Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving Day to my U.S. readers!

Some things I'm thankful for this day:

The health to take lovely walks with my husband (this is New York Creek from this morning)

And these next two things I'm thankful for are related. The first is that I'm thankful we decided to have a quiet, reflective day for just the two of us. The second is because when we went to put the turkey in the oven, it was still frozen! Not just a little bit, either, even though we'd taken it out last Sunday.

So I'm thankful we both have a sense of humor, because it is more funny to us than disastrous. I'm not sure if I'd be so blase though if we had 15 people waiting on an ice block bird!

Hope you all have a happy day!

OA Today

I'm on Operation Awesome today, with a successful query example and a call for queries to critique!

Click on over and check it out! And don't forget that we have a Mystery Editor Contest coming up Dec. 1!

One of Those "How I Got My Agent" Stories

UPDATE: I have since parted ways with this agent; although we like and respect each other, it turned out our business and communication styles did not match up. I sincerely wish him and his clients the best, and am leaving this (slightly edited) version of this post up because it represents an important part of my writing journey. Hopefully, other good news will follow this somewhat regretful news!

I can't tell you how long I've been waiting to have my own "How I Got My Agent" story! And what a weird and wonderful tale it is (with some salty language included for realism):

Wednesday, November 6, started like any normal day.

Normal for me, anyway, which means I walked past the pool and entered the locker room, only to be confronted by a pack of my giggling friends. One of them said, "There you are! We saw this and thought of you."

And handed me a persimmon that was clearly happy to see me, judging by the appendage it was sporting. I accepted it with due pomp and circumstance, and we all went out to the pool.

It was later, as I was one-foot-through my undies, when my phone rang. The number showed as "unavailable", but since I was waiting to hear back on submissions I answered. And knew immediately that it was an agent.

Mainly because that's how he introduced himself, but still, it echoed mightily in my head. "Omigawd, it's an agent calling me!" followed closely by a heartfelt prayer that nobody flushes a toilet in the adjacent bathroom. Those things sound like jet engines, while simultaneously being completely obvious it's a toilet.

In any case, I knew a locker room was not the sort of place I'd be able to conduct any kind of useful conversation. I politely asked if I could give him a call back in a few minutes and took down his number with a shaking hand. And made really sure I had hit "end call" before I shrieked "That was a fucking agent on the phone!"

At which, all my friends still in the locker room laughed and said, "We knew it was important--you didn't sound at all like yourself." So I rushed to finish getting dressed and went out to my car, where a bit of phone tag ensued until we connected.

He had some great things to say about my book--how he loved the voice, thought the relationships were true to life-- and there was more but all the blood pounding in my head made some of the words sound like the teachers on a Peanuts special. But I felt like he really got my book, and my main character, which all joking aside is absolutely crucial.

And then we moved on to the compatibility portion of the conversation--or as he put it, seeing if our "crazy matches up". He asked why I had submitted to him specifically; I knew from his Twitter feed, and various online interviews, that he has a wicked sense of humor and is actively creative himself. His clients write some gritty, sexy, amazing stuff.

He had actually been on the top of my "agents to query" list, but when I started to send out Crow's Rest, he happened to be closed to submissions. Once I belatedly realized he was open again, I sent my query off with crossed fingers.

Sigh. If only I had said any of those fangirly things when he asked why I'd submitted to him, instead of getting flustered and blurting, "Um, I think your name came up during the LGBQT panel at the LA SCBWI conference last year?" Which is a pretty good reason, but not quite as personalized as he might have been looking for.

And yet, he overlooked it and offered me representation.

RTW: Downed Wood and Boulders

I've been parked on the side of the Road Trip Wednesday for awhile, but today's topic caught my eye and I'm in! Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors and followers post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on their blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic: Pictures that inspire your WIP

I have loads of pictures for Crow's Rest, but now that it's a finished book I suppose I'll have to feature some other work. I did a photo shoot a month ago for fall color, and there's one image that's really haunting me (click on it to see it larger).

Not fifty feet behind me was a road lined with cars and photographers, taking pictures of the aspens lining the roadway.

I followed a trickle of snow melt into this clearing of downed wood and boulders. So eerie and hushed, and lit like a stained glass window.

(If you've read The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, think Cabeswater of the Sierras)

So although I don't have an actual WIP inspired by this photo yet, I can feel a little sprout of something starting.

Feel free to put a link to your post in the comments if you played along with Road Trip Wednesday. Don't forget to go to the YA Highway post and read all the answers!

Crow Dreams

So as you might guess from the title, my book Crow's Rest features crows. (And some not-crows, too, but you'd have to read the book to get that reference).

In early October, I happened to be in Target, lured by their ad with a motion-activated crow Halloween decoration. They were out of those, but they did have this cool stuff:

I love the lanterns (with LED flickering candles) and will probably use those year round. And the  tablecloths!

The plan was to buy more plates, napkins, and serving bowls on clearance after Halloween, but they were out of a lot of that stuff by the time I got there (15 minutes after they opened on Nov. 1). I did find some really cool wall decals that I hadn't seen before, and I nabbed some of the crow's feet servers and snack bowls.

In my opinion, those crow decals were just what this wall needed:

Too bad they didn't like sticking to the textured wall and started to peel off almost immediately. But I do have mirrored closet doors in my office and I think they'll stick nicely there.

Even though I will get use out of these items in my home, what I really have in mind for them is to use at a book launch or book signing for Crow's Rest. Especially those tablecloths--so different! And even though an event is in the unknown future, I love feeling like the possibility is real by stockpiling this kind of stuff.

What about you? Do you have any "must-have" items in mind for when you do an in-person event for your book(s)? 

Bonus photo: My mom collects owls, and I have long since given in to enabling her addiction. This is the stuff I found for her while shopping the clearance aisles: