Did You Know?

Erin L. Schneider is native to the Pacific Northwest, attended college in Honolulu - and although Hawaiian - should never be allowed on a surfboard. With more than twenty years in corporate merchandising, she’s now a full-time writer living in Seattle with her husband, Neal; their baby boy, Kellan; a rowdy German shepherd named Ronin; and two crazy cats, Ono and Poke. She’s a member of both the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and SCBWI, and is also co-founder of the YA Buccaneers.

SUMMER OF SLOANE is her debut novel, out May 3, 2016 from Disney-Hyperion.

Erin is represented by literary agent Lisa Grubka of Fletcher & Company.

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Entries in Mr. Agent Man (5)

Wednesday
Jul102013

What's Up Wednesday: 07.10.13

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by my ever-so-lovely YA writer friends, Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. The idea? Well, it's a great opportunity to touch base once a week with all of our blog friends and let them know what's up. Should you wish to join, head on over to Jaime's blog and sign up with the link widget at the bottom of her post! 

WHAT I'M READING:

Yep, you guessed it. I'm still reading LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS by Laura Buzo. I've been so busy with my final read of WHERE THE WATER FALLS, I haven't had a chance to get back to my nightly reading. Soon though. 

And yes, while running, I'm still reading ENDLESS SUMMER by Jennifer Echols.

WHAT I'M WRITING:

Writing Goals for this past week:

1. Finish read / revision of chapters 11-21 of WTWF.
2. Add roughly 4,000 more words to round it out. I have two chapters I know need to be "beefed" up, so 2k words will be split between these two chapters. The rest I know will find their way to where they belong.

Well...I finished my read / revision of WHERE THE WATER FALLS. I didn't add as many words as I was hoping for, but I think I'm okay with where it's sitting.

Yes, I should be shouting this from the rooftops that I'm finished! But...I'm going to let it marinate for a day or two as I'm still not sure if I'm loving the end. For now, it's done. I can't believe I actually get to type that...I think I might be in denial. 

So, goals for this week:

1. Relax. 
2. Send WTWF off to my CP's to have at it with their red markers! 

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW:

I promised myself I would do something good with this time off I've had, since I was laid off back in early March. Well, as of yesterday, it's been 4 MONTHS of time off - and I've loved every single day of it.

And what have I done with the time? 

  1. Well, there's the tiny fact I now get to say I managed to write an entire novel. WHERE THE WATER FALLS was a project I started back in 2011, but only managed to get 4 chapters written, after getting the call from Mr. Agent Man that he wanted to work with me on THE LUCKY FEW. So to the back burner it went. But now it's finally finished. And I'm so thrilled I brought this one back to life.
  2. As of April 1st, I've managed to clock 415 miles on my running shoes. Me. 415 miles. Not even I would've guessed that. And with all those miles, I also said goodbye to 16 pounds. Adiós, muchachos. Sayonara. And good riddance...may I never see you again! I still have plenty to go, but I haven't felt this good in a very long time!
  3. And...after two long years of wanting to get a group blog up and running, well, it finally happened. YA Buccaneers has been an amazing project from the very start and I'm so thrilled Bridgid rode the crazy train - or crazy pirate ship in this case - with me, and never once looked back. Not to mention the other eight women who decided to climb on board. I love each and every single one of them for everything unique they bring to the table and I'm so looking forward to what's to come. Believe me, we've got some exciting things planned!

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO:

The 4th of July was one of the most awesome holidays the hubby and I have celebrated in the fourteen years we've been together. We had so much fun with all of our friends, the food was fantastic, and the fireworks were amazing. We also managed a couple of trips to the driving range and a round of golf over the weekend - yikes, I'm a little rusty after having not played for about three years! 

We had dinner with my family on Sunday and it was so great to see my dad and my two sisters. My brother was "stuck" in Hawaii (my brother is a pilot for Alaska and their flight was bumped), so he wasn't able to make it - but with my sister's three kids (one 4-year-old and 7 month old twins), we had a house-full! We try to meet once a month and it's a tradition I hope we never stray away from.

I'm also really excited because I'm going to the spa this Friday for a half day of pure awesomeness. I'm finally getting my hair colored (oy, it's REALLY BAD!) and cut. I'm getting my hoofs and claws tended to. And a little buffing around the eyebrows.

And I can't wait. 

SO, WHAT'S NEW FOR YOU TODAY?  

Tuesday
Apr302013

The Craziness of April 2013

I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I can't believe today is the last day of April. Where has 2013 gone? And why is it, that as we get older, the years seem to just fly by? 

Make it slow down, I tell you! Because I have waaaaaaaay too much to do!

And because April was a pretty productive month for me, this has turned into a monster of a post, so bare with me!

READING: I managed to read ten books this month - one of which was an absolutely amazing MS for one of my CP's, the ever love-r-ly, Sara Biren. WAITING FOR THE SUN was one of the most beautiful stories I've had the opportunity of reading in a very long time. Honestly. I laughed and I definitely cried - which isn't something easy for me to admit - and the last time I felt this way was when I read some of my all time favorite YA Contemp reads ala Sarah Ockler and Jandy Nelson. Yes, I loved it that much.

And I can't wait to watch all the success that's about to unfold for Sara, because this is the one.

I also managed to read all three of Miranda Kenneally's books: CATCHING JORDAN, STEALING PARKER, and THINGS I CAN'T FORGET. And out of all of them, CATCHING JORDAN was my favorite. I love the sports theme that resonates in all of her books - LOVE - but particularly gravitated towards Jordan's story and her role as the QB for her high school football team. The other two books in the series were just okay for me, but that's only because they were written with a heavy influence of religion - which just isn't my thing. While I still enjoyed them, they didn't compare to CATCHING JORDAN.

I also polished off three of Abbi Glines books while running on the treadmill this month: BREATHE, BECAUSE OF LOW, and WHILE IT LASTS. And I'm currently on the 4th in this series, JUST FOR NOW. Abbi is one of my favorite authors because she writes boy so well. And I have to admit, there have been many a time I have to look around while I'm at the gym, wondering if perhaps anyone has ANY idea the scene I just read! Seriously, they're so steamy, I almost fell off the treadmill the other day. It wasn't pretty. But man was it worth it. I <3 me some Jax Stone and Cage York!

I also read ALTERED by Jennifer Rush - which I really enjoyed. Can you say Jason Bourne for teens? And SHUT OUT by Kody Keplinger - I've had this one since it came out, and had originally put it down after only a few pages. But thanks to my recent Sports Theme kick, I managed to crank this one out. And I thought it was good - maybe not as great as D.U.F.F. but still worth the read. And lastly, I read THAT TIME I JOINED THE CIRCUS by J.J. Howard. And this one folks - aside from reading Sara's MS - was my favorite for the month of April! It wasn't at all what I was expecting and I loved every page. I enjoyed her references to music at the beginning of each chapter and I really invested and felt for her MC, Lexi. Plus, it knocks one off my DAC list, too! If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it. Great read.

WRITING: During the 30 days of April I also managed to dive back into writing. It's been awhile - really, not since my massive rewrite last June with Mr. Agent Man - since I've wrote like this. I'm talking all day writing fests and staying up sometimes until 4am! But hey, when I unexpectedly got laid off from my job - after 6 years - in March (have I mentioned how tough this year has been?), it seems I've had some time on my hands to finally write. And to write when my muse is actually interested vs. only the spare hour I used to have, after working 12-hour days.

My YA Contemp WiP - WHERE THE WATER FALLS - is one I started back in 2011, and is quite the departure from what I'm so used to writing. However, after only 4 chapters, I had put it aside to focus on THE LUCKY FEW and to work with Mr. Agent Man. But like so many of us, the characters in that story kept jumping up from their seats shouting, "Pick me! Pick me!" and I knew I had to give it another go. And just in the past eight days, I've cranked out over 40k words. 

I think it also has something to do with the fact I FINALLY switched over to Scrivener. I know, I know, late to the party and all - and really, I bought it early last year, but just couldn't adjust. Word has been good to me and she'll always be my first love, but wow, Scrivener. She's a-mazing!!!! Plus, it helps when friends mention other friends, who have done these short - but incredibly helpful - video tutorials. Yes, I'm talking about Katy Upperman recommending everyone to head on over to Erin Bowman's site to watch her Scrivener videos - because they are awesome and oh, so helpful!

So yes, I am writing again. And I'm loving it.

QUERYING: I'm also still querying for TLF. This is my third book / attempt at hitting the slush pile, and it's true when they say that after each try, it keeps getting better. I think my first book - which shall remain nameless - maybe received 2 full requests and perhaps 1 partial. My second attempt was better, bringing in a handful of requests. And TLF? Well, it's been great and I've managed to gain the interest of 15 agents, which has been awesome. Yes, I've received a few declines, but quite a few of them still have it, so I'll take it!

RUNNING: And finally, a recap on my running stats for the month. I mentioned in my last post that I set a personal goal of running the equivalent of one marathon a week. And as of last Friday, I finished my 4th one!

Total mileage for April: 115 miles.

And I can't believe it, but I think I actually ran more than I drove my car! Plus, I've signed up for 3 5k races: The Color Run in Portland on 9/7 (Seattle is already sold out), The Foam Fest on 8/3 (this looks like a blast, I mean slip n' slides? Come. ON.), and Run For Your Lives on 8/24 - a 5k with obstacles, where volunteers dressed up like zombies AKA The Walking Dead (one of my FAVORITE shows!) actually chase you. I think there's a solid chance I may relieve myself of all bodily fluids on that one, seriously. 

MAY: Well, tomorrow starts a new month. It also happens to be my birthday, and I'm looking forward to seeing my progress in all things reading, writing, and querying - not to mention how many more miles I'll clock on my shoes!

So how crazy was April for you? And what are you looking forward to in May?

Friday
Apr122013

Miss Snark's Contest Follow-Up, THE LUCKY FEW, & Other News

Oy, I'm so late in posting this, I know!

So a follow-up to Miss Snark's March secret agent contest. Overall, it was a great contest last month - and I'm happy to say my results were much better than my sad attempt with the pitch fest over at WriteOnCon, prior to that!

I was oh so excited to see I was one of five winners (out of 50 entries) selected by Ms. Hannah Bowman of Liza Dawson Associates!

Hannah left a great comment, right off the bat - and it had been just what I needed. And while I'll take all the comments from the other participants / readers with a grain of salt (sometimes I wonder what people are thinking when they comment???), I'm just glad to be back out there, at least trying. You can read about all of the winners, here. And of course, if anything comes of my submit to Hannah, you all will be the first to know. 

In other news? Well, I did another pass-through on my manuscript, THE LUCKY FEW. When I left it with Mr. Agent Man, my word count had skyrocketed - something he had reassured me, would not be a problem - because getting the story right was important. But then, well, we parted ways, and here I was with a MS that had bloomed in size. Yikes.

So before I started querying, I dug my heels in and started slowly hacking away. And before I knew it, I had cut several thousand words. 

Which still didn't feel good enough and so I went back at it again last week. And this time, I was able to cut almost 5k more. And I think it's definitely a lot tighter. And I'm happy with where it is. But will I leave it alone? Who knows. There will always be room for improvement.

Aside from all the contests and revisions I've been doing, I also got myself back into running. It's been awhile - for various reasons - but I've missed it so.

Don't let me mislead you - for the most part, I've always said I was allergic to working out...I'm a Taurus for cryin' out loud and definitely not like some of my uber runner friends that chug out more miles than I put on my car each week. But something about running has always made it one of my favorite forms of *cough* exercise. 

So, I set a personal goal that I would start running one "marathon" a week - and to do that, that means 5.5 miles every day, Monday - Friday (yes, that's technically a tad more than 26.2 miles, but it's a nice round number to target). And today wraps up my third week - which makes 3 marathons I've run - and I couldn't be happier!  

And just like with writing and the importance of having fabulous CP's, I have an amazing workout partner that encourages me to show up every day and get at it. And without her motivation, I'm not sure if this would happen. But now I have someone I can't let down, cheering me on - so it does make it that much easier. And I'll take it.

And even though 2013 didn't start off great - believe me, when they say bad things happen in 3's, well, I've had enough in just the last 4 months to cover the next 3 years - it's definitely turning around. My writing is going well, the contests I've entered have been fun, and I'm back out pounding the pavement - both figuratively and literally. And that's all good news, in my book. 

Anyone else have news to share - be it in contests, writing, or personal goals?

Wednesday
Feb202013

Two Roads Diverged...

So many of you know I've been in an exclusive R&R with an amazing agent - and for those of you who don't know, the story goes a little something like this:

I started querying THE LUCKY FEW back in late April of 2011 and decided to do things a little differently than I'd done in the past. My first batch was a smattering of queries - unlike the deluge I'd sent out for my prior two books - and I had an amazing response. Out of the 8 I sent, I received 5 fulls, 1 partial, 1 decline, and 1 no response. I was off to a great start. 

When 2 declines came in on fulls, I decided to query Mr. Agent Man on July 11, 2011. This agent has been in my top 3, of all-time agents, since I started querying over five years ago for other books - and I'd been holding off on sending to him, to see what kind of responses I'd recieve from my first round.

He replied six minutes later, requesting the full.

I was ecstatic and of course, immediately sent it - and the very next day, he'd called. He, along with his assistant, had read my MS over-night - and he'd also sent it along to some of his colleagues in their NYC office. He wasn't quite prepared to sign me, but he definitely wanted an exclusive R&R together. And so, after asking for a few days to settle with the other agents that already had my fulls and partials, I let him know I was ready to go. 

Over the next 7 months, I'd completed 2 separate revisions with responses from him in the form of editorial letters, emails, and conference calls. By February of 2012, we agreed there were just so many great directions I could take my story...and deciding on one path, seemed more difficult than any of us thought. Ultimately, we decided a complete shift needed to happen - which required me to scrap more than 60,000 of the then 89,000 words, and rewrite them completely.

After running the gammut of emotions on what this actually would mean, I finally settled in and tackled the beast. It took almost five months to complete - but I finished, had all of my CP's read and critique at break-neck speed, and had it back to him by July of last year. By September, he'd emailed that he was 100% on board with the direction I'd taken and was more than happy with my rewrite - however, he needed more time to final scrub and get back to me. 

Between then and now, his amazing assistant left the agenting business and he became inundated with not only his own clients, but her's as well - and the communication between us became less frequent. By January of this year, I emailed with a timeline, needing some type of response, before I felt it was fair I move on. 

In the end, I did hear back from him - we chatted on the phone and ultimately decided, his plate had become too full and he just couldn't give me the time I was going to need. So as it goes, our journey - after over 20 months working together - had come to an end.

He did ask to pass my manuscript along to few other agents in his office, feeling if he couldn't take on my MS, the next best thing would be to keep it in house. As well, he also recommended the names of a handful of agents outside the agency that he felt would be a great fit.

And now that brings us to last week. 

Honestly, while I am disappointed things didn't work out - especially after so much hard work and time - I couldn't be more happy with the change my story took on, and am so thankful to have had the opportunity of working exclusively with an agent of his caliber. I do believe everything happens for a reason and I'm very much looking forward to finding an amazing agent that loves THE LUCKY FEW as much as I do! 

So now I'm back out on the hunt. And yes, it sucks to be back at square one...but as one of my fabulous CP's said, maybe I am back at square one - but if I am, I'm there with a jet pack on, while most everyone else is on foot. Huh. What a great way to look at it, right? I'm so grateful for ALL of my CP's, as they've helped so much through this entire process - and honestly, if it weren't for them, I really think I may have shelved my writing for awhile.

But agents beware, I'm not letting you off the hook that easily. In fact, if anything, I'm pushing forward with a fury. I'm tackling this one, head on. And who knows how it will all turn out, but for now, bring. it. on. 

And like my all-time favorite poem by Robert Frost, I'll head once again, down the road less traveled - and I know it will make ALL the difference.

What about any of you - have you experienced anything similar? And if so, how did you deal with it?

Wednesday
Jan022013

Happy 2013: My Word For The Year

Happy New Year, everyone!

I'd probably say 2012 brought a few challenges my way, but overall, it was a pretty successful year. 

First and foremost, I managed to do a complete rewrite on THE LUCKY FEW - which was beyond one of the biggest / craziest undertakings I've ever attempted, in my writing endeavors. I didn't know I had it in me to scrap over 50,000 words in my manuscript and rewrite them all over again. And I never thought I'd be even happier with the outcome, than before I started. 

The day I got to hit the send button and ship it off to Mr. Agent Man, was a happy day indeed! 

And speaking of Mr. Agent Man - we've been working exclusively together for 17 months now. And within that time, I've done two revisions and the one massive rewrite. He's been amazing to work with and honestly, I think THE LUCKY FEW is in a much better place than it ever has been.

Now all I need to do is wait. And man, the waiting is pain.ful

But, I've decided 2013 is going to be an even better year than 2012! It includes a few goals, such as hoping to hear good news from Mr. Agent Man on my rewrite - and more importantly, that he wants to sign me. I also really want to get moving on book number two in the series (aside from getting my outline down on paper, I've only written a few chapters). I've also just started a new relationship with Scrivener, but until I'm completely comfortable, I haven't walked away from Word, just yet. And I'd also like to attempt to blog more - especially since February brings my third year on the web!

So to follow suit from Katy Upperman and a post she wrote today on her Word Of The Year - I thought I'd also come up with a word for 2013! And this year's word is:

Perseverance

Perseverance (as defined by Merriam-Webster): continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition : the action or condition or an instance of persevering : steadfastness

But I think Winston Churchill said it best:

So, what does 2013 mean for you? What will your Word Of The Year be?