, but two books. John immediately turned and announced it to everyone in the restaurant and they all clapped. I’m still blushing.

Last week, Jenn called with the initial news while I was frantically mixing disappearing blood for the theater. So I was squealing with excitement while measuring ingredients into a beaker. Then had to run down there without being able to tell anyone. Well… I called my parents, clearly. Here’s what I wrote on the subway after the call.

I’m writing this on the subway on my way to the theater. It’ll be a week or more before you get to read it, but I’m simply bursting. I just got off the phone with my wonderful agent, Jennifer Jackson, who let me know that Liz Gorinsky, at Tor, has made an offer for Shades of Milk and Honey.

!!!!!!

There are all these people on the train and I’m surprised that they can’t tell that I’ve just SOLD A NOVEL because I’m glowing. Since it’s still in the offer stage, it’s a secret beyond telling a few friends and family but I want to turn to the man sitting next to me on the train and say, “Excuse me. You don’t know me, but I just found out that I’ve sold my first novel and I had to tell someone.” Heck, I want to tell EVERYBODY.

I’ve called my parents, of course, but Rob doesn’t know yet, because he’s at work. Tonight is a late night for him, he won’t get off work until three. How in the world am I going to contain myself until he gets home?

ooo… Weeping with joy on the subway would probably be a bad plan. But I’m so thrilled. So very thrilled that I don’t think my vocabulary is large enough to express it. On the other hand, it can be summed up as, “I sold my first novel!”

If you haven’t already started your holiday shopping….

My wunder-agent, Jennifer Jackson just posted the following.

My client Alison Kent has organized a fundraiser event: For Jo Leigh, who lost her husband to cancer earlier this year. Like many writers, Jo Leigh and her husband had no health coverage, and so Alison (and others) put a call out to the writing community for contributions to auction so they could help. There are many books, goodies, and author/agent/editor critiques.

I am offering a critique of three chapters (not to exceed 50 pages) and a synopsis (up to 10 pages).

Go on. Bid for it. I guarantee that it will be worth every cent.

Have a proposal read for charity

My kick-ass agent, Jennifer Jackson, is donating her time to Brenda Novak’s auction to support research for Diabetes.

In a little less than 15 hours, my entry in Brenda Novak’s auction to support research for Diabetes goes live. It’s a one day auction and the bidding starts at a mere $2. (Yep, just $2.)

I’m offering to read and evaluate a proposal (defined as three chapters – up to 50pp – plus a synopsis) of an unpublished manuscript. I will also meet with the winner at RWA National for a drinks date to discuss that proposal or other publishing questions. Since I know I have a number of readers on this blog who may not be attending, I’d also be open to meeting at other conferences I’m attending (such as Readercon or Bouchercon).

Bidding is here,
and it’s really easy to sign up and get a bidder ID.

There are other amazing auctions and the cause is very worthy. I encourage you to check it out and bid.

Getting introduced to someone else’s agent

Jennifer Jackson is answering questions about agenting, on her LJ. And today she was talking about the role of net-working and conferences. It’s worth reading, but she basically says that all the net-working in the world won’t make a difference if the book isn’t good. Then she says:

On the other hand, Elizabeth Bear introduced me to Jay Lake, who in turn set up a meeting with Ken Scholes, and he recommended Mary Robinette Kowal, who became a new client of mine last month. (That makes it Mary’s turn….) So, it certainly has its advantages. They still all had to write really, really, really, really ridiculously good books.

Which set me thinking… See, the thing is, that Ken’s introduction let me jump the slush pile. BUT if I’d sent in my first novel, Jennifer would have rejected me. The novel I signed with is the fourth that I’ve written.

The evolution goes like this:

  • Novel 0: Took ten years, starting from high school, to write. It is well and firmly trunked. (Shape-shifting cat/human aliens with wings anyone? Did I mention my D&D character has the same name? Yeah… trunk. TRUNK.)
  • Novel 1: Middle-grade Fantasy – Six months. I think this has potential, but there’s a flaw in the first three chapters that I can’t seem to fix. I sent this out to publishers on my own for a while, and always got requests for partials but no requests for fulls. Now. This is book one in a series. Did I write the second book in the series next? No.
  • Novel 2: Science Fiction/Murder Mystery – Four months. Better. It needed revisions, so I set it aside to think about before diving into it. Meanwhile, I wrote:
  • Novel 3: Urban Fantasy/Chick Lit – Three months. Good. Needs revisions… Meanwhile:
  • Novel 4: Regency romance/Fantasy – Three months. Good! This immediately felt stronger than the others and I had a clear view of what changes needed to happen. So I didn’t wait on the revisions. This is the one I signed with.

The point being, that it took a while for me to learn to write something salable and that if I’d sent in any of the others, I think I would still be without an agent because those books aren’t there yet. I do think they can be, but the course I chose to take — and mileage varies — was to write novels in several different genres to see which one stuck. I have sequel ideas for all of them, but until I knew that I had a book one that worked, it didn’t make sense to invest time in a string of books in the same world.

At the moment, I’m doing revisions on Novel 2 and continuing to work on short stories. Right now, I’m at a point in my career where I have the luxury of taking a year off from a novel before doing revisions. Since I’m a better writer now than I was a year ago, waiting to revise the novels is like earning interest on my skills. Seriously. I re-read Novel 2 and it was dead easy to see where it had gone astray. The revision process is like swimming downstream.

Now, let’s say that Ken offered to introduce me before I’d written Novel 4. I knew Novel 1 was flawed, so sending it in would have been wasting that opportunity. What’s more, it would have been embarrassing to Ken.

I’m sure that someday I’ll introduce a writer to Jennifer, but I can almost guarantee that it won’t be with their first novel.

Let me introduce you to my new agent.

Jennifer Jackson of Donald Maass Literary Agency has just offered me representation. Naturally, I said, “yes.”

And then I ran around in circles, weeping and giggling.

See, I don’t blog about everything but back in January, I made the very hard decision to leave to leave my agent. The details aren’t important, but it wasn’t easy to decide to jump back into the dating pool. It really did feel like I was breaking up with a boyfriend to be single again.

While I was moping, Ken Scholes told me that I should send my manuscript to his agent, which I had already wanted to do. She’s done wonderful things for him and I liked everything I heard about her. It was nice, though, to get Ken’s blessing before sending in that manuscript.

And today, oh man, today the acceptance email came in. I have to tell you that I looked at the subject line and thought, “this is going to be a rejection.” And then it wasn’t and I burst into tears. Yes, I can be very girly.

Really, when people tell you that an agent/author relationship is closer to a marriage than anything else, I think they know what they are talking about. After courting Jennifer Jackson, I do feel like I’ve just been proposed to.

I’m looking forward to what the future holds. It feels very, very bright right now.