GONE WITH THE WIND = ALL GONE TO HELL

Monday, June 27, 2016

It all started with GONE WITH THE WIND... 


Instead of reading the next manuscript in my To Read folder, I decided to take a break and re-read one of my favorite books.  Which segued into reading the sequels that were written after (Note: unlike every other person alive, I prefer SCARLETT to RHETT BUTLER'S PEOPLE--sorry, Lauren).  Which then lead to a realization that I wanted to paint some art for my shelves.  Which then made me notice that I should paint my bookcase black.  Which made me think that I really wanted to get curtains in the kitchen.

 
They're not manuscript edits, but they're not bad, right?

And then it was Saturday.  I got myself back in gear and managed to whip out a couple manuscript critiques at the end of last week, but all in all, a very non-productive agenting week.  Like Scarlett O'Hara, when thinking about all the manuscripts and following up-ing that was piling up, Last Week Me said, "I'll think about it tomorrow."  Gahhhh.  My apartment looks great, though.  

Reading?  Fiddle-dee-dee!



Big Indie Love + Tiny NYC Apartments

Monday, June 20, 2016

I'm so happy to report that Suzanne Kamata's THE MERMAIDS OF LAKE MICHIGAN is making its home with Wyatt-MacKenzie!  She has worked with them before, and I am looking forward to working with them now, especially since they do such unique promo for their authors.

I'm also really excited that Kristin Lenz's THE ART OF HOLDING ON AND LETTING GO (which won the 2015 Helen Sheehan Prize) was recently named a Junior Library Guild Selection for Fall 2016!!  

Looks like my indie authors are on the rise! 

Other than that, I've been busy reading and sending things out this past week, and hoping that will calm down sometime soon so I can focus on following up and some sub rights things.  I got to judge the Music City RWA Pitch contest, the WCNV contest, and participate in the Pub-Hub diverse books giveaways.  

In this picture, I am obviously Carrie Ann Inaba.

In between all that, I got to meet the wonderful Marlo Mack for brunch when she was in town, and spent some time daydreaming about moving for a bit, because even though I love, love, love my apartment and my neighborhood, my super is probably one of my least favorite people--I've been trying to get him to come and paint my bathroom after its water pipe debacle for over TWO MONTHS.  Rent in NYC is ridiculous, though (I know, that's really obvious), and apparently, the only apartments cheaper than or on par with mine are about half the size.

I was looking for pictures of horribly tiny apartments to post as an example, and then instead came across this article of a super cool, tiny apartment and this article, which I think I actually saw awhile ago.  I wouldn't mind living in these little guys...but I have a feeling they probably cost more than my apartment now and also don't mesh well with messy husbands.


Query Critique Winner

Monday, June 13, 2016

Hi everyone!  This month's winner is Jordan Marie Green--congrats, Jordan!  Here is her original query:

Dear Ms. Pestritto,
 
I wanted to reach out to you because I read on your website that you are intrigued by books that introduce you to another culture. For this reason, I hope you will enjoy THE WAY OUR HORIZONS MEET, a contemporary YA novel at 95,500 words.
 
On his eighteenth birthday, Kam is shocked to find out that not only was he adopted, but that his parents were killed when he was an infant. Frustrated and confused, he leaves his home in rural California to learn more about his parents’ lives and heritage in Hawaii. There, he enrolls in Introduction to Hawaiian Studies and meets seventeen-year-old Lily, the professor’s daughter and expert on Hawaiian history and culture. Though she’d rather be practicing her backstroke to impress Stanford’s swim team, she is intrigued by Kam’s quest and agrees to be his guide to the island and its history.
 
With the help of Glenn, Lily’s best friend and secret admirer, Kam and Lily discover that Kam descends from Hawaiian royalty, making him heir to a contested plot of land in Waikiki. They also determine that his parents’ “car accident” was staged by members of a greedy development group who will stop at nothing to get property rights to the land. If Kam and Lily don’t find the perpetrators in time and bring them to justice, they may become the next casualties.
 
I was born and raised in Hawaii, which served as inspiration for this novel. I worked as a writer and assistant editor for LDS Living magazine. My essays were also published in the anthologies Life Lessons from Fathers of Faithand Life Lessons from Mothers of Faith.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
Sincerely,

Jordan Marie Green

...and here is my critique:

Dear Ms. Pestritto,
 
I wanted to reach out to you because I read on your website that you are intrigued by books that introduce you to another culture. For this reason, I hope you will enjoy THE WAY OUR HORIZONS MEET, a contemporary YA novel at 95,500 words.
 
On his eighteenth birthday, Kam is shocked to find out that not only that was he adopted, but also that his Hawaiian birth parents were killed when he was an infant. Frustrated and confused[This may be just me, but "frustrated and confused" don't really do it justice here.] Feeling like his world has been upended, he sees no other recourse than to he leaves his home in rural California and go on a journey to learn more about his parents’ lives and heritage in Hawaii and just what happened to them in the so-called "Paradise of the Pacific." There, he enrolls in Introduction to Hawaiian Studies and meets seventeen-year-old Lily, the professor’s daughter and expert on Hawaiian history and culture. Though she’d rather be practicing her backstroke to impress Stanford’s swim team, she is intrigued by Kam’s quest and agrees to be his guide to the island and its history. [You're losing me here.  I'm not sure how moving all the way to Hawaii just to take a college class about the culture is going to help Kam learn more about his parents.  I say cut and change to something like what I have instead.] Once he lands on the island, he meets Lily, a seventeen-year-old professor's daughter who is intrigued by his quest and agrees to help him and to be his guide.

With the help of Glenn, Lily’s best friend and secret admirer, Kam and Lily discover that Kam descends from Hawaiian royalty, making him heir to a contested plot of land in Waikiki. They also determine that his parents’ “car accident” was staged by members of a greedy development group who will stop at nothing to get property rights to the land. If Kam and Lily don’t find the perpetrators in time and bring them to justice, they may become the next casualties. [So the development group has been trying to get property rights for eighteen years?]
 

I was born and raised in Hawaii, which served as inspiration for this novel. I worked as a writer and assistant editor for LDS Living magazine. My essays were also published in the anthologies Life Lessons from Fathers of Faithand Life Lessons from Mothers of Faith.
 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jordan Marie Green

I like a lot of things about this query--the interesting premise most of all--but felt that the query itself lacked focus.  The reason I felt like lack of focus is because of the time taken to talk about him taking Hawaiian Studies classes to learn more about his parents, which didn't make sense to me, and also because the query is so short!  Jordan should definitely feel free to let this breathe a bit and not be afraid to include some more detail about the story here.

The part that most intrigued me--that Kam is descended from Hawaiian royalty--doesn't come up until the very end of the pitch.  I would have liked to have seen that more at the forefront, and learned more about what happens after Kam makes that discovery.  Does he have a King Ralph moment or is the discovery shrouded in secrecy and danger right from the start?

This is good start, though, and a great story!  What do you think?  If you have any comments or questions to chime in with, do so in the comments section below!

I'm Doing Awesome

Monday, June 6, 2016

Okay, so last week I learned that I have a very odd taste in memes.  I showed pretty much everyone the one I posted last week and most I got was a half-chuckle from my dad, which taught me no more jokes.  Either that, or really push my weird sense of humor on everyone until they think it's funny in a Stockholm Syndrome kind of way.



Humor aside, I am KILLING IT lately.  No new deals to report yet--although there is one in the works!!!!-- but I have been a reading and email machine, thanks to Tracy and coffee and the fact that I've been ignoring my submissions, which I'm going to take care of this week (I'm sorry, anyone who has been waiting on me!).

I also have another new romance client, the fabulous Lauren Smith!  We have the same talking speed (fast) and the same work timetable (always)...ooooo, maybe we even have the same sense of humor!  I haven't tried the meme out on her yet.  Even if it doesn't make her laugh, I am very excited to be representing her and her super sexy novels.  My romance list has bulked up quite a bit lately, which is so much fun considering RWA is around the corner!



Said yes to a bunch of writing contests and conferences, too, that I completely forgot about until I got the reminder emails, so I'm looking forward to a pretty full summer.  My dad's birthday is this week and he's gotten really into adult coloring books, so I am headed back to CT with plenty in tow.  They are only like a dollar each on Amazon, so I bought quite a few.

Hope everyone else has a great week and enjoys the start of summer!  Now that I think about how buzzed I'm feeling, sunshine and warmth probably has a lot to do with that, in additional to all those checks my to do list is getting. 
 
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