On Queries and Being Sold Advice

Snake EarlIt’s been over five years since I started on my first novel. As with any endeavor, I’ve done a ton of research on the various parts of the process from writing to publication. I’ve gotten workshop feedback, beta reader comments and query critiques.

I just attended a webinar on avoiding rookie mistakes in query writing — it was one of those things where I thought,  “why not, maybe it’ll help.” If anything, the webinar reinforced that the only thing consistent in the materials I’ve covered in that time is the inconsistency of advice and information. Dig long enough and you’ll find advice that directly conflicts, leaving you scratching your head and clenching your teeth in frustration.

I can’t help but see that so much of what we pin our hopes on is merely produced ostensibly to help the writer, but is simply nothing more than a for-profit business designed to tap into our desires to “make it.”

Not that it’s overly surprising, but it’s safe to say that so much of the publishing industry is based strictly on human preference. I think we all know this is the case on some level, but it doesn’t keep us from looking for “insider info” or a leg up. Ultimately, we must bust our butts writing, synopsizing, querying, putting ourselves out there and failing more often than not and pray for that sweet, sweet nexus where what we produce catches the imagination of someone willing to go to bat for it.

In the end, we can shell out as much money as we want, but no one is going to write our books for us, no one is going to hold our hand and make sure our queries are perfect for each agent to whom we submit them.

Eh, so be it. I guess the key is not to be in a rush, to enjoy the ride and keep on keeping on. Maybe that’s the only consistent bit of advice worth paying attention to.



01 2015

Three Rip-Roaring Good Reads

If you’re looking for a few books that beg to be plowed through, here are a few that fit the bill. I had almost forgotten what it was like to tear through page after glorious page staying up late to find out what happens next.

The best part? There’s more to these books than just compelling story lines. Each is a reflection of our current existence and the oddities/frustrations/questions that go with it.

But rather than me trying to tell you, here’s the list. Go and read for yourself.


Under the Empyrean Sky

A lovely story of the heartland set in a world of genetically modified crops and wealth inequality gone horribly awry. Part of the Heartland Trilogy by Chuck Wendig. The second book, Blightborn, just came out today.




Unease. Insidious. Lingering. Strange. Annihilation conjures all these feelings and more. The first book in the Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer. The second book, Authority, is already out and the final book, Acceptance is out this fall.




Max Barry’s novel about the power of words hit the mark for me. Inventive, disjointed and fun. Bonus: Once you’ve read Lexicon, go take this quiz. It’ll leave you … well, wondering.

So get out there. Read. Have fun.


07 2014

Jay Lake – Glorious, strange, and too large for the world

Jay Lake, author, raconteur, human being

The title of this post is from Jay’s short story, The Stars Do Not Lie. I thought the words fitting.

I read yesterday on Twitter that Jay Lake died.

The weight with which the news hit surprised me. I didn’t know Jay, just brushed up against him here and there on his blog and Twitter. And that was enough. Unbeknownst to him, he played a large part in keeping me going when I first started writing.

Those daily updates of his writing progress, snippets of his works in progress, musings on the craft, and plenty of non-writing related stuff served as inspiration. He was someone who was willing to fearlessly hold his own line on hot-button issues, willing to call a spade a spade and willing to dive deeply into the human psyche — his own and in general.

Jay Lake's Debut Novel

From afar, he seemed like an admirable fellow with prodigious talent, a guidepost of sorts for this writer. He made me aspire to write more, to write better.

His posts on his journey over the last five years were raw and insightful and honest. He was willing to bring any and all along for the ride, baring his pain and joy. I’m going to miss seeing his stuff come through on my feed.

Jay lives on, to be sure, through everyone he has touched over the years and I can’t imagine he would have it any other way. Rage in Peace, Jay Lake.


06 2014

Washed Away

The lake-drowned resort town of Epecuen

The sky shark roams in silence and wonders what might have been.



05 2014

H.P. LOLcraft


Oddly enough, this might help me keep my sanity when I have no idea what the f*ck is going on.


04 2014