Category: pawn of the dead

Your Input Wanted!

Howdy All–

I’m preparing for an eventual rejection on my latest novel (not because there’s been any indications of that, but because I want to be prepared for the worst, just in case), and so I’m working on a query letter for it. However, I have very little experience with those little beasties, and so I’d like your help with it. The following is an EXTREMELY rough draft. Any and all comments are most welcome. Thanks in advance!


When you get down to it, it wasn’t Parker’s fault. After all, what self respecting, movie loving, field hockey goddess worshipping fast food worker would believe it if Marlon Brando walked into his McDonald’s and told him he had to defeat a zombie horde? All right, so it wasn’t Marlon Brando–just a guy who happened to look like him. That doesn’t make it any more believable. (Although I’ll grant you that if it really had been Brando making that request, Parker shouldn’t have refused. That’s like Rule Number One of Offer-Making.)

But I digress.

It wasn’t Parker’s fault, and so you have to hand it to him: he did a pretty smash bang job with what he had to work with. Sure, it took him a bit to catch on to what was really happening, and yes–he had a bit of help from that field hockey goddess. And okay, so he got a magic trinket or two from the Marlon Brando wannabe. But if you start pointing out that he almost screwed everything up by falling for the evil prophetess who was leading the horde, stop right there. Evil prophetesses are supposed to be ugly. You turn into a hormonal sixteen year old and then try resisting the wiles of Sex Incarnate. That’s a superhuman feat right there, but he managed to pull it off, somehow.

(Of course, some of that depends on how you define “pull it off.” As long as you mean “less than 100 people died, a theme park was only partially destroyed and a high school simply traumatized instead of wiped off the map,” then yes–Parker pulled it off. If you expected less damage than that, then you really ought to reevaluate your expectations of 16 year old protagonists facing down world-destroying armies of the undead.)

PAWN OF THE DEAD is a 65,000 word young adult, urban fantasy novel. I’m happy to provide a complete manuscript for your review. Thank you for your time.

What I Learned this Groundhog Day, and Writing Progress

The party was a big success, and everything went well. That said, I still need to work some on the Interactive Movie Experience. Singing along with Sonny and Cher was great, but do you have any idea how many times they say the name “Phil” in that movie? A lot. I lost count, and I ran out of animal crackers. I’m thinking that’s going to have to be tweaked next year. 🙂

In other news, I have now finished the revision of ParkerBoy (now titled Pawn of the Dead) and already submitted the complete manuscript to an agent. It feels very nice to have this one done, and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. Of course, that’ll probably last until I get said agent’s comments back on it, at which point I’ll feel like a hack again. Such is my curse. In the meantime, I’ll have to mull over what to work on with my writing time. It’ll likely be a month or two at least before I hear anything.

Weekend Update

As is too often the case, my weekend went by much too quickly. What did I get done in those two days? I taught DKC how to use the snow blower, practiced bass guitar, got some writing done, watched the kids, watched the Eagles beat the Giants(!), made some phone calls, drove in hazardous weather, kept the wood stove cranking out heat, watched the Golden Globes, and managed to polish off three movies, while I was at it. When I put it like that, it actually seems like I did something! At the time, I just felt busy. And cold. It’s quite very cold here right now. The high on Thursday is supposed to be around 1. Low of -20 or so. That’ll be exciting.

What movies did I watch? Shrek the Third, The Simpsons Movie and American Gangster. What did I think of them? Shrek and the Simpsons were both a bucketful of meh. Simpsons felt like a long episode of the TV show, and when you get right down to it, there’s a reason the tv shows are only a half hour long. Shrek 3 was fun, but more of the same. Two and a half stars for both of them, mainly for lack of originality. Gangster (Denzel Washington plays an up and coming Black drug lord, Russell Crowe plays the cop out to get him) was better, but it felt like it was trying a tad too hard. Well acted, and certainly interesting–especially since it was based on a true story–but in the end, it just didn’t do enough to set it above other good gangster/mafia movies. Three stars, but solid.

And for a writing update, I’m finally revising ParkerBoy in earnest. I have a list of Things To Change, and I’m plowing through them. Going quite well. Thanks for wondering.


So I’m in a bit of a quandary. I’m working on the revision, and I have to decide primarily what to do with the beginning. Almost all of the comments I got focused on the first chapter or so, with most saying it was too slow. So what’s the debate? Well, it’s do I trim it, or cut it altogether? I’m going to try to work this out on screen as I type–we’ll see where it goes.

When facing a decision like this, the first question I have to ask myself is what exactly is the first chapter accomplishing? For those of you who haven’t read it, it basically introduces the main character (Parker), his love interest (Jess) and some minor characters. Parker intros his job at McDonald’s, has a conflict with a customer–that sort of thing. THe chapter establishes a couple of goals for Parker, and hints at larger conflicts to come. We get an overview of Parker’s pop culture fixations–that sort of thing.

So what is there that needs to be there? The more I look at it, the more I’m thinking: not much. Some of the McDonald’s stuff is interesting, but nothing there really relates to the rest of the story. I can still intro Parker and Jess in chapter 2, and I get to the real conflict faster that way, too. In fact, the more I think about it, the less I think chapter 1 needs to exist.

So my question for those of you who have read it: do YOU think it needs to exist? Please speak up–the beginning is one of the most important parts of a book, and I need this to get off on the right foot.

I have a headache

And I don’t think any amount of blogging is going to make it go away. Oh well. I’m having a downer of a day, so I think I need to post some positives:

  • All my Christmas shopping is done
  • I almost have the family newsletter finished
  • The ice is melting from my driveway
  • I get to go home in 40 minutes
  • I have no meetings on tonight
  • My sound system is now fully operational

Probably the highlight of my day came this morning, when my good friend Becky “Rebecca” Garabed sent me her comments on ParkerBoy. A lot of my readers have noted that I reference a lot of pop culture in my books. Some like it, some don’t. Some say that the pop culture I use is too dated (then miss all the current pop references because they go right over their heads.) So I take all those comments with a few grains of salt. But Becky–she went above and beyond the call of duty, going through the entire book and documenting every single pop culture reference, then putting in when that pop culture reference first appeared in pop culture. From Rambo to Perry Mason to Star Wars to Lord of the Rings–she got ’em all. I felt like my pop culture personality was laid bare–way cool. Thanks, Becky!

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