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The rejections are starting to trickle in and, honestly, it’s not as bad a feeling as it was when I was querying Where Demons Fear to Tread. Oh, sure, there’s still the low-level dread of “What if nobody likes it? What if I missed the boat like I did with Demons? What if I’m just not good enough?”, but those are all normal fears that plague every writer. Or at least every writer I’ve ever heard/read speak on the subject.
Last time I was querying agents I used a site called QueryTracker, which was immensely helpful for keeping track of where I was in the process with each agent. Unfortunately, you have to be a paying subscriber in order to track queries for more than one project and I really wasn’t up for creating another account just for CoM, so I simply started an Excel spreadsheet in order to track agents. I still use QueryTracker in order to find agents and read the comments from other users who’ve queried those agents (I also check out the Absolute Write Bewares, Recommendations, and Background Checks forum for in-depth discussions about agents.). So far, my spreadsheet is much more helpful and concise than QueryTracker was even if it is a bit more work to set up.
Right now I’m struggling to write this synopsis. Nothing says Hell (Hel?) quite like trying to condense a 315 page book down to two pages and make it not only understandable, but interesting as well. I think I’ve pretty much got it nailed down, but who knows… We’ll see what my writing partners have to say about it.
When last I left you, dear readers (Are any of you still here? Did I lose you all with yet another prolonged absence?), back in April, I was hopefully getting ready to dive back into the world of querying. I’d gotten my query letter together and sent one out to the agent whom my previous agent had recommended as a good fit for me, but alas, querying was not to be for later that day, one of my writing partners got back to me saying that she thought Child of Mischief needed one more rewrite.
As much as I internally screamed and raged and swore, I knew she was right, so after a nice long discussion with both of my writing partners, I figured out what needed to be fixed. These last four months have been spent completely tearing CoM apart and putting it back together again. I cut out a character I’d thought was important, but as I was deleting his parts, I realized that it didn’t change the storyline a single bit (except for a couple of chapters at the end which turned out to only need a few tweaks to make work without him). And that is one of the key signs that a character doesn’t need to be in the story, btw. I also rearranged a few scenes, wrote some new ones, and basically buffed the hell out of all of it.
I am beyond happy with the way it came out and, barring any major goofs my writing partners might catch, I’m confident enough in it to start sending it out as soon as I finish getting my agent list together.
And speaking of agents! Sheesh… I haven’t paid much attention to the agent scene since early 2010 and boy oh boy has it changed. So many of the agents I’d queried for Where Demons Fear to Tread are now out of the business and dozens of new ones have cropped up. And now there’s a Twitter hashtag where agents can request certain types of books (#MSWL)! Where was this five years ago when I was first querying WDFTT?
I finished the rewrite at the beginning of last week then promptly took the rest of the week off to let my brain air out a bit. Today, I resume working on the fantasy novel I’ve been working on off and on for several years now. It features an asexual, aromantic exiled princess, her trans best friend, and a group of rogues working together to find the king who was kidnapped. I’m really excited about this project because it’s not based on Western Europe (or anywhere on our Earth) and the characters are fun and diverse. I’m working title is The Once and Future Princess, but I’m pretty sure I’ll have to change it.
So, now that you know what I’ve been up to these last few months, tell me what you all have been up to. While you do that, I’m going to go get Emereth and Trip into some trouble.
In honor of my preparing to venture into QueryLand once more, I’m going to post the query letter for Where Demons Fear to Tread which landed me my first agent.
Violent Crimes Investigator Alexis Powers doesn’t have a prestigious title or a string of fancy letters after her name. What she does have are a gun, a set of ass-kicking skills, and a nasty demonic heritage few people care to mess around with.
That heritage is brought even closer to the surface after Death pays her a visit and kills off part of her humanity. Being that much closer to being a true demon is going to make her next case hell because Death wants her to find the stolen soul of a devout Catholic priest and he won’t take no for an answer.
To hide a soul from Death takes enormous power, and whoever is wielding that power will do anything to keep from being found. Alex must not only find the person or people responsible, but she must do it before her weakened human side gives in to her darker demonic impulses.
When her best lead turns up missing and a black market holy relic comes into play, Alex realizes she can’t do this on her own. She’s forced to accept the help of her agency rival – a ten thousand year-old Japanese Dragon, and a Witch who specializes in breaking spells. Together they just might be able to solve this case before a demon-powered mage uses the priest’s holy soul to raise an army of truly immortal vampires.
Where Demons Fear to Tread is my completed 90,000-word urban fantasy novel.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
This week’s Wednesday’s Words are brought to you from the seat of my brand new office chair. Yay! My old office chair was more than a decade old and it had definitely seen much better days. It was so worn out and saggy that I had to resort to covering it in pillows for cushioning. Despite the very contented cat asleep on it, my old chair wasn’t a very comfortable place for a human to sit. Especially not for long periods of time.
So I ordered a new one last week and it arrived early Monday morning. It took a little bit of time to get used to – There’s no bottom pillow to shift and bunch up under my knees! Proper lumbar support! Thick padding on the arms to rest my elbows on! – but I am definitely in LURVE with it.
Today’s words are a snippet from Child of Mischief. I’m still waiting for my CP’s to finish their final read-through of it before I send it out into the scary world of querying and I’m hoping this will shame them into reading faster. *glares at Katy and Lisa* Okay, not really. They both have other stuff going on in their lives that takes precedence over reading my stuff and, as Lisa told me yesterday, I am far too understanding and forgiving.
So, without further ado:
Loki and I stepped closer to the iron gate, but Móðguðr called us back.
“Dearest cousin, wait.” She was frantically searching the folds of her clothing. “You’ve forgotten something.”
“Oh, yes, of course. Thank you for reminding me, my dear.” Loki went back to her as she pulled something out of a pocket. I couldn’t see what it was, but it struggled in her grasp as she handed it to Loki.
“I was good and didn’t eat it, just like you said, even if it does smell delicious.”
Loki patted the bottom of her foot affectionately.
“Thank you again, Móðguðr. I will try to visit you again as soon as I may.”
He returned to my side, the wriggling creature still in his hands. It was a chicken. A red chicken with black speckles. It glared at me with beady black eyes.
I’d never seen a chicken up close before and never realized they were so large. This one was about the size of my mom’s twenty-pound dog, Dorothy. Its beak was black as were its claws. It looked like it could do some serious damage if it got loose. Thankfully, Loki had a tight hold on the blasted thing.
“Uh… what do we need a chicken for?” I glared back at the little shit. I wasn’t going to let something I regularly ate for dinner intimidate me.
“It’s a cock and there are two others in different places that will crow to announce the start of Ragnarök. I need to take this one to Hel.” He didn’t sound quite so pleased at the prospect.
“Okay, so let’s take this cock and pony show on the road.”
Móðguðr roared with laughter as Loki stared at me in affronted shock. Mustering up all my remaining courage, I winked at him before walking through the gates of Hel.
My friend and fellow writer, October Weeks, has a new book out today — HOORAY! I was one of the lucky people to read and critique the original version of The Damned, and while the book has changed quite a bit since then, her interesting characters and fun world have not. So, once you’ve told both October and me who your favorite vampire slayers are (mine are The Frog Brothers from Lost Boys and Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock), click on the cover below to head on over to October’s site and order a copy of The Damned for yourself.
Thanks for giving me your blog today, Ana!
My new novel, The Damned, is out today! The story follows Tuck Houston—a slayer that is on the hunt for the Damned vampire who took two of her closest friends from her eight years ago.
As I was considering what to write for a guest post, I immediately thought about the slayers that I’ve read about or seen on television. So today, we’re going to talk about my favorite vampire slayers in books and on film J
In no particular order, my top ten vampire slayers are:
~Buffy (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar). Who doesn’t love Buffy? She’s smart, witty, strong, and is willing to sacrifice herself to save her loved ones and the world. Repeatedly.
~The Scooby Gang (aka Willow, Xander…etc). Because Buffy can’t always do it by herself, and her friends are just as amazing as she is.
~The Frog Brothers (The Lost Boys). How awesome are they! Classic movie, and great actor pairing J
~Abraham Van Helsing (Dracula, the novel). The very first slayer that I ever read.
~Jack Crow (John Carpenter’s Vampires). I love this movie, and the take on the vampire origin. But it’s Jack’s story, and James Woods’ onscreen presence, that really draw me to watch this movie over and over again.
~Selene (Underworld movies). Yes, she’s a vampire. But, she’s still badass, and manages to kill not one, but two, elders.
~Blade (movie version). Half vampire. I happen to love all three of these movies, but the first one is my favorite.
~Seth Gecko (From Dusk til Dawn, the movie). Love this movie, and George Clooney is wickedly awesome as Seth.
~The Monster Squad (movie). This is one of my favorite childhood movies, about a bunch of kids who battle Dracula and his monsters.
~ Ben Mears and Father Callahan (Salem’s Lot by Stephen King). I read the book every year, sometimes more than once.
So, who are your favorite vampire slayers (human and not human, of course) in books and on film?
I’m still in the planning stages of my next book — holy crap is this going to take a lot of research and plotting! — so I don’t have any new words for today’s Wednesday’s Words. Instead, I’m going to share the first page of a story I was toying with several years ago; it’s an urban fantasy/film noir/hard-boiled detective story that I ultimately trunked because I know absolutely nothing about film noir/hard-boiled detective stories. I do love the title I came up for it, though — Forever and a Dame. Maybe one day I’ll come back to it.
It was midnight. My Bloody Mary had gone warm and the trail of my current case had gone cold.
I was just about to get up for a fresh drink when the too strong scent of expensive perfume slithered its way under my office door. A moment later, the door swung open and a gorgeous blonde stalked inside.
She was a cougar, and not one of the ones who went after younger men. Her hundred dollar an ounce perfume might hide the scent of her dual-nature from me, but everything else about her made it plain as day.
Her entire demeanor screamed predator, and the way she moved, with a slinky, almost snake-like grace, could only mean she was a large cat of some variety.
“You are Cornelius Malone, the private investigator?” Even her voice gave her away – a throaty purr with just a hint of a growl.
“Yes, ma’am, I am.” It wasn’t my given name, just the one I was going by in this century. “How may I help you this evening?”
I roved my eyes over her, tallying up how much my assistance was going to cost her. The black linen pantsuit she wore and the rock on her finger that was the size of my knuckle pushed my fee over a grand an hour.
“I need you to find my husband.” Before I had the chance to officially invite her in, she settled herself into the only other chair in my office. Haughty yet right to the point. I liked her.
“I’m certainly the best man for the job, but before I agree to take this case, I need to know a bit more information.” Lesson one of the supernatural private investigation gig – never take a case before learning all the particulars. Contracts are more than just legally binding with us and not being able to live up to my end of the contract, no matter what the reason, would not end well for me.
“Yes, of course. What sort of information do you need?”
“Well, ma’am, the first thing I need to know is your name.”
She sniffed her perfect little nose at me and I swear I saw her ear twitch in annoyance. Like I shouldn’t even have had to ask. Well, sorry lady. Telepathy isn’t one of my gifts.
“My name is Roxanne DuBois.” Make that two grand an hour.
“And your husband would be Maxwell DuBois, the real estate developer.” And leader of the area’s shapeshifter community.
“Of course.” She snapped open her dainty black and white purse. I tensed, not sure what to expect, but she merely pulled out a white handkerchief. An honest-to-goodness handkerchief. I hadn’t seen a woman use one of them in more than fifty years.
She dabbed at her eyes with the square of silk. Eyes that were as dry as my own. I didn’t know who she thought she was fooling, but I wasn’t buying her distraught wife act.
“Tell me how and when your husband disappeared, Mrs. DuBois.”
“I have no idea. I haven’t seen my husband in over a month.”
I raised my eyebrow and took a swig of my very warm Bloody Mary. The blasted thing wasn’t nearly as good as the real deal, but until my current case was over I couldn’t touch the real stuff.
“Are you telling me that your husband has been missing for a month and you’re just now starting to look for him?” I was about to tell this crazy woman to forget it. I wasn’t going to take on a case that was a month old.
“Of course not.” Those three words carried such scorn and ridicule, a lesser man would have cringed before her. I was not a lesser man.