The Write Calling

Is writing your true calling? Here you'll find encouragements for writers, book reviews, publishing industry insider tips, and market news. Read musings on writing and publishing by Katey Coffing, Ph.D.: Life Coach for Women Writers.

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Location: Colorado, United States

Published fiction and nonfiction author who embraces her creativity and coaches other women to do the same. For information and prices, visit

Sunday, August 27, 2006

About that cover art...

Irene Gallo, Art Director for publisher Tor/Forge, has an interesting post about how cover art is created. And the comments mention some bloopers. :)

And let's not forget the famous three-armed lady cover on Christina Dodd's Castles in the Air.

A New (to Me) Agent Blog

Music I'm listening to: The Hipdrop station (belly dance music) on Live365

I just ran across another agent blog, this one from Rachel Vater of Lowenstein-Yost. Check it out.

On blogging issues, the FeedBlitz feed reader has become my friend. I tried Squeet for a while, but given the number of blogs I subscribe to (and I'm not able to tackle reading the feeds every day), my email inbox slid into serious overload. I have been able to bring my inbox from 300+ messages after RWA National to 60-something, and with luck that number will continue to shrink.

On personal news, I spent 10+ hours yesterday revising a single scene. Ugh. But worth it!

Alas, our 15-year-old sick kitty—who may or may not have lymphoma (pathology reports have been inconclusive) has lost even more weight. At her heaviest, she was 16 pounds (and too fat to give herself a proper bath). A good, healthy weight for her is around 10 pounds.

She's 6.2 pounds now. And has lost half a pound in three weeks. We've tried all sorts of things to tempt her appetite—kitty treats, new cat foods, sliced ham, chicken, even ice cream. She'll happily eat the new food for a couple of days, then it's as if she stops liking it. It might be nausea—she's throwing up about once a day, though she's always yakked up a lot. She may be associating the food with the stomach troubles. (Oh joy.) It's hard to know if the chemo drugs she's getting are only making things worse. The good thing is that at her last checkup after chemo began, the mass did not seem to have grown. The bad thing is that at this rate, she'll be dead of anorexia soon.

I can't even think about that without choking up. This cat is essentially my furry child. 15 years. I've only known my parents and a couple of friends for longer than that.

Please send her healing thoughts.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

What Does That Rejection Letter Mean?

Music I'm listening to: Silence. Okay, the whirr of my computer and the tick of my "Hero's Journey" clock.

Former NYC editor Louisa Edwards is asking authors to send some rejection letters so she can translate the editor-speak and help writers understand the nuances. Check her blog for more.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

More Submission Tidbits

Music I'm listening to: Desert Oak from Laliya. This is fabulous. I heard it on The Smiling Ear and just had to own it. Check Laliya out at their website, where you can listen and download.

Two more useful posts:

Agent Kristin Nelson on a particular query letter that worked for her and why.

Agent Jessica at BookEnds writes on why to include the first three chapters in your requested submission. This should go without saying for novel partials, but it's true even for nonfiction, folks.

Submission Tidbits Time

Music I'm listening to: Sweet Lullaby by Deep Forest, on The Smiling Ear at

A new week is upon us (yes, I'm aware that it's Tuesday), and I feel like rounding up more useful articles and links.

A Kossack's Guide to Book Publishing is a seven-part (so far) crash course from a multi-pubbed author and former NYC editor and book packager. I have a couple of very minor quibbles with bits of it—for example, if you're sending book chapters to an agent or editor and don't have an offer yet, I suggest you don't include your SSN. They'll get that from you if they take you on. (Short stories, though, can be a different animal.) Anyway, this is a good article series for newbies, and has important gems for the more initiated, too.

Editor and blogger Anna Genoese (who's a hoot—I met her in the bar at RWA National in Denver or NYC eons ago, and sat in on Tor Spotlight she and the hilarious Melissa Ann Singer did at this year's National.) Anyway, Anna has an excellent post dissecting rejection letter wordings. Be sure to delve into the links to get all the goodies.

Speaking of goodies and rejection letters, this Slushkiller post from Teresa Nielsen Hayden is fabulous. As writers, we all think a rejection letter (and I prefer to call them declines) is the end of the world, at least for an hour or two—but do make sure you don't act like the poor sods mentioned here. The world does go on. Really.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

What it takes to finish a book

Music I'm listening to: Okay, you caught me, it's another Star Trek: The Next Generation episode. I can get five hour-long episodes a day on our local cable provider. (grin)

Ah, I've been putting off blogging. Shame on me. The good thing—well, for me, anyway—is that's I've been so busy thinking about, plotting, and writing my latest manuscript (still revved up from RWA National) that my hubby has had to pry my plotting notebook out of my hands (even on vacation).

Here's a great little post I just found on "How to Finish a Book: Guaranteed!".

Friday, August 04, 2006

Rejection from an agents' POV

I know I still owe you more info about RWA National, but in the meantime, my agent has this to say about what she goes through with rejections.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Romance Writers of America National Conference, Part I

Music I'm listening to: The Sun Always Shines on TV from a-ha

First, I'm happy to report that America Airlines has returned my final suitcase, after it spent two days at O'Hare without me. Huzzah!

Now then: NATIONAL.

Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous.

I traveled there on Tuesday, which took most of the day because of a stopover and the time change from the West Coast. My mom had driven up from Florida to meet me there and do her own thing in Atlanta, so we stayed with one of her friends that night. (Hi Mom!)

Travel always does me in, so I didn't wake up until around 9 a.m. Wednesday morning. I checked my email and was delighted to see a great message from my agent about the partials I'd sent her. She had some terrific ideas, and I got to mull them over at the conference, which is always a creative time.

Mom drove me to the hotel, and the first stop was—if you know my fast food habits, you've guessed this already—Chick-Fil-A. OMG, yum. I'd been drooling over the thought of The Best Chicken Sandwich in the World for months. You have to understand that I grew up in Atlanta, and that leaving behind any access to Chick-Fil-A shoves my taste buds into mourning. I got my sandwich, waffle fries, and a just-as-delicious-as-I-remember-it lemonade brimming with juicy, sugary pulp. Yes, I am a nut.

Oh, I also realized I'd left my notebook on the plane—dang it!—and my lipstick was lying on my bathroom counter back home, not doing me any good. Thank you, CVS, for supplying both, even if you didn't have my favorite Max Factor long-wear lipstick line (grrr).

At the hotel, I had one of the biggest delights of the entire conference: getting to meet my longtime critique partner (and one of my best friends), Shelby Reed, for the first time EVER. Shelby, Dahling: you ROCK.

I'd been trying to get to the special ScriptScene chapter workshop at 3, but Shelby and Mom and I were having such a great time talking that it just didn't work out. I'm pretty sure the workshop wasn't taped, either. :( Oh well. By that point I had been rushing for two days, and needed a chance to slow down.

I went downstairs to put my "Life Coach for Women Writers" brochures into the Goody Room and on the bulletin board. Shelby and I soon ran into two of our other critique partners, Gina Ardito and Amber Green. We got funny pics of everyone together. Alas, I didn't use my camera during the entire trip—but if I get copies of good photos, I'll post 'em.

The literacy signing was terrific. It was Shelby's second one, and I kept running back to her to make sure she was having fun. I also caught up with so many folks I'd been looking forward to seeing again—fab writer and friend Robin D. Owens, agents Dia Cornier and Paige Wheeler, Louise Ahearn (my editor for the year I wrote a motivational column for OCC), Janet Miller/Cricket Starr, Mardi Ballou... Wow, the list goes on, and at some point my brain started leaking out my ears, because now I can't remember everyone. Mea culpa!

Later that night was The Gathering, a special meeting of one of my favorite groups, the Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal chapter of RWA. I dragged Shelby along and made her join the chapter, since she writes paranormal. Yummy nosh food, plus good little chats from agents and editors about what they're currently seeking. I'd been hoping to meet Leah Hultenschmidt of Dorchester, since my agent is about to send her one of my manuscripts, but if she attended The Gathering I must have missed her. Her colleague Chris Kessler was there, though, so we chatted for a little bit about his baby, the new Shomi line.

When The Gathering was over, Shelby and I went back to our room, and though we'd thought we'd be heading to bed, we stayed up chatting about plots, writing, and life in general until 4 a.m. After six years of knowing each other but the first time meeting, we still had a lot to say. :D

This post is getting long already, and I've only covered, more tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I am FINALLY home from RWA National

National was a blast, and I'm going to tell you all about it soon. The only rotten aspect was my return trip home from Atlanta, which took a day longer than it was supposed to, thanks to American Airlines. Let me just say that I had some execrable customer NON-service experiences with their Chicago O'Hare ground staff. And I still haven't received one of my two checked bags, two days now after my originally scheduled flight home. Grrrr.

Fortunately, the actual RWA National Conference was fantastic! RWA Nationals always are, but this one was better than usual thanks to all the terrific people I got to chat with, and my roommate par excellence. I'll write about it all in more detail later. Meanwhile, I have a backlog of mail, packages, and email to catch up on, and a number of great clients to meet with today.

Happy Tuesday!