Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Debut Alert: FEUDLINGS

I have an amazing friend named Wendy Knight, who rode with me this year to LTUE, resisted the urge to freeze my bra during our LTUE slumber party at Donna Weaver's house, and monitored one of the pitch session rooms for me. She. Is. Awesome!

Also, she's an awesome writer, and her debut book, published by Astrae Press, is out TODAY! Behold the pretty!

I think the cover and tagline sell the book all by themselves, but here's the blurb anyway:

Nothing makes a new school suck worse than discovering the guy you’re in love with is your prophesied nemesis.
Ari is the most powerful flame-throwing sorceress ever, and her people’s last hope in an ancient war. But she’s also a seventeen-year-old girl, and in her free, not-hunting-nemesis times, she jumps from school to school, trying to figure out regular people her own age and pretending she’ll get the chance to graduate.
Shane lives a double life. He goes to school and masters the art of popularity, hiding the fact that he has a fate with a slim chance of his survival. He’s destined to end a 300 year-old war by killing or being killed. He knows he’s hunted by a powerful enemy who’s not afraid to die. Only problem? He has no idea who that enemy is.
When Ari shows up at Shane’s school, angry and sullen and determined to keep him at arm’s reach, neither of them realize they are supposed to be killing each other, not falling in love. Until Ari does realize it, and she almost dies – by Shane’s hand.

Awesome, no? You want to buy it, don't you? It should be up on all major ebook sites very soon, and I'll update this post once it is (or you can go search Amazon yourself--just saying), but for now it's available on the Astrae Press website. This book will start as an ebook, but will transition to print as soon as a certain number of copies are sold.

I'm just so proud of Wendy. She's such a sweet girl and I'm excited to see her taking this step (though, as always, I'm concerned about her dubious choice of high-heeled boots--not the best for support on rocky terrain). Also, it's fun to watch her hyperventilate in our online chat group. Just saying. :)

So how do you like the cover?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How Querying has Ruined me for Online Dating

First off, let me qualify--I'm not actually online dating. More dabbling. Browsing. I keep signing up for free memberships and creating profiles, but haven't seen anyone--much less been messaged by anyone--who has tempted me enough to shell out cold hard digital cash for the privilege of communicating with them.

Also, I haven't even been divorced a full two months yet, so I'm not exactly ready to start a new relationship. As a friend made me admit, I'm mostly interested in validation at this point... and my friends can give me that. So they tell me. (Still--why has NO ONE tried to set me up on a blind date? When does that start? *thinks blind dates are mysterious and exciting* *knows the reality will kill that illusion fast*)

Anyway, part of the reason that my desire for validation (of my perfectly valid desirability) hasn't driven me to whip out my credit card is the truly sad state of the profiles on these sites.
None of the examples below were taken from
the profiles of these handsome men.
In case you were wondering.
By which I don't mean there aren't great guys out there. Or that the guys are sad. Please don't think I'm down on men, 'cause, really, I'm not. (Most days.) I know enough good husbands--and was happy enough in my own marriage, while it lasted--to know that there are lots of good men in the world.

No, I mean these poor, sad, men are useless at selling themselves. (Probably the girls aren't much better, but for some reason, these sites don't show me a lot of female profiles.) :)

Maybe it's the years of query training I've been giving myself, but, seriously, why would anyone put this in a profile and think it's going to help attract your soulmate:

A little about me...
Well that is a tough one due to that I really don't talk about myself much. 

Honey, if you're not going to talk about yourself, you need to find some other way to meet girls. Can you imagine if I used that line in a query letter?

Oh, wow, I guess I should tell you about my book now, right? I'm just so bad at talking about my book!

I'm sure that would have the agents just lining up at my door.

Or maybe this:

I am fairly entertaining, but I know when seriousness is required.

Do you wonder what he means by "fairly" entertaining? Me, too. Here's a tip: if you make your profile and/or query entertaining when it's called for, and serious when it's called for, this sentence is unnecessary. If you don't... I won't really believe this sentence, anyway.

That's like saying this in a query:

You will enjoy the subtle humor and edge-of-your-seats suspense of my book.

Show, don't tell, people.

This one drives me bat-crazy:

What I do for fun...
We will have to talk to find out.

Really? I can think of a few reasons for this response: 1) he was too lazy to complete his profile, so he's probably not actually serious about finding someone; 2) he thinks this hint of mystery will entice women to message him, even though it's vastly easier to click through to the next guy who bothered to actually complete his profile; 3) what he likes to do is illegal, kinky, or embarrassing. Either way, it's like me putting this in a query letter:

Agents are going to be lining up for this amazing, future bestselling book! If you want to have a chance to represent it, email me and I'll tell you all about it. If I don't hear from you, I'll assume you're too uptight to be my agent, anyway.


My Self-Summary
Well, who would have though we would meet like this. Me posting an online profile, and you here reading it. I guess I better make this good since you will probably only spend a few seconds here. They ...

You see what he did, here? He KNEW he only had a few seconds to attract the woman he'd someday marry, and he wasted it on fluff. Just to be fair, I clicked past the first two lines to the full profile--and the whole first paragraph is fluff! Nothing actually about him! Now, he does seem like a very nice man and has some fun information on his profile, but, guys, really--lead with the good stuff! What is unique about you? What will make me want to get to know you better? Can you encapsulate yourself in a sentence?

Just for fun, this is what it would look like in a query:

I'm so excited to be able to meet you, my future agent. I just know we're going to have so much fun with this book of mine and that you're going to love it and I'm going to love you. I don't want to waste your time, so let me get to telling you about my wonderful book, which has truly been a work of love--blood, sweat, and tears for the last few years of my life.... [which is where the agent stops reading]

First impressions matter. Always. They can be overcome, but it's SOOO much better to just get it right the first time.

I'll stop there, lest I come across as a bitter divorcee. 'Cause it would never do to let THAT cat out of the bag, now would it?

Have you noticed any unforeseen negative effects from your own querying? Ever tried online dating? Blind dating? It's fun, right? And exciting and mysterious? I knew it!