All posts tagged: books

How to Find an Agent in 4 Easy Steps

So here’s how to find an agent, as far as I’ve been able to piece together: Step 1: Write a book. No, don’t just start writing a book. Finish it. Revise it. Edit the hell out of it. Then start on the NEXT book, because this whole process is going to take a while. Keep writing while you search. Step 2: Craft an excellent query letter and send it out to agents who would be a good fit to your work. Step 3: … Step 4: Land an agent! Okay, okay, so I admit it:  I have no idea. Really, I don’t. I know the first two steps are important, but I haven’t a clue what step 3 looks like. The fun plot twist? I now have an agent. So I should know. Right? RIGHT? I find the whole thing especially funny because I’d pretty much given up on the idea of finding an agent. I have on several occasions described the process of landing an agent as being akin to trying to find a date …

Monsanto Wants Your Soul (book reviews)

Or, reviews of two dystopian novels: Karen Faris’s Grumbles the Novel, Part I: Take a Pill and Chuck Wendig’s Under the Empyrean Sky. (Note: I purchased both books, and was not asked to review them.) So a few weeks ago my business required me to do a fair bit of airplane travel. In a perfect world, that would mean five or six hours of solid writing, but coach airplane chairs are so small it’s almost impossible to do any real typing without smashing my elbow into the poor bastard sitting next to me. So instead I read a couple of books. In hindsight, I was amused to discover that I had unwittingly chosen books of a THEME, that theme being: GMOs are going to eat you. In both cases, literally. The first book I picked up was part 1 of Karen Faris’s Grumbles series. Now, I’m going to start with what I hated about this book: it’s not a complete novel, but ends just the story is starting to ramp up. Now, trilogies can be tricky …

Glamour Review (plus a sale!)

One of the books my publisher World Weaver Press recently published is called Glamour (written by Andrea Janes), and while on the surface the book is about witches, don’t let that fool you. It’s really about how power corrupts, the contrast between haves and have-nots, judging books by their covers, and the dangers of getting what you wish for (especially when it comes at someone else’s expense.) Good stuff, wonderfully written. Really the kind of work that deserves to be shared, so where I am, sharing it. So I wasn’t given an advance reader copy of this book but I actually went out and bought it myself. Because. (Okay, I liked the cover art.) I’m very glad I did. As Hannibal Lecter once asked: What do we covet, Clarice? Answer with me: we covet what we see every day. In this case, the ‘we’ is a young woman named Christina, who grew up in, lives, and works in a small Cape Cod resort town that might once have been the set of a Lovecraftian group of cultists, but now …

Reviews: Books on Writing

Over the holidays and into the new year, I’ve been reading two books on the craft of writing itself: Dwight Swain’s Techniques for the Selling Writer and Stephen King’s On Writing. Dwight Swain’s book is pretty old, a bit hard to find, and honestly I’d never heard of it before I started to wonder why YWriter (my program of choice of late for book writing) had some of the special features it does for action and reaction scenes and the like. I wasn’t quite sure what to think of Dwight Swain’s book at first: it’s pretty clearly meant for pulp writing and some of the advice seems better suited to short stories than novels. While Swain himself is quick to point out he is simply describing tools which may be used or discarded at will, some of his most fervent advocates take his advice nearly to the point of religious gospel. Despite this, it’s a terrifically meaty book, filled with some of the best advice I’ve ever seen on pacing and creating tension. One could …