That was…

…the world’s fastest ear infection, for which I am grateful. Put your trust in drugs! Now, if the semester would just end. I’m back to getting work done at home, because there is no time at school for such frivolousness. Instead, I have a constant cavalcade of students. Which isn’t normally bad, but does make it hard to do the administrative part of my job…


But you want pimperella! Here you go!

Jeaniene Frost–One Foot in the Grave released yesterday. Paranormal romance, normally not my thing, but you know, I’m buying the second one. It’s good, and (un)dead sexy.

Melissa Marr–Ink Exchange new YA near you, set in the world of Wicked Lovely, which is eerily haunting.

Tiffany Trent–Hallowmere NOT a book release, but the series is new to me, and I’m loving it! Right now I’m reading the first one, and it’s very well written. If you like Libba Bray, you’ll like this series, and if you like faeries, girls boarding schools, witches, or historical fantasy, give it a try. Trust me. Really.

Julie Rose–more writer and music interviewsLauren Dane and Heather Domin Thanks, Julie, for giving us a unique view into the creative process.


Um…so. The plan tonight is to go buy some books, and then to work on the Portus YA Reading Series Vetting group. (If time allows. The Man (TM) tells me he wants to buy a garden hose, and I want to go buy some books. But yeah. I’ll be doing a joint professorial/writerly thing tonight. Then, if there’s any time left, it’s back to Azazello’s Cream

Off to support my fellow faculty at this year’s Endowed Chairs soiree (can we have a soiree in the afternoon? I’m not sure we can…), and to be introduced as one of next year’s chairs.


Stats from the Query Wars

This week, Substance out to

Elizabeth Harding of Curtis Brown
Jane Dystel of Dystel and Goderich
Jennifer Flannery of Flannery
Melissa Chinchillo of Fletcher and Parry
Jennifer Weltz of Jean V. Naggar

Stats for Substance so far:

22 Unknown Out There
4 Partial Requests
1 Full Request
6 Closed/No Response
57 Rejections
28 Future Prospects

I really, really like Query Tracker. I really like keeping track of the numbers. It also looks like I have about one and a half months left before I run out of agents to query. Probably about the end of June, given that I’ll be heading off to Japan in that time span.

I guess that means I’m ready to start hearing from those of you who have submitted manuscripts without agents. Where should I go to get more information on this? Teach me, for I am eager to learn!


Master and Margarita-ing

Since I am writing about Master and Margarita, I can say that idle hands are the devil’s handiwork. Or Woland’s. Or whatever.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
4,074 / 6,000

I’ve really focused in on my angle today. I’ll be analyzing this work from a feminist perspective, but what I’ll be trying to focus on is whether Margarita’s liberation as a witch while serving Woland is a journey of self-discovery, or whether she’s being placed on a pedestal in a medieval way. Both theories have been advanced about the novel.

I’m going to talk about Margarita from a second-wave feminist perspective–shedding her prosperous but loveless middle class marriage to choose the Master, his art, and poverty. Yet, there are some third-wave comments that can be made. Is she really in love with the master, or his art? What is truly her agenda in serving Woland’s purpose? Why are she and the Master taken away from the reality of Moscow at the end of the novel and “saved” while being denied “salvation?” Is she in control of her own destiny? Is her inherent difference (difference feminism *is* an interesting idea) what is being noticed by the others in the novel?

Lots of good questions now that I’ve done some munging about in the shallows of feminism, to try to think about how to interpret the story. Women in Russia REALLY like this story. It speaks to them. Hrm.

Probably won’t weigh in until later tomorrow, if then. Have to register many students for summer and fall.


Reading Group Meets

Last night our reading group met to get organized. We had lots of good suggestions for books, some I knew, and some I didn’t, but I’m looking forward to reading. We have a good mix of well-known and newer writers. We’re going to try to get some writers in to talk about their work as well. Except Bulgakov. He’s dead. And Stephen King. He’s too expensive.

At any rate, our first book will be The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon. I read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and it remains one of my favorite books, so I’m pretty excited about this.

The surprise selection of the night? The choice of Happy Hour of the Damned by someone NOT me. Go get ’em, Mark Henry.


Rejected by Kate Scherler today. Just for the record. I’ve got to start on that paper, and then get on some travel planning. Ciao.


Onslaught, Clothes, Rejections, Communism

My week of constant inundation continues. I arrived on campus after today’s Russian lesson at 10:45, and just now students and phone calls have stopped. It’s 11:30.

I feel like I am honey, and they are bees. It’s usually intense at this time of the semester, but this is SUPER intense. There are things I need to be doing, people! Like checking grammar tests and vetting YA readings…

*deep breath*

I’ll catch up. I always do.


BUT you need to know that Alaina Grayson and Marcia Amsterdam have rejected me.

AND that I found my clothing for Wiscon. Yay!


So, this weekend, we start Azazello’s Cream: Feminism in Master and Margarita. Be there, or support the Communist party! No, really!

Have great weekends. If you’re in Iowa, stay dry and out of the path of raging water.


Gossamer and Viridian Scene

Wow. It’s been busy. Students everywhere!

But I can at least post this!


Kelly tossed the apple to Jane, who fumbled it. The apple rebounded off her hands, bumped her nose and glasses, and rolled down her to the ground. Jane crouched, squinting. She couldn’t locate it among the rotting apples that dotted the ground. “Nice aim,” said Jane.

“That was you,” said Kelly.

Jane’s tongue tipped pink between her lips. “S’okay,” she lisped. “Looks like rain. I’m outta here.”

Kelly stopped listening. Rhythm nibbled in the back of her mind, a marching, most likely the scraping of upper branches. The sun, clouds skirmishing across it, kissed the horizon. Breeze tickled her ears and caressed her hair. “Yeah,” said Kelly, absently, “bye.” Jane was gone.

She lolled in the low fork of the apple tree for a long time. Rain birds twittered in the twilight. She watched the branches sway above her. At the edge of town, the water tower reflected silvery violet and the Presbyterian church spire glowed rose. She yawned lazily, and stood, just avoiding a rotten apple that had burst, brown and sticky. She crossed the shaggy grass to the farm house.

The world lavendered as Kelly ran her fingers around the grooves of the iron porch railing. Rectangles glowed softly in the gray. Framed by windows, Magdalene was silhouetted in the light of the living room. Grant would come back from work soon, probably with pizza and a movie. Kelly plopped down on the chipped concrete steps of the porch and watched the sky.

The rhythm became slow and steady. Not the branches if it was here. Kelly focused herself on it. A moment flashed like a camera. She saw a mob come out of horizon. They were misshapen creatures who disappeared with the next flash. Her nerves stretched. “Magdalene?” she said softly.

The night air cooled and she shivered. This time the world flashed with lightening, and this time she saw an army: horses, footmen, banners. Boney creatures mixed with squat ones. Armor that shined in the dark like it was illumined by bright foot lamps. “Magdalene?” she said hoarsely. A rumble of thunder, gravelly like her voice, echoed back. The army remained in spite of another lightning bolt, clunking toward the house, toward her. Something shattered inside.

Continue reading “Gossamer and Viridian Scene”

Queries and Rejections

It’s been a busy day. There’s been a lot of students, a hair appointment, and a funeral. The story excerpt will go up as soon as it can.

Today’s rejections:

Charlotte Sheedy of Sterling Lord Literistic
Sheldon Fogelman of Sheldon Fogelman

Today’s Queries:

Carmen La Via of Fifi Oscard
Diana Fox of Fox Literary
Sarah Yake of Frances Collins
Alaina Grayson of Halyard Literary

And it seems that Peter Rubie of FinePrint’s mailbox is too full. Bouncing!

Tomorrow, then.


Revision of Gossamer and Viridian

Fresh from the world of drinking, eating, and academic schmoozing. Boy, am I ready to return home and start minding my weight! To the credit of the conference, today was salad and fruit for lunch and afternoon snackage. That never happens.

Letting you know that I have revised the Gossamer and Viridian scene tonight instead of indulging in Shakespeare. Aren’t I a good little writer? I’ll give it one more proofread, and then I’ll be happy to share it with you by putting it up on the site in the excerpts section, most likely early this coming week.

My next prep is getting packed for Demicon the first weekend in May. I will also gather my Wiscon materials and finalize travel arrangements there. And, alas, it’s back to academic research. One night of fiction is not enough!

By the way, the scene I just revised really sucked. No one told me. *sniff* It’s better now. Better vocabulary. Who let me get away with “pinky-purple?” I ask you!

I hope the words flow freely.