Sunday, January 26, 2014


I've been taking a lot of pictures of our amaryllis. I like to shoot light through petals. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sunlit Ice 2

This is the same ice formation, but more of a closeup.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sunday, January 19, 2014


It's time for some color. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Between the Ice Storm and the Blizzard

You can see where the cartoon bunny ran through this ice formation.

I'm getting a little tired of photographing ice - and it's only January.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Comparative Titles

To compare or not to compare, that is the query question. 

  • Everyone thinks his book is unique.
  • Comparing oneself to Harry Potter/Twilight/Hunger Games feels both pretentious and preposterous. 
  • Mentioning other books in your genre shows you’ve done your homework – by reading.
  • Complimenting other authors is gracious. 
To be honest, I’ve never compared my manuscripts to published works in any of the many queries I’ve written even though some agents request a title comparison.  

Determining the characteristics of a manuscript can be tricky. Humor is in the ear of the beholder. Saying a novel is sweet feels cloying, while describing it as edgy sounds like the author is trying too hard to be teen-like. You get my drift.

I went through my Goodreads list to search for books that share qualities with my novel. I was particularly interested in recent debut novels that had made a splash or books by established authors that were solid sellers, but not blockbusters. 

Saying something along the lines of “[My title] will appeal to readers who enjoyed [characteristic] in [novel title] by [author], [publisher, date]” is less off-putting than claiming my manuscript is the next The Da Vinci Code.

Overheard #270

“You do a great job with air.”

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Query Critique

I entered a contest on the YA Fusion blog and won a query critique from Manuscript Critique Services. My awesome critique was from Paula Stokes. Here are some of the things I learned. 

The novel summary should follow the emotional sweep of the novel. It’s easy for me to succinctly summarize the plot points, but especially with action novels, the character arc is key. 

Aim for 250-300 words for the plot summary. While many query-writing experts expound on the benefits of an elevator pitch and caution against more than 50 words or three sentences, nearly every positive example of a compelling query falls within this longer limit. 

Include enough of the plot so the story makes sense. A seemingly unrelated string of events is not interesting. The reader needs to know why the character is doing things. See the first point. 

Don’t forget the hook. What is interesting about the novel? Why should an editor or agent scroll down to look at those first five pages?

I highly recommend Manuscript Critique Services.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Ice Storm 3

I'm an entire winter storm behind on my photographic record of winter. Currently, we have feet of snow.

The sun shining on the ice drips looked like Christmas lights.
a little snow and early morning light

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ice Storm 2

Norway spruce
I like the way the ice magnifies the needles.
maple buds
 crabapples (taken with the flash)
more maple buds (taken with the flash)

Happy New Year!