Zinnia Hope, author of multi-genres and erotic romances; also writing as J. Emberglass
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Saturday, September 30
The chickens are hiding out from me. I've been on a rampage of late. I'm bad. I admit it.
I have several agents who have requested partials. I keep getting comments about how powerful my writing is, how well I write, how vivid my characters are...and a "I have no idea how to market this" tacked on to the compliments. Yeah, I know, I've whined about this before. I received a really stupid rejection on one partial yesterday. When I stepped out the back door, the current rooster of the Cluck-Cluck Gang took one look at me, his beady eyes bulging, and squawked, "Look out! Z's got another dumb rejection letter! Run! Run! Last one to the coop is lying next to the buttered carrots tonight!"
I never got a chance to kick his feathery ass up in the maple tree, but I did throw a potted marigold at him.
After much discussion with my husband, I've decided that if no one signs me as a client based on this novel, I'm putting it away. I've been in publishing a long, long time. Seriously. I make good money selling my fiction to national men's magazines and I was previously repped by a huge NYC agency, but either the stars and planets aren't lined up properly, the chickens are practicing black magic on me in the secrecy of their coop, or--and I hate to say this--agents just don't know what they want anymore. I'm so sick of writing about sex and I'm even more tired of reading mediocre or fluffy material published by the big houses.
I'm not saying I'm the next #1 best-selling author. I'm not insinuating that at all. There is some amazing talent out there that IS published, but the blah material is growing more common. For some kinky reason, agents and editors keep signing ho-hum material. (And don't even get me started on the infernal assistants who hit the auto-reply form rejection email button!)
Am I the only author/reader who has noticed this trend?
During supper the other night, the husband listened to me vent. The boys looked at one another, finished their desserts and filed off to their rooms or to watch tv. My next-to-the-oldest reads my non-erotic material. He's an avid reader, and one of my biggest fans despite being my son. He wrapped his arms around my neck and whispers into my ear, "Mom, I've read your stuff and it's damn fantastic." Startled by his cuss word, I looked at him sharply. He straightened, looked at his dad, then back at me. "I'm serious," he said. "I couldn't put down your last manuscript. If one of those agent dudes doesn't sign you soon, then that just means they're stupid. You write better than a lot of those authors the teacher makes me read for literature class."
Okay, I admit it. My lower lip quivered, I sniffed, and promptly boo-hooed all over my roast chicken and baby carrots.
The husband said quietly, "He's right, Z. And although you may not want to do it, maybe you need to put this latest manuscript away and focus on one of your others."
I stared at him and reached for a napkin to blow my snotty nose.
The husband said, "I think maybe this novel is well before it's time and everyone's too dense to see it right now."
I hate wailing. I really do. When it comes to publishing, author/writers who rally the agents are like those people on such shows as So You Think You Can Dance or those struggling actors vying for a choice part. You know you can dance or act rings around the one who gets the gig, but what do you do? Well, me, I wail, lol.
So, when the latest rejection showed up in the mail, the chickens disappeared. They're not brave enough to wage war against me again...yet. I don't think they want to anyway. They know I'm too frustrated and fed up right now.
The roast chicken and carrots was really tasty, by the way.
Wednesday, September 27
One of the things I do on my Z group is ask writing-related questions. This week I asked: who wrote the longest novel? The winner gets mentioned here with a link to his or her blog. Jude Mason answered correctly.
Henry Darger wrote Vivian Girls in What Is Known as the Realms of the Unreal. His novel is over 15,000 single-spaced pages long. He also painted many, many illustrations for it. Check out the links. They're worth it.
Darger One and Darger Two
Also, visit Jude.
And if you like discussions such as this one and unique things in writing, feel free to join my Z group. The link is in the post below.
And I promise to get back to my whacky posts very soon!
Monday, September 25
I really need to get my butt busy and write another witty what-goes-on-around-here blog entry. I'm wiped out, though. Today, after getting up at 6:50 a.m. (no biggie, right? cha...), I did my morning workout, cleaned, washed clothes, hung clothes out on the line, chased the Monster Toddler, read for a while, answered publishing related emails, read Yahoo Groups, posted, ran an errand, had dinner and finally--pant! pant!--put Monster Toddler down for a nap, crawled into bed too, and crashed for a full two hours of exhausted sleep.
Z needs a life, lol...
My Z Group is growing. I just posted the newest question about fiction (Who wrote the longest...? How smart are you or how well can you do online research?), and we have an on-going group story too. If you'd like to join, you're invited to discuss writing, have fun, win chicken graphics and laugh!
Sunday, September 24
My chat on Friday night was a flop. The live chat program went all buggy and only two readers and two Freya's Bower editors could get in. I'm told by Marci that there were many people who signed up to chat with me. Bummer. Big "I'm sorries!" if anyone of them were from Blogger. Heck, the darn chat room booted me three times!
The excerpts below are from the chat. I gave away copies of The Sexual Science of Witchery to the two readers who attended. I'm bummed, but programs do screw up. Anyway, I'll leave the excerpts up for another day or two if anyone is interested and then I'll delete them.
Thursday, September 21
This literary agent crap has really got me down. I have several partial requests that have been in offices for weeks to months. I'm sick of the waiting and I'm tired of the "I don't know how to market this" bs emails and letters I keep getting. It doesn't make any sense. If I can land a huge NYC agent before, what the hell is the problem now?
I'm rather blue today, so I'm going to leave you with an excerpt.
Excerpt from Free Spirits
Copyright 2006 Zinnia Hope
A few minutes before midnight, the panther casually descended the hill behind the house, his silver collar winking in the dim illumination. He padded across the deck to her side.
“I knew you’d come tonight,” Beth whispered.
The feline sat down, as if settling in for an enjoyable conversation.
“Do you want to know what I’ve noticed about the few times we’ve spent together?”
The cat blinked large amber eyes.
“You show up whenever there’s trouble or a big change in my life. Why is that?” Beth reached out and stroked her friend’s broad velvety head. “Are you my guardian?”
The panther purred loudly.
“Where do you come from, really?” She leaned over, staring deeply into the panther’s eyes. “Why are you here?”
The cat sat looking regal, as if he belonged at the side of a goddess or queen.
An odd sensation washed over Beth, one of restlessness and a desire to walk into the woods. She stood up and disrobed. Naked, she stepped off the porch. The evening breeze caressed her skin like a lover’s excited breath. The moonlight bathed her in a garment of silver, kissing her breasts with moonbeams of white fire. She ascended the grassy hill with the panther at her side. Barefoot, she carefully picked her way through the upper field, telling the cat about her life since she had left home for Cincinnati.
She didn’t recall how she made it to the burial mound, but even illuminated by bright moonlight, it was just as she remembered; only the trees had grown taller over the years. She looked around, enjoying her own nudity, and wondered how she had traversed the mile through the woods without a single scratch to her skin or piercing to her bare feet. A low rumble brought her gaze up into the branches of an oak. There, another panther lay across a sturdy limb.
She glanced down at the cat by her side. “There are more of you?”
The panther blinked at her, his eyes like bright lanterns in the moonshine.
Three more black cats padded out of the undergrowth, finding comfortable spots to lie in the leaves. Several more panthers appeared on the top of the mound. They surrounded her, purring, tails swishing. Their eyes, some green, some gold or blue, glowed like fiery gemstones.
Her friend nudged her with his head, prodding her to walk beyond the mound, deeper within the forest.
“Are you sure?”
Again, he butted his head against the back of her legs.
Beth wandered through the trees, looking over her shoulder to see the cats following her. They leapt from tree branches, making her realize that there were twice as many than she had thought. Like shadows, the panthers emerged from bushes, dark places in the undergrowth, and shallow places on the landscape. Picking her way through the trees, Beth discovered a cliff overlooking the creek that was actually called a river on the map. Although bathed in darkness and patches of silver light, the opposite hillside presented a duplicate of the one she stood upon: enormous trees, multi flora roses, and berry bushes clothed the hillsides. She could hear streams trickling into the river below.
What more scenic spot could the early inhabitants of this area have found? She surveyed the valley bathed in moonlight. She looked up at the heavens and saw a googolplex of soul lights and universes. If a person abandoned all logic, one could almost believe that he or she could grasp that huge midnight canvas and touch the worlds beyond.
Stretching, Beth stifled a yawn and sat down next to her ebony friend. They cuddled together, and stroking his long, strong back, she noticed how the cat’s thick, inky fur looked stark against her pale, bare skin. The feline purred thunderously. Soon the other felines encircled them, adding their rumbles, lulling her to relax.
If you like this, you can find my e-book through this LINK or follow the linked cover on the right-hand side.
Tuesday, September 19
Hmm...where has everyone been the past few days? I've been visiting blogs and Yahoo Groups, but Z's blog has been a ghost town of late.
Things have been rough here the past couple of days. I'm dealing with two of my boys, who are going through two different phases. I feel like I'm going to lose my mind. Kicking chickens doesn't even help relieve the stress! All I want to do is crawl in bed and pull the covers over my head and sleep for about a week.
I did find something very nice today. It's HERE.
Sunday, September 17
Every now and then, I have something that flares up in my big toe on my left foot. I also have a pair of sneakers I've had to give up because it only aggravates it. My toe grew sore yesterday, swelled, and good ol' Z was hobbling around like a limp mule that had thrown a shoe.
Ever notice how if you have a bad bruise everyone MUST poke it and ask, "Is it sore?" Uh, no, I'm into torture and love being poked and prodded as if I were a frog in biology class!
Or you have a cast on your arm and someone asks, "Did you break your arm?" Nope. Just like to wear it and have people ask me stupid questions. Any more profound, mind-blowing questions you'd like to ask?
What really chaps my ass is when I try to keep my sore toe tucked out of the way while a heard of rampaging buffalo (uh, that's kids for you readers who are single and childless) stampedes throughout the house. I could stuff my foot up my ass and one of my boys would find some way to stomp on my sore toe!
And let me tell you, it throbbed so badly last night it woke me up out of a sound sleep at 3 A.M.
Today, it's sore, but the swelling is down. However, my boys are all hiding out in their rooms. After the third one stepped on my toe last night, I declared war, and they scattered to the farthest regions of the house and hung white flags on their doorknobs.
Btw, stop by my website and take a look at the contest page. Although the date hasn't been changed yet, I'm extending the contest until November 31st.
I also have a chat coming up at Wild Child Publishing's Chat group. If you're an author or publisher, this is a nice place to schedule a chat for promo purposes. You can sign up below.
Click to join wildchildpublishingchat
Tuesday, September 12
I think I’ve mentioned that I’ve had three well-known literary agents request partials of one of my novels. Yesterday, I received one through snail mail. It was a rejection. Although I’m used to such things, the rejection itself didn’t bother me. Afterall, Z’s had one NYC agent, she’ll get another, right?
What pissed me off was the agent’s reason. (Since one must have permission to post letters or emails—yes, it’s true—I’m going to paraphrase.) She called my style and premise very appealing, but said she had no clue how to market my material nor the confidence to try.
What the hell???
I have received so many letters and emails like this of late I could just scream. Agents and publishers rail about wanting something unique, but they also want that sure sale so they’ll see something unique and back off. I think this is a wagon full of chicken shit. There are just too many horror, sci-fi and fantasy movies of various sub-genres to contradict this cop-out excuse. When I’m at various bookstores, I’m amazed at the array of fiction available nowadays.
But, at the same time, I received an email yesterday from an agent who requested a very large partial of the same manuscript.
I suppose part of my aggravation is the erotic romance market. Now before someone flames me for dissing erotic romances, hear me out. I have nothing against this genre. I mean, come on. I write it too. It's just that I’ve been writing sizzling material for too many years and I'm burnt out on it. I also write other genres, but sex sells and the erotic romance market is booming right now. Frankly, Z’s tired of writing about sex. I love a solid, poignant romance, but do I have to always write about his hoohaw inserted into her dripping hoohoo to sell it? Holy spotted milk cows on a Popsicle stick! I’m so sick of it!
Then there’s the fluff. It was one of the reasons my last agent and I didn’t see eye-to-eye. I write gripping material that makes the reader pay attention and possibly think or react. He wanted fluffy stuff. Z doesn’t do fluffy stuff. Well, if it’ll pay a bill I do, but I won’t write a fluff novel.
Publishing is so contradictory. Write what you know! Yeah, and you’re told you’re a know-it-all or don’t know what you’re talking about. Write what makes you happy! Sure, and you’re told that you would do better as a INSERT GENRE writer instead. Sex sells! Yes, it does and it can be very boring to write too. Write something unusual and it will sell! That’s a lie, and it’s a sure way to see an editor crawl into his desk drawer mumbling he’ll lose his job if he contracts that manuscript.
I write what I write. I also get the cold shoulder in a lot of cyber haunts because I do write well and I have an imagination that’s freaky and creative. Agents often say things like I sure wish I could sign you as a client, but I just don’t know how to market this. To which I reply with my motto: Literary agents are like orgasms. They never last long enough to be truly satisfying.
Well, maybe I should write a story about kicking chickens, habanera-laced chocolate bars and a mother who refuses to give up on her dreams—oh, but let’s not leave out the graphic sex scenes with the next-door neighbor or the farm hand...
I think I need to go find some stout swamp water and mellow out.
Tuesday, September 5
Okay, I don't normally do this, but I just got a review for my Bites that really floored me. It's HERE.
You can check up on the past few days on the post below.
Sunday, September 3
It’s Sunday afternoon here on the farm. I haven’t felt well since about Tuesday. I awoke yesterday morning to a massive headache, plugged sinuses, coughing fits due to the sinuses, nausea, and the lovely light speed trips to the porcelain god where you don’t know which end is going to blow up first. Oh, and let’s not forget the marching band booming in every bone and joint. This is day number two of feeling like total shit. Please ignore the errors in my post. I’m bored with TV and reading, but really feel to badly to even type.
My toddler has been a major pill since Thursday. He’s usually a sweet, mellow little guy, but I guess the boredom of not having brotherly chaos caught up with him. After several temper tantrums (him, not me), Friday progressed into Mama feeling horrible and needing to do a load of laundry. A couple temper tantrums later—the toddler, not me, really!—he decided to shove my kitchen rocker up to the counter, grab the sponge out of the dishpan and fling water all over the room. Next, he smeared mashed potatoes, a part of his lunch, all over his Sponge Bob chair and on the carpet. He followed up with grapes ground into the carpet.
I cleaned up the mess, keeping the cusswords to a minimum. We stepped outside to hang up clothes, where the Monster Toddler dumped a nasty, dirt-encrusted rag he’d found (turns out it was a tee shirt one of my boys had stripped off while playing.) in on top of my basket of wet laundered clothes. I had to shake leaves, dirt, twigs and pebbles from every piece of clothing. Monster Toddler followed this up with breaking a citronella candle pot.
Finally, FINALLY, naptime arrived. He went down in a blaze of glory. After all, he’d had a busy day terrorizing me, so it didn’t take long for him to konk out. I, on the other hand, withdrew the habanera-laced candy bar from its tin, washed it off, and took it to the sofa where I ate it mumbling and twitching while trying not to rip out my hair.
I. Need. A. Kid-free. Vacation.