Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why did the Chicken Cross the Road?

This is pretty funny - from politicians to TV personalities to scientists to writers.

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

SARAH PALIN: Before it got to the other side, I shot the chicken, cleaned and dressed it, and had chicken burgers for lunch.

BARACK OBAMA: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a change! The chicken wanted change!

JOHN MC CAIN: My friends that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

HILLARY CLINTON: When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure right from Day One that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn’t about me.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don’t really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

DICK CHENEY: Where’s my gun?

COLIN POWELL: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with that chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

AL GORE: I invented the chicken.

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken’s intentions. I am not for it now and will remain against it.

AL SHARPTON: Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.

DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken doesn’t realize that he must first deal with the problem on this side of the road before it goes after the problem on the other side of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he’s acting by not taking on his current problems before adding new problems.

OPRAH: Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I’m going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed access to the other side of the road.

NANCY GRACE: That chicken crossed the road because he’s guilty! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

MARTHA STEWART: No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer’s Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I’ve not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain, alone.

GRANDPA: In my day we didn’t ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BARBARA WALTERS: Isn’t that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart-warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its lifelong dream of crossing the road.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken 2008, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook. Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken 2008. This new platform is much more stable and will never crash or need to be rebooted.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Great Agent Hunt!

Stats and The True Story:

I will attempt to be semi-coherent in giving you my humble story of how I found my agent, Tracey Adams of Adams Literary. (Find my name on the client page and read my new bio there.) She is absolutely terrific, very friendly, in my corner, knows all the best editors, chats me up with fantastic editors, *gets* my work better than I’d ever dreamed. In short, things are going swimmingly and I’m thrilled to pieces to be working with her!

In the Fall of 2006, my agent of 10 years and I decided to part ways. She had sold three books for me, which you can see here at my website: (But don’t forget to come back for the rest of the story.)

My agent informed me she was moving to Costa Rica, and that from now on I was going to have to do all my own submissions (which I’d already been doing a lot of and not enjoying it too much). She had started her agency in the adult literature world, specializing in mysteries, sci-fi and fantasy, and falling accidentally into the YA world,. We’d also met at a local conference. Along with her move to Costa Rica, she was going to emphasize blockbuster adult thrillers and women’s fiction and she wasn’t keeping up much with the children’s world. She hadn’t been able to sell any of my current manuscripts and I heartily believed in them and didn’t want to give up.

Fact: Currently I have complete manuscripts for 6 novels, partials for 3 books and synopses for 5 more(!) and I was being told to just write a new book. Um, it was time to move on.

Moving on is not so easy to do . . . Finding a new agent – even harder.

I began researching agents and agency websites, discovered the world of writers through Blogspot and LiveJournal and many writers who let me email them and ask questions about their agents. I compiled a huge master list, which kept being added to over the next 18 months.

I did my homework – continued to research for new agents, definitely a constant in this saga - and three months later sent out my first batch of queries.

To make a long story shorter, by the time I was offered firm representation I had queried 39 agents. As I write this, that number is staggering to me.

So how did the 39 break down?

Fact: I queried with two different manuscripts, but the majority of queries were for one novel in particular, Secret Rites of the Goddess. The other manuscript, The Healing Spell, I started querying much later in the game – basically the last 6 months.

Fact: 90% were query emails with synopses, some included a few pages. The other 10 % were snail mail. I thought about querying several other very well-known agents, but just did *not* want to do the snail mail routine with a SASE and a run to the post office and purchasing more nice letter-head paper. That is for the olden days!

The Numbers Game:

13 Agents wanted Fulls

12 Agents wanted Partials (several wanted partials of both projects)

7 Agents never bothered to acknowledge or respond to the query at all. Amazingly high number - and from some very reputable, big agencies.

7 Agents never asked for anything, but I did get a personal rejection letter. A variety of reasons. Too full with clients right now, not the right kind of project for them even though it sounded interesting, etc.

Most of the agents read right away within a few weeks and most gave very nice comments. I did revise twice on my own during the 18 months of submitting. After that, I had 6 agents request specific revisions and asked me to resend, but I never did revise for anybody while I was still waiting to hear from others. I figured I’d revise/resub after I finished my entire list of agents.

Fact: I still have 20 Agents on my list that I researched, but never queried.

Fact: After a year, I got discouraged waiting as well as the whole, excruciatingly long process so I subbed partials to 8 editors that I carefully researched who might like my books. I had great success. Several asked for fulls, and 4 of them or 50% asked me to send them my new projects in the future. I was psyched about that!

Fact: The previous fact proves that editors are still reading their slush piles! And asking for fulls and writing personal letters to authors.

Fact: I entered into some lovely correspondence with several agents. I knew they would take me on with the right project.

Fact: On August 27, 2008, Tracey Adams and I had a two-hour phone conversation and we signed each other up!

Fact: Tracey never had me do ANY revisions before submitting to editors.

Fact: This blog will have some most excellent news next week. Fingers crossed and stay tuned!

Fact: If anybody would like to see my list of agents, I’d be glad to email it to you so that you can see if any of these agents might be right for you. Don’t forget to do your research/homework though!

The Last and Best Fact:
I attended SCBWI LA in August 2007, mostly because I wanted to meet Tracey Adams since she was only accepting submissions from writers who attended the conferences she spoke at. It took a year and several emails over the summer with her when she offered representation, but she was always my Number One Choice Agent, although her offer suddenly got 5 other agencies jumping, too. It was obvious after corresponding with all the interested agents that I’d picked the right agent as #1. I couldn’t be more pleased.

End of Story!
Or maybe just the beginning . . .

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Haunted Houses

Halloween is in only 10 days and Albuquerque has TWO haunted houses to scare the bejeebies out of you!

I am getting my arm twisted to go to 13th Street Manor:

Who's twisting my arm? My new daughter-in-law (!) who works there seven days a week scaring people until Halloween is over.
I've never been a person who seeks out horror movies. I love mysteries and suspense and thrillers. The Bourne Identity, Mission Impossible, Dial M for Murder - but HAUNTED HOUSES with people screaming and blood dripping and zombies chasing you and vampires rising out of the dark and ghouls grabbing at your ankles? Thank you very much but I think I'd rather hit the dollar movie down the road and see Traveling Pants 2! (Watch the very cute trailer at this link.) Anyone seen it yet? Carolee Dean and I are going to go see it for a girl's night out soon.

Anyway, Milyssa really, really wants us to go, and I'm feeling guilty putting her off. I said maybe I'll go if my hubby is on one side of me, and my boys on the other three sides. And I'll hide my eyes. And run really, really fast!

See, when I was eleven years old I had a *bad experience* at our local haunted house in Concord, California. I went with my best friend, Starr, and I got so scared by people grabbing at me and getting electrically zapped on a bench that I was near tears and begged to leave. They let me out a side door. I was sooooo relieved. But my friend Starr FINISHED the tour ALL BY HERSELF. And didn't seem terribly freaked out at all.

I guess I'm a wimp.

I'll let you know next week if I went and if I survived.

If this blog goes dark, you'll know the outcome . . .

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Daydreaming Book Covers

Surely I'm not the only one who makes up potential covers for their manuscripts . . . this was way fun to put together while I'm waiting to hear about my submissions . . .

Isn't it gorgeous? I wonder what the actual novel will look like after the story SELLS and the art department gets a hold of it. I can't wait!

Course the title could end up changing, too. That seems to happen a lot these days.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

We're on Submission - and it's my 100th Post!

Yep, my new and awesomely amazing agent has officially submitted two of my completed novels, a MG called The Healing Spell and an edgy YA with crossover potential titled, Secret Rites of the Goddess. My wonderful agent went to New York two weeks ago and pitched/chatted up my books with 7 various editors from dynamite houses - and they ALL wanted to read the manuscripts. Picking and choosing who gets what and when needed a bit of discussion, but we managed to figure it out. :-D

The blurbs for you curious folks out there . . . actually, these are the synopses I wrote for my query letters to editors and agents. I usually got requests to send the full manuscript.

Secret Rites of the Goddess
Kimberley Griffiths Little

On the night of Jayden's blood ritual, she learns about the ancient Mother Goddess as well as the forbidden secret rites celebrated at the goddess temples of Ashtoreth - idol worship that daughters of Abraham have been warned to shun. The stories are curious and terrifying, especially when Jayden's older sister Leila seems determined to join the temple priestesses and experience the seductive, sexual rituals.

Jayden's character is tested as she loses her family one by one to the harsh life of the desert, finding herself raising her infant sister after her mother dies in childbirth. She's also mesmerized and confused by Kadesh, the stranger who unexpectedly appears as if conjured by desert spirits. Is the young man a heathen or a believer, and what is the truth about his elusive tribe in the distant Southern lands?

When Jayden's cousin Horeb, her betrothed, raids Kadesh's caravan and kills the young man she loves, the pressure to turn herself over to the temple cult where there is luxury and comfort despite its hidden vices is more than she can bear. Only the promise Jayden made to her mother and her devotion to the True and Living God keeps her sane, even when she is shunned by the women of her clan.

Then Jayden learns there is a chance Kadesh might still be alive, and she sets off on a dangerous journey to find him, even though he hides a tragic secret of his own. In this story of peer pressure and cults set against the weaving tapestry of the ancient art of belly dance, Jayden discovers strengths she didn’t know she had and a faith that will help her stay alive, even as the world around her falls apart.

NOTE: My agent calls this book the YA equivalent to THE RED TENT, one of her all-time favorite books and every editor in New York said the same thing. It's a sexy, girl-power book about peer pressure and an ancient form of an all girl "gang" inside the Temple of Ashtoreth. Along with a romance and lots of danger.

The Healing Spell
Kimberley Griffiths Little

Deep in the Louisiana Cajun country, Livie Moulaison’s mother arrives home from the hospital in a coma after a terrible accident in the bayou. Daddy is determined she will only get better surrounded by the people who love her best, but Livie is terrified of her mother’s lifeless condition and wracked by a guilty secret.

The household gets even more tense when Aunt Colleen comes from Montana to nurse Mamma, and Livie and her younger cousin Thibodeaux clash from the get-go. It drives Livie crazy how this kid seems to know her worst fears--and plays on them to torment her. Mostly, Livie is afraid she and her mother will never be able to heal the hurtful past between them if Mamma never wakes up again so she takes her pirogue into the darkest part of the swamp to seek out the mysterious traiteur in hopes of buying a healing spell that will bring her mamma back to life.

Stuck in the middle of three sisters, hiding a forbidden pet alligator, and afraid to disappoint her daddy whom she loves more than anyone else, Livie struggles to find her place within her own family as she learns about the power of faith and redemption.

NOTE: One editor said she LOVED the mysterious title and another said she could feel the steamy setting rising off the page.

And now we are playing the waiting game . . .



Winner of The Southwest Book Award!

Time travel, war, love, rattlesnakes, magic . . .

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