Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fruit of the Garden Produced with Love

Today, I munched on my very first garden grown tomato.  The taste of this freshly picked, firm, fleshy fruit is a great addition to any culinary dish.  As I prepared my lunch, I teased my palate with the bottom slice of the tomato. Oh, the cool watery texture was sweet.  

Placing thin slices upon cream cheese, hummus, and avocado made my sandwich a gourmet treat.  The rich red color made my lunch a visual portrait. Yummy! This summer delight almost didn't happen.

My husband and I decided not to plant our annual large vegetable garden. The rationale for this decision was driven by the following forces:
  •  First, we live in the Intermountain West. We have to wait until after Memorial Day to even think about anything more than beets, carrots, or any tuber that might survive the Spring frost.
  •   Secondly, June mysteriously was over-scheduled with workshops, reunions, and other travels. 
  •   And of course, we had new projects requiring more time from our lives.
Sometime during June, I planted four tiny tomato plants in my small raised
flowerbed in front of my living room window.  My DNA made me to do it. It wouldn’t be summer without my own tomatoes.

My rationale was to protect the plants and keep them warm using the heat that radiates from the bricks. Warm my tomatoes, um...this summer we are experiencing record-breaking heat! I thought I was going to eat "fried green tomatoes" instead of those beautiful fully ripened red tomatoes with a fragrance that defies all perfume experts. 

These little plants survived by the tender attention of my husband. Each morning before the sun and its scorching heat would prevail, my husband waters my tomatoes. When we were traveling, he gave our son, who was tending our cat, strict instruction on the watering of our plants. 

You know in life, it is often the simplest of joys that makes one's heart swell with love.  Thanks to those who kept my tomatoes refreshed.  I am enjoying the fruit of the garden and the love of the men in my life.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Manuscript Submission: QueryLetter Tracking

The process of tracking your query letters requires planning. If you want to build a table or set up a tracking system in EXCEL, you owe it to yourself to check out QueryTracker
( ). It is a free site offering writers the opportunity to learn more about publishers and agents while keeping track queries. QueryTracker™ currently has 1829 literaty agents and 173 publishers on its data base. It is user friendly.  It offers a premium level for a fee. I have not chosen it. I am still learning about the steps involved in submitting my manuscript.

This site will give you the opportunity to explore the submission expectations of agents and publishers. Not all submissions requirements are equal. You need to be prepare to have the following documents ready for each submission situation:
  • "The Query Letter" - If you think you have accomplished a miracle writing your first novel, you haven't made your bread and butter until you master the art of the "Query Letter." There are classes, books, and experts out there extolling their wares on how to write the perfect query letter.  Buyer beware. After attending conferences and doing research, I recommend the examples given in the 2013 Writer's Market (ISBN: 13: 978-1-59963-594) and the 2013 Guide to Literary Agents (ISBN: 13: 978-1-59963-597-2).  
  • "Summary"- This is a two to three page document (depending on the length of your novel). You need to include your ending. 
  • "Synopsis" - There is some discussion about what is a synopsis. Some say the synopsis is a pitch. It is what you want written on you the flap of your book cover. Then there are others who believe it is a summary and you need to add the ending. Caution: if the agent or publisher does not ask for an outline or summary, I would add the ending. 
  • "Outline" - Some agents request an outline. Ask the agent the type of outline they require. It would be advantagous to ask how much detail they would require. Often, they want an abbreviated summary of each chapter.  
WHEW! We haven't even  approached the "how to" of  writing the above documents. How to select an agent or a publisher. All this while you are making sure your manuscript is free of errors and readable. Not to mention the polish you will add after your beta readers' suggestions come back.

Now, I am telling my tale. This is my first time out of the gate. If any of you out there in the "blog" world are working your way through this maze, please give me some tips.