Monday, June 29, 2015

AGENT'S DAY! (2015)

Another great Agent's Day is here! 

It's been pretty dark here around Mt. Olympus. Sorry about that! Life. Gah! And I was crazy sick this Valentine's Day, which was just awful!

But I couldn't miss out on kicking off another fab Agent's Day. So go tell your agent or any agent that you feel deserves a big thanks how much you appreciate them today! Feel free to comment here on the blog--reading about agent's good deeds is always a good resource for writers looking for an agent.

Or feel free to move this party to Twitter, where it usually explodes. Use #AgentsDay to connect.

Before I leave it to all you wonderful peeps I wanted to give a big thanks to all the wonderful agents out there who do such great work and especially to my very own agent who is still the best! She's been especially patient with me lately. THANK YOU!! 

And thanks to all the writers. You guys rock! Keep up the good work!

<3 Cupid

Monday, June 23, 2014

Today is... AGENT'S DAY!!!! (#AgentsDay)

Ahhhh! Sorry this is posting late! Ugh! 

Today is Agent's Day! Today is Agent's Day!!!!!! 

I love Agent's Day! It's one of my favorite things here on the blog.

So what does that mean? It's just a special day to give a warm shout out to any agent that has helped you or impacted you somehow.

Maybe you love your agent or maybe you're looking for an agent and there was one that did something really awesome like give feedback on your manuscript or just had a great personality at a conference.

Doesn't matter what it is. Anything positive you want to share.

This is also a great opportunity for writers who are looking for agents to get to know them a little better through others' kind words.

So feel free to share your experience or give a holler here on the blog in the comments section or join us on Twitter under #AgentsDay. (Remember the "s"!)

And of course I want to say THANK YOU to my agent who is pretty much the best agent anyone could ask for! I wouldn't trade her for anything!!! You rock!!!!! :D

THANKS to all the agents for being awesome! We really appreciate all you do!


Friday, February 21, 2014

Blind Speed Dating - Wrap Up!

Woo! It's been a great Blind Speed Dating this year! I can't believe it's all wrapping up already. Although keep your eyes out for ADDITIONAL REQUESTS today from participating agents and maybe even some new agents!

Now, all the information you've been waiting for! Starting with…

Agent Identities REVEALED:

HC Star-Bellied Sneech - ANNIE BOMKE!!!!

HC Cherry Melon - LAURA BRADFORD!!!!

HC Venus De Milo - PAMELA HARTY!!!!

HC AgentAwesome - ANDREA SOMBERG!!!!

HC Agent Crossbow - JESSICA SINSHEIMER!!!!

HC Electric Bluegrass - CARLY WATTERS!!!!

HC Luna Lovegood - VICTORIA LOWES!!!!

HC KaBlam - ALI MCDONALD!!!!

HC Agent Crimson - OLGA FILINA!!!!


(BOUNCERS identities will only be revealed on their own accord.)


Submitting Info and Guidelines:

Please submit your requests to the agents following their sub info below. You also might want to check their websites for further sub guidelines. Their links are above, under their name.

IMPORTANT: If you received a full request and partial requests, please first submit to the agent who requested the full. One week after you send in the full, send in your partial(s) to those requesting agents. If you receive any additional requests after the contest, they may be submitted one week after your last winning agent receives your work. Partials are 100 pages.

*If you receive an OFFER OF REPRESENTATION, please be courteous and notify all interested agents before accepting. 


Annie Bomke (HC Star-Bellied Sneech): Email me at submissions(at)abliterary(dot)com with "Cupid's BSD Contest" somewhere in the subject line.

Laura Bradford (HC Cherry Melon): Email your submissions to laura(at)bradfordlit(dot)com with the material and a synopsis as attachments. Put "Blind Speed Dating Request" in the subject line along with the TITLE.

Pamela Harty (HC Venus De Milo): Email reqeusts to Submissions(at)KnightAgency(dot)net with "Blind Speed Dating Request" as subject.

Andrea Somberg (HC AgentAwesome): Send manuscripts to andrea(at)harveyklinger(dot)com as a word doc and put "Cupid's Blind Speed Dating Contest" in the subject line.

Jessica Sinsheimer (HC Agent Crossbow): Submit to Submissions(at)SarahJaneFreymann(dot)com with "Cupid's Literary Connection" in the subject line. Query in body of email, full manuscript and synopsis attached as word documents.

Carly Watters (HC Electric Bluegrass): Requests should be sent to query(at)psliterary(dot)com with the subject heading "Cupid's Literary Connection: BOOK TITLE". Material to be attached in a word doc.

Victoria Lowes (HC Luna Lovegood): Send submissions to lowesqueries(at)thebentagency(dot)com with the original query in the body of the email and #CLCBSD in the subject line.

Ali McDonald (HC KaBlam): Submit to alison(at)therightsfactory(dot)com with subject: CUPID CONTEST / TITLE.

Olga Filina (HC Agent Crimson): In the subject line include "Cupid Contest" and your name and the title. Query should include: genre, brief description of book, word count, bio, and contact info. Also include the submission history of the project (agents, small presses, etc.). Olga(at)therightsfactory(dot)com


If you have any questions on submitting, let me know.

WINNERS!

Here are the entries that received requests in the contest! And don't forget everyone, there will be ADDITIONAL REQUESTS coming in today!!!

#6 STILLVILLE (MG)
#8 MIDDLE SCHOOL MOBSTERS (MG)
#9 HALLOWEEN HIGH (MG)
#12 ELEGY (YA)
#13 A SEA OF HOLLOW HEARTS (YA)
#15 RESTORING CASEY (YA)
#16 RIFT RUNNERS (YA)
#17 STRANGE ATTRACTORS (YA)
#18 THE LONG ROAD HOME (YA)
#19 WHERE THERE IS DARK (YA)
#20 BLACKBALL (YA)
#21 FATE AND OTHER GAMES (YA)
#22 QUIVER (YA)
#23 TARNISHED (YA)
#24 DIVINE (YA)
#25 UNSEND (YA)
#27 DOUBLE MINDED (NA)
#29 THE LIST (NA)
#30 NOWHERE (A)
#31 REINVENTING REBECCA (A)
#35 THIRTY-TWO GOING ON SPINSTER (A)
#36 TEAL (A)
#38 ALWAYS; OR, THE PUNK ROCK OLD FOLKS' HOME (A)
#39 HUNGER: THE LIFE OF JIN (A)
#40 WAITING FOR EL GRECO (A)
#42 TEARS OF A PAINTER (A)
#43 PAST MISTAKES (A)

The Breakdown:

Laura Bradford: 13, 17, 21, 23, 30, 43  FULLS: 13, 25

Annie Bomkie: 12, 15, 19, 39, 40  FULLS: 12, 39

Pamela Harty: 15, 21, 25, 31, 35, 36

Jessica Sinsheimer: FULLS: 9, 27, 29

Carly Watters: 23, 25, 31, 42  FULLS: 21

Victoria Lowes: 13, 18, 20, 35, 36, 38  FULLS: 18, 35, 36

Ali McDonald: FULLS: 16, 19, 22, 24

Olga Filina: 6, 8, 12, 18, 24, 30, 40

Andrea Somberg: FULLS: 15, 21, 23, 36


CONGRATULATIONS EVERYONE!

Thanks again to everyone who participated in the contest: writers, Bouncers, and agents!!! It's been great!



Thursday, February 13, 2014

Blind Speed Dating - Agent Round!

Entries are up and agents could start reading to prepare for the agent round at any moment!

NO PUBLIC COMMENTS! PLEASE DO NOT COMMENT ON AN ENTRY UNLESS YOU ARE AN AGENT! Sorry guys! Trying to keep it clean and clear for our Honorary Cupids.

Arrows can start flying Monday morning at 12 pm noon EST! For a refresher on the rules and agents, read here.

If there is a error with your entry caused by Cupid, please email me! (Cupidslitconnection(at)yahoo(dot)com)

Here are the Honorary Cupid names the agents have chosen:

HC Star-Bellied Sneech
HC KaBLAM!
HC Electric Bluegrass
HC AgentAwesome
HC CherryMelon
HC Luna Lovegood
HC Venus De Milo
HC Agent Crossbow
HC Agent Crimson

Don't you love them! And remember, not even the agents will know who each other are until Friday!

Also on Friday, the agents can reveal themselves to make addition requests.

Thank you everyone! Good luck!


Blind Speed Dating #43 (A)

Title: PAST MISTAKES
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Word Count: 101, 000

Query:

Lindy Cameron, blight of her scattered family and former tenant of only the finest flophouses, is looking for a white-picket fence. Taking out her nose ring, strapping a muzzle over her smart mouth, and throwing on a fancy blazer helps her land a job, and even catches her the rarity of a friend.

But when Lindy’s mom is murdered, she inherits the family curse — a ghost who’s been eradicating the women of her bloodline for over a century. And he can’t wait to get his hands on Lindy. Again.

To salvage any chance of a dream-life, not to mention not dying, Lindy has to ditch this inheritance fast. Assistance comes in the form of a Samoan “southern belle,” Hanna Lee, and Sasha, a male psychic who smells faintly of cigarettes and reeks of sex appeal. With them steadfastly by her side Lindy reevaluates what her white-picket fence should really look like. But more pressing, if she can figure out what went wrong in the history books, she might save the family — and herself — by fixing her ancestor’s past mistakes.


First 250:

“I think this just made me vegetarian.” Lindy appraised the decapitated chicken dangling in her kitchen doorway. “Why’d you hang it from one leg?”

“I’m just following the picture, sugar.” Hanna Lee thumbed through the pages of the how-to guide and pointed a thick, brown finger to said picture.

Sure as shit, the ghost-be-gone arrangement looked right. Except that photo was taken in some Haitian voodoo hut, and Hanna Lee had rigged this up in a historical residence-turned-museum. 

Lindy stepped back from her own contribution to the madness—chalk etchings on the flagstone floor that extended out onto the covered back stoop. In the center of the circles and vaguely obscene shapes, a Hello Kitty cereal bowl balanced precariously on the threshold and was filling with chicken blood.

She grimaced at Hanna Lee’s handiwork. And here she’d thought this management job would herald a move toward normalcy. 

“That’s the last step.” Hanna Lee thwacked the book shut and used it to fan herself as she teetered atop her stool at the butcher block counter.


She wiped at mascara that had started to sweat off. The eyeliner stayed in place though, and from what Lindy could tell, both that and Hanna Lee’s dark pink lip-liner had been tattooed on during a teenage chola phase. Based on the tribal ink hidden by the ankle socks on her plump feet, Lindy was pretty sure her boss was Samoan. Regardless of the past, when they’d met, Hanna Lee was fully entrenched in Southern-sass as if she’d been raised on the teat of Tara itself. 

Blind Speed Dating #42 (A)

Title: TEARS OF A PAINTER
Gernre: Women's Fiction
Word Count: 100,000

Query:

In TEARS OF A PAINTER, the artist, Anna Bontine, tells the heartbreaking sacrifice of how her dream, to have her paintings hanging in the galleries of London, becomes a reality.  If you were to ask me, Anna says, of the most beautiful thing I’ve ever encountered, I would tell you of Erek’s goodbye kisses, they were different from any other.  And his eyes.  Yes, his eyes.  And if your were to ask me, she continues, what of hell, have you seen it?  I would tell you of six children, eyes hollow, dressed in a soldier’s garb, holding kalashnikovs across their hearts.  And then, say you asked me, what of bravery, tell me a story of bravery?  I will remember Mark.

Anna begins her story when she a girl living in the idyllic coastal town of Mombasa.  She tells about the day at the Baobab tree when her best friend Mark mysteriously becomes the meanest person she has ever met.  We see how, when she is seven, her father’s car crashes into a truck on an unlit road.  Anna tries everything to soothe her mother’s grief and becomes the perfect little girl.  Slowly her artistic liveliness begins to fade.

But when Anna is twenty-four, she meets the war photographer Erek Sorenson.  Erek's air of uninhibited adventure and freedom captivates Anna.  He mirrors what she desperately longs to find in herself.  Then, Rwanda breaks out into one of the most brutal genocides in modern history.   In its aftermath, Anna, inspired by Erek's daring, travels to Rwanda.  There she gets entangled in the dangerous politics of war photography which costs her everything she has ever believed in.

Like my character Anna Bontine, I too grew up in East Africa and visited Rwanda in the aftermath of the genocide.  I use this firsthand experience to bring the story’s backdrop to life.

First 250:

There was a mango tree in Mark’s garden which, in the right months, somewhere between November and April, gave us the sweetest, juiciest mangoes.  They were a blushing green on the outside, and when opened, the flesh, a pure cadmium yellow.  And what a relish to eat!  If I was lucky enough to get away with it, I would knock one straight off the branch, charge to the back quarters where Saidi the houseboy lived, and ask his wife to cut it open for me.  And I would eat the mango, its sticky nectar dripping down my fingers, down my elbows, puddling on the slabs below.  Or sometimes I simply ran with two in hand to the far corner of the fence, where the ferns grew thickest, and squatted behind the screen of leaves.  I’d rip the skin with my teeth and chew and suck until only the fibrous seeds remained.

But whenever Mark’s mother found me under the mango tree, a stick or stone in hand, she’d shoo me away.  “Saidi bought mangoes from the market.  Come inside - he’ll be happy to cut you one," she would say.  And Saidi would serve them on a plate, cut up into neat little squares, the matching dessert fork by its side.  

One day, Mark caught me with Saidi’s family in the servant’s quarters, my face buried in a mango cheek. 

"I'm going to tell on you," he said; he was ten. 

"Please don't," I begged.  I was barely eight.

"Okay, then let me pull your hair."

Blind Speed Dating #41 (A)

Title: THE NAMELESS WARRIOR
Genre: ADULT FANTASY
Word Count: 122,000

Query:

As the last living descendants of the ancient War God, Kindra Odion inherited his skill with weapons, and her sister inherited his wings. After their father's suspicious death eight summers ago, Kindra trained to become her tribe’s first woman warrior, and her sister to become a priestess. Although Kindra completes the whipping ceremony to make a blood-bond with the tribe, the War God fails to send the chief a vision of her warrior name. A warrior with a weak name—or no name at all—isn’t a true warrior in the eyes of the tribe. Kindra’s determined to earn her name in battle, but her plans change when the enemy Obsidian tribe claims her sister as restitution for the last war. To Kindra’s horror, the new chief, Oak, allows them to take her sister.

When Kindra tries to follow, she's beaten unconscious at Oak's command. As she recovers, rumors resurface claiming it was Oak who murdered her father and sold her sister to the enemy. That it was Oak—not the War God—who refused to grant her a warrior name. Kindra didn’t believe the rumors in the past, but she begins to doubt the chief.

When the Obsidian chief provides evidence that the rumors are true, it threatens to fracture her tribe and place it in his control. As the last Odion warrior, Kindra’s the only one who can depose Oak and save her tribe, but it will mean giving up the quest to rescue her sister, and the hope of ever becoming a named warrior.

First 250:

Beads of sweat trickled down Kindra Odion’s spine as she sat in the vision tent. The fire had burned to coals. The long white dress of the High Priestess swished softly as she made her rounds, whispering prayers as she walked with measured steps between the warrior inductees, blessing their foreheads with oil-soaked fingers. Kindra’s twin sister, Kaye, followed with a clay pitcher of vision wine.

The High Priestess dipped her fingers in the bowl, placed them on Kindra’s forehead, and whispered her blessing. “May Eoin recognize your spirit and welcome it as His own. May He bless you with courage in battle, strength to defeat your enemies, and wisdom to know when the fight is finished.”

Kindra bowed her head and the woman moved on. Kaye stepped into her place and handed Kindra the pitcher. “May Eoin bless you with a vision of victory,” she said with a small smile. The words were the same she said to all of the inductees, but the smile was for her alone.

Kindra returned the smile and tipped the pitcher back, swallowing the bitter wine. It ignited a fire in her stomach—the fire of Eoin’s spirit—and her arms and legs began to tingle.


Kaye moved on and Kindra stared at the coals, waiting for the wine’s full effect. Outside, the new moon symbolized the death of their childhood. Tomorrow they would be whipped to prove their strength and mark them as Eoin’s chosen protectors. Warriors. Kindra would be the first woman chosen in the tribe’s existence.

Blind Speed Dating #40 (A)

Title: WAITING FOR EL GRECO
Genre: Literary Fiction - Short Story Collection
Word Count: 75,000

Query:

An American woman betrays her brother only to lose him to a Taliban bullet, then must confront her demons during a vacation in Morocco.  A decadent Spanish aristocrat seduces a naïve American and tricks him - almost - into helping her fence an El Greco of dubious provenance.  A grieving woman faces down her jealousy and enlists her late husband's lover to help scatter his ashes at sea.  An autistic boy, neglected by his parents, takes matters (and an aircraft) into his own hands.

The stories in “Waiting for El Greco” take us from Morocco to Madrid, from Colorado to Chongqing, from the Chilean backlands to Appalachia.  The fusion of exotic locations with brisk plotting and deeply felt human conflict led master storyteller Jim Shepard (“Love and Hydrogen,” “You Think That’s Bad”) to call my writing "arrestingly good."  Among the stories are the winner of the 2013 Nelligan Prize, a runner-up for the 2013 Nelson Algren Award, a Pushcart nominee, and a Glimmer Train honorable mention.

My work has appeared in the Bellevue Literary Review, Colorado Review, Printers Row Journal, In Digest, and Cobalt Review, and has been produced theatrically in both Chicago and Denver. I am currently completing a novel and continue to publish stories.  


First 250:

In July, seven months to the day after her brother’s death, they arrive in Merzouga, Morocco, gateway to the dune sea of Erg Chebbi.  The trip is meant to be a healing interlude, a brief escape; by immersing her in this place of exotic sights and sounds he’s hoped to give her a short respite from her grief.  But everything has gone wrong—a missed connection in Frankfurt, his billfold stolen in a Casablanca hamam, a bout of diarrhea that kept them from enjoying the lavish riad in Essaouira.  The grinding logistics of travel have steadily overwhelmed their interest in their surroundings.  Now, in the sand-blown streets of this tenuous Saharan town, its mud-brick houses strung together with exposed electrical wires, they have lost the energy to keep talking.  For an hour they've walked in the killing heat without exchanging a word.  Even the effort of silence is draining.  


They pass a horse cart carrying four women in black burkhas, jumbled against one another like quarry rocks.  Earlier in the trip they would have taken a furtive snapshot of the scene, but it no longer matters.  The bucking road trip from Erfoud has defeated them, and the heat that permeates everything, and the extreme dryness of the air, and the blackflies that seek out the eyes for the meager moisture they offer.  Eventually they head back to the hotel, shut themselves in their spartan room with the clattering air conditioner turned high, and fall asleep in their separate beds. 

Blind Speed Dating #39 (A)

Title: HUNGER: THE LIFE OF JIN
GENRE: Adult Literary
Word Count: 73000

Query:

Born with a strange, voracious hunger, Jin has eaten his family out of house and home, leaving them impoverished. But no matter how much he devours, his hunger remains.

Jin journeys to the Kitchen God's home in the Yandang Mountains. Intrigued with his unearthly appetite, the Kitchen God rewards Jin, his new disciple, with the gift of cooking the most delicious food in the world. Jin falls in love with Zhaohui, the Kitchen God's daughter, and they journey to the glittering city of Shanghai. But Jin's wonderful gift does more than bring him good fortune. His newfound prosperity draws the attention of the Green Gang, a criminal organization, which demands Jin's life to repay the blood debt his late father incurred. Jin's only choice is to run and to leave what he holds most precious behind.

Jin travels from the corrupt city of Shanghai to the shores of the Philippines searching for a new life. In a new land, he struggles to cope with a crippling depression that robs him of his ability to cook. Without the capacity to create dishes that sing on the tongue and senses, Jin loses his identity. He journeys to find it again in the one place it has always rested: the mastery of the kitchen.

Jin must find the strength to trust in his talents and overcome his painful past. If he doesn't, he will never relearn the language of food, and without that, he will have nothing else to live for.

First 250:

A fortuneteller foretold Mei's fate but her mother-in-law sealed it. Mei lowered her gaze and fanned herself, keeping the sweltering heat at bay. Her pregnancy was almost at an end, the baby was sure to come any day now.

“Did you drink the tea before we left?” her mother-in-law asked. Drinking the vile concoction was part of Mei's penance for failing to provide the Tan family with a son.

“Yes.”

Inside the rickshaw carriage, her skeletal mother-in-law stared at Mei's distended belly. The tea had been taken too late and would not affect the sex of the baby. No doubt Mei was full of ill luck. 

Three daughters and still no sons. If not for her considerable dowry, her husband would have taken a concubine by now. Dowry or not, this marriage was cursed because the family line must continue, with or without Mei's womb.

The wheels bounced along the dirt road, rattling the passengers inside. Mei played with the wooden fan's tassel on her lap while the older woman stared off into the distance. When conversations were disguised as forms of condescending guidance, Mei welcomed the silence.

The distance and the farm fields swallowed the two-story family compound before giving way to the stilted village with its slanted, tiled roofs. The fluttering of Mei's sandalwood fan attempted to mask the scent of the seaside fish market. The summer heat simmered the rotting fish and exposed human refuse into a pungent boil. Her mother-in-law pinched her nostrils and muttered under her breath.

Blind Speed Dating #38 (A)

Entry removed by author's request.

Blind Speed Dating #37 (A)

Title: INCOGNOLIO
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Word Count: 53,000

Query:

He starts with just a title—Incognolio. Determined to exorcise his inner demons, Muldoon embarks on a new novel by giving his subconscious mind free rein. But the bizarre fictional world he enters embroils him in a series of adventures that plunge him into ever-deepening anguish. Soon he can't tell whether he's writing a story in which his stillborn twin sister has come to life, or he is the one who died at birth and it's his sister who is writing the novel. As he blunders his way through the bewildering maze of this twisted tale, Muldoon must unravel the mystery of Incognolio, or die trying.

As you can see, this novel is nearly impossible to summarize. That's because the plotline is circuitous, following subterranean channels that often defy logic. Far more important than the intricacies of the plot is the way the story is told, which is designed to produce hilarity and astonishment, and to induce an altered consciousness of reality.


First 250:

CHAPTER WON
Churn the Weasel

Without a killer opening line you’re screwed, let’s face it, since the tone and promise of the entire story depend on this sentence, add to that the fact most readers these days have the attention span of a hummingbird on crack, so unless you start things off with a bang you’re dead in the water, especially if you’re going to insist on resorting to worn-out clichés like dead in the water and worn-out clichés, relying on humor and wit to distract the reader from your second-rate prose.

Prose, let’s be honest, that remains mediocre despite years of practice, the narrative rhythm out of sync, the sense of composition askew, the sentences droning on and on ad nauseam—a phrase so overused it makes you want to puke—something with which you’ve had all too much experience lately, drinking most nights to the point of vomitous discharge.

And the concussion surely didn’t help.


The run-on sentences are a symptom of your brain injury, as are the deficits in planning, organization, and decision making, leaving you wondering whether you can even execute a coherent novel, since you’re now incapable of constructing what most people expect from a plot, so the best you can do is make up the story as you go along, placing your trust in your pinwheeling subconscious mind.