Saturday, August 29, 2015

SlushPile Hell

Thought y'all would get a kick out of this, since the conference is coming up and we'll be coming face to face with agents and editors. SlushPile Hell gives us a glimpse into the world agents (and probably editors) wake up to daily. Here are a few of my favorites:

May 28:

I would like to submit both my screenplay, short screenplay, animation/children’s screenplay, teleplay, travel series, novel, and memoir for your consideration.

Okay, you talked me into it. Send them all to me. In a big box.

June 8:

I have written a 2,500 word novel.

Actually, you’ve written a pamphlet.

June 11:

Hello. I’ve queried more than 50 other agents with this and have gotten nowhere. Now I’m querying you.

You had me at hello.

June 16:

Greetings agent. I have written the most important book on earth.

Will someone, for the love of God, please kill me.

June 20:

My 318,000 word novel may seem like it starts a little slow, but after the first 100 pages or so it really picks up steam, so I hope you will be patient and not be distracted.

Hey, a SQUIRREL! Cool….Oh, hang on. what were you saying?

June 26:

I hope this submission leaves you in a condition of uncontrolled and irreversible “wow.”

Last time I was in that condition I spent the next day in a Mexican jail.

July 9:

To the crazy-eyed writer who showed up at my office today in a Ford Econoline van with a Red-Bull-stained manuscript in your hands: Thank you for not killing me.

July 14:

I have the first 5 chapters written. I know first-time novelists are supposed to present a finished work, but I think it would end up a much better piece for having had an editor’s guidance during the last draft. He, in turn, would have an excuse to ask for a reduced price.

Brilliant! Or wait, better yet, you should write just one page, let the editor finish writing it for you, and he can buy it for almost nothing. Then I, as your humble servant, shall be KING OF ALL THE AGENTS!

July 26:

I have attached a copy of a letter I recently sent to Oprah about my book. She ends her show in September 2011, which leaves little time to select an agent.
Finally! An author who understands the importance of Oprah and has a no-fail plan for getting on her show.

July 29:

Dear Madam/Mister,…

Sorry, I prefer to go by Mister Madam.

August 3:

Publishing Tip of the Day!

5 things you may not want to say to an agent at a writers’ conference:

“You look a lot thinner on your web site.”

“How are your kids doing? It was so cute how they surprised you with waffles for breakfast last Saturday. At least I think it was waffles, it was hard to tell from outside your window.”

“Is it true that agents are just frustrated writers?”

“You know, you and I are the same blood type.”

“I’d like to share an important message with you from the Book of Mormon.”

August 9:

Please consider my memoir….I know that my family and friends will, without reservation, pay at least $19.95 to make sure they have not been unfairly exposed or defamed.

Eureka! A brilliant new marketing angle! Publishers, take note: henceforth please be certain to include these taglines on all memoir covers, “Are you sure you haven’t been slandered in this memoir? Isn’t the cost of this book a small price to pay for your peace of mind?”

August 12:

I am not the “author” per se, of this book. I was merely the spiritual channel.

‘Nuff said.

August 23:

With all due respect, please keep in mind that I am hiring an agent, not applying for a job, and I do insist on keeping a certain amount of mystery surrounding myself for my own protection.

And don’t forget to wear your aluminum foil hat to protect yourself from the government’s mind control signals.

August 25:

Today is your opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a promising young author’s career. Today is your chance to be the one who lights the wick on the bottle rocket that will carry my name into the upper echelon and today is your chance to grab a ticket on that ride.

No, after reading this, I think that today is the day to take my drinking to a whole new level.

August 27:

This is my humble attempt to interest you in my book.

Doesn’t the fact that you drew attention to the word humble by underlining and italicizing it sort of invalidate the whole humility thing?

August 30:

Every agent I’ve encountered thus far has been a complete idiot. Let’s see if you can prove you’re different by representing me and my book.

Stop. Your seductive charm is making me feel woozy.

Agents get to have all the fun, don't they?!


September: Plotting Your Writing Career

Featured Author: Harper Lee

September 3rd -- WRITE-IN (at the home of Annette O'Hare) 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

September 12th -- MEETING:  Alena Tauriainen: Conference Prep (2nd Saturday due to national conference)

September 17-20 - 2015 -- ANNUAL ACFW CONFERENCE in Dallas, TX 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Winner, Winner!

Congratulations to the winners of our 2nd annual 
Storming the Short Story Contest!

1st place Speculative

The Confession by Kathrese McKee

1st place Contemporary

Dancing Hands by Derinda Babcock

1st place Romance

When I'm Gone by Angela K Couch

Also invited to be in anthology:

Night Dance by Gretchen Engel
The Dance of the Light Brigade by Steve Hooley
Fred and Ginger by Steve Hooley
Teething Troubles by Elizabeth Pina
Last Waltz by Toby Quirk
Dancing in the Rain by Marion Ueckermann

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Did You Miss It?

If you weren't at the meeting last Saturday, you missed some serious silliness. Donna Pyle delivered a wonderful speech about giving speeches, at times making us laugh hard enough to spew food. I'll never forget her story about finding a scorpion in her vehicle. Pres. Janice had some fun tales to tell too--as always. Our meetings are nothing if not fun.

But, back to the Donna's talk. Here are some of the points she made:

  1. Put your audience at ease
  2. Include humor
  3. Structure your topic
  4. Create memorable moments
  5. Evoke emotion
  6. Include personal stories
  7. Have a power-packed conclusion
  8. Consider your appearance
And the biggie: Respect the platform you've been given.

Janice supplied a write-up about public speaking, also. You can find it on our FB page. 


August 31: Short story winners will be announced

September 3: Write-in at Linda Kozar's house

September 12 is our meeting day at Lupe Tortilla, featuring Alena Taurainen who will be speaking about conference prep. THIS DATE IS A WEEK EARLIER because of the ACFW Conference, September 17-20.

Monday, August 10, 2015

WOTS welcomes Donna Pyle!

Since launching Artesian Ministries in 2007, Donna has authored numerous Bible studies and traveled throughout the U.S. and internationally to teach from Scripture. She has published two books through Concordia Publishing House: Quenched: Christ’s Living Water for a Thirsty Soul and The God of All Comfort. She has authored/recorded two DVD Bible study series  in partnership with LWML: “Overflowing Abundance” (based on Jesus feeding the 5,000) and “Your Strong Suit” (based on the armor of God). The LWML has published the “Donna Pyle Bible Study Series,” which includes eight different downloadable Bible studies for individual or small group study, and “A Sparrow’s Worth,” a devotional journal exploring a woman’s value in Christ.

Donna enjoys blogging about faith-based issues and interacting on social media. She is a member of Salem Lutheran Church in Tomball, TX where she serves on the worship team. She is a passionate supporter of Love146, which seeks to end child trafficking and exploitation.

Donna is a native, life-long Texan and fuels her creativity with Chick-Fil-A®, Twizzlers®, coffee and chocolate. She enjoys digging for the treasures in Scripture, writing, traveling, spending time with family and friends and torturing her cats with feather toys.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Take Time to Look Up


Midmorning yesterday, the sun broke through the clouds and trees to kiss our pond.

Yesterday afternoon, a male cardinal cracked the shells of sunflower seeds and fed his wife.

Yesterday evening, bluebirds and sparrows bathed and preened, ruffling wet feathers to blow-dry in the breeze.

Last night, fireflies pricked the shadows of the deep woods.

Early this morning, deer darted away from the threat of the opening curtains.

Right now, pink clouds race against an unsettled sky, and the emerald forest waves goodbye to each wind-gust blowing through.

And I looked up from my manuscript, from Facebook, from my inexhaustible list of emails long enough to catch sight of real life in action.