Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Author: Susan Runholt

Sometimes I wonder about me. Here I write mysteries and somehow I've missed this author. As I browsed the bookshelves of the library I ran across this book. It looked like a great little mystery so I checked it out.

It turned out to be a gem about two teen BFF's, Kari and Lucas. On a trip to Scotland with Kari's writer mom, who is supposed to do a story on fifteen-year-old piano prodigy, Seneca Crane, the girls become friends. Then Seneca is kidnapped and it's up to them to follow the clues they've developed and find her. What kids will love is that Runholt found a reasonable way to ratchet up the tension and put those kids totally on their own with only their wit and self-confidence to see them through.

What makes this a little gem is not only the well constructed mystery, there is also a well developed cast of characters, two friends sometimes at odds, and a little bit of crushing on boys in a foreign country. Put all that together with descriptions of Scotland, traveling on trains, daily life experiences in a foreign country, well, even a girl my age is ready to pack her bags and take off for an experience.

Rescuing Seneca Crane, 2009, is a sequel to Susan Runholt's debut mystery with Kari and Lucas entitled The Mystery of the Third Lucretia. The references in this book to that book, plus the pure pleasure of reading this gem, sold me on going back and picking that up. Book three, Adventures at Simba Hill, has recently been released--Yippee! I'm so going to enjoy my summer reading.

Friday, May 20, 2011

E-Press: The 21st Century's Form of Pulp Fiction?

There was an interesting conversation last night about unknown writers getting their start in publishing so I thought I would share and see what you thought.

E-books, E-magazines, and E-presses were compared to pulp fiction magazines and trade paperbacks in the first half of the twentieth century. Many famous novelists got their start in pulp fiction as they honed their craft and waited for traditional publishers to discover them.

Pulp fiction writers were looked down on by more successful writers as inferior because they felt the pulp fiction publishers weren't putting out quality work. Even today I've heard the same comments about e-magazines and e-presses. I'm not saying they are wrong. There are good ones out there but authors have to be diligent in research before submitting.

The competition for the few print magazines that accept fiction is mind boggling as every magazine writer knows. Getting your foot in the door with a traditional book publisher is just as difficult. With this economy it's almost impossible. A newer hurdle is the fact that now a writer needs an agent to toss the magazine over the transom. The agent can't toss just anything or the agent's reputation is sunk. Querying agents and getting no response or quick rejections is very discouraging but understandable. I have to pat them on the back for their honest efforts to find someone they want to represent. They now deal with piles of slush in their inbox or their office, and the majority of them still reject kindly.

I have to admit, I want to be published in print. It used to be a major goal but I've slowed down my short fiction submissions to just a few select ones as I work on novels. I keep getting disappointing rejections, but being accepted by an e-magazine or  e-press keeps me going. It validates my writing and makes me proud to see my name in...gosh...can I say "print" when referring to electronic success?

What are your feelings about this century's pulp fiction? Would you consider an e-press for a project rejected first by a traditional press?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

2011 Pockets Annual Fiction Contest

I've spent this week polishing and revising my entry to this year's Pockets Annual Fiction Contest. (The rules are at the bottom of the page if you use this link)  I wrote the first draft back in March. After putting it away and pulling it out several times to revise with fresh eyes, I think it is just about ready. Hopefully, I will get my story in the mail this Friday. Last year they received 350 entries. Are any of you entering?

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Texas is in the middle of a bad drought. February 9 was the last time we received .10" of rain. Grass has crisped up and turned yellow, Stage 1 drought restrictions are in place, and the whole thing is kind of depressing. On top of that, our emotions bounced up and down between highs and lows, because the weatherman kept giving us chances of rain that never panned out. This morning was our last big chance. If we missed it the forecast was gloom and doom for another long week. Prayers were answered!

 A large thunderstorm moved in and poured right over the aquifer's recharge zone. This will prevent Stage 2 restrictions and maybe eliminate Stage 1. It soaked our lawns and our vegetable gardens. It filled our ditches and caused minor flooding. It was raining and it was wonderful!

Phones are ringing off the walls as we celebrate with our friends and relatives.

 "Our rain guage shows 3/4 inch."     "No hail on our side of town!"  "They got one whole inch at the airport!"

We know this won't end the drought, but we don't care, this is one happy day!

The terrible irony of all this is that while we were praying for rain other parts of the country were flooding, or recovering from tornadoes and other natural disasters. Just know that we were also praying for you.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Time Flies

I pulled up my blog today and couldn't believe that I hadn't posted since April 23! Time flew by faster than I imagined, but I haven't been lazing around. I've actually been working hard on my writing and trying to avoid the dreaded Internet Distraction bug.
  • I sent out queries on one project that seems doomed to go nowhere, even though I love it.
  • I've been revising another project mentioned in my last post.
  • And I continue to work with my wonderful critique group on my present WIP.
Then yesterday morning, something exciting and unusual (at least for me) happened. I received a request for a full on a different completed project two hours after I sent the query email!  And it was the first query ever on that project!

I took a minute to grab the cat and do the happy dance. He was not amused.

It took another hour to find any last minute oopsies in it. Once I was okay with it, sort of, I hesitated, grimaced, then clicked the send button.

 I love email queries and submissions! I have my fingers crossed but I'm not unrealistic about its chances. Guess I'll be pulling up my email several times a day for the next...??

So, I have nothing earth shattering to write about, and I will now start reading much more interesting posts from all of you bloggers who know how to blog a lot better than me.