Friday, December 08, 2017

Feedback Request


The author of the book featured in Face-Lift 1360 would like your opinion of the following version:


Dear Mr. Evil Editor:

Twenty-eight-year-old Verity Hearst has killed nearly two hundred bad guys as one of the world's deadliest assassins, a reputation she has proudly earned alone. She fears being single forever, but solitude isn't so bad, not with a loaded Springfield 1911-A1 pistol and a warm cup of tea to keep her company.


Verity's manager Enoch is her only link to the mysterious company she works for. When he tells her she'll have a male partner on the biggest assignment of her life, she wonders if her employer is doubting her abilities. All she knows is she must maintain her reputation, or die trying.


Verity's targets, three men at the head of a billion-dollar child trafficking operation with drug dealings on the side, are well-armed and impossible to find. Verity's partner Cy, who thinks he's the world's deadliest assassin, knows more than she does about everything. Doing her job with this smartass doubting her every move is going to be a lot harder than she imagined.  


KILLER IN HEELS is a 71,000-word novel of suspense. I imagine Verity Hearst as Jack Reacher's ultra-feminine, sophisticated counterpart.

I live in Bellevue, WA with my Bengal cat named Byron, am addicted to all sorts of coffee, and enjoy dark rainy nights.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Friday, December 01, 2017

NaNoWriMo is over.


Just because you wrote it in a month doesn't mean you shouldn't get feedback on your opening page. Or on the query you'll be sending to agents after you finish proofreading and editing the whole novel. If you finished, feel free to brag about it in the comments. And even if you gave up after three days, you probably wrote enough to submit your opening. 


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving




There've been two "Guess Which Titles Are Real Cookbooks" quizzes over the years. I've combined the best of both into one quiz. Ten of the titles below are actual cookbooks. The rest were made up by EE and his minions. Answers are below the quiz.



Go Fork Yourself: Recipes for Life
Moon Unit Zappa’s Vegan Goodies

The Endangered Species Cookbook
The Hunting in the Nude Cookbook
The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken

Mama Nazima's Jewish Iraqi Cuisine

Ring of Fire: Recipes for Anal Distress
Fishwife's Guide to Cooking for Ingrates

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry

Stoned Soup: Favorite Recipes of the Martyrs

Long Table: The Complete Giraffe Recipe Guide

Yeast Infections: Natural Bread Baking at Home
Hungry for You: From Cannibalism to Seduction

The Head's the Best Part! 101 Ways to Cook Brain

Unsettling Soups For Your Pre-Suicide Farewell Party
From Here to Eternity: Recipes Inspired by the Afterlife.
Erin go Burp: Traditional Meals from Ireland's Emerald Shores.

The Bulimia Cookbook: Recipes that Taste Just as Good Coming Up
Beyond Offal: Decorating Dishes With Hooves, Teeth, Horns And Fur
The Willie Nelson "Cooked Goose" Cookbook and IRS Financial Advisor
Eat What You Want and Die Like a Man: the World's Unhealthiest Cookbook
The Redneck Grill: The Most Fun You Can Have With Fire, Charcoal, and a Dead Animal

Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany




The actual cookbooks are:

The Hunting in the Nude Cookbook

The Endangered Species Cookbook

The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken

Mama Nazima's Jewish Iraqi Cuisine

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry

Hungry for You: From Cannibalism to Seduction

The Willie Nelson "Cooked Goose" Cookbook and IRS Financial Advisor

Eat What You Want and Die Like a Man: the World's Unhealthiest Cookbook

The Redneck Grill: The Most Fun You Can Have With Fire, Charcoal, and a Dead Animal

Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany















Guess the Title



Thanksgiving being a day we celebrate by eating, I've taken the subtitles of eight food-and-drink-related books that are for sale online from Barnes and Noble. Your job is to guess which title goes with each subtitle. 



The One! The Only! Guide to Cooking on Your Car Engine!


Gourmet Grill
Manifold Destiny
Radiator Roadkill
Carburetor Cuisine
The Six-Cylinder Superchef


Recipes and Rants

The Cranky Chef
Bitchin In The Kitchen
Gordon Ramsay's Fuckfest
The Crabby Cook Cookbook
Frost My Chocolates and Roast My Butt


Drinking Games for Times You'll Never Remember with Friends You'll Never Forget

Shit Faced
The Imbible
Pickle My Liver
Beer Pong and Beyond
Wasted and No Remembrance


Recipes for Self-Loathing

Humble Pies
Bevittle Yourself
Eat Your Feelings
The Blimp in the Mirror
The Sylvia Plath Cookbook
How Sharp is Your Chef's Knife?


Grim and Ghastly Recipes for the Gruesome Gourmand

Awful Offal
First, Peel the Otter
Ghoulish Gastronomy
The Zombie Cookbook
The Brains are the Best Part
When I Asked You to Bring Me Some Grub, I Didn't Mean it Literally


Have Your Best Friend for Dinner

Poached Pooch
The Pet Cookbook
The Culinary Cannibal
The Donner Party Recipes
The Cuisine of Papua New Guinea
Hannibal Lecter’s Guide to Entertaining


A Philosopher's Guide to Wine

Plato on Pinot
Que Syrah Syrah
Descartes Decanted
I Drink Therefore I Am
The Transcendental Oenophile


The Art of Miserable Meal Making

Just Nuke It
When I Cook, They Run
Last Meals in the Worst Prisons on Earth
The Cat Food Commission's Gourmet Automat
The Gray Ground Meat and Brown Vegetable Cookbook
The Worse I Cook, The More He Takes Me Out to Dinner






Actual Book Titles:

Manifold Destiny
The Crabby Cook Cookbook
The Imbible
Eat Your Feelings
First, Peel the Otter
The Pet Cookbook
I Drink Therefore I Am
When I Cook, They Run











Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Feedback Request


A new version of the query just below this one.


Dear Agent,

In 2009, after 28 years of marriage, I lost my 15-year-old son under allegations a transgender woman was unfit to be a mother. The male disguise that had weaved the uncommon path to becoming a mother, now threatened to destroy the dream I’d had since childhood.

Accused of abusing my son, I lost everything. I became the defendant in a legal drama dedicated to protecting mother and child, dispossessed of any notion that I was the mom. Every appearance came with new threats from the court, felony charges, loss of parenting time, more legal fees, contempt of court, even jail time. Even therapists I had once sought for help were making accusations against me.

The consensus was overwhelming; no judge would ever grant me custody but I was unwilling to abandon my son. I dismissed two attorneys unwilling to defend my custody position, finally representing myself in a custody battle lasting four years.

Isolation and the economic and emotional stress, combined with the threats from the court, drove me into a near-suicidal depression but the love of my son prevailed. I regained custody while becoming the woman I had always known I was.

Whipping Girl took transgender women from the genre of Lesbian non-fiction into the realm of feminism. My book, The Transgender Myth, broadens that scope, challenging our perceptions of gender, invoking the complementary notion of gender put forth by The Feminine Mystique and asserting that men and women do in fact come from the same planet.

The book is not a story about transition. It is a journey from blissful innocence, through fear and isolation, past denial and defeat into acceptance and triumph, examining the best and the worst of living in both genders.

The Transgender Myth is complete at 93,000 words. I trust this story will appeal to your interest in LGBTQ narratives. Thanks for your time and consideration.


Notes

Here's how I would condense the first three paragraphs (into two):


In 2009, after 28 years of marriage, I lost my 15-year-old son under allegations a transgender woman was unfit to be a mother. Wrongly accused of abusing my son, I became the defendant in a legal drama dedicated to protecting the birth mother and child, dispossessed of any notion that I was the mom. 

Every court appearance came with new threats: felony charges, loss of parenting time, more legal fees, contempt of court, even jail time. Therapists I had once looked to for help made accusations against me. The consensus was overwhelming; no judge would ever grant me custody. But I was unwilling to abandon my son. I dismissed two attorneys unwilling to defend my position, finally representing myself in a custody battle lasting four years.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Feedback Request


The author of the book most recently featured here would like feedback on this version:



Dear Agent,

Growing up, I dreamed of being a 50's-TV-style mom, just like Donna Reed and June Cleaver. Just like my own mother. So imagine my shock and dismay when, nearing puberty, I was placed in the boys' section at my school.

A brutal rape in college and a violent suicide of a second love interest put an end to fantasies about men that would never be. [I think you need to mention transgenderness before you jump ahead five years. Readers could interpret your being placed in the boys section as a clerical error. Possibly add to the first paragraph: It wasn't the school's fault; my birth certificate and my body both proclaimed I was male.] I discovered the love of another woman and her young child. Through the chaos of the marriage, I found joy in our three children becoming the mother I dreamed about as a child.

In 2009, after 28 years of marriage, I lost my 15-year-old son under allegations a transgender woman was unfit to be a mother. Despite the overwhelming consensus that no judge would ever grant me custody, I was unwilling to abandon him. Acting as my own attorney, I fought a four-year custody battle.

Isolation and the economic and emotional stress combined with threats from the court drove me into a near-suicidal depression but the love of my son prevailed. I regained custody while becoming the woman I had once imagined as a young girl [always known I was].

Whipping Girl took transgender women from the genre of Lesbian non-fiction into the realm of feminism. My book, The Transgender Myth, broadens that scope, challenging our perceptions of gender, invoking the complementary notion of gender put forth by The Feminine Mystiqueand asserting that men and women do in fact come from the same planet.

The book is not a story about transition. It is a journey from blissful innocence, through fear and isolation, past denial and defeat into acceptance and triumph, examining the best and the worst of living in both genders.


The Transgender Myth is complete at 93,000 words. I trust this story will appeal to your interest in LGBTQ narratives. Thanks for your time and consideration.



Notes

In my opinion, the third paragraph is the place to start. The first two paragraphs are backstory, fine in the book, but not so important in the query. You would have been fighting for custody whether you'd been placed in the boys section, raped, etc. or not.

Of course I'm assuming the majority of the book deals with the custody battle. It seems to be the aspect that sets your book apart from other memoirs of trans women.

If you start with paragraph 3 you have room to add, right after that paragraph ,a paragraph detailing the injustice of the system and the setbacks you had to overcome.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Feedback Request


The author of the book featured in Face-Lift 1363 would like feedback on the following revision.



Dear Agent[comma]

I had a great childhood, believing I was a girl. I dreamed of being a mom like my own mother in the glamorized media style of housewife in the 50’s. Yet, there were shadows of a different reality. Like the tree of knowledge of good and evil, I’d have to partake of its fruits to understand its secrets. 

Nearing puberty, I was enrolled in a school that separated boys and girls. I encountered a social ordinance that I was a boy, and soon, the harsh realization I was never going to be pregnant. [These opening paragraphs aren't doing it for me. I'd go with something simple:

Growing up, I dreamed of being a 50's-TV-style mom, just like Donna Reed and June Cleaver. Just like my own mother. So imagine my shock and dismay when, nearing puberty, I was placed in the boys' section at my school.]  

A brutal rape in college,[no comma] left me isolated; in denial about fantasies of men that would never be.After a second love interest ended with a violent suicide, I chose to be a man. I discovered the love of another woman and her young child. I became provider in the image of my father, andmother to our three children in the traditional homemaker image of my mom. Fearful of losingthem, [Apparently the words "be./After" "and/mother" and "losing/them" come at the end of a line in your file, so you don't realize you didn't put a space between them. Whether the missing spaces are encountered by the reader depends on the size of the screen she's reading on.] I struggled against growing tension in the marriage, until my two oldest were adults and my youngest was fifteen. I lost my son under allegations a transgender woman was unfit to be a mother.

Despite the overwhelming consensus that no judge would ever give me custody of my son, I was unwilling to abandon him. Forced to become my own attorney, I fought a four-year custody battle.

Isolation and the economic and emotional stress combined with threats from the court drove meinto a near-suicidal depression but the love of my son prevailed. I regained custody while becoming the woman I had once imagined as a young girl.

Whipping Girl took transgender women from the genre of Lesbian non-fiction into the realm of feminism. [My book,] The Transgender Myth, broadens that scope, challenging our perceptions of gender, invoking the complementary notion of gender put forth by The Feminine Mystique [Italicize.] and asserting that men and women do in fact come from the same planet.

The book has a central position in gender studies for its historical context and contemporary view of gender, examining the social, political, economic and legal impact on my life as a transgender woman. It evolves within the context of feminism, gay rights, and today’s transgender movement, while challenging society’s sexual definition of gender. It is not a story about transition. It is a journey from blissful innocence, through fear and isolation, past denial and defeat into acceptance and triumph, examining the best and the worst of living in both genders.

This true autobiography, The Transgender Myth, is complete at 93,000 words. I trust this story will appeal to your interest in LGBTQ narratives. Thanks for your time and consideration.



Notes

I think your best bet is to focus the query on your quest to win custody of your son. Presumably that's the main focus of the book, but you call it an autobiography, and devote half your story description to the years before you had any children, suggesting otherwise. Even if you focus on the custody battle, you can (and should) still work the events of your early life into the book, but they may not be needed in the query. The query would begin something like:

In 19__, after __ years of marriage, I lost my 15-year-old son under allegations a transgender woman was unfit to be a mother. Despite the overwhelming consensus that no judge would ever grant me custody, I was unwilling to abandon him. Acting as my own attorney, I fought a four-year custody battle.

The specifics of your 4-year struggle may be the heart of your book, and if so, are more relevant in the query than your childhood. 

Try to limit or eliminate language that suggests this is an academic treatise. It's a memoir. A story. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Face-Lift 1363


Guess the Plot

The Transgender Myth

1. If a transgender person is allowed to pee in a public bathroom, the world will end.

2. Paula is devastated when she realizes she can never get pregnant. Especially when she discovers the reason: She's actually a Paul.

3. Having spent seven years as a woman and then being changed back into a man, Tiresias is in great demand as the only person who can settle the argument of which sex enjoys sex the most.

4. The real story of Hermaphroditus. You won't believe what happens in chapter four.

5. What happens when you're born half minotaur and half centaur? Let's put it this way: you have to put up with a lot of bullshit and a lot of horseshit.



Original Version

Dear Agent

The Transgender Myth is the curious belief that there are but two distinct sexes, each with its own unique gender that defines specific abilities

Paula’s childhood was typical of most girls[,] without knowing [with one big exception:] her assigned sex was male. She dreamed of being a mom like her own mother in the glamorized media style of housewife in the 50’s. That changed when she was enrolled in a school that separated boys and girls, providing her with the realization that she was a boy, and soon, the harsh realization she was never going to be pregnant.

After two devastating relationship[s] with men, she discovered the love of another woman and her young child. As provider in the image of her father, she went on to have two more children in the traditional homemaker image of her mother. Tensions grew during the 28 year marriage until Paula was forced out of her home under allegations a transgender woman was unfit to be a mother. [How old were the kids when this allegation was made?]

Despite the overwhelming consensus that no judge would ever give her custody of her son, Paula was unwilling to abandon him. She represented her son’s interests as her own attorney in a four[-]year custody battle. [She had two children; why is this one son the only one at issue? Has the 2nd child reached adulthood?]

Isolation and the economic and emotional stress combined with threats from the court drove Paula into a near[-]suicidal depression. The love of her son prevailed. Paula regained custody while becoming the woman she had once imagined as a young girl. [Becoming or pretending to be?]

Whipping Girl took transgender women from the genre of Lesbian non-fiction into the realm of feminism. The Transgender Myth broadens that scope, challenging our perceptions of gender, invoking the complimentary [complementary] notion of gender put forth by The Feminine Mystique and asserting that men and women do in fact come from the same planet.

Inspired by Paula’s costly legal battle to retain custody of her son: a battle against social prejudice and rigid legal norms. She examines society’s gender norms within family relationships, creating a challenging perspective on the true meaning of gender equity.

The book has a central position in gender studies for its historical context and contemporaryview [2 words] of gender, examining the social, political, economic and legal impact on Paula’s life as a transgender woman. It evolves within the context of feminism, gay rights, and today’s transgender movement, while challenging many of the media representations. It is not a story about transition. It is a journey from blissful innocence, through fear and isolation, past denial and defeat into acceptance and triumph, examining the best and the worst of living in both genders.

This true autobiography is complete at 93,000 words with an attached appendix of a short play written and performed by me in 1999. I trust this story will appeal to your interest in LGBT narratives. My manuscript is available, in part or full, upon request. Thanks for your time and consideration.


Notes

This is a little long. Removing the red words will get it closer to a good length.

It's standard to summarize the story in present tense. No reason not to here.

Perhaps it's my ignorance of transgenderness, but if Paula's assigned sex was male, why was she having a childhood typical of most girls before she went to the school where she realized she was a boy?  

I'm not clear on what this sentence means: As provider in the image of her father, she went on to have two more children in the traditional homemaker image of her mother. Maybe it would be simpler to say: After two devastating relationships with men, she discovered the love of another woman, with whom she "fathered" two children. (I'm assuming she didn't give birth to the two children, as it was previously stated she was never going to be pregnant.)

If you haven't already, check out Manuscript Wish List. A lot of agents and editors are hungry for LGBT.



Saturday, September 30, 2017

Feedback Request



The author of the book featured in Face-Lift 1353 would like feedback on the following revision.


Dear Agent,

Entering the labyrinth means you'll face your worst fears. Exiting ensures you'll return home with supernatural abilities and become one of the "gifted." With the help of her power of invisibility and an iron will Rio, a colorblind, seventeen-year-old has earned the position of Arch-Huntress. Yet when the king requires an heir he arranges a courtship between Rio, his only daughter, and Leon, her childhood friend. She will be forced to abandon hunting to become a loving wife and mother.

Just when Rio starts to accept her new life, the sound of a gunshot erupts in the middle of the night. Guns are the ancient weapons of the mechs, robotic creatures who served the Crimson God, but the false god was defeated by Rio’s grandfather. Those are all stories told to her by her now deceased mom. Believing her mother, she ventures off into the jungle of Vivuli where she finds an outsider named Slim. With shackles around his ankles, he claims to be an escaped slave of the Crimson God.

After inviting the slave into her home, things become violent when a strange curse, known as the “Blood Lust” creeps into hearts of the citizens. Now Rio must decide if this outsider is worth protecting. She has no idea who Slim is. If he’s telling the truth, he’s the key to defeating the reawakening god, bent on revenge. Her choice will determine if she’ll become Vitova’s next great hero or if she’s destined to become the next Joan of Arch.

My YA fantasy novel, Crimson Stone, is complete at 82,000 words. I selected you as a potential agent because you represented other YA novels with magical realism. I am credited for writing a short, young adult themed, screenplay named Saint Alex (2013). My manuscript is available, in part or full, upon request. Thanks for your time and consideration.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Talk Like a Pirate Day






Click strips to enlarge.



Evil Editor Comic Strip Collections:

Evil Editor Strips
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Evil Editor's Pitch Sessions

Click "Bookstore" in sidebar.



Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Feedback Request


Feedback is requested by the author of the query whose most recent version may be seen here.


Dear Agent,

Fred’s abusive father mocked his dream of becoming a famous painter. His straight crush Malek assaulted him, landing him in the hospital. But Fred smirks: he now has Malek right where he wants him. Choosing a contract over prison, Malek becomes legally obliged to pay Fred some “reconciliatory” visits. He’s guilt-ridden after assaulting Fred, but dreads meeting with him.

During the first visit, Malek is shocked when Fred bows, confessing the urge to be his submissive. Fred knows that Malek will enjoy domination, if given a little push, like pampering his feet and preparing shisha’s for him. Fred also paints him as the sexy ruler of fictional worlds. These paintings come to life in a way Fred’s works never have.

Malek finds himself getting hard when Fred adoringly worships his feet and decides to use Fred for his erections. Things get more sexual as Malek explores this knack for domination, but fearing ridicule at university and stigma from his Iraqi family, he orders Fred to trash the paintings. Instead, Fred sells them to pay rent. However, not only do the paintings sell, there is demand for more.

Set in present Washington, D.C., THE GLORIOUS PRINCE is an upmarket LGBT erotic romance complete at 84,800 words. Similar titles are Lucy Lennox’s Borrowing Blue and Eli Eason’s Superhero.

I am a Lebanese gay man. After years of celibacy, I earned my sexual victories through role-playing, giving me first-hand insight to write about my character’s experiences. I have been published by The Gay and Lesbian Review, as well as Penny Fiction.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Best, 

Monday, September 04, 2017

New Beginning 1073


They have all gone into the Jungle, and have not come back. Their bodies are here, walking, sitting, breathing, staring at nothing because they cannot truly see. But they are gone, and I am alone and afraid.

Hands reach for me, nearly covered in hexagonal patches of black material. I turn, staring up into my mother’s empty black eyes. I duck and scurry out from beneath her hands, running down the stairs to the glass doors that look out on the Jungle.

They all gather here, staring at the Jungle with their empty eyes. Mom, dad, and the three other adults who came with us to Farethraun Jungle. A dark figure emerges from the greenery. They all stand still, tracking the figure with their eyes. As it walks through the door, I see that it is completely covered in the dark, hexagonal scales.

I am no longer afraid. No light reflects off of the figure. The scales on the others begin to spread, creeping out across their faces. Those are little details; I am paying them no attention. Only two things matter: the figure and the Jungle.

I am walking towards the Jungle, with the figure behind me. The others simply stand and watch. I am in the Jungle now, following the dark figure down an old path. The dark figure blends into the shadows under the trees. Dead leaves litter the ground underfoot. Wet brush slaps at my hands as I reach out to the sides of the path, but the leaves beneath my bare feet are surprisingly dry. Behind me, now running, it reaches out as if to touch my shoulder.

But no matter how fast I run, how quickly I dodge, the hands grab me. I am carried, screaming, back, back, back to the Jungle. My parents stand, stone-faced, eyes black as I am forced into a padded chair and a sheet is thrown over me. Angry, frustrated, defeated, I have no choice but to submit.

"Hold still," says my mother. "It won't hurt." 


The figure collects her cutting implement and moves towards me. Snip-snip--and I watch as bits of my glorious hair fall to the floor. 


Opening: Fiona Green.....Continuation: khazarkhum

Friday, September 01, 2017

New Beginning 1072


I woke up suddenly, lying completely still and straining my senses for any hint of what had woken me. Another knock came at the entrance. Jumping up out of the leaves I slept on, I sprinted over to touch the spot in the pulley system that would quickly roll the stone away. Vole was standing outside, looking guilty.

“It’s coming for you.” he said, “The most we can do is warn you. I’m sorry, Snaps.”

He stretched out a hand to me, holding a blue and gold Hope Tree leaf.

“I understand.” I said, taking it.

As he walked away, I let my feet wander while I thought. Hopelessness hardened into resolve as I walked: I can’t make a difference by fighting back, but I can sure as hell try. I found myself at the river, the water reflecting the torn clouds and bloody colors of the sunrise and the dragon-scale dull red of the Blood Flats. Cupping water in my hands, I dropped the Hope Tree leaf in and waited until its color leached into the water before drinking.

As I swallowed the soothing liquid, a mystifying realization crept into my mind: if my hands were cupping water, from what did I drop the leaf into them? My skin flushed and beads of sweat formed on my brow as I looked down, horrified to discover that I had three hands! How had I never noticed the hand growing from the crook of my left elbow, the hand now straining toward my throat as if with a mind of its own?


As the life drained from my body, I couldn't help wondering whether, behind my left knee, there might be a previously unnoticed third foot.


Opening: Fiona Green.....Continuation: EE