28 July 2007

Addendum to a Shitty Day

Had a meeting with our case worker yesterday, to get answers to the multitude of questions we had.

Turns out the decision to remove the children had been made the previous Friday, when she had come out to talk with us. It also turns out they are TAUGHT to mislead families when children are going to be removed (direct admission from our case worker).

And is it any wonder why there's always a shortage of foster families?

16 July 2007

Rather Poor Form

It's been a while since any of the contestants have done much to win the hearts of the judges in the Agent Pool competition. Today is no different.

Witness Agent 19, who bowed out today:

Dear Writer,

Thank you for your query. Unfortunately, your project is not right for the agency at this time.

Best of luck to you as you seek representation.

Warmest regards,

Agent [Okay, this line was my modification, to preserve anonymity...but fit with the first line, I thought]

Now, canned responses are nothing new. However, at least the others have programs which input the first name (or last) of the author in question. We'll ignore the fact that on their site, they even make the claim that if they're interested, you should expect a response...implying that if they're not interested, you shouldn't expect one. I'm not sure I would have been any more insulted by not receiving a response at all...

"Dear Writer"?

Do they adjust the response based on what they see in the query?

Dear Cash Cow...
Dear Author...
Dear Writer...
Dear Biped...
Dear Amoeba...

And since our last short response made it through the Translator with little for our efforts, we've made some minor adjustments. The moment you've all been waiting for:
Dear Nobody,

We hope our generic response has been enough to dissuade you from ever sending us future work for review. [it has] Space pirates are never going to be a big sell to the established houses, and to think it ever will be goes to show how naive you really are.

Keep searching for representation. Eventually you'll stumble across a scammer willing to take it on and you'll count yourself lucky.

Hope you burn in hell for sending us this dreck,

A Really Important Agent
Anyway, stay tuned next time for the latest episode of the Agent Pool...

09 July 2007

A Shitty Day

It would have to be a Monday, too...

Started off this morning at work, when one of my most valuable employees gave me his two weeks' notice...

I can't fault him, because he's wanted to go back home, and the opportunity availed itself. I wish him well, and know that he's going to treated far better by the corporate entity he's going to versus the one we currently work for.

Then, I received a phone call from my wife later in the morning. Our little five-year old has taken to increasingly violent and destructive behaviors, and nothing seems to help. It doesn't help that the social services system in this state is completely screwed up.

(I'm about to go on a major rant now)

So, when we decided to go into foster care, we knew that we were getting into something very deep. So, we wanted to set ourselves up for only receiving one child, in order to ease ourselves into this new world.

Our agency persuaded us to get approved for two, telling us that it would be very difficult to get it changed later. I still have my doubts about that, considering they wanted to send us a third after a short time with two. (the only thing saving us at that point was the state regulation that temporary licenses, of which we had at the time, did not allow us such an exemption...where a permanent license would)

So, without getting into details, the five-year old had serious issues with the amount of attention the infant was getting (since infants require more attention by nature). But it was hard for us to know which behaviors were normal for five-year olds, and which were as a result of tying to garner attention.

So, we asked our case worker for assistance...and she gave us a CRAP video that had to have been filmed in the late 70s. Not only did this NOT help in teaching us normal 5-year old behaviors, but it serious made us wonder whether anyone was even paying attention to our cries for help.

So, we continued on the way we were doing things, with zero help from any of the parties involved. The only thing they wanted from us was to sign up as an adoption resource. If we weren't going to help them with their ultimate plans, it seemed as though we were on our own.

An incident occurred recently which required our case worker to step in, mainly because the behaviors increased in severity, and no one was there to help us. We were directed in a specific fashion how we were to react to any behaviors the five-year old had.

The very next day, my wife called the case worker to ask for assistance on how to deal with a particular behavior. The case worker came and retrieved the child, presumably to watch her for the afternoon.

When the child was returned that evening, we were told the children were being removed. No advance warning, nothing.

Personally, I have to wonder if those in the social services system actually get their jollies ripping people's hearts out after driving the horse into the lake themselves.

Add on top of that, the entire time we were gathering the kids' belongings and trying to place them in their case worker's car (another post for another day, the need for a bloated system where 2 children require around 8-10 workers), we were in the middle of a torrential downpour that lasted for probably an hour.

All in all, a shitty day.

03 July 2007


While we pump all the standing oil out of the Agent Pool (though we had the idea of using it for wrestling matches), a quick recap of the highlights this week:

Two more agents failed to make the cut.

Agent 12 unfortunately sent a response so short that the Author-ese Translator didn't even realize it was reading an agent response before it shredded the thing to pieces (apparently we need to make extra copies beforehand).

Agent 18 on the other hand, gave a similar response to some of the others who try to make you feel worthwhile and offer hope that another agent may be out there for you (just not them).

But then, a glimmer of hope on the horizon...an actual piece of (I have to assume) manually-generated response hidden almost out of sight:
This feels like adult Star Trek in spots with vocabulary and word wit, but then it has a fun silliness that feels more like MG than YA... I’m not sure the voice quite fits for the YA tone I’m looking for.
A couple of thoughts (since the Translator doesn't have a clue how to work on manual verbiage):

1. This is the first time my work has ever been compared to Star Trek. I can honestly say that every other comparison has ALWAYS been to Star Wars. Now, it could be that Agent 18 doesn't realize there's a difference.

2. I'm going to assume MG stands for Middle Grade? Wouldn't that be kids younger than Young Adult? I've had responses that indicate it may have too much violence for Young Adult as it is. Granted, there's not much of that in the first chapter (which was all Agent 18 received)...

But on the plus side, it was feedback...and that's a start. Hopefully the other contestants will take this into consideration for their future efforts.

So, time to get back to work...anybody have a match so I could make quick work of it?

02 July 2007

When Fiction and Reality Collide

It's always interesting to see how fiction and reality can co-exist...

As an example, from the (hopefully) upcoming novel Friends in Deed:

Small, round vehicles hovered idly at the edge of the walkway, all along the length of the building. Each had a dome of tinted glass, and a ring of yellow metal formed a doughnut around the passenger compartment. Travelers exited the terminal and entered vehicles with open doors. The door would close and the vehicle hovered down the road.
Then I read something eerily familiar this morning.