Victorian Houses of the Pacific Northwest

Last I wrote, we had arrived in Washington in our animal-stuffed RV and were in pursuit of employment and we still are. It’s only been two months since our arrival, but it feels like it’s been six or maybe ten. Nevertheless, we have faith that God has a plan for us here and we are just waiting for him to reveal it.

In the meantime we’ve been taking advantage of the amazing Washington weather and doing free things in nature like visiting parks and whatnot. However, if you’ve been following me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you may have also noticed all the pretty Victorian houses, which I’m also including here with a few more details. I wish I could include a detailed history of all these locations, but I just don't have the time, so instead I'm linking each location to said history in case you wish to explore a little more.

Also please note that every house pictured below may not be considered a Victorian. I also included fun houses and other neat locations. Mostly Victorians though.


It's like a stairway to a secret garden!

Raja chillin'.

Above and below are a couple pictures of the downtown area which is crazy cute.

This is just a cute coffee shop my husband
and I used for wifi while in La Conner. Super cute but not Victorian.

Another view of the coffee shop.

This house was clearly renovated and not sure about it's date but so cute!

Not sure when this was built but look at the crown molding below!


This house might not look super Victorian but it has
 a plaque stating that it dates back to 1902 as pictured below.

This house caught my eye because it's purple
and has a bronze painted tower in the back as pictured below.

Admiralty Head Lighthouse at
Fort Casey on Whidbey Island
This misty photo was taken while leaving Fort Casey
but it's definitely Whidbey Island.

They were closed by the time we got there (whoops)
but I got a pic of the spiral staircase through the window, just for you!

Coupeville (a picturesque town on Whidbey Island)

Notice the sign to the right. It's for sale!!!

It's a BNB!

Also a BNB.

Is that another for sale sign? Ooooo!

Hope you enjoyed these Victorians! 

How I Found My Agent & How Twitter Helped

Big News!                                                                                                 
I have some exciting news!!!! I’ve received publisher interest for The Binding of Saint Barbara, and I have officially signed with a literary agent, Cate Hart of Corvisiero Literary Agency! Hip, hip, hurray!!!!

A Little about Cate Hart and Corvisiero Literary Agency:
Corvisiero Literary is a growing boutique agency, which means they are small enough to give their clients more attention but big enough to still negotiate great deals for their authors. 
Cate Hart of Corvisiero Literary Agency

You can follow Corvisiero on Twitter and Facebook.

Cate Hart has experience as an author and editor and uses that knowledge to help her clients grow in their careers for the long term. She loves the Gilded Age and magical realism, making her a perfect fit for my craziness. I'm so excited to be working with her! 

You can find Cate on Twitter, Facebook, or on her website.

How Do You Get an Agent Exactly?
Getting here involved getting rejected ... a lot! In fact, I received so many rejections that I can’t even guess at the number. I freely chose not to keep track. So what was the "big break" as they call it? Believe it or not, it actually began on Twitter. 

The Pitch & The Twitter Pitch
Agent submissions are done via an emailed pitch letter called a query, but there has become a recent trend of holding “pitch events” on Twitter. A variety of agencies, writers, and bloggers hold these events, and they work like this: on such and such day, you can pitch using Twitter's 140 character-format (a challenge not unlike the elevator pitch) and using the event hashtag (#PitMad for example) plus genre hashtags (#HF for historical fiction).

If an agent is interested based on your Twitter pitch, he or she "Hearts" it, which is Twitter's version of a "Like." The agents generally Tweet instructions for how to pitch them if they heart your pitch. More detailed instructions are available at each Twitter Pitch event's homepage but that’s the gist.

Now, this is something I was doing in addition to the regular agent submission process, but it felt more efficient because you don't have to pitch blind. You only pitch those who have already shown interest. Nevertheless, my finding Cate wasn't that easy. 

When a Publisher Makes an Offer Before an Agent
First, I received a heart from a small publisher and after sending my official email pitch and the manuscript for review, I was made an offer. I could have just signed with the publisher without an agent, but a big part of an agent's job is negotiating contracts, so they are generally better at getting good terms.

Plus, my interest in an agent is a little more long-term. Many agents also serve as partners in the literary process, from creation to signed deal. That was the kind of person I was looking for because I'm in this for the long-haul, and I was looking for someone who could help me navigate the industry. With a small publisher interested, that gave me an advantage with agents because it shows the manuscript is attractive enough to garner interest. 

So I then contacted the agents I had already submitted to and informed them of this offer. This is common and polite practice in the industry. I also queried a few new agents who I thought might be interested and informed them up front that I already had an offer. Cate Hart of Corvisiero was among this group, and she loved the book! 

After that, Cate contacted me and set up a good time for a phone call to make sure we were compatible. I had to do another round of informing other agents that I had an offer. Again, this isn't just an advantage, but also a polite courtesy, as agents really don't like it if they get interested in a manuscript and call the author only to learn that the author already signed with someone else. We hashed out the final terms, I signed, and now I have representation! 

How Long did it Take to Get an Agent?
This is something I remember looking into myself, and I remember finding a lot of posts that made it sound like so and so sent out one query or was looking for only a month before they found an agent, but I have a suspicion that those people may have only been referring to their most recent round of pitches because most people try for a really long time. For example if I just started with the Twitter part and didn't mention all the rest of my efforts, it might seem like it came easy but that's so not the whole story.

So I have multiple answers to the question: How long did it take? 
  • From the time I started writing my first book: 9 years
  • From the time I started writing my second book (the one the agent is interested in): 7 years
  • From the time I started pitching the second book: 6 months to 1 year.
  • From time of Twitter Pitch: 2-3 months 
  • From time I received agent offer: Little over 1 month.  
I was surprised by the time it took after I got the agent offer. I really was imagining I'd sign in a week or something but I had no idea how the time adds up when you have to inform the other agents who you've submitted to and meticulously go over the contract with the assistance of a legal professional.

So What Happens Next?
It means we are one step closer to getting The Binding of Saint Barbara in your hands! Hip Hip Hurray!!!! Cate will start by talking with the publisher who showed interest and a few others until we work out some terms and sell the book. Once it’s sold, we will get to work on getting it out to the readers—that’s you!!! Yay!!!!

In other words, we are one step closer but there is still more work to be done, so … I’ll keep you updated!

What Happens at a Historical Novel Society Conference?

The Historical Novel Society Conference in Portland, Oregon 2017
I've been talking about the Historical Novel Society Conference in Portland for over a year now, so I wanted to let you know how it went. 

It was a really exciting event for me because ever since I attended my first writers’ conference in San Francisco in 2012, I’ve wanted to be one of those authors talking on a panel. I’ve done plenty of readings, public speaking, and even teaching, but this was my first time on panels! 

View from the Portland Hilton
It was a really neat experience because I didn’t just get invited to be on a panel, I also proposed a Victorian/Gilded Age panel and invited authors to speak on it with me. Also, the authors I got to speak with were really talented and award-winning. Some of them I knew and some I knew of. It’s always awesome to get to meet and work with a successful author in your area.

Myself (far left), Kate Forsyth (middle) and moderator Anna Limbrick (right)
on the Fairy Tale, Magical Realism, and Paranormal Panel.

I highly recommend all of their books, and if you like my stuff then you will also like theirs: I spoke on a Fairy Tale, Magical Realism and Paranormal panel with Kate Forsyth and Leanna Renee Hieber, and I spoke on a Victorian panel with Nicole Evelina, Amanda McCabe and again Leanna Renee Hieber. It was a real honor to get to speak with all of them. I also want to give a big thank you and shout out to author Susan McDuffie and Anna Limbrick for moderating.

In addition to the panels, I also got to meet and learn from tons of new and experienced authors. These conferences are always so inspiring and just make you feel connected to the industry.

Some highlights: 

The conference opened up to the public on Saturday for a massive book signing event!

I got to visit the famous Powell's Books but I was so tired once we got there that we didn't stay long.

They had a fantastic workshop called Hooch through History, which was a big hit! I hope to get some more info about this topic up on my blog in the future because I just love it!

In the photo you can see the gin martini (center), an empty
Bellini (left) and in the far upper right corner, absinthe.
And finally to finish things off, a Masquerade Ball and lessons in the Regency Era card game Whist.

The local Jane Austen Society taught whist and Regency Era dancing on the final night.
Pictured here is writer and blogger Sandra Frykholm (in top hat).
Regency Dancing

And Regency costumes!

All in all, it was a really fun time and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to do it!

Author Nicole Evelina (left) and myself (right).

If you have a question about Writer's Conferences or the Historical Novel Society Conference, feel free to post a comment.