Category Archives: Agent Query Connect

Where have I been? What have I been doing?

Well, life has a tendency to get in my way, and, unfortunately, the blog is the first thing that gets slighted.

I have been working quite a bit at Babies R Us and may be in line for a promotion.

I have been writing, and rewriting, and editing.

INFECTED us getting rewritten from the beginning now that I know a bit more about writing than I used to. This time it is in 1st person past. I have chapter 1 fully outlined in my new formula of writing and it should be written by Wed night.

PROPHECY is also getting a do-over, switching to past tense. Seven full chapters are completed.

A QUESTION OF CHANGE is in the researching part of writing as I learn more about zoology and a specific park that is near me. Although under a different name, Maymont Park in Richmond, VA is the setting in the novel, with some small modifications.

WHITE DARKNESS also known by the name RAFTER MONSTER is still in the brain storming stage.

June 1st begins the Speculative Fiction Marathon where INFECTED and PROPHECY will be undergoing critiques. For 12 weeks, one chapter a week will be critiqued by other spec-fic members. It is a thrilling and exhausting time.

I am also a contributing blogger for dragons and aliens and wraiths oh my a blog for speculative fiction authors, by speculative fiction authors. My first post is live.

After Marathon I will be publishing serials from authors I know. A chapter a week is the goal right now. Hopefully my fellow spec-fic members come through like they said they would! Thanks for already having segments done TJ!

So I will be better on letting you guys know where everything stands in the future. At least things are getting back under control.





Filed under Agent Query Connect, author, crazy, crit, critique, critiquing, story, thinking process, work in progress, writing process

Interview with Kate Gifford

 well here is an interview with Kate Gifford, a very gifted romance writer, and sweet friend.

1)   What genre(s) do you write? And why?

  Romance, romantic suspense.  I write romance because it always has a happy ending.  I write romantic suspense because the suspense aspect gives more dimension to a story.

2)   Tell us about your latest project. This is your chance to crow about being published, agented, or winning a contest.

My completed novel is a romantic suspense.  I am in the process of shopping it around. I am unagented. I have any many feature articles published in local newspapers.  My current work in progress is a straight romance with no suspense element.  


3)   Other than writing, how do you like to spend your time?

  Other than writing, I read at east three novels a week.  I no longer work outside the home.  I am a wife, a mother and grandmother.  I am a homemaker, babysitter and errand runner.  I enjoy my family, friends, reading, dinner theater and comedies.


4)   Do you have any tattoo’s, if so where? If not, do you want any?

I don’t have a single tatoo anywhere and I don’t want any.


5)   What is the last book you read? Did you like it?

The last book I read was a romantic comedy and I did enjoy it.


6)   What is your advice to those who want to be authors? (I know, it’s a crummy one, but needs to be asked)

Write the kind of stories you like to read.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t write.  Write something every day, even if it’s just that you wish you had more time for writing – because time has a way of getting away from us, and pretty soon that one day you skipped writing becomes the hundredth day you skipped writing.  The longer you go without writing, the harder it is get back into it.  Read, read, read!  Hang out with other people who enjoy writing, whether in person or on-line.  Learn all you can about your craft.  Realize you are never done learning.


7) Tell us one thing no one knows about you.

  I wish I were  the woman I know to be.  

Well dear friends, here you have it. Kate Gifford!

Just to let you know, the clean up from Irene  continues around here, but at least we have power!




Filed under Agent Query Connect, author, characters, feeling, ideas, interview, love, novel, romance writer, voice, Writer, writing, writing novels, writing process

Interview With Kacey Vanderkarr @kacimari

This Friday we have the fabulous Kacey Vanderkarr….a fabulous writer and a beautiful person all the way through. Take it away kaci!!

1)   What genre(s) do you write? And why?

 I write YA.  I can’t imagine a more interesting or dynamic period in someone’s life than the teenage years.  It’s fun as an adult to put yourself in their shoes and then pull all the strings.  With YA, it’s all about the drama.  Relationships, emotions, and hormones are all elevated.  It’s acceptable to go on murderous rages, to scream, kick and fight.  You can love with your whole heart and hurt with your entire being. The beauty is in the intensity of it all. Let the crazy begin!


2)   Tell us about your latest project. This is your chance to crow about being published, agented, or winning a contest.

 My latest project is also technically my first.  I’ve written a series of four books without looking back or doing much editing.  When I got to the end and realized that I wanted to get them published, reality hit—hard.  I’ve spent the last few months trimming my first manuscript, Stepping Stones, a YA Fantasy Romance, from 125,000 words to 80,000.  I expect to start querying by the end of August, if everything goes as planned.  Of course, nothing ever does, but I’m hopeful!


3)   Other than writing, how do you like to spend your time?

 I pretty much live four lives at any given time.  First off, I’m a mother and wife.  My husband actually complains about the amount of time I spend writing.  It’s a good thing he’s not in my head—because he’d really hate how much I think about it!  Aside from that, I coach a winterguard team at my local high school.  From October to April, I immerse myself in teenage drama.  It’s awesome!  I love coaching.  It really gives you the opportunity to change someone’s life.  My third life is Ultrasound.  I work at a hospital in the Diagnostic Imaging Department.  I know that most people think that ultrasound is just for pregnant women, but that’s not the case.  We pretty much do it all—abdomens, thyroids, veins, arteries, testicles…well, you get the picture.  My fourth life is my writing—enough said.


 4)   Do you have any tattoo’s, if so where? If not, do you want any?

 I have five tattoos with detailed plans for a sixth.  I have the Pure Romance heart on my foot.  Yes, that’s right.  I used to sell sex toys.  It was one of the most exciting jobs I’ve ever had, not to mention the most fun.  I have a nautical star on each hip.  On my back I have a star with a tribal design.  On my left shoulder I have a matching cat tattoo with my sister.  My plans for the sixth are pretty intense.  It’s going to be a naked tree with visible roots.  Skeleton keys will hang from the branches.  It will also have a crow or a raven sitting in it.  Above the tree will be stars, below it will be the quote “Without the dark we’d never see the stars.”  Kudos if you know where the quote comes from. 

 5)   What is the last book you read? Did you like it?

 The last book I read was Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger.  I enjoyed it to an extent, but overall was disappointed.  I absolutely loved The Time Traveler’s Wife, so I expected it to capture me just as much.  However, after 300 pages of waiting for something to happen, it didn’t.  The book did have a lot of creepiness, intricate characters, and some not to subtle maliciousness.  Long story short, I probably won’t read it again.

 6)   What is your advice to those who want to be authors? (I know, it’s a crummy one, but needs to be asked)

 Get as much information as possible BEFORE you start writing.  Sadly, in the end, writing is the easy part.  The editing, the late nights spent crying over cut scenes, and the harsh critiques are NOT the easy part.  Find a support network.  Meet new people and use their advice.  We are all human and we all react differently to things.  There is a wealth of knowledge, information, and opinions in others.  Use it!  Also, believe in yourself.  A lot of people are going to cut your work down and say things you don’t like.  But if you have a story to tell, you have a right to not listen!  You are your best advocate and worst enemy.  Trust yourself.

 7)   Tell us one thing no one knows about you

 I have a teddy bear.  I’ve had him for 24 years.  I can’t part with him.  I keep telling my husband that I’d settle for a small pillow, but it hasn’t happened yet.  Gah!  I can’t believe I’m telling this to the world.  At least it’s not a crack addiction. 🙂

 Follow me on Twitter:!/kacimari


 Like me on Facebook:!/pages/Kacey-Vanderkarr/128956043852072

Isn’t it great to know more abot your favorite people?

OKay guys, I don’t know how next week is going to go, we are expecting a lot of downed power lines in the area this weekend from Hurricane Irene. I will try and keep up the blog, but without power it will be difficult!




Filed under Agent Query Connect, author, characters, crazy, feeling, growing, ideas, inspiration, interview, learning, novel, Writer, writing, writing novels, writing process

Interview with J. Lea Lopez @JLeaLopez

J. Lea is a wonderful writer with a very positive attitude. She has a lovely little dog that I absolutely adore and a heart as big as all outdoors! Take the ride with me as I interview her!

J. Lea’s blog URL is and her Twitter page is!/JLeaLopez

J. Lea Lopez has been writing since those angsty teenage years, though she and her writing have both matured since then. At least a little bit. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog-child. In addition to jello, her blog Jello World also discusses life and writing. Follow her on Twitter for a little bit of nonsense, a little bit of writing-related info, and a little bit of stuff to make you blush.

1)   What genre(s) do you write? And why?

I write women’s fiction and erotica. The women’s fiction is just how most stories come out of my head. Female-centric, stories of relationships and life struggles, drama, the occasional tear. I’ve never had the head to spin fantastic tales. I’ve always imagined potential real-life what-ifs and stories sprung up from there. The erotica came later. I’m all for being more open and frank about sex and sexuality, and when a writer friend whom I respect immensely told me my sex scenes were good, I decided to take the plunge (ahem) and try erotica.

2)   Tell us about your latest project. This is your chance to crow about being published, agented, or winning a contest.

 With the exception of a few short pieces (you can find links on my blog) I don’t have any major publishing credits. One day… *sigh*. My current WIP is commercial women’s fiction, about a young woman whose fiancé dies just weeks before the wedding, and in the midst of her grief she finds herself falling in love with his brother. During this time of crisis, her faith – or lack thereof – is challenged, leading her to begin a series of conversations with a Catholic priest debating the existence of God, the purpose of suffering, and the boundaries of love.

3)   Other than writing, how do you like to spend your time?

I like creative things in general. Listening to music (anything I can sing along to is great), sewing, reading, watching TV and playing video games.

4)   Do you have any tattoo’s, if so where? If not, do you want any?

I do not currently have any tattoos, but I think I’d like to get a simple one of the Zelda triforce symbol. (Yes, I’m a bit of a geek.)

5)   What is the last book you read? Did you like it?

I’m currently in the process of reading a couple different books. But the last one I finished was… now don’t laugh… and don’t jump to conclusions… Swinging for Beginners: And Introduction to the Lifestyle – Revised Edition, by Kaye Bellemeade. It was interesting and informative, with the exception of one glaring health-related error that made me cringe.

6)   What is your advice to those who want to be authors? (I know, it’s a crummy one, but needs to be asked)

It is never too soon to start learning about the industry. Multi-tasking is your friend. While you write and polish your novel, you can also be doing 15 minutes of research a day for however many months it takes you to write your book. And research can be as simple as reading agent blogs. By the time you’re ready to query, you’ll actually know what a good query letter looks like and how the process works.

7)Tell us one thing no one knows about you.

Well if I tell you, then everyone will know 😉 But seriously, I’m a pretty open book. Ask and I shall answer for the most part. I don’t know that there’s much that people don’t know about me.

Please follow both her blog and her Tweets!




Filed under Agent Query Connect, author, characters, growing, ideas, interview, learning, novel, voice, Women's Fiction, Writer, writing, writing process

Interview with Calista Taylor @calistataylor

Here is an interview with the talented and beautiful Calista Taylor. She has been very encouraging and helpful to me while I have been the process of trying to get my writing career started. Thanks Cali!

1)    What genre(s) do you write? And why?

 I tend to write steampunk or paranormal romances, most often set in the past or an alternative world, but with a mystery or adventure thrown in for good measure.

2)    Tell us about your latest project. This is your chance to crow about being published, agented, or winning a contest.

 I just started querying a paranormal take on Jack the Ripper, and I’m attempting to wrap up a steampunk clothing craft book which has a publication date of spring 2012.

3)    Other than writing, how do you like to spend your time?

 I try to write any chance I get, but if I’m not writing or working on the craft book, then I’m either reading or cooking.

 4)    Do you have any tattoo’s, if so where? If not, do you want any?

 Amazingly enough, no tattoo’s. It just hasn’t happened yet.

5)    What is the last book you read? Did you like it?

 I’m currently reading Sara Donati’s series, so I just finished Fire Along the Sky.  It was very good.  She does a great job of capturing the period, and her characters feel very real.

6)    What is your advice to those who want to be authors? (I know, it’s a crummy one, but needs to be asked)

 Just keep writing and reading.  It’s the only way to get better at it.

7)    Tell us one thing no one knows about you

 I can’t say that no one knows this about me, but I love storms.  When they say we’re going to get a blizzard, I get giddy. Love thunderstorms too.   But I can’t stand hot weather. I cringe at the thought of sunny and 85.

Calista Taylor is an agented author of steampunk/gaslight romance and non-fiction, with a steampunk clothing craft book due out in May 2012.  When not running things over with a sewing machine or lacing herself into a corset, Calista can be found tapping away on her laptop, tormenting her characters, and riddling the streets of Victorian London with dead bodies and heaving bosoms.  She’s also a creative cook who can’t follow recipes, a versatile crafter, and a happy geek.  For more on Calista, check out her website, Calista Taylor (, her blog, A Steampunk Reverie  ( or follow her on Twitter  (



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Filed under Agent Query Connect, author, award, characters, growing, inspiration, interview, novel, paranormal, thinking process, Writer, writing, writing novels, writing process

Two Awards, Two Books, and Monday Musings

Okay, today being Monday, i have lots to talk about. If you follow this blog you may have noticed a decided lack of interviews last week. To this I can only apologize and say that there were personal issues in the way. So this week I will be posting interviews on Tues, Wed, Thurs, and Fri. I am also working on a list of interviewees and when their interviews will go up on the blog. This will be found in its own tab on the site.  It should be up today.

First off I would like to thank Suzanne Payne for awarding me these two awards! So check out her blog!

Suzanne Payne


“I give the Blog on Fire and Leibster Blog Award to Dawn G. Sparrow at  Write Away.  She’s just beginning to stretch her ‘writerly’ wings in public, which is a H-U-G-E step.  She’s got the support of the #goatposse behind her, so there’s no way she can fail.  Love ya’ Dawn! 🙂  She also tweets @DawnGSparrow  Follow her and all the rest of my award-winning peeps!  You can’t go wrong with this crew. ” 

Now I am, supposed to give these awards out myself, but I honestly have no idea who to give them to! So the first 5 people who contact me via email, DM, or comment can have these awards! I will do a write-up for each one of them and post it later.

Next item on the agenda today– 2 Books.

This week I have read EATS, SHOOT & LEAVES by Lynne Truss.

Finally I am starting to get a handle on my arch-nemesis, the comma. I have been fighting the comma since I started writing. It seems the rules I grew up with have completely changed over the course of time. Suddenly, I am left staring at the tadpole shaped mark and wondering  ‘Do I put it in, or do I take it out?’ It will be a slow process, but now I have some rules to guide me. So this is definitely a good book for me.

I am about half-way through Steven Harper’s WRITING A PARANORMAL NOVEL. It is a good book, especially for people who are writing ‘traditional’ paranormal characters. i.e. vampires, werewolves, fairies (faeries) and the like. However, my paranormal is completely different from what is traditional for this genre. I am still finding useful and helpful information. Best of all, there are exercises that can help you to develop your protagonist and antagonist into more well-rounded and realistic creatures/people. So I would definitely look this book up if you are in need of learning how to develop a character, deciding what powers your character should or should not have, as well as learning about world building.

I definitely recommend you add these two books to your list of reads.

Now, finally, some Monday Musings.

The last week has taught me a lot about who my friends are, and who they aren’t. I went through a very bad situation  and lost some friends. The ones who are sticking by me in spite of my life are the ones I treasure. I want to spend a moment and thank just a few people for being there for me. Thank you.

Jen Martin

April Williams

Reid Undant

Lela Gwenn

Imran Siddiq

thank you guys, very much.

Now all I have to say, is that I can’t wait until Labor Day! Right after that holiday my son goes back to school and I can finally concentrate on getting my second novel down on paper. I enjoy working in peace and quiet. I rarely even listen to music, instead I hear only my characters’ thought and voices. This is extremely hard to do when all day you hear “Momma, are you done yet?” “Can you help me find something to do?” “I’m bored.”

Soon, very soon.



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Filed under Agent Query Connect, author, award, character traits, characters, conflict, crazy, editing, growing, ideas, inspiration, learning, Lynne Truss, novel, paranormal, punctuation, rules, Shoots and Leaves, Steven Harper, thinking process, Thriller, voice, Writer, writing, Writing a Paranormal Novel, writing novels, writing process

Interview With Mindy McGinnis (@bigblackcat97)

Today I continue my series of writer interviews. We have an amazing woman in our midst. She is affectionately called BBC by the Agent Query Connect group, and is a wonderfully talented woman. She is also a very great friend to have.

Mindy McGinnis is a YA author and librarian, represented by Adriann

Ranta of Wolf Literary. She serves as a moderator at

Agent Query Connect, under the screen name bigblackcat97, more

affectionately called BBC. Mindy’s blog, Writer, Writer, Pants on

Fire, is geared toward helping aspiring writers find their way towards

representation and publication, featuring interviews with agents

(BBCHAT – Bigblackcat’s Humane Agent Talk), published writers (SAT –

Successful Author Talk), and industry bloggers (BOA – Bloggers of

Awesome). Mindy also contributes at From The Write Angle, a blog

offering multiple perspectives on writing and the publishing industry—

from first draft to final product, and everything beyond. She tweets

from @bigblackcat97, where you can learn all kinds of random things

about her life. It’s terribly interesting.

1) What genre(s) do you write? And why?

I write YA.  I’m a YA librarian and I spend 40 a week with my

target audience, plus I’m immersed in the market as part of the job,

so it was kind of a no brainer to write YA. Plus, this market exploded

right when I decided to jump back into writing, so it was the route to

take. I found out I loved it after cranking out a few YA novels.

2)  Tell us about your latest project. This is your chance to crow about being published, agented, or winning a contest.

 My dystopian, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, is being subbed right now.  My

agent, Adriann Ranta, is doing an excellent job of getting it on the

desks of people who can make it happen. DRINK is about a future where

there is very little freshwater, and people kill over backyard ponds

and streams. The query can be found here.

3) Other than writing, how do you like to spend your time?

I have no time. I’ve got five acres, and yes – a pond, a massive

old farmhouse and feral cats that seem to flock to me. They hate me,

but they love to tribute me with their babies. It’s a lose – lose. I

also knit, scrapbook, read like a fiend, and blog. Sometimes I eat.

Once in awhile, I try sleeping.

4)  Do you have any tattoo’s, if so where? If not, do you want any?

No tatts. I’m hard pressed to think of something I want on my body

for the rest of my life.

5) What is the last book you read? Did you like it?

I just finished up THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES by Carrie Ryan last

night. It’s the third of THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH trilogy. I’m

sold on these books because Ryan does an excellent job of writing with

female narrators, but making the books accessible to males. I’ve got

more male readers of the series in my library than females.

6) What is your advice to those who want to be authors? (I know, it’s a crummy one, but needs to be asked)

My advice? If there’s anything else you think you want to do, do

that instead. 🙂 No really, you do have to ask yourself how much you

want this, and how much you’re willing to give for it. I was trying to

find an agent for ten years before I landed Adriann.  Granted, I

wasn’t actively querying and looking for that whole time, but it was a

decade-long slog of rejections and disappointment.

Part of the reason I failed on such a grand scale is because I was

naive enough to think that talent is what lands you the contract. I

didn’t do research, I didn’t know how to write a query, I didn’t want

to invest the time involved in knowing how to do things the right way.

I was self-righteous enough to think that someone would instantly fall

in love with me, and it’d be magic.


Do your homework, always. Yeah, it sucks that there’s rules, and

formulas, and red tape everywhere to keep you from your dream, but if

you want it, you jump through those hoops. Join sites like

AgentQueryConnect and QueryTracker, find crit partners, read industry

and writer-related blogs, and know your market.

7)  Tell us one thing no one knows about you

I can’t think of one thing no one knows about me. I’m a talker, so

this one always stumps me when it comes up. Um… I’m not wearing a

bra right now. Nobody knew that.

Links for the interview:






My Query that Worked:

This amazing librarian inspired a short story that will be coming up a month from this Sunday for First Sunday Short Fiction. It is called, “The Librarian’s Revenge”. Look for it for the month of September! Thanks BBC for your descriptions of the antics of middle school boys!


Filed under Agent Query Connect, author, character traits, characters, crazy, growing, ideas, inspiration, interview, librarian, Pants on Fire, The Write Angle, thinking process, voice, writing, writing process, Young Adult