Just Write Cat

One Writer, One Journey

Bleeding Out September 18, 2011

Wow, so I just entered another amazing contest hosted by agent Janet Reid. If you hurry, you can get your entry in (contest ends tomorrow). I’ve entered just about all her 100-word contests (I’ve received a few mentions, too – yay) – and each time, I learn something new, hone my craft a bit more, get another kick in my pants to keep at this…

But this one…it almost hurt to enter. It sure as hell hurt to write the poem (and not only because I’ve never written a poem, least not since childhood). This one hit close. It came from a place I prefer to keep contained. A place that is still sutured and bandaged, lest I bleed out. As I hit send on that email, I had to tell myself, “what the hell have you got to lose, Catherine?” Still, there’s something about opening yourself like that. Again, I’m not really talking about entering the contest, but writing something that is so much a part of you, that when you send it out…something of you goes, too. Maybe it will be a bit of the pain…that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

My point – they say write what you know. Yes, and write what you feel. Write what you are most afraid of, what you most try to blank out of your mind. That event or thing or fear that gives you the cold sweats, the shivers and that gut-wrenching, twisting pain that only comes when you are at your most ill.

Now, I have to go count my blessings. Three of them are sitting on the sofa, watching a movie, and waiting for me.

Cat

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Miss Snark’s Bakers Dozen Auction November 12, 2010

Filed under: Agents,Query,Social Media,Writing Contests — justwritecat @ 3:34 am
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You do know about the incredibly cool Baker’s Dozen auction over at Miss Snark’s First Victim, don’t you? How this gal finds the time to put such things together is beyond me, but she does – and we (writers) are the better for it. Hop over to her blog for the details, then take a look at the list below for a ‘cheat sheet’ on the agents, authors and editor participating in the contest. Even if you don’t enter (or win), you can use the list when researching agents to query. Um, you do research agents that might prove a good fit, right? Because sending out queries willy-nilly wouldn’t be the best way to go…

Please note – the info below is based on what I found on the web/agent blogs/agency websites. Always check for the most up-to-date info before querying an agent. If you click on the name of the agency, you will get an ‘about agent’ page with genre, interests, etc.

And…many of the talented individuals listed below are also into social media. I didn’t list facebook or twitter accounts, because well – that seemed sort of ‘stalkerish’.

THE BAKER’S DOZEN – AGENTS

 

Ammi-Joan Paquette– agent with EMLA 

Interviews on Cynsations and Guide to Literary Agents

Danielle Chiotti – agent with Upstart Crow (how can you not love the name of the agency??)

Interviews – World Hustler and Guide to Literary Agents

Josh Getzler – agent with Russell & Volkening  

Interviews – Guide to Literary Agents

Kate McKean – agent with Howard Morhaim Agency  

Interviews – Guide to Literary Agents

Kathleen Ortiz – agent with Lowenstein Associates  

Her Website: http://www.kathleenortiz.com/ 

Laura BradfordBradford Literary Agency

Interviews – Guide to Literary Agents

Lauren MacLeod – agent with The Strothman Agency

Interviews: http://www.strothmanagency.com/articles/2010/july/lauren-macleod-interviewed-galleycat

Guide to Literary Agents 

Melissa Jeglinski – agent with The Knight Agency

Interviews: http://www.ninc.com/blog/index.php/archives/meet-agent-melissa-jeglinski

Women on Writing

Michelle Wolfsonhttp://www.wolfsonliterary.com/

Interviews: http://kierstenwrites.blogspot.com/2009/09/q-with-michelle-wolfson-super-agent.html

Sarah LaPolla – agent with Curtis Brown
Her blog – Big Glass Cases

Interviews – MotherWrites and Guide to Literary Agents

Suzie Townsend – agent with Fine Print Literary Management

Blog: http://confessionsofawanderingheart.blogspot.com/

Interviews: http://caseylmccormick.blogspot.com/2010/03/agent-spotlight-suzie-townsend.html
Tina Wexler – agent with ICM

Interviews: http://algonkianconferences.com/agent-TinaWexler.htm

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=135170

http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/Successful+Queries+Agent+Tina+Wexler+And+Tagged.aspx

Weronika Janczuk – agent with D4EO Literary

 Blog: http://www.weronikajanczuk.com/

Genres She Reps http://www.weronikajanczuk.com/p/agent.html

Other Helpful Links http://www.weronikajanczuk.com/p/what-i-read.html – some books she likes and what she’d love to see, by genre (I thought this was incredibly helpful of her to offer)

 http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/New+Agent+Alert+Weronika+Janczuk+Of+D4EO+Literary.aspx   

EDITOR

Stacy Whitman

Her blog: http://slwhitman.livejournal.com/

Interview: http://nathaliemvondo.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/interview-editor-stacy-whitman-of-tu-publishing/

AUTHORS

Holly Bodger http://hollybodger.com/

Jodi Meadows http://www.jodimeadows.com/Home.html

Beth Revis http://www.bethrevis.com/

(notice how the authors above ALL have blogs? Hmm….)

 

Who Writes Short Shorts? September 18, 2010

Filed under: Fiction,Write,Writing Contests — justwritecat @ 10:19 pm
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I LOVE entering those 100 word story contests (Janet Reid is the queen at coming up with those). I’ve found entering ‘shorts’ helps me with other projects. My writing is more concise, focused, snappy – at least, I think I’m seeing a difference. 

Improving my craft aside, entering writing contests is fun! Here are a few I’ve recently come across.

Contest #1 The Badger Games is hosting a fun contest. You have to write a query/blurb/something else on the cover of a book she recently found. Creative. My entry is somewhat long – hmmm, what was that about learning to be more concise??

Contest #2.  My good friend, Frederique, sent me the link for NPR’s Three Minute Story Contest. Now, why didn’t I know about the NPR contests before? Because I’m an uncultivated heathen, that’s why. So, thank you to my more cultured friend for thinking of me! Still working on that entry, though I think I’ve got a fun premise.

Contest #3 Writer’s Digest Short Story Competition  This one I knew about. I may not always listen to NPR (though I love Prairie Home Companion), but I do read WD every month. Front to back, several times.

If you know of any short writing contests, do tell!

Cat

 

Now This is a Contest April 13, 2010

Filed under: Write,Writing Contests,You Can't Do It Alone — justwritecat @ 2:27 am
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Over at Sarah with a Chance (love that title), you can enter a fantabulous contest.  Check out the details on her blog  And let me offer congrats to her – her book is going to be published in 2012.  Yay for her – and yay for us, because it gives unpublished writers hope!

So, I think I have a contest/blogfest problem.  Like, maybe an addiction.  I enter one, and for a few minutes – maybe even a couple of days – the excitement and anxiousness all mingle together and fill my body with this warm, heady feeling.  And then, it goes away.  And I need another fix.  Is there some kind of support group I can join?  Maybe a five-step program (because ten or twelve steps is way too many).

No?

Damn.  Well, guess if you can’t beat an addiction…you try and justify it.  So here goes.

Entering contests and blogfests is fun and a great way to waste your time  improve your craft.  You work on a query/logline/scene and revise until it can be revised no more (on your own).  You enter.  You wait for feedback (if you’re lucky).  And then, you either a) find out what you thought was your best is not or b) find out you’re not the hack you thought you were.  I’ve been really, really fortunate.  The feedback I’ve received on recent entries has been incredible.  Helpful, yes – but the positive remarks also gave me a much-needed shot of confidence. 

And even when you enter a contest – and do not come out the winner – you don’t lose, either.  If you really worked on your entry, then your query/logline/scene is the better for it.  It’s amazing what happens when you do ‘micro-revisions’ – when you work on one scene or even part of a scene.  Every sentence, every word is scrutinized in a way not often done during larger revisions.  Yes, when doing any size revision you should pay attention to every single word – but sometimes it takes focusing on a small section of your novel to really get what that means.  To feel the pacing of your scene, the flow of your writing. 

Recent blogfests – Opening Scene, Murder Scene, Bar Scene.  Recent contests – First 250 words, logline and opening paragraph. 

Results – comments from readers that help me fine-tune each scene or make larger changes if needed.  And that logline contest?  Whew, working on loglines is hard.  But – while I didn’t win – the agent contacted me and said I’d made his top list.  He extended an offer to read my query, and if he passes – to let me know why.  Now, I consider that a win-win situation. 

Hmmm….maybe I’m not wasting my time using my time wisely after all.

 

Bar Scene Blogfest Entry April 11, 2010

Filed under: Where Did That Come From??,Writing,Writing Contests — justwritecat @ 1:25 am
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Ooh, another blogfest!  This time it’s BAR SCENES, hosted by Tara over at Secret Story 

Well, now.  A Bar Scene.  Oh, yes….goody, goody.  Joe likes his booze, that he does.  Below is my entry, an excerpt from the first chapter of Seeing Red: Set ‘Em Up, Joe.  Set-up  – Joe’s taking it easy, enjoying his fine single-malt scotch, basking in the beauty of his favorite bartender and regular gal Pamela.  Enter the bad guys.

             I raised my drink and took a sip; the hint of smoke and sea salt teased my tongue.  I took a few more, letting the booze work to quiet my senses.  I leaned forward and set my glass down on the smooth oak bar.  Our eyes met, and Pamela gave me one of her half smiles. 

            She picked up the bottle, her soft, amber hair slowly falling across her shoulder as she leaned forward to fill my glass.  As she topped off my drink, the front door banged open.  The bottle trembled in her hand, and I watched as a drop of thirty-two-year-old single malt missed my glass and hit the bar. 

            “They’re back.”

            I looked up.  Pamela’s head was turned towards the front of the bar; her hand gripped the bottle, her knuckles white.  Worry flashed across her deep blue eyes. 

            Two goth looking wannabes had walked in, accompanied by a late summer breeze and a scent that seemed oddly familiar.  Cloves, maybe.  One of them sniffed the air and then looked at his buddy.  If they were human, I’d drink a Cosmopolitan.     

            I looked back at Pamela, who was still holding the bottle.  “Easy now, angel.”

            She looked at me, and then set the bottle down.  “Those are the kids I told you about.  They had trouble taking no for an answer when I refused to serve them beers earlier today.  I could’ve sworn one of them growled at me when I threatened to call the cops.”

            The first one walked up to the bar.  Just on the outside of sixteen, I’d bet.  Tallish, with blazing green eyes and spiked reddish-blond hair.  Looked like a damn rooster.  The second one stood close behind—appeared to be about two years younger and an inch shorter, with jagged jet black hair and eyes to match.  There was something grimy about the air around them.  And while their scent was familiar, their faces were not.  Didn’t think they knew me, but if they were trying to cause trouble, it was time I got to know them.  And if they were in any way involved with the reason I came to this town, then yeah—introductions were in order.  I was back on full alert.     

            “We’re starving.  Make it two burgers,” the older one said.

            I looked back at my glass of scotch, contemplating the drop that got away.  “Heard of a thing called manners?” 

            The second one snickered; the first one didn’t do a thing.

            “I said two burgers. Rare. And two beers.”

            I looked up at Pamela, who stood motionless behind the bar.  Still looking at her, I coughed lightly and said, “And I said, how about some manners?”

            The one with the green eyes turned to look at me.  I returned the courtesy.  That’s when I noticed something wrong with his eyes.  They were on fire.  Not because of his true nature, not because he was probably full on human blood, but for another reason.  Sick?  Not very likely, not for our kind.  Had to be drugs.    

            “Keep it to yourself, old man.”

            Mr. Jet Black hair snickered again, sniffed, and then put his arms around himself and shivered.  Drugs.  What the hell were these two thinking?  Drugs and our kind don’t usually mix.    

            “The kitchen’s already closed.  Besides, you know I can’t serve minors,” Pamela said.  “You’ll have to leave.” 

            Green eyes stared at her for a long moment, like he was cataloguing her image for later.  And that, I didn’t like. 

            When they didn’t move, I said, “So you don’t do polite, but maybe you also got a hearing problem?  The lady asked you to leave. Why don’t I show you the way out?” 

            His sidekick shivered again, then said, “Let’s go, Jeff.”  

            The first one stared at me, this funny look on his face.  Like he wanted to bite me.  Well, hell—let him try.  I laughed at the thought.

            “Laughing at me, old man?”  That was twice now.  When you’re blessed with immortality, age is irrelevant.  I hated being reminded of that fact.

            “Maybe I am, Jeff.  Now, be a good boy and listen to your friend.”  I looked at the other one.  “Your name’s not Mutt, I suppose?”

            “Huh?”

            “No, I suppose not.”  I set my glass down on the bar, pushed back my barstool, and stood up.  “Guess you do need help finding your way out.” 

            Just then, the double door that separated the bar and restaurant from the kitchen swung open.  A young waitress by the name of Daisy sauntered through and worked her way up to the bar.  Though at least a decade younger, Daisy was one of Pamela’s closest friends.  She was a cute young thing, a brunette with cocoa eyes, though a bit too cheerful for my tastes. 

            “I forgot my gym bag in the break area.”  She walked over to my side, stopping right in front of the two punks.  “I heard voices up front.”  She smiled at me.  “I’m not suprised to find you here, but who are the kids?  Friends of yours?”

            I heard a low gutteral sound from Green eyes, and in less than a second he grabbed Daisy’s wrist and sniffed it.  As he was about to lick her wrist, I moved between them and grabbed his arm.  I squeezed quick and tight, and said, “Let go. Now.”

            He let out a deep growl, like a dog makes when he’s about to lose his bone. 

            I squeezed tighter and heard bones snap. 

            He growled again, though it was more of a wimper, and let go.  As I pushed Daisy behind me, Pamela rushed over to her side. 

           He looked at me and I started to see the tips of something white and sharp poke out from under his upper lip.  What the hell was wrong with this one?  Pulling that kind of crap in front of humans was not only stupid—it was dangerous for all our kind.  Don’t call attention to yourself unless you need to use it.  Vampires fare best when following that rule.      

          Yeah, that’s what I am.  Vampire.  And it was time for my own fangs to come out.

 

Murder Scene Blogfest Entry April 9, 2010

Heh, heh, heh.  I get to kill someone today.  I LOVE when that happens. 

O.K.  – so before you think I’ve gone all ‘nutso-crazies’, I’m referring to the Murder Scene Blogfest hosted by Anne Riley.  You can find the details at her blog.  Check it out, then please come back and read my entry.  Let me know what you think!

This is an excerpt from Chapter Three of Seeing Red: Set ‘Em Up, Joe.  In this scene, medical examiner and vampire Joe Cooper has just received a call about a fire in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.  Remains of something that might be human were found after the fire was put out, so he’s off to investigate. You can read the first chapter of Seeing Red here: Chapter One

Broadway Pier—one of over a dozen in the area—juts far out into the water, making it a popular parking spot for the schooners and water taxis that traverse Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.  None were docked tonight, which had probably helped contain the fire.  As I walked to the end of the pier, the smells of the Harbor intensified.  Thanks to the infestation of algae that hit every summer, the water reeked of decaying fish.  I took a deep breath and got an idea of what triggered Mells’ warning bells.  There was a faint whiff of something—musky, like going deep-woods, that lingered in the cool night air.  Catalogued and mentally filed—with all the other vamp scents I knew—for further consideration. 

While all vampire senses are finely honed, and more intense than any human could possibly handle, the one we rely on the most is the sense of smell.  The way I see it, the faster you can detect someone’s scent, the better chance you have of staying one step ahead of ‘em. 

The end of the pier was cordoned off with a stretch of grey, fraying rope.  As M.E. on the scene, anything on the other side of that rope was my domain.  I lifted it up, stepped under it, and got to work. 

Every person deserves to have the full attention of another at least once in life.  I looked at the mess in front of me.  This was its time.  And it had my attention. At first look it seemed the tangled mass of grey and black was anything but human.  But it was, or had been.  Telltale signs of Homo sapiens—charred organs, broken bones and several teeth—lay in the debris.  I dismissed the sounds and smells of the others—the cops and firefighters and onlookers whose hearts still beat in time and whose blood still flowed in their veins—and focused on the victim’s scent. 

I inhaled deeply.  The scent of charred flesh hit me first—but then, not much can cut through that kind of stench.  Somewhere in that smell was a hint of copper, but it should’ve been stronger since that’s the first thing you usually detect if blood is present.  Even with a body burned almost beyond recognition, there should be enough residual blood in the corpse.  Something must’ve significantly drained the body of blood prior to chopping it to pieces, and that had me concerned because there’s only one kind of something that can do that—my kind. 

Goddamn.  One of my own had gone rogue, and in a bad way.  Targeting other vampires, leaving their remains out in public view.  And bringing unwanted attention to us all. 

I called over one of the forensic techs and told him to get to work.     

“How should I bag the—remains?”

“Carefully.”