Sunday, December 31, 2006

Courtroom Quotations

From the mouths of . . . You fill in the blank. At least when you say something stupid at work or at home people may not remember what you said. In the courtroom, you don't have that luxury. You have a court reporter.

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Totally Absurd Inventions

Creative types can be so entertaining in the early stage of developing an idea. Many of the absurd inventions fall into this category. Maybe if they pursued another draft or two, their inventions would be anything but absurd.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

This site contains links to the macabre and weird that have occurred in a specific area of the country. On the home page, visitors click on a state then city contained in a list, which brings surfers to the oddity that had occurred in that location: from hauntings to UFO sightings, etc.. Great for story ideas, as well as just a fun place to lurk if you enjoy learning about things that go bump in the night. I'm not talking about headboard knocking. There are other sites for that.

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Home page link:

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Classic Short Stories

Found this website that lists links to many classic short stories. Hence, the title of the website: Classic Short Stories.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

All About Forensic Psychology

Another great website. That is, if this is your cup of poison.

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Psychic Detectives

This is a website definitely worth visiting if you are an armchair detective like me.

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Friday, December 15, 2006


Stumbled onto this website while doing research on my book. I'm hoping it is a joke but not sure. The subtitle on the site is: Hitman - The most trusted name in professional killings! You be the judge if this is the real thing or not. Scary . . .

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Turning Book Signings Into Profit Centers

An informative article on how to increase book sales at book signings.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Author Courts Book Clubs And Boosts Sales, Romance Novelist John Shors Makes Personal Calls And Visits To Book Clubs - CBS News

John Shors, author of "Beneath A Marble Sky," a romantic novel, boosts book sales by speaking at book clubs. Shors proves that a little innovation can go a long way.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Monday, October 02, 2006

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Backspace-- The Writer's Place

Noah Lukeman article on plot at the link. . .

and Flannery O'Connor quote on writing below.

"'People are always asking me if the university stifles writers. I reply that it hasn't stifled enough of them. There's many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good writing teacher."
--Flannery O'Connor"

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Pub Rants

A primer on the grant of rights by Agent Kristin at pubrants. Great explanation why agents are important in negotiating a publishing contract.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Casinos to Book Lovers: Let Us Entertain You, Too

Book readings have reached a whole new entertainment level. Authors supplement their bookstore readings with appearances at fashion stores, corporate headquarters and even at car dealerships. So why not a reading at a Casino?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

FictionAddiction.NET - What Do Editors Want?

A helpful article on what editors are looking for and not looking for in a manuscript.

FictionAddiction.NET - What Do Editors Want?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Backspace-- The Writer's Place

After reading a query, an agent will request a partial (first 30 pages of a manuscript). This article provides an agent's insight into how she looks at partials.

Backspace-- The Writer's Place

Saturday, June 03, 2006

International Thriller Writers: The Thriller World

Found this great article, "Ten Rules for Suspense Fiction," by Brian Garfield, author of "Death Wish."

International Thriller Writers: The Thriller World

village voice > books > by Jessica Winter

Small book publishers thrive in Brooklyn, the heart of a new literary renaissance.

village voice > books > by Jessica Winter

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Friday, April 21, 2006

Monday, April 17, 2006 - Publishers' Solution to Slow Sales: My Story (And His, Too)

Great news for memoir writers in the Washington Post article. Despite James Frey's deception, the memoir market still thrives and did not explode into a million little pieces. - Publishers' Solution to Slow Sales: My Story (And His, Too)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Fresh And Original

Agent Kristen at Pub Rants posted this exceedingly relevant article about having an original story line. It is relevant because last night I had attended a MWA Mentor Panel in New York City with agents, an editor and authors. One of the topics of conversation was having an outstanding hook. Kristen echoes this sentiment. I would strongly recommend reading her post at

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

How code-cracking treasure hunts and pre-dawn press-ups have made Brown the bestseller he is

Ah, behind every successful man there is a good woman. In Dan Brown's testimony while under cross-examination, he admitted that his wife carried out much of the research for The Da Vinci Code.

Read about Dan Brown's climb from obscurity to household name.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Writers Watch Your Backs!

The James Frey effect. Tsunami or ripple?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Almost Done with the Novel? Read this.

This is excellent advice from an agent about finishing a novel. Please read it and learn as I did.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Interview with Literary Agent Jenny Bent of Trident Media Group

Interview with Literary Agent Jenny Bent of Trident Media Group

By Pam Payne, Industry Liason

Jenny Bent is a literary agent with the Trident Media Group., where she represents a number of bestselling authors and leading journalists. Her New York Times bestselling projects include The Sweet Potato Queens Field Guide to Men by Jill Conner Browne, Nesting: It's a Chick Thing by Ame Beanland and Emily Miles Terry, The Red Hat Society by Sue Ellen Cooper, A Quick Bite by Lynsay Sands, Out of the Storm by JoAnn Ross and A Treasury of Great American Scandals by Washington Post reporter Michael Farquhar. She also represents a number of USA Today and Booksense bestsellers.

Jenny has a BA/MA with first class honors from Cambridge University in the UK; she grew up in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She has a website at, and her articles have been reprinted in the Writer's Digest 2003 Guide to Literary Agents and in various websites for authors. The Trident Media Group represents such bestselling authors as Janet Evanovich, T. Jefferson Parker, Elizabeth George, Jon Stewart, Rex Pickett (the author of Sideways), Mel Brooks, Christopher Andersen, Marilynne Robinson (this year's Pulitzer prize winner for Gilead), Russell Banks, and Michael Ondaatje.

Submission info: I prefer an e-mail query letter to Please include a short synopsis of your book, plus all relevant writing experience and awards. If I'm interested, I'll ask you to send pages as a Word attachment. Please do not send query letters via mail.

1. PP: How long have you been an agent?

JB: Over ten years.

PP: What was your background before becoming an agent?

JB: Nothing, really. I had some publishing internships, but I started in the business working for an agent and basically never left.

2. PP: Do you represent romantic suspense and/or mystery?

JB: Yes to romantic suspense, a definitive no to mystery.

3. PP: If so, what subgenres of mystery/suspense are you looking for ? (historical, contemporary, erotica, YA, cozy, paranormal, inspirational, chick-lit, etc.)

JB: As an exception to #2, I will consider chick lit mystery or paranormal/horror.

4. PP: You've just read a query letter that knocked your socks off and made you want to read the manuscript at once. What makes that query letter stand out?

JB: Go to my website, for a full discussion of this and a sample query letter.

5. PP: What are the ingredients of a query letter that will get the author a quick 'no thanks' reply?

JB: A plot that sounds boring; bad writing, not getting my name right, a submission that is obviously being sent to about 50 agents at once because I can see them all in the address line. Hello? Blind CCs anyone? Not to be sarcastic, and I don't mind multiple submissions, but best to be tactful about it, and write me a letter that is tailored to my list and preferences-not a generic letter you've sent to a million other agents.

6. PP: Based on a query letter or pitch, you ask to see a partial. You love it, ask for the complete, but eventually reject the manuscript. What are the top five reasons for a manuscript's rejection in such a scenario?

JB: I don't think there are five. There's really only one. I request more pages because I think the book has a promising set-up. I reject it because I lose interest in the book, don't think it's interesting or fast-paced enough, and basically fails to live up to the promise of the opening.

7. PP: What is the actual, realistic time frame to expect a response on a query? Partial? Requested full?

JB: Oh god, I've been so slow and behind lately I don't even want to say. If I've had your submission for more than a month-partial or full, please by all means e-mail me. That will get you moved to the top of the pile.

8. PP: Who are some of your favorite authors? Favorite movies? Favorite TV shows?

JB: Easier to say favorite books: all of Jane Austen, all of Larry McMurtry, most of James Lee Burke, some of Elmore Leonard, The Shipping News by Annie Proulx, Anne LaMott's novels, Harry Potter (of course), the Narnia books, I love Mary Jo Putney's ONE PERFECT ROSE; I like Johanna Lindsey and Jennifer Crusie, and the Bridget Jones books and the early Shopaholic books. Favorite movies? I have TERRIBLE taste in movies. I love JACKASS: The Movie, OLD SCHOOL, anything with David Spade or Adam Sandler, BLACK SHEEP. I also LOVED BRIDGET JONES DIARY and NOTTING HILL. LOVED Notting Hill. Favorite TV shows-again, horrible taste. Desperate Housewives, the OC, a show on Showtime called WEEDS, another show on Showtime called HUFF, America's Top Model, Project Runway.

9. PP: What is the best book you've read in the last year? Why?

JB: I have no idea. I don't think there was a book that really stood out for me this year, not counting my client's books of course, which were all AMAZING.

10. PP: What haven't you seen in a submission that you'd really like to see? What do you not want to see?

JB: "I am a New York Times bestselling author." Not want to see? Just as above, bad writing, boring plot.

11. PP: Could you tell us a bit about your agenting style? Do you believe in providing editorial input? Acting as first read? Do you see your role more as career guidance rather than editorial assistant? (Or both?) Or are you most focused on making the deal and getting the best possible contract?

JB: I do provide editorial input at the very earliest stages. This depends on how much my clients actually need it. Some want it; some don't. Career planning is probably most important to me, along with yes, actually selling the book. We have a great contracts department here-our head of business affairs spent 30 years doing this at William Morris, so he does a really fantastic job for us.

12. PP: How many sales have you, personally, made in the last twelve months? The agency overall? How many of these were mystery/suspense books?

JB: I sold about 75 books last year. But keep in mind that so many of my authors are doing three book deals, or that I'm selling them in multiple genres. Trident is a very big agency with 13 agents, and I have no idea. I sold probably ten romantic suspense books. Scott Miller in my office sells the most mystery and suspense-he's very good at it.

13. PP: Is there anything else you'd like for us to know about you or the agency?

JB: I came to Trident because of the excellent support staff. We have one person solely devoted to selling audio rights; a four person foreign rights department, a three person contracts department, and I have an excellent assistant. This means I'm freed up to devote more time to my clients that I ever could when I was working at other agents. There's been a rumor circulating recently that I have too many clients. Not true. First, compared to many agents, I don't have that many. Second, because of the way I can manage my time here at Trident, having a full client list is not a problem at all. I sell a lot of books, yes. But that's because I believe in making multiple deals for my clients.


It's nice to know that writers aren't the only people in the world that receive rejections. The above link shows how the other half lives and also receives rejections.

It's not often that we get to see this perspective.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Miss Snark: The Index

Drum roll . . . Introducing the Snarkives -- An index of Miss Snark's archived posts, now accessible by topic. If you haven't yet sauntered over to test drive the index and see her invaluable resource in a more organized format. Once you have stuck your toe into the cool waters of literary reason, dive into -- and go mad.

Miss Snark: The Index

Monday, February 20, 2006

Pub Rants

Another great agent blog to bookmark. It's fantastic that these agents take the time to post their thoughts to help writers. Really, anything you glean from these sites is gold.

Pub Rants

Friday, February 17, 2006

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Check out this site. It's a hoot.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

From The Belly of The Blog

Want to get inside a literary agent's head? Mosey along to Miss Snark's blog and read "The Tipping Point." 10+ reasons why she passes on manuscripts.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Coal Miners Deaths

In honor of the twelve coal miners who lost their lives and the one who lays in a coma, I wanted to post this quote by George Orwell.

"The comforts of civilisation, the light and heat we take for granted, depend on men toiling deep below the earth's surface to mine narrow seams of coal."

My heart goes out to the families.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Publishers toss Booker winners into the reject pile

Interesting experiment conducted by The British Sunday Times.

Typed manuscripts of the opening chapters of Naipaul’s In a Free State and a second novel, Holiday, by Stanley Middleton, were sent to 20 publishers and agents.

None appears to have recognised them as Booker prizewinners from the 1970s that were lauded as British novel writing at its best. Of the 21 replies, all but one were rejections.