-you want to increase your daily word count
-you want to double your daily word count
-you want a formula for success
-you want to write 10k/day
-you want to write more efficiently
-you want to eliminate crap scenes from your writing
-you love inspirational blog posts


-you love art
-you love to combine images with the ideas and characters of your novel
-you need a new and creative blog post idea
-you love matching actors' faces with your characters' faces
-beautiful images are your muse
-you are creative
-you wish you were creative
-you love the idea of creating a collage that represents your writing


-so go to these sites, order and have the gifts sent right to their doorstep so their parents can wrap them for you!

melissa and doug puppet theater (go ahead, spoil them rotten!)

melissa and doug floor puzzles (beginner, intermediate, and a little more challenging)

alex toys (bath toys, art toys, educational toys, etc)


-okay, so another shameless plug for my father-in-law's cheese store:  Springside Cheese--family owned, Wisconsin-made cheese!


Best cheese EVER.  REALLY.  I KID YOU NOT!  Squeakiest, freshest CHEESE CURDS! 


and...just for no reason at all.  i leave you with this.


Sorry, I got distracted

The latest Black Friday sale resulted in my husband getting the 3rd season of Sons of Anarchy for really, really cheap. And letting me watch it.

So blame them. Black Friday. Whoever that may be. Or look at this. He's to blame for me not being able to blog. Never mind. Just look at this:

Holy crap. I mean, really.

Kill me now. I'll still be happy.

 I just died. Good bye, cruel world.

It's good I'm dead. I won't know what I'm missing.


I was wondering....

When you are critiquing someone's writing, and you tell them it's well written, what, exactly, are you saying?  What facet of that person's writing are you referring to?  Or does your "well written" comment vary from writer to writer?  Do you sometimes mean its grammatically well written and other times think the voice is right on?  Can you tell they did a sound -ly search and omitted all extraneous adverbs and adjectives?  Are the sentences clear and concise?

What does well written mean to you?

(And for those of you with hyphen issues, like me, I had to look this up.

This book is well written. (The compound modifier comes after the noun, so no hyphen.)

This is a well-written book. (The compound modifier comes before the noun, so it gets a hyphen.

Hyphenate the elements of a compound modifier only if that modifier precedes the noun.       

Article Source:


Happy Thanksgiving!

Taking a little break to enjoy family, go shopping, do some writing, and eat some turkey. Happy Thanksgiving to all our fellow-United-Statesians. (ha) And happy weekend to everyone else!

all turkey phots courtesy of photobucket

Oh yeah, I almost forgot! Go Pack Go!!!!


don't forget to get your title critiqued

I didn't nest at the end of my first two pregnancies.  I think I'm making up for it this time around.  Yes, I have triple nesting syndrome.  And let me tell you trying to scrub and scour, especially those hard to reach places that I haven't cleaned in way too long for me to mention here, is not only exhausting but extremely difficult with this HUGE, and by huge I mean GINOROMOUS stomach.  In the past two days the baby must have doubled in size. I'm NOT exaggerating.  No kidding. 

I am being induced on December 21.  Unless he decides to come earlier than that.  He'll be 39 weeks that day.  I'm not placing any bets that he'll come earlier.

Feel free to.

And there is no way to tie that info to writing.  So I'm just going to switch topics now.

We've covered TITLES on this blog before because we were surprised to learn over the summer (@ WOC and I believe through a query contest @ Mother. Write. Repeat with agent Sara LaPolla) that TITLES MATTER.  We always figured they'll be changed later so why spend a heck of a lot of time sweating over the title.

BUT if our last post on how titles matter didn't convince you, maybe this post (by agent Suzie Townsend ) will.  See it here.  (And yes, apparently she requested 37 manuscripts from her last query contest.  Mine was not one of them.  Remember?  YA contemporary is too hard to sell right now.  (Especially mine because it does not stand out in a crowd.  *sniff*)

Personally, I love choosing my title.  Unfortunately, once I choose one (usually before I begin writing or shortly after getting going), and it stays the same.  I grow attached. 

I figure the best thing to do is choose a fitting title it when the novel is all said and done, but since when do I listen to my own advice? 

I've recently started hanging out and posting stuff at Query Tracker (Did you know they had forums there?  I didn't.  They're nice and very helpful.)  Besides just critiquing my query, one person commented on my title and why it didn't work for them.  Nobody has ever commented on my title before, so it was a bit of an eye opener for me.  It made me realize that people will have an opinion on it and it may determine whether or not they choose to read/crit my stuff.

The same goes for agents.

So, put a little extra thought into how your title represents AND SELLS your manuscript!


Your First Time

Remember your first?

It doesn't matter what "first" you thought of when you read that question - obviously you remembered it. First contest, first trophy, first crush, first kiss, first - um, we'll stop there.

It's deer hunting season in WI (and if you are totally opposed to hunting, still feel free to read on and comment - and also read my note below). This morning, (it's Sunday and I'm hoping for the best with the darn Blogger scheduling system THAT USED TO WORK AND NOW NEVER DOES) my son took his first shots at a deer (he did shoot a turkey last spring).  The adrenalin hit and his arms and legs started twitching and his mouth wouldn't stop smiling and his fingers wouldn't stop pulling the trigger.

Seven shots. Zero hits.

First times are awkward and uncomfortable and absolutely the most exciting moments of your life (so far).

Now, to apply that to writing (you knew I would). Think of your first story. Your first 20,000 word completion. Your first *gulp* draft of a full ms. Your first *double gulp* beta. Full edit.


Exciting? Hell yes.

Now use that energy and get out there. Again and again and again. Someday, your arms might stop twitching and your smile might fade - but that's when it can happen. Don't lose hope. Sometimes, your next deer big opportunity is hiding just behind what appears to be a closed door.

And don't be afraid to twitch a little. :)

note: I understand the theories behind not being supportive of hunting. I myself do not hunt, although I married into a hunting family and have relatives of my own that do. I also live on a farm and we practice good management. We also eat the meat harvested and if there's extra, donate it to families in need. These are all good things. Trust me.

note #2: my son is 10 years old. To learn more about the WI mentoring system that allows 10-year-olds to hunt, please click here. I was not completely supportive of this at first. But for my family, it's working. As usual with new regulations, your mileage may vary. :)


one of the reasons i suck at writing queries

Um...and querying.  Yup, it's me, Christy with her one-track mind.  (Not that kind of one-track mind....get yours out of the gutter.  I'm almost nine months pregnant, which means huge and uncomfortable.  Jeesh.)

query, query, query.  if you're sick of this topic, sorry (BUT, there's a chance i'll switch topics at some point in this post.  i may have a one-track mind, but it's also hard to stay focused on any one thing for too, too long these days.)

one of the reasons i suck at querying is...

 i still have no confidence when it comes to writing one. 

so, i love every single version i create...until it gets a critique or a rewrite. 

then, i'm like, oh, yeah, you're so right. ack, it's ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE!  i SO see what's wrong with it now!!!!  (i was like so blind before!)

(trash it.)  (rewrite it.)  (send it out to people who may or may not be sick of seeing the 167th version of shelby's query)

another critique comes in.  this time a rewrite by a stranger on a forum! (fresh eyes. yes!)  ooooh, this version is GREAT!  why couldn't i put it like that!  (i use the rewrite in its entirety.)  was it even in my MC's voice?  probably not.  who knows, really.  i lose shelby's voice sometimes when i'm in the midst of query drafting. 

(to be totally honest, i lose a bit of my MIND when query drafting!) 

(do you wonder why i punctuate even though i don't capitalize?---see, that's me getting off-track.)  shh, don't tell christy I added this - but why does she capitalize WORDS when she doesn't capitalize letters? these are things I want to know. er - erica

(am i even supposed to hyphenate one-track and off-track?) 

and that's my signal to sign off for this post.

more query talk writing posts pregnancy updates crazy blabbering to come from me next week

i bet you can't wait!!!

Oh, and anyone else having trouble with Blogger? We schedule our posts and they're not going up on time. Which accounts for us posting on random days and times. >:(


Sophomore Status and a Snippet

I wrote my first completed ms in about 4 months, most of it longhand, before I got my laptop - while raising two kids and working full time. Sure, it took awhile to edit, but the idea was there, the desire was there, and I did it. Did I mention that I decided to write a book about 2 days before I started? Don't hate me. (I mean really, it isn't published yet. or even agented).

But you know what? Writing that second book is hard. I got half done with one, trashed it, started over, and got about a quarter through again. Then I started another one. And another. And, now, another.

So, well, here's a snippet of my newest. It's about a girl whose entire life changed when her older sister had something tragic happen (how's that for cryptic?). But it does go back to my 17-year-old girl voice, which I absolutely love. (and this is totally first draft. no editing or critquing necessary! God knows in 2 years when I finally decide I'm done, this part will no longer exist. ;) (and to continue the parentheses - wow I love this book) (and, oh, the mc's name is Sydney, aka Syd):

(the mc's sister, Devlyn, is a writer. yes, original, I know *shrugs shoulders* *smiles sheepishly* *wants to tell you Dev's also a really great painter, but feels weird now*):

I sat next to my big sister.

"Can I read it?"

"If you want to. I told Elizabeth I'd send it to her tonight if I could get it finished on time. Can you dye my hair later? This one's all faded."

"Sure, what color did you get?" Devlyn was crazy about her hair. She'd been every color of the rainbow, including this one phase where she made me streak it like a rainbow.

"There's a box in the bathroom. You can pick one if you want."

Mom glanced at the bathroom door and back at me. I shrugged an apology. Five years ago, when Dev lay on the bathroom floor, bloody and pukey and dying, my parents flipped out. Called 9-1-1 and then ran around crying and screaming. When I saw her, I hugged her and told her I loved her and didn't want her to ever leave me.

Now, I did the same thing every Monday.

"I wrote this poem about a girl with cancer. I read about her on the internet. She went through so much pain, yet had the best outlook on life ever. She deserved a poem about her, right?"

"Definitely. Read it to me when I get back," I said, walking out to get the box out of the hall bathroom we shared. Mom followed.

"What'd you do to make her mad this time?"

"She's hiding something, Syd. She was putting something in her closet when I walked in."

"Who cares? She's twenty years old and hardly ever goes anywhere or does anything. All her friends live inside her computer. Maybe she painted a picture of a guy or something. Let her have a little secret."

"Dr. Waverly says -"

"Dr. Waverly is paid to tell us to watch every little thing. That doesn't mean we have to freak out whenever one of them happens. Besides, she said she's sending a new poem to Elizabeth tonight. That's a good sign."

"There's a reading on Saturday that they're getting ready for."

"Even better. Dev's good when she's working. Plus, she wants to dye her hair again, so that's good. The green's been making me nauseous."

(ha, and you wondered why I made it such a weird color)

Any tips on finishing the second? Leave 'em below!!


DID YOU SEE IT YET? (and querying)

While many are getting ready to see Breaking Dawn (part one), there's another movie you may be psyched to check out this upcoming spring. And now you can see more of it than you ever have before.

The trailer for THE HUNGER GAMES is out. And we have it for you. Right here.

They're all I think about lately. They're all I talk about. All the sites I link you to have to do with QUERYING.

While there's plenty out there telling us how to formulate those important paragraphs sharing our hook, characters, stakes, plot points, etc,.... what do we do with those "other" paragraphs? The ones that go before/after the paragraphs we sweat, bleed and cry over?

The personalization, novel info and bio paras? Hmmmm?

You don't want to make them too long. You don't want to add any irrelevant information. You shouldn't personalize it just for the sake of personalizing it. Meaning: don't just type out meaningless crap that you took only seconds to research. Take it from (click link) Mary Kole,  "Just like with citing comparative titles, if you’re not going to do it well, don’t do it at all."

You don't want to comp titles/authors that are too well known.  You don't want to use books published too long ago.

You don't want to include information about yourself that doesn't pertain to your novel, yet you want to give the agent a sense of who you are.

Many times there is a lot of conflicting advice floating around on agency websites, in agent interviews and on agent blogs, and in feedback from various agents.

What's a writer to do?

I think for us newbies, the best bet is to keep it short and simple.

DO personalize.  BE specific.  Tell the agent about a specific conference you attended with them and quote them.  Tell them something they said that you connected with or felt was brilliant.  Mention a specific blog post they wrote and how it helped you.  Mention something they said in a specific interview.  How did that comment/information lead you to believe you and the agent would be a perfect fit?

DO share  about your education/studies in one sentence.  DO share any published work you have, but INCLUDE the publisher, the date, the specific information.

DO state your novel's title, word count, genre, and intended audience.

DO comp your novel to others IF you can be specific.  Does your novel match another author's voice? (Make sure it shows if you've included pages.) Does your MC have the same spunk as so and so's MC?  Is there a conflict in your novel that matches the conflict in a published novel?  Does the romanctic tension in your novel mirror that of a published novel?  Does your world-building compare to another author's fantasy world?

HOWEVER.  If comparing your novel to others out there, make sure your query shows how it will stand out next to all the novels already out there that have similarities.  Otherwise, you know, it's like...yeah, been there, done that.  Already published!

What's your advice to me on how to handle the beginning and end of my  query?  Where do you tend to put the novel information, at the beginning or the end?  Why?


Got Football?

It's been a pretty darn good year for Wisconsin sports. Although I won't lie, the fact that the Cardinals took the World Series is killing me stings a bit. BUT the Packers are right back where they finished last season - winning games and taking names. What are you doing tonight? How about a little football???

There are so many great plays in this, but I LOVE Clay Matthews at about 1:33

But who can watch football without snacks? And since we're watching Wisconsin vs. Minnesota, there HAS to be cheese involved. (I recommend deep fried cheese curds whenever you can get them, but since I've never made them, let's go with this) (then again, yesterday at a salad bar, I topped a piece of french bread with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and bacon bits, so obviously I'm not picky about my snacks) Enjoy!

Super Easy Quesadillas
4 soft-shell tortillas (either spray with cooking spray or brushed with melted butter)
1/2 cup salsa
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or a cheddar/jack mix or for the adventurous, pepper jack
jalapeno slices (optional)
1/2 cup shredded chicken or smoked turkey (optional but highly recommended)

Place 2 tortillas side-by-side on cookie sheet. Top each with remaining ingredients and put another tortilla on top of each. Broil in oven, 5-6 inches from the heat for 3 minutes per side until golden brown and nice and cheesy. (I think you could also bake at 350 for 15 minutes, but haven't tried it) Provide salsa and sour cream for dipping.

OH and I can't forget - if you need Christmas presents for people you love, give cheese. Yes, cheese. Christy's inlaws can totally hook you up. Go here and try not to drool: Springside Cheese


I am Not Normal

I spent the past five days in Vegas. Okay, 2 days in airports/airplanes and approximately the past 4.12 days in Vegas. Whatever.

I found out there that I am not normal.


I like to gamble (okay, that's not weird there). High stakes (you know, two dollars at a time). Without my husband. By myself. Alone.

Want to know what one guy said to me at the poker table after several hands that I won? If not, stop reading now. ;)  'Cuz I was kinda' proud.

Him: "Oh, you know how to speak?"
Me: "Why?"
Him: "You walked in here like you owned the place. Nice to know you can talk."

Thank you, writer friends. You helped me win at poker. Because, yeah, I can talk. But sometimes it's better to let the voices tell you things you never knew before...

Now forgive me. I played Texas Hold-Em for many, many hours this week. Including until 4:30 Tuesday morning, which left me with 3 hours of sleep before our flight back.

I'm sure my teaching skills were spot-on today. Yep. I'm sure.

Converse amongst yourselves. I'm taking a nap.



You're all always so helpful to us.  You give us advice.  You visit us.  You say nice things.  We <3 you completely.

Here are some FREE links to help you with all many some of your writing wants needs.  We do what we can to keep you coming around. 

Sorry. Did you think we were giving away free books?  Maybe soon.  Maybe sooooon.

Check out this post @ BookEnds, LLC:  SUBMISSIONS 101

Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire has done one for you:  THE SATURDAY SLASH

Cassandra Clare links to some helpful information on writing, creating characters, building fantasy worlds, plot, dialogue, and getting published.  GO HERE.

From a helpful agent/author chat @ Mother.  Write.  (Repeat).  HERE.
Here's a teaser. I found this advice particularly helpful:  "That said, once you’re ready, I recommend drafting a concise query that doesn’t summarize the plot in step-by-step fashion but instead moves us through your story’s major movements and gives us a sense for how your characters arc. It’s so important, I think, to highlight in a query an emotional throughline for your story or protagonist--really, I don’t see enough queries that do. It’s the emotional arc (that runs alongside your story arc) that hooks me in a query, and which makes me want to read the book."--Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary


Do you like to give advice?

Last spring erica and I met at a writing conference in Madison, WI.  While we were there, we pitched our completed novels to several agents, each of whom requested pages.  So far, none have panned out in offers of rep, although erica recently recieved a full request from one.  :0) 

One of the agents who was supposed to attend the conference had been unable to due to an illness or family emergency.  Later, she was still unable to take our pitches via email, so the writer's institute had another agent take the email pitches in her place.

I'd forgotten all about those submissions until yesterday when the agent emailed me. She said she appreciated my pitch and my patience.  She ended the short email message by saying she'd love to take a look at the first 50 pages of my manuscript. 

I'm sure she's taking the pages to be polite, so it'll make it easier for me not to send them.  (Keep in mind she does not (according to her agency's site) represent YA...which is what all of my manuscripts are.  And I was clear about that in my pitch and brief description that I sent her.) However, I need some advice. 

The reason I'm not sending the pages is because since pitching that particular novel  (You may remember the one--Solstice.), I put it in a drawer--where it belongs.  This past summer (after spending a year or so writing, rewriting and rewriting it again), I decided that since it was my very first novel ever, it just wasn't going to be good enough, marketable enough, publishable enough.  Plus, after my final rewriting, I left it with about three plot holes, and when I decided to put it in the drawer, I just left those plot holes laying there (lying there?) without filling them in.


I have since decided to make it (Solstice--(no longer the title btw)) a family saga.  Only now I've begun my newest manuscript two generations before the "Solstice generation" (with the "backstory" of Solstice).  What was Solstice will be a brand new  ms (with the same general characters and plot) and will take place 60 some years in the future--the book after the one I'm currently writing.  (You know, if all goes well with this one.)  Anyways, I'm only 30 pages into my WIP (entitled HIDDEN CHARMS). 

Do I tell the agent all of this?  (You know, it'd be a shame to put to waste the chance to put 50 pages of my writing in an agent's hands....)  (There's always the spin that she may be reading it in case another agent at her agency would like it.  There are several who rep YA at her agency.)

I could offer to send 50 pages of my YA Contemporary that I'm about to query now.

Or should I simply tell her I apprecieate her response, but that I I decided to table that novel to work on another one?

I'd love to know what you advise I do.


While I'm laying all my tales out there for you.  Last week, Suzie Towsend held a query contest.  She agreed to respond to queries (if sent between 9 and 10 on Tuesday morning) via email with her honest thoughts.  I'll admit, I'd hoped for more of a critique of FIXING SHELBY's query than anything else.  I hadn't really looked at it like I was submitting it to her as much as I just wanted to get an agent's view of my query.  Dumb of me, I know.  Obviously I should have considered it a submission.  I mean, I personlized it for her and everything, but I wanted to know what she thought of the writing in the query, the hook, the paragraphs, the layout, the information, etc.  Instead, I got this:

So the news. I'm going to pass on FIXING SHELBY.

The main reason--contemporary YA is a really tough market right now. There have been a lot of them and books that are paranormal are selling better. Nothing about this one seems to say that it would stand out in an overcrowded genre.

Good luck with your submissions.

So that leaves me wondering if I need to change my query, my novel, or both. And, well, take that confession and do with it whatever you want. I'll think on it for a while. But you should know, I really, really hate query writing!


(I miss erica who's still in Vegas.  And now my husband has joined her there.  So I miss him too.  Well, he hasn't joined her there, but he is also in Vegas, for work.  For the whole week.  Just me.  8 months pregnant.  Me and two little boys.  And a dog who takes trips around the neighborhood every time I let him out. (Naughty, naughty boy.)  So, what I'm asking for is this:  Wish me luck!)


Where will you be tonight?

Vegas, baby. That's all I have to say. Well, that and a few more things. Because I'm erica and I talk a lot.

Las Vegas. Friday through Tuesday. Poker tournaments (Texas Hold'Em.) I'm good at them, so if you're at Binion's at 11:00 PST on Saturday, I'm the tall brunette who talks a lot.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Except this: WTH Las Vegas? 80 degrees on Tuesday and 55 on Friday? No fair. I could stay in Wisconsin if I wanted 50-degree weather.

But yeah, I won't. Have a great weekend, folks! See ya' next week!


why i should listen when erica speaks

erica told me that there's something for everyone in baseball.

i should have listened!

and i should have watched the world series!!!!  because then i wouldn't have missed one of my faves (See below).

(well, technically, now i didn't miss him because i obviously found the footage online.  and not only did i get to watch it, but i'm sharing it with you luckies!)

here he is for you.  chris daughtry.  (yes, he's his own sentence.)

and if that didn't do it for you...


Twitterview with Sarah Darer Littman, author of Want To Go Private? a contemporary novel for young adults that was published this past August.  (P.S. There's a giveaway at the end!  Win a signed copy of her book!)

Cheryl Reif Writes:  How to Write When You Aren't In The Mood (especially for those of you with a daily word count goal!!!)

Nathan Bransford's How to Start Writing a Novel (My fave part of this post are his links to:  How to Make Sure You Have a Plot and What Makes a Good Voice)

Did you know?  Suzie Townsend moved!  Here she is at her new home--Nancy Coffey Lit Agency (oh, and she's accepting queries again!)

Checking out Maureen Johnson's Web site and titles since a new agent mentioned(in an interview) her books when stating she is looking for sweet contemporary ya projects.  I can always add more contemp ya to my TBR list!!!! 

OH!  And here's the above mentioned interview (@motherwriterepeat) and agent:  Hannah Bowman with Liza Dawson Associates! 

The Sharp Angle:  Starting a Trek Up a New Mountain (advice on starting a brand new novel).  This blog is worth a look, not only for this post but all before it and after it!)

have a great thursday!  (personally, i'm looking fwd to friday.  i have parent/teacher conferences again tonight.  i'm used to putting in a five hour day, but today is over 12.  blech.)

(who am i kidding?  i just want it to be saturday.  that's writing day, right?)


Some Query Help

Anybody out there querying? With tons of crazies people busy Nano-ing and agents and publishing houses getting ready for the holiday-season-slow-down, it could be a good time. Maybe. I don't know - just do it when you're ready. ;)

ANYWAY - I (erica) won a contest and got an agent critique on my query letter. I didn't ask permission to post it and can't think of anything else to blog about just got it today, but there are some general pointers I'd like to share.

First - this is my completed ms that I've queried and revised and now sent out a few more queries on. I have lots of different versions and have had fair success on partial requests along with a couple of fulls. You know the whole "query widely" idea that gets lots of talented authors their agents? Yeah, I believe that in theory. In reality, I can do about 3 rejections at a time. Hey, I'm a busy girl. :)

SO - here's what I sent (it wasn't my very latest version, but close). I'll redline some of the (paraphrased) advice I got. Hopefully she doesn't mind if I share her name - the agent who did my critique was Molly Jaffa from Folio Literary and while the following are some of her ideas, the words (even the redlines) are mine. Do with them what you will:

The last thing Kenz Grayson wants to do is switch high schools right before her senior year. Especially if it means going back to the town where she buried her family secrets (along with her father) seven years before. Unfortunately, that's exactly what her mom's making her do. Why oh why is she making her do it? Be more specific, erica! With little hope for the year ahead, she goes, and watches another chapter of her life close behind her. yeah, duh, we already know that. cut this sentence.

Things change when Kenz meets Lincoln James. Even after she's warned that he's a total serial dater, she finds him irresistible. Why? Pretty much every YA romance has an irresistible guy in it. How is mine different? It doesn't take long before they're not only dating, but almost inseparable. Except that's when Kenz starts noticing just how many things are blocking her way to becoming happy again. Then again, with a car accident that almost kills her mom, a sexual abuse allegation against Lincoln, and the truth behind a super-secret surgery in his past--she has a lot to worry about. She didn't like my list. Some of this should maybe go in the beginning as the hook.

Kenz is well known for choosing flight over fight. This isn't evident in the rest of the query, so why bring it up now? I need to explain it better at the beginning before throwing this is there. This time, she's determined to take a stand, even if it's against herself. While I love this line, I'm getting that other people don't know what it means. Be more specific.

A NEW DAY is a YA contemporary romance, complete at 64,000 words. It will appeal to readers who also enjoy books such as The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen and The Book of Luke by Jenny O'Connell. Okay, so this shows where my book would be shelved, but it was pointed out that these books are a few years old and I should bring up some newer ones in my comps. *sigh* *I love these books*

Note: She said that my query could go a long way with some agents simply because it was well-researched. So remember, just like in elementary school - neatness counts. Use paragraphs, vary your sentence lengths, use comparable titles, and personalize it to the agent your sending to. Good luck everyone! And don't get sick from all the candy!!