Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Opa in the river

There's been a little too much excitement around here--Opa (R's 85-year-old dad) caught two huge catfish, then fell off the dock and into the river. Luckily, the crew was working on the roof and saw it happen, and ran down to jerk him out of the water. There's an old saying that says "You can always tell an old German but you can't tell him much . . ."

The geese have been pestering the crew--They think anything with two legs and opposable thumbs should be giving them handouts.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Losing a friend . . .

It's a sad day when a friend's dog passes. Tahoe's been on my mind a lot lately, and in their honor, I'm passing along some of my favorite quotes to a girl's best friend:

The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too. ~Samuel Butler, Notebooks, 1912
From the dog's point of view, his master is an elongated and abnormally cunning dog. ~Mabel Louise Robinson

Dogs are miracles with paws. ~Attributed to Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy
The dog is the only animal that has seen his god. ~Author Unknown

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Many thanks to Jane Sevier and her kitties, Cornelia and Fang, for being such terrific hostesses. Suffice it to say that a wonderful time was had by all . . . thanks to good company, nice nosh and Katie G's dead-relative china.

In other news, the guys worked on the house all day, and Atticus was busy being a cat.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

New Member Tea

I'm heading out to the New Member Tea, one of my favorite writing events of the year. All that fresh, new enthusiasm is beautiful and contagious! Thanks to Jane Sevier for hosting the event . . .

Friday, March 27, 2009

Agent Quest: Pitch, query, and new tools to snag an agent of your own

Forget the secret decoder rings, special handshakes and the Bat Phone to the publisher—here are the tools--both new and traditional--you need to get published this year.

We're about to head into conference season, where you'll need to query, pitch and network your way into the hearts and minds of an agent or editor.
This interactive class will include brainstorming, feedback, and help with agent selection, as well as new, innovative tools to catch (and keep) attention.

The two-week, $15.00 class is limited due to the amount of feedback you'll receive, and the deadline to enroll is April 7. See you at the book stores! For more details, email kitfrazier@yahoo.com, subject header "Agent Quest."

Cauley of the Day

That which doesn't kill you makes you want to kill somebody else . . .

And in other news, the house is coming right along, despite the hail and damnation . . . here's the progress for the day . . .

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Holy Cow!

Good grief! Internet and cable are finally back up, and I'm uploading shots of hail and damage from our neck of the woods . . .


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mourning Calvin and Hobbes

Oh, Bill Watterson, where are you when we need you?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The House!

And so it begins . . . But first, Cauley of the Day (In honor of the drought-breaking rain) It's so dry the trees are bribing the dogs.

the trucks arrive, and the logs are here!

the guys are doing this all by hand . . . no cranes. And of course, we're in the middle of a drought and our first day of building and it rains . . .

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cauley of the Day and We're Finally Building!

The Cauley of the Day, in honor of the house lumber finally arriving, is "Are we ready? Does a cat have climbin' gear?"

We're going as green as we can, from downsizing (we went half the square footage than we started with) and hand-applied stain concrete foundation to using standing dead timber for the outer walls and reclaimed lumber inside (from R's Fredericksburg family homestead).
Notice the cat butt prints in the stain . . .

Too big for his britches

So, this weekend, Atticus got into it with Fuzz Ball. Silly boy attacked the young buck four times before Fuzz Ball started snorting and pawing the gound. After the fifth attack, the two silly boys were playing together. They were so fast I couldn't get a pic of Atti in flight, or Fuzz Ball on the counter-attack. Both Puss Boy and Fuzz Ball are fine, and were eating out of the same bowl 15 minutes later . . .Big fun at the Animal Farm . . .

Friday, March 20, 2009

Cauley of the Day

That guy couldn't find his own ass with a map and a flashlight . . .

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cauley of the Day

In the south, we don't ask if you've got any crazy people in your family, you ask which side they're on . . . .

A word about query letters . . .

Conference season is upon us, so it's time to think about query letters. Here's an article I wrote on the subject this summer:

Kick Butt Query Letters

A traditional query letter is a letter designed to sell you and your idea for a novel. This can be done via email or snail mail, depending on the submission requirements of your agent or editor.

Which brings us to the first step in writing a kick butt query letter: do your homework. Your agent is going to be keeping 15% of your royalties until the day he/she dies. Your research should include:
Research your agent or editor. There are a lot of resources available to authors, including the agent or publisher’s website, AgentQuery.com, Google, Publishers Marketplace, Author Representatives (
www.aar-online.org), Writers’ Digest Guide to Literary Agents and Editors and Predators (http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/) just to name a few.
Make sure they represent your genre
Who else do they represent?
Make sure they are accepting submissions and or queries
Find out how they prefer the submission
Check how long their response time is so that you can track your submissions and know when to follow up
Make sure you know which agents/editors are accepting your genre.
Make sure you know which agent or editor you’re approaching (agents and editors change houses and positions as quickly and as often as a teenage girl changes jeans)
How many deals have they made this year?
Does the agency take the standard 15% or more or less?

Once you’re comfortable with your research, get down to business. Get up a professional looking letterhead (no funky fonts or fancy colors, and for the love of Baby Jesus, don’t include pictures, confetti or anything else—if these are necessary, they can wait until your agent or editor asks for it).
Now: Down to Business
Think of a query as a back cover blurb—the blurb is designed to get the reader to buy the book. A query is designed to get the editor to buy your book.

A query letter is basically three parts including Who, What, Why and How.

Do you have a hook? If so, open with it. Your intro should get the agent wanting to read more.
The first part of the first paragraph is an introduction to you (see example below). The second part of this paragraph is why you are choosing this particular agent or editor. The third part of the first paragraph is genre and word count.
The second paragraph is the Reader’s Digest version of your book.
Make sure you include the Hero, the Heroine, and if there is an antagonist, be sure to include that character.
Be sure your internal conflict is clear
Always, always, always tell the agent or editor how the conflict is resolved
TIP: Make sure your voice shines through the query letter—if your book is funny, the query should show that humor.
The third paragraph should sell you—any creds, contest wins, publications, in other words, why you and you alone are particularly qualified to write this book.
Always close by thanking your agent for taking the time to read your query, and close by saying the subliminal “I look forward to hearing from you soon.”

TIP: Publishing is a small business. Never exaggerate, and don’t name drop unless it’s true.

That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Best of luck, and see you at the bookstore!
© Kit Frazier 2009

Sample Query Letter That Worked:

Dear Ms. Fine,

My name is Kit Frazier, and I’m currently seeking new representation. I recently finished revisions on a cross-genre thriller titled SCOOP.

The book is a fast-paced, funny 94,000-word suspense novel with a strong romantic element, a sort of Janet Evanovich meets the Ya yas. SCOOP has won numerous writing competitions including the Writers’ League of Texas and the Merritt, and it has piqued the interest of several editors, including Kate Miciak at Bantam Dell, Kim Cardesia at St. Martin’s Press and Kelly Harms at Avon.

Ms. Miciak has seen the manuscript and wrote me a letter that said she was “smitten” and that my characters were delightful. Since I’m fairly certain I’ve never smitten anyone and my mother assures me I’m rarely delightful, I thought I might be on to something.

Ms. Miciak went also requested a synopsis for the second book in the series as well as an author’s bio. Ms. Miciack also sent me a letter with helpful suggestions. After receiving that letter, I pulled the manuscript from circulation and made the revisions. The manuscript is now ready to go.

SCOOP is the story of Cauley MacKinnon, a young woman who lives in Austin, Texas

Cauley MacKinnon is a down-on-her-luck obituary writer, which, in her words, is one step up from writing classified ads. Being banished to the Death Page is what happens to interns who’ve been very good, or reporters who’ve been very bad. Somehow, Cauley’s managed to do both. And of course, being the Obituary Babe wreaks absolute havoc on her already un-social life.

I’m seeking new representation because I would like to be with an agent who shares my interest in career-building and long-term goals. I’m writing to you because Julie Kenner says you are professional and enthusiastic.

I am an award-winning writer and a professional journalist living in Austin, Texas, and am a member of organizations including the Texas Press Association, the Writers’ League of Texas and Austin Romance Writers of America. I am also certified in Search and Rescue, and a member of law enforcement groups, including the Austin Citizen’s Police Academy, factors which lend authenticity to my stories.

I appreciate your time and thank you for your consideration. I’ve enclosed the first chapter of SCOOP, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

© Kit Frazier 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cauley of the Day

A cat can have kittens in the oven but it don't make 'em biscuits . . .

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cauley of the Day

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Feature: Cauley of the Day

It's raining on the lake (four inches and counting) and the house is stalled for a while, got some really good writing done this morning and am ready for something new. Hence, Cauley of the Day.
I get a lot of mail from Cauley's little sayings (some she makes up, and some are good ol' fashioned Southern wisdom).

Since it's raining, I thought we'd start with some rain adages:

This'ns a real frog strangler

Gonna be a gully-washer
Rainin' so hard the birds are walkin' home.

Got any more? I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


So, okay. I tried the 8 to 5 thing, which didn't go as well as one would have hoped, and now I'm back at home (much to the happiness of assorted livestock), and writing my tail off. Book Three (Formerly known as "The Book That Wouldn't Die *very scary*) is going fabulously since I'm back on track, and just finished a rough draft of "Redneckedness."

It's nearly writer's conference season, so I'm about to teach an online query class (for info, email me at kitfrazier@yahoo.com) and just when I'm gearing up to be super busy, lo and behold, we're finally building! After four years, we're finally getting our log home!

Under the watchful eye of Atticus Rex, we're building as green as we can, with standing dead timber, stained concrete, a south-facing slant to catch the breezes off the lake and all kinds of neat passive solar initiatives.
Billy Jack Construction did the final leveling of the 12-feet of dirt R leveled over the past six months after the dredging (which was also done by Billy Jack and his son, Sam).
Then Tommy Metzer Concrete came in and poured, leveled and smoothed out the slab! We're going to be doing the staining ourselves, and we're almost finished! (When I say "we," I mainly mean "R" :) We've had really crappy luck with contractors in the past, but so far, so good *fingers crossed*
Now, if I could just get Attie to stop terrorizing our lizards and birds . Maybe he'll be satisfied with bullying the contractors, which mostly involves a series of surly stares from his perch on granite ledges, crouched in pounce position . . .

Barnes & Noble Round Rock Signing

Barnes & Noble Round Rock Signing
My friend Pantera with Tahoe & Me

Tahoe and a new friend at the signing