Mid July, I traveled to Seattle to the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference, as a finalist in their annual writing competition. I spent four days in the Hilton, attending workshops, meeting people, and pitching my novel to agents and editors. The last evening of the conference, Joe flew up to join me at the awards banquet. After dinner, a couple of my favorite agents invited us to a private party in one of the rooms. Fun!
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” — Theodore Roosevelt
August already… the “golden rollin’ hills of California”
People have told me that my working title, Death of the Gecko, is confusing because it sounds like a story about the Southwest, which it is not. So, after brainstorming with a friend, I’ve adopted a new title – Fruit of the Devil. La Fruita del Diablo is what fresceros call the strawberries they harvest. What do you think? Does the new title work for a murder mystery about strawberries and pesticides?
I’ve been participating in an online group, Agent Query Connect, to refine my query letter. The newest critiques of my draft letter are beginning to suggest revisions that sound like the first draft, making me feel like the snake biting its tail. Maybe that means I’m getting close. I’ve begun compiling a list of possible agents, and trying to figure out what genre describes my story. Today, I think the genre “Upmarket Contemporary Women’s Fiction” fits best.
My biggest challenge at present, in revision, is cutting the length. It seems that no one wants to publish, buy or read fiction longer than 300 pages. I actually enjoy reading long books. How about you?
It’s already half way through August. As usual, summer in Santa Cruz has been foggy. We have gone long stretches where we haven’t seen the sun at all. The heat in the Central Valley interacts with the cold water evaporating over the ocean, creating a pump that pulls the fog on top of us. By the end of July, the lack of summer sun was feeling so oppressive we had to get away.
We went to Del Valle Reservoir, in the East Bay near Livermore, with friends one day for glorious swimming and sun basking, and we went to our friend Jim’s cabin in Sequoia National Park a weekend in late July. Spent a day swimming in Hume Lake, and another day hopping from one exquisite High Sierra swimming hole to the next.
One of the best, a secret spot near Wuksachi Lodge. Closer to home, we made it to a couple of sunny swimming holes on the San Lorenzo River recently – one spot in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and another well known “secret” hole called the Garden of Eden. Check out this UTube video link. I bet you’ll like it. Ah, summer.
I’m at the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference. Today was Agent’s Day. I met with five agents, who each read my first five pages and heard my pitch. All of the agents were shocked and amazed by the fact that methyl bromide and chloropicrin are still being used to grow strawberries. All felt strongly that the story needs to be told.
I’m sending my manuscript to a professional thriller editor this month, for the final revision and polishing. Then it goes out to the agents.
If you’re interested in receiving a free advance copy, let me know.