Nearing the Finish Line

March 18, 2018 - Leave a Response

Hello everyone. I know it’s been 3 months since my last update. And I’m here to give you a quick update on the latest on what’s going on. After I posted that blog update, an agent saw my link to my blog in my query, though she requested a mini R&R for Venom’s opening pages, she wanted me to not mention it in this posts. Since I’ve been keeping everything on the down low without mentioning names of agents or small publisher editors in these posts, past and present. So if you want to know who, feel free to send me a Direct Message via Twitter or Facebook Messenger message. (A little over a month ago, I’ve received a 50-page partial from another agent….. Shhh. Let’s keep it a secret and between us.)

On another note, I’m happy to share the news that this week I’ll finish my R&Rs for Venom. The end is finally near and here! After I finish editing the epilogue, it would be sent to a friend of mine who’s also an editor. And she would reading the full ms for free and give me her feedback. If all goes well, it would be sent over to those agents next week before Easter and editors after Easter, depending on their sub guidelines. I’m really hoping I don’t have to do any more edits in that ms from my end. And then I have a long waiting period to hear from them on my fulls this spring. It would be great to hear from them by my 42nd birthday in 80 days or earlier with some freaking good news! I’ll still be querying my heart out and going all in to land more requests if I can.

Next month, I’ll be working on Double Exposure, one of my manuscripts from my backlist. I haven’t worked on finishing edits on it in over a year. And since one of the agents last year asked me to write a synopsis for it, I might have as well take the plunge this spring and get it ready just in case….

I also hope to finish Diplomatic Immunity’s full next weekend as well and send it to those agents and editors after Easter. I probably won’t finish Chain Reaction’s full until maybe late April/early May. I have a hurdle of cutting 20K from there with my beta somehow. No new bites from both manuscripts so far.

As for contests, I had no luck with Pitmad and #SavvyAuthors and Snow vs Snow this year so far, even when I’ve re-entered Chain Reaction after it went on hiatus for 1.5 years. So I hope to maybe enter it for Revpit next month. Pitch Wars is up in the air for now.

For Camp Nano, I’m finishing last year’s spring Camp Nano manuscript, Takedown this spring. Then I’ll finish my political thriller trilogy for summer Camp Nano and Nano this year.

I’m really hoping this is my year to make my dreams come true, hopefully by this summer. Stay tuned and keep your lips sealed!

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8 Months in Review

December 18, 2017 - Leave a Response

Hello everyone. Sorry I haven’t been posting any updates lately and not since March this year. I’ve been real busy in the past nine months with writing new novels, revising Venom and my other novels, and querying and entering contests a lot. Instead of giving you a major update, I’ll give you an abbreviated one with what I have been up this month and what’s going on for next year. Consider it as an early Christmas present from me to you all! I’ll break it down in categories from big to small sections.

After I posted in March, things really turned up for Venom with just cold querying and have little luck with the contests. I did turn in my partial to that agent as planned and then waiting a long time. Come September and a bit of confusion on her part, it was upgraded to a full R&R with some tweaks in the opening chapters. And I’ve tweaked the rest of the novel since then. I also landed a full from one small publisher and an agent, and a partial R&R from one other small publisher. I also received a partial from another small publisher from a mid-fall contest. Sadly, that partial R&R from that one small pub fell flat last month. I did take a brief query break for 6 weeks to work on edits and resumed querying last month. I’ll be going on query break for Venom after I send out my final query out today until mid-January next year. But I hope to turn in my full and full R&Rs for Venom by late January 2018. As for contests, other than that one contest in September, it had received little to no fanfare by agents.

Another one of my manuscripts that picked up steam was Diplomatic Immunity, my first installment in my political thriller trilogy that I wrote last spring for Camp Nano April 2016. Ever since I’ve incorporated what my beta suggested earlier this year and this summer by making tweaks throughout the chapter. It had garnered one partial request from an agent (that I’ll send out after the holidays) and a few full requests, including my latest one this fall. It also received a partial R&R from the same small pub that turned down Venom last month; I’ll be sending it out next month. Plus I’ve landed two partials from two other small pubs from the same Savvy Authors contest this September–one went out last week and the other would go out next Friday. As for contests, it did get some likes and some feedback from #REVPIT this spring from 2 out of 3 mentors and then from Pitch Wars this August. Though it wasn’t picked, I did win the Spirit of Pitch Wars contest and won a query and first chapter critique from a mentor that I didn’t pick for the big contest. I went on a mini query break for 1.5 weeks to tweak the first chapter and decided to leave my query as is, since it did land me my latest full request from an agent this fall. After I send out my two partials and a dozen of queries this week, it would also go on query break until 1/15/18. I’ll hope to send out my fulls out around the same time I send out Venom’s, too.

As for Chain Reaction, it hasn’t gotten much traction lately other than no responses or Rs. I did get one full request from one agent via a requery and my 1.5 -year-old full request from last year’s Pitmad from a small publisher. I hope to return it to the contest revenue in early 2018. Though I’ve resumed revising it from previous feedback on others, I hope to turn it in by late January 2018 at the latest hopefully. Better late then never, right? I sent out my last query out on Friday and hope to resume querying in late January 2018.

Besides all that, I’ve won my 9th Nano in a row this year with my romantic thriller, Deadly Tide. It has a natural disaster theme (flood by broken dam) and based in my home state and county. I hope to finish writing it in late January 2018 and stick to 110K if not 100 K. I hope to resume this year’s Camp Nano ms, Takedown, and last year’s Nano, the Scent of Evil, both in February 2018. For Camp Nano, I’ll be resuming my political thriller trilogy with part two, Political Asylum (whether April or July, it’s to be determined), and an untitled final installment for Nano. When I finish editing Venom, Chain Reaction and Diplomatic Immunity, I’m going back to my backlist to edit my other two eco-thrillers that I’ve worked on last year, Specimen and Double Exposure. I hope to edit Deadly Tide in mid-February 2018 too.

That’s about it from here! I promise to post more next year, while I’m waiting to get more offers on the table and maybe the call itself, even when I turn in my fulls. So keep your fingers crossed and hope for good news for Venom and me in 2018!

2016-2017 Five Month Update

February 10, 2017 - Leave a Response

Belated happy new year everyone! Though it had five months since my last update on my blog on the latest, here’s where I am on querying Venom, Chain Reaction and Diplomatic Immunity. I’m still hoping to make this year memorable by making my writing dreams come true, one step at a time for either of them. Like October’s blog post, this post is going to be short and sweet and broken down to a couple of paragraphs since not much is going on, but things are moving up and forward. Yet again, I’ve been busy writing, especially my Nano 2016 manuscript, the Scent of Evil, my first romantic thriller. I hope to finish writing and outlining it as I go along by Camp Nano this spring, eight weeks from here. At this point, I don’t know what I’m doing yet, whether it’ll be part two to my political thriller trilogy, a new idea, or to revamp an old idea or finish my Nano ms with a mininal set goal of 5-15 K. I’ve been also editing my manuscripts and querying a lot to them, while I’ve entered contests for Diplomatic Immunity only and placed Chain Reaction on hold until a later date.

As for the contests, I struck out in Nightmare on Query Street, Dear Lucky Agent for thrillers, while I was short-listed by one editor in Pit2pub16 for Diplomatic Immunity. I’ve also received feedback from two out of four editors and an ediitng offer by the same editor who liked my novel. That was the highlight of the year last fall. Both editors wanted more personalization and emotional depth, which is the same issue I’ve been working on with Venom for over two years, on and off. I’ve also had no luck with #pitmad either and skipped the December contests. All except one, which was a Twitter contest to win a free query critique from an agent (Agent R, I’ll call him), just by tweeting and retweeting his tweet. Not sure if anyone else have done it last month, but I’ve won small victory! (As of this week, I’ve sent it to him and wait for his feedback. It could help me with future contests and queries somewhere along the road. With help from one of my betas who gave me confidence and feedback, I’ve revamped my opening by tweaking it in time for Sun Vs Snow. Once again, I’ve gotten snubbed. So that’s where I am so far with contests as #pitmad in toward the end of the month.

Though conference season have started and yet upon us, I’ll be going to the same one last year to live pitch to agents—two of the same agents I’ve already queried in advance and waiting to hear from them—and try my new manuscript with new agents there. If I finish Chain Reaction’s edits in time, I might do that as well.

As for requests, Agent A who’s been considering Venom for over a year with no further word on the status, I’ve heard back from her after I’ve nudged her from various sources. Overall, I’ve gotten closure from her on Venom and Chain Reaction, since Double Exposure is excluded and put on hold, until I hear back from one of my betas. Though she would’ve given me a R&R back in July 2015 and then passed, (she also passed on CR as well, since she didn’t connect with the former version I suppose), I do have hope with her. Another agent at her agency (Agent X) is reading and reviewing Venom as we speak as I’m waiitng to hear from her this week. I’ve told Agent A in my thankful email, that I would be happy to receive a R&R from Agent X, like she first gave me way back when. I’ve already implemented the changes in chapter one and have done chapter 2 afterwards. Since then, I’ve been starting to work on Agent P’s R&R (self-editing alone with help from my online crit list and not with an editor now), I’ve also received a R&R from a small pub I would call Publisher 3, who’ve upgraded my partial last summer to a full last fall. Though they’ve loved the storyline, they wanted me to work on characterization and dialogue. So that’s what I’ve been working on lately for the past month or so. I also haven’t heard back from Agent M and Agent E yet on my nudge and receiving crickets, even when I’ve nudged them twice. So I’ll keep waiting to hear from them and nudge them in the spring.

As for Chain Reaction, I did lose my partial from Agent N, when she said it wasn’t strong enough or keen enough, and the story felt small. No word yet from Agent W on my partial, not since I’ve nudged her. I’m still working on my soon-to-be belated #pitmad full request for Publisher 7 and hope to send it in to the editor by late spring/early summer and via the queue. I have two betas to help me get through the edits this winter and spring season. Lastly, I’ve received only one full request for Diplomatic Immunity in late fall from Agent R. I haven’t heard from him yet and will be nudging him soon. Nothing yet on that end. With my newest beta for my newest ms, she said it has potential, but due to some storyline flaws, I have to do some tweaks to make it better, like changing locations for part of the story. I hope to finish by late spring and enter it into #pitmad and other contests this spring. Depending on how it does, maybe it could be a bona fide winner for Pitch Wars in September! (My new Nano won’t be ready yet, depending on how I do with edits after I finish writing—it’s over 150K so far.)

That’s it so far. I’ll keep dreaming about my future book cover designs for this year!

My nine-month progress report so far

October 2, 2016 - 2 Responses

Sorry I haven’t been here in over nine months. Except for doing a contest entry here this winter and a mentee blog for another contest this past summer, I’ve been busy with a lot of stuff this past year–mainly writing and edits and querying. (And for those who’ve liked my Facebook author page, too, you know why as well.) Instead of last year, when I did 3 posts on my year in review, this time I’m going to break it down into a truncated version to catch you all up on contest entering, conferences, querying, and writing/editing, all in one post.  M

Once again, I’ve tried my best to give Venom a chance with contests and hoped I would get further than I did last year. My ratio was 50/50 with snubs and being short-listed by mentors/editors to advance to the agent round back then. Well, it all started with a new contest called Operation Awesome back in January. I submitted and gotten feedback from someone from it, though I didn’t get in. That was okay with me. From there, I’ve entered everything Twitter and non-Twitter-related contest, all the way up to Pitch Wars in August. Once again, I almost had the same ratio of 50/45/ of snubs and being short-listed, and had gotten feedback along the way. Except for one #adpit request for Venom’s partial to add 15 to the ratio. I’ve taken what advice to make it better and to get further, which let me closer and better, but not where I want to be. Even for Pitch Wars, I did win a chance to add two mentors to my top four list. I wasn’t picked. And only one mentor sent me feedback with a standard form with nothing personalized, since a lot of authors had subbed to her. With a year of putting my heart and soul to make it better with blood, sweat and tears, had stalled like a car on the road. And that’s what I decided to curb  Venom from entering contests for good and change course with one contest win for this year. I wasn’t getting anywhere with it anymore and hoped I would have better luck with plain old querying.

On that note, I’ve decided to throw Chain Reaction into the ring and get some luck. I’ve only entered it for #adpit, #darkpit and #pitmad for the past year, and only for p2p15. I did get some luck with last month’s #pitmad, when an enter of this Canadian pub company faved my 2nd Twitter pitch. Though I haven’t sent it out yet and hope to later this month after the first 3 chapters are polished by both of my two new betas, I’ll cross my fingers for good luck. I did enter it for Pitch Slam last month and received feedback to make my first 250 words and pitch better. Though I didn’t get picked. So I did score one small victory so far, which is better than nothing. I’ve only entered it, since my spring Camp Nano manuscript, a political thriller titled Diplomatic Immunity, wasn’t ready yet. But I’ll enter Diplomatic Immunity in Nightmare on Query Street next weekend and let’s see what happens. So keep your fingers crossed for me.

Onward to conferences, I did attend to new conferences this year, a total of four up to date. Though my local one was free and changed venue from a community college to a library in the same area, I’ve learned a lot since last spring from writing, editing, publishing, and everything in between. Last weekend, I went to that conference and met a new friend, my Twitter/Facebook friend, Julie Lindsay, who my local Nano ML had roped her into our local Nano region for the write-ins. She lives only a hour from me! She was also the first presenters in one of the first workshops I’ve attended. But before that, I went to another local conference with a live pitch event with agents. I  never been to those big conferences like Writer’s Digest/BEA, Boucheron or Thrillerfest, when you’ll be able to do it, if you sign up for it. But it’s too far and too much to pay for. Maybe in the future. I did sign up for one new agent to pitch to Venom and met one of the agents (Agent G) who had Venom’s partial R&R for a couple of months. (More on that later.) Live pitching is hard work, but with a lot of practice, I’ve managed to pull it off. I landed a 50-page partial from Agent K, which fell flat after two weeks I sent it out. So that was a bust. I had a blast and met two local Nano friends at the same conference, too. (Though Muse Online Writer’s Conference is returning after a 2-year hiatus, and it was my first conference I went to over the years, I’m not sure if it’ll be back. There’s nothing on the Facebook page or the blog about it. Not since last November’s past from last year. So we’ll see.)

As for querying, I’ve been hitting it hard for the past nine month with both Venom and Chain Reaction. Up to date, I had partial and full requests that I received and later fell flat since January, including from Agent G. She did graciously give me three chances with Venom’s partial R&R; though she did like the changes, it wasn’t a good fit for her. Though I still haven’t heard from Agent A, which has been considering Venom for 1.5 years, I did send it to her this summer, when edits were done. I did nudge her and haven’t heard back yet. So I don’t know what her status is on it. Both Agents C and E, in which I had full R&Rs, I sent out also this summer. Agent C passed, since she wanted me to hit the sweet spot of 90K, in which I won’t be able to do with my 109,000 words. Unless I get an editor to help me out or win a mentor contest like Pitch Wars, I’ve passed.As for Agent E, I haven’t heard from him on my nudge, too. I had partials from Agent H and J (from #adpit), who I had closed out as no response, especially from Agent J, when I nudged twice with nothing but crickets from them.

Then things turned out for Venom, just two weeks ago. I received two new full requests in the same week. Yeah! One was from a new agent I’ve queried this summer and nudged her, a little over three weeks ago. She forwarded my query over to the lead agent, who I call Agent M, and asked for a full and a chapter-by-chapter synopsis. I’ve found her from the #MSWL website. (A real good thing.) I also followed them on Twitter and both agents followed back. (Another good thing.) Then I got one a little over a week ago, from an agent  I’ve requeried and received a full from her as well on my nudge on the same day. Though Agent M gave me a two-week turnaround response and Agent P said ASAP, we’ll see if we hear anything from my new and pending outstanding full requests. Wait for it! Just last week, I received a 10-page partial request from Agent Q, an assistant to an agent at Agent E’s literary agency, just to give her a feel for her story. I don’t know the timeline for it and hope for a nibble at this rate.

For Chain Reaction, it haven’t received my traction since early this year. I had two partials from it, one 10-page and one 50-page, from Agent B and N, which fell flat. Since I’ve revising the first 3 chapters, I hope things do turn around for it. As for Diplomatic Immunity, I’ll be starting to query my new baby next Friday to query only agents and some with first chapter only. Maybe it’ll pick steam and burn rubber burn with requests out the wazoo, after my circle of betas give it a green light.

Last but not least, like I said earlier, I’ve been writing and editing. I revised Venom the best I could. I did the same for Chain Reaction and Double Exposure, and a little bit in another old eco-thriller titled Specimen out from the closet. I’ve lost betas earlier this year, but still had my constant beta Sandy for over 2 years. (And now she’s having her first book published in December by Wild Rose Press.) I have 2 betas for Chain Reaction, 1 for Double Exposure, my writing group for Diplomatic Immunity (as of this mid-summer) and my online crit group for Specimen (this spring and early summer.)

As for Diplomatic Immunity,(my first installment into a political thriller trilogy series), I wrote it in 10 weeks during spring Camp Nano and into early summer this year. A new world record for me by averaging 2K (or more) a day. And my first Camp Nano win, since I couldn’t do last year–maybe my muse and I wasn’t ready yet. Though I sent it in early and gotten 7 new betas this summer, including my main beta, I did get feedback from them, concerning plot holes and other issues. Though it took me about 4-5 months to do 3 passes to trim my 127,000 word manuscript down to 110,000, my main word count goal. I don’t think I can get it down to 90,000 or 100,000 words. It’s as good as it gets. Next week, it would go to my betas for final feedback, (plus my writing group to do the 2nd half of chapter one), and a new special beta to help me with plot holes. I hope it gets the green light with minor nit picks.

I plan to do the same for Nano this year with a romantic thriller titled The Scent of Evil. Nano Prep and research is underway. As of last year’s monstrous novel, Off the Grid, which ended up to be at 400,000 words when I finished this mid-summer, it’s going to take me 6 months or more to get it down to 100,000 or split it into 2-3 books, starting next month.

On final notes, while I still freelance for Hub Pages, (though not as much since mid-July), I’ve been making some great money with Upwork for the past three months when I joined. I’ve landed 7 fixed price assignments and one 3-month hourly job–I’m halfway through with this job and will finish in early November, just in time for Nano.

That’s a wrap up about what I’ve been doing lately. If I do get any new news from contests or querying, I promise to post up here or at my Facebook fan page–or maybe both–with a quick update. Cross your fingers and talk to you later this fall!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My 2016 Pitch Wars mentee bio

July 12, 2016 - 2 Responses

Hello Pitch Wars fellow mentees and mentors,

My name is Kristen Howe. This is my 2nd time doing Pitch Wars. Last year, my adult thriller, Venom, had received one request with minimal feedback. One mentor told me that my query was considered and landed on the short list. Since my new manuscript, Diplomatic Immunity, isn’t ready yet, I’m bring Venom back into the fold. Over the past year, it went under many revisions from previous contest and agent feedback. So I’m hoping I’ll be picked this year. (I hope you have no fear of snakes.)

I write mainly thrillers/eco-thrillers and some romantic suspense, too.

Since I’m unemployed, I have plenty of time on my hands to read, research, edit and write. I’ve been a writer for Hub Pages for two years this September; I’ve just starting freelance work at Upwork this month. In the meantime, I go to the gym to do yoga and Pilates to vent out my edit frustrations. I also take naps to decompress and dream revisions and new story ideas.

As for my reading habits, it first started out with Mary HIggins Clark’s Where Are the Children? I read that book in high school and became an avid reader since then. From mysteries, it branched off to cozies, thrillers, romances (except erotica), action adventures, and some sci fi. I rarely read nonfiction. I don’t read horror or lit fiction. My favorite authors have a big list, but they include Iris Johansen, Erica Spindler, Lisa Jackson, John Grisham, and Allison Brennan.

Thank you for reading my bio and considering Venom!

Son of a Pitch Blog entry

February 15, 2016 - 5 Responses

Title: Venom

Age category:  Adult Thriller/Eco-thriller

Word count: 108, 000

Query: Dear Agent,

Based on your interest in thrillers, I hope VENOM, a 108,000 word eco-thriller will suit your list.

When herpetologist Kylie Marx investigates the slaughter of rare endangered skinks, an infestation of snakes, scorpions, and a variety of creepy crawlers invades the Key West area. During a blackout, they escaped from their crates from a semi crash hit a telephone pole. With a looming anti-venom shortage, Kylie and her fellow scientists scours the town to milk venomous reptiles and amphibians to make anti-venom. Kylie fears she won’t have enough time to cover every bite with fresh anti-venom, because they could die. She explores the option of creating synthetic anti-venom. Until things take a serpentine turn for the worse. She deduces that the man responsible for the outbreak is the same person who left her for dead in the Everglades twelve years ago. Now Vaughan St. Croix breeds dangerous hybrid snakes and sells his poached kills on the black market. His evil presence is no coincidence. It coincides with the National Zoological Symposium for Endangered Species.

 St. Croix threatens Kylie and her new friends with an ultimatum: produce a vial of synthetic anti-venom for his deathly ill sister by midnight. Or  watch those around her succumb to fatal venom.

Si Rosser’s TIPPING POINT meets Erica Spindler’s JUSTICE FOR SARA, when an alarming infestation of deadly snakes hits Key West, sending the small town into a panic.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely, 

Kristen Howe

First 250 words:

Chapter 1

Kylie studied the Solomon Islands dark green skinks climbing the glass walls of its tank in slow motion. Such a rare species to exhibit, she examined the long slender male consuming a diet of fruits and vegetables. On a quiet morning at the reptiles section of the Naples Zoo, she waited for the female to emerge and be courted. Before she could check the Key West Mole Skinks in the second tank,  her older sister bolted into her office.

Penny breathed heavily as she came to a halt. “Kylie! Did you check your texts?”

“No. What’s up?”

“All your hard work finally paid off. You got the grant!”

“You’re kidding. How do you know?”

While Penny explained the details of her financial endowment for research, Kylie’s heart wanted to explode with joy. This was a big opportunity for her to shine!

Giddy with excitement, Kylie hugged her sister. “I kept wondering when I would hear. I thought I wasn’t going to get it.” With no word on their end, she feared they turned down her proposal for her research.

“I know it’s last minute. But the National Zoological Symposium is worth it.” She paused. “But we’re going to look into the delay, while you get your ass to the airport.”

Both Kylie and Penny worked at the Naples Zoo in Caribbean Gardens, a nonprofit organization cooperating in conversation, both inside and outside the wild for endangered species.

“When’s the flight?” Kylie asked.

“It leaves in two and a half hours.”

2016, here I come!

January 5, 2016 - Leave a Response

As promised, and a day later, here’s my plans for 2016, in which I hope my dreams will come true. I’ve have broken in down into four major categories: editing, writing, querying and contesting.

Let’s start off with editing.  That’s my main goal and focus for the good first part of the year. I want to get Venom’s R&R done by mid-March and resubmit it to those agents for a second look. Since I’m at the halfway point, I have 17 chapters left plus the epilogue.  If so, I want to  start Specimen around April (maybe for Camp Nano) and finish Specimen by late summer with writing the final chapters and then edit the whole ms with my beta reader in one pass.

I also want to get CR’s final edits done, starting this week with my BR/CP feedback with going over chapter one, and then fast forward with the final 14 chapters to finish by mid-spring. If so, it’ll be ready with Agent A or Agent G wants the full manuscript.  Then I’ve have nipped and snipped two mss in one editing bud.

As for Double Exposure, I hope to resume going over the first three chapters, one more time, with feedback from by CPs from last fall. I’ll go back to this later this month and hope to finish by summer, if I’m so lucky, to cut the word count down to 110 K thereabouts.

As for writing, at this moment, I want to finish Off the Grid by mid to late March and worry about edits until spring. I also hope to attend to online free writing classes to help me write/edit better for the future. Plus, I’ll be attending another local half-day conference in early April to get more inspired.

For querying, I’ll do a  new batch of requerying and querying, two weeks from today. Maybe I’ll get lucky with more rounds of requests to better the odds. I’m also doing some small presses, too, after I do some research on them and their submission guidelines, especially for their word counts. I might have to table it for March or April, if Venom’s not done by then.

As for contests, I’m going to try to do some next month and in March, since I’m taking this month off. Venom will be in contention, if you’re allowed to enter one ms–if it’s more than one, I’ll put Chain Reaction into the mix for winter/spring mss, until others are ready. I’m hoping for better luck this time around and hope for less snubs and short-lists. Maybe I’ll get lucky…

That’s about it for now. If anything new turns up, I’ll pop back up here again with an update. If not, I’ll be back at the end of the month with a progress report so far.

 

 

 

My Year in Review, Part 2: September to December

December 31, 2015 - Leave a Response

Two nights ago, I’ve posted what I’ve been doing this past spring and summer. Now it’s time to talk about how I’ve been really active this fall and the start of winter. This weekend, I’ll tell you my plans for 2016 are, I promise!

This fall I call it the revenge of the requeries. I know what you’re thinking. You only can requery, if your equery gets lots in cyberspace, when an agent asks you to resend it. But you can requery with a 50/50 shot, if you’ve changed your query and ms since the last time you’ve queried that. I’ve re-queried agents from earlier this year and all the way back to when I’ve first querying, five years ago or so. And thought some agents thank me for a second look and passed, I did lucky this fall with three requeries. 🙂

In September, right of the heels of Pitch Wars, I’ve decided to take that month off from contesting and work on my edits for Venom’s R&R and Chain Reaction’s final edits. I’ve already planned to make my comeback to Nano after a year hiatus. Even after I’ve revised my queries, I’ve gotten a surprise full request from an agent back in August, somehow it slipped through the cracks when I’ve received that email. So now I’ve gotten four agents who wants Venom’s full, which is a big plus plus for me in my book. I’ve gotten some beta readers to help me out with Double Exposure, which I’ve learned from a previous summer contest, I needed to cut it down to 110 K by trimming 40-50 K. A tough feat ahead! As a bonus, I did attend my first full day local conference at the same place and had gotten new insight on writing and editing once more to rev up my writing engines!

Come October, there was two October contests at the same time I’ve tried my luck: Nightmare on Query Street and Pitch Slam. Though I was snubbed for both, I did receive free feedback in a giveaway out of 25 selected winners. And to top it off, I’ve gotten a partial request from another agent for Venom’s first 50 pages and full synopsis. So I’ve sent her my revised synopsis and sent it back to her. Though it came back with personalized feedback–she wanted me to add more surprises and for it to be less dialogue-driven, she did grant me a R&R, though I’m not guaranteed representation. So I took it as a challenge and revamped, deconstructed, reconstructed, move things over, put them together in Venom’s first 50 and sent it back to her with  a new synopsis. Though it’s been 2 months since it happened, I’ve scored another agent for Venom to round it off as five so far! I’ll be happy if she loved the changes I’ve did and hope and pray for a full request in 2016! I’ve also continued to work in Chain Reaction a bit more and prep for Nano.

Full speed ahead in last month, I’ve taken the plunge to go back to Nano with a brand new kick-ass story idea. Instead of writing 1667 words or the 1000 a day from my spring conference, I’ve doubled it at 2000 words in 2 hours a day and made it happen. I also attended two local write-ins and added 2 bonus 1K writing sessions in one hour. I’ve won my 7th Nano at 53 K words right before Thanksgiving and finished the month at around 60 K.  A bolt of tea with a quick breakfast in the morning did the trick… As I took a final contest break and did more query/requery blitzes, Chain Reaction finally scored a 10-page partial request from an agent I’ve queried a few years ago. I’m hoping that it turns into a full next year, too. So I’ve ended up the year with 5 for Venom and 1 for Chain Reaction–6 agents in total! I’ve continued to work on Venom’s R&R for the time being as the main focus, but my beta and I did a quick edit on the 1st 10 pages to send to the agent right away.

Now to end this four-month report with no new bites, nibbles, except for tons of Closed/no response queries and rejections, I’ve done well. I’ve continued to do my 2K/a day for Nanofimo and will do so next month, even I do overwrite it until I hope to be done by March. On the contest notes, there was December’s “Pitch Madness”. After some serous revisions to my 140 character pitches, I did get 3 favorites–one agent, 2 small pubs. For the agent, I’ve sent my revamped 50 pages and heard back from her a week later with a rejection–the funny thing is, a week before I’ve heard back from another agent I’ve requeried at the same agency with a pass. As for the two pubs, one was a new micro-fiction pub who wants YA. But why did they fave my Adult thriller pitch? So I’ve passed on them. As for the other one, it’s a possible, after I’ve done some trimming. And lastly, there was Pitchmas, in which I’ve gotten my last snub, two weeks ago for both the blog and Twitter pitches. One out of 8 is okay. But I hope to be better.

That’s the latest so far! Happy new year! I’ll see you in 2016 with my plans for 2016, in which I hope it’s my year!

 

 

Year in Review, part one: March to August

December 28, 2015 - Leave a Response

Sorry everyone I haven’t been here in months. My Muse was down and very little was going on. Since this is going to be a long post, I’m breaking it up into two parts–one tonight, and one tomorrow or Tuesday night. I’m going to pick up where it left off and give you a monthly update, one at a time, and will give you in the end, where I stand now and what I have planned for next year, too.

In March, while I still have three standing R&Rs for Venom, I’ve continued to work on my manuscript with my beta. I’ve used the feedback I’ve gotten from those two agents to tone done action and make the dialogue realistic. I’ve also did my first meditative walk in honor of my mother’s memory to mark the first year since she passed. It helped to give me an idea to go back to writing with a couple of ideas. But I feared it might’ve been a bit too early and wait awhile. No new bites came in for Double Exposure and Chain Reaction, when I’ve also worked on them with my beta reader, too. I also went to my first local writing conference, which was a half-day, and attended few classes. It helped me give me new ideas on how to write and edit better for future novels. What a wake-up call!

In April, as I continue to work on my R&R, my other mss and query, I’ve tried Camp Nano by revitalizing an old storyline and modernize it a bit. Well I did manage to do 20 K out of my planned 25. But I’ve put that ms to the side. Maybe I wasn’t ready yet, but it was a rough start. I still dream-plot, no matter what. As for May, it was the same deal by continue to write and edit and query. And that’s when a new idea hit me at the end for summer Camp Nano or for regular Nano this fall, when I had that dream plot for it, too.

So let’s call this spring a spring awakening to mu Muse, as this summer was a summer blast of contesting and kicking it into high gear. And I owe it to my beta who told me about it in June. Since Agent A was still “considering” Venom and did ask for future projects back in March, I’ve kept on working on my R&R and my mss with edits, and continue to query along to hope to get some new bites land me some requests. I was a bit apprehensive on doing the first contest, since I didn’t feel ready. But since she did it with me, I took the plunge and dove right in with “Pitch to Publication” with Venom, Chain Reaction and deliberated on Double Exposure, since of the high word count. I’ve selected my five mentors, met some new Twitter friends, and waited for the first results. At the same time, there was “pg70pit” at the same week and entered Venom in. For both contests, I’ve gotten feedback to fix sentence structure and summarize paragraphs, though I’ve been short-listed twice. Not a bad start to know I’m so close and getting there. It’s better than being snubbed, right?

In July, I’ve contacted Agent A and checked on Venom’s status. I also reminded her of Chain Reaction and Double Exposure as my future projects. She said she wanted to see it with her co-agent, but didn’t state if it was a full or partial request. So my beta reader and I worked on it as partials and sent it back to her. Six months later, no word from her, since her last email stating it was in her queue with no other feedback on it. With no bites for either ms, I’ve waited and planned to wait to write until November, when If I felt more than ready to take the challenge on returning to Nano after a year off. So I tried the “New Agent” Pitch Contest that month and got my first snub.

As for August, I’ve continued with the waiting game by sending out batches of queries, continue on editing and summoned my Muse from mid-summer to return with new ideas. And I went with one and rolled with it. With no word from Agent A, I entered my last summer contest, Pitch Slam, and selected five mentors to pick Venom, since the results ended up in summer. I’ve made new friends, picked up some new beta readers to work on Double Exposure, and came close again with new editorial feedback with another short list. Other than to polish my ms, they liked the action in the beginning, great concept and cool, interesting premise, other than that feedback, and I came close with the elements of my query to be selected, two mentors had to pass, because it was out of their balliwick and one didn’t gave me any feedback for it.

That was my spring and summer in a nutshell. Stay tuned for my fall and early winter recap in a night or two…

Waiting Game

March 1, 2015 - Leave a Response

Friends, there’s a reason why I’m labeling this blog post the waiting game–well, maybe two reasons. Since my last blog post, both of my manuscripts, Venom and Chain Reaction, have been completed with final edits and deemed finished, as of almost a month ago. I came through with my promise to my mother to finish what we’ve started… with the help from my fabulous beta reader and friend. Now both mss have been submitted to agents, a couple via email, and one via snail mail. Now I have one more month to wait to hear back from them, before I nudge them with an answer. Their response times was three weeks to eight weeks. I hope that better late than never was well worth the wait to get a positive YES! from an agent and an offer for representation to move forward with a pub deal. Or the true adage of no news is good news paid off in the end.

I do have a tiny bit of news. The one agent with an exclusive offer to see it first had to decline, since I sent them all out in the same, since these agents waited for the fulls, more than a year or more to see the finished product. I’ve called her Agent C. As for Agent D, he did thank me for sending me my full for Venom. Though he had a full digital list of reading ahead of him, he promised to give my ms preferential treatment to read mine, and get back to me, when he was done reading it. I wish all the agents felt that way. I also had gotten a referral from a fellow Twitter author friend to send my ms over to her agent, (who had declined both of my mss back in fall 2010) with a fresh new look. (I call her Agent F, when her response time of one month expires next Friday, before I nudge her in the following week.)

Another reason why I call this post the waiting game is because of thinking of new storyline ideas. My mind’s been dormant from a slumber, since losing my mother almost a year ago, and then Shingles last summer, had zapped my creative juices and drained me of any sparking ideas. It’s been that way for six months, since last fall. As Camp Nano is one month away from tomorrow, I do have a back-up plan. If no ideas come to true, I’ll go back to one of my pre-Nano mss and finish what I started a decade ago without editing it or seeing previous feedback. I would have to re-read it to refresh my memory and then dream the rest of the novel. I would start slow and work my way up from doing 250 words a day and progress from there. So that’s my project for this spring and maybe early summer before summer Camp Nano/Julno, when a new idea would strike me again.(Or maybe this fall, if it takes me longer. We’ll see.)

Also in my meantime, in about 2.5 weeks or so, my beta reader and I would be working on Double Exposure, my second Nano eco-thriller, and hope to cut 20-30 K between now and this fall. If I have any breaking news, I would come back to post this, while I’m waiting for good news! …

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