Surrey, Janet Reid and other things that make me happy.

Well, I have to say that was a chore and a relief.

I have the contest entry sent off to Surrey. The entry for Jack Whyte’s workshop is sent and the entry for Janet Reid’s workshop is sent. They are both at the same time, but since entrants to Jack’s workshop is limited to twelve, the chances of me getting in are very slim. Even so, a person never knows until they try. Having said that, I think Janet’s workshop would do me more good, but I am going to copy notes from someone else if I don’t get to take it. Plus, I plan on taking some of her other workshops.

I polished the query, added a bit after reading Nathan Bransford’s take on query length. Mine was a little short.

Here is Janet’s workshop. Doesn’t it sound just luscious?

Here is Jack Whyte’s class. Since I decided this year I am going to get serious about writing, that meant I was going to dissect my darlings and learn how to put them together much more effectively. Minor characters don’t seem like a big deal, but they are part of the package that takes a work from all right to great.

That last master workshop I am taking will be this one. The tornado effect with Donald Maass.

I have an appointment with Paul Stevens on Friday at 11:30. I will slip out of my morning class to pitch to him. How can you not love a guy who wears plaid? I normally would not speak to an editor, but his background is just too perfect for TISD.

My Blue Pencil Café appointment is with Bob Mayer. Yes, I am excited, but nervous about both. I normally feel more comfortable in a situation like this with women, but these guys were ideal for my needs.

Classes for Friday I am taking are Write the Good Fight., Grabbing the Reader. and this workshop with Diana Gabaldon. This may be one of these theories that is beyond my comprehension. I know I certainly don’t do this consciously, but perhaps I should.

Saturday is another treasure trove.

Historical Writing or Prescriptions for Plodding Plots.

Afternoon is Combining genres.

Late afternoon is Write a blockbuster or SIWC Idol. Idol is a little daunting, so I’m probably going to just pump other people for clues.

Sunday morning is Military writers and Pro-tips.

Of course, if I run into a friend who is going to sit in on one class and I can grab another then we swap notes, this could change.

In any event, it is going to be an awesome opportunity. Frosting on the cake will be meeting all the people I have known for years on the Writers’ Forum.

Now, while I am on a high, I’m going to spill my guts about Janet Reid. It’s my blog and fairly unknown so I can do that. I had hoped to get an appointment with her, but she is one of the more popular speakers, obviously. Paul Stevens and Bob Mayer were definitely top of the lists for me so it’s all good in the hood.

Beth Shope recommended I check out Janet’s blog. (I’m going to refer to her by first name even though southern manners insist I refer to her as Miss Reid or at least Miss Janet. No, marital status doesn’t matter. Sort of like Driving Miss Daisy.)

I have a lot of respect for her. She’s tough, knowledgeable and I truly believe she would go down fighting for you if she believed in you. I could live without her slithery assistant, but he’s a fuzzy snake, so I can tolerate him. Besides, the chances of me going to New York are slim and none.

Here is what might come as a surprise. I might be totally off base here, but I don’t think I am. I’m normally a decent judge of character even though I do tend to be too trusting. Janet comes off as fairly gruff and hard-bitten at times, but there’s a real soft spot for writers.

What? Janet soft on writers?

Nope, didn’t say that. I said she had a soft spot for them. Look at her query shark. Yes, she chews them up and spits them out, but what she points out is stuff they and we need to know. Getting back a, “I wish you the best with this,” rejection doesn’t tell us a thing except no.

If we are truly serious about not only writing, but also getting published, we need these hard truths. We need to push harder and get that manuscript shining. We have to search every single word in that query and make sure it works. We can go to a site like hers and search back through the archives to see what works and what doesn’t work. We can learn. The wisdom is there if we just partake of it.

I’m pretty sure she doesn’t need more queries pouring in, so she isn’t trying to give us these lessons because she needs the business. She loves publishing and the authors who create the stories.

So, anyway, here is what tickles me about her. Have you ever noticed how excited she gets about a query she loves or a new manuscript she fell for? She’s like a kitten chasing butterflies in a yarn factory. How can you not smile when she is completely surrounded by happiness? Her enthusiasm for the business is infectious. I love that. I love to see agents and editors who are still in love with the business.

Aside from that, she has a wicked sense of humor and likes cowboys. She obviously appreciates the finer things in life.

I wish she was more enthusiastic about fantasy. You can bet I would be adding her to the agent herd. How could you lose with a saucy agent like that going to battle for you?

To top it all off, I had lunch with Laura and baby Samantha today. Samantha is four months old now and her hair is far past her shoulders. It’s amazing. She was such a good baby and smiled through lunch. I thought her hair was going to be auburn and it may still be, but it’s much lighter now. Such a joy to be able to spend some time with her.

So, yes, this was a good day.


  1. Oh, yes. This conference is going to be awesome.

    The lunch break was great. Unfortunately, I gained three pounds in one day. How does that happen? You starve yourself and work out to lose two pounds and gain three in one day.

  2. I have to agree with you about Janet. She doesn’t rep inspirational but I keep her blog close by because I can tell that she’s feisty but kind. I think you’re right on about her and hope you get to meet her in person.
    There’s a strange lack of pics for her, did you know that?

  3. There’s a strange lack of pics for her, did you know that?

    Yep, I noticed that. I haven’t run across any.

    Jessica, my editor at the magazine writes inspirational also. I ran across an agent who really impressed me the other day. I thought about Diane when I read about this agent. I’ll send you some information on her when I find her again.

  4. Oh, Tony, I have to weigh daily. Even a small loss encourages me to keep at it. A gain is frustrating, but it does come back off.

    It would help if I got back to the gym, but I’ve been trying to get this writing caught up.

  5. Tony, unfortunately, my husband has all the horses now. Once the dust settles and Will is back from Iraq, I will find a home in the country and get another horse.

    As for cowboys, I admire them from a distance. Been there, done that, bought the tee-shirt.

    We’ve been getting rain this week, but nothing bad. Rain is always welcome in West Texas.

  6. There is a picture of me on the dead guy blog
    The fact that it looks like Gertrude Stein should not lead you astray.

    And let’s dispel those rumors about nice, right here and now. I’ve been crabby as hell since that house fell on my sister and that bitch from Kansas stole my shoes.


  7. Eep! Got caught.

    So, that really is you. I love your fashion sense, practical and yet dramatic.

    Sorry, Janet. The truth is already out. Brush your fangs all you want, we’ve already figured it out.

    As for being in a crappy mood about the house falling on your sister and someone stealing your ruby slippers, well, that would put anyone in a bad mood. Unless you dropped the house on your sister, of course.

    Look at the bright side, I’m sure it would make a fabulous memoir should you choose to write it.

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