08. June 2007 · Comments Off on Slightly Accelerating Waltz · Categories: Ain't That America?, Domestic, General, Home Front, Veteran's Affairs, Working In A Salt Mine..., World

Kind of a scrambled week, overall: Saw William off to California after his long visit. T’was ever thus, just as I get accustomed to him being here, he is off again. Blondie started her summer term of classes, and my part-time employer is off and away most days showing properties… so I spent most of this week chained to a hot computer, metaphorically speaking, writing away. I’m well launched into the second book of the “Adelsverein” saga, or “Barsetshire with Cypress Trees”. Four chapters drafted, covering the lead-up to the Civil War, which here in Texas turned out to be more than usually interesting. Especially as not everyone bought enthusiastically into the noble gallantry of the Confederacy. I had a notion to stage a family wedding at the same time as the secession crisis came to a head in Texas, which will allow me to do a sort of “Duchess of Richmond’s Ball on the Eve of Waterloo” set-piece, all swirling crinoline and gallant men being called away to rejoin their militia units, while the women bravely wave their lacy handkerchiefs… oh, yeah. 19th century drama by the cart-load. Margaret Mitchell, eat your heart out!

The anticipation of writing this almost makes up for receiving another regretful rejection letter; this from the agency that wanted to review the first fifty pages of volume one , a detailed synopsis, a copy of my original query letter, a copy of their reply, etc…(and I think they wanted a small sample of belly-button lint. That would have been in the very small print at the bottom.). Their letter thanks me for sharing, and says that the story just doesn’t send them into the transports of excitement and enthusiasm that are necessary for them to take it on, blah-blah-blah, wishing me luck with another agent blah-blah-blah. I have enough of these letters in the last year to see the pattern forming; it’s one of the polite ways to say ‘no, thanks and while your book may or may not suck the paint off a Buick fender there’s a hundred like it on my desk every day and I can only pick one by some whimsical and mysterious process of personal taste and cross my fingers that you don’t get a deal somewhere else and I’ll look like a chump for having given a pass on a best-seller in case you save the damn letter’.

As you can see, I’ve gone lurking among some of the book publishing blogs lately… reconnoitering the territory, so to speak. What is really amusing is that the publishing and lit-agent bloggers insist that while there are piles of dreadful slush for them to wade through, in search of the potential pearls… those pearls do stand out! They gleam with a holy light, and the publishing world is just aching to discover them, and it’s not that hard to do! (Blow loud raspberry here.) I’d put more credence into that… if the so-called pearls thus discovered didn’t actually suck so badly themselves. If that’s the immediately obvious good stuff in the slush pile, the bad stuff must be so bad it’s toxic. Like Love Canal, Chernobyl or Michael Bay movie toxic.

Oh, well, hope still for me, anyway: another agent asked for the whole manuscript of “Adelsverein”. I am assured that the secret is to grab them in the first chapter; what could be more grabbing than a leading character escaping a massacre, I ask you?

In the meantime, while I await word from that agent, and any of the other agencies and publishers I have applied to, I am doing reviews for Blogger News Network… for the exposure (and to score free books and CDs!) and for a local monthly magazine of quite stupendous glossiness: also for the exposure and for what they pay, which is a tidy little sum. Not a fortune, but an amount well worth the time. I have proposed a handful of other article ideas for upcoming issues to the editor. I’ll hear which ones she would like me to pursue for publication towards the end of the month. I seem to be viewed with favor though being totally professional and ego-free as regards editing and rewriting on request. The essay on Hot Wells that I posted this week was the stuff that didn’t make it into the final draft. Blog material is not magazine materiel, but nothing goes to waste, as far as I am concerned. And one of my book reviews is actually now posted on the author’s website, along with a couple of reviews from the major media outlets; something to feel a little flattered about, even if it is for a book that is not yet published in the US.

Stay tuned… I am still taking donations, towards doing “Truckee’s Trail” in the fall, as a POD, and marketing it myself.

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