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Another success story…

Friday, 3 August 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake
cc: A1404
 Cheers to another success!
While we’re waiting for the results in the TEEN EYES EDITORIAL contest, I’m excited to announce that L.L. McKinney (aka @Tangynt on Twitter)  has signed with the amazing Brittany Howard and Marisa Corvisiero of the Corvisiero Literary Agency! I was able to wrestle L.L. McKinney, also know as Minidoom, and tie her up in the interview chair, forcing her to answer some questions.  

new photo.jpg
L.L. McKinney
B says: So let’s get this party started.  Where did you find your agent?

My agent found me, in a roundabout way. Thanks to an amazing individual *cough* Brenda Drake *couch* who championed my manuscript, and got it in front of her.

B says: Ha! Not as amazing as you! How did you go about querying your agent? Did she request a full or a partial? Give us the deets leading up “The Call”.

Technically, I didn’t query my agent. My manuscript was submitted to Month9Books, and she was the one who took the submission. In the end, Month9 turned the work down, but Brittany had loved what she read and asked me to submit to her directly. I queried her with the full, and a few days later she sent an email saying she wanted to talk about representation. Then came The Call! I was stunned, really.

B says: Okay, this is my favorite part *sits at the edge of her seat*. Tell us about THE Call.

Well, we set up a time to talk over the phone. I was an absolute mess, all nerves and stuttering over the fact that I’d forgotten how to speak English, but she was so nice and patient with me. Her enthusiasm for my work made me giddy, she went on about how she loved COVETED, how she had notes she wanted to go over with me, how she was eager to start putting together a pitch for submission. She even told me she’d gone to my website and saw the other stuff I was working on, and was looking forward to bouncing ideas around for future projects. Her excitement fed my excitement, and it was hard not to scream and run around in circles. I waited until after I got off the phone for that.

B says: Isn’t that fun? Can you tell us a little about your book?
It’s a young adult urban fantasy where a boy discovers he can raise the dead, and winds up at the top of the Seven Deadly Sins’ most wanted list. There’s action, hot girls, glowing swords, and it wouldn’t be a party without the threat of an early apocalypse.

B says: It isn’t a party until the glowing swords ignite. How long had you been querying before you got your agent?
About a year and a half, according to query tracker. Maybe a couple months longer than that.
B says: You’ve participated in contests before, what did you gain from them? What made you decide to enter contests, and how do you feel they helped you get your agent?

A contest is the entire reason I have my agent. I’ve been entering contests for a long time: pitch contests, first page contests, query letter contests, all the contest! I think I may be addicted to them. I usually got some good feedback, and took what I believed strengthened my writing and applied it. Anywho, you know the story, but I’ll tell it anyway. ^_~  I entered The Writers Voice back in May, and was fortunate enough to be chosen by the best coach ever–Go Team Brenda! After the contest was over, Brenda here asked how querying was going, and if I had generated any interest. I told her I’d had a few nibbles here and there, and she offered to pass my query and MS along to her agent. She even went so far as to submit COVETED to her publisher directly. I told this part earlier, how my MS landed on Brittany’s desk, and she fell in love.

I want to take a moment to thank you, Brenda. You really went to bat for me, completely blew me away with your support and determination for a project that wasn’t even yours. You believed in my work, that means more to me than I have words to express. You are an amazing person, and such a tremendous asset to this community. Again, thank you.

B says: I’m so happy you were on my team, and I believe in the power of contests! Okay, let’s have some fun. Coffee or Tea?
Er, chai tea latte?
B says: Another tea drinker? Oh, the horror! No worries, I’ll change you to the dark side or publishing will. Potato chips or chocolate?
Chocolate, all the way.


B says: I’m a both kind of girl, so either one is a win! Favorite cookie?

Pumpkin. Do they make pumpkin cookies? I’m almost certain.

B says: I shivered at that answer. I have no idea if they make pumpkin cookies. If you don’t know, how can it possibly be your favorite – LOL. Mine is Oatmeal and Raisin, in case you were wondering. Anywho, which vacation would you prefer: camping out in the wilderness or shopping in a quaint town?

Shopping, by default. The wilderness and I had this misunderstanding some odd years ago, and now, whenever we’re in the same room together things are all kinds of awkward and uncomfortable.

B says: Yeah, the Wilderness is sort of a bully. Where do you write?

Anywhere I can, from the desk in my bedroom, to my back porch, to a table at Take Five, this cafe I am absolutely in love with.

B says: I love these writers who can write anywhere. I mostly have to be at my desk or at a coffee house table. And the big question, are you an outline or panster type? 

I’m a happy middle. I always start a project outright, no planning or anything, and just let it flow for a few chapters. Then I’ll outline the next five chapters, and write until I catch up. Rinse and repeat. I don’t like the idea of locking myself into something so far out that, if I change one thing, it’ll have a ripple effect I’ll have to keep track of during the rest of the manuscript. By outlining only a handful of chapters at one, I leave the story flexible and able to turn on a dime if necessary, without the consequences being too grave.

B says: I’m a skeletal plotter and then I run with it. Before I untie you from the chair, do you have any advice for those seeking representation? Anything you wished you’d done differently?

I don’t wish I’d done anything different, except maybe found Brittany sooner, lol. But, if I hadn’t gotten the feedback from the other contests along the way, I doubt my work would have been where it is now in order to catch her eyes. I’m glad things worked out the way they did. The only thing I have to say to anyone querying is don’t stop. No matter how bad things might seem, or how it might look like you’re not getting anywhere, or not “doing it right”, don’t give up. Quitting is the absolute worst thing you can do for yourself and your writing. Persevere.
B says: Thank you L.L. McKinney for taking the time to chat with us. I’ll untie you now. I hope you had fun!
So much fun! ^_^

  • Some writers have such fantastic opportunities, as well as great stories. Congratulations, L.L. McKinney. We’re rooting for you!


  • I wanted to say congrats…and add that yes, there are pumpkin cookies. I have a fantastic recipe for pumpkin chip cookies. We have them everything thanksgiving.

  • CONGRATS!!! Such a great story ;o) I love Brenda. Surprise. Lol. She is so unselfish! Congrats again. Totally deserved!

  • Giora says:

    It’s a success story because an amazing individual *cough* Brenda *cough* gave L.L. the chance. And the manuscript was good so the chance was not wastd. Best wishes to the author and her angel.

  • Stephsco says:

    Very cool! I like the premise of your story too. It sounds slightly like something I started but could never quite get right, so now it’s shelved. So for awhile I was searching for comparative works and your story sounds like exactly like something I’d read to see how to do it myself. Congratulations on working with an agent.

  • Nicole Mc says:

    Mrs. McKinney, you are amazing!!!!!! I’m so happy and proud! I’m also excited to get a front row seat to the action. 😉 You already know how I feel about your writing, and what you’ve done for mine, love you lots!! 🙂

  • L.L., pumpkin cookies do exist and they are DELICIOUS! I’m so proud of you for all the hard work and effort you put into your work. I love your characters and the voice of your work. I knew the day we met you’d do great things. I feel like a proud big sister.

    Thanks, Brenda, for rooting for L.L.

  • Denise Covey says:

    I love this mutual admiration society and how writers support each other. Awesome!!

  • Congrats to L.L! The premise of your story sounds amazing. I also love your story on finding an agent! The writing community is so supportive – Brenda is clearly among those who have helped so many other talented writers along the way. Glad to hear about another worthy success!

  • Susan Oloier says:

    That is so awesome! Congrats. I love L.L.’s humor in her answers. Brilliant.

  • DL Hammons says:

    What a great story!! Congrats!! 🙂

  • JRuud says:

    What a great story! I love this. Congrats 🙂

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