Archive for March, 2012

I’m a writer. I am

Pretentious and preposterous. That’s how this line reads: I’m meeting my agent. It’s not so much name dropping, as noun dropping.  Like, did I mention my sports-car repairman stopped by? Hold on, the art dealer is calling. Oh, and I’m meeting my literary agent this afternoon. But I am. I’m going to spend this whole weekend playing at writer. I don’t mean the solitary, banging-your-head-into-the-keyboard part of being the writer. That’s the real part. I’m going to enjoy the public part, where you get to act like a writer.

Journalism taught me long ago you don’t say you have a story until it is for real, in print, ink on newsprint. I found it hard not to take the same stance when defining what I now do. I swallowed the word “writer” when people asked how it is I spend my days. After all, no book. Proof and the pudding and all that. I finally settled on saying, “wannabe writer and stay-at-home dad.” There’s no oversell in that.

But today I am meeting with my agent, Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency. Getting to this point has been a long time coming—a lot of words under the bridge, tens of thousand in fact. I’m still a wannabe, but I’m a wannabe with an agent who also wants me to be. Tomorrow, we head to the Festival of the Book in Charlottesville. We’ll meet some of her other writers, some with actual books out. I’ll check out conferences on publishing and ebooks and marketing and meet authors (the real kind) and walk around the place in my writer pose.

I’ve even brought a special T-shirt. This year is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens. In celebration, Philosophy Football created the Dickens XI shirt, with Dickens characters shown in each of the 11 positions on a soccer team. Too esoteric to put soccer and writing together? Maybe, but the writer pose is all about the eccentric. Anyway,  imagine Pickwick anchoring the midfield and Chuzzlewit storming forward at center forward. It’s a mash up and we love those.

In between meeting my agent—said it again—and swanning around the fest, I’m sneaking into a late matinee of “Hunger Games.” I’d planned on the midnight show last night, but the travel logistics didn’t work. My next book is for young adults. I do not have visions of “Hunger Games” or Potterworld dancing in my head. I wish the movie well because I wish writers well. I hope Suzanne Collins becomes a squagillionaire. (Based on the movie theater parking lot outside, I think she’s got a shot.) When stories fascinate, writers have a chance, even the guy playing one for the weekend.

Timers, the blurb

Below is the pitch for my work-in-progress, a YA science fiction adventure that Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency has just agreed to represent. In January, she signed to handle my historical mystery LAST WORDS.

TIMERS: Samuel Tripp’s Adventures Across Time with Rip Van Winkle, the Connecticut Yankee and Ebenezer Scrooge (oh, and he saves all of history)

SAMUEL TRIPP is lost in space and will soon be lost in time. His con-man father moves the family every four months to chase a new get-rich scheme. This leaves Sam without friends and tired of trying to make them in every new school. His life is upended when RIP VAN WINKLE appears in the Tripp’s garage and tells Sam that they both are members of a legion of time travelers known as the Timers.

Moments later, a monstrous Clocker attacks Sam and Rip. Clockers kill Timers to get their power. But the Clockers now want Sam more than any other because of the Timers watch his dead mother passed on to him. They will use it to punch a whole into another universe so they can hunt down more Timers. The downside: They will also destroy Sam’s reality. Sam races across time to save his kidnapped little brother JAMIE, lost girlfriend EMMA CORRS and all of history. He is joined in the fight by two more first Timers: HANK MORGAN, known to most as the Connecticut Yankee, and EBENEZER SCROOGE. Also helping, and confusing Sam about his feelings for Emma, is MACKENZIE MAGUIRE, a girl he’s just met at his new high school. Sam must travel a long way, deep into the past and forward to the far future, to find the home he’s never had.