Linny’s Sweet Dream List was one of the very first queries I got when started agenting. The writing sample had voice coming out its ears so I requested the full manuscript and PROMPTLY read it, called the author, and signed her as quickly as I could.
Linny’s Sweet Dream List had to change very little from that first manuscript until the time it sold, because Schild created such a winning character, setting, and plot. In case you’re curious, here’s the description:
At thirty-eight, Linny Taylor is suddenly living a life she thought only happened to other, more careless people. Widowed for the second time, and broke, thanks to her cheating late husband, Linny has no house, no job, and no options except to go back home. There, in a trailer as run down as her self-esteem, Linny makes a list of things that might bring happiness. A porch swing. A job that nourishes her heart as well as her bank balance. Maybe even a date or two.
At first, every goal seems beyond reach. But it’s hard for Linny to stay in the doldrums when a stray puppy is coercing her out of her shell—right into the path of the town’s kind, compassionate vet. The quirky town is filled with friends and family, including Linny’s mother, Dottie, who knows more about heartache than her daughters ever guessed. And as Linny contemplates each item on her list, she begins to realize that the dreams most worth holding on to can only be measured in the sweetness of a life lived to the fullest…
This is just the sweetest, funniest book and GUESS WHAT? If you love it as much as I do, there are moooooooore books coming in this series.
I can’t promise how much I’ll be reviewing, although I’d like to talk informally about some of the older stuff I’ve been reading.
My son is now in 1st grade (!), so he’s off in school all day, and in a couple of week the girls will be going off to preschool 2-3 times/week. I left active agenting earlier this year because I felt that my family wasn’t getting enough of my time while the kids are still little (and at home, and thus likely either watching TV or getting into trouble while I worked). However, now that everyone is going to be in school at least part of the time, I am going to be jumping back in to a book industry position that can help writers (and where I can strictly control the incoming work flow). In short, I will be launching an editing service.
I will be editing queries and manuscripts, both partial and full, with an eye towards what an agent or editor sees when they look at your project. To clarify: using these services will have NO BEARING on getting you read, requested, or signed with anyone at Fuse Literary. However, they are designed to put writers in a better position to put their work in front of any agent or editor.
So! If you or a friend is working on a book or is thinking about querying, please consider using me to help you get your project as polished as possible before attempting publication. If you sign up for query editing by the end of September, you will be entered to win a free critique of your entire manuscript.
The formerly weekly audiobook review link-up Sound Bytes is now a monthly link-up. I encourage you to leave links to any audiobooks you review throughout the month and check out the links of other reviewers for your next great listen. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.
It is really no secret that I love thebooks that McNees writes. I’ve been looking forward to The Island of Doves for a long time, and happily, my anticipation was rewarded with a lovely reading experience. If you’re interested in hearing more about the plot, check out this description from the publisher:
Susannah Fraser lives in one of Buffalo’s finest mansions, but her husband has made it a monstrous prison. When a mysterious woman offers to help her escape, Susannah boards a steamboat for Mackinac Island. But after being a dutiful daughter and obedient wife, it is only as she flees that she realizes how unprepared she is for freedom.
An exceptional woman of early America, Magdelaine Fonteneau has overcome convention to live a bold and adventurous life, achieving great wealth and power as a fur trader. But Magdelaine has also seen great tragedy and lost all that was dear to her, and she is no longer sure her hardened heart is capable of love.
Now, Magdelaine seeks redemption by offering safe harbor to Susannah. But as their friendship grows into something miraculous, it changes each woman in unexpected ways. Each needs to learn to love again, and only together can they realize a future bright with the promise of new life…
I think my favorite thing about The Island of Doves is the setting. Mackinack Island is a semi-frontier landscape in this time period, but still without the wild west sort of feeling that often turns me off. It is also a novel setting (pun not intended, I swear), bringing something newly vibrant to the world of historical fiction.
The story itself could probably have been told at a variety of different time periods – including, with some significant changes for technology – today. However, McNees still makes it feel fresh, mostly by creating characters who are fully fledged enough to seem truly alive, and giving them time to form relationships, as well as impediments against which to struggle.
While I’m not surprised that I loved this, I am happy that McNees continues to live up to my now very high expectations for her work.
If you want to read The Island of Doves for yourself, enter at the Google form below by 11:59pm Central on Sunday, April 6th. One winner in the US will receive a copy of the book from the publisher.
SO. I was listening to Pop Culture Happy Hour for the billionth time, as is my wont (I promise, a post about this is coming), and it was an old one in which Glen Weldon mentioned Free Comic Book Day. This inspired me to look up the comic book stores around me on the Free Comic Book Day website. It turns out we have more independent comics shops around than we do bookstores, including chain bookstores. So then I decided that my new project is to explore both our local comics shops and comics and graphic novels in general by buying something from each of the stores. For my first attempt, I found the local shop to be small and dominated predominantly by single issue comics. Since I don’t feel quite ready for those yet, I focused on the small rack of compilations and works originally published as complete graphic novels. I was hoping to be the beneficiary of some good hand selling, but the clerk was busy most of the time we were in there, so I just browsed until I found THIS little gem.
The New Deadwardians by Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard Published by Vertigo, an imprint of D.C. Comics
EDWARDIAN VAMPIRES VERSUS EDWARDIAN ZOMBIES. #FTW
In The New Deadwardians, Britain has been frozen in time by a horrid disease and a cure that might even be worse. In 1861, Britain began to be plagued by the Restless Curse, something that effectively turned people into zombies. In an attempt to counteract the curse and provide an ability to fight the Restless, the Cure was invented and taken by the upper classes. The Cure was able to make those who took it invisible to the Restless, but it did it by making them dead as well, vampires to be exact, referred to as the Young. Although the lower classes are still human, their lives are basically ruled by interactions with the two types of dead creatures around them, and they’re starting to revolt. George Suttle is one of the Young, and the last detective in the Scotland Yard murder squad. There’s not much need for a homicide detective when everyone who is considered to matter is already dead. Except then a Young man is found dead, and not by any of the common causes. How can someone dead die again? Chief Inspector Suttle may have gotten in over his head in this investigation.
I completely loved this book. First of all, Edwardian vampires and zombies? SOLD. SOLD. The story is told well and paced beautifully, I really didn’t run into any problems considering this compilation was originally sold as single issue comics, it flows very nicely. I also adored the illustrations; color is used to great advantage, setting the scene and communicating even the slightest change in mood.
I adored this x1000000. If you have any recommendations for me on the graphic novel front, I’d love to hear them, in case the next comics store I head to isn’t so much on the hand selling, either.