Too-Small Blanket


Note: My feet are a little bigger than that^

My mind may be shrinking. I hope not. All I know for sure is that it currently feels like a too-small blanket.

I remember this one winter night when I crashed at a friend’s place. The amazing party and afterglow were followed by folks hunkering down and sleeping it off ’til morning. The hosts were [are] the magnificently odd artist-types that I love. You know–they forego creatures comforts like ‘heat’ in the Ohio wintertime so they can live solely on the income from their artistic endeavors. Once again, amazing folk, extending hospitality. (Within a freezing cold midwest loft.)

Curled up in a recliner with an electric lap blanket wrapped around me, I had the best accomodations. But you can only sleep in the fetal position for so long. Enter: the effort to stretch out. Bad idea. That poor little 3′ square blanket was cranked up to High and giving all it had to give. It wasn’t the little guy’s fault that I was twice as tall as it was long. Cramping and kinked, the too-short blanket saved me from frost-bite and hypothermia. As long as I kept myself wound into a tightly wrapped ball, my core body temp remained above freezing. That too-short blanket was my savior.

My mind is having a tough time wrapping around the things going on with Freeborn right now. It seems like, just yesterday, I was scribbling down those first few chapters. Now, after a small amount of well-placed effort, here are the current standings:

Freeborn Request Tally = 5
– 2 Agents with Full: Elana Roth, Michelle Witte
– 2 Agents with Partial: John Cusick, Tamar Rydzinski
– 1 Publisher with Partial: Month 9 Books
 
You never know how these things will turn out. All this really shows is that I intrigued these industry pros with my pitch. It says NOTHING about how the manuscript itself will be received. They could all stop reading at the second sentence and toss Freeborn into the “Dear Intern, Please send out my form rejection” pile.
 
Nevertheless, I continue to find myself bursting out in random fits of masculine, butch-like Squeeeeeees.
 
So what if my mind feels like a too-small blanket right now? I’ll take it. But I’m holding off on curling up into the fetal position. I’ll save that survival technique for the day the last rejection rolls in. No, scratch that! The thought is colder than a harsh Ohio winter. Instead, I’m gonna find a way to stretch this mind-blanket out. If all goes well, I’m gonna be needing an oversized quilt to keep me warm in the next stage of the process. Might as well get to yanking and pulling before it happens.
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Connecting the Virtual Dots


A lot has been popping with Freeborn. I’ll reiterate this from previous posts: I have not submitted a single query via the usual channels yet. In fact, I didn’t complete my last round of polishing until 1:30 this morning. A month ago, my plan was to complete the final edit, and then begin querying on my self-imposed deadline of 6/16/2012.

Alas, that plan was tweaked a bit by some amazing opportunities which sprang up between the tightly laid cobblestones of my proposed path to publication. If you walk away with nothing else from this blog post, then I ask you to consider the weight and importance of being active online and being involved with the personalities you meet there. The partials I have received have stemmed from those virtual relationships.

I received TWO partial requests for Freeborn yesterday.

  1. Via the YaLitChat YALitChat Pitch Slam2 Contest – A request for the first 50 pages from agent Tamar Rydzinski of Laura Dail Literary Agency.
  2. Via the Month9Books Facebook page – A request for the first 5 chapters from publisher Month 9 Books.  

I originally heard about the YaLitChat Pitch Slam2 contest from a Twitter friend. To trace that lineage back even further, she & I were both involved in the #WVTP contest. Afterwards, a group of us continued to message one another, connect via Facebook, and celebrate/share/whine about our writing endeavors. If this connection had not been made and sustained, the Tweet announcing Pitch Slam2 would have scrolled along, getting buried in the rolling feed. Because we had connected with one another, I took notice of the Tweet and followed up on the opportunity.

Here is the form the request took. [Pay attention to the name of the Moderator. You will be seeing it again shortly…]

 Reply by Georgia McBride 
Tamar would like to see your first 50 pages! Congratulations! Please email us at membership@yalitchat.org for submission instructions!

I’ll try to keep the circuitry of the Month 9 Books motherboard as sorted as possible. While on YALitChat, the ‘Chat’ window bleeped at me. I joined in a conversation with Brenda Drake and Georgia McBride. Brenda and I had originally connected through her Brenda Drake Writes blog months ago, and then we connected again as she served as hostess-with-the-mostest for the #WVTP contest. Georgia is the founder of the YALitChat site [along with a ton of other endeavors!] and we connected there. A week ago, she took the time to thank me for being active and helpful in the PS2 conversations on the site.

In the midst of discussing a concern I had regarding a specific element in my pitch, Brenda asked if I had pitched to Month 9 books. I scribbled the info on a post-it to investigate later and continued chatting. Later, I discovered that M9B is yet another of Georgia’s many endeavors–and Brenda’s publisher. At the time, I had no idea of either connection.

I found M9B’s website and started my research. First of all, I loved the publisher’s tagline: Speculative fiction for teens and tweens…where nothing is as it seems. As always when researching agents and publishers, I delved further. I checked out every aspect of the company including the basics, what they are looking for, current titles & authors, and quality of the book covers. What I found particularly interesting were the Publishers Marketplace announcements on the ‘News’ tab: 2 & 3-book deals, auctions, and an expanding staff roster.

With the confidence that M9B would make a perfect fit for Freeborn & its author, I followed a link to their Facebook Page and submitted my query. Within five minutes, I received this response in the form of a Comment:

Month9Books, LLC. I’ll bite. I’m looking for straight-up sci-fi. Please send first 5 chapters to submissions@month9books.com. Please polish and make sure the world-building is solid.

One more dot to throw in here to increase the connectivity a hundred-fold: Georgia is represented by the illustrious, aforementioned Tamar Rydzinski.

Is your mind scrambled? It took me a few takes to trace all the circuits.

So, what’s the point of this post? Other than the fact that I’m geeking out over a pair of requests on the same day?

Make and sustain meaningful online connections with others who share your passion.

Yeah, I know. It’s common sense and it has been said before. Maybe I have nothing to offer except a reiteration of the obvious. I’m totally okay with that, because I am seeing the importance of the simple truth being played out in my own experience. Don’t underestimate the power of seemingly ‘simple’ advice–and virtual relationships.