So you can read my books

Saturday, March 9, 2013


{Image by Susan Seddon Boulet}
Humming "I'll See You in my Dreams," I thumbed the edge of my knife.  I nodded.  Just right.

The agent tugged on the ropes holding her to the tree.  "W-Where am I?"

I turned slowly.  "Welcome to your last nightmare."

"What are you?"

I walked to within inches of her.  "How white of you -- to classify me as a thing not a person."

I whispered in her ear.  "I am Apache.  A Diyi - what you would wrongly call a shaman."

"You don't talk like an Indian."

I hissed into her ear.  "How white of you to mock those who write cliches but to speak them yourself."

"I-I can give you money!"

"I do not want green pictures of dead presidents!  I want the truth!"

"Truth?  What truth?"

I grunted.  "Now you speak like Pilate.  I want the truth of what you look for in the 'perfect' client."

"W-Why?  And why me?"

I shook my head.  "My friend has given up on your kind.  I wish to see if that was wise."

I smiled with all the soul I no longer possessed. 

"And why you?  You made snoring sounds when you mocked unpublished writers saying you agents only wanted published writers."

I placed the knife's edge along her throat.  "Now, tell me what you look for!"

"A-A near-perfect manuscript—"

"You do want to die."

"No!  I really look for that.  The competition is so steep that this is the prerequisite. Most books I get are all elbows.

Every technique seems to jut out. The writing is self-conscious and overworked. The book that excites us is the product of a confident writer who has mastered the craft."

I pulled the knife back a layer of skin.  "I can understand that.  What else?"

"A distinctive voice— "

"And that is?"

"I’m looking for someone who will stand out in that crowded field I was talking about.  I’m looking for the author who knows the difference between his own unique voice and each character voice."

I traced a design on her throat with the point of the knife.  "An Apache who talks like an Apache?"

"L-Like his own person."

"Better.  What else do you look for?"

"A professional attitude—"

"Nonsense phrase!  What do you mean?"

"I'm looking to build a team and I want to work with writers who take their work seriously."

"No time for babies thinking they are men.  I can respect that.  What else is important to you?"

"A- A winsome personality—"

"Bah! Are you dating the writer or representing him?"

"Th-The dictionary defines winsome as generally pleasing and engaging.  Life is too short to have to clean up all the messes left in the wake of a snarky personality."

"Snarky?"  I pressed harder on the knife as I traced designs.  "As in self-absorbed prima donna?"

"A-As in since I get to choose who I work with, I prefer the same kind of people I’d choose as friends. People who add richness to my life."

I watched what little color left to her face drain as I said, "And it was so short.  What else do you look for?"

"A-A hope and a future—"

"Of which you may have neither.  What do you mean?"

"I look beyond the one book to a long-term career. I want to know what book number two and three and ten might be. I want a client with career potential."

I grunted.  "Harper Lee is a legend with only one book.  What else is important to you?"

"An impressive 'tribe'— "

I shook my head.  "And to think you had almost convinced me to let you live."

"No! I meant a writer who can use social media with skill and finesse is very attractive these days.

One of the writers to whom I extended an offer of representation last week was a frequent blog reader. I got to know her first through her interesting comments on my blog."

"How white of you to cater to a flatterer."

Her face became all eyes.  "A-Are you going to let me go?"

I barked a laugh.  "I said nothing of letting you go.  Clemens!"

A white man in a white suit, holding his black cigar, strolled out of the mists.  "Confound it, Injun!  I was standing right here.  You didn't have to yell."

The agent gasped, "Mark Twain! But you're dead!"

"Ain't you never seen a ghost before, woman?"

I grinned a true smile at him.  "Tell her about the jumping frog, Clemens."

She wailed, "No!  Not that!  Anything but that!"

As I walked into the mists, I heard Clemens chuckle and begin.

"Why don't you remind me of Miss Jefferson, that good old filly."

Clemens chuckled again.  "She was a good soul--had a
glass eye and used to lend it to old Miss Wagner, that hadn't any, to
receive company in."

"Please!" wailed the agent but Clemens was just warming to his story.

"It warn't big enough, and when Miss Wagner warn't noticing, it would get twisted around in the socket, and look up, maybe, or out to one side, and every which way, while t' other one was looking as straight ahead as a spy-glass.

Grown people didn't mind it, but it most always made the children cry, being sort of scary and all. She tried packing it in raw cotton, but it wouldn't work, no how—the cotton would get loose and stick out and look so kind of awful that the children couldn't stand it no way."

"Apache!" wailed the agent.  "Come back and kill me.  Please!"

I kept on walking. 


  1. I loved this. Completely awesome and I was cheering you on the whole time.

  2. Oh, this was great, Roland! And I'm actually a little surprised by the agent in the video--I think I do the book pitch piece fine, but I have stuck strictly to my publishing record for the bio. It sounds like she wants more than that.

  3. Michael:
    Thanks for retweeting this for me. Elu is Apache -- diplomacy is not a strong-point in his personality! :-)

    It is always good to hear from the agent herself in what she wants. At least BJ wasn't tied to a tree! LOL. I'm glad you and Michael liked this. I thought Elu might get me into trouble!! :-)

  4. It's interesting when you use your characters' voices, especially Elu's.

  5. D.G.:
    Now, Mark Twain's feelings are hurt. But Elu is smiling.

    I have fun letting my novels' characters run the show every now and then. :-)