Thursday, December 23, 2010

See You Next Year!

And I hit 100 followers!  You guys are so great!  I was really nervous about closing down my last blog because I'd gotten up to 180+ followers and I'd worked very hard for each and every one of them, but you guys have made it SO worth it!

That being said, I'm taking my Christmas break right now and won't be back until the new year.  2010 has been a great year and I'm hoping for an even better one in 2011 (maybe an agent? Please!).  I hope to continue with Goober Writers Anonymous with the same fervor of the last few months, and maybe even start a book club with some of my greatest blogging buddies.

Essentially, I'm really looking forward to all the possibilities of 2011 and am glad all of you will be there with me along the way.

So Merry Christmas and have a happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

Vic and Lindsey have hosted a fun little contest and blogfest where we take something that happened in real life and turn it into a story!  How fun!  Your very own Emily's Playhouse blogger won second place!  *passes round celebratory drinks*

Today is the blogfest part where all the participants share their stories with all you lovely readers.  The story I wrote is based on something that happened to my grandfather LONG before I was born.  

I hope you enjoy!

                “Heave ho, lads!  Heave ho!”  Salvadore Bumble wiped his brow with a big sweep of his hand for the umpteenth time.  Hard work it was getting men to do their fair share.  Especially in a god-awful heat wave that made the steel girders bake your feet right through your shoes. 
                “Perhaps a break might be nice,” Bumble’s number two man said just a quarter inch behind him and an octave too high.  Not much was ever said of young Capp.  If something was said, it was none-too-kind and never spoken to his face.  “Soft” and “dainty” is what a person might hear coming from the workers’ mouths if he were to pass by.
                Not that Bumble cared.  The boy had a head on him and that’s all that mattered.  Let the Builders do the heavy stuff while the Suits used their brains.
                “A break sounds lovely, my lad.”  With a big whoosh of breath and the readjustment of his ample waist, Bumble plopped himself down on the open ledge, just ten stories up from the ground.
                Capp cleared his throat and tapped his foot.  “No, Mr. Bumble.  I meant for the workers.”  His voice quieted.  “It is awfully hot today.”
                And how.  Bumble took another swipe at his brow, flinging the sweat off to splatter and steam against the girder upon which he sat.  “No time for breaks, Capp.  You know that.  Mayor Parson wants his new capital building done by the end of summer.”
                “Even so, I’m sure the Mayor would not be pleased if some of the workers started falling to their deaths from heat exhaustion.”
                Bumble cocked his head up at the boy and narrowed his eyes.  Cocky little punk, wasn’t he?  Must have grown a set overnight.  Bumble certainly couldn’t remember him talking back like that before. 
                “Don’t worry your pretty little head about it.  They got a lunch break comin’ in just a few hours.”
                Capp shook his head and side-stepped his way off Bumble’s section without another word.
                “Touchy,” Bumble mumbled.  With his eyes still on him, he watched the boy make his way across the narrow girders to a group of three or four workers hauling up a box of tools and supplies.  Not once did Capp’s stiff neck relent, or his eyes roam to the ground as he skirted the building’s exposed skeleton.
                “Some lads just ain’t made for this kinda work,” Bumble said to himself with a shake of his head.  An iron will as strong as the metal they laid was what was required, if anyone bothered to ask Bumble’s opinion.  Give the workers a break.  Bah!  Might as well give ‘em a raise while you were at it.  And those things just weren’t done.
                Bumble wiped off the bead of sweat that tickled the end of his nose and pulled out half a sandwich he kept hidden in his breast pocket.  If anyone deserved a break it was him!  He peered at Capp out of the corner of his eye again.  Why, the foolish lad was actually hauling that box of supplies!  The poor dimwit could barely see over the top.  Well, if he wanted to break his neck from a fall, that was—
                “Not that way, you idiot!”  Bumble called out as he pulled himself up.   It was too late.  Capp’s foot came down six inches away from the end of the steel girder, right over open air.
                Bumble looked away.  The men may have said some harsh things about him over the years, but he just couldn’t stand to watch a man die.
                The sickening thud Bumble fully expected to hear never came.   With eyes as timid as a school girl’s, he looked over to see the damage.  No crumpled body lay on the ground.  He raised his eyes up to the last place he saw the poor chap and nearly toppled off the girder himself at the sight before him.  Capp, completely oblivious, was walking ten stories above the ground with nothing under his feet but air.
                Bumble wiped his hand across his eyes and looked back at the floating boy, certain he’d completely lost his mind.  But no.  Capp still walked high above the ground to the left wing of the building’s skeleton, seemingly unaware.  When he got to the other end, his feet finally resting on solid steel, he put his box down and turned around.  The look of pure horror on Capp’s face as he stared at the drop to the ground not four inches in front of him surely matched Bumble’s.  Their eyes met and everything that had just happened was communicated between that one shared look.
                A miracle had occurred, and Bumble needed to change his pants.

I know!  Hard to believe, but my grandfather was "young Capp."  I don't know if anyone actually saw it happen, but all he knows is he was carrying something high up on a work site just like this one and after setting down the package, turned around, and realized he'd just walked over the width of about a hundred feet of open air.

To read all the other wonderful stories, check out the linky-do on Vic's blog!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Christmas Wishlist

First of all, welcome to all my new followers!  Yesterday was SO much fun!  I'm still replying to comments, so if you haven't heard from me yet, either you have the no-reply option for your email address or you will hear from me later today.  In the meantime, enjoy some treats!

Now, I'll be honest here and say that my Christmas wishlist isn't as long as it COULD have been.  Ever since Fluffy (for all my new readers, this would be my Kindle) entered into my life, I've simply purchased a book the moment I wanted it.  However, I've been trying to be good and not get anything for myself for the past few weeks.

Book #1 on my list.  This is the third installment of Carrie Jones' NEED series.  Blood-thirsty pixies and noble Weres face off in an epic battle of epicness!  So. Want. This.

Book #2!  I haven't read much MG, but this cover is so intriguing, I can't resist.

And finally:

Book #3.  Aka my book on a bookshelf.  That would be wonderful!  

How about you, dear readers?  Have anything you have on your Christmas wishlist?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Be Jolly By Golly!

Christmas is almost here and Jen at unedited, along with her friend Melissa, has organized a little blog party.  So sit back and relax as I share my decorations, favorite Christmas snack, and drink.


My Christmas tree in all its lighted and decorated glory: 

No, it's not real.  :(  But it is beautiful!

A little Christmas tree tidbit for you--It's always been a tradition of mine to hang up the same ornament first every year.  It's a little baby Jesus I made when I was three that's simply a walnut shell (for the manger), an orange bead (for his head), and a patch of red cloth (for his blanket).  

The Christmas stockings:

The snowman is mine, the santa is my husband's, the little itty snowman to the right is my eldest son's, and the blue stocking belongs to my youngest.  Little known fact: we NEVER fill them.  I just think they're pretty to hang up.

The Nativity:

This is always the second thing to go up (yes, I'm a tad obsessive compulsive) and my children insist it's their toy.

So there's my house!  I hope you enjoyed the little tour.  Stay for a drink and a snack.  I'm sure you'll love them!

Favorite snack for your pleasure: 

Ginger Cream Cookies.  Yummmm...



  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Cream the shortening, sugar, egg, molasses and water. Mix in the flour, salt, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
  3. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 8 minutes.

Favorite drink:

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Actually, with this recipe, you can make it any flavor you like.  I usually start making this around halloween and right up until Christmas.  It is yummy!

(makes 1 serving)

1 cup of milk
A splash of vanilla
Sugar to taste
Sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice

Combine all ingredients in small sauce pan.  Heat to simmer while whisking.  Once heated through, add with a bit of already prepared coffee.  

Want a mint latte??  Replace the vanilla with mint extract and leave out the pumpkin pie spice.  You can make any flavor you want!  Enjoy!

And thanks so much for stopping by.  Don't forget to check out the other jolly blogs today!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Goober Writers Anonymous--Carol Riggs

Goober Writers Anonymous is a group for writers to vent about past or present writerly mistakes for therapeutic reasons, to educate others, or just for a laugh.  If you would like to join the group and sign up to submit a guest post, please leave me your email address in the comments below.

Perks of joining:  You get to put the nifty little badge on your blog (yes, this does indeed make you cool), sharing with others and being a part of a group is always fun, and I will put a link to your blog on my blog below under Members of GWA.

Another of my great Goober buddies has sent me a post, but I need more!  Next Thursday will be the last Goober post until the after the new year.  If you've got a story you want to share, leave your email address below in the comments or email me at the address to the right.  Thanks! 

Today's Goober blogger is Carol Riggs!  You may remember her other goober post about the downfall of speedy revisions.  Check out her blog if you haven't already and say hi! 


To agent or not to agent. Yes, that was the question. I never thought I would need an agent. Pshaw, I thought. I can send out submissions myself--I'm not helpless--so why would I need an agent to do that? Like, some writers are soooo lazy.

Yet after reading more about agents online, stalking Nathan Bransford's informative blog while he was still an agent, and attending an SCBWI-Oregon session given by a live agent--Michael Stearns of Upstart Crow Literary--I began to see things differently.

Imagine, agents do other things than submit! How about that. They negotiate contracts, help shape and fix your manuscript for editor submissions, act as mediator between you and your editor, submit to publishing houses that are closed to unsolicited manuscripts, etc, etc. Okay, I thought. That is worth the 15% or thereabouts that they get, especially since more and more publishing houses are closing their submissions to unsolicited manuscripts. I do need help with all that gnarly business stuff.

I know, writers CAN get published without an agent. They do so all the time. But the publishing market is tight these days, and why knock myself out if I don't have to? Why spend time submitting endlessly and standing in line at the post office when I could be writing? Another delightful benefit is that agents take email submissions. Yay. Because getting rejected via email is a lot cheaper than printing up and sending my manuscript via ye olde postal service.  

So here comes the bigger mistake, besides the misconception that I didn't need an agent. 

I started out sending out my queries ONE at a time, on 3-4 novels. Weeks and weeks went by. A rejection. The very same day one came back, I would zing it out to a new agent. I felt so efficient. An additional week would pass…or many weeks until I'd get another rejection. Lather, rinse, repeat.  (Okay, except for Nathan; he broke my rejection record and boomeranged one back to me in an HOUR. Mumble, grumble.)

Yes, I'd heard that some writers sent out scads and oodles of queries at one time, but I somehow thought that was just wrong or unethical. Like agents should be given exclusives, because well, they're special. And, because a few agents actually ask for an exclusive, or at least want writers to let them know if the query is a multiple one. So I thought that focusing on one agent at a time was their preferred way of being contacted, even if they claimed to be okay with multiple querying. Besides, it's hard work to research agents and find a "fit"; sending out one query at a time was easier and less time-consuming.

Months later, I finally read some things online that made me rethink my query policy. Everyone seemed to be doing multiple querying. Agents really didn't seem to mind. I amped up my submission process, and altered my submission log document accordingly. Lately, I've sent out--gasp!--six whole queries at a time. I'm still a little appalled at hearing how some writers send out batches of fifteen or twenty at a time.

Hey, don't laugh. I'm working my way up!

Great post, Carol!  I must admit I made all these mistakes, too.  I'm still only sending out five at a time (at most).  Sure it may take forever, but at least you don't risk burning through a bunch of agents if you find your query still needs work.

Thanks for sharing!

So how about you, dear readers?  How do you query?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Weeeiiiird Sciiiiiieeeeeeeeence Weeeeeeeednsdaaaaay!

Think Thomas Edison is the father of electricity?  Hmm...not so much.  Today's Weird Science Wednesday post is about Nikola Tesla!

The True Father of Electricity

An absolute genius, the Serb-American inventor died alone and with all the recognition he deserved given to others.  Alternating current, wireless energy, fluorescent lighting.  All of this and much more was invented by Tesla.

Watch this AMAZING video to learn more.  It will blow your mind!  Yes.  I did just say that.  ;)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Facing Rejections and Learning from Mistakes

Christmas song of the day: Little Drummer Boy

Most of you know I started querying in September, but what only two of you (hey, lovely betas!) know is that I got nothing but form rejections.  It was frustrating and extremely disheartening.  I had a good query, thanks to Matt Rush and his readers.  And I thought I had some pretty decent sample pages.  I'd gone through extensive revisions already and vamped up my first chapter to address issues my beta had.  I even won a critique from Shannon Whitney Messenger and applied the changes she suggested.  I was sure I had a perfectly polished novel.

But alas, my query and pages didn't pique anyone's interest.  About a month and a half in, I happened to win another first chapter critique, this time from Elana Johnson.  I'll be honest here, I hoped (and kinda expected) to receive praise.  After all, I'd already gone through revisions and had a polished chapter to give to her.  I was querying this for crying out loud!  Unfortunately, Elana pointed out issues Shannon had pointed out and my beta had pointed out before her.  I thought I'd already addressed and fixed those issues!  Apparently not.

I completely rewrote the first three chapters of my novel.  I sent the first chapter to my beta and she basically said it didn't work in any way.  Sigh.  So I rewrote the first chapter again.  Better, she said.  Phew!

Then I acquired a few more critique partners and I decided to really look at ELEMENTAL again.  I mean REALLY look at it.  It was darker than I remembered it being.  After not reading most of it for a couple months, I was able to see it through the eyes of a fresh reader.  So I took a look at my query and saw a glaring problem.  The query was good, but it wasn't for my book.  It was far too peppy and didn't match the tone of my first pages (original or new) at all.

No wonder I got nothing but form rejections.

I rewrote my query in the tone of the book and sent it to one of my betas for approval.  After some suggestions on her part, I think I finally have a query that works for my book.  Plus, I'm pretty pleased with my new chapters.  No, I'm not querying anyone this month because I really need a break.  After rewriting so much of ELEMENTAL (not to mention all the other edits I did throughout), plus writing and editing MORCAH all throughout November, I'm a tad tired.  And of course, getting rejections in your inbox can be a little draining.

Facing rejections can be tough, but I'm glad I had a chance to learn from what I did wrong.  As some of you are preparing to start querying or finishing up edits in your novels, I hope you take the opportunity to learn from my mistakes.  I'm sad I wasted months in ignorance.  Don't rush into it like I did (and believe me, at the time, I didn't think I was rushing into it).  And if the rejections DO start piling up, remember that they're not always a bad thing.  Sometimes they can be the best lesson you can receive.

Happy querying, everyone!
~Emily White

Monday, December 13, 2010

'Tis the Season

Christmas song of the day: Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire

I don't think it's much of a secret that a lot of agents take December off from the deluge of queries they usually receive.  A lot of them say it's to get caught up with what they've already received and to spend more time with their clients' projects, but I suspect it's probably so they actually get to spend time with family.  And honestly, who can blame them?  

I know, I know.  It's frustrating to be in the middle of sending out queries and to hit December where it's almost total blackout.  But it can also be a little refreshing.  Wouldn't you like one month where you aren't a slave to your inbox?  Or a month to take a break from your novel and come back with totally fresh eyes?

So take some totally guilt-free time off!  

Make cookies!

Go caroling!

And come back to your novel in January with refreshed and ready eyes.  :)

I'm taking December off.  How about you?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Goober Writers Anonymous--Melanie Schulz

Christmas song of the day: Oh Holy Night

Goober Writers Anonymous is a group for writers to vent about past or present writerly mistakes for therapeutic reasons, to educate others, or just for a laugh.  If you would like to join the group and sign up to submit a guest post, please leave me your email address in the comments below.

Perks of joining:  You get to put the nifty little badge on your blog (yes, this does indeed make you cool), sharing with others and being a part of a group is always fun, and I will put a link to your blog on my blog below under Members of GWA.

I've gotten another post from one of my gracious members and I'm  desperate, DESPERATE for more!  Free cookies to anyone who joins today!

Today's blogger is Melanie Schulz!  Melanie is new to the blogosphere and has recently completed her first draft of her first novel.  Stop by her blog and say hi!

     When I began contemplating what I would write for this Goober Writer’s post, I soon felt overwhelmed.  After all, the number of mistakes I had made, and continue to make, are daunting. I have read Emily’s previous posts and could relate to them all, could even add some that I am too embarrassed to name here.

      Instead, I wanted to write something encouraging to all of us aspiring writers. I have yet to send out my initial queries, but from the sounds of it, encouragement is sorely needed.

     We all have lists of things to do, especially this time of year. But unlike others around us, we have done something; we have written a novel.  A task so immensely challenging and emotionally draining that it’s completion is miraculous in itself. So even if the only people who get to meet our wonderful characters are our grandchildren, at least we had the balls to get out of the box of the mundane and attempt to follow our dreams.

     So on that note, Merry Christmas, enjoy the holidays with your families, knowing that you have done something others only dream of doing.

Thanks for that, Melanie!  We all know admitting our mistakes can get a tad embarrassing (query of horror, anyone?), but we certainly appreciate this little note!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Weeeiiiird Sciiiiiieeeeeeeeence Weeeeeeeednsdaaaaay!

Christmas song of the day: Carol of the Bells (Trans-Siberian Orchestra)

Today's Weird Science Wednesday is about the Anti-Gravity Machine!

Or better known as electrogravitics.

       "Electrogravitics might be described as a synthesis of electrostatic energy use for propulsion--either     vertical propulsion or horizontal or both--and gravitics, or dynamic counterbary in which (electrostatic) energy  is also used to set up a local gravitational force independent of the earth's."  Valone, p. 14 (parenthesis added)

A possible relationship between gravity and electricity was discovered in 1923 by Paul A. Biefield, who then assigned T.Townsend Brown with the job of studying the effects in a research project.  In simple terms, what he came up with was that with enough voltage (in the millions range), positively charged ions would work together with negatively charged ions to create an independently functioning gravity field.

Not only has this theory been tested and proven, it's in use today!

Most people know this particular craft as the B-2 (a stealth jet capable of avoiding radar).  What you MAY not know is that radar picks up the vapor trails created by the combustion of jet fuels.  The water vapor in vapor trails is under a high state of turbulence and easily detected by radar devices (it's also a way we pick up weather patterns).  In order to be a stealth vehicle, the B-2 cannot run on combustible material such as jet fuel.

        "On March 9, 1992, Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine made the surprising disclosure that the B-2 electrostatically charges its exhaust stream and the leading edges of its wing-like body.  Those familiar with the elctrogravitics research of American physicist T. Townsend Brown will quickly realize that this is tantamount to stating the B-2 is able to function as an antigravity aircraft." Thomas Valone, Electrogravitics Systems: Reports on a New Propulsion Methodology, Integrity Research Institute, Washington D.C., 2004, p. 79.

There's also a lot of speculation surrounding Coral Castle in Homestead, Florida in regards to electrogravitics.  For those unfamiliar with this structure, it was single-handedly constructed by Ed Leedskalnin, an immigrant to the U.S. from Latvia.  Some of the blocks used to construct the Coral Castle weigh up to 30 tons.  No one knows for sure how Ed built the castle all by himself (without the use of modern machinery), but it is known that he was extremely interested in the research surrounding electrogravitics and even submitted his theories on how it worked in the Miami Daily News in 1946.  

This particular tech is very important in ELEMENTAL and is the primary feat of the Soltakians (a nation of people who help the MC).

So, isn't this fascinating?  There's a LOT more surrounding this theory, as well as the Coral Castle (like Ed saying he knew the secret of how the Egyptians built the pyramids).  If you have the chance, you should check it all out!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Where am I?

That's what I felt like this weekend.  Actually, it's kind of what I looked like, too.  Slippers (check!), crazy hair (check!), hot beverage (check!), looked like death beat me with a stick (check!).

Yup, so my brain is still recovering from the cold-induced, cell-dissolving, intellect-killing lethargy that I suffer from every time I get sick.  If you came here to be wowed, you might be disappointed.

However, I do hope all you lovely readers are feeling well this Monday morning.  If not, here's some chicken soup.

Have a great day, everyone!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Goober Writers Anonymous--Donna Hole

Goober Writers Anonymous is a group for writers to vent about past or present writerly mistakes for therapeutic reasons, to educate others, or just for a laugh.  If you would like to join the group and sign up to submit a guest post, please leave me your email address in the comments below.

Perks of joining:  You get to put the nifty little badge on your blog (yes, this does indeed make you cool), sharing with others and being a part of a group is always fun, and I will put a link to your blog on my blog below under Members of GWA.

There is only one more Thursday filled for GWA!  I am desperate, DESPERATE for more members!  Free cookies to anyone who joins today!

Today's Goober Blogger is Donna Hole!  Head on over to say hi to her and become a follower! (but don't forget to come back ;)  )  

Now enjoy her post!

The first time I queried CHASING THE DREAM I submitted to Harlequin Everlasting directly (yes, they accept unagented material) because my novel sounded like something I could fit into the basic scenario they were looking for. I was rejected.

Rightly so, for two reasons. First because it was submitted way too soon in the writing process (looking back, it was barely out of draft condition) and second because I really hadn’t done the research necessary for proper querying.

Although Harlequin had the standard "its not right for us" reasoning, the letter also included some specifics on what made it inappropriate for the series. Few writers get such enlightening feedback from either agents or publishers. And after reading it all through (it was so apt and clear I didn’t even cry over my first ever rejection) I asked myself some very basic questions about where I really wanted my story to go. And I realized CHASING THE DREAM was never going to be right for their publication. Because the story I wanted to tell wasn’t what this particular House published.

Eventually, I filled out an online questionnaire and before 24 hours had passed I’d found a reputable (sounding) agent. A subsidiary publisher that assured me they were not a self publishing agency, and that they took great pains in scrutinizing the authors they accepted into their program. After reading my roughly 250 word excerpt, I was just the sort of talented author their company specialized in working with.

The solicitation included assurances that they did not get paid unless my novel sold to a publishing house, they collected only the standard 15% fee, that they were willing to work with authors no matter the stage of completion of the novel, and that they were focused on getting my novel shopped and published in as little time as possible. I was also assured that a whole team of professionals would be available upon request to assist with any writing needs and questions I may have.

And although The Agency had an impressive published client list, they were unable to divulge the names because the Authors preferred to remain anonymous. Client confidentiality was this agency’s number one priority - aside from getting the Author published.

I submitted a short synopsis and samples (first 3 or 5 pages) of my novel and they were delighted with my writing skills. (Several years ago I entered a course on children’s writing with the same basic scenario. I was the best they’d ever seen. This flaw entered my mind, but I didn’t want to think I could be sucked in again.) Skeptical but desperate to believe in my talent, I read all the propaganda and signed a one year contract.
Within three months I was questioning the Agency’s commitment. Yes, they were shopping the novel out right away, but 4 of the first 10 proposed Agents/publishers they sent me for submission approval (I had to pay standard mailing fees) had been on my list of Agents I had already queried - and been rejected. They had already sent out the approved query letter; so to make up for their error, the next 10 submissions went out without a mailing charge.

I think Matthew Rush would have been proud of the angry letter I sent back regarding this obvious oversight.
Status reports on the submitted queries wasn’t encouraging. Lots of “no response” and rejections. Obviously, they informed me, the synopsis (the one I wrote myself and they consistently sent) wasn’t engaging the Agent/publishers attention, and perhaps I needed to have a reputable author/editor offer feedback. At a discount rate. I bit; I paid. Wasn’t happy with the feedback. But it also wasn’t totally off either, from the research more extensive research into querying/submissions I’d begun on my own.

So I asked, consistently over the next couple months, what my specific “agent” thought of the novel. Whether “she” (My communications were with a specific feminine name) kept recommending persons for me to pay a discount fee to read and offer feedback on my writing. I’m dense, really really I am; but I eventually got the message: None of the “agents” at the agency had ever read the novel.

And from the first day, they made this clear. I just . . Didn’t want to accept this knowledge.

Over the course of our relationship, my questions got more specific; and they eventually admitted that they did not ever read an author’s manuscript, but trusted the writer to know at what stage of development their novel was at, and if the author thought their work still needed some polishing, the agency would put them in contact with writing mentors. For a fee.

I invested over $500 into my publishing prospects before I allowed my exclusive contract to lapse.
Over a year after my contract expired, I was still getting updates that my novel was progressing well through the “shopping” process, and any day they expected an offer on my project. I was, after all, the most marketable author they’d ever encountered.

It’s OK if you’re laughing in your coffee - or wine by now. I laugh at my own naiveté.
But you know, we all start somewhere; and like the current video games, the writing world doesn’t exactly come with a user manual. You have to discover the triumphs, rules, and pitfalls on your own. And even when you’ve read all the guidelines from reputable Agents/Editors/Publishers, how do you really know what is right for you as an Author?

Yes, I feel I got duped by this Agency. But . . I also learned some things about the publishing world, because 1) I wanted to know what was going on, so I did a lot of research on my own; and 2) I’d never heard of things like hot sheets, character profiles, plot premise, writing goals, etc.

I took a 6 week online writers course that charged $250 (I think, don’t really remember) and the most frequent response I got from the Instructor on my writing submissions was “very evocative”.  
Evocative? I had to look it up to know if it was compliment. Still not sure given the context.

I guess my Goober lesson is: If something feels “off” to you, no matter how desperate you are to believe in your marketability, its best to take a step back and read all those FREE advise posts of Agents/Editors/Publishers who are more than happy to brag about their client successes. After all, isn’t that the ultimate goal; to brag about which agency was savvy enough to pick you up as a client?

Oh, great post, Donna!  I'd never even heard of something like this.  I'd heard of the scam publishers (obviously), but scam agents?  Well, it's wonderful to get this warning.  I'm sure all of us will benefit from this story.

Thanks for sharing!

Discussion:  Has anything like this happened to any of you?  How did you handle it?

By the way, yes I did change my template again.  I change my templates like I change shoes.  But I think I'll be keeping this one for a while!  I finally found one that blends sci-fi (the stars and moon) with fantasy.  So yay!  I hope you guys like it!