My friend Adrienne Wilder, author of Darwins Theory Book 1-3 (so far!) and Blood Bonds (City Of Dragons book 1) (out from Liquid Silver Books), gave me a gift today.

In addition to being a talented and prolific writer Adrienne is a talented artist.


Deacon Chalk: Occult Bounty-Hunter

by: Adrienne Wilder

Now you should go to her website and read her excerpts and about her and order her books.



This is my Query. There are many queries like it, but this one is mine. (writing advice #592783 1/3)

This is my Query. There are many queries like it, but this one is mine.

Ok, firstly, why am I writing this? I get a lot of my prepublished friends ask for my advice on their queries. I am glad to help. What do I know about queries?  They are hard, and the process gets harder every day. I don’t even have an agent.

You read that right. I am unagented. I sent my query in various forms to over 50 agents and every one of them took a pass. I got a lot of requests for partials, and synopsis’s ((sp?) I mean really, what is the plural of synopsis?), and pages but they all passed. I found a list of editors who accept direct email queries, sent the one to the editor who was interested in my genre and in less than 60 days had an offer for three books with one of the biggest and best publishing houses.

Here goes my query so you can see what worked for me.

First though, here are some general bits of advice.

1) Make it snappy. Not stupid like a high concept elevator pitch that has a thick layer of cheese on it, but a quick, entertaining sum up for your manuscript. I think of it as the same thing that would be blurbed on the back cover to get a customer to buy your book in a bookstore.  You have to get to the point though, technology is not your friend. Most agents now are reading (skimming) queries on their smart phones so you have literally 2-5 lines to get their attention before they ditch you for the next one in their que.  You have to stand out because you will not be the first query read in the que nor will you be the last. You do NOT want to blend into the stream of words being skimmed through. So get it done and get it done quick. Stick and move my friend.

2) Know your role. Do not query a work that is not finished. Do not mention work that is unpublished. Put in any achievements you have made in publishing. You got something published, even for free on the internet, go ahead and put it in. Won an award for your writing, got a scholarship from your writing, sure go for it, but remember, you have to not waste time. Agents do not care if you are not published. They like finding new authors. That is one of the reasons they got into the business they are in. So don’t fluff. You wrote a good book, query that book. If it is strong enough then you will make the cut.

3) Querying sucks. It sucks in the worst way possible. So you have to put on your big girl panties and turn off your tear ducts and do the work. You will be rejected. Don’t argue. It is unbecoming. Just pick yourself up and query the next person.

4) Get your ass back to writing. Don’t get consumed by querying. Send out a certain number every day and other than that get back to work. You have a new idea, a different idea, some story knocking on the door of your insanity in your head that wants to be alchemically set free on paper. Go work your magic.

So here you go, Enjoy!

Dear Agent/Editor,

Since hunting down the monster who took the lives of his wife and children five years ago, occult bounty-hunter Deacon Chalk has lived by only one rule.

He does not work for the monsters. He kills them.

So why would a vampire try to hire him as protection against another monster hunter? After enforcing his only rule Deacon goes to meet the target, a vampire slayer named Nyteblade. Professional courtesy demands he tell this Nyteblade the vampires are hiring people to kill him. Deacon finds the vampire slayer waiting in an alley.

Waiting to stake him.

He discovers that Nyteblade is a bumbling, fumbling, wanna-be instead of a badass vampire hunter. Someone who needs saving from monsters instead of the other way around. This is proven when a horde of vampires descend and he has to escape while trying to keep Nyteblade alive.

Someone has set Deacon up. Someone wants him dead.

Someone should have sent more vampires.

Bound and determined, Deacon will find out who tried to kill him no matter how many bloodsuckers, were-spiders, cursed immortals, undead strippers, or insanely powerful hell-bitches he has to wade through.

At just over 81,000 words BLOOD AND BULLETS is a concisely written, action-packed, dark urban fantasy tale. It is set in a rich and varied supernatural world and contains a new origin for vampires involving the Crucifixion and the Spear of Destiny.

It will appeal to fans of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, and the television show Supernatural.

This is the first book of a series. The full manuscript, plot synopsis, and sample chapters are available immediately upon request. BLOOD AND CLAW, book two is being written at this time with books three and four outlined and plotted.

Thank you so very much for your time,

James R. Tuck

See Loyals and True Believers? I greeted the Agent/Editor (use their name not the generic title), hooked them in with a strong two line set up, kept their attention by hitting the highest points of my plot in the same voice as my book, and closed out telling them that:

a) My book is sellable and there are folks out there who will like it and giving them a quickie comparison so they know what style book I am presenting.

b) My manuscript is complete, ready to go, and available if they want it.

c) I am pitching a series and not only am I pitching it, but I am preparing to be professional and deliver it.

So go forth, query widely, get rejected, and find the agent or editor who can make your dreams come true.

Until then, write well.

SHUFFLING AND SHAMBLING ALONG (short fiction sales news)

A couple of months back I wrote a short story entitled “He Stopped Loving Her Today”.  It’s a twisted zombie love story that is really in the same vein as The Walking Dead. (as an aside, if you have not watched The Walking Dead or read the comic book, then stop right now and go order it. You have GOT to read and watch these.  Go ahead, I will wait.



ok. You will thank me for that. Glad to have you back.)

Now, I am proud of this short story. It’s good. Spooky, twisted, dark, and scary. I wanted to find a home for it, so I gave it to my editor at Kensington to see if he had a place for it. He passed. It’s hard to place a 2200 word short story. He liked it, but just had no place for it to go. So I looked around for it, checking the short fiction markets, but nothing felt right for it.

Then along comes One Buck Horror.

One Buck Horror is a new company doing e-anthologies of short horror fiction. They will be selling them for .99 cents and they will feature 5-6 different horror stories from different authors, all under 3,000 words in length.  I think it’s a GREAT business model. I submitted my story to them.

Well, they bit and it will be featured in their special Halloween issue out in October!

I am VERY excited to be a part of this. Go check them out at http://www.onebuckhorror.com and see what they are doing. Go ahead and sign up to buy their issues, it’s only a lousy buck ya cheapskate! lol.

Write well my friends.

ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PIECES OF ADVICE BY A MASTER OF THE CRAFT (that I happen to disagree with kinda sort of on one point)

You Must Write Every Single Day of Your Life

To sum it all up, if you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling.  You must write every single day of your life.  You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish for you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories—science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.


First of all Loyals and True Believers, go back a read that again. Go ahead. Read it out loud. That is poetry. It sings to my soul and is one of the truest things I have ever read.

I agree with the venerable Mr Bradbury 100%. Except for one small point.

I do not think you have to write every day.  I don’t believe it and I don’t do it. Days will pass without me being able to write…sometimes out of being busy, sometimes out of being stuck in a place in the story, and sometimes, just every once in a while, it happens just out of sheer laziness.

(That last part is just between me and you my friend. Snitches get stitches.)

Now, I agree with the spirit of the statement. You must write every day of your life is great advice and will carry you far. If you are not a professional then follow that advice until you are. But sometimes, understand that life happens and it never happens smooth and clean. Life is a mess. Sometimes your time is demanded by things out of your control.

Just go with it.

But you DO need to have a regular schedule of writing. Time that is sacrosanct, set aside holy and pure just for engaging in the creative act of writing. It could be everyday, it could ba a few hours every other day, it could be 15 minutes every weekday morning while waiting for your carpool/school bus ride. It could be only on Monday nights.  But you must give up your time, sacrifice it to the Muse and make the work happen or  you will not be able to complete anything.  The creative process will take things from your life, but the rewards are immense and infinite.  You may have to lose your favorite show on TV, you might have to not have that standing lunch time with coworkers, you may have to give up texting aimlessly. Whatever you have to do, you must carve out the same time to give over to your writing. This is THE DEAL. This is the contract you must make with your Muse. Give her a reliable time, show up, and start working and she will give you stories, glorious stories. Stories to make kingdoms fall, to make Angels weep, to make children realize they are able to fulfill all their potential.  You can tap the lifeblood of the universe. You can catch a glimpse of the mind of God if you give yourself over to Story in a dedicated way.

I know I am sounding a bit metaphysical with all this talk, but storytelling is the thread that the fabric of culture is woven from. It is the central tie between all mankind. When God created the world He spoke it into existence, this is what you reflect when you speak a story and create your own world that your characters live in. Don’t ever think less of it. It is magic and you are a part of it.

You need to write.  Make it happen. However you have to do so is just fine. Once a day, twice a week, whatever. Give yourself over to the Muse and reap the rewards of your discipline.
Write well my friends.

FIVE THINGS THAT MAKE A FRIDAY (ignore the fact that it is Saturday.)

1) The music on my Zune is mostly cock rock at the moment.

2) I have a snazzy new cowboy hat.

3) Smallville is over. I didn’t really watch the show, but I followed it since I am a comic book geek and I love superheroes.

4) 2,149 words on the Deacon Chalk short story which will be given away free to promote book one out from Kensington next year.

5) Watermelon is very tasty.

Pretty uneventful Friday.  Ah well.

IT’S JUST NOT THAT SIMPLE….(or traditional publishing versus self publishing)

DISCLAIMER: This is ALL to be logged under the category of IMHO and you should know up front that my books are coming out through Kensington, one of the biggest traditional publishers out there.

That being said, let’s begin.

There seem to be two mindsets that dominate this argument. One side is: “Traditional publishing sucks/is evil/is dying/is wrong/sucks and all books will be self published from now on because that is the wave of the future! OMG squeeeeeeeeee!”


“Self published books are all garbage that have to be given away because they are written by hacks who cannot make it because they have no talent, ergo the reason they are hacks, and the fact that they are self publishing proves they don’t have the talent to be a REAL writer.  Grumble, grumble, growl.”

Neither one are true especially when applied to the many-headed Hydra that is publishing.

I am traditionally published. I am new to this. So far I LOVE it. I am so absolutely happy that my book is going to go out and live on bookshelves and I will hopefully get to do all the writerly things that go with having said book loose in the wilds of Consumerville. I want to be on panels at conventions, I want to do a book tour, I want to do it all.  I have an art department, a kick ass editor, a publicity staff, and many others I don’t know about but who all pitch in to make my book as awesome as it can be.

My friends who self publish have to do all this themselves.  I do not envy them.

Now I have one particular friend who is currently self publishing. She has confided in me the amounts of her royalty checks she gets each month. They are substantial.  Not a little substantial, but extremely substantial and she makes these amounts off the backs of books that cost the consumer $2.99.  Am I jealous of her royalty checks?  Yes I am.

But here is the thing.

I have talked to her and I know she feels the pressure to continually produce content. I know how hard she has had to work on not just writing the books , but promoting the books, designing the books, editing the books. I believe she feels a weight of it all slipping away if she slacks on production of new material.

Also, her success is built on a foundation of books that were e-published in her genre by two of the biggest e-publishers out there and an immense amount of talent.  She is not the typical self published author.

I have good friends in the industry who are self publishing their backstock of out of print books to good success. I have friends who are doing one of the hybrid publishers where it is a combination of self publishing and stylized traditional publishing.  These are all meeting with varying degrees of success.

So to sum up I am with a great traditional publisher and I am very happy for it. It is exactly what I wanted. I already have one business to run completely (Family Tradition Tattoo in Marietta, Ga) I don’t need another one and I will take the help given to me by my publisher.  It will make me a more productive writer, which benefits you as the reader.