Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Query Monsters & Yolanda Renee's Blog Tour

I was going to post about something else this week, but a timely conversation with a friend gave me a different topic. It turns out literary agents are being slammed right now with queries. People are deciding that having some time off work means they should write that novel they've always dreamed of. But these are the people who haven't been attending writing workshops and conferences, reading craft books, or even visiting the blogs of writers, which means they don't realize they're supposed to finish the book before they query it (for fiction).

An agent I know has gotten over 700 queries in the last week. Most of them just ideas for a novel that isn't written.



A book shouldn't be queried until it's completed, and by completed I mean written AND edited. And preferably beta read or critiqued in some way. Sure, use this time to get those first novels written, but don't start chasing after agents until it's done and in great shape. You often can't query the same agent later for the same novel, even if it's completed then. These folks are shooting themselves in the foot.

At the same time, if your book is finished, I'm thinking it's a good time to sit on your fingers and prepare those query lists instead of sending them just yet. Think of this like December and January following NaNoWriMo. Agents being flooded means they're digging through endless queries. What happens if the right agent misses your book, which might have otherwise been perfectly suited to them?

Food for thought, anyway.

A final note: publishers are currently looking for humorous, romantic, or inspiring books. If you write in those realms, now's a good time to get those submissions out (assuming the books are ready). It's been projected that this trend will continue for the next two years due to the hard times.

I hope people will still read horror!

Guess what? It's time to welcome Yolanda on her book tour for "Murder, Just Because!"

It’s a pleasure to be participating in author Yolanda Renee’s MURDER, JUST BECAUSE Blog Tour through MC Book Tours today.

The author is offering an awesome tour-wide international giveaway. More information on the giveaway is listed below.

by Yolanda  Renée
◊ Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
◊ Publisher: Yolanda Renee
◊ Series: Detective Quaid Mysteries
◊ Paperback: 291 pages
◊ Print & eBooks
◊ ISBN-10: 0985820632
◊ ISBN-13: 978-0985820633
◊ Contains explicit sex & graphic violence

"While this book does contain explicit sexual language and graphic violence, it could easily be taken from the daily headlines. The content is plausible and realistic as we look at the world around us. The events in the book are not overly done but give a pragmatic look at the terrifying actions killers can and sometimes do take."

It was a matter of beginner’s luck, but rookie detective Steven Quaid’s career and reputation as an elite investigator skyrocketed when he captured one of the most sadistic serial killers in Alaskan history: Stowy Jenkins, AKA the Snowman. But that was ten years ago.

And now…Jenkins is back. Escaped from prison and on the move, his bloodlust is stronger than ever, and his methods of torture are even more horrifying than before. As his bloody rampage continues and the number of mutilated bodies mounts, terrified Alaskans increasingly doubt Quaid’s ability to catch the killer again. The detective’s reputation is on the line, and he’s going to need a lot more than luck, because this time, Jenkins is driven by more than the thrill of a random kill.

This time, it’s more personal. He’s out for revenge…and his ultimate target is Quaid. In a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, Jenkins starts picking off the people in Quaid’s life…slowly, gradually tightening his circle of corpses and drawing ever closer to the most important person in Quaid’s life...his wife. Can Quaid do the impossible again? Can he outmaneuver the killer, or has the detective's luck finally run out?

Author Yolanda Renee
For those who aren’t familiar with the author, here’s a bit of background on her in her own words.

At one time Alaska called to me, and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun, survive in below zero temperatures, and hike the Mountain Ranges. I’ve traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and the memories are some of my most valued. The wonders, mysteries and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left me and thus now influences my writing.
Despite my adventurous spirit, I achieved my educational goals, married, and I have two handsome sons. Writing is now my focus, my newest adventure!

For more on Yolanda and her writing, you can connect with her here:
Blog    *     Facebook     *     Twitter     *     Pinterest    


This tour-wide giveaway is for a complete set of the Detective Quaid Mystery series books for one winner, paperback copies of MURDER, JUST BECAUSE for five winners, a Kindle copy of MURDER, JUST BECAUSE for 10 winners, and a $25 Amazon gift card.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Yolanda on her week-long tour HERE. You never know what you might find out. Do you enjoy watching a character grow from one story to the next?

Congratulations to Yolanda!!

It's been awhile since I talked about what I've read and watched lately, so I'm sure I've forgotten half the things I've [mindlessly] watched throughout the recent upheaval, but here are some of the notables.


I'd seen the movie, of course, but never read the book. Happily, I ended up with a copy including the original ending (the British version ending--the American version removed the final chapter, so it wasn't in Kubrick's film, either.)

The fascinating thing about this book is that Burgess created an entire slang language (which I've since learned was based on Russian, pretty directly actually). It's hard to adjust to, but by the end it's rolling through your head in an oddly familiar way. The movie actually came across as more violent, though in a stylized way. There's a separation between the reader and the incidents being perpetrated. It's an interesting study on treating criminals, much in the same way as Strangeland. What if a criminal is trained out of their bad behavior, only to have society treat them in such a way as to bring it back out again?

This is a gorgeous book, lush and heartfelt. About a girl deemed "swamp trash" by the townspeople who is left to fend for herself when everyone in her life eventually abandons her. What will someone put up with from a person who finally stays? It was engrossing and heartbreaking, but I felt like the last chapter was unnecessary. Unfortunately, you can't skip it, as you get an answer to a big question in that final chapter. Given, it's beautiful, just like the rest of the book, but it tied things up a little too neatly for me. I still highly recommend the book.


This Australian horror film is intense. A teen girl kidnaps the boy who turned her down for prom, and she and her father torture him. Turns out this isn't the first time she's gotten what she wanted in this sadistic fashion. Gore and torture, so don't watch it if you're not a fan. 

Rich "SJWs" hunt "deplorables." The main star is one of the main women from Glow, and she's a fantastic actress with quite a range. I was afraid this one would be too irritably political, but it actually equally mocked the political extremists. My brother and I are politically opposed, and we both enjoyed it. Funny as hell, and quite twisted.

This one's got great special effects and plenty of suspense. An abused wife escapes her husband only to get notice that he's dead and has left everything to her. But is he really dead? If so, who's tormenting her? A touch of horror, a touch of science fiction. And a well acted film.


Sounds inappropriate, but it's hysterical. I thought I'd already posted about this one, but I can't find it when I scan my previous posts. This is told from either the couple's POV or the ER doctor's. Some of the situations people get themselves into are hilarious and shocking. (Hulu)

This one's about a catering company and the situations they find themselves in (or get themselves into). I swear, half the cast at any given time was in Veronica Mars. A funny show. (Hulu)

Submission stats

Since I didn't do these last week like I usually do, here are my March submission stats:

2 rejections
0 acceptances
1 notification that a publication that had one of my pieces short listed was closing
7 pieces currently on submission

Accepting Submissions

Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these (unless otherwise stated), merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Madness Heart Press is seeking giant monster stories for Devouring Earth: Kaiju and Giant Monster Inspired Horror Anthology. Stories over 1500 words preferred. Pays $5. Deadline April 30 or once filled.

Flash Bang Mysteries is seeking mystery/crime flash stories. 500-700 words. Pays $50. Deadline April 30.

Chicken Soup for the Soul is seeking Pole to Pole Publishing is seeking stories for Twenty Thousand Leagues Remembered. Stories must pay tribute to Jules Verne's story in some way. 3000-5000 words. Pays $.02/word. Deadline April 30.

87 Bedford is seeking historic fantasy short stories. 1000-5000 words. Pays $.08/word. Deadline April 30.

The Sunlight Press is seeking essays, fiction, poetry, reviews, photography, and more. Paying market, but pay not specified. Word count varies by type.

Did you enter to win any of Yolanda's awesome prizes? Have you pre-ordered your copy? Are you writing now? Submitting? What's your opinion on querying agents right now? Have anything humorous or romantic you can query? Any of these publishing links of interest? Anything to share? How are you?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Patsy said...

I sent out my novel just before 'it' all started. I rather suspect it's been lost in a flood of other stuff!

Mason Canyon said...

Thanks for being a part of Yolanda's tour and sharing her book with your readers. It's a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Yolanda Renée said...

Hi, Shannon! I'm sure, that more and more folks are stepping into publish. Our fault, we make it look too easy! The number of books that I've read recently that just shouldn't have hit the page, it's almost disgusting! I pity any agent and publisher out there!

Thanks for supporting my tour. I apologize that the post didn't get there on time!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I can't imagine querying something that wasn't finished. What would you do if they requested it?
Big congratulations to Yolanda!

Yolanda Renée said...

Thanks, Alex.

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

It shows that people sending out manuscripts before finishing them or at least making them presentable need to do their research about submitting. It's a really good thing you're mentioning this because it can save a lot of people a lot of time and opportunity that would otherwise be wasted.

I both read A Clockwork Orange and have seen the movie. Fortunately, the copy I got a hold of was the British version which I think I would prefer over the American one. Even though the movie left out the ending scene from the British version of the book, I did enjoy the movie especially its style of filming. Stanley Kubrick really knows how to film movies setting up the mood and so that's why I'm a fan of his work.

I saw the new Invisible Man movie. Even though it drifts kind of far from the original story in the details and events, it stays true to the basic plot and does a good job of setting it in modern times.

Jemi Fraser said...

Yay for Yolanda!! :)
I feel sorry for those agents - so much time spent on queries for unfinished stories! what a waste!!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shannon and Renee – congratulations on her Quaid book … I’ll enjoy the read – murder always entices, and in Alaska … lots to learn about.

I’ve never read the book (Clockwork Orange) – always hated the film … scared me to death – but last year I did see an exhibition on Kubrick and still have to write it up … I didn’t know about the language – I’ll have to look into that once we’re through this bit of our lives …

Hunt – looks interesting too …

The agents – oh gosh – I guess they’re just saying lots of ‘not interested right now’ or equivalent; how ridiculous of people …

Take care – all the best to you both - Hilary

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thank goodness I've not been overwhelmed with queries for unfinished manuscripts. Please, please don't send those!

I really want to see The Invisible Man. Everyone says it's great.

Yolanda Renée said...

Thanks, Jemi!

Yolanda Renée said...

Hi, Hilary. I've always been intrigued by Alaska. :)

DMS said...

I can't imagine sending a query for an unfinished manuscript. WOW! Talk about overwhelming to receive 700 of them! Great advice. :)

Stay safe!

Frewin55 said...

I went to see Clockwork Orange at the cinema before Kubrick pulled it due, I believe, to the criticism that its ultra-violence would "inspire" bad behaviour. But I think you are right, it produces a kind of detached feeling in me - uncomfortable though and perhaps some people would have taken it the wrong way...

Pat Garcia said...

Since I have read three of your books, I am feeling kind of like I should read this also. Since I thought like the grizzly horror I will just overlook it when I come to it.
What fascinates me is your stye of writing and how you are able to draw me into your story, even though I don't usually read the genre.
All the best and I look forward to your next book which also has humour.

Shalom aleichem,
Pat Garcia

Yolanda Renée said...

LOL, that makes me smile like you wouldn't believe. Thanks, Pat!

Yolanda Renée said...

Thanks, Pat. Just look past the horror and concentrate on the love story. LOL I hope you can!

Shannon Lawrence said...

I hope it turns out that's not true, and you get good news!

Shannon Lawrence said...

Her work always does!

Shannon Lawrence said...

It got here in plenty of time! And I was happy to share.

Shannon Lawrence said...

When I've asked people that, they simply say they'd buckle down and finish it. Makes me wonder about the editing job then.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I'm glad I read the British version. Kubrick was certainly a film genius, even if I didn't agree with everything he did.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I feel sorry for them, too. And their slush readers!

Shannon Lawrence said...

I look forward to your writeup! A Kubrick exhibition would have to be quite interesting.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I'm wondering if you're still safe from it, or if you ended up getting some of those queries.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I hope you're staying safe, too, Jess!

Shannon Lawrence said...

What a cool bit of history, to have made it to the cinema before it got pulled. I didn't know he'd done that.

Shannon Lawrence said...

That's so nice of you, Pat, thank you!