Archive for the ‘Meredith Barnes’ Category


There’s been a hiatus on my gushing over how awesome Meredith Barnes is.  If you’ve missed any steps in how my love bloomed, you can relive it here and here.  In 2012, Ms. Barnes followed her publicist dreams and left the agenting world.  Some of you may have heard my heart crack when she announced her new position and I realized we wouldn’t be sipping cocktails while we bonded our client/agent relationship.  This however didn’t mean I had to stop fangirling after her all over the place.

Today we honor her new adventure with the launch of SOHO TEEN.  In celebration, there are cookies (of course).


Exciting news for Ms. Barnes and exciting news for book lovers.  Check out all their new releases at SOHO TEEN.


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One thing I have picked up along this writing journey is the importance of community.  As with any grouping of people where there are nosey women (like me) they just can’t wait to meddle and hook up all the singles in the area.  Right, Spinster?  The book lover population is kinda the same way; like a blind dating service where you match up people on what they say are their likes and dislikes. When you read something great, you can’t wait to tell all your reading friends who are in between books about the next greatest thing.

Agent extraordinaire Meredith Barnes is having a fabulous contest on her blog on getting the word out about some of their clients.  They have books that are out of print, but making their way to the e-book route.  Her contest is about getting their profile out there so the match-making can begin.  Because she’s so awesome, she’s coming in as the wing-woman.  She’s offering a query critique so introductions can be made.  Yes, that’s damn cool.  But is that the reason why I’m writing a blog?  Okay, well, maybe a little.  But more the reason because we should all support each other.  Writers and readers should work together to make sure more book love  can be spread.  If there is someone who needs a little more Internet time to be seen by a new audience, other writers should join the call and help them out.

Here are the authors Meredith is talking about:

  • Deborah Camp  (A mix of contemporary and Old West Historical romances…over 40 coming in the near future, but here is a list of 10 or so available now)
  • Lorena Dureau  (Historical Romance: American Colonial South and West. Very Sexy)
  • Dan Streib  (thrillers with a James-Bond-meets-Anderson-Cooper main character)
  • Barbara Keesling (her too-hot-to-blog nonfiction is here, here, and here)

What do I want you to do about it?  Start setting people up, of course.  Do you know someone who is a nice PTA wife who’s ready to do the dirty in the bedroom like a crazed Angelina Jolie?  (Oh yeah, you know she’s freaky.)  Then set her up with Barbara Keesling.  She sounds like she’s got some interesting tricks under the sheets next to the whips and chains.  Do you have a friend who loves the cowboys and saddling up romance?  Tell them about Deborah Camp.  The description of “thrillers with a James-Bond-meets-Anderson-Cooper main character” is enough to pique interest in what Dan Steib has to say.  Maybe your girlfriend has a fantasy of a candle lit dinner alone with Abe Lincoln?  Then Lorena Doreau may be your fancy.  (Okay, I really didn’t have anything better to describe Historical Romance…I failed History.)

It doesn’t mean everyone is going to be a match, but it does open the dating reading circle for choices to make sure you find the perfect match.  If we didn’t have each other looking for the next author who is right in line with what you long for in a book, we’d never get to expand our horizons.  You never know when you are going to find the diamond in the rough or make an instant reading love connection.

Oh, by the way, if you decide this blog is so great and you want to link to it, could you share in the comments?  That query contest, uh…yeah, it helps me with that, too.

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My year end look back usually takes a month later to actually occur.  It gives me plenty of time to get out of my funk about what I didn’t accomplish and focus on what I did.  This year end has been completely different.  I’ve been rattling on to everyone who will listen about what a fantastic year I had.  Maybe it’s because I already went through my funk.  Or maybe it’s because the year was pretty kick ass!  Here’s why (with pictures of course!):

Mikel and Me:

How could I ignore the fact I was able to meet Mikel Jollett not once, but twice, this year?  Of course I couldn’t.  I get the most hits on this little ole blog from “Mikel Jollett Author” and “Mikel Jollett Girlfriend.”  Boy, those people must be very disappointed to see my face and bubble art.  But back to Mikel and me.  Sure, the first time we shared a moment; his face beamed with charisma.  The second one…not so much.  Either way, it’s one of those surreal things.  I mean, if you would’ve told me I could have the opportunity once this year, I would have been ecstatic.  I was fortunate to get a twofer.  It doesn’t mean I’m done with him yet.  He will be on the resolution page (coming soon) as well.

Meredith Barnes Kicks Ass!

OMG…Isn’t she fabulous?!?

The year started with a chance encounter with Meredith through her blog because of winning a tag line contest.  What it turned into was a defining moment.  I really can’t go on enough about how much I adore her.  Yes, you people who deal with me face to face already know because I gush on a regular basis about her awesomeness.

There are times where I read blogs about writers doubting the humanity of agents.  This is a completely foreign concept in my mind.  They have always been gracious, friendly, and they pretty much bend over backwards to be helpful.  Does it mean they signed my work?  Or begged me to send my grocery list because all my writing is that awesome?  Of course not.  Does it mean I have the utmost respect for them?  Sure the hell does.  Meredith is a fine example if you need one.

Cookie Love:


If 2010 was about cupcakes and cookie pops, 2011 was about the flood cookie.  I’ve watched Martha Stewart do it for years and made a few attempts before with terrible results.  With some wild hair one weekend, I was determined to figure it out.  I learned a lot in the process, most of which I was able to apply to writing and this blog.

Beautiful Music:

Snuggling up with Luke from Atomic Tom.  (Oh, he didn't know we were snuggling.)

Snuggling up with Luke from Atomic Tom. (Oh, he didn’t know we were snuggling.)

This may tread dangerously close to Mikel and me, but I had a record year for concerts with a total of 5!  The amazing part is the fact I live in a small town where no one dares to mark on their tour map.  This year I saw Atomic Tom, Cold War Kids, The Airborne Toxic Event (2), B-52s, Human League, and Men Without Hats.  It was epic.  I Safety Danced hard core.

Urban Girl:

My Rockin' Docs

My Rockin’ Docs

After ten years of living in Oregon and barely making it out of my county limits, I headed for the big city and Urban Girl was born.  Work trips and concerts traveled my hipness to Portland where I dined on fancy food, walked the streets like a pro (hey, wait a minute….), and drank micro brews with the best of them.  In a drunken stupor mid-day, Hubs and I walked into a Doc Martin store and I strolled out with these bad boys.  Hey-oooo!!!!  Portland is one of those things I commit to doing again this year.

Ze Blog:

The accomplishment I’m most proud of (and have you to thank) is the fact I have blogged the entire year.  I don’t have a schedule and I’m no where near my blogging idol, Tawne Fenske, but I’ve kept at it pretty steady.  I’ve incorporated my love for stories, baked goods, and Mikel Jollett to create something I am really proud of.  This place is me.  It’s what I do.   It’s who I am.  It’s what I love.

Mi Familia 2011

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Everyone knows about my awesome experience with Super-Agent Assistant, Meredith Barnes.  I’ve called back to it many times and stopped every stranger in town to give play by plays.  What also came from the Skype chat was an awesome follow-up e-mail from Meredith’s co-worker and Young Adult Agent, Suzie Townsend.  Ms. Townsend was at the top of my dream agent list even before my awesome experience with the great ladies of Fine Lit Print.  I did cartwheels after hearing from her directly.  (Okay, let’s get serious, there is no way in hell I did a cartwheel, but if I was nine years old and skinny I sure would have.)  However, I did consider wallpapering my work cubicle with it.  Don’t fear; it’s still covered in concert posters and kid art.

But with the excitement comes the pressure.  Now that I have the awesome opportunity of Ms. Townsend remembering my name, I better bring some killer product to go along with it.  So I took a deep look from the vague information I got back from my beta readers on my WIP.  Even though they’ve received countless lectures about “being brutal for my own good,” I continue to get niceties.  Don’t get me wrong, I love them.  They help with my insecurity of wondering if I have a good story.  But I want the best story. 

Here are three pieces of feedback from unlikely sources.  My seventy-eight year old father-in-law said the writing was good but “it will never sell.”  Although I will use this comment to torture him on a regular basis, I had to look for the merit in it.  He said my writing has improved, but it’s too dramatic.  Others said to ignore his opinion because what does he know about Young Adult?  There may be some truth in that, but it doesn’t make his point invalid.  Second was a twelve-year-old boy who read the first page.  He said, “I wasn’t riveted.”  He used this word because his mother taught it to him the few minutes before.  Again, not my target audience, but kept under advisement.  Third, was the boy’s mother who said she skimmed over A story to get to B story.  This prompted me to re-evaluate the tension of A story.  All this action has been over the last two months and I’m starting to worry about…well, about everything.  I’m questioning changes; wondering if the original was better.  Does it really matter?  What if they laugh at my query and shudder at the sample pages?  What if I embarrass myself?

Then I read this blog.  What a perspective check.  She did a great job describing my reaction in the third paragraph although I didn’t get a request for the full.  I really want to impress.  I really want people (especially agents) to like the story and writing.  But I have to get my best piece of work on their desk first.  I’m taking the advice–I’m going to be brave, cut the delay, and hit the send button soon.

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Ask me this question about the books I write and I’d give you an answer.  It would be specific down to the demographic.  Ask me the same question about this blog and you’d get my look shifting to the ceiling, biting my lower lip, and hemming and ha-ing.  This is the question Meredith Barnes posed and once again has stumped me.

This isn’t the first time Meredith put out this question.  In our Skype chat we discussed who social media is directed and how the audience will affect the content.  My first answer would be agents—I want an agent.  But if I were honest, I’d say “anyone who will read the damn thing…and think it’s funny.”  But, is that right?  Am I doing myself a disservice?  Will this get me to my goal of being a published author?

Asking these questions out loud strikes another blogged thought that comes up a lot – “This is a blog, not your diary.”  I disagree to some extent about that direction.  The blogs I enjoy most are the ones that shine with the author’s personality (something I try to show here.)  Does this mean my audience is random readers who happened upon this site?  Am I building a fan base or casually talking to friends?  Friends who would have bought my book because my name was on the spine.

Or is it a medium to get agents to my product?  To hope they like me enough to take a chance and offer representation?  There might need to be some refining; they strip away the glasses, smooth out my hair, wand some gloss across my lips and voila—a princess an author.  Don’t worry; I see the fantasy in my last sentence is limited to only happening in movies.  Writing is a business with hundreds of thousands of potentials.  Agents don’t have the time or energy to craft each hopeful.  I get that.  Still…do I have a special sparkle?  Unique snowflake?  I also know I’ve been fortunate enough to have an agent drive by my blog.  What did it do?  Skyrocket my hits.  Boost my confidence.  Put me on Cloud Nine.  Hey, I could get used to this.  But this doesn’t happen very often (if ever again.)  How do I bring them back? Should they drive the content on here even if they aren’t reading it?

Or is this all for me?  There is some truth to that, but I can eliminate myself as the target.  I do write journals, letters, tweets, and instant chat like crazy to fill the void in my life. 

Who is my audience?  Tell me who you are and why you return?  (Yes, even those of you who I brow beat regularly about reading the blog.)  I’d love to hear from you.  It will help with solving this riddle.

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Today I had a great phone call with an agent’s assistant.  You woulda thought it was “the call” the way I danced around the room and gushed to everyone in my phone book.  (“The call” is a famous saying for when an agent calls to offer representation.) Although, it wasn’t “the call,” it was pretty damn cool having thirty-five minutes face-to-face over the computer with Meredith Barnes.

Meredith is an assistant to the “Query Shark” at FinePrint Literary Management, another famous known thing about the writing world.  Go ahead, Google it and be in awe.  I was lucky enough to enter a funny enough line in one of her contests to win a fifteen minute Skype chat about social media.  I’ve been anxiously waiting for this day for two weeks trying to figure out different ways to win Meredith over as my new BFF. 

As requested, I sent five questions a few days ago about social media.  I agonized to make sure they were light, but professional and serious, but funny.  I wanted to make sure I represented the real me to my new potential BFF, so of course one of the questions involved profanity.  (Okay Mom, roll your eyes.) 

After some technical issues in the beginning, and my full-fledged panic attack because of it, we were finally able to see each other.  Immediately she stole my heart by complimenting the red wall in my kitchen.  <swoon>  When the next sentence she said was we could talk about anything to start; like queries, agents, the publishing world, I fell deeply and madly in love.  After stuttering an unintelligible sentence, I asked her “Who do I believe?”  I’ve visited the writing boards and read all the blogs, but find I’m more lost than ever on query letters.  So what does Meredith do?  She asks me to read what I have.  It was full cardiac arrest.  My mind rushed through all the excuses such as I’m still working on it, it’s not ready for other eyes yet, I want to put my best foot forward…but one second later, I pull it up and read the words.

It was fabulous; a dream come true.  Meredith gave me some great tips and new wind in my sails.  Self-doubt plaguing my mind the last weeks was replaced by rejuvenated excitement to get back on the project. 

We did talk about social media and I’m in the process of getting on Twitter.  Boy, do I feel like a jackass stumbling through it.  But I’m sure soon I will be just as addicted to it as I am Facebook.  Meredith graciously extended the fifteen minutes to a total of forty (including our technical difficulties.)  She was funny, friendly, and super nice.  I could only think if she is this nice to some chick who won her contest, could you imagine how she treats her clients?  I only hope one day I can find out.

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