Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Reader

What makes someone a voracious reader? What makes a child one? Personally, many of my childhood memories include carrying around a book I was reading. I loved the book fair at school the way others loved ice cream on a hot day. I was always a reader. Still am.

So what makes a kid pick up a book, get sucked into the vortex of the world, and not want to come up for air until he's gobbled up every word like a human reading vacuum? Is it character? Plot? Humor? Are they relating to real life situations much like their own? Or do they want to find a place to escape to so they can turn off the activities, the homework, the bullying, the noise of their parents?

When did you become a reader? How about the child in your life? Or maybe you don't read much more than the fliers in the Sunday paper and this blog, of course. Tell us what makes you dive into a book and ask the kids around you. I want to know what makes them read too.

Talk to you later...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Finding an Agent

I'm on a quest to find an agent for my thriller novel, Don't Play With Fire. For those of you who have done this you know what a daunting task it is. I've made my list of at least a hundred agents and from there I begin reading over their websites, provided they have one, to make sure their agency is a good fit for me.

One of the items I check out is the list of clients. If I don't happen to already know of a specific thriller writer represented by this group I want to make sure my style writing would be what they're looking for. Simple enough, right? Not always.

Many agents represent numerous clients. That's a good sign, however, the very last thing I want to do is click on each and every client's name to read about them. First off, why doesn't every agency list their clients in order by genre?  They make such a stink about authors doing their research before they query. "Don't waste anyone's time, blah, blah, blah." But they're wasting my time by not categorizing their clients.

Faced with an enormous list of names in alphabetical order, I hover my mouse over each one and click. Hoping to find out what kind of books this person is blessed enough to have other people purchase from them. Do I find this information in a neat, concise paragraph? What do you think?

Nope. Well, I'm exagerating. Sometimes I get lucky. Most times instead of telling me what types of books they write the authors go on and on about how they became a writer, or that they wanted to be a writer most of their lives, what kinds of books they read as a child, how many pets they own, the number of children running around under foot, and where they live. Guess what? I don't care! Just tell me what kind of book you write so I can decide whether or not your agency is a fit for me.

Simple, Neat, Concise. In other words, get to the point! And why doesn't the agency say, "Gee, Miss/Mr. Author, that's all very nice and sweet that fluffy sits in your lap while you pound away at your outdated manual type writer, but you're running off at the mouth." Save that stuff for your jacket cover.

Authors do run off at the mouth. I'm doing it now! But I can, because this is my blog. I'll tell you what, when I finally get a chance to write a cute paragraph for my agent's website I will not tell you how many pets I own (none), that I wanted to be a writer since I was seven, or that I had the chance to sit at Ernest Hemingway's typewriter. I'll just say: Supernatural Thriller Novels. Fantasy/Thriller YA/Middle grade novels. Awesome agent! What else is there?

Talk to you later...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Missed Opportunities

Recently, my family and I were vacationing in the Florida Keys. We had a great time. Sunny and eighty every day. A blessed experience. But I noticed something and it bothered me. A lot.

More than once I saw a parent sitting with its child and the parent's head was buried in their phone! We had stopped at a local ice cream shop (I had the gelato, yum!) and a father and son were sitting at a table. The young boy, no more than twelve, was eating his ice cream and the father tapped, tapped tapped on his dumb phone! I wanted to go up to the dad, tap on his shoulder and say, "hey, buddy, this might be a good time to talk with your son!" I never understood those commercials telling parents the right times to talk to their kids about drugs. I watch them and think, "what moron doesn't know the best time to talk to their kids?" Imagine me smacking my head in the ice cream store and going, "Now I get it!"

I also watched a mother so engrossed in her game of solitaire she didn't bother to look up and witness her children roasting marshmallows at a bonfire. Sad. Really sad.

It goes on all the time. People who aren't present for the ones they're with because the phone is beeping with what might be someone way more important. What message are we sending?

Not every behavior is okay and I don't think texting and checking emails when you're in the company of others is good behavior. The children are watching and they will do exactly what they see mom and dad do. It doesn't matter how many times you tell them to get off the video games if you're doing it from your Blackberry!

Put your devices down, people! Enjoy the moment that you're in because it won't last and you'll be wondering what happened to that sweet little boy or girl who ate ice cream and toasted marshmallows. They will become sullen, insecure adults the rest of us have to put up with. So do us all a favor and don't miss the opportunity to be present with your children.

Talk to you later...