Jeremy D Brooks

Archive for May, 2010


by on May.19, 2010, under Writing

If today is Wednesday and you’re reading this, consider this:  it’s Monday where I’m at, and at the moment I’ve posted this, instead of sitting in Las Vegas blogging, I’m sitting in a meeting in Kentucky! WordPress is a time machine, baby!

Anyway…all’s been quiet on this blog for a while. I’ve been slammed with DayJob™, regular life-stuff, and, packing things into every single open minute of nights, mornings, weekends, and lunch hours.

This is how I felt when I sent my first query letter.

This is how I felt when I sent my first query letter.

As Mercedes Yardley mentioned a few weeks back, Andrea Brown, of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, came through town recently and not only spoke to our little writer’s meetup, but let us all form a line and gave individual feedback on the first pages of our books (or queries).

You can’t buy that kind of love.

Although Andrea doesn’t typically rep the kind of work I’m selling (she has jumped on the YA cash wagon, as did many wise agents in the post-Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire-era), she did have some good feedback on my first page, and the likelihood of an agent actually reading it. Based on what she told me and what I heard her say to other folks in line, the trick of the first few pages seems to be finding the right mix of dialogue/action and exposition. Mine was too exposition-heavy, she said.

It’s fixed, and now I’m neck-deep in Querytracker, sending out email and paper queries like a madman.

And, whilst querying one project, I’m starting outlines on my next book, the one for which I’ve been doing research for about two months. Should be fun.

But I find myself in kind of a weird decision point: should I try to write something edgy and fun (a la Pahulniuk) or all-ages friendly and maybe broader to market?

I guess the answer, as it always–ALWAYS–should be, is to let the story tell me how it needs to be written.

Now, back to my meeting. In Kentucky. In the future.

With Sleestaks and a T-Rex named Grumpy.

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Down Too Long in the Midnight Sea

by on May.17, 2010, under Random Yappings

Not a lot of writing news. I’ll do a separate post on what I’m up to later.

There are other things to discuss this morning: Ronnie James “Leatherlungs” Dio is dead.

RJD wasn’t a big literary figure, per se, but I was a big, big fan of his when I was a teenager. One of the first rock cassettes that I owned was Holy Diver, which, when I was about twelve or so, served to bring me out of the world of geeky kid-anthems like the Dr Who theme and Star Wars soundtrack into the fold of the angry, angsty power chord music that would rule my world for the next decade (or two).

With dragon-and-demon imagery, growling vocals, and Vivian Campbell’s masterful guitar work, that album injected itself into my pre-teen hormone-laced bloodstream, and I was hooked. It was like two sine waves aligning in mid-air to make a chord.

Dio was also my first rock concert (my first concert was Rick Springfield…it was my sister’s birthday present and my mom took me along when I was eleven or so). Dio was playing his new Last In Line album and the Swedish guitar legend Yngwie Malmsteen was his opening act. Rock concerts in the 80s were a spectacle, and Dio was no exception. The sound in the ancient arena was ear-crushing, twenty foot pillars of flame framed the stage, and Dio–who was like five foot one–slayed a full-sized dragon onstage with a glowing sword. It was so good that it felt surreal.

And, as timing had it, I was a loner-type just starting 7th grade and was in the process of trying to figure out who my friends and enemies were. For whatever reason, a found myself standing next to a guy whose name I had just learned the week before–an acquaintance of a friend–and we ended up hanging out after the show. Turns out we had a lot in common, and ended up being pretty close friends for the next ten years or so, until he moved to the badlands of Montana to start a family.

Years later, another friend introduced me to Dio’s work with Black Sabbath, which was also pretty good–but later became a reminder of a dark, strange period in my life, best forgotten.

So, that’s my Dio story. I feel bad for his wife, it sounds like he’d been sick for a while. But, dammit, we all have to go sometime, and Dio accomplished quite a bit while he was around. And you can’t mourn that.

Dio: Holy Diver

I drew this friendly character on every textbook in 7th grade.

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