Friday, April 17, 2015

Literary Agents

Dear Deirdra,

I just finished writing a book. I would like to get a literary agent. How do I do this?

Awesome Author

Dear Awesome Author,

Congratulations on finishing your book. That is the first step to getting an agent.
Agents will only consider manuscripts if they are complete. The only exception to this rule is non-fiction by an author with a platform. So you basically have to be famous.

1. Finish your book (check)

2. Hardcore beta readers (at least 4)

3. Get an Editor.
       Yes, you will need an editor before you get an agent. This will cost you some money. The reason why you need an editor is because of competition. Agents get THOUSANDS of query letters. They usually only can pick a few every year. If a busy agent is trying to decide between a good manuscript that is edited and ready to go up for sale vs. a good manuscript that is going to take months of editing before he/she can promote it, then they will chose the good manuscript that is less work.

       An edited manuscript also shows that you are serious and professional. There are tons of crazy authors out there who have crazy ideas about publishing. Agents want as little drama as possible.

4. Write a query letter
    This is a huge topic. Many writers conferences will have whole workshops about how to write a query letter. Some authors spend just as much time writing a query letter as they do writing the book.

Elana Johnson has some amazing advice on how to write query letters. See links below:

Here are some basic do and don'ts:

And you can take a look at my interview with Elana here:

5. Research Agents
    You are wasting your time querying a non-fiction agent if you've written a fantasy book.
     Search for agents who have a good reputation, are accepting submissions, and who accept your genre.

I like using a service such as:

6. Follow Guidelines

    Some agents only want your query letter, some would like to see the fist 10 pages and synopsis. Following an agent's submission guidelines lets the agent know that you can follow directions.

7. Pitches

Many writers conferences will bring in agents who are looking for new manuscripts.
I'll tell you what, if I was an agent, this is how I would find my authors.
Remember how I said that some authors are crazy - well they want to make sure their authors won't be showing up at a Barnes and Noble dressed like a Sith Lord.

The terrifying thing about pitches is that you have to actually talk with the agent in person. Kind of like a job interview. It can be a little nerve racking, but be confident, have fun and make sure you don't spend the whole time talking about your book. Ask them questions too.

8. Try again

You will get a ton of rejection letters.
The Watchers was rejected over ONE THOUSAND times before it got published. I thought about applying to the Guinness World Book of Records for the author with the most rejections. BUT after The Watchers was published it hit bestseller lists and sold out at every book signing, then had publishers asking to publish it.

So don't give up. I made a rejection letter recovery page. You can see here:

Also see this post:

Here are some interviews I've done with agents so you can hear it directly from them:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Epic Dragonlance Birthday for Leif

DragonLance is my husband's all time favorite book series.
Role models from the book were very influential in his youth.

Several shelves on our family bookshelf is dedicated for this series.

This year we had a DragonLance themed birthday party for my husband.

While I was at Fan X, I found Tracy and Laura Hickman. It was my first time meeting Laura in person. She is totally sweet!

Tracy signed my husband's ENTIRE collection of DragonLance books.

On Leif's birthday he was so excited to receive the signed books as a gift and wished he could have been there to meet Tracy.
Leif was away from military duties during Fan X. Tracy was the one person he cried about not being able to meet in person.

That night we went out for a birthday dinner and I told him there was a surprise at the restaurant.

The look on his face was priceless when he saw Tracy Hickman walk through the doors.
He was smiling so wide that it took him a moment to speak.

Tracy had dinner with us and even brought Leif his newest book: Wayne of Gotham

Batman is Leif's favorite super hero.

 Tracy is magnificent!

Leif got to ask Tracy all the questions he's had for years about the story. (You know, those details and hidden gems only the author knows.)

The whole conversation was spectacular and so uplifting for all of us.
Tracy is such a good man. His good spirit is contagious and we left as better people!

Thank you so much, Tracy!!!!!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Avalon's Baby Milestones

Okay, so this post is mostly for the grandparents and friends who are out of state, but here are a few of the Lady's miles stones from age 7 - 9 months

7 months
Practicing her walk

8 months
Climbing the stair case on her own.
Just FYI, it sounds like she hits her head on the phone at the end,
 but she is just brushing up against the mic so it sounds super loud.

9 months
RUNNING and playing with kitty

9 months
Because she can now climb out of her crib by stacking 
all her blankets into one corner, we got her this tent bed.

9 months

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Catching Up On Pictures.

 Sleepy Babies

Hanging out with buddies

 Kid Selfies

 Green Peppers

 Pig tails


 Orc Slayer


 Military boo boo

 Kissy Faces


 Heart sandwich 

 Green flowers from Leif

 Learning to play games


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Green Oregon Backyard.

As promised, here are a couple of pictures of our backyard outside the garden.
More coming soon.

Friday, April 10, 2015


This year, I was lucky enough to be invited to sign books at Fan-X. 
At first I almost turned it down because my husband was STILL gone for military. 
I'm so glad I did.

On the first morning, I was up at 3 AM to get ready for the day. I got ready, took care of some business stuff and got the car loaded by about 5.

Then I got the kids ready to go to the babysitter.
When I got Kal'el up, he had this huge wad of gum in his hair.

I tried to get it out, but it looked awful so I had to buzz his head.
He was pretty freaked out when he saw his super-short hair in the mirror.
He a tantrum and told me he wasn't going to school or ever leaving the house again.
I really didn't need this on the morning of an event.
I was running out of time and he refused to get ready.

I called Leif on the base (Leif had to buzz his head for the military) and Leif talked to Kal'el about "warrior haircuts" and told Kal'el that he is a handsome boy.
After that, Kal'el got ready and we made it out the door just in time.
I dropped the kids off at the babysitter's then headed to the Salt Palace to set up.

The whole thing was completely awesome. The people there are amazing. I loved getting to know all my booth neighbors and Fan X staff.
Since it was so cool, I got tickets for my dad and Kal'el for the next day.
Kal'el hung out with me until me dad got off work and took Kal'el around to see all the cool things.

Carter's booth

By the end of Friday, I had completely lost my voice. NO VOICE, not even a squeak. When I opened my mouth to speak only air came out.
It worked out because my hubby was being released from the base that day. I drove to Nevada and picked him up, but left a few signed copies at my table.

THANK YOU, Cheree and Laura!!!! What an awesome event you made this!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Felicity ~ A Sparrow's Tale by Loralee Evans

Title: Felicity~ A Sparrow's Tale |  Author: Loralee Evans | Illustrators: Loralee Evans and Rachel Evans | Publish Date: October 2014 | Recommended Ages: 8-13 |
Summary: Tales of adventure and danger have thrilled Felicity since Augustus taught her to read as a little nestling.  She adores the tales of heroes and heroines who forge ahead in spite of all odds, and who always seem to succeed no matter what.  More than anything, Felicity wants to be brave and selfless like them.  But adventures are in short supply, especially for someone who's just an ordinary sparrow.  Until the day an unexpected visitor shows up at her tree with an unusual request...  

About the Author: Some of Loralee Evans' earliest memories are of sitting with her mom or dad while they read her stories like The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, or Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey.  These memories, along with many great teachers who got her excited about about reading, are what helped her develop a love of books, and of writing.  She has lived in Missouri, Texas, and Utah, and even spent a year and a half in Japan.  Some of her favorite authors are James Dashner, Harper Lee, C.S. Lewis, Heather B. Moore, Rachel Ann Nunes, Candace Salima, J. Scott Savage, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Julie Wright.  Felicity~ A Sparrow's Tale is her fourth book.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Morning Gardening



Mystery flower?

Hopefully we will be able to grow all of our own veggies and berries.