If You Believe in Love…

“I don’t know if you believe in Christmas…
Or if you have presents underneath a Christmas tree.
But if you believe in love,
That will be more than enough
For you to come and celebrate with me.”

~ Kermit the Frog, “The Christmas Wish”

Happy Holidays, everyone!

An Offer I Can’t Refuse

On Monday night, my husband purchased a drink for a newly agented author at a bar near our house. Furthermore, Mr. Kiddoc informed me this author was “a cute redhead.”

But I am not the least bit jealous.

Because I am that newly agented author.

I am delighted to announce that I’ve accepted an offer of representation from Katie Boyle at Veritas Literary.

H. L. Dyer: Now With Agency Contract!

I’m so excited to be working with Katie, and can’t wait to get The Edge of Memory out on submission!

I’ll be working hard to make that happen, so if I seem uncharacteristically quiet here on Trying to Do the Write Thing, you’ll know why.

On the Inside…

Parts of the last few days have given me the urge to raise my hands over my head and whoop as I fly down the highway with the top down.

And, although I do have long hair appropriate for flying in the breeze, you will not find me engaging in such activity for a number of reasons:

  1. I am the designated driver and a big fan of at least one hand on the wheel.
  2. Putting the top down on my Hyundai Sonata can only be achieved by violent and permanent methods.
  3. It’s 97 freaking degrees today and humid beyond belief.

So, you will not see me out there. But, on the inside, I’ll be whooping it up in the wind. 😉

Shh… It’s Vewy Vewy Quiet. And CakeWrecks Rocks.

If you’re a regular reader here, you may have noticed I’ve been uncharacteristically quiet lately. There are a number of reasons for that, some of which I hope to share soon.

But in the meanwhile, one of my favorite non-publishing blogs, Cake Wrecks, had done a special Sunday Sweets Edition on books!

You must check it out the Reading Rocks post on Cake Wrecks. Like, right this minute would be good.

Everything is coming together! *snort*

And you’re welcome. 🙂

The Doctor is In. In Deep Smit, that is…

Friday again. Yippee!

And this week I am deeply smitten with my awesome blog readers. As you probably know, I’ve been co-authoring the QueryTracker.net blog since December. I’ve recently started a feature there answering writers’ medical questions for their works of fiction.

It’s been a heck of a lot of fun, and the questions are now starting to roll in, which is very exciting.

So big thanks to everyone who’s already jumped in to get the ball rolling. And thanks to those of you who plan to send in your questions later, too.

Talk to Me: In Deep Smit (03-06-09)

So… um… it’s Friday again. Actually, it’s been Friday more than once now. I think with my posting on the QueryTracker.net blog, my In Deep Smit posts will become more biweekly-ish.

But I definitely have something I’m deeply smitten with to share this week.

I’m in the middle of another manuscript revision. An agent who loved my partial and requested my full manuscript identified a plot point that didn’t work for her later in the story. Her comment gave me a eureka moment for a small backstory change that I believe makes the novel stronger.

I rewrote the chapters primarily affected, and now I’m finishing a detailed line edit to make sure I haven’t missed any inconsistencies along the way.

And since I’m going through word by word, I figured I’d take the opportunity to tighten my manuscript wherever possible.

Now, you might think this post would be about the agent who inspired the idea. And I am indeed, deeply grateful to  her for her time and insight. But the object of my affection for discussion today is the Narrator tool on my PC.

I had heard that text-to-voice software was included on most recent PC’s, but I’d never bothered looking up how to use it before. I find reading aloud to be a great editing tool, but have noticed that when I read from my manuscript, I sometimes miss problems like missing or repeated words anyway because I know what the text is supposed to say and my brain corrects it without my noticing.

I wanted something that would read my text to me, so I looked up where to find the preinstalled software.

And there she was… Microsoft Anna, the robotic narrator, hiding under “Ease of Access” in my “Accessories” folder.

Together, Anna and I have obsessed over each word of the first 3/4 of my manuscript. Despite frequent careful editing by myself and hundreds of beta readers, I still found a few small typos. I’ve also found a few overuse quirks, like my apparent fondness for starting dialogue lines with “Well,” which each of my characters indulged to some extent.

Hands down, this is the best edit I’ve done. So I’m deeply smitten with Microsoft Anna, and I’m not afraid to shout that to the blogosphere. 🙂

Now, if you don’t mind… Anna and I would like to be alone for a while. 😉

Be Careful What You Wish For! (In Deep Smit 1/30/09)

Another Friday and again, I am deeply smitten with my own husband (affectionately known on these internets as “Mr. Kiddoc”)

Case in point:

I’m driving, Mr. Kiddoc is shotgun.
(several quiet moments pass uneventfully)

Mr. Kiddoc turns from the window. “I’m thinking maybe I should become a rock star.”
“Sounds good to me.”
“Of course, I don’t play any instrument.”
“Well… no sense letting details get in the way.”
He shifts in his seat, lacing his fingers over his knee. “So what instrument should I play?”
“The triangle.” I nod. “You could pick that one up quick, I think.”
“I don’t know.” He bites his lip. “I didn’t think you would want me to play the triangle.”
“Why not?”
“You know the girls always go for the triangle player.”

The Plane Truth: In Deep Smit (1/16/09)

Seriously… who isn’t in deep smit with the story of Flight 1549?

This story today from some of those on board brought me to tears.

For a number of reasons…

For appreciation of the miracle that everyone survived the crash.
For pride in my fellow humans for their selfless handling of the situation
For hope (even if you think that’s audacity.)

Over 7 years ago, of course, there was another kind of plane crash in New York– one with a tragic outcome. But we saw a city and a nation come together. We saw many selfless acts of heroism. People risked everything to help strangers.

After 9/11 in Chicago, where road rage is rampant, folks were politely waving each other through intersections. American flag window stickers were sold out. For a while there, it felt like Americans were really on the same team.

And then the fear settled in. We got suspicious and cagey and it carried over into our relationships with each other. To the point where we were even afraid to help people who needed it. Over last summer, an old man was seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver, and no one tried to help him.

But when this plane went down in the Hudson river, people rushed to help. Passengers made sure an elderly woman was evacuated before them.

And that makes me tremendously hopeful for this country.

Avast! ‘Tis a Mite Tardy Postin’ I Be Makin’ (In Deep Smit 01/09/09)

It’s awful late for my weekly posting. I got distracted with shoveling my driveway and cleaning my kitchen.

But it IS Friday, and I am abruptly deeply smitten!

I’ve just discovered a new feature on Facebook (which I already loved).

If you go to your settings, you can change your language to “English (pirate)”.

You’re welcome!

A Few of My Favorite Things (Back on the Chain Gang)

For the holidays, my blog chain gang decided to try something different… instead of each of us posting in turn on a topic chosen by one of us, we would each choose our own topic and post whenever  inspiration struck. Make sure to check out the Jingle Bell Blog Chain posts for Archetype and Abi.

Now settle in, gang, cuz I’m about to go all Oprah on you.

No, I’m not about to endorse any fake memoirs or lose/gain 20 pounds in 30 minutes. But I am going to mention a few of my favorite things.

(Almost) Every Friday, I feature something I love or am grateful for in my weekly In Deep Smit posting. These are generally things I discovered or rediscovered during the week before I post them.  But there are many other things I love… things I’m surprised to find other people don’t know.

So, I present a haphazard collection of obscure or underappreciated things that I love.

  1. They Might Be Giants— the sound of their music is certainly not for everyone but their clever, funny-yet-deep lyrics are beyond awesome. (And for me, music is mostly an appealing vehicle for conveying lyrics into my consciousness).  My personal favorite (though hard to choose) is Ana Ng, where the singer suggests that if there is, indeed, one perfect soul mate in the world for everyone, then (with his luck) that person would be on the opposite side of the world. If you’ve never enjoyed “Dinner Bell” or “I Palindrome I”, you can listen to some TMBG on my playlist on imeem (although sadly, Ana Ng is only on imeem as covered by Self).
  2. Diane Wakoski— I love many of the big poetry stars… Sylvia Plath, Alan Ginsberg, etc.  But my single favorite poem seems to be much less widely known, Blue Monday.
  3. The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread— One of my favorite books growing up and recently back in print. 9-year-old Morris Bird the Third decides to prove his self-worth by journeying across Cleveland to visit his best friend and arrives just in time for the Cleveland East Ohio Gas Explosion.
  4. The Cinnamon Bear— My father grew up listening to this holiday program on the radio every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It’s a bit sappy, and some of the songs are downright insipid, but it is nostalgic good fun, nonetheless.
  5. www.ereader.com — In the hoopla over readers like the Kindle and Sony Reader, it’s easy to forget that lots of other devices can allow you to read electronic books. On my palm pilot this very moment I have dozens of books, from the classics, to modern works, to manuscripts I’m critting for my writer buddies.

To everyone who’s joined me in this first year of blogging here on Trying to Do the Write Thing… I wish you a 2009 filled with health, good fortune and lots of your favorite things.

I’m Grateful and U-R-A-QT (In Deep Smit 12/26/08)

Another Friday here, although I suppose for most folks today was a holiday.  But just like there is no crying in baseball, there are no holidays in the hospital.

Regardless, it’s time for another “In Deep Smit” posting. I have many things to be grateful for this week, especially.  I’m grateful for the time I spent with our family in the last few days. I’m grateful for the helpful pitch critique I received from Jessica Faust at BookEnds. I’m grateful I made it safely through the dangerous ice storm this morning, even if it took over 2 hours to get to work.

But for this week’s smitten discussion, I’d like to talk about something I’m very excited about: the QueryTracker Blog.

If you’re a writer reading this blog, you should already know how useful QueryTracker is when searching for representation.  (If not, you’d best scoot over there and check it out.)  Soon, the associated blog will be a busy place.

A few wonderful, talented folks and  I will be co-authoring lots of hopefully helpful postings there. You’ll find tips on how to maximize the benefits of the QueryTracker site, articles covering topics in writing and publishing, featured guest bloggers, contests, and more.

All of us participating are very excited about this new venture, and hope to see you there!

I, for one, am deeply smitten with both the project and my partners-in-blogdom.

Lovely PAM, Wonderful PAM (In Deep Smit 12/19/08)

Well, I’m late to posting today, in part because I spent the greater portion of the day chipping my driveway out from underneath the ice and snow.

Our neighborhood is coated in the twisted offspring of snow and freezing rain… a thick shelf of snow encased in a two-inch layer of ice.  The ice layer is so strong, it can often support your weight, allowing you to skitter across the surface for a while.  Until you hit a weaker spot or linger too long, and a large circle caves in around you as you plunge into powder up to your knees.

Shoveling snow is WAY up there on my list of unpleasant things to do.  But the worst is hoisting a heavy shovel, twisting to dump it, and pitching forward off-balance into a snow bank cuz the snow didn’t release.

Well, I didn’t have that problem today. In a very Martha Stewart-y way, we sprayed the shovel down with PAM first.  No sticking.

So, yay!  PAM is not just for low-fat cooking anymore.

Douglas Adams Would Be Proud. (In Deep Smit 12/05/08)

If you’re reading my blog, chances are you fall into one of two categories. You are either a friend (online or otherwise) or you are involved in publishing. Or both, natch. 😉

If you’re in the latter category, this is undoubtedly no news to you, but publishing has had rather a rough week. A rough year, actually… but this week the discussion rose to fever pitch.

After reading grim postings everywhere from Publisher’s Marketplace to GalleyCat to various publishing professionals’ blogs, it’s easy to fall into the frenzy of alleged Armageddon.

You know…

Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…
The dead rising from the grave!
Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

So this week, I am deeply smitten with the agents at FinePrint who are calmly assuring us that Armageddon is NOT at hand. Both Colleen Lindsay and Janet Reid have posted why the sky is NOT falling.

They have both instructed us not to panic, and I have taken the liberty of making those letters as large and friendly as is practical. So I present the Publishing Industry “Don’t Panic” graphic…

I will be displaying it in my sidebar as reassurance.

Furthermore, we are not helpless in this crisis. As long as there is demand for books, they will continue to be published. And WE are the ones who create the demand. Moonrat on Editorial Ass has started a group called “Buy a Book, Save the World” if you want to join forces, but more important is to BUY BOOKS.

BookEnds agent Kim Lionetti posted recently about books as holiday gifts so you can check there for some gift ideas. 😉

And the Award Goes To… (In Deep Smit 11/21/08)

Another Friday, of course.

This week I am in deep smit with my shiny blog award. Not because of the award itself (although it IS shiny!) but because I got curious about the path by which it reached Trying to Do the Write Thing.

So I followed it backwards and found all manner of awesomeness.

And so, without further ado, in the order in which their awards were received… here are some of the sites that came before mine in the I Love Your Blog Award chain:

  1. Library Queue
  2. Diary of an Eccentric
  3. Things Mean a Lot
  4. The Bookworm
  5. The Trillionth Page
  6. What I am Reading
  7. Reading is So Much Fun
  8. Danette’s Chatting Lounge
  9. Sidhe Vicious Reviews
  10. Books, books, and more books
  11. Shaunie’s Happy Place
  12. Writing with Vicki
  13. On the Writers’ Road Less Traveled
  14. First Edition
  15. The Gentle Art of Conversation
  16. The Write Soul
  17. Me, My Muse, and I
  18. The Saucy Scribe
  19. The Lovers, the Dreamers, and Me
  20. Yours truly!! 🙂

It’s My Blogiversary! (sort of)

It’s not quite Friday yet, but I have a very good reason to celebrate my weekly “In Deep Smit” a day early…

It was one year ago today that I signed up for this spiffy blog on WordPress.

I started this blog when I was just one month (and about 40K words) into The Edge of Memory, mostly as a way of documenting the process.

I was quite private at first. Only my husband and BFF Clara knew I was blogging, and I kept the blog out of search engines and whatnot.

After my first round of editing, I asked for test readers on a number of internet chat boards to which I belong. I set up the Test Readers pages so folks could discuss their thoughts after reading.

But aside from my clandestine beta-readers and a handful of close friends, no one knew I was here.

In May, when I started marketing my novel, I made this a public blog. So Trying to Do the Write Thing has only been public for six months, but it’s a year old today.

I’ve come a long way in a year. Finished a novel and started another. Revised my query letter approximately 72 million times. Learned that publishing is to weeks what football is to minutes– it’s a slow process. I’ve reached a zen-like state of understanding there.

As a physician, I’m used to ordering things “Stat” and that really doesn’t apply in publishing.

I mean REALLY doesn’t apply. But there is an element to that fact that is kind of refreshing. It makes me appreciate the journey.

A journey on which I’ve met (and virtually met) a lot of fabulous people. If you’re reading this, THIS MEANS YOU. 😉

Thanks for stopping by!