Monday, December 26, 2011

Posie & Mosey Monday

On Mondays, I share word posies with my readers. Comments are disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's.*

*Hungry for more in-depth Monday posts? Visit any or all of the entertaining and insightful blogs on my sidebar.

~Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)

OPPOSITE my chamber window,
On the sunny roof, at play,
High above the city's tumult,
Flocks of doves sit day by day.
Shining necks and snowy bosoms,
Little rosy, tripping feet,
Twinkling eyes and fluttering wings,
Cooing voices, low and sweet,--
Graceful games and friendly meetings,
Do I daily watch and see.
For these happy little neighbors
Always seem at peace to be.
On my window-ledge, to lure them,
Crumbs of bread I often strew,
And, behind the curtain hiding,
Watch them flutter to and fro.
Soon they cease to fear the giver,
Quick are they to feel my love,
And my alms are freely taken
By the shyest little dove.
In soft flight, they circle downward,
Peep in through the window-pane;
Stretch their gleaming necks to greet me,
Peck and coo, and come again.
Faithful little friends and neighbors,
For no wintry wind or rain,
Household cares or airy pastimes,
Can my loving birds restrain.
Other friends forget, or linger,
But each day I surely know
That my doves will come and leave here
Little footprints in the snow.
So, they teach me the sweet lesson,
That the humblest may give
Help and hope, and in so doing,
Learn the truth by which we live;
For the heart that freely scatters
Simple charities and loves,
Lures home content, and joy, and peace,
Like a soft-winged flock of doves.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Night Circus

Before I announce this week's trailer, just a quick bit of news: Splintered has sold to Brazil, so now my characters will be speaking in German, Chinese, and Portuguese. I never dreamed they'd be multilingualists. :)

My trailer today is for Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This one caught my attention not only for it's beautiful narrative, but for the subject matter. I'm a circus junkie. I even have a novel planned that involves a gargoyle shape-shifter finding his way to a circus circa 1930. 

As an added bonus, this trailer's artwork is darkly beautiful. I hope it captivates you like it did me. (After viewing this, the book immediately found it's way to my TBR shelf on GoodReads).  

Other than next week's poem, this is my last post for the year. Thank you so much for hanging out with me, cheering me on, and supporting me throughout my crazy ride in 2011. I'm so grateful to have met such an amazing group of people!

I wish you all Happy Holidays, and a productive, successful, and wondrous New Year! See you in 2012.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Posie & Mosey Monday

On Mondays, I share word posies with my readers. Comments are disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's.*

*Hungry for more in-depth Monday posts? Visit any or all of the entertaining and insightful blogs on my sidebar.
A Poet of One Mood 
~Alice Alice Meynell (1847 - 1922)
A poet of one mood in all my lays,
Ranging all life to sing one only love,
Like a west wind across the world I move,
Sweeping my harp of floods mine own wild ways.
The countries change, but not the west-wind days
Which are my songs. My soft skies shine above,
And on all seas the colours of a dove,
And on all fields a flash of silver greys.
I made the whole world answer to my art
And sweet monotonous meanings. In your ears
I change not ever, bearing, for my part,
One thought that is the treasure of my years-
A small cloud full of rain upon my heart
And in mine arms, clasped, like a child in tears.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The five biggest mistakes I made as an aspiring author...

Finally, I sent in the edits to my editor, and now I'm waiting to see if they pass the mustard. So, until then, I'm back in the land of the living.

Holy Schnikies, Batman. I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted and visited blogs. I'm SO out of practice... hope I remember how. *nervous*

Please be gentle with me!

Okay, looking back at my blog idea file (those of you who know me can attest that YES, I'm that much of a geek to actually have one--hee), I found two awards and one meme I haven't done yet. So this week, the awards. 

Lovely A.M. Supinger over at Inner Owlet (BTW, she's every bit as cute as the name of her blog) gifted me with this:

Thank you, dahling! This gal never ceases to amaze me with her talent for story telling, and she's also artistically gifted ... which means she'll be getting a very special award in my upcoming  Second Bi-Annual Wonderland Bloggy Awards in a few weeks. (◕‿-) 

The rules for this award:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them. Done!
2. Pick some of your favorite blogs to share the award with!

A.M. picked two recipients, so I'm following in her hoof prints.

1. Bethany Crandell, of the notorious Rookie Riter blog. Why do I think her blog is lovely? For one, she's put up a new rocking background that fits her book (presently being subbed) to a T. Also, because I love to hang out there. Her insights are witty, irreverent, and laugh out loud funny. Not to mention, there's always a kernel of poignant truth in everything she says. Simply put, she's a gem.

2. Jenny Phresh of The Party Pony fame. She's been redecorating her place of late, and it's quiet lovely. Also, much like my other recipient, she always makes me laugh, and sometimes makes my heart sigh. So, anyone who can pull my emotional puppet strings like that, deserves a lovely award.

Next, Bailey over at Over Yonder Lit gave me the versatile blog award.

Thank you, Bailey! It's already on my sidebar which means I've passed it out another time or two, so I'll skip that bit, but here are five things about me ... with a writer's twist.

The five most naive mistakes I made when first starting out as a writer (IOW, five things aspiring writers should never do as proven by my bumbling bloopers):

1. Trying too hard to stand out. When I started querying the first book I ever wrote, I read LOTS of books and articles on how to go about it. One of them suggested you do something out of the ordinary to get noticed. So I decided to make a query brochure ... the tri-fold kind *in full color, mind* that had pictures of my characters, a short synopsis, excerpt from the book, and an author's bio (under a pseudonym, thankfully ... that's the one thing I did right). To further humiliate myself, I included a picture of me. Want to see?

*Shudders* Needless to say, I didn't get many responses. And those I got, well, they aren't worth mentioning. ;) So glad I only sent out five.  Lesson learned: The only way your query should stand out is a unique story premise and polished writing. Everything else needs to be standard and professional.

2. Thinking that finishing a book = instant success.  I just knew the first publisher who read my three page query letter (after I abandoned the brochures) would buy my MS. In truth, I got over 100 rejections before I ever learned how to write a query letter to begin with. And it took that many for me to realize maybe I wasn't going to get in with book one. Here's a picture of HALF of the rejections I received. Didn't have room to lay them all out, so imagine a line twice this long (Note: some of the rejections are on small slips of paper or postcards, so they're hard to see)...

Lesson learned: There are a lot more steps to getting published than writing a book. Educate yourself on those steps and ace them. It will give you an edge over the millions of other writers out there trying to get in the door.

 3. Assuming agents are out to make you miserable. I once did a post on my old blog poking fun at all of the pointless form rejections I'd received, even copying some word for word--omitting names, of course. A very savvy fellow blogger (who happened to be an assistant for an agent) pointed out that it might not be the smartest move, considering I was querying at the time, and if any agents googled me, they might be offended and write me off. Lesson learned: agents are people; they have limited time, ergo, they have form letters to help them do their job. Treat them w/respect if you expect it in return.

4. Thinking that once you get an agent, you'll have him/her for life, they'll love everything you write, and you will be published within months of signing. This may prove true for some, but I was with my first agent for over two years and while we sent out the MS she signed me for, I wrote three more. My book didn't sell, and she turned down two that I wrote, and wanted me to change the last one (SPLINTERED) so drastically it would've killed my vision for the book. We were on completely different pages for my career. So we parted ways. Lesson learned: Sometimes we don't find our literary soulmates until round 2 or 3 or 4. What's important is to be willing to make changes that resonate, but stay true to your voice and vision. Have the courage to do what's best for your longtime career.

5. Once an agent turns you down, never ever query them again. Refer once more to the long line of rejections above. One of those is actually from my present agent. She doesn't even remember that I sent a query her way for the first book I wrote (some six or so years ago), or even that she read a chapter of it. She turned it down because she didn't love the writing. Thinking that meant she'd never want to see anything else I wrote, I made a point not to query her with my YA. I queried her colleague instead. Had said colleague not sent the MS my agent's way after deciding it wasn't the right fit for her, I wouldn't be where I am today. Lesson learned: An agent's tastes can change over time, just as your writing will. Never be afraid to try an agent again, especially if you have a few more books under your belt. Chances are, one of you has changed enough to make a connection. You certainly won't know unless you try.

I hope you can glean some positive insights out of my ignorance. :) You know what they say about hindsight? It's even better when it's someone else's. I wanted to post this to prove that no matter how many mistakes you make, the only mistake that can keep you from getting published is to quit trying.

I did some stupid things, but the one thing I did right is I hung in there and never stopped writing. Now I'm about to finally see my dream come true. It can be that way for everyone aspiring to be published.

Never give up, and it will be your turn to sit on the shelves one day soon. 

Have a great weekend!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Posie & Mosey Monday

On Mondays, I share word posies with my readers. Comments are disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's.*

*Hungry for more in-depth Monday posts? Visit any or all of the entertaining and insightful blogs on my sidebar.

The Ghost
~Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)

Softly as brown-eyed Angels rove
I will return to thy alcove,
And glide upon the night to thee,
Treading the shadows silently.
And I will give to thee, my own,
Kisses as icy as the moon,
And the caresses of a snake
Cold gliding in the thorny brake.
And when returns the livid morn
Thou shalt find all my place forlorn
And chilly, till the falling night.
Others would rule by tenderness
Over thy life and youthfulness,
But I would conquer thee by fright!

'The Ghost' is reprinted from The Poems and Prose Poems of Charles Baudelaire. Ed. James Huneker. New York: Brentano's, 1919.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Posie & Mosey Monday + Winner of QT gift card!

On Mondays, I like to share word posies with my readers. Comments are usually disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's. But today I have a WINNER to announce.

E. Arroyo, Mr. has chosen you as the recipient of Patrick's generous premium membership gift card which will last you a full year (a $25 value)! Please email me at anita(at)aghoward(dot)come and I'll send the linkage your way via your email address.

Thanks to everyone else who participated. Patrick and I really appreciated all of the comments. :) Have a great week!

Now onto today's poem...

Alone ~Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Guest Interview with Patrick McDonald *AND* QueryTracker Gift Card Giveaway!!!

(click on the above image to visit site)

Today I'm honored to have Patrick McDonald, founder and moderator of, joining us for an interview. *waves to Patrick*

(click picture to read Patrick's QT bio)
Patrick, who works in Industrial Automation by day, started QT back in 2007, and since then it's grown to be one of the most extensive online data bases for aspiring authors, boasting statistical information for 1,253 literary agents and 131 publishers. To date, there are 681 success stories born of the some 47,530 QT members.

Yet the most important service QT provides is the community fellowship. There's such a supportive spirit to be found at the blog, the agent/publisher threads, and the groups/forums. When I first started hanging around the threads, I was touched and impressed by the cheerleading and encouragement taking place. In spite of the fact that these people were all vying for the same thing, no one was competing. They were there to lend a helping hand or offer a word of comfort when someone was down, or share in the celebration when someone got good news.

I'll never forget the people who reached out and helped me, Patrick included. And even though I don't get over there like I used to, I know that there will always be someone to take up the slack. Because writers rock like that. (◕‿-)

One of the best things about QT is it's completely free to join and get access to the agent/publisher info, threads, etc... BUT, a $25/yr premium membership opens a whole new world of features. Click here to check out that list.

Interested? At the end of this interview, I'll let you know how you can win a FREE premium membership gift card. So stay tuned...

In a prior post, I put out a request to my readers: What would you like to ask Patrick Mcdonald, the wizard who so humbly stands behind the curtain to keep things running smooth in QueryTracker Oz? The last several questions in this interview were born of that post, so thank you ladies for your contributions! 

And off we go...

AGH: It’s rumored that you dabble in writing yourself. What genres are you drawn to creatively?

Patrick: It's been a long time since I've dabbled in writing, and that's a good word for it. I'd be the first to admit I'm just not very good at it. Now days, when I feel the urge to write coming on, I resist with every ounce of willpower.  I've accepted the reality that my poor brain is much better suited for programming than writing. When I write, it always comes out sounding like a computer manual, and we all know how much fun those are to read. 

AGH: Are you working on any current projects you can tell us about?

If you mean writing, then no. Besides being terrible at it, QT has kept me too busy to give it much thought. There are some new QT features I've been considering lately, and I hope to have time to get to them real soon. Maybe over the Christmas Holiday when I'll have some time away from my day job.

AGH: How did you being an aspiring author influence the birth/growth of QT?

It certainly helped me to identify the need for something like QT. Way back, when I was querying, I used AgentQuery (which is a great resource, by the way) but I kept thinking it would be really nice if I could mark off agents right there on the site as I went along. I looked around, couldn't find anything that did what I wanted, and since my queries weren't going anywhere, I decided to give it a shot. And, thanks to all of you out there who gave it a try and continue to use, it has been a success.

AGH: Who comes up with all of those great premium membership feature ideas?

I'm always on the look out for new ideas, so if anyone has any thoughts on new features, please let me know.

AGH: Speaking of features, QT has a recent one for premium members where if you mark which agents have your full MS it'll tell what other agents have "similar tastes." Kind of like the “customers who liked this book also bought this one” feature on Amazon. How do you come up w/that information?

It is based on the query results recorded by users. So, if two agents request the same material then they must have similar tastes.

Angela Cook: Some of the comments left on agent profiles are brutally honest and/or emotionally charged. Have you ever been asked by an agent to remove those comments? If so, did you?

I don't recall ever being asked "nicely". There have been a few cases where an agent threatened legal action if I did not remove a comment. In those cases I just removed the agent entirely. Those kinds of people don't deserve to be listed.

Jenny Phresh: Have you ever considered letting authors choose the look of their frowning/smiling status faces from a gallery? I would be prefer my frowning face, for example, to have an insouciant, devil-may-care expression that shows that I Will Rise Again! Right now it's too durned sad and beaten-down looking.

That's actually a pretty good idea. But I don't have the artistic talent needed to draw up a bunch of different icon sets. So, if anyone out there wants to contribute, just let me know.

Mindy McGinnis: How do you keep your agent contact information updated? Do they inform you of changes or do you hunt this information down?

Some agents will inform me of changes, other changes I find myself. But the majority come from users who send me a note about something they found, or post it on the agent's profile. After confirming the change, I update the agent's profile. And I really appreciate all the help I get from users. There's just no way I could keep up with all the agents on my own.

Krista V:  How can QueryTracker users get the most out of QueryTracker? And what is QueryTracker's best little-known feature? 

There's a lot going on at QT, and it can be a little overwhelming at first. So, I think the best place to start is with the tutorial videos (which can be found at

As for best little-known feature, it's hard to think of just one. But, one of the things that I think is really simple, yet highly useful, is the agency cross-reference. When you view an agent's profile page, there is also a list of all the other agents at that agency along with your query status to any of them (if you happened to have already queried them). It helps to know, so you don't query the same agency twice. If you're a premium member you'll find the cross-reference on the right side of the page, where the advertisements would be.

**Five for fun**  

1) What’s your favorite breakfast?

Lunch. I like to sleep in.

2) Are you Team Dog or Team Cat?

It depends on how they are cooked.

3) If I were at your house right now, what would I find in your refrigerator?

Absolutely nothing. Just ask my teenage son.

4) If you could morph into any food, what kind would you become and why?

Turkey. It's the holidays and I always wanted to be the guest of honor. 

5) What would be the first thing you would do if you woke up to find you were a fish?

Drown. I can't swim.


Eek on the drowning! Hee. And I get what you're saying about your teenage son. I have one of those, too. Hungry little critters.

Thank you, Patrick, for the interview, and for everything you do for us!

Now for the GIVEAWAY: Patrick has offered to donate a premium membership gift card to give away to one of my readers. All you have to do is leave a comment* on this post, from today through Sunday at midnight (central time). I will close the comments then, and will draw the lucky winner's name TBA on Monday.

Thanks for dropping by. Have a fabulous weekend and see you next week!

*Please note: this pertains to legitimate comments ... I reserve the right to use the delete function if there are any naughties out there ... 'nuff said. ;)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Posie & Mosey Monday

On Mondays, I like to share word posies with my readers. Comments are disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's.*

*Hungry for more in-depth Monday posts? Visit any or all of the entertaining and insightful blogs on my sidebar.

The Kind Ghosts 
~Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)
She sleeps on soft, last breaths; but no ghost looms
Out of the stillness of her palace wall,
Her wall of boys on boys and dooms on dooms.

She dreams of golden gardens and sweet glooms,
Not marvelling why her roses never fall
Nor what red mouths were torn to make their blooms.

The shades keep down which well might roam her hall.
Quiet their blood lies in her crimson rooms
And she is not afraid of their footfall.

They move not from her tapestries, their pall,
Nor pace her terraces, their hecatombs,
Lest aught she be disturbed, or grieved at all. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Posie & Mosey Monday

On Mondays, I like to share word posies with my readers. Comments are disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's.*

*Hungry for more in-depth Monday posts? Visit any or all of the entertaining and insightful blogs on my sidebar.
~ Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)

Gettin' together to smile an' rejoice,
An' eatin' an' laughin' with folks of your choice;
An' kissin' the girls an' declarin' that they
Are growin' more beautiful day after day;
Chattin' an' braggin' a bit with the men,
Buildin' the old family circle again;
Livin' the wholesome an' old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.
Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
And under the old roof we gather once more
Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
Mother's a little bit grayer, that's all.
Father's a little bit older, but still
Ready to romp an' to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again
Tellin' our stories as women an' men.

Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
Oh, but we're grateful an' glad to be there.
Home from the east land an' home from the west,
Home with the folks that are dearest an' best.
Out of the sham of the cities afar
We've come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an' be frank,
Forgettin' position an' station an' rank.

Give me the end of the year an' its fun
When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An' I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Skary Childrin (and Taiwan)...

Before I get to today's trailer, I have a quick publishing update. I got the news from Agent Goddess last week that Splintered  has sold to Taiwan, which means I'll one day be translated in both German and Chinese. YAY!

So "谢谢" and "Danke" to these lovely territories for believing in my story! ♥˘˘♥

Now, onto the Skary misspelling of my title...

Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow is my trailer highlight for today.

Not only does the story itself sound dark and unique, but so are the illustrations drawn by the author. Here's a sneak peak of her talent:

This one is for young readers, ages 8 and up, but it's so visually appealing, it's now on my TBR pile just so I can indulge in the artwork.

As you can see on my calendar, I won't be blogging anymore this month (other than poetry Mondays). I'm on blog-cation over the holiday to work on edits. But Pat McDonald, the founder and moderator of Query Tracker, is coming by the first Friday in December for an interview, so I hope to see you all then. 

Oh, and one last thing, have a SPECTACULAR and safe Thanksgiving holiday. (◕‿◕)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pardon our French...

One of my good friends, Mindy McGinnis from the Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire blog, has recently escaped the burning pit of submission hell (those of you who have been there, or are there still, know the truth behind that phrase) with a fantastic 2-book contract with Harper Collins, due out in Fall 2013.

Here's Mindy's PublishersMarketplace Announcement:

Mindy McGinnis's NOT A DROP TO DRINK, the story of a teenage girl surviving in a rural America where an ounce of fresh water is worth more than gold and death wanders the countryside as thirst, cholera, and the guns of strangers; when her mother dies in an accident, the girl must decide between defending her pond alone or banding together with a crippled neighbor, a pregnant woman, a filthy orphan, and a teenage boy who awakens feelings she doesn't understand, to Sarah Shumway at Katherine Tegen Books, in a good deal, at auction, in a two-book deal, by Adriann Ranta at Wolf Literary Services (World).

CONGRATS, girl!!

Mindy's not only a talented author, she's also a blogging WIZARD. She's come up with a whole slew of blog series ideas, and finds the funniest and most creative acronyms to represent them. One of my favorites, and most irreverent (but somehow even more fitting for that reason) is the S.H.I.T. (Submission Hell – It’s True) Interview, where she invites authors to talk about their submission journey once they've finally sold.

To celebrate Mindy's success, I thought it would be fun to have her interview herself using her own questions with my blog as host. So off we go!

Welcome, Mindy One and Mindy Two. You have the floor.

M1: How much did you know about the submission process before you were out on subs yourself?

M2: I knew quite a bit, due to the excellent crowd over at AgentQuery Connect, quite a few of whom are agented and / or published. I knew what to expect as far as the waiting process, although honestly it wasn’t all that bad in terms of length of time for feedback.

M1: Did anything about the process surprise you?

M2: A little. I had some passes from editors who loved the book but couldn’t get enough enthusiasm from others to actually make an offer. It was odd to think, “Wow, someone important loved this, but that wasn’t enough.” It takes more than one to get that cart rolling.

M1: Did you research the editors you knew had your ms? Do you recommend doing that?

M2: I did. I don’t know that I recommend doing it though, because it’s not like it helped me out in any way. Mostly it just made me antsy. Once I had some offers, THEN I did research. I needed to know what the best fit was going to be.

M1: What was the average amount of time it took to hear back from editors?

M2: Some were SHAZAAM fast, and those were all negative. So, I learned that waiting was a good thing.

M1: What do you think is the best way for an author out on submission to deal with the anxiety?

M2: Stay busy, in all things. I wrote, I cleaned, I read, I blogged. I didn’t let myself think about it.

M1: If you had any rejections, how did you deal with that emotionally? How did this kind of rejection compare to query rejections?

M2: Oh, I had rejections. It definitely hurt more than a query rejection, because it was like, “Not only do I reject your premise, but I reject your WRITING!! BWAA HA HA!!” *throws lightning bolt* OK, not really. My rejections were actually all very complimentary and explanatory about reasons for passing, which I did appreciate.

M1: If you got feedback on a rejection, how did you process it? How do you compare processing an editor’s feedback as compared to a beta reader’s?

M2: It was hard to process because some of it was directly contradictory to feedback I’d received the day before. My agent and I sat down in a phone conversation and culled through all our feedback at one point and we decided that a lot of what we were seeing was personal preference. However, there were one or two consistent points that weren’t working for editors, and we took that seriously.

M1: When you got your YES! how did that feel? How did you find out – email, telephone, smoke signal?

M2: I got my YES over email, as it came in late on a weekday evening. How did it feel? I literally slammed my laptop shut and took the Lord’s name in vain. Then I apologized to both the Lord and the laptop and opened it back up again. The email was still there. I was kind of freaked out. And I literally couldn’t sleep. I was up til 3 AM two nights in a row.

M1: Did you have to wait a period of time before sharing your big news, because of details being ironed out? Was that difficult?

M2: I had my first offer on a Wednesday, then a few more offers came in on Thursday. Adriann and I talked details and decided what the best fit was on Thursday evening, and my Publisher’s Marketplace announcement went up on Sunday. So no, I didn’t have to wait long. I told my family members, and they took my direction to keep it quiet very, very seriously. They whispered whenever they talked to me about it ☺


Thank you, Mindy(s)! Hee.

If any of you would like to see the query letter that started the ball rolling and won Mindy's agent, hop over here. Also, if you're looking for some inspiration, visit this post where Mindy gives a rundown of her ten year journey to success. It's a very inspiring story, and shows why tenacity and a tough hide are so important if you're serious about being an author.

Thanks for coming by! And please drop in tomorrow for my Trailer Thursday series. I have some pretty exciting news about Splintered to share. Until then, have a great Wednesday everyone!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Posie & Mosey Monday

On Mondays, I like to share word posies with my readers. Comments are disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's.*

*Hungry for more in-depth Monday posts? Visit any or all of the entertaining and insightful blogs on my sidebar.
~Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

HERE sunless rivers weep
Their waves into the deep,
She sleeps a charmed sleep:
Awake her not.
Led by a single star,
She came from very far
To seek where shadows are
Her pleasant lot.
She left the rosy morn,
She left the fields of corn,
For twilight cold and lorn
And water springs.
Through sleep, as through a veil,
She sees the sky look pale,
And hears the nightingale
That sadly sings.
Rest, rest, a perfect rest
Shed over brow and breast;
Her face is toward the west,
The purple land.
She cannot see the grain
Ripening on hill and plain;
She cannot feel the rain
Upon her hand.
Rest, rest, for evermore
Upon a mossy shore;
Rest, rest at the heart's core
Till time shall cease:
Sleep that no pain shall wake;
Night that no morn shall break
Till joy shall overtake
Her perfect peace.

"Dream Land" is reprinted from Poems. Christina Rossetti. London: Macmillan, 1891.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Posie & Mosey Monday

On Mondays, I like to share word posies with my readers. Comments are disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's.*

*Hungry for more in-depth Monday posts? Visit any or all of the entertaining and insightful blogs on my sidebar.
The Little Grey Road
~Patience Worth 1883–1937

A little grey road that lies mid the shadows,
And trails from the Then to Now;
Where the briar-rose swings and th eve-lark sings,
And the dew clings 'bout the meadow way;
Where the sun lingers lothful, and the moon
Tarries too, so late to leave and soon to come.
Ah, the little grey roadway so far, far away,
Where I left my youth, treading with gladness,
And smiling, with bright hours to follow;
With no remembrance packed, like the scent
Of pale leaf that dropped at the withering touch
Of tears and sobs and sorrows.

All carefree I went, all happy a treading
On the little grey roadway so far.
Oh, that my feet might stray back
Through the fields and vales, and find
The same roadway a-roaming the shadows,
With memory's ghosts haunting the turns.
When the New Day doth come, and I leave
Thee and thee---shall I find it still waiting---
The little grey roadway wrapped in its shadows,
And my youth a-laughing me there?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It takes a village...

To write a book.

I realize this now more than ever, especially since .... I got my edits!! And I have pictures to prove it!!

The page on top is the cover letter. Yep, even editors use these, just like us when we're sending off our MS to agents. The bar above the ABRAMS logo is actually a lovely salmon color, but my color printer is short on ink so I printed it off on my black and white.

My full nine page edit letter and my writing cheerleaders standing by.
Left to right: Hoops, Piddles, Yoyo, and Guido

I used to think, hmmm. I'll write my story, polish it until it shimmers like a sea shell's pearly innards, then send it off and TA-DA! My book will sit upon the shelves of every book store available to mankind. HA

Now I know the truth. It takes so many people, so many reads, and so many revisions, to get that book ready to sell to the public. So, since I'm about to be up to my ears in editing (observe my scant blog post calendar to the right) this will be my Thanksgiving post--a few weeks early.

I'm so thankful to have a crit group (including my email entourage--you know who you are) who I can brainstorm with, an agent who has believed in me from the moment she read my first chapter, and an editor who GETS me, loves my book despite its weaknesses, and knows how to make it strong enough to face the world.

I can't be too specific about the edits without giving stuff away that should remain top secret (hee), but I think it's safe to post this paragraph from my editor's cover letter that sums up what I'll be working on over the next few weeks (my due date for the edits is December 12):

This letter covers a lot of ground, but two of the main areas are Alyssa’s emotional journey—adding some nuance and discovering moments of growth—and questions about the world politics of Wonderland. I try to think of editing as a conversation, so please don’t consider any of this to be strict orders—I ask these questions because I’ve noticed something as a reader and wanted to bring it to your attention. We can talk back and forth about what direction to take the story, which in the end is your own.

My favorite line is the last one. This lets me know that  I'm still the author and I get a say in my book's evolution. This line also makes me even more excited to work with Maggie, because I know she respects my opinion. It just so happens that I'm in love with almost every suggestion which follows that paragraph (because Maggie is a brilliant and intuitive reader/editor). So I guess the fact that we're sympatico makes us a match made in literary heaven.

♥˘˘♥ *cues the singing angels* ♥˘˘♥  

Of course, this is only the first round of edits, and I still have the line edits and copy edits looming. But it feels so good to know that each step will make my book that much shinier.

Here are two great posts which have helped me embrace my edits without fear, if any of you are curious / going through this phase of publishing:

How to respond to Manuscript Edits

What is the Editing Process Really Like?

As to how this affects my online playtime, I might be hit and miss on Twitter for awhile. Also, I won't be having a Query Tracker guest post this month. As fate would have it, the gal I scheduled is waiting for some REALLY big news to announce, so we're putting off her post until the holidays are over.

If I fail to visit your blogs for a few weeks, please know I haven't forgotten you. I'm just up to my eyeballs in rewrites. Have a great weekend, and see you all soon!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Posie & Mosey Monday and Contest Winners

On Mondays, I like to share word posies with my readers. Comments are usually disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's. BUT, today is different because I have some WINNERS to announce.

Thank you everyone who played my Friday Fright-Fest Contest last week.

With the help of Mr., here are our five winners and the books randomly chosen for them:

  1. Bethany Crandell--Bad Girls Don't Die
  2. Sarah Pearson--Incantation
  3. Bess Van--The Trembling Hills
  4. Keriann Martin--Killing Britney
  5. Cherie--Fade
Lucky ladies, if you will please email me your addresses, I will send the books your way. Those of you who didn't win this time, I promise to have another contest soon.
Have a happy and safe Halloween, everyone, and enjoy the following creepy poem. Hope to see you on Thursday for another book trailer that has caught my eye.
Fragment Of A Ghost Story
  ~Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
A shovel of his ashes took
From the hearth's obscurest nook,
Muttering mysteries as she went.
Helen and Henry knew that Granny
Was as much afraid of Ghosts as any,
And so they followed hard-
But Helen clung to her brother's arm,
And her own spasm made her shake.

Friday, October 28, 2011


As promised, today is the  Friday Fright-Fest Contest

If you tuned in for my last two Trailer Thursdays, I highlighted two of the books I'm giving away:

And here are the final three, for a grand total of FIVE FRIGHTFUL books up for grabs:

Before I tell you how to win, I have to thank some lovely ladies for giving me awards over the past several weeks:

Lady Gwen, Laura B, and Tina Moss gave me awards I've already received (located at the bottom of my blog) so I'm going to forgo the recipient protocol, but I did want to acknowledge their generosity. If you haven't visited their blogs, please hop over and get to know them. They're all upcoming and talented writers, each with her own unique voice.

Sparkly Miss Cherie gave me the "I ❤ Blogging" and because she knows I'm insanely busy, she charitably pardoned me from the step of passing it off to others. She just wanted to share it with me, so THANK YOU, lovely. ♥˘˘♥  

And lastly, Caitlin Vincent and A.M.Supinger  handed over this little treasure:

Which I'm using as part of my contest today. Thank you my pretties!

Okay, the rules for the award state I'm supposed to match/link my own posts with the seven descriptive words given, and then pass it on to seven others.

The free books are going to substitue for the "passing on" portion. (I know, technically I should give away seven books ... I work in words, not numbers! Hee)

And as for the seven links, I'm going to highlight one word in each post I link you to. You won't have to read the whole post to find it, but you WILL have to click over to find it. Think of it as a literary egg hunt.

Once you find the seven highlighted words, you'll need to arrange them into a quote from a famous horror movie and email me your answer (anita(at)aghoward(dot)com). **PLEASE don't leave your answer in the comments because I'll have to delete it.**

Here are three hints to help you figure out the movie and quote:

  1. This quote is perfect for my blog, or so says the Mad Hatter.
  2. A boy's best friend is his mother ... just ask the skeleton in the rocker.
  3. Running a motel can be bloody business.

And here are the seven descriptions and links to match:

Most Beautiful: Angels Among Us, because it's about my daughter who's the most beautiful person in my world. (Okay, my son's beautiful, too, but he'd totally freak if he heard me say that...heh)

Most Helpful: Fishing for readers with a three pronged hook... By putting a twist on the writer's rule of three, I suggested applying it to the first three lines in our novels to lure the reader in, and cited examples from published and non-published works. I also invited my readers to give it a shot with their first three sentences in the comments.

Most Popular: Book Deal! Overwhelmed, Ever-grateful, Blessed, and... Humbled. You guys are the BEST. I ended up getting 90 comments on that post, all because everyone was so genuinely happy for me. I'd also call this one most touching, because I was so moved by the camaraderie.

Most Controversial: Haha. Without question, the notoriously evil panty meme: Personally, I like panties. Still blushing over that one. Heaven help me if my parents ever stop by and read it. Eeps!

Most Surprisingly Successful: Finding my Zen. Another example of how wonderfully supportive my writer pals are. I never expected to have that many responses of people feeling the same way.

Most Underrated: Attack of the Bloodsucking Pygmy Goats...  Not underrated so much for me, but for poor Clive. I told him that silent film would make him a star. We can still make it happen ... let's get that video to go viral, yo! (◕‿-)

Most Prideworthy: Playing With Windows Movie Maker... I had so much fun making my first book video ever, and was so pleased with how it turned out. And it was fun sharing my enthusiasm with you.

Okay, there you have it. Have fun finding those seven words and the quote, everyone! I'll close the contest Sunday night at midnight central, just at the stroke of Halloween. Mr. will draw five names from the entries and I'll announce the winners on Halloween Day.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a SPOOKTACULAR (and safe) weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

One day away from free Halloween reads...

Last week I explained the Fright Fest announcement on my calendar over to the right. I've reserved this Friday, October 28th, for a Creeptacular contest.

Last week's book trailer and today's, as well, are highlighting some of the books up for grabs. Tomorrow, I'll reveal all five books, and how you can win one.

Until then, here's a look at Fade, book 2 in the Wake Series by Lisa Mcmann.

The editorial review on Amazon has this to say: (Readers) who like the supernatural-tinged drama of shows like Ghost Whisperer and Medium may be tempted by this series.—Christi Esterle, Parker Library, CO

Here's a trailer to further tempt you...


Thanks for stopping by, and tune in tomorrow for your chance to win one of five creeptastic books! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Shadow Waxing

What is Shadow Waxing, you ask? It's the title of a strange and creepy short story I wrote some five years ago (one of the first things I ever had published in a now defunct e-zine). If you'd like to read it, hop over to TeenShiver today.

And don't forget to drop by here Thursday for a glimpse at a haunting book trailer, then again on Friday for a chance to win that very book along with some other Halloween-worthy reads in my:

Friday Fright-Fest Contest!

Have a great week till then!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Posie & Mosey Monday

On Mondays, I like to share word posies with my readers. Comments are disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's.*

*Hungry for more in-depth Monday posts? Visit any or all of the entertaining and insightful blogs on my sidebar, or hop over to TeenShiver and see what's new with the Texas gals. ;)

Ghosts of a Lunatic Asylum 
~Stephen Vincent Benet (1898 - 1943)
Here, where men's eyes were empty and as bright
As the blank windows set in glaring brick,
When the wind strengthens from the sea -- and night
Drops like a fog and makes the breath come thick;

By the deserted paths, the vacant halls,
One may see figures, twisted shades and lean,
Like the mad shapes that crawl an Indian screen,
Or paunchy smears you find on prison walls.

Turn the knob gently! There's the Thumbless Man,
Still weaving glass and silk into a dream,
Although the wall shows through him -- and the Khan
Journeys Cathay beside a paper stream.

A Rabbit Woman chitters by the door --
-- Chilly the grave-smell comes from the turned sod --
Come -- lift the curtain -- and be cold before
The silence of the eight men who were God!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Introduction to the *Friday Fright-Fest Contest*

If you'll have a look, something has changed on my calendar over to the right. I've reserved October 28th for some Creeptacular fun. Since this is the month of all things terror, I decided to give away some frighteningly delicious reads.

Both this week and next week's book trailers will highlight one of the five books that are up for grabs. Then on the 28th, I'll reveal all five books, and how you can win one. So stay tuned!

First up is Bad Girls Don't Die. Now, if this morbidly lovely book cover isn't enough to make you want to read it ...

Have a look at the video, done in true horror movie style.

If you're chomping at the bit to get your peepers on these pages, tune in Friday the 28th for my Fright-Fest Contest.

Until then, happy weekend!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Posie & Mosey Monday

On Mondays, I like to share word posies with my readers. Comments are disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's.*

*Hungry for more in-depth Monday posts? Visit any or all of the entertaining and insightful blogs on my sidebar, or hop over to TeenShiver and see what's new with the Texas gals. ;)

Killing the Trust
~ Tina Gray

I will laugh with your ghosts-
these sheeted reminders of your wicked past;
I will take their coats and hats as any good hostess,
and rub their bald heads in tandem recklessness-
flirting with the host in a feverish glee.

I will set a table for afternoon tea
and invite your wraiths of sordid history.
We'll have crumpets and scones and bilberry pies,
watercress wedges and finger delights.
I will don my best apron of matronly prim,
and entertain late into evening’s dim light.

I will pepper each spook with kindness and praise
and thank them for an evening of pleasurable grace.
Then I'll send them away with refined blasé…
and you’ll cringe at the sight, in unspeakable fright-
as I befriend your haunted past.

I will dance with these bones that reside in your room,
that sneak to your closets and bang heavy doors…
I will capture the hands of this calcified goon
and we’ll waltz upon professing floors.
We will swoon with the grace of rattling bones
and jiggle the locks to your unopened drawers,
while his fingers make play as skeleton keys-
exposing forgotten troves…

Then I'll bathe in the rush of this mellowed perfume
that flows as sweet syrup from old letters exhumed…
I will bask in the dewiness of True Jasmine’s breath,
lathering with the musk of a Sunflower’s Crest
and rinse with a shower of Rose Petal Mist-
until I reek of the soup of mingling fumes.

I will paint with the palette of lips left behind-
these that sealed tender notes with a hollowed out kiss;
my artwork will burst with red rums and plums…
coffee spiced sands and pink bubblegums…
it will resonate with apricots and raspberry wines,
(and I’ll trump my own shade, if I so incline)…

Adrift on the sea of intimate words,
I'll float with ease upon contented waves
until the writings bore holes in my vessel’s kind face-
clipped by the berg of your icy charades
and I’ll sink, just as your promises to heartsick girls.

On my knees I will dredge the depths of façade
and surface on the banks of a fallen saint.
I’ll be castaway here on this shore, in disgust…
drying fresh tears by a blazing bonfire
that brims with the ash of your past artifacts.

And the flares will reflect in my now-opened eyes
as unquenchable flames of awakened mistrust.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Children of a Peculiar Nature...

Today I'm highlighting the trailer for the book I'm reading: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I'm a sucker for dark fairy tales, and with the music in the background and the "story telling" approach to the narrative, all it took was one viewing of this video, and this book moved to the top of my to read list. Goes to show what a good trailer can do. :)

If you know of a trailer that's dark, melancholy, creepy, or atmospheric, or if you have one you would like me to consider posting sometime, please leave a link in the comment section.  (I prefer videos that don't exceed 3 minutes.)

Thanks for dropping by and happy weekend!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Posie & Mosey Monday

On Mondays, I like to share word posies with my readers. Comments are disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's.*

*Hungry for more in-depth Monday posts? Visit any or all of the entertaining and insightful blogs on my sidebar, or hop over to TeenShiver and see what's new with the Texas gals. ;)

 ~Lewis Carroll 1832-1898

When midnight mists are creeping,
And all the land is sleeping,
Around me tread the mighty dead,
And slowly pass away.
Lo, warriors, saints, and sages,
From out the vanished ages,
With solemn pace and reverend face
Appear and pass away.
The blaze of noonday splendour,
The twilight soft and tender,
May charm the eye: yet they shall die,
Shall die and pass away.
But here, in Dreamland's centre,
No spoiler's hand may enter,
These visions fair, this radiance rare,
Shall never pass away.
I see the shadows falling,
The forms of old recalling;
Around me tread the mighty dead,
And slowly pass away.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Query Trackers Making Tracks, #13

Today is an abundance of interviews day. I'm hanging with the savvy Melodie Wright over at Forever Rewrighting where she asked some of the hardest most insightful questions I've ever had the pleasure of answering. Heh. In all seriousness, this girl is one of the best interviewers I've had the pleasure of working with.

And of course, here in the land of madness it's installment number thirteen of my "first Friday of the month" series on successful authors from QueryTracker. Some of my guests have agents, others have found success in less conventional ways. But one thing they all have in common is the utilization of the QueryTracker website to help make their tracks in the publishing world.

I just realized how appropriate it is to have the 13th QT interview in October. But there's nothing scary or unlucky about today’s guest, Gennifer Albin. Her success story is one that would give anyone inspiration (not to mention cause much drooling in awe and wonder). 
Genn had a whirlwind submission after she signed with agent Mollie Glick of Foundry Literary + Media. Within a matter of weeks there was an auction for her book which ended in a major deal. Her story on QT, here, was enough to leave me breathless just living vicariously.

By the end of today's interview, no doubt we'll all need inhalers. (◕‿-)

And onward we go...

AGH: Welcome, Genn. Could you give us a quick summary of the book which snagged your agent?

GENN: Incapable. Awkward. Artless.

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.

AGH: Before you signed with your agent, how many books had you tried to query?

GENN: This was the first book I ever queried.  I'd come to close querying a book I never finished back in my naive days. I'm so glad I didn't.

AGH: What were the responses to those queries (stat-wise: fulls, partials, etc.)?

GENN: I had about a 70% request rate, about 40% of those were requests for partials and the rest were requests for the full.

AGH: How long did it take to find a publisher after you signed with your agent ?

GENN: We had out first preempt offer in a little over a week and then we went to auction about 3 weeks after I signed with my agent.  It was unusually fast.
AGH: What inspired your very first book idea?

GENN: I've been obsessed with a painting by Remedios Varo that shows women embroidering the world since I first saw it in college.  One day I wrote a one page prologue that came to me out of nowhere.  It was the story of a girl in the painting, and I went from there.

Embroidering Life's Mantle

AGH: How do you come up with titles?

GENN: I have to have a title before a book will really flow for me, so I obsessed over this.  Originally I thought Tangled would be great, but when I googled it up came a new Disney movie!  I was so disappointed, although I actually loved the movie.  From there I pulled ou the thesaurus and started looking up weaving and sewing terms.  When I saw CREWEL, I knew it was perfect 

AGH: What books / authors have most influenced your own style and concepts?

GENN: That's hard to say.  I have considerable time put in towards PhD in literature, so I think I'm heavily influenced by a lot of the themes from the early novels of the 18th century.  My next book is much more academically influenced.  But then I think I've learned a lot from rereading my favorite books and really studying the voice and style of people like Rowling and Collins, but then I think conceptually I was influenced by people like Margaret Atwood and Orson Scott Card.  I certainly have a mixed education in literature.

AGH: How did you find QueryTracker, and how did it help you in your effort to get inside the publishing doors?

GENN: The lovely Scott Tracey posted about QT and since I was so impressed by his success, I ran over and joined.  First of all, everyone should get the premium membership because it allows you to see all these special charts and reports, which is awesome when you want to obsess during the querying process.  I loved that people posted stats in the comments, and I still try to stop by and offer support when I can.  I also used the QT boards to vet my queries before I sent them out. Overall, it's such a supportive, welcoming community that I feel comfortable there.  Not too big, but constantly moving - QT was a perfect fit for me.

AGH: Have you recently learned anything about the business side of publishing that you can share with up and coming writers?

GENN: No one else's success will look like yours!  I think we all look to stories for insight into what to expect.  Like so-and-so was asked to share her favorite covers with her designer, or such-and-such got a huge ARC campaign - it doesn't mean anything in regard to what you will get!  Trust me.  It's a bad and good thing.  Share in others stories to support them, but keep your eyes on your own paper.  Focus on your book and your campaign and don't get stuck in comparison hell.

AGH: Do you have any current news to announce?

GENN: CREWEL is coming out October 16, 2012!

**Five for fun**

1)      In your opinion, what was the best thing before sliced bread?

GENN: Stew.  Everyone knows it was around the day man crawled from the primordial ooze.

2)      Which would you rather do: carry an umbrella or sing in the rain?

GENN: Why can't you do both?  I loved to splash in the rain, but I use an umbrella since I wear glasses.  I also have my cake and eat it too.

3)      Are you Team Dog or Team Cat?

GENN: Cat.  I guess I appreciate having to work for my cat's love.  The Tuesday cat runs the house.

4)      If I were at your house right now, what would I find in your refrigerator?

GENN: Cheese.  So much cheese.  Dubliner.  Wisconsin cheddar.  Goat cheese.  Feta.  Pepper-encrusted pecorino.  And  Gouda.  Always gouda.

5)   Drinking tea … pinky up, or heavy on the Long Island?

GENN: I have to say I have a weakness for Long Island iced tea, but I also love Earl Gray.  But if I had to choose, heavy on the Long Island.

Thank you for sharing your amazing experience, Genn! CREWEL sounds incredible, and I love how you thought of the story and title. I'm so excited that you have a pub date now, and wish you every success! Although it's obvious you're already there. (◕‿◕)

Don’t forget to visit Genn’s blog and follow her on twitter to stay abreast of news and announcements. Also, please leave her any questions, comments, or kudos below. I know she'll be thrilled to see them.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, and I'll see you next week.