Update: Commencing Search for an Agent

Now that I am over halfway finished with the final draft of Shadows and Stars, I am starting my search for an agent.

I started the search this evening by perusing a few of the agents listed in Poets and Writers. I have no idea what to look for in an agent, but I have to begin somewhere, and I will learn as I progress. I will try to keep my readers informed on my progress with an occasional update as I learn the system.

The first thing I learned in the Poets and Writers listings, was to go directly to the company’s website and find the specifics of what the company wants and to look over the authors they represent and any lists of the books they represent. This tells me whether I will fit in the company.

Of course, the first thing I look for are the genres they are interested in representing. If my genre is not listed, I will try another agent.

I also found out that literary agents will represent different types of works such as novels, screenplays, and theatrical works. As I have two plays in the works, I need an agent who can handle novels and plays and anything else I write. So, if they don’t represent plays, I move on.

I also noted that one agent would consider submissions, if they were exclusive to that agent. This was something I had not considered: is it common to have more than one agent? I assume that you would have only one agent per novel. Otherwise, things very confusing and very expensive very fast. In any case, I am not interested in having more than one agent. Baby steps first.

I also learned to read the fine print on the website and to read the submission guidelines meticulously as I did when submitting short stories to magazines. That can make all the difference in whether my work is accepted. I have taken this to heart since I started The Chamber and now see things from a publisher’s/ editor’s perspective.

Anyway, it’s bedtime. I will wrap this up now and maybe write more on my agent hunt in a day or two.

Take care.

Confession: March 15, 2022

An update on what is happening tonight, March 15, 2022.

Damn. Is it 2022 already? It seems like yesterday was 2002.

In any case, tonight (to paraphrase Howard Hesseman [WKRP in Cincinnati] when he was a guest on the Tonight Show), I have been experimenting in recreational activities of an alcoholic nature. I developed a good Margarita recipe: 2 parts tequila, 2 parts triple sec, 1 part lime juice, 1 part grapefruit juice, and 1 part Sprite. I am calling these the Arkansas Post Margarita. Any, afterwards I did a little ego-surfing and found this (the Phil Slattery mentioned is some guy in Australia whom I do not know):

There is something about this that blows my drunken mind, but I cannot put my finger on it. This is from “The Surgical News” of Nov-Dec 2018. This is from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

Now I forget what I was going to confess, unless that it is that I am loaded.

But this little quote makes sense. Only a Slattery would find a connection between wine and hand surgery.

Go figure.

Update for March 4, 2021: Lycanthrope

Here is a quick update on my progress on my horror novel, Lycanthrope.

Currently, I have over 46,000 words on Lycanthrope and I am gradually building toward a climax, probably the first of two or three along with at least two plot twists that should spice things up.

The main setting of Lycanthrope is in rural southeast Arkansas, but it ranges over a lot of the area. So far, action has taken place in an unnamed small town in southeast Arkansas, Memphis, Little Rock, and Shreveport.

I like to set things in places where I have been because I feel it adds an air of authenticity to the story. In this way, I can describe things that people who haven’t been there would experience, but which natives would note as missing. Hemingway and Fitzgerald set the majority of their stories in places they had known. For me, this makes their stories quite realistic, which is a quality I would like to achieve with my writing. I want the reader to vicariously live the experience described in my stories. I want to make it so realistic that the reader feels that he or she is the protagonist.

I can write comfortably about southeast Arkansas, Little Rock, and Memphis, because I have been to those places. I have not been to Shreveport, however, and had to rely on the Internet to get an idea of the city. I described the Shreveport setting in rather vague terms, so that the action seems plausible. I hate it that I had to describe Shreveport without having been there. Maybe I will get the chance to go before I finish Lycanthrope. If that happens, I will be able to revise the Shreveport events in the story enough to intensify the reader’s vicarious experience. I have plans for later events to take place in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but I have spent a lot of time there, so I can accurately describe the locations where events will take place.

Currently, I am writing about events that take place in Texarkana. I have been to Texarkana several times, so I have something of a feel for the place. However, I have not been to the places where the events are taking place and I am having to rely on the Internet, and particularly Google Earth, to enliven my description of the setting. However, Texarkana is only three hours from where I live in Gillett, so I can probably go up there one weekend and scope things out where the novel’s actions take place.

On another matter, I am going to explore using the Anchor App to produce podcasts of my posts, so that I can reach a wider audience. This post will be my first test of the Anchor system. I have liked what I have seen of the system so far and I think it will be useful.

Take care, stay safe, and have a pleasant day.

Update: Shadows and Stars, Cover 1, November 19, 2019

Shadows and Stars Draft cover
Shadows and Stars cover, first draft, for Kindle

I have been searching for royalty-free, public domain images that I can use in my works, particularly Shadows and Stars. Here’s my first idea for its cover using something from Pixabay. Let me know what you think. Of course, the proportions are for an e-book on Kindle, and I would have to modify it for a standard 6″x9″ cover, which I might do tomorrow.  But you get the idea of what it might be like.

Update: May 30, 2019–Visit to Texas

Working on “Shadows and Stars Lying Down”. May 24 or 25, 2019, in IHOP, Midland, TX

I have been down in Texas over the last several days and returned on Monday. I didn’t get much writing done, though my wife took a few snapshots of me working my sci-fi novel at an IHOP in Midland about 11:00 pm.

I had named the book originally Jacob’s Ladder as a working title, then decided on Shadows and Stars, but have decided on Shadows and Stars Lying Down, as the protagonist’s name is Daryn Tsela Jacob. He is a Navajo, whose middle name means “stars lying down”.  I gave him the middle name Tsela out of coincidence, not recognizing the connection with the book’s title (I just wanted

Reading Kerouac’s “Desolation Angels”, Midland, TX, May 27, 2019

an obviously Navajo name), but which my wife recognized and thus suggested the expanded title. I liked it, because it gives the novel a mysterious connotation. I hope it will intrigue the public and make them pick up a copy to examine it.

My wife, Fran, picked up a few books from the local library book exchange, two of which I immediately latched onto and started reading:  Kerouac’s Desolation Angels and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

Here’s photos of she and I having dinner.

Dinner, Ray’s Italian, Midland, TX, May 26, 2019. Appetizer: Escargot Provencale. Iced tea.

Fran, my wife. Dinner, Ray’s Italian, Midland, TX, May 26, 2019. Appetizer: Escargot Provencale. Iced tea.

Update: April 28, 2019 10:03 pm

It has been a busy weekend. Yesterday morning I spent much of the morning to maybe early afternoon making plans to complete several short stories and either add them to my existing anthologies on Amazon or to create new anthologies. I spent much of yesterday afternoon and evening writing in various coffee shops and restaurants in Farmington.  I intended to work on my sci-fi novel, whose working title is Jacob’s Ladder. Instead, I worked on a sci-fi/horror short story, on which I had a brainstorm for most of the day.  It’s title is “The Charade”.  It’s about the interrogation of an alien commander after his invasion armada has been defeated over Denver.  For a short story, it will have a lot of intricacy and subtext. That’s all I will say about it for now.

The city of Aztec turned off the electric to most of the city, or at least our neighborhood, from 10 pm last night to about 7:00 this morning. Therefore, after I had spent most of the day in Farmington, I came home for a short while to feed the dog and type most of “The Charade”. Then I went back into Farmington for dinner at Olive Garden, then over to Lucky Breaks to shoot pool for about an hour before proceeding to Denny’s to write more on Jacob’s Ladder.  If you saw last night’s posts, you know that I wasn’t too successful at that, because I was tired and couldn’t focus on writing.  I couldn’t get a good “flow” going.  Therefore, I spent most of my time on my social media related to writing. I had enough energy to do that.

I became very tired around 3:00 a.m. and headed home. Before I went home, I took a detour to Main Street to check out the hours for the Chile Pod, a very good New Mexican restaurant.  I was planning to go there today for breakfast, but it was closed. I took the attached photo of Main Street looking east from the Chile Pod at 3:28 a.m. just because I had never seen the street so empty.  There also seems to be a sort of desolate beauty about the street.  When I used to do black and white photography in the 80’s-90’s, I used to take a lot of dramatic night shots of Alexandria Virginia and Washington, DC for the same reason.

I arrived home at about 4:00, and the electricity was out as announced. I had put some candles and a lighter near the door before I had left at 9:30 p.m.  I lit them, sat up for a few minutes, and then lay down on the sofa to sleep, but never fell asleep.

When dawn came, the dog wanted out.  I let her out. I lay back down, but couldn’t fall asleep for whatever reason.  I felt very fatigued, but still had too much energy to sleep.  Therefore, I surfed the Net for a while, including reading a few articles on using keywords and how to market books on Amazon.  Then I worked on fine-tuning the administrative and marketing stuff for both my paperback and e-books on Amazon. I also worked some on finishing the paperback version of Nocturne. While doing that, I had a couple of ideas.

The first idea was to write and publish on Amazon a children’s book, for which I had the initial idea probably more than ten years ago while living in Corpus Christi. The original draft is on an old hard drive that I haven’t been able to access for about ten years. It is about a young brown pelican who is afraid to dive into the water for fish from about five stories up, which is what brown pelicans do. His father then has to teach him to overcome his fear.  The young pelican also learns about trusting his father.

The second idea I had was to put together a collection of classic short horror stories and poetry from the ones I published on my website a few years ago in a recurring article called “The Saturday Night Special”, because I published them on Saturday nights. They seemed to be fairly popular.  Most were stories from the nineteenth century, though a few were from 1900-1920, before copyright laws were established.  Thus, all are in the public domain. I chose works from classic horror authors: Poe, M.R. James, Algernon Blackwood, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, etc. I started on that and had the first three stories in it, when, about 5:00 p.m., I decided to clean up and go have something to eat at a local Chinese restaurant. I took a notebook with me to write the first draft of the children’s book. See the previous article for photos of me and the notebook at the Wonderful House restaurant tonight.

I had hot and sour soup and pot stickers. While eating I read the news on my iPhone. Then I went to work on my book and didn’t put the pen down, with the exception of receiving a few calls from my wife (she is in Texas), until I had finished, which I did at 8:45 (the restaurant closes at 9:00).  I then posted on this blog that I had completed the first draft and I came home.

Once home I started the laundry and started this post while watching a program on YouTube about the “Iceman”, Richard Kuklinski, famed mafia hit-man. It ended just now.  Still no sleep. This happens occasionally and is not at all unusual for me.

I never managed to do the household chores I needed to do this weekend: financial planning, mowing the yard, cleaning the house, etc. Still, I got a lot done for my writing career.

This is the way it has been for me for a few weeks.  I have had this drive to write, which grows increasingly strong with each day. I can hardly tear myself away from the keyboard.

It’s 11:24 p.m..  Still no sleep. Laundry is in the dryer.  Going to bed soon.

Good night.


#Weird Coincidence? #Synchronicity? 

I just arrived at Ruby’s restaurant in Aztec planning on a breakfast of pappas con carne adovada and the waitress seated me at a booth next to a man that looks very much like the photo of the fictional character Jack Thurston I posted on Twitter (@jthurston666).  Of course, the photo is a public domain photo I got from Pexels.  Nonetheless, the coincidence seems uncanny.  Has anyone else had a similar coincidence?  I suppose this falls under the category of synchronicity.