Thursday, March 14, 2024


Where are my querying writers at? We need to talk. Are you okay?
If you are not a querying writer but know someone who is, maybe you should check on them.

Querying... it's so... hard. I've done this off and on a couple of times over the years until life, you know, got in the way. And I have friends who have braved all of this ahead of me. I follow tons of authors, agents, and other querying authors online, so I know how it all works. I'm not shocked by rejections or no response at all. It doesn't bother me to see other authors posting online about signing with their dream agent, signing a three-book deal, or the popular posting about something "vague." If anything, it's encouraging to see that it's still happening and that more books will be out in the world. It gives me hope that there will still be room for me.


It is a roller coaster, my friends.... if you know me, you know I HATE rollercoasters. I've been querying for about a month now, and I've noticed some things.

·       You are anxiety-ridden every time you send out a query because you need to make sure you are explicitly following the instructions for every agent. (See examples of requirements below.)

o   Query letter and first five pages

o   Query letter and synopsis

o   Query letter, synopsis, pitch, and mood board

o   Query letter, synopsis, pitch, link to playlist if you have one (agents – please ask for more of these!)

o   Email query

o   Only use the Query Manager form

o   Query only one agent at the agency at a time (only query another agent after the first one passes)

o   We take 8-10 weeks to respond (if we respond)

o   A no from one agent is a no from all

o   Please submit a blood sample…okay, that last one is made up, but who knows, it may be out there somewhere.)

·       As soon as you hit send, you get a new idea for how you could have made the query better, or you find something specific to that agent that you could have pointed out in the letter.

·       An agent will post online that they are looking for something that matches EXACTLY what your book is about. You submit it, and within an hour, they reject it, saying it’s not exactly what they were looking for.

·       You get a rejection that sounds like it might be personalized, and you take their kindness to heart. Then you go on Query Tracker and see multiple comments from people who also queried the agent, and they get the same response word for word.

·       You get a query response, and for a moment, you are at the top of the rollercoaster – I loved your story concept; it’s clear you have talent, your voice is perfect, and the story is on trend…. And then you are in a free fall – I just didn’t connect 100%. I didn’t fall in love with it the way I needed to fully take this on.

·       You’ll see a random post from another author about the book they’re querying or the story they’re working on, and your heart will stop because something about it sounds so similar to yours… but it starts beating again when you realize no one can write the story the way that you can.

And maybe that is the point – millions of people (yes, millions) are out there writing a book, but only they can tell the actual story. And that is true for all of us. We can only tell our story and know that somewhere out there is the right person to help find its way into the world.


If you’re querying, please take this as your sign to keep going… and come say hello!




Monday, February 12, 2024

New Version

In 27 days, it will be one year since my mom passed away. 

One year since anything in my life felt the slightest bit normal. 

Since 2015, the early months of each year have started with an extreme medical diagnosis for someone close to me or a death. This year was no different...the only difference is in how I am trying to deal with it.

Writing has always been an escape for me, but when the days become incredibly heavy, my mind typically stops me where I am. Journaling, blog posts, and any actual writing stop altogether. The time when I most need words and the act of writing is when the ability leaves me. Maybe I can't stand seeing the reality of what has happened laid out in words. So, all those years have resulted in a series of stops and starts.

Sometime after my mom passed away, I found my way back to a story that I had stopped working on months before. I wish I could tell you the exact moment, what it was that helped me sit down and start. I don't know what, if anything, was different about this story. Why was I able to sit in front of it and add words, sentences, and paragraphs that I couldn't before? But I did. In between paperwork, phone calls to vendors, and emails to lawyers and realtors, I managed to put together sentences. One after another. In November, I signed up for NaNoWriMo (National Writing Month) to push myself toward the finish line of a first draft. While I didn't complete it, that finish line is actually in sight. 

During that time, I received critique notes on an earlier book that had been left waiting patiently for me to come back to it. Those notes and a fresh look at the story pushed me to keep going and finalize it. Last week, I started the official querying process for it. 

I still don't know what's changed things. It could be the realization that every year brings terrible along with good and that I'm not the only one it happens to. I can't keep waiting for things to be easier because they never are. Maybe it's that I needed something that was just mine, something good that was moving the time forward, something that would give me distance from the pain. 

Time is short - it's such a cliche, but it's true. 

All I know is that the more I wrote, the more I wanted to write. I started journaling again. Some days, I can only manage to write notes: three things I'm grateful for or what would have made a day better. Sometimes, it's full pages of whatever is crowding my mind. But either way, it is moving me forward. I can't believe it's almost a year since one of the worst things happened. It still feels like yesterday. It feels like someone flipped a bunch of pages on the calendar by mistake. I can't slow it down any more than I can stop it.

I can only write one word after the other... for today, that is enough.


Sunday, October 23, 2022

Still Here.....


When they said lockdown in March of 2020, apparently I thought it applied to everything. My last post was from April 2020 and from the sounds of it, I was somewhat optimistic. At least about the idea that I could find something positive in the whole mess and make some headway with my WIP. 

It appears my mind shut down to many things right after that, including this blog.

The last three years have been... well you all know how it's been. I don't have to tell you the world is heavy, the effort it can take to get through a day, and the way every single one of us has been affected by everything. 

One of my favorite things in this world has always been writing. Hours spent at a coffee shop disappearing into another world and making up characters were my thing. It was such an escape. I don't know what happened but in the last year, it wasn't enough of an escape if that makes sense? Nothing was honestly. I couldn't get into tv shows or movies and it took me forever to finish reading a book. It was a restlessness that was exhausting. Add to that eight hours a day spent in front of a computer for work. Sitting back down to a computer at night made my brain hurt.  I actually considered giving up on writing. The publishing world has become more difficult (if that's possible). Friends who've had success and are extremely talented have struggled. What does that say?

So I didn't write. I put everything aside and just tried to finish reading a book. I listened to podcasts, went for walks, and tried to pull myself out of things. Summer came and we spent weekends camping where there was no internet, tv, or many people. I dragged the computer with me and somehow I actually wrote a couple of pages here and there. I read a few more books and took more walks. And one day I grabbed a notebook and wrote page after page of notes on my WIP that I hope will make it better. Then last weekend I actually found myself in a coffee shop and I... wrote. Even when a couple of hours passed and I would normally want to pack up, my mind wanted to keep going. 

So what changed? The only thing I can point to is books. Reading someone else's work and finding the perfect line, a paragraph that you want to highlight, or a quote you save as a future tattoo idea, made me realize how much I still want and need this in my life. The people who weave poetry and pictures with words are my people. I don't want to lose that. Even if my words never make it into a book they will still make it into the world. For now, that will be enough...

What I've been reading:

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry - Gabrielle Zevin
Built to Last - Erin Hahn
Not Good for Maidens - Tori Bovalino
Gallant - V.E. Schwab

What I've been listening to:

Taylor Swift - Midnight Albums (ALL OF IT)
Brandi Carlile - In These Silent Days album
Barenaked Ladies - Detour de Force album

What I've been watching:

Murders In the Building - Season 2
Never Have I Ever - Season 3
Hocus Pocus 2 (It's the Season!)

What's inspiring you?



Saturday, April 18, 2020

Art,Take Me Away....

Times of stress in my life or in the world...that's when I find myself back here. 

Not a good thing, but it is what it is. When the world seems to be falling down around me, I find myself drawn to one main source of comfort. Art. Any shape, any form, as long as it's art. Music, movies, paintings, TV shows, comics, pottery, and most of all books. Ah, hello old friend. Writing has been difficult for me during all of this. When the idea of a shelter in place/social distancing was first floated, someone told me to take the time as a gift and write as much as I could to finish my current project. Any writer has had that dream - a cabin in the woods, no technological distractions, nature outside our window, and endless time in front of us to write the great American novel.

This is not that scenario.

This is walls closing in, attempting to work from home while fighting technology. This is worrying about a danger we can't see, being cut off from friends and family, while also worrying about them, and the world in general. You would think that going into your head and escaping from reality would be the perfect remedy, and it probably would be, if everything listed above didn't give you the attention span of a gnat. 

Yes, a gnat.

Surprisingly, I'm sleeping well. But I'm exhausted every morning, and when the workday ends, my brain feels like it's run a 5K (if a brain could actually run.) You can't shut out the reality of what's going on either. Yes, you can avoid watching the news, but you can't avoid friends and family checking in, reminding you of what you're missing. You can't miss the discussions with colleagues, or the fact that you can't (or shouldn't) leave your house. Oddly, one of the biggest reminders for me is the constant stream of people walking by my house as I sit at my desk. We live a quiet, little neighborhood with sidewalks perfectly made for walking. But, the volume of people I see every day makes me feel like they are busing people in. It's a wonderful sight, but it's a sad reminder of how little time we made for walks before all of this insanity.

Despite all of this, I am trying. I'm about 8K words into my newest WIP. This mainly happens on the weekends, when I have a couple of uninterrupted hours to sit and stare at the screen, trying to string some sentences together. My main character lives with a heightened sense of anxiety. I'm developing a new appreciation for her. I have friends who are trying to read my last project, and God bless them for it. Most of my writing friends are feeling the same way about their attention span.

So, back to that source of comfort. Art in its many shapes and forms - here's what I've been using to get me through this:

Schitt's Creek - My husband and I are obsessed with the quirky characters and their beautiful messiness. And David and Patrick are my little ray of hope. We're spacing out the final season as long as possible.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - The cast, costumes, and dialogue are amazing. I have one episode left...sigghh.

Little Fires Everywhere - I'm only 3 episodes in, but I can feel the roller coaster coming. Reese and Kerry are perfectly cast.

Movies....I love movies. I love going to the movies, the previews, the popcorn...
Sadly, I have not found the ability to sit and watch a new movie (other than a couple of light comedies with friends for a Netflix party.) I have so many movies that I have wanted to see, but just haven't been able to make myself connect to anything right now. But I am open to any suggestions people want to give me! (I wrote this yesterday morning, but I need to add an update to this. Last night's movie choice was a small, independent film called The Fundamentals of Caring with Paul Rudd and Craig Roberts. It was quirky, heartbreaking, and hysterical. I highly recommend it.

Joshua Radin (Live from the Village) 
Talking Heads 
Sara Bareilles (Especially her live stuff)
Meg Myers
Mumford & Sons
Tori Amos

Books (I multitask when it comes to reading. I have multiple books going at once. I rotate through them reading a chapter here and there. I never know what mood I'll be in and again with the attention span....)

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill - Abbi Waxman (Fun romance. Great for people who love books and trivia)
Heroine - Mindy McGinnis (Tough read, but such an important story.)
Anti/Hero - Kate Karyus Quinn and Demitria Lunetta (My friend's new middle-grade, graphic novel. Loved it!)
An American Marriage - Tayari Jones (Another hard story, but such gorgeous language.)
B*Witch - Paige McKenzie and Nancy Ohlin (I won an ARC of this from a charity fundraiser and only a few pages in so far.) 
Genuine Fraud - E. Lockhart (I loved We Were Liars, so fingers crossed.)

Before I go, here's one more piece of art that's bringing joy to my life right now. My hand made, coffee mug from my husband's cousin. Artists and their art... this is what will keep us going.

What's keeping you going right now?

~ Adrienne

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Why Would Anyone Ever Do This???

Hi kids!

I'm back and it hasn't even been a year. Woo hoo! I know it's been a month, but I wanted to let you know that I survived that 3 day weekend of self imposed editing. AND true to form, life reared it's ugly head in the middle of it. BUT, I managed to push through. I typed with one hand and faced the issue with the other. Almost 10,000 words later, I had an updated and (I hope) improved manuscript. It has been submitted to both agents and that's all I can tell you for now.

I received a ton of messages and good wishes throughout this process, which was so very motivating. Mainly because this whole thing is exactly that. A process-a very lengthy, drawn out, crazy, lonely, process. And it made me realize how little people outside of this world know of the process, how incredibly surprised they are by how hard it is, and how long it takes to get a book published. I won't bore anyone with the tedious details, but we're talking years.

  • You write the story, but then edit, correct, change, and edit some more, until you finally have something you love. And if you're doing it while working a full time job, raising kids, taking care of pets, family, and trying to maintain friendships....well, let's just say it tends to lengthen the process.
  • You submit the manuscript to a ton of agents, hoping just one will be able to see the potential under the possible mess you've presented to them. 
  • They offer to represent you, and then you really get to work. You'll edit again and again, until they are certain you have the best product possible. 
  • The agent then submits it to publishers. If you are lucky enough that one likes it, a new process begins, whereby they need to present it to a number of people at the publishing house before a decision can be made.
  • And after all that, if you are lucky enough to actually have all those stars align... it can take almost another year or two for the book to actually make it to store shelves. 
This list is as simplified as I can make it, but everyone of these steps has about a hundred steps, (and possible years) to go along with it. And since I haven't actually experienced all of them myself, I'm pretty sure I missed a couple. My apologies to all those who have come before me and succeeded in this insanity.

Now, this list just pertains to traditional publishing. These days there are a number of options available for working with smaller publishers, or actually choosing to self publish. But, I know people who have chosen both of those options, and they work just as hard (if not harder), to reach the same goal.

So, I love when someone asks me when they can buy my book. I am humbled by their faith in my ability, but I also feel despair at the possibility that my answer may have to be never.

Why? Why would anyone ever put themselves through that? That's a question I have heard a number of times, by writers and non-writers alike.

The answer for me personally, is that the stories push to be told. The idea that it may never be a fully, bound book on store shelves means nothing to the story. The characters don't know that they aren't real. They'll keep talking until someone listens. I personally will have no rest if that happens (again, Patrick Swayze). All they care is that the story gets told. I get to go into their world and help create their story. And if I get it right, I can make you laugh and cry. So the answer is, why wouldn't I?

Writers - what's your reason for doing it?
Non-writers - Do you have a passion you feel this strongly about?

Adrienne ~

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Curses, Snacks, and Lots of Words......

I think I curse myself inadvertently. Every time I say "Pheww, I'm glad we got through that. Now I can get back to work," the universe literally laughs itself silly. It's been another year. How is that even possible? It's because I keep telling myself, I'll write a new post as soon as X, Y, and Z are over. The problem is that A, B, and C always follow.

I need to stop waiting for things to calm down, get easier, be normal, etc. This is the normal and I just have to figure out how to keep writing in the middle of the storm.

I'm still writing. I have been all along. Book number one has been completed for what seems like forever now. I queried a few people, entered some contests, made some changes here and there, but let's be honest, I stalled. Why? Who knows. Maybe deep down I know that if I don't actually send anything out, then I can't really be rejected. It makes complete sense when I step back and analyze it, but it's still a little bit insane. I'm doing my best to push through this.

In the meantime, I have been working on my next WIP (the idea that created itself a couple of years ago while on vacation. (See Patrick Swayze). It's a YA, completely different than my first book, other than the ghost idea. Yeah, I never actually told you about book number one, did I? Well, of course not. I'm hoping/wishing/praying, that someday you'll be able to find it on a store shelf somewhere.
In the meantime, I've been rolling right along with book two. I love the characters, and the story makes me smile to myself just thinking about it. It also breaks my heart just a little....and I hope it will break yours someday, in the best possible way.

So, as I said it has been a year. You know what that means - Pennwriter's annual conference. The time when I'm surrounded by people who get me, who motivate me, and who remind me of why I love writing. Sure enough, the magic happened again and I came back twice as motivated.

And, good news -I pitched to two agents, who BOTH requested to see part of my story!
Bad news - one of them has asked that I try to lower the word count before sending it.
Good news - I have a three day weekend ahead of me, and a house all to myself. The plan is to stock up on essentials (Food, coffee, snacks, vodka(?)) and barricade myself at my desk until Tuesday morning. I'm a little overwhelmed, a lot nervous, and a whole lot of looking forward to the challenge. Wish me luck.....

If I don't answer your call/text/email, you'll know why.

~ Adrienne

PS - Writer friends - what do you have to have in order to be productive? Specific snacks, fancy pens, particular music, lucky socks.....?

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Unfolding - One Page At A Time

Time does not change us. It just unfolds us.
~ Max Frisch

How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?
~ Dr. Seuss


I don’t know where the past five months have gone. They disappeared like someone turning a page in a book. One day it was damp, dreary March and we were dealing with death and illness, no idea what to do next. But, the next day happened whether we were ready or not. Now it’s the sweltering end of July, and we find ourselves blinking against the sunlight, dazed from all that has happened. 

Both of the above quotes apply aptly to my life right now. It is getting late, more so every day. And time has definitely unfolded me this year. It has pushed and pulled, stretching me to my limits. It’s forced me to be vulnerable and open up to people. It has made me do things I didn’t believe I was capable of doing, handling things I never could have imagined. 

In terms of my writing it has pushed me outside of an imaginary safety net I had created for myself. I finished my book, pitched to two agents at the annual writing conference, came in 2nd place in a writing contest at said conference, entered an online pitch contest, and am currently preparing to take part in PitchWars. You may or may not be aware of this, but the introvert in me would not have been able to handle this many things so close together prior to this year. You would think the fear of time running out is what propelled me forward. But that’s not the case. If anything, it actually made me less afraid of things. The thought of speaking with an agent about my book became less scary after some of the things I faced this year. It made me become more focused on what is truly important to me. At the conference I received requests from those two agents to send some of my work to them. That gave me the confidence to send out a couple more queries to other agents. I made a joke on social media at the time, asking the Universe to be kind. I had been so fearful of taking that first step, showing my work to someone other than supportive friends and family. My true fear was someone telling me I had no business thinking I could be a writer. So far someone in the Universe is listening. I’ve only had a couple of responses, and even though they were No’s, they were incredibly kind and supportive. They reinforced my love for what I am doing; that whether I ever publish a single written word, just the act of writing is enough to make me happy. 

Time to unfold……