Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Encouraging rejections

Edited to add: interesting Agency Gatekeeper's Blog post on how to query.
Well, I just received Rejection Number 4, and while they were all formulated in a very friendly way, this one leaves me with the most hope, despite it being a negative answer:

"Thank you so much for sending along your query and for giving Agency XXXXX a chance to consider your work. While I found your query intriguing I’m afraid I wasn’t sufficiently enthusiastic to ask for more at this time.
As I’m sure you know, publishing is a subjective business and I’m sure there’s another agent out there better suited to your work.
I wish you the best of luck and the greatest success."

Rejection Number 2 was also very encouragingly put:

"Thank you for querying me but unfortunately I'm going to have to pass.
Please don't take this rejection as a comment on your writing ability, because it isn't intended to be one.  I'm sure another agent will feel differently.
Best of luck to you with the submission process."

Of course these might be generic answers which they send to everyone they don’t choose to represent. But I’ve read and heard that a lot of agents try to give individual feedback when writing a rejection, even if it’s not very detailed. Plus, if they had nothing good to say, I imagine they wouldn’t take the time to write as much as they did here, since they probably write dozens of rejections a day.

Considering all this, I’ll give them and myself the benefit of the doubt, and interpret these answers in a good way: sounds to me as if the writing is good and the story intriguing enough, but the book is just not quite right for them.

So here’s a big Thank You! to all agents who take the time to write such encouraging rejections. It softens the blow quite a bit, and actually makes at least this writer enthusiastic about sending out more queries to other agents.

On a side note: I changed my query a little, making it shorter and livelier, ergo hopefully more intriguing. Basically it’s what could become the book’s blurb – the first query was still a little too long and stilted for that, I think. This is still all guesswork at this point, of course, but I’ll be looking forward to other agents’ answers to the new query; maybe I can tell by comparing the answers to both queries whether it has improved or not.

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Zen-Zone

This weekend I wasn’t very productive. Which is a shame, because I had a lot of time. But all I did was dig out my NaNoWriMo story of 2008, and read it. I think it’s got potential, but it’s not quite finished, and it’s not my current number-one project. My current number-one project would have needed a lot more concentration to work on than I was able to muster. Editing is more time-consuming, more difficult, and more nerve-wracking than reading and remembering. And my nerves were wracked enough already by personal things that had nothing to do with writing, but completely got in the way of my Writing-Zen, as I call it.

My personal Zen Zone looks something like this.

When I’m in my Zen-Zone, I can write for hours; ideas pour forth so quickly one after the other that my fingers can hardly keep up, yet typos are few and far between. Time becomes meaningless. Hunger or thirst don’t exist, unless my characters are feeling them.
It sounds like a cliché, like something out of an inspirational movie of a creator of some sort who suddenly finds his lost muse. But that’s the way it is for me. Or at least, the way it can be.

The trouble is finding my way into this Zen-Zone. When I was younger, it was easier to find it. I think it’s because I didn’t worry so much about everything. Although ‘worry’ is maybe too strong a word – I just didn’t have as much other stuff on my mind, potentially important life-changing stuff, as I do now.

So how do I brush off those niggling little real-world worry-warts and dive into my other, self-created and -inflicted world of fun and peril?

First of all, I obviously have to sit down in front of the laptop, open up the file, and begin with whatever I have planned. Easier said than done. Sometimes the words on the screen seem to have been written in a different language, they make that much sense to me. Occasionally, I can write myself into the Zen-Zone by just putting my fingers on the keys and starting to type. It will take a while, and the beginning is usually bumpy and has to be deleted later on, but it gets me to greener scriptures.

Sadly, this is the exception, not the rule nowadays. A lot of other think-stuff gets in the way, creates a barrier on the path to my Zen-Zone. Sometimes I find the right button to push, and I get through, but often the barrier is insurmountable, and I get the feeling I’m trying too hard, which doesn’t do any good either.

Even Calvin knows this. LOL

On Storytellers Unplugged I read a post by Brian Hodge titled Ritualize Your Writing: A Shortcut Into Creative Productivity where he talks about the importance of rituals in our everyday lives; little gestures, sounds or thoughts, that transform us into another state of being.  Hodge describes a ritual as „… a shortcut. A bridge. A wormhole in space between two distant galaxies that can get you from one to the other much quicker than if you were to traverse the full gulf between. When compared to the mundane places we often occupy, what is writing, then, if not a higher, more resonant state of mind?”

Nicely put. That higher, more resonant state of mind is my Zen-Zone; a ritual is the straight path to it. The question is: what ritual?

So far, I haven’t found my shortcut, my bridge over the barrier to that straight path. Maybe it’s there, and I just haven’t realized what it is yet. It’s almost like the question of what came first, the egg or the hen; it’s difficult to find something you can only find by getting where it’s supposed to help you get to. Make any sense?

I think I will try to meditate before I sit down in front of the computer in future. I meditate every day, or try to, anyway, and it does help to clear my mind, if only for a while. Hopefully, that ‘while’ is all I need to get to my Zen-Zone when my path there is worry-barrier free. I could make up a new mantra for when I meditate before writing, and then, maybe, at some point, I’ll only need to think that mantra, and it will beam me straight up to Zen-land, Scotty-style.

Now all I need is a cool associational mantra…

Oh, and Calvin has something to add…

Saturday, September 25, 2010


I’ve been pretty productive the last few days. I polished my novel some more, and read and critiqued a writer’s-group-fellow’s snippets.

Critiquing can be hard, both on the reviewer and the writer. As a writer, it’s disheartening to hear that your baby needs work, and often a lot of it. As a reviewer, who writes him/herself, you know this. So you try not to be so harsh that you discourage the writer. It’s a fine balance, because neither is it useful to the writer if you say “whoopee, great stuff” if it’s not true.

The trick is not to become personal. Critique the scenes, the plot, the characters, their actions and reactions, specific turns of phrases, grammar, typos. Never critique the writer as a person; never call him/her a moron for getting that word wrong again, never say he/she’s a nitwit for trying to make the same point a hundred times instead of getting on with the story.

Others’ opinions are important. I’m not talking friends’ and families’ opinions, because they know and like you, and will sugarcoat it to soften the blow – plus, if they’re not writers themselves, they won’t know what to look for other than ‘I like this’ or ‘I don’t understand/like this’ (which can already be a great help, so long as they’re willing to be open about the latter). Because, if you want to sell your novel, sugarcoating won’t help you. Neither will vague opinions or suggestions.

I’m glad I found my writer’s group. We’re a small number, and not too diligent about regular postings of snippets and critiques. Life gets in the way. But there are very different personalities within our small group, and when a critique is written, it’s very conscientiously and honestly done. You get different views and opinions, and if one critic overlooks something, another one is sure to catch it.

So, here’s a great big Thank You to the ladies and gentleman of my writer’s group!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tribute to Jennifer Rardin

I was saddened and shocked to hear that author Jennifer Rardin passed away three days ago. Jennifer was a remarkably talented writer, and creator of the Jaz Parks urban fantasy series.
My heart goes out to all her family and friends.

RIP, Jennifer.
You will be greatly missed.

This wistful post by Jennifer’s agent, Laurie McLean, with which she responded to Jennifer’s death notice on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, shows a little insight of what the relationship between author and agent can be like. It seems they were both really lucky in finding each other.

As Jennifer’s agent, I am simply devastated at the loss of such a wonderful, talent author and caring human being. Jennifer was always funny and fun-loving — a big persona — so this hit me doubly hard. I was hoping it was a sick joke. But no, she’s really gone. We had a lot of great times together talking about Jaz Parks and the rest of Jennifer’s zany cast of characters. And Jennifer will live on in part in Jaz, so at least that is some small consolation. Urban fantasy just lost a shooting star this week. I am saddened and humbled by her passing.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Making the Novel Shine Part 1: Bringing an End to the Beginning of all Beginnings.

In a former post I described how I’ve gone through my finished novel three times by now, trying to a) tighten the plot and the writing, b) take out unnecessary elements, scenes and characters, and, consequently, c) bring down the word count from tome-resembling proportions to something that will fit in a middle-sized handbag – in short: giving it an overall cleansing scrub.

By now the thick crust of mud has been chipped off, the dust brushed away and the fingerprint-smears wiped clean – the gold is starting to show. Yet it is dull, lacking in luster. It needs not only a scrub but also a polish, before it can shine and sparkle and show its true value: 24 carats of novel entertainment (pun intended).

I mean to attack the dullest part first, the part that wouldn’t even reflect light if it were two inches from the sun: the beginning.
I’m not talking about the first chapter, although that will be under some scrutiny at one point or other, too. But that’s just a few snips here, a couple of tweaks there, to get the action going a few paragraphs sooner than it does right now. Nothing major. No, I’m talking about what I have before Chapter One.
There’s a prologue, of course. I had my writing group look it over just recently, and the basically unanimous (and unanimously merciless) opinion was to kill it, or at least cut it drastically.
But there’s not just the prologue. There’s even more stuff in front of the prologue. Three whole pages more.

The story of the novel grew out of an idea I had when I was in an all-consuming epic-fantasy stage. I wrote the idea down, the three pages which explained the world I’d created, stored those three pages safely on my computer and promptly forgot about them.  About two years later I stumbled across them almost by accident. By now I was deeply enchanted by the worldly wonders of urban fantasy, and I realized the potential for it stored in those three pages. A character formed in my mind, clamoring for her story to be told. So I let her out.

While I wrote the story, those three pages helped me understand this world; this world born out of my mind yet vastly unknown to me. The world grew as the story grew, but on those three pages all other developments were based. Without that foundation to work with, all sense in plot and world building might have flown right out the metaphorical window.

Now, those three pages aren’t needed anymore. They’re not a part of the plot, their important points have been made in the relevant scenes within the book, and if left where they are, they would confuse anybody not closely acquainted with the story already.  They equal a deep and annoying pothole between the dedication and Chapter One – with the prologue following as the axle-jarring bump behind it. And that is a very very bad way to start your book.

Still, they are the seed from which this golden fruit grew, and it’s not easy parting with something that was at one point crucial for you to keep tending it. (Ain’t I just aglow with similes today!) So I’ve kept them in there, revision after revision, edit after edit.
Now I’m cutting the cord. I’m filling in the pothole. I’m applying spit to my polishing cloth. I’m marking those three pages with their four hundred words and hitting ‘delete’.

There. Didn’t feel a pinch. But now I’m squinting – there’s a bright patch on my golden fruit. Granted, it’s not big. Those three pages came to only four hundred words. But every editing journey begins with one word less.

Four hundred words down. Several thousand to go. 

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.  ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Interesting agent-side info on number of queries received vs. clients signed

From Her Snarkiness’ lips to our ears:

“[…] here's a waterfall of reality for you to bathe in:

100 queries a week (x 12 weeks per quarter)
5 partials requested each week
20 partials a month (x 3 months)
5 fulls requested a month (x 3 months)
1 new client quarter (in three months).

1200 queries
60 partials
15 fulls
1 client

Don't look at the numbers though; look at the percentages. Kristin Nelson gets 10x the number of queries I get, and takes on more people but I'm going to bet her ratio of query to representation is within spitting distance of mine.

It only takes one yes. The odds are meaningless because I don't have to take 1 and I can actually take more. If I got 10 great manuscripts in a given month, I'd be nuts, but I'd want to take them all.”

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Views on Self-Publishing

My reasons for not going for self-publishing (just yet) are:
  1. I firmly believe my book is good enough to find a publisher.
  2. An agent and especially an editor can make it better – more so than I could by myself.
  3. When I find an agent and/or publisher for it, I’ll know it’s not slush, meaning
  4. readers won’t be confronted with slush but instead will (probably) enjoy it, which will
  5. counteract the impending slush-wave which is promoted by self-publishing and which is threatening to drown readers in disappointing stories.

I read a terrific article not too long ago on point #5, but of course now can’t find it anymore. If and when I do, I’ll post the link here. If I remember correctly, it discusses parts of David Niall Wilson’s article on ‘Some Thoughts on Book Promotion and Publishing’.

10/18/10 Found it here

I’m not saying that I’ll never consider self-publishing; I’m not a saint. If in five years time I’ve found no agent or publisher for any of my writing, I might – as a writer – be tempted by the ease of getting my books out there by self-publishing. As a reader I’m begging my writer-self never to consider it, since the reader in me hopes to never be subjected to the slush-wave that promises to roll over us if everybody who thinks him/herself a writer thrusts his/her work on the unsuspecting public. From what I’ve heard and read, there are huge amounts of slush – hair-raising, brain-frying slush – being submitted to agents around the world every day. Imagine all this slush made available to readers, without even a spell-check or grammar-screening. Imagine working through all this slush just to find the stray story-gem – it’d be akin to going through the brimful laundry basket, searching for that one clean sock that might have been thrown in accidentally with the dirty ones. Except, no matter how much effort you put into washing, scrubbing and ironing them, these particular dirty slush-socks will never be good enough to wear; nay, they don’t even resemble socks anymore – too many holes.
Of course, readers have a way of getting the word out there that a book is good or bad: the rating stars on Amazon are only one example of how it can be done. But even these ratings, as David Niall Wilson explains in his article, can be faked or circumvented.
Ergo, I, the reader, beg myself, the writer, not to contribute to the slush-wave, and to accept a (possible future) defeat with dignity, but also without shame – at least I’ll have tried.

Querying an Agent – what I’ve learned about it

What I really like about is that it provides you with specific information on how the chosen agent wants to be queried. There are many ways to do this, and for me some of them are automatically ruled out by my circumstances.

The major question that arises when querying is that of which medium is best used to query an agent: paper and postal service (appropriately termed snail mail) or virtual documents and email. Both have pros and cons to be considered when choosing.
Snail mail means that you print out your cover letter, query, synopsis or maybe even your whole manuscript on paper, stick it in an envelope and send it to the agent like any old letter – and don’t forget that SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope), or you’ll never see your manuscript again. Depending on how much you’re sending and where you’re sending it to, this can become very costly (costs for printing out the documents/manuscript + shipping charges), especially when querying several agents at once, which is always a good idea as a newbie. Even nowadays some agents prefer snail mail and holding the manuscript in their hands rather than email and reading it off the screen – they don’t even accept email queries.
Many of them do, though. In you can choose whether you want just the agents who also accept email to be listed. Email queries are cheaper and faster – but often, agents get so swamped with email queries that they won’t write a response when they choose to reject one. So the writer who sent the query might end up waiting a long time for an answer that never appears; this should be taken as a ‘thanks, but no thanks’.
But it can take a long time before you receive an answer in both cases – four to six weeks seems to be normal, so don’t lose hope when you don’t receive an answer on the same day, week or even month of sending the query out.  

Personally, I make use of that little check box in that lets the search focus on those agents who accept email queries. As a student, and living in Germany but querying in the US, I just don’t have the financial means to send snail mails at the moment. Emails will have to do. I emailed out my first queries a little over two weeks ago, which means I still have a lot of time before I might expect an answer. I received two rejections on the same day I sent them out, which, although negative news, I really appreciated because I won’t be waiting for those agents’ answers anymore.

I started a list in Microsoft Excel, in which I keep track of the agents/agencies I sent something to, on what date I sent it to them, when I received an answer, and what that answer was. What I also include in this list is what exactly I sent them, because here the agents’ specifications vary the most: some want only a query, some a query and the first three or five chapters of the manuscript; some agents want a query and a two-page synopsis, some only a 500-word synopsis; others want the query, the synopsis, and the first five pages of the manuscript. It’s nice that they inform you on their agentquery-page what exactly they expect for you to send them. (Also, devoted a page to the proper formatting of queries/cover letters and synopses in both snail mail and email queries.)

A friend of mine, who recently got a short-story published in an anthology, was kind enough to look over my query. As with the novel draft, it helps to keep polishing your queries and synopses until you get a fish to bite. The better they’re written, the more interest the query arouses. Friends’ or families’ opinions can help in polishing the query, especially if they’ve never read the story itself, because they can say whether they’d be interested in reading it from just the query alone.

I read somewhere that you shouldn’t query all the agents you’ve selected at once, but rather send out your queries to five or six of them, then wait several weeks before you query the next ones. This makes sense to me, since you can wait for feedback that might come your way, and which you can use to make your ‘performance’ better with the next query-wave you send out.

What I’ve also read many many (and once more, just for emphasis) many times is that you need to accept an agent’s rejection and, if they’re really awesome people, feedback, and move on. Professional agents don’t get personal when writing a rejection and neither should you. There’s no use in writing a scalding answer to a rejection, berating the agent for not considering your story (especially if the agent has taken the time to write you his or her reasons for rejecting it!). This isn’t professional behavior and will neither get the agent to accept you as a client, nor will it make him eager to read anything else you query him/her with, because you’ve made it obvious you can’t communicate and work in a professional way. Same thing goes for being impatient and writing emails or phoning the agent to see how your query is coming along. With snail mail, since you would like to have your fairly costly manuscript back and included a SASE for just this purpose, if you haven’t heard back within six to eight weeks, go ahead and – politely! – ask about it. If you sent an email-query, don’t bother; I was told that no answer after two months is tantamount to a rejection.

There are probably many more issues to be considered when querying an agent, but I think I hit the major ones, and professed my personal affinity for acting professional.
For more insightful and at the same time often hilarious information on the subject, check out Miss Snark’s (- the literary agent’s) vacated blog.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The treasure trove called Internet, and how it got me seriously started

All Hail the Internet! Without it, I’d still be writing stories as a virtual recluse, not even considering letting anybody read my stuff. Through the internet, I found my writer’s group, which got me started. And through the internet, I’ve found out so much about writing, editing and publishing, I would never have even heard of otherwise. Sure, there’s a lot of slush out there, too, but conducting research in the infinite spaces of the web from your desk at home is so much easier than going to limited libraries, or following a faint trail of knowledge by phone. Separating the slush from the helpful stuff is the trick, but anybody with enough perseverance can get there.

The nice thing about writing is that authors (usually) are happy and willing to help each other in getting their stories out to the public; they are colleagues, not rivals; there is no competition when it comes to imagination – the possibility that somebody else has come up with the exact same idea and story you have is practically zero. So there are a lot of authors, editors and agents who voluntarily share their experiences and advice on the internet; all for the low low price of your own monthly internet fee.

Once I realized this fact, I went out into the world of bits and bytes, of websites and forums, of communities and blogs, and did what women do since men left the caves to hunt: I gathered.
By now I’ve gathered a lot of information, and found several sites – mostly blogs – I go back to regularly. (See my Blog-List and Favourite Links)

At one point I stumbled across a link to a site that sent my little writer’s heart a-flutter. Agent Query, “the internet’s most trusted database of literary agents” – over 900 of them. It’s a site that devotes itself to connecting writers with agents; it’s easy to understand, and quick to make use of.
At the time I found it, my novel was finished, and had been locked away in a folder on my laptop for over half a year – every 200k words of it.

I knew that the story was way too long even if I wasn’t looking to publish it, but I didn’t have the heart or desire to start tearing it apart, tweaking it, completely taking out characters I’d become fond of. So it sat there, locked away in its folder, and if I hadn’t stumbled upon that’s where it would probably still be. AgentQuery showed me an easy and seemingly magical way to find fitting agents, and gave me the much needed boost in courage and willpower to take out the behemoth novel, dust it off, and edit. ‘Edit’ in this case meaning mostly erasing.

I went through the story once, brought the word count down to about 150k. Still too big. Sure, there are lots of successful books out there with a larger word count, but as a newbie and UF writer, the chances of getting an agent to bite are higher when he or she isn’t smothered by just the thought of such a whopper. Plus, I knew the story itself would be better if I could take out every unnecessary word, scene and character that had slipped in during my first draft.

So I went through it again and ended up with about another 25k less. Now began the really hard work, the heartbreaking decisions. The third run-through extinguished another 10k, though it took me longer than with the two previous ones combined. Combing through and taking out whole scenes is hard. Writing out a whole character even harder. But every author who has ever written or blogged about this self-editing process says it’s worth doing it; polishing a story like this will make it better. Nobody’s chomping on the bit to read another tome like ‘The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’.

So polish I did - and still do. The process isn’t done yet, but I’ve brought it down to a word count that might not send every agent scurrying for cover. I typed up a query, found five agents on AgentQuery who seemed right for me, and sent it to them. Now, while I wait, I’ll keep polishing, so that the next wave of agents I send the query to will be confronted with an even smaller word count.

Life is all about fits and starts and opportunities. Finding the writer’s group got me started on a novel that I saw through to the end. Finding AgentQuery got me started on publishing said novel (at least trying to). And ‘discovering’ the limitless reaches and boundless opportunities of the internet made any of it possible in the first place.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Why a German writer would look for a US agent

Some people have asked me why I’m looking for an agent in the US. I’m German and live in the South of Germany, so the question is valid. Nevertheless, it was never really a question to me.

First of all, I write in English. My dad’s from London, and I grew up speaking both English and German, often in the same sentence. So I’m fluent in English, which I personally find a much nicer language in terms of flow and pronunciation than German. What I’ve also noticed is that where there is one German word for a specific meaning, there are often three or more in English.
Plus, most books I read are in English, simply because I prefer reading stories in their original language, and I read a lot more novels by English-writing authors. So, writing in English comes naturally to me, at least more so than German.

I suppose I could try selling my English stories to German publishers. I’m sure it’s been done, though I have no definite example, and I must admit that I haven’t really looked into it. I have a feeling it will be easier and more rewarding to find one in the US. Of course, it’s nice to always have that option in the back of my mind. And if I were to write a German book someday, I’d try to find a German publisher for it.

There’s a second reason I’m looking for a US agent, though: I write mostly urban fantasy, which at the moment has its biggest market in the US. In Germany, the urban fantasy hype began with the dawn of the Twilight movies, and in most cases only authors who are established in the US have published their urban fantasies on the German market. A market which is even more narrowed down by the fact that German urban fantasy readers seem to specialize on vampires – a fairly trite subject, in my opinion, and I prefer writing about other magical creatures that haven’t had all the mystery sucked out of them yet.

What I don’t have much knowledge on is the chance of a German writer actually finding a US publisher. There’s no law against it that I’m aware of, but I could imagine that it brings a lot of red tape with it, which might discourage agents and/or publishers from going for a newbie author. Definitely something to do more research on.

A possibility I can’t really take advantage of is going to US cons or events, where writers may get in touch with agents and/or publishers in person. For a student, who can barely pay her monthly rent, that possibility is just not in the budget. I’ll be keeping an eye out for German ones, though, even if I’m not seriously looking for a German publisher just yet. You never know who you might meet.

All in all, I know that I have many possibilities, but right now, finding a US agent is the one I’m going to pursue. If all else fails, there’s always the self-publishing option, although that’s a whole other can of worms, to be opened in another blog post.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Making my lines my life, or: Laying the lure

A few days ago, after realizing that where my life was headed wasn't where I wanted to end up at all, and after reading a very interesting article by Bev Vincent on Storytellers Unplugged titled ‘Aspiring Writers’ (about how “they’re the people who talk a lot about writing, about how they want to write, even about the stories they plan to write, but never get around to the actual process of putting words down on the page.”), I decided to go for it, to pursue that dream which I’d never allowed – even imagined – to become reality, to peel that appendage called 'aspiring' from my name. For the first time in my life, I’m voicing the thought. I want to be a writer. Hopefully, someday, a published writer.

I’ve loved to make up stories all my life, even before I could type. I remember sitting beside my mom, dictating a hand-scribbled page of a pony-club story to her while she typed it up on the computer. I’d have to ask her how old I was exactly, but it was around that time when I still believed Mary Poppins might someday float out of the sky with her umbrella to be my nanny.

I have more story beginnings saved on my computer than books in my bookcase (when I moved last, these filled five packing cases to the brim, and that’s not counting all my children’s books up in the attic or my 50-book collection of the STAR WARS series). Two years ago, I joined a wonderful writer’s group that made me realize I wasn’t the only nut with the insatiable urge to write, to create my own reality. With the help of this writer’s group, I managed to finish several short stories and even found the motivation to grit my teeth and do what so far I hadn’t accomplished - write ‘The End’ on the last page of a story with more than 50k words.
Yet I never even seriously contemplated the idea of becoming a professional writer.

Now, I’m taking the plunge. Diving in headfirst. Going for broke. I want this, and if it doesn’t happen it won’t be for my lack of trying.

Step One: Finishing a novel. Check.
Step Two: Finding an agent. Unchecked.

Obviously, I’m still at the very beginning. And I have no illusions, at least not where getting an agent or publisher, and making the big bucks are concerned. I’ll still finish my master studies in economics and hopefully find a good job soon after receiving my degree. Simply growing from youthful aspiring-writer-ism to adult writer’s status doesn’t automatically mean you heap up piles of gold and accolades. In most cases it’s a long and rocky road to being published, at the beginning of which a sign should advise that ‘this way be dragons’. Dragons who sit on that pot of publishing-gold, and whom to slay would be the wrong approach, because they’re the only ones able to unlock its magic.

So, this is me, finally grabbing my life by the balls, and my lines by their bytes, and heading down that dusty path. I’ve passed the warning sign and am waiting to lure my first dragons into my spellbinding words and intriguing worlds. Here puffy, puffy, puffy…