Lady Peas Make My Heart Sing

Posted by Kathy Carmichael Saturday, April 30, 2005 on 8:35 PM
Today was gardening day!

Our vegetable garden is approximately 7 feet wide and 12 feet long. Hubby John began turning the soil, then handed off to Ian. Once the soil was prepared, John and Ian planted 3 pepper plants and 6 tomato plants -- of multiple varieties. They are having a contest over whether the plants they each planted will grow faster than the other's.

We also have two types of lettuce (half planted now, the other half will be planted in two weeks), then a third variety that likes Florida winters will be planted in the fall. I planted some flower seeds in the front yard and lady peas in our vegetable garden.

It's sort of a joke that I insist on planting the lady peas. Each year my husband whines, "Not the dreaded lady peas!"

If you don't have family from Arkansas, then you've probably never heard of them. The peas are a pale green, with a darker green eye and look like petite blackeyed peas. The flavor is incredibly wonderful and I'm surprised they never caught on nationally!

It feels very sentimental to plant lady peas because my grandmother had them in her garden. She knew they were a particular favorite of mine and always made me "a mess of them." She passed away almost 27 year ago and I still miss her tremendously. Planting lady peas each year makes me feel as if she's still a vital participant in my life.

So here's a photo of our newly planted garden -- KC

Veggie Garden


Take Your Child To Work Day (or my chance to escape from school on a Thursday!)

Posted by Kathy Carmichael Thursday, April 28, 2005 on 1:10 PM
Today has been quite the interesting day, indeed.

I first learned how to make some delicious brew known as coffee, because. . . And I quote, "No matter where you work in your life, Ian, you'll always be popular if you know how to make good-tasting coffee."

The next couple of things in my line-up for today included: Sipping coffee without scorching your upper lip. Taking my mom's work and cutting out unneeded/over-used words in one of her current novels, Marrying Up.

Next I read over Mom's synopsis of another one of her books, The Marquis Who Annoyed Me (my Personal Favorite of her current books in the works). It involved cutting out paragraphs and sections that needed some doctoring, trying to reach her goal of 10 pages in length. Finally, I'm here. . .

Typing this in Word Perfect as I'm sitting in her cushioned chair that's straightening out my back in the most unusual way. I'm wearing my blue checkered robe, blue jeans and fuzzy slippers. Also I can't forget to mention the day-old stubble napping on this, my 14-going-on-15-year-old face of mine, with sleep in my eyes.

If you'd like to see photos of me at work, click HERE. This is an example:

Ian editing synopsis

Thanks and please comment on my post! - Ian


Happiness Is . . .

Posted by Kathy Carmichael on 1:24 AM
I've been having a fabulous time this week because I've been reading/critiquing manuscripts from various friends.

The first one, an incredible Medieval by Denise Lynn, is a total powerhouse. She's such a talented author! Check out her current book, Book 2 in her Falcon's series, titled FALCON'S HONOR on Amazon.com.

The second is the first book written by an as yet unpublished flight attendant named Danedri Thompson. This laugh out loud book is a joy to read. I predict it won't be long until she's published!

It's such a joy to get to read books in progress by friends. I just love it and, of course, I just love them! -- KC


Query Letter Basics

Posted by Kathy Carmichael Sunday, April 24, 2005 on 7:21 PM
I wrote the following query letter basics to help new authors with what should be included (or excluded!) in a query letter. Eventually I'll move it to the articles section on my website, but for now, it's only available here :) -- KC

QUERY LETTER BASICS -- by Kathy Lynch Carmichael

1. The blurb or pitch on your book. What are the hooks? What will make a reader want to read your book? (Check out my article on pitching and my pitch generator in the articles section of my website.)

2. Your publication experience. If you haven't yet sold a book, have you had articles published? Short stories? Have you won writing contests? If you have published, have you been honored in any way (awards, contests, bestseller lists)?

3. What writing organizations do you belong to, if any?

4. Optional: What makes you the authority for writing this book or type of book? For instance, if you're an attorney and writing about a fictional attorney detective, that would have meaning to the publisher. If your work experience does not add credibility to your writing, then it's probably best to omit it. For instance, if you're an accountant and writing science fiction that doesn't have an accountant protagonist, then there's no need to mention your day job.

5. Offer to revise if the story is close. Editors prefer to work with authors who are easy to work with.

6. Be sure to include your name, address, phone, and send an SASE.

7. You might wish to include a 1-2 page synopsis, but no longer than that unless the editor has requested it.

8. Try to keep your query letter to only one page in length, not including the 1-2 page synopsis.

9. Do you have a built-in audience (like a newspaper column or web blog or website with a big readership), marketing hooks, tips, information about your target audience if non-fiction.

10. No cutesy stuff! No negativity. Don't tell the editor that your book received rejections from 50 other publishers. Don't tell her your book doesn't fit her guidelines (if it doesn't fit their guidelines as to what they publish, then DO NOT send it there!). Don't offer a bribe or threaten him. Don't send your query on cutesy letterhead or weird paper. This is a business, so treat your query like a business letter. Your query can be written in your personal voice and style, and it doesn't have to be dry. Shoot for professional.

11. Possible format for a query letter:

Paragraph One:
Your pitch (check out my pitching workshop and pitch generator)

Paragraph Two:
About you. (Depending on how your background ties to your book, this might take 2 paragraphs)

Paragraph Three (Optional):
Your closing (where you can mention offering to revise or possible target audiences etc)

Paragraph Four (Optional):
If you included a synopsis, this is where you mention it. Also mention that you look forward to hearing from her/him.


Dear Editor's (Mr. Or Ms.) Last Name:

A CATCHER IN THE CORN is a story about a female CIA agent who infiltrates an organized crime ring in Omaha, Nebraska, and must learn who the leader is before he destroys all the cornfields in the Midwest. Is it possible that the leader is none other than the teen baseball whiz she attended her high prom with?

I've published several short stories and my web blog has a large readership. I belong to a local writers group, Name of Group, as well as regularly attending a regional writing conference, Name of Conference. I was drawn to write this book because my five-year career as a CIA agent gives me an insider's view into how an undercover agent operates.

Enclosed you will find a two page synopsis of the book as well as a self-addressed postage-paid enveloped. I'm really looking forward to hearing from you and learning what you think!

Your Name


Diana's Most Excellent, Wonderful, Fabulous, Exciting, Awesome News!!

Posted by Kathy Carmichael Saturday, April 23, 2005 on 4:48 PM
I had planned to post today all about the fact that I finished revising my partial (finally!) and emailed it off to my critique partners, but far more important information has arisen!

Diana Peterfreund (one of my TARA sisters) has just sold her first book/s!!! Here's the announcement from Publishers Marketplace:

Yale grad Diana Peterfreund's CONFESSIONS OF A (SECRET) SOCIETY GIRL, following the irreverent and intrigue-filled adventures of an average college student who just happens to be a member of one of the most notorious secret societies in the world, to Kerri Buckley at Bantam Dell, in a significant deal, at auction, by Deidre Knight of The Knight Agency (NA). Film rights are with Matthew Snyder.

I couldn't be more thrilled and delighted for her! She's also proof positive that a willingness to roll up your sleeves and work your patoot off can and =will= pay off. Diana is an inspiration to any aspiring author: just sit down and keep writing, take rejection under your belt, and keep working at it. Be sure to read her blog!

Back on my partial, I'm really eager to send it to my agent, so I'm hoping said CP's will think the rewrite is peachy-keen. Cross your appendages for me, please! -- KC


Brain on the Run

Posted by Kathy Carmichael Friday, April 22, 2005 on 5:15 PM
Today I'm thinking about procrastination. So far, I've procrastinated finishing up the partial that my agent is breathlessly awaiting (yeah, right) by constantly checking email, by checking on other folks' blogs, by annoying my husband as much as possible while he takes a business call, and in general doing anything other than what I should be doing.

The reason for my procrastination? I'm doing major rewriting on the partial and it's hard to get the circularity of the updated concept in my head all at once. Right now I'm seeing bits and pieces rather than the whole. I'm nuts about my characters, about the set up, about how they relate to each other, but there's tons of other stuff going on. Basically, I'm grasp-impaired – KC


Play Time

Posted by Kathy Carmichael Thursday, April 21, 2005 on 10:10 AM
When I mentioned to a friend that I had started a new blog, she said, "At some point you have to figure out what the intent of your blog should be." Oops.

As a writer, should I make it about writing? I get tons of hits on my website from folks looking for writing how-to's, so should I make my blog about that?

Alternatively, I get lots of hits from readers, too. Wouldn't they be bored by too much how-to?

Bottom line, I decided to go with my ego. My blog's theme will be: whatever is in my mind at the time (fun or scary, you decide, especially since right now I'm thinking about ways for murder attempts to take place against my hero's life) – KC



Posted by Kathy Carmichael Wednesday, April 20, 2005 on 5:29 PM
I confess -- you should probably be afraid. At first I was reluctant to have a blog because that meant I'd have to post to it frequently. Since being on the RWA Board, I've had to juggle those duties with family and writing time, so don't have a lot to spare. Then my Web Goddess suggested that I have a blog on my site's first page so I could easily update my welcome letter and add photos or whatever I wanted.

I quickly learned blogging is addictive. Because I asked my Wed Goddess to set it up so that I wouldn't have to post often, I had to stop myself from posting! This is why I now have two blogs: one for my front page and this new blog -- The Daily Doodle -- for my mental wanderings.

Welcome to insanity! – KC


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