Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Agent Spotlight On. . . Sha-Shana Crichton

Welcome to the first edition of Agent Spotlight! To start the ball rolling, I've intereviewed Sha-Shana Crichton of Crichton & Associates.

Can you give a little background on yourself and your agency?

Sha-Shana N.L. Crichton, president of Crichton & Associates, Inc. literary agency. Sha-Shana is a certified mediator and an attorney licensed to practice in New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.

For submission and queries, please send to:
Crichton & Associates, Inc.
6940 Carroll Avenue
Takoma Park, MD 20912

What are you currently acquiring? Are you looking for inspirational fiction and genre romance?can you elaborate on these? Sub-genres?

Mysteries, great women?s fiction, inspirational women?s fiction, Chick-lit, all types of romance - historical, contemporary, romantic suspense, paranormal,.

Realistically, what is your average response time, right now? We hear so much that the longer it takes, the better the odds of acceptance?any truth to that in regards to your agency?

We try to aim for 4 weeks for query letters, 6-8 weeks on partial manuscripts. In my case, I must say yes.

Pet peeves of submissions?

(1) SASEs sent with metered postage or in Priority envelopes. The post office often rejects the metered postage. With the priority envelopes, if the postage is not correct, one has to add postage or the manuscript is not returned. Use plain envelopes?. If you want it sent priority, include a priority sticker.
(2) Bounded manuscripts

What would be your dream submission?

A manuscript where the characters are properly developed, the character traits are consistent, the writing is consistent and the plot and grammar are excellent. Oh, I also love a strong, unique voice.

Do contest finals/placements/wins have any influence in whether you?ll read a certain ms?

Oh yes.

What makes your agency stand out? Personal attention? Career development?

May I defer to my clients?

Best/worst part of being an agent?

Best part: I love watching my clients grow as writers. Making the first sale and not only working on making the second or third sale, but working to improve the craft. That makes me really happy.

Worst part: It is amazing the way some people think they should talk to you.

Walk us through what happens from the time you decide to accept an author?s piece until the ms is sent out for submissions to publishers.

Manuscript is accepted
I work with the client on making changes if necessary
I find out from the client, what publishing house or houses he or she would love to see the manuscript published by or what house he or she does not want the manuscript to go to. I take this into consideration when sending the manuscript out.

A synopsis seems to be the bane of the writer?s existence?are they REALLY that important in landing an agent?

I cannot speak for all agents. I tend to look more at the first three chapters.

Thanks again to Sha-Shana for this interview!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Current Status

The flu is on the way out of my family's door! FINALLY! Now that everyone's back to work and school, and it's just me and the 3 yr old, I think I can get back to work.

Exciting news...my core cps and I, "The Fantastic Four", wrote a series, SAVING WICKLOW, last year. At conference, we pitched it to this really wonderful editor who was receptive to the idea, and asked us to send in the proposal. Of course, we eagerly did upon returning home from conference. Imagine our excitement Friday night when we get an email asking for a bit more information on the series, which needed to be emailed back this morning! Oh, YES, we got that sent back Sunday evening! So....it's exciting! I'll keep you all updated!

Still nothing about the revisions the editor requested along with the full yet. Then again, it's only been what...10 days! LOL

I'm working on revisions to Torrents to send back to the agent who said she'd be willing to look at it again.

Keeping busy with logging & assigning all the Book of the Year entries. And keeping up with my cps!

How are YOU doing?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Why Agent Spotlight

Why the focus on agents lately? Well, because I'm now on the hunt for MY perfect agent. These interviews, I hope, will enlighten writers who are searching and seeking. I've posted my ideas on agent-hunting before, and I'm re-posting now to reiterate my thoughts. Please feel free to chime in with your ideas. . .your experiences with finding/searching for an agent. . .the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Not every agent is the perfect agent. At least not for me.

As pre-pubbed writers, we hear all the adages and advice from the writers who've gone this journey before us. You know what I'm talking about..."no agent is better than a bad agent" and so forth. The warnings are true, I know for fact, but it's all such a daunting task for a writer. How do we avoid these nefarious "bad agents" and dig down to find the great ones? So many are "not taking new clients" or not considering unpublished writers. What's a writer to do? How do we step up and get noticed by a really brilliant agent? To begin with, IMHO, we write the best story we can. No, it won't be perfect. But if it's a good story, well written, and has a unique feel to it, the rest can be fixed. So, you've got the best story you can write...now what? Research. Yes, we, the unpublished and learning and growing writers, research the agent/agency we'd like to represent us. How? Several websites have recommendations. Reliable organizations. Writing memberships. So you've got all the goods and the agent/agency has a solid reputation as far as the general public is concerned...now what? You find their client list and email these authors and ASK. Ask if they would recommend their agent--ask how the agent interacts with them as the client. Ask if they're satisfied with their writer/agent relationship. Most authors who really love their agents can't wait to sing their praises. So now you have a complete ms, researched and the agent is stellar....you have to decide if they're right for YOU. How? Read their submission guidelines...do they represent the genre you write for? Are they selling to houses you have targeted? (check out Publisher's Lunch) Everything good? Great. Then go a step further. If you have contacts with editors, ask THEM what agents they like to get submissions from. You'd be amazed at how much you can learn this way. It's a scary process, but hey, this is all just IMHO anyway. LOL Now, you've got all the info and you're raring to go. Now what? Find a conference that agent is attending and make plans to attend...and if at all possible, get an appointment with that agent. Why not just send it in? Well, for the freaky people like myself, personal contact is vital. You can get a great "feel" for an agency and their vision for the publishing future by just talking...not just about your wip, but about the agency. Ask questions. See if you and the agency representative are on the same "page", so to speak. (Yes, pun intended) Do you feel a "click"...a "connection"...an overall experience of this could be a perfect fit for you? A writer/agency is a TEAM EFFORT. It's not just for you to hand over your ms and expect to be called when the advance check clears. LOL That might be nice, but I don't think it's realistic. So you find what you believe to be a perfect team and you're ready. They request your ms! (Woo hoo, great so far!) You whisper a prayer, bite your nails with your crit buddies, and send it in. The waiting begins. Sure, we'd all like an instant answer. I am probably the most "p" word deficient person in the world, but I know it takes time. As if they were just waiting on MY work to come in so they could bring all their business to a screeching halt and devour each word I wrote? Yeah. Sure. Right. Keep on dreamin', baby! LOL So we wait. We get rejections from ones we were really hopeful about...and it stings and it's a bummer. But you pick yourself up and start the whole process again. Or, we get "the call" that the agent wants to represent us...or an email, or whatever. WOO HOO....now the work can begin! It's all a cycle, a big circle, just like life. It's a wild ride, people....but oh the adrenaline rush we get! LOL

From Robin...who's still on her hunt for the perfect agent, but enjoying the journey!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Coming Soon...Agent Spotlight

Coming soon to my blog will be an Agent Spotlight. In these segments, I will ask literary agents questions regarding their agency, and agent questions in general. Stay tuned, you'll not want to miss the line-up of stellar agencies which will be represented!

Friday, January 20, 2006

I'm Not SUPERWOMAN?????????

Unbelievable, right? I know! I'm still having a really tough time accepting this revelation! I even argued with God when He gave me this epiphany. Surely my robe DOES have super hero abilities????? I mean, come on....I must be superwoman! SIGH. Don't know why I bother to argue with God--he's always right. It just takes me a while to adjust and accept. Double Sigh!

On Life: My 5 yr old came home yesterday with fever...101.7! UGH. Then, this morning, she woke up with a stomach bug! YUCK! Can someone say "I LOVE PHENERGAN"?

On Writing! I finished the revisions on Smoldering Ice and officially emailed it off to the editor this morning! WOO HOO! No more looking at that ticking clock and forgetting to breathe. Even got the series title and subsequent books re-titled as well....how do these hit you: Twisted Elements Series...Book One, Smoldering Ice, Book Two, Chilling Impressions, and Book Three, Burning Rites. Many thanks to all of you who made suggestions! HUGE thanks to my "title gurus": Ronie Kendig, Dineen Miller, and Colleen Coble! :)

On That Pesky Rejection (as Randy I would say): If I revise the ms, the agent is willing to look at it again. So, BACK TO REVISING! This ms is currently titled Torrents of Destruction and is Book One of the Gallagher Series. I'll be putting up a revision progress bar ASAP!

On Contests: I'm considering entering in the ACFW Genesis contest. Not sure which one I'd enter: Torrents or my current wip. There're a couple of things I'm having to take into consideration. Hmmm...still debating with myself, but I'll let you know when I figure it out!

So, how are YOU doing?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

More Title Help

Okay....I need titles for the two other books in the series behind SMOLDERING ICE...here are the summaries for them:

Book Two--Emily Grantham's joy over the new-found success of her art career is quashed when she begins receiving hate mail. As the fanatic's efforts to harass her escalate into stalking, Emily turns to her brother, Detective Jared Grantham. When Jared leaves on his honeymoon, his new brother-in-law, Adam Shannon, steps in to safeguard Emily. As the danger and terror increases, Emily begins to wonder if she and Adam will survive, or if the "fan" will kill Adam and claim her as his artistic partner in life and death.

Book Three--Heading off to college, Anna Collins believes she has the world by the tail. Thrilled at the prospect of being away from her mother and new step-father, Anna shows her independence and defiance by joining a cult. When she realizes the mistake she's made, she turns to Rafe Hamm, son of the detective who worked on her father's murder case. As things heat up and time runs short, will Rafe be able to extricate Anna before the cult marks her as their own?

I'd like to continue on the play on words with temperatures and along the same "theme-ish".

Okay....suggestions, please?

What Now?

Ever had a rejection, that didn't really read like a rejection, and you just sit in utter confusion? That your reply didn't include words such as "regretfully", "no thanks", "I'm sorry", or "unfortunately"......So you feel like banging your head against the keyboard asking "is this a straight rejection?". When do you scratch that name off your submission list, cry and pout, but move on? UGH. For me, I'm just going to work on polishing the chapters that an editor requested. Specific editorial changes he requested. Like the re-titling. Which, reviewing his email again, I need to come up with alternate titles for the other 2 books in that series. Hmmm...I'll have to post a one sentence summary on those and get some suggestions.

Monday, January 09, 2006


WOO HOO! I completed my revisions on SMOLDERING ICE! Yippee! Doing the dance over here. Now I just wait for the crits to come back, implement what I need to, then print it out and do a "once-over" with red pen in hand. Looks like I'll hit the deadline of January 31st to send this to the editor. WOO HOO.

Now, how are the rest of you doing, hmmm?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Hitting My Goal...for this week

Well, my "informal" goal was to revise a chapter a day of SMOLDERING ICE....well, I didn't actually do a chapter A DAY....however, it's now in the wee hours of Saturday morning, and I've just completed the 6th chapter for the week, so I'm on schedule. Yeah, check out the progress bar over there....how cool is that!!

So, how'd YOU do this week?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Story Board

The fearsome, wait...make that FANTASTIC FOUR are at it again. Yep, me and my buds, Dineen, Ron , and Ronie have created a blog together. Right now, we're developing characters using "45 Master Characters" by Schmidt as the basis. Come visit us over at Story Board Blog and see what we're up to! I hope to see you there!

And the Winner Is....

Smoldering Ice

Now, to do some revisions so that ticking clock won't intimidate me any more!

Countdown for Revisions to My RS...

Yeah, I need more of a visual reminder that I need to buckle down and get this done!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Book Club Contest

ACFW Book Club! Sign up now, all readers....the first book the
club will be reading is BLACK SANDS, by bestselling romantic
suspense author, Colleen Coble. To help launch this exciting
new reading club, I'm running a contest through the month of
January. Go to the link provided, join the bookclub, then send
me an email and let me know you joined. Every person who joins,
who is NOT a member of ACFW, will have their name put in a
drawing for a special gift basket in theme with Colleen's ALOHA
series, by WestBow Press. Including an autographed copy of
DISTANT ECHOES, the first book in the series, and various other
Hawaiian items. So click on the link, join the club, and don't
forget to email me that you've joined. It's that easy! I'll draw
January 31, 2006 for the lucky winner! Good luck, and I'll see you
in the club! www.AmericanChristianFictionWriters.com

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

New Look!

Hey all! Isn't my new blog look WONDERFUL? Custom designed just per my request, Heather at OUT THERE AUTHOR SERVICES simply ROCKS! If you're looking for someone to set up your blog--affordably, I can't recommend Heather highly enough! Here's their site...

Move on into the new year with great pizazz....start that blog, or revamp it!

Title Selection

Okay guys, I went through the suggestions, and with a little help from a friend, here are the top 5 choices for the title of my RS, formerly entitled ONSLAUGHT OF THE WICKED. Please vote and let me know your choice. For every vote cast, I'll enter that person into a drawing for a free book from my vault! So, get to voting! Thanks!

What is your choice for the title of my RS wip?
Smoldering Ice
Black Ice
Fire & Ice
Ice Cloud
Dark Ice


Free polls from Pollhost.com

Monday, January 02, 2006

Want to See Your Name in Print???

Help! I'm a title-naming-idiot. Truly. I can't come up with titles for anything. Trust me on this.

So....I need a title. For a RS. One which will encompass it being a RS, yet maybe hit the "bigger arc"....how do you come up with your titles? Mine are horrible. Right now it's entitled ONSLAUGHT OF THE WICKED, but I need it to be more RS, less horror. Any suggestions?

Post your suggestions here...whomever suggests the title I end up using, provided it's accepted for publication, I'll be sure to give you credit in the acknowledgements page. So, come on...help a writer out!

Sunday, January 01, 2006


Well, I decided to work on New Year's...hubby sat around watching movies on tv, so I fired up the laptop and kicked back in my recliner. So how'd I do? I revised another 16834 words on my requested ms! WOO HOO

Here's the thing....I have to come up with another title for the ms. I suck at titles. Anyone have any suggestions? I'm open for ideas.