Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Waiting Game, Round 1

You may have noticed a length of time has passed from my last post. That is - if you are even still following this blog. To tell you the truth, there simply hasn't been much to talk about. Then it hit me - yes there is. In the absence of Kringle news, there has been a topic that I've become rather an expert at. And it's something every writer eventually will get to know - many times in their career.

I'm talking about The Waiting Game. And this is round 1:

Agent? Check. Manuscript in agent's hands? Check. Now what? You wait. Back up a bit. My agent is a former editor and has a very hands on approach. Perhaps yours doesn't? I guess this post doesn't apply to you then? Yes it does! Even if you hand in the most perfectest of manuscripts (yes I invented a word there; how clever of you to notice) you will still be playing this game at some step in the process of getting the MS to your readers.

So agent has it, agent is editing it, but agent has 40 other clients too. Oh yeah, and a life. Oh yeah, and queries that keep coming in. So it takes time before agent can edit and get me notes.

And what do you do with the time? How do you cope while your baby is away at summer camp without you?

As you all know, I wrote a fantasy book and there are a total of 9 in the series. However I don't think it's wise to invest the time to write book 2 until book 1 is sold. I already have detailed outlines for all 9, so there is really no work to be done on Kringle at the time. I already have not 1, but 2 websites up and running. I have a facebook page, a myspace page, a linked in page, and 3 twitter pages. My social networking needs are more than filled. I even wrote a second children's fantasy novel, which agent can't touch until he's done with Kringle.

Yet there are still many hours in the day, aren't there? Those that follow me, know I'm also a filmmaker, though I haven't made a film in 3 years. The waiting game has been quite productive.

I've already written, and begun production, on my first feature film, Gone - a scifi thriller. And if that wasn't enough, I'm almost done with the 1st draft of the script for my second feature film, another scifi thriller called In2. We'll begin shooting In2 in February. Needless to say, I've been a very busy boy.

So what do you do with your time playing The Waiting Game? Well, that's ultimately up to you. I suggest you get off your ass and keep working. You might be surprised with how productive you can be.

Okay - it's time for tea.



Saturday, September 26, 2009


Do you hear the thunderclap of awesomeness on the horizon? Does your very core pulsate with the hypnotic vibrations surging through the air? It should. 

Last week I met with rockstar agent Mark McVeigh of the McVeigh Agency, who much like Janet Reid is an agent filled with the kind of dripping, salacious badassness that usually only comes from the mind of Quentin Tarantino.

Mark is the former editorial director of Aladdin Books, a children's imprint of Simon and Schuster and came highly recommended from a friend, fellow author, and the more diabolical half of Team Evil Violet. After meeting with him, it became clear. This was a union of the fates. I signed with him a few days later. 

Step 1 is now complete. I have an agent. Steps 2-100 to getting published? Here I come. And hell's coming with me!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Massive Website Update

And here I am again to demand everyone's forgiveness in my delinquency. I really swear, swear, swear I was gone for a good reason... in my mind. No really. It was a good one.

First of all - as I hinted about on the website, there is some exciting news coming round the bend in the feature film department. And it only got better. I'm writing a new feature film script - another horror/comedy - and I will tell more very soon. It's a terribly exciting project and I'm in heaven right now. More on this in the weeks to come. The title of this endeavor - The Diabolical Death of Rufus Balacheck. 

Second of all - I have gynormous news surrounding Kringle, but again - I cannot say just yet. I need only a short time before I can reveal. Promise. 

Third of all - MAJOR update to the website will combine my film and book website into a 1-stop shopping extravaganza for all things Jason. It'll be the same old look you've all grown to know and (hopefully) love. All right, at least like. But there will be a brand spankin' new 'films' page that will have links to 3 of my shorts. 

All right - back to the good ole' extremely frustrating coding of the website. Wish me luck. I'm sinking.



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and the HUH?

Let me see - what was the date of my last post? Have I been delinquent again? Bad Jason!

The good: Finished NannySpies Book 1: Attack of the Murderous Drooling Mutant Spazoids. Off to agents. Requested by some already. Yay.

The bad: So I might of missed out on a few things in that big old ball of fun called life, by working too hard - again.

The HUH?: How it all happened.

Serendipity is my made-up middle name as you are all well aware. This latest little adventure began back at that dinner with the YA ladies a few weeks ago. I started hanging out with one of them and she read Kringle and a bit of NannySpies. She liked what she read, but felt Kringle needed a MAJOR line edit. She was meeting with her former editor, now an agent, and decided - why not pitch my stories to him, and just for fun, tell him how good a lad I am. She was of course lying, but she's well paid and presently on vacation in Dubai. 

So he told my author buddy to have me contact him, which I did - like the second she told me to do so. However, there was a serious amount of work to do on Kringle before I could send it to him. And NannySpies wasn't ready either (though it had far less work). 

Author buddy (the better half of Team Evil Violet) and I sat down and realized the first chapter of Kringle could not be salvaged. Simply put - it blew chunks. The rest only needed the line edit, but chap 1 - awful. So we tossed out ideas, drank yummy milkshakes, and by the end of the day, I knew what I wanted. 

When I'd completely re-written Chapter 1, I got on the line edit. Tedious, but lots of fun. It's actually like editing my films. I'd sit in the editing booth with my producer and we'd cut individual frames from the flicks. That's 1/24 of a second, mind you. But anything to make it flow better. Same here - only with words.

Kringle was done and I gave it a week, then a read-through. I was very pleased with the work and sent it off. 

Then it was time to tackle NannySpies, a considerably easier task. And before I knew it, NannySpies was ready to send out as well.

Now just for fun, let's throw this into the mix. My once dead and buried feature film script - the one I put on indefinite hold after my accident that resulted in me writing Kringle in the first place - yeah, that one - well it's become the world's latest baby zombie. Goo-goo-ga-ga-chomp-chomp-brains. It's back in action. Totally unexpected. Can't say much about it right now, but wheels are in motion. 

Needless to say - I'm drained. It's been a very exciting pair of weeks, but I've been working my tail end silly. And today - I go see a movie. District 9 - here I come!       

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Well This Was Fun!

Late last night on Twitter, rockstar agent, Janet Reid, posted a link to one of the funniest song parodies I'd ever seen, written by the brilliant, H.L. Dyer. I laughed out loud, and nearly woke up my soundly sleeping baby and my not-so-soundly-sleeping-but-in-the-other-room-trying-real-damn-hard wife. Here's a link for those who missed it:

Anyway, I was totally inspired by it, and today, during my son's nap, I went ahead and wrote my own.

I chose to go with Dammit, Janet from The Rocky Horror Picture Show to express my love for all the agents of the world out there. 

So sit back and enjoy. And as you read the lyrics, remember to hum Dammit, Janet to yourself, or this just won't work, now will it? All right, let's face it, it probably won't anyway, but I had to try!

Dammit, Agent

Hey Agent (Yeah, dude?) I’ve got something to sell

I know other writers put you through hell

With their rudeness, impatience, and snoozers they tell


My plot points were weak, and I knew it, Agent

My characters 2-D, I blew it, Agent

Then I studied your blog and improved it, Agent

There’s one thing to say and that’s


Dammit, Agent, I need you…


The word count was long, but I sliced it, Agent

The characters talky, I diced it, Agent

I got carpal tunnel; I iced it, Agent

Now there’s one thing to say and that’s


Dammit, Agent, I need you…


Here’s the script to prove that I’m no joker

It’s real good, your assistant told me so

And if you don’t sign me, I’ll choke her

Oh A-G-E-N-T I need you so


You’re out of your mind thinking that I’ll sign you, oh Dude

Your story sucks and worse, you smell like swine poo, oh Dude

I’ll find a new assistant if I have to, oh Dude

I’ve one thing to say and that’s


Dude, I’m mad I ever met you


Oh, Dude, oh dammit!

I’m mad, d’oh Agent!

At you, I need you-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou

There’s one thing left to do-ah-ou, and that’s


Go start a war over on Twitter

Where we'll rage at each other crass and bitter

We can both find your assistant and hit her

There’s one thing to say and that’s

Dammit, Agent, I still need you

Dammit, Agent; oh Dude, I’m… starting to turn around

Dammit, Agent; See? You need me too



Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hanging with the Ladies

If someone told me earlier that day I'd have the grand opportunity to spill wine on not 1, but 2 published authors in one fell swoop at a dinner table jam-packed with a total of 6 published authors, I would have said, "You know me well!" Sarah wrote Dull Boy, I'm going to write The Dripping and Slippery Adventures of Klutz Boy.

Despite the Sancerre seeping all over poor Rhonda and Julie, we all managed to have a delightful evening. Let's back up a bit for those who weren't there. 

I was racing back from Albany to get to the book signing at Books of Wonder (incredible children's book shop here in NYC!) on time. Lauren Barnholdt, author of Two-Way Street, The Secret Identity of Devon Delaney, and plenty more, is a periodic twitter friend of mine. We'd had a few exchanges, but I thought it would be fun to meet her. And as I'm sure you've suspected - she was one of the YA authors at the book signing. With a bit of luck, little traffic on the road, and some timely directions from a 4-foot tall sherpa who for whatever reason was wandering around the Saw Mill Parkway, I made it to the signing with only the slightest bit of sweat on my brow. 

Lauren was as lovely in person as her tweets had suggested, and we had a great talk. Her agent recently requested Kringle and she raved about her. I also met the surprisingly short ;) Mandy Hubbard, author of Prada and Prejudice. She's a regular sweetheart and was just so excited to be in the city - and that radiated from her. Before I knew it, Mandy had made the mistake of inviting me out to dinner with them. Who knew I'd get wrapped up in their Text in the City extravaganza? I wanna believe I was their Aiden - but let's face it, I'm probably their Sanford. 

So - everyone still with me? Back to the wine spilling. I'm in the middle of some random and I'm sure hilarious (right girls?) story, and I make a grand sweeping motion with my arm. The glass tips, the wine drips, and I rip... my hair out - I felt like the biggest dork in the world. More than usual, I mean. After all, I do lovingly refer to my wife as, "Princess Leia in Slave Outfit."

No one cared in the slightest at the moment, though I'm sure I was made fun of in disastrous proportion later that night in their hotel room. Oh fly - why couldn't I be you for the evening?

Anyway - let's get a roll call of who was there and what they've written so you can all go out and buy their books, knowing they are all hysterical and great fun, which carries over to their writing. So - Lauren and Mandy you know about.

Next up is Sarah Cross whose debut novel is called Dull Boy. Then we have Violet Haberdasher whose series, Knightley Academy, is coming March 9, 2010 (her previous titles are: Better than Yesterday and  The Social Climber's Guide to High School).  Rhonda Stapleton - aside from being side-splittingly hysterical and a great target for Sancerre - is the author of Stupid Cupid (Dec 22, 2009), Flirting with Disaster (March 9, 2010), and Pucker Up (May 18, 2010). And finally - Julie Linker is the author of Disenchanted Princess and Crowned.  

So there you have it, kiddies. Now go buy books!   

Monday, July 20, 2009

1st Draft Done. Yes, already.

I still can't believe it. At 11pm on July 18th, I completed the first draft of my new novel. Don't know how or why (and you certainly don't question when things roll like this), but only a month and change after walking down the street and having the idea pop into my ole' noggin, here I was with a finished draft.

Yesterday I read through it. There's tons of work to do as always, but it's the best 1st draft I've ever written. The narrative voice stays consistent throughout with only minimal lapses. I still need to find the right voice for 2 characters, however. Some scenes need changing, combining, or all out eliminating, and some scenes need to be added. Some information needs to be placed elsewhere to help build the tension. Sounds like a lot - and it is. But the foundation is there. It's a big lump of clay. And now the sculpting takes place.

So as I promised on my website, I'm revealing the title and synopsis a' right here, a' right now:

NannySpies Book 1: Attack of the Murderous Drooling Mutant Spazoids

Jasper “Jazz” Dav is just your everyday, wisecracking, 3rd degree black belt, Beastie Boys loving, 12-year-old prankster. He even has the record for “most cherry bombs exploded in a single toilet” at his prestigious school. With his parents gone most of the time, his live-in nanny, Marjorie, is the bane of his existence. That is until he discovers Nanny Marjorie is not only a spy, but the head of the Paranormal Division of a super-secret government organization called, The NannySpies Network. 

Jazz is thrust on the adventure of his life, miles under his home in Manhattan, in a mystical, hidden city called, Old York City, where he hears rockin’ new tunes from an all-werewolf rap group – The Howler Homies, tinkers with a tricked out iPhone that has Ghoulie Positioning System, and spends time goofing off with the 30-foot tall Demons of Mischief, all while uncovering a treacherous plot that could totally destroy the entire universe!

Armed with a quick wit, a penchant for disobedience, and a heck of a lot of soda, it’s up to Jazz and his new pals to save New York and Old York from the attack of the Murderous Drooling Mutant Spazoids. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Why It's Been So Darn Long

So It's been awhile since my last blog post - I know. But I haven't left you kiddies, I swear! First of all - happy belated 4th of fireworks night. That's one of the reasons I've been away so long - vacation. Sadly, I didn't even see the fireworks on TV, let alone out my window, which overlooks the Hudson River for heaven's sake! The one year they do the show on the West Side, and we pack it up for my wife's sister's house in Maryland. Still, we had a great time. I got to watch Jaden woof down about a hundred blueberries while we picked them in Blueberry Fields Forever. And then the following morning, we got our first official blueberry poop. Life is good.

Meanwhile on the Kringle front, we've moved into a bit of a holding pattern. I got a few more rejections, though oddly all three rejecting agents last week loved the writing and asked me to send them future works when I had them. Synchronicity being my best friend and favorite Police album, it just so happened that I'd been writing an entirely new novel for the previous two weeks and was about halfway done with the first draft. 

What? A new novel, you may be asking yourself? Yessireebob. A new novel. Like the Kringle Khronicles, this one is also a children's fantasy adventure story, and I came up with the concept only three short weeks ago. But it's the easiest writing I've ever done. It's just pouring out of me. Don't know why or how, but I haven't eased off the throttle long enough to figure it out. I'll just take it as a gift from wherever and go with it. 

And so that, dear readers, is why I've been absent from this blog for the past week and change. But I promise to make a gallant return in the next few weeks, after I finish the first draft of the new novel, to at least a bi-weekly post. 

I'll leave you with some more good news about Kringle though. I came home from the 4th holiday to a great email. Kringle was requested by a super cool agent who works for an amazing agency. She has lots of energy, I think I'm following like half her clients on Twitter (and have actually had some great exchanges with some of them), and she knows a friend of mine at Simon and Schuster. We'll see how it goes.  Of course - probably in about 3 months!

Yes, it takes that long, mom - stop asking!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Chris and Haller Make Some Friends on Twitter

All right. I'm very seldom speechless. Anyone who knows me will tell you I got a yap on me, boy! In fact, I almost lost my voice today from talking too much. Then I came home to a sweet little surprise on Twitter.  It seems the lovely folks at @hollywood_tweet  are having a real fun time reading all of Chris Kringle and Haller Fyenic's tweets.  Here is some slam-banging praise that will finally make my dear old dad proud (not that I have daddy issues. Oh. wait. Sugar; did I send a link to dad? Love ya, pops!) Anyway - check this out:

"Next site we're going to feature is a brand new follower, we're putting it out right away because it's frickin' AMAZING!: @haller_fyenic"

"This is the MOST UNIQUE site we have EVER seen! @haller_fyenic"

"Now, something we've been wanting to spill our guts about ALL DAY! We're about to explain what's up with: @haller_fyenic It'll take a few tweets."

"This really weird thumbnail called @haller_fyenic follows us one day, and as always, we go in and check the site before deciding to follow back."

"We get to: @haller_fyenic 's site and the dude is living out this fantasy life, detailed, incredibly interesting and compelling."

"We got the information as to what it's all about, and here we'd thought @haller_fyenic was cool, but we had NO idea HOW COOL!"

"@haller_fyenic - is actually a character in a novel called 'The Kringle Khronicles Volume 1: The Legend of Winterdale' by @evilgenius333."

"@haller_fyenic isn't the only character online, there's also @chris_kringle who's this little kid living his life right on Twitter. But that's not all: @evilgenius333 's characters: @haller_fyenic & @chris_kringle interact with their followers. Now here's the COOLEST part..."

"@evilgenius333 is making an interactive prologue for his new novel, The Kringle Khronicles Volume 1: The Legend of Winterdale."

"The dude @evilgenius333, is writing the interaction of his characters with their followers right into his NOVEL'S PROLOGUE!"

"The only way to fully appreciate what this REAL genius is doing is to follow all three: @evilgenius333 - @chris_kringle- @haller_fyenic."

"We never given ANYONE so many consecutive tweets, but you'll really miss out if you don't check it out: FOLLOW @evilgenius333"

So that's some good press, I guess. :) 

My head was spinning. I'm pretty new to this game, but that's the best PR I've ever had. They were really too kind, but I'll take it! Needless to say, I'm as happy as a little elf boy could be.  

Monday, June 22, 2009

Exhale - Here I Come!

It went live today! The website is up. The final quote for the book is in. I have begun my funtastic twitter experiment. Another agent requested material. Exhale. Time to exhale.

I've been pretty wound up lately. When the end of today arrived, I was like a dreidal drunk on manishevitz, spiraling across the table, crashing into a tower of latkes. I then crashed into the couch and fell asleep for half an hour. It's been rough!

You remember my last post about the website blues. Well, I worked 'em all out and is now live and ready to conquer the world. Here's what I said in my press release:

Do you hear it? Do you feel it? Can you sense its raw, tantalizing power? That's pure-blooded awesomeness and its headed your way right now!

The new website has blasted its way onto the internet in the tradition of Billy the Kid - its guns are blazing, it's relentless, it will conquer, and you will submit to its glory! Behold!

What will you find when you enter ?

#1. A stunning picture of Jaden with his ultra-hip daddy, taken by the greatest and sexy-smokingest photographer ever to walk this earth. She married Jaden's daddy and it's the only decision keeping her from a perfect record of decision-making gloriousness.

#2. Lots of info about Jaden's daddy. Most of it useful factoids for those who need ta know what I do. Some of it about a peculiar and disastrous incident in the snow. All of it spun with the kind of web-weaving, alluring narrative you've come to know from Jaden's daddy.

#3. This is a biggie - pay attention. #3 is: What the new book is all about. More importantly, what a pair of splendid and sassy young ladies thinks of the book. Everyone get up right now and BOW to Amy and Lori for their time, energy, and stupendous lyrical magnificence. Thanks guys!

#4. Links to all things mind-warping, dazzling, and in some cases - informative! This includes my blog, other's blogs, websites for writers, kid stuff - lots and lots of shiny, vivid, 9-dimensional kid's stuff!

Now how's that for a sizzling pile of solid-gold rockage?

Over the top? Yeah - but that's how I roll! So what of it?

But it's not just the website. I was able to begin a little experiment I had planned on twitter. I wanted to take a couple characters from my book and get them up on twitter too. So Chris Kringle and Haller Fyenic are now live on twitter tweeting with fans in what has become a sort of interactive prologue to the book. It is ridiculously fun! I actually do most of the tweeting while on the treadmill on an 8 incline at 3.5 mph.  Multitasking is the only way to get anything done!

So make sure you drop by twitter and check out what the kids are doing. and  Join the adventure!

Lastly for today - I got another request from an agent last week.  And that just always feels nice. It was the cheese on my cheeseburger of a week!     

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Amazing Disappearing Act

Woah! A week went by? I guess I really do know how to time travel, 'cause I sure don't remember a week going by.  Maybe because I was so ridiculously busy every moment of every day, I couldn't detect the passage of time. I'm sure you all know how I feel. Barreling through life is NOT a good course of action. 

OK - what to do? Slow down!
See, I was really getting excited about the book. Things on the back end have been going swimmingly (I love the term, swimmingly!) and I had some breakthrough ideas that I couldn't wait to get to. Unfortunately, they had to wait, and will continue to have to wait for just a few hours more. 

The website - yes, the website. For those who know me (all 6 of you, which includes my family) it is no surprise for me to discuss, in an open forum, my love/hate relationship with this stunning, potentially life altering, particularly shiny on sunny days, means of global communication known as the internet. I love being able to connect with people with such ease (unless we're on a technological breakdown day - iPhone? I'm talking to you, mister!) I also love being able to learn about anything, anywhere I am. I love being able to show people far and wide the pictures of my son, my lovely wife, and on a good hair day - myself. 

I HATE the rest of the nonsense that comes along for the journey.  You know, the annoying pop-ups that spring from some hidden, evil parallel universe and block the very thing you're trying to read, the bizarre and ill-timed internet slowdowns, the crashes of browsers, and most of all - creating a website and getting the coding to work as you tell it to. Coding is like a toddler trying its darndest to throw a wrinkle into any plan you may have for a day. It's only going to take 1 hour? Ha, ha, ha! Multiply that by ten! And prepare for the coding to take its diaper off and race completely bare-assed through Central Park!

Anyway - after more time on the phone with my hosting company than actually design or constructing my website - it is almost ready for prime time. And I 'm ready for early retirement. 

Stay tuned, fearless readers - the site is coming. And it will sneak up behind you when you least expect it and scream "BOO!" 

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What I Learned From a Goose

Geese must think we are the silliest creatures on the planet. At least, that's the distinct impression I got as I strolled down by the piers, and a flock of them - psychologists at the top of their field, I presume - gave me that knowing glare.  

Let me back up.

For some crazy reason, I was suddenly hit with the feeling that I was never going to be published. Most writers have gone through this at least 95 times in say, the last 10 minutes, I know, but I'd never actually thought that before. Confident? Some would say. Others would call me cocky. The latter is closer the mark. I'm a tightrope walker in the carnival of confidence, and try to keep from falling one way or the other - unsuccessfully, most of the time. 

The Instigator - I hadn't received an email I believed was coming. A second also never found its way to my inbox (thought admittedly, there was no timeframe for that one - only the impatient dreaming of yours truly, who set up a newly established fantasy world of: get me that email NOW!)

My stomach was churning, my mind was twirling, I was on the verge of a complete physical/emotional/philosophical/ and for some reason, topographical breakdown. Hey -there's a lot of construction going on by me!

As is usually the case when I need to do some serious thinking, I went down by the water and was simply trying to work out why I had let some non-emails get so much power over me. Then it hit me. I really want to be a published author. You're probably wondering why this had just occurred to me. After all, I have written a novel. Something must have started me doing so. I think it began with just telling a story. I had this idea that I wanted to share and I never thought - hey, I have to be a published author to do this. I just sat down and wrote my story.

And now, 3 months later, I've had 9 requests for my work and I've been to an amazing writer conference (BEA), and I've basically made my entire world all about writing. So now it's not just words on a page telling my story - it's a living, breathing entity that has become an extension of who I am. Scary! Most will tell you there's already enough of me, I don't need expansion.  

The danger, I found out, was in giving so much weight to whether or not I become published. The fact is, I've written my story, a story I wanted to write because it's a story I wanted to read. And I really enjoy it. A lot of other people do too. And I know there's much work ahead (when an editor gets his or her hands on it) but I'm really satisfied with what I have for the present. The pure love of writing the story and discovering what the characters were going to do next or what they might say - getting to know them - that's what it's all about! That's why we sit down at the computer and pour our hearts out and create.

This brings us back to the geese.

So I wasn't calming down. I decided just to head home. That's when I passed the geese. They were all sitting in a single line on the grass at the end of the pier. I stopped and couldn't help but notice how peaceful they looked. They were gazing north toward the GW bridge and I thought - that's rather odd; the GW bridge doesn't often equal peace and tranquility - what are these guys looking at? I turned north to discover the great answer.

I was met with a soft breeze tickling my face. That was the answer I sought. I have many simple pleasures. I've already mentioned my love of water and being by rivers and the ocean. It just makes me happy. So does wind. And guess what - my main character happens to agree with me. So I started thinking about young Chris Kringle and his fondness for the breeze that tickled his face in the early morning, just before sunrise, as his sleigh hurtled through Relian Plains on their way to what would become a terrifying chase from thousands of slobbering abominable snowmen in the depths of an ice cavern, all while trying to locate the mystical Rouchine Post and a blaring underground sun.

Suddenly my mind was back where it belonged - with my characters, with my story. I wasn't all wound up in the ridiculous aspects of the business garbage. I was excited again! I remembered why I sit down to write!

I thought about the basketball game that night and playing with my son the next day and starting a new book - Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest. I thought about what was important to me - family, friends, playtime, creating stuff.

The goose leader glanced over to me. He saw my face, which had held so much tension in it just moments earlier. He saw it soften and relax as the wind came gently in. He saw a smile curl up the edges of my lips. He hissed at me for trying to come up to him and steal his baby. I apologized and said, "I was just trying to hug him." He broke out into some serious kung fu moves to protect his young from the feeble human assailant, and I just narrowly maneuvered around his attack. Silhouetted by the setting sun, I was a black ninja of sorts to this proud papa goose. We quickly settled our differences, he realized it was simply a misunderstanding on his part, and I bought him a red bell pepper in friendship. What I didn't realize then, is the most offensive thing you can ever do to a goose is to present them a red bell pepper. I don't have all the facts, but it has something to do with a barbershop quartet, three blueberry muffins, and a harpsicord back in the 18th century. 

I escaped the flock with two bruises on my left shin, a bit of torn clothing, white poopie in my hair (still can't figure out how it got there - but maybe they used tactics from their monkey friends. It was all a blur.) 

But I also escaped with a new sense of self. Not because I managed to get a quick hug from the goose baby - a feat that is unparalleled from what I gather. No - this was an understanding of what was truly important in my life. I love my family, I love my son, I love watching the basketball playoffs, I love devouring all the MG books I can find, I love writing - simply because I get to go inside my head and create a world I'd love to visit.

Will my book get published? Yeah - probably. But now it doesn't have to.  


Monday, June 8, 2009

Um - That Was Fast

3 days had passed since the BEA writer conference day. I wasn't expecting to hear back from anybody so soon. But the emails came on in.  Tina told me she received the pages and made another joke - still love this gal! Christine also let me know she had the MS. Unfortunately, I had a third email waiting. This one from Jennifer Weltz. 

Much Like Tina, Jennifer is someone you simply have to pitch if you have the chance! She was awesome. Seriously. Great big smile on her face, asked great questions, seemed completely into it. She'd requested the 1st 3 chapters and I sent them as soon as I got home. 

She let me know that she didn't connect with the material enough to go out and passionately represent the MS. It was a very nice letdown. But a letdown nonetheless. I sent her an email thanking her for getting back to me so speedily and  saying I was sorry she didn't connect with Kringle. I let her know how much fun I had pitching her, wished her well on her future projects, and said - who knows, maybe we'll run into each other again sometime.

She sent back - "you never know."

All right guys - I can't stress this enough. Agents are VERY busy people. You may think you're a busy person. You are not. At least not compared to an agent. So, when your ego is hurt from a rejection - understand it is not personal in ANY way. They have a never-ending stream of queries blasted at them, on top of a lot of angry, hostile, damn near harassing emails from disgruntled folks they've decided not to represent. Why not be the one who graciously accepts the rejection and sends a nice note back to them? Put a smile on their face. You may run into them again. Network! 

So there I was, 3 days out, and rejected already. I started thinking about what to do next. I had lots of opportunities in front of me, but no offer of representation. The inevitable question popped into my head.  Do I sit back and wait to hear from one of the 8 agents remaining on my "those who've daringly requested material from me" list?

The lazy part of me (which makes up roughly 78% of my body. The rest is water, entrails of mythological creatures, and an odd penchant for David Hasselhoff's music - presumably from my German genes.) wanted to decline any further workload devoted to finding an agent until I knew the Crazy 8 wanted nothing to do with me.  

The "entrails of mythological creatures" won the thrilling joust. I got off my lazy ass and researched another batch of poor, unsuspecting agents to torment with a newly written query letter. This one, I believed, had all the pizzaz, all the glitter, all the couture perfume necessary to  win over everybody and get even more requests!

I actually can't say whether it's worked or not. I have yet to receive any declines or requests. But an email was coming that gave a glimmer of hope. 


Sunday, June 7, 2009

The BEA Writer Conference - PITCH SLAM Part2

We'd had our meeting with Christine, it had gone very well, and we were both fired up. Alicia and I headed into the Pitch Slam practice. I wasn't sure how this was going to help. As you know, I'd already had the whole pitch ready to go, I knew it inside and out, if you woke me at 3am, I could have done it perfectly - in spanish - or even ancient greek.  

Then we got in. Superstar Janet Reid was sitting up in front of everyone, and the host invited a few people up to go pitch Janet on the spot. I sat back and watched carefully. Janet was incredible. She was funny, real funny, she even screamed a few times. But she helped each and every person in that audience. I realized the super pitch I'd worked out and could recite in a few dead languages was simply not going to work.

Thank god we had some time after the session before the pitch slam began. I needed it to work on my pitch. It didn't take long. I used Janet's advice and suddenly a tidal wave of energy poured over me. I was ready.

Disaster! All right, it wasn't a total disaster. The guy did invite me to upload some pages, but he told me straight out he didn't like the story, thought it sounded muddled, and that there was no human element to it - a sense that the main character would be relatable. Ouch! 

All I could hold on to was the fact I knew Faye had been so overwhelming positive about the story and characters, cocktailed with my successful pitch to Christine, who'd been so warm and responsive during our whole conversation. But I can't lie - that did sting.

I went down my list and found the next agent. She had no one at her table for the moment, so I ran over and fired on through the pitch - just to get this next one over with. She handed me a card and told me to send her 30 pages. All right, all right - I can handle that. Nice! Back in business!  

The rest of the day was a blur. I met lots of people all getting ready to pitch their stories and it just felt great. People really seemed to be having a wonderful time and that made me so happy. I love it when things are going well for everyone, you know? Just puts a smile on my face. 

Alicia and I met up again at one point, I think it was on line to pitch the incredible, savvy, super-agent Tina Wexler from ICM. I was in the middle of talking to Alicia about Wicked (she was going to see it with her husband that evening) when I had to go up to pitch Tina. Tina was cracking up - she'd seen me talking to a few people I guess and wondered how I met so many people so quickly. The fact is, I really love these settings and I really love meeting people and learning their stories. That's why I'm a writer, I love stories! I had a blast pitching Tina. Seriously, folks, if you can't have fun telling Tina your story, you simply aren't qualified for life. She's awesome! She takes notes on what you're saying, she asks questions, she makes you feel completely at ease, and even jokes around!

The day was wrapping up and I'd pitched 8 agents. All 8 had requested material, even the devil spawn agent, who disliked my story but for some odd reason thought I should send him pages anyway. Go figure.  The guy was actually very nice and I'm only calling him the devil's spawn, because for the slightest moment after my pitch to him, I stumbled into my swelling black hole of insecurities and very nearly gave up my quest to conquer BEA.  Dude - seriously, you're ok with me!

And that was it. I had an incredible time. I met a new friend, someone I can sense will be in my life for a long time to come. And I walked away with 8 requests for my work. What more could I possibly want?

I'll tell you.

I wanted to take a nice slow stroll home by the river. When we got there that day, it was nasty out - grey, cloudy, and spitting rain. At some point during the day, the sky had opened up into a golden wonder with zero clouds and sunlight glimmering off the water. It was a living metaphor for the day.

On my lovely stroll home by the water, I called my wife to tell her the news and then my other biggest supporter - mom.  Both were thrilled.  There was still much work ahead and both reminded me. But I'd taken a huge step forward, and they let me enjoy the moment.  

3 days later, I got my first rejection.         

The BEA Writer Conference - PITCH SLAM! Part1

I had no idea what to expect. Film festivals - I know what I'm getting into. This was entirely new to me, scary, thrilling, whatever. I walked down to the Javits Center (I don't live too far away - rock on Home Court Advantage!) I was of course rehearsing my ill-fated pitch (not knowing just then it would be ill-fated or I probably would have been thinking about something else entirely - like why that car seems to be following me, creeping up very slowly behind me, and blasting its horn every so often in a frat house attempt to get me to jump.)

When I arrived, I got my badge and located the room for the key-note speaker to speak her key-notes. Everyone seemed excited about the day ahead. It was WAYYYYYY early. I don't much like getting up at 7:30, let alone being somewhere at 7:30. My natural body clock says go sleepy at 1am and wake whenever you damn well feel like it. Jaden decided early on I should get up at 7:30 and tend to his needs. I'm willing to give him that until he turns 12 and wants to start sleeping til noon. I will then go into his room at 7:30 with a foghorn and blast away.

Karin Slaughter rocked the key-note. Very funny and offered some insight to her LONG journey to becoming a published author. Very quickly after her speech, we had to decide which of the breakout sessions we wanted to go to. Yikes! Not ready to make a decision/commitment just yet. Need more espresso. I decided to use my quantum physics expertise and open up a few parallel universes so I could attend the different sessions simultaneously. This had worked exceptionally well in the past. Turns out, portals refuse to open at 7:30 in the morning, and I had to laugh. Who would have thought quantum physics was on the same body clock as me?

I went to the session called Get Known Before the Book Deal: A Platform Primer by Christina Katz.  Christina had been sitting directly behind me for the key-note and had a great laugh and smile. I love great laughs and smiles as they are usually home to a real warm person. She knew her stuff! After I left, I realized I have a heck of a lot of work ahead of me. One thing I needed to do was write a blog. Someday, I'll get to it, I guess.

The next session I was going to go to was Self Promotion and Social Networking. I've always been a shameless self-promoter. This seemed right up my ally. Thing was, in the next room was an Ask the Agents panel. And I started thinking, I should probably see what that's about. Aren't I here mainly for the Pitch Slam? And aren't half of the participants at Pitch Slam going to be agents? Ah, right.

In I went.  I met a charming dude by the door and he thought I would get on well with his wife. This post could take an abrupt turn here, but rest assured, he just thought that since she was a writer and I was a writer and we both wrote for children, and I seemed kind of cool and she was kind of cool - that sort of thing - we should hang a bit and learn about this whole thing together.  So he introduced us.  And we became friends.  She has an amazing YA story - the concept just blew me away.  Go read her blog -          

So there we were together listening to all these agents speak about their wants and needs. It was here that I first listened to, met, and fell madly in love with Janet Reid - rockstar agent, blogger, lover of fine scotch, and filled with the kind of dripping, salacious badassness that usually comes only from the mind of Quentin Tarantino. Go read her blog -

Alicia (the dude's wife!) and I sat there when the session was over and continued speaking about what we'd learned about the industry thus far, what we wanted to do with our lives, and how we were going to get there.  She'd sent out a bunch of queries for her novel and had some really great feedback. In fact, she had actually already had requests for her MS from a handful of agents she was going to meet there! One was the lovely Christine Witthohn, from Book Cents Literary Agency, who'd actually called her after reading the full manuscript! Christine had some editorial advice not terribly unlike Faye had for me. Alicia had since resubmitted and was waiting to hear from her.  Sound familiar? (EDIT - Alicia let me know I had that completely wrong.  This was no surprise to me as my wife is constantly telling me I do stuff wrong.  Apparently, Christine called her after reading Alicia's query and told her that she needed to cut the word count down.  So anyway - now back to the original post)

We realized there was an actual lunch for us, so we sprinted across the Javits Center looking for it.  After a few near hits, we finally found the room and missed out on all the goodies.  Oh well.  

Fate has always been good to me. Timing has as well. This time, it was when my bladder told me it was time to go to the bathroom. I left the lunch room and asked the first person I saw where the bathroom might be located. This person happened to be Christine Witthohn. Synchronicity factor of Warp 10! I introduced myself and told her I was friends with Alicia Walker and she got a huge, giddy smile on her face. I was hoping that meant she liked Alicia's story. Otherwise, that smile would have just been creepy. Turns out I was correct in my assumption.

When lunch was over, I saw Christine was still outside the room speaking with a friend and I told Alicia she should go up and introduce herself. They'd never met in person. As we walked up, Christine began heading back to where the sessions were being held. For such a tiny thing, she sure could move! We kicked it into high gear and sped off after her. Finally we caught up and had a fabulous conversation where Christine invited me to pitch my story on the spot to her. I did. She thought it sounded like a lot of fun and gave me her card. She told me to send the full MS!  

I was on my way.  Hadn't even got to the pitch slam yet and already had an agent request the darn thing.  I was on fire! I was the rockstar of the conference! 

My next pitch left me wanting to cry in the corner and reconsider whether this was the career for me.  

What To Do While You Wait and Other Ways To Get Into Trouble...

Hopscotch seems like a good idea in theory. I'm on the playground all the time with Jaden and see little tykes jumping around and really enjoying themselves while they try hopelessly to stay in bounds of those tiny, mischievous squares, bend down to pick up some ball or something, and then turn around and clumsily do the same thing on the way back. I tried it myself and quickly discovered it did not twist my mind away from wondering when I'd hear back from Faye.  

What to do while I waited? There's always the usual - read books, watch movies or the basketball playoffs, do something real sweet for my wife (that's always been her favorite usage of my time). Nothing - I mean nothing kept my thoughts away from Faye, her feelings toward the manuscript, if she had read the new draft, if she hated it and decided never to email me again - the usual flurry of demented insecurities that would have ripped a lesser man apart. Though I still had my limbs intact, I was jittery, nervous, and couldn't sleep. 

I discovered very quickly that the very best thing to do while waiting on something like this is to pretend you don't even have a shot of getting it.  What would I do if Faye had never given such a positive review?  I'd keep sending out queries and doing everything in my power to get the MS read!  BEA (Book Expo America) was coming up in the next couple of weeks and I would be able to actually pitch my story to a fine smelling cornucopia of seasoned agents.  After researching who would be there, I realized I had a very good opportunity in front of me.  

I am very good when you put me in a room. Not solitary confinement, mind you (though I suspect I'd do just fine there as well, as I enjoy talking to myself immensely. You may see me walking down the street talking on the phone.  I have no friends and am generally just speaking to myself) No, I'm talking about a room full of people that I have to entertain. For whatever reason, my energy picks up and I get going quickly and seem to get my enthusiasm across. This doesn't work on everybody (see the future post on BEA for further details there). But it sure does open a lot of doors for me.  

My wife agreed this was a golden opportunity for me. I began working on my pitch immediately. Boy did it suck! Couldn't really figure out what I wanted to say about the story exactly. I knew I had only 3 minutes with each agent. That meant I had to get the pitch down to a minute or so, so I would have time for questions and advice afterward. 1 minute, only 60 seconds of sweaty, nervous energy to try and explain a 402 page manuscript without stumbling over my words!

I'd rewritten my query letter and went there to seek out what I might want to say in an actual pitch. After all, a query letter is really just a written pitch. You tell the agent or editor what the genre, title, and word count is - MG fantasy/adventure novel The Kringle Khronicles Volume 1: The Legend of Winterdale, completed at 89,000 words. That sure sounds like a great way to start a pitch! All right, I was thumping away now! Probably should give them a  teaser about the  story - who is the main character, why do I like him/her, what is the conflict? What is the action??? Most important - why is someone going to drop $15 and 4 hours of their time to read this thing?  And why do I keep sniffing?  The answer to that one was easy - they are, as I mentioned, a fine smelling cornucopia of agents!

My legs were working just fine. It was nearly a year since the accident, so I was more than ready to get my epic walking on and let the ideas flow. Lucky for me I live halfway between Central Park and the Hudson River,where they've really built up an incredible park with piers and lots of grass just under the West Side Highway, right along the water. I love water! Particularly when working on stories. Just the sound of it, gazing out across it. So I went down to the water and began building out my pitch.

It didn't take long, and soon I found myself rehearsing it - over and over and over, and then breaking to sunbathe, and over and over and over, and then breaking to get a red bull, and then over and over. It got repetitive, but you gotta know what you're going to say to an agent and you want it to come out naturally, like you're having a conversation with them. The only way to do that is to know the pitch inside and out so when the questions come up unexpectedly in the middle of your pitch, you're free to break off from the tale you're telling, and then get back to where you were without a lot of stuttering or uh, uh, uhs, or um, ums, or any of that ilk.

I finally had it.  This was the pitch that would sell my story to all those super cool, fine smelling agents I would meet at BEA!  I was a rockstar.  I was incredibly prepared to take on all comers.  

Within the first 2 minutes of the second panel of Pitch Slam Day, I knew I had to COMPLETELY rewrite my pitch!       

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Seriously? You Like It?

There I was with only a single request from a single agent and I was beginning to panic.  I hadn't sent out enough queries, and deep down I knew that, but truth be told - I just don't like all this business stuff. It's draining.  Still, it's a necessary evil and I began to reshape my query for another round of attempts. 

Then I received an email that made the pleasant tickle seem like a big, violent gash across the eyebrow with lemon juice dripped in for good measure.  In other words - this email ROCKED! Faye did like the MS, it turned out.  She liked it quite a bit in fact. I've never had anyone react to something I've done with that much enthusiasm before. She did, however, think it needed some "strategic trimming".  She thought there was entirely too much adventure and that some of the scenes didn't add to the book or were vital to the plot.  She figured ideally I'd be able to cut at least 100-150 pages out.  She said if I was willing to do some editing, she'd be happy to read it again, and hopefully work together.  

I know what some of you are thinking.  How can you cut 100-150 pages?  It's actually quite simple.  You do it because if you don't, your book doesn't get published.  

I love editing.  Most people think I'm crazy.  But it seriously feels like taking a splinter out when I can lift large chunks of text out of something. My producer and I used to love slicing out even something as small as a single frame from our films.  For those that don't know, that's 1/24th of a second!  But by doing something that seemingly inconsequential, the whole thing flowed better.  Same with writing a novel.  Taking out a single word will suddenly make a sentence lift off the page and grab you.  

I wrote back to Faye immediately thanking her for her kind words and her thoughts about a new revision (which let's face it.  with 100+ pages taken out was going to be a new draft)  I told her about some of my ideas and asked for her ideas as well. 

Faye is an angel! I want everyone to know this upfront.  No matter what happens with the book from here on out - it is a far better manuscript for coming across her table. She had some incredible ideas on possible edits and it got my mind twirling.  I simply could not put on the breaks and literally within a week, I'd cut out 130 pages!  

After reading through it, I was surprised to see how well her ideas assimilated into the world I created. It flowed so much better!  So I sent it back to Faye and surprised her with my speed.  I got worried that perhaps I'd worked too quickly.  I'm nothing if not insecure.  She said she was eager to read it again.  I pointed out I too was eager for her to re-read.  

The waiting game began again.        

Well This Is Easier Than I Thought. Oh Wait. No, It's Not

While the under 24 hours response time was not what I was expecting, the response itself tickled me in a way only that thai masseuse had managed. And I needed a full on blast of moscato for that tickle. This was a sober tickle, but still one of the greatest I'd ever had. Looking back, it wasn't much, and I probably blew it way out of proportion, but I'm a writer.  That's what we do! No, that's not right. I'm a drama queen. That's what we do!  Ah - better.

Faye Bender is one of Michelle Tessler's friends. God willing, she will eventually think of me as one. It was her response that tickled me, and I hope she doesn't read this blog post until after we become friends. Otherwise, it is quite possible we will not, with the many ways the first part of the previous statement can be construed. What Faye wrote in her email was quite simply that she thought the story sounded like a lot of fun and that she wanted to see the full MS. Yeah - that's it. That's what got me so excited. But to have someone request the full manuscript in under 24 hours of sending a query was something I'd never have guessed. Working in film, you're lucky to get a response from someone's assistant's assistant's younger brother's pet hamster who spells out the words in little hamster pellets.   

So I sent her the MS and thought to myself - seriously, it's this easy? I sent out another 10 or so queries to agents and publishers. The responses started coming back within the week. Easy? NO SIR! Form rejection, form rejection, form rejection, form rejection, flaming paper bag with dog poopy at the doorstep (I'm guessing this wasn't from an agent and more likely some practical joker in the building), form rejection, form rejection, and then about 5 more form rejections.

I began to wonder, did Faye just request the MS because her friend sent me? Clearly my query letter wasn't doing me any favors with the rest of the agents. My answer came in another email. This one from Michelle's other friend. He agreed with everyone other than Faye and thought The Kringle Khronicles was not for him. Friendship clearly had nothing to do with it.  Maybe Faye really liked the idea? 

A few weeks later, I found out.     

I Know Nothing and Still Made a Few People Happy

Let's start here. Finished manuscript or not, I knew nothing about the publishing world. Film world? Inside and out. Publishing? Nada con queso. The cheese part was filled with super yummy awesomeness. The nada was like a deceitful, manipulative ex-girlfriend who flaunts her new "way better looking" and "supremely talented" fiancé in your face.

With limited contacts, I in fact knew but a single person in publishing, I was forced to use my sleep deprived, worn out, cob-webbed noggin on some serious action-plan planning. I didn't want to jump straight into the action plan itself - I'm too cautious for that. Scratch that, I'm too lazy. But I started planning, plotting, and scheming. My PPS yielded very little, while my continued lucky streak, which has lasted since the very minute I squirted out into this bright, big world, brought me the contact I needed.

New years eve 2008 offered another miraculous coincidence that I have had the luxury of enjoying for these past 33 years. Our fabulous friends, Jimmy and Jen, along with their daughter/Jaden's current fling-slash-chick o' the hour, Josie, were supposed to come over for a cozy little shindig.  Triple J's is the nickname I've given the fearless threesome, and for a bit a trivia - that name later became the name for the fake company set up by Chris Kringle's parents to share his inventions with the world in the novel.  Anyway - that crazy,defiant one-year-old Josie decided to stay out til the wee hours of the morning with her 3 cavorting gal-pals for like 4 nights in a row and ended up sick - puking, fever, yellow/green/brown/ mucus spewing yuckiness all over, kind of sick.  What Jimmy and Jen had been putting in her bottle, I don't know, and don't want to know.  Point is this - it was clearly a no-go on our celebration. Secretly I believe the universe simply won't allow that many people whose names begin with the letter J to congratate in a humble abode at the same time. 

Being the swinging, ultra-hip, no-plan-having couple we are, Ellie and I needed somewhere to go.  Our other friends, Melbolay (Melissa, Bob and Layla) were having a big ole bash at their apartment across the street and opened the doors to us slackers.  In we went, and my career began. 


Michelle Tessler is an amazing agent here in NYC with a) her own agency. Pretty sweet!

Go check her out IMMEDIATELY if you write incredible non-fiction! b) a really cute kid.  c) an enterprising husband who opened an online business with super yummy and healthy pizzas.

d) A wonderful smile that welcomes you to tell your story with ease, like you've been friends for years.  She's seriously awesome and tireless in helping someone.  e) most relevant - she's friends with Melbolay and therefore was at the New Year's Eve bash.  

At that point, I hadn't finished my tweaks with draft 3, but Michelle and I spoke about it and she told me to send it her way when I was ready. As I mentioned, she reps non-fiction (and quite well, I'll add) so she wasn't going to be able to offer me representation. However, she said she had friends in MG and YA and she'd see what she could do.

Fast forward using the scan feature on your remote control and you arrive a few weeks later, when I was ready to pass the manuscript along. Michelle and I sat down for coffee (actually she got tea and I opted for some grub.  I'm never more than an hour away from a meal!) and discussed the book a little further. I picked her brain about everything publishing related. As you know, I had lots of catching up to do. At the end, I had lots of knowledge about how to find an agent, how to write a query, and though unrelated to the actual book publishing process, how to pitch a story idea while having smoked salmon caught between your teeth.  

After she read a bit of the MS, Michelle said she thought it was well written and entertaining, but that it was so far from her area she couldn't really give me any advice. However, she had two friends she thought I should send it to. Luckily, both of these friends were agents. Not that I wouldn't want her cleaning lady  and nanny's opinion, but I figured an agent who worked with MG would probably be better suited to offer advice.

I sent out e-queries to both her friends.

Less than 24 hours later, I got a surprise response.    

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Nap Time

So my heart could have sunk into the depths of the NYC subway system, I could have run crumbling and cowering and crying into the nearest dark corner, or I could have taken the advice and just done something about it.  Knowing myself very well by this point in my life, and that I am regularly a complete masochist, I decided for the latter.

Yeah - it was harsh feedback on that pesky draft 2.  But I love my readers for being so honest. Next time if they could just stab me in the front so I could see them coming, and not the back, that would be great.  Also, honestly - the twisting of the knife - just completely unnecessary guys.

But there was hard work ahead, no doubt.  And I no longer had the luxury of writing all day long if I so desired.  Side note - I have never written for an entire day in my life and have no plans to ever do so - at least in the immediate next hundred and fifty years.  

I was back caring for Jaden and that left me only nap times and my two days off when his nanny/manager (who just got him a guest spot on Oprah too!) came swooping in to my and Jaden's rescue.  But there was something terribly sweet and innocent about writing a children's fantasy/adventure novel while my beautiful little boy napped.  

First things first - there were all sorts of structural issues.  Yes - they loved the characters and the general idea, along with a lot of the adventures.  But I had some serious editing to do. 

Over the course of the next few months I worked out many of the issues, which included completely changing the situation my main character was in, taking characters and combining them, taking other characters completely out of the mix, adding other characters, deleting quests, adding quests, doing some laundry and food shopping (this of course had nothing to do with the novel, but it still had to get done), and doing lots of grammar/spelling yumminess. You know, nothing much.  

I got it all done!  And I was really, really pleased.  I know it sounds like I'm setting this up for a big fall when the readers got their hands on this new 3rd draft - but no fall was to come.  People really seemed to love it.  I finally had something to work with.  Some said it was ready to go out to the agents, others had a few suggestions first.  The second group was correct.  

I spent another month or so revising draft 3, tightening where I could, working out more grammar/spelling yumminess, and doing more laundry (which never seems to end in my household!)  

It was ready.  Or so I thought.   

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Injury Time Out

3 years later came the crash.  Seriously, who could ever imagine a cheerful, nonchalant, bouncing (yet still partially deflated) ball could end up giving me so much grief? But there I was.

I could have spent the next 6 months on the couch watching crap TV and letting my brain cells start a revolt against my body.  Instead I thought it a jolly idea to go inside my head, make those pesky brain cells do some work, and start blasting out that idea from all those years ago. That Santa idea.  

Though I said I came up with the idea and then waited 3 years to work on it, I had actually written a few notes.  It wasn't much, but it did become a small jumping off point.  The kind of notes your boss gives you, and then you do all the real work, and then he goes back to his bosses and tells them he did it all.  That sort of thing.  Luckily, I happen to be my boss, his boss, and the dude at the top that gets to do nothing all day and sip moscato d'asti while getting 2-hour thai massages, listening to the Rolling Stones, and having Simon Pegg drop by to be excitingly British.      

I couldn't walk.  Not quite yet.  It was really annoying.  I mean, I could sort of shimmy down the hallway to the bathroom and maybe get to the kitchen for some moscato d'asti (an excellent pairing with muscle relaxers some believe - I think it was the Aztecs who came up with that cocktail)  The thing is, I'd always worked out my stories by taking really long walks.  I'm talking epic here!  And during those walks, I'd let my mind do its wandering thing and by the end, I'd have a story going.  Clearly I was going to need a new way to work.  And that way to work ended up being decidedly stationary as you may have guessed.

It's probably the way a lot of writers do their thing.  But it was entirely foreign to me.  And not in the really good Fellini or Bergman or Godard kind of way.  Mine was sort of the Mel Gibson using foreign languages kind of thing.

But somehow, I got used to it and managed to write out notes - lots of them!  So many, that before I knew it, I had the outlines for 3 novels in the series.  What?  A series?  Yep, I got carried away.  It wouldn't be the last time.  The Kringle Khronicles Trilogy now stands at 9 volumes!  

A month later I was able to get outside and start competing with the elderly for sidewalk supremacy.  They won each and every battle!  A month after that, I was ready for prime time and finally passed someone in their late 80's.  In that second month, I had another milestone.  I made it all the way over to Central Park, my haven, my love.  And it was there where I was able to get back to my way of working.  The ideas flowed - I was on a creative tear!    

During my 6 month injury time out, I wrote the first 2 drafts of The Kringle Khronicles Volume 1: The Legend of Winterdale.  And then I was finally strong enough to take care of Jaden again. We kept our nanny for 2 days a week, I had the little guy the other 3 days.  Its a good thing I had lots of time to write still. After I received feedback on the 2nd draft, I knew I had all sorts of re-writing ahead of me.  Yikes!    

The Idea

If you've read the post positioned directly under this brand spanking new one that hasn't even had the plastic taken off it yet, then you have a general idea as to what kind of craziness launched into my head 4 years ago when I first came up with the concept for the book.  But you don't know how that concept popped into my noggin.  This post has a distinct chance of clarifying that for you.  If I don't mislead you. I haven't decided if I'm telling the truth yet.  I'll let you know by the end of the post.  Maybe.       

So I was sitting around wondering what exactly does Santa Claus do with the rest of his time.  I mean, the guy only works one day a year, right?  He's gotta do something else.  And then I started thinking about his aliases - Father Christmas, Saint Nick, Chris Kringle.  And what about his super-human abilities - the guy can get around the world in a single night dropping off presents to all the kiddies through slots in chimneys three sizes too small?  He's gotta be like a super hero or a secret agent or a ninja or something!  And that's when the concept hit me - take this character that everyone in the entire world knows and come up with a super-cool hidden history for him.  But to do that I had to go right back to the beginning - his childhood!    

And that was it - simple!  I was off and running.  Concept was there.  I dug it. I was jazzed up about it. I could work with it. 3 years later, I started. 

P.S. -
I told the truth.  

I gotta start lying again.  

It's much better for the soul.         

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Story Blurb

Leaping wayyyyyyy forward in time (I told you I knew how to time-travel), this is the blurb about the book that gives you some semblance of what I will continuously ramble about in this blog. Hence giving you an option to just drop out right now if you aren't interested. Every blog posting after this will fill in the gap between my first post and this actual one here.  When we reach the point of connection, much like in Memento, everything will fade up from black and white to color.

The Kringle Khronicles Volume 1: The Legend of Winterdale
When the evil Alice Malice says she’s going to bring Winterdale Palace crumbling to the ground, crazy-cool gizmo inventor, Chris Kringle, and his four outcast friends, form an adventure club sworn to protect the great treasures of the North Pole. They never would have guessed that to save Winterdale from Malice, they’d have to chase into an ice cavern crawling with slobbering abominable snowmen, steal the most sacred artifact from the local museum, venture into the grimiest, most dangerous spot in the North Pole to locate an ancient merwitch, or create a magic potion that evokes dark visions of the future. But hey, all that’s certainly better than discovering their chilling quest will expose a hidden war that has waged since the beginning of time and could forever destroy hot chocolate, Kamikaze candy machines, lightening-quick toboggans, and basically the entire universe!