How Did I Get Here?

How Did I Get Here?

“Hurry up,” the Foreman whispered urgently. He and the Young Hero were watching the Gypsy attempt to pick the lock on the door to The Writer’s office. It seemed to be taking longer than usual. The Foreman’s eyes darted nervously to the other end of the hallway.

“Oh, you can relax,” the Young Hero replied, in a normal tone of voice. “The Writer and her husband will be gone for hours. They took their binoculars and cameras with them. I heard them discussing some new Wildlife Refuge they wanted to check out.”

The Foreman sighed and visibly relaxed.

The Gypsy reached for his bandana and mopped the sweat from his brow. “I think The Writer had the Sorceress put some sort of ward or spell on the lock,” he complained. “One would think she didn’t trust us!”

“A ward?” The Foreman swallowed hard. “Do you have the right tools to counter it? And the right words?” He remembered once, when he and the Gypsy were trapped by an enchantment, the Gypsy had to call on the magic of his people to counter the wards holding them. The Gypsy had told him that if he used the wrong element or said the wrong words, the two of them might be incinerated. The Foreman started to sweat as badly as the Gypsy.

“Well, if I don’t have it right, we’ll know in a second,” the Gypsy announced, with a grimace. He slowly twisted his silver stiletto, and murmured the final words of an incantation. silver dagger

A shower of purple and green sparks erupted from the lock, and the door swung open. The Gypsy grinned and pocketed his blade.


“Which of The Writer’s works should we read tonight?” asked the Foreman, as the three companions walked into the office.

“Another tale involving horses?” suggested the Young Hero, and the Gypsy nodded eagerly.

The Foreman reached out and located the light switch. As the room was flooded with light, the group froze. A pint-sized man of indeterminate age, leathery-skinned and bald as a billiard ball, stood by the computer. He was holding a dagger in one hand and a small cross-bow in the other. His eyes darted past the trio, to the door. He started to bolt in that direction, but tripped over a power cord.

The companions rushed toward him, but the stranger regained his footing before they could reach him.

“Hold!” His voice was raspy, his dark eyes wide with fear, but his arm was steady, and he kept his crossbow pointed at the Foreman.18247124998_0e88297ac6_z

The trio stopped dead in their tracks. The intruder backed away, his eyes darting all around the room. “What is this place?”

“Before we answer any questions, suppose you tell us who you are and what you are doing here,” the Foreman demanded.

“I…I don’t know,” the intruder stammered. He frowned, and chewed on his lower lip.

“You don’t know who you are?” The Gypsy sounded dubious.

“Well, of course I know who I am,” the diminutive stranger replied scornfully.

“So, who are you?” the Young Hero pressed him.

“None of your business,” he replied in a raspy snarl.

The Gypsy raised an eyebrow. “Then we have nothing more to discuss.” He motioned for his two companions to leave.

“Wait!” Keeping the crossbow trained on the Foreman, the intruder rubbed his jaw with his dagger hand. He carefully studied the companions. He looked around the strange room once more, and began pacing back and forth, thinking. Finally, he sighed, and lowered his weapons. “I can not give you my name,” he stated, then added in a raspy whisper, “I am an Assassin.”

“An Assassin?” The Young Hero looked aghast.

“Are you here looking for your intended victim?” the Foreman challenged.

“I…I don’t know why I’m here,” the Assassin admitted. “I don’t even know what manner of place this is, or how I came to be here.”

“Tell us what happened.”

“Well, I had been on the trail with my partner. We were camped in a small clearing. We were taking turns keeping watch and sleeping. My partner relieved me from my watch, and I turned in. I was asleep within minutes. I awoke later, here…wherever here is.” He paused and licked his lips. “Have the three of you summoned me to this place? Are you sorcerers?”

The trio exchanged knowing glances.

“No, we have not summoned you,” the Foreman assured him, “nor are we sorcerers, although the Gypsy has some command of magic.”

“Then…” The Assassin trailed off, raising his palms in a gesture of confusion.

“You are probably here because you fell out of the pages of a manuscript,” the Young Hero explained.

The Assassin lifted an eyebrow. “Fell…out of a…a manuscript?” His raspy voice could not hide his confusion. “What is a manuscript?”

Book manuscript

“It’s a book or story that has not been published,” the Young Hero explained.

The Assassin gave him a blank look.

“The Writer stores it here, in this thing called a computer,” the Young Hero continued, gesturing toward a device on the desk.


The Assassin shook his head and raked his hand through his hair.

“Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?” The Gypsy grinned and waggled his eyebrows. “But chances are, that’s why you’re here. That’s how the three of us, and a number of others you haven’t met yet, arrived in this place.”

“I…I don’t understand. This is all so…so absurd!” The Assassin’s eyes widened in fear as he looked around the strange room, full of bizarre and unfamiliar objects.

Messy Office

“It is very confusing at first,” the Young Hero sympathized. “But it does not take long for one to adjust. I have been here the longest of anyone in our group. I guess I feel as much at home here as I do in my own world.”

“But where is ‘here’?” the Assassin asked, a note of panic creeping into his voice.

“Well, ‘here’ is what The Writer calls the real world,” the Gypsy tried to explain.

“The Writer? What writer? Is she a sorceress?”

“The Writer is the one who tells our stories,” the Foreman explained. “She keeps us and our world in the pages of what she calls a manuscript. I guess that does make her a sorceress of sorts.”

“And we have all fallen out of the pages of this manuscript, to take up our lives in this world?” The Assassin sounded dubious.

“Basically,” the Young Hero agreed.

“So how do I get back to my world, to my partner, to my mission?”

“You are already there, my friend. We are all still living our lives in our own world, in the pages of the manuscript where she has transcribed our stories.”

“Such foolishness! How can we be in both worlds?” the Assassin scoffed.

“That is a mystery,” the Foreman admitted. “We really don’t understand it fully, but we know it to be true.”

For long moments, the Assassin looked, slack-jawed, from one to the other. Then he shook his head, frowned, and resumed pacing. Finally, he sighed. “So, what am I supposed to do, here in the ‘real’ world?”

“Well, let’s see,” the Gypsy replied. “We play with the Dragon, arm-wrestle with the Dwarf, help the Cleric collect components for her healing spells, and try not to annoy the Arrogant One. But, mostly, we torment The Writer.” He grinned mischievously and waggled his eyebrows again.

“Speaking of whom,” the Foreman said, cocking his head and placing his hand to his ear, “I thought you said she would be gone for hours.”

“She should have been,” the Young Hero replied.

“Well, that’s her vehicle I hear, pulling into the garage.”

“Let’s go,” the Gypsy yelped, grabbing the Assassin by the arm and yanking him toward the office door.

The Assassin pulled away and declared, “I go nowhere. I wish to meet this sorceress you call The Writer. She has a great deal of explaining to do.”

“Suit yourself,” the Gypsy called back over his shoulder as he and his companions high-tailed it down the hallway.

“What is it The Writer always says at the end of her blog?” asked the Young Hero.

If you want to see what happens next, feel free to stop back from time to time,” replied the Foreman. “I’ll keep the porch light on for you.

“Yes, that is it. I always wonder to whom she is addressing that invitation.”

“Maybe whoever it is will leave us a note to let us know.”


A Look Back

A Look Back

“What do you think you’re doing?” the Foreman asked. “You’re not thinking of going in there, are you?”

“I was going to look at The Writer’s old portfolio, things she had published before she became involved with us,” the Young Hero replied sheepishly.

The Foreman frowned. “Didn’t The Writer tell us to stay out of her office?” he demanded.

“Well, yes – – ”

“Then I suggest you pay attention and stay out of there!” the Foreman ordered, glowering.

“The Writer once told me she used to write a lot about horses.” The Young Hero gave the Foreman a sidelong glance.Old photos of pets 004

“She did? Horses? I never knew that.” The Foreman was intrigued.

“Well, if we’re going to enter her office, we better do it now, before she returns from her errands,” the Gypsy exclaimed. The other two jumped at his sudden appearance next to them.

“Now I know how The Writer feels when we do that to her,” the Foreman commented.

The Gypsy grinned. He pulled out his silver stiletto and had the office door unlocked before either of the others could object.

The three friends looked around the messy room.Messy Office

“How does she find anything in here?” asked the Foreman. He looked around, slack-jawed.

“I don’t know. What’s more, I don’t know how we’re going to find anything before she gets back,” replied the bewildered Gypsy.

“Here it is,” the Young Hero called, removing a large binder from the bookshelf.

He placed it on the desk and opened it, and the three companions started leafing through the clippings of published articles, short stories and poems.

“Margaret Mead Cutter? That’s not The Writer!” exclaimed the Foreman.

“No, that is her. That is the name she used to use.” The Young Hero explained. “She told me about that.”

“Wow, she did write a lot about horses,” the Foreman commented. “I’d love to read some of this.”

“Let’s start with this one,” the Gypsy suggested, and started reading aloud:

Hello, do we have a date? By Margaret Mead Cutter, published February 1985 in Horseman Magazine

The Foreman interrupted. “She was writing in 1985? Wow, she is old!”

The Young Hero giggled. The Gypsy frowned, cleared his throat, and continued:

When I was paging through the latest issue of an equestrian magazine, an ad caught my eye. It named a horse, unfamiliar to me, and stated: “AT STUD – Q.H. STALLION – A REAL BEAUTY! THE NONE BAR RANCHERO AND QUARTER HORSE BREEDING FARM.” The ad included an address and phone number to contact for further information.

I was surprised to note that the town listed in the address was not too far from my own farm. Since I had an Appaloosa mare I wanted to breed, I had been checking out all the area studs, whether Appaloosa, Thoroughbred or Quarter Horse. How had I missed this one, practically in my own backyard? Judging from the name of the farm, it seemed to be a large enough operation not to be easily overlooked. I figured I better call fast, while they were still booking outside mares.

After dialing the number in the ad, I was somewhat taken aback when a honey-toned voice answered, “Betty’s Disco and Luncheonette.”telephone1

“Is this 123-0000?” I asked, certain I had reached a wrong number.

“Sure is, honey,” the voice on the other end of the line replied, with an air of bored indifference.

“I was trying to reach the None Bar,” I explained. “The phone number in the ad must be a misprint. I’m sorry,” I apologized, about to hang up.

“Wait! What ad’s that, honey?” the woman asked, sounding more interested.

“It’s an ad for a stallion,” I started to explain.

“Oh, yeah,” she interrupted, sounding bored again. “Wait a minute, honey. I know who you want now.”

A few minutes later, a gravelly masculine voice greeted me: “Uh, yeah?”

“I have a mare I’d like to breed this year and I saw your ad for a Quarter Horse stud. I’d like to know more about him, if you have the time.”

“Yeah, I got plenny a time. Uh, like, wadda ya wanna know?” the voice questioned.

“First of all, is his book still open for the season?”

“His, uh, what?”

“His book,” I repeated. “Is he still being offered to outside mares this year?”

“Uh, ‘outside mares’?” the voice questioned, obviously confused. “Lady, I never knew one ta be a housepet!”

I sighed and tried once more. “No, what I mean is, are you still accepting mares other than your own for breeding this season?”

“Oh, yeah!” the man replied, as the meaning caught up with him. “Sure I am! Ain’t got no mares a my own, and I just started advertising, so I ain’t got too many a them ‘outside mares’ yet, either. Guess you could say his book’s still open!” he proudly tried out his new vocabulary.

“Well, then,” I said, relieved to have established that fact, “perhaps you could tell me about your stallion’s bloodlines.” I thought quickly to avoid any further misunderstandings and added, “What horses does he trace back to in his pedigree?”


“Man O’ War, top and bottom!” he shot back, with an obvious note of pride in his voice.

“Man O’ War?” I asked, perplexed. “He’s a Thoroughbred. The ad stated your stallion is a Quarter Horse.”

“Uh, yeah, um, he’s one a them running type Quarter Horses,” he explained.

“Oh,” I replied flatly. “Well what Quarter Horses,” I emphasized the breed, “appear in his pedigree?”

“Uh, well, I don’t got his papers right here, and, um, I don’t remember all them names. But they were all good ones,” he assured me. “Fast,” he added.

“I see,” I said, although I really didn’t. “Well, what about your stallion’s performance record?”

“He ain’t never been bred before,” came the reply.

I paused a minute to puzzle over that statement and tried to find a way to carefully rephrase the question. “No, not his breeding record, his performance record.”

No reply.

I tried again. “I mean, has he ever been in a horse show?”

“Aw, gee, no, he’s just a youngster! Ain’t done much a nothin yet!”

“Just how young is he?” I asked, cringing from a mental image of a foal still on its dam.

“I don’t remember exactly. I’ve only had him a few months.”

I suppose I should have terminated the conversation at that point, but the idea that there might be something worthwhile at the Ranchero kept nagging at me. So, I continued.

“Well, what does this stallion look like?” I asked, figuring the man must have noticed at least that much about a horse he’d owned a few months.

“Well, let’s see. He’s kinda brownish. Dark brown, not tan – more reddish than tan, ya know? And, uh, he’s got these real dark black legs and a real long, wavy, black mane and tail. And he’s got this big white star on his forehead that trails clear down to his nose. He’s pretty enough to be one a them Hollywood movie horses,” he enthused.

“That’s nice.” I remained unimpressed. “How big is he?”

“Oh, heck, he’s a big un! Must stand at least 15, 16 hands or so. Fat, too! Why just yesterday, a mare owner come ta see em told me she didn’t see how I could expect ta make money with em in that condition.” He chuckled. “Guess she figured I’d be spending all my profits on feed!”

“Uh, right!” I replied flatly, not at all sure that was what the mare owner had meant. But I figured I could see for myself when I went to inspect the stallion and the facility.

“Okay, I guess that tells me everything you know about your stallion. Now what about your breeding contract?”

“My what?”

“Breed-ing con-tract,” I repeated, losing patience. “You know, that nice little legal piece of paper that stipulates the responsibilities of the parties, covers areas such as accidental injury to one of the horses, how and where the mare is to be kept and cared for, live foal guarantee.” I paused, but got no response from the other end.

“You do offer a live foal guarantee, don’t you?” I queried.

“I dunno,” he admitted, sounding first dazed, then defensive. “Whatta ya want all that for, anyhow? Are our horses breedin or gettin married?” By now, the voice had become angered and strained.

“You just bring your mare over to my place, pay me the money, and we put em together!” he bullied. “Nature takes care a the rest. You don’t need any a that legal hassle! Not unless,” he added in a slightly calmer tone, “you wanna pay extra ta have my lawyer make one up!”

“Right!” I rejoined, impatience giving way to sarcasm. “And I bet you even charge extra for the breeder’s certificate!”

“Breeder’s what?”

“Oh, brother!” I was totally disenchanted with the None Bar Ranchero and Quarter Horse Breeding Farm.

“Well, thanks a lot, you’ve been a real help,” I said, still sarcastic, as I was about to hang up.

“Hey, wait,” the man stopped me. “You never asked about the stud fee, or said when you’d be bringin your mare ta get bred.”

“I . . . uh . . .” I couldn’t believe my ears! “I don’t think I’m really ready to have her bred just yet,” I evaded. “But when I’m ready, I’ll call you!”

“You do that,” the man said, obviously pleased.

I hope he doesn’t hang around the phone waiting too long!

The three companions were all doubled over with laughter as the Gypsy finished reading. As he put the binder back down on the desk, he mused, “So, The Writer used to write comedy?”

“She still does,” the Young Hero stated, smirking. “She writes about you, does she not?”

“Funny,” the Gypsy replied dryly. “She may have included some humorous adventures in her tales of us, but she also wrote about some very heroic adventures and heart-breaking incidents.”

“Maybe some of her other articles show the more serious side of her writing,” the Foreman suggested, reaching for the binder.

“Perhaps, but we’ll have to wait until later to find out,” the Gypsy warned. I hear The Writer’s car pulling in the garage now.”

The trio quickly replaced the binder on the bookshelf, and left the office.

“Let’s leave the porch light on for any of her readers who may desire to join us again,” the Foreman suggested, and the others nodded.

The Tables are Turned on my Characters

The Tables are Turned on my Characters

I paused at the door. It was never a good thing when I could hear voices coming from my empty office.

“What does one-dimensional cardboard cutouts mean?” I recognized the voice as that of my Cleric.

“I am not altogether certain of the meaning, but I have the unmistakable impression we have been insulted.” That would be the Arrogant One responding.

“Good morning,” I chirped cheerily as I stormed through the door. A half dozen characters scrambled away from the computer, trying to look inconspicuous. “So,” I said, as I fixed each one with a penetrating look. “What in the name of great literature is going on here? Didn’t we all agree last week that under no circumstances were you to enter my office uninvited?”

(for anyone who missed last week’s shenanigans, you will find it here:

My Gypsy lounged against the wall, and avoided eye contact with me.Lake Waconia Park and Carver Park 014 He nonchalantly cleaned under his fingernails with his stiletto while he softly whistled the sweet song of the meadowlark. My Young Hero quickly found something of great interest on my bookshelf. My Cleric blushed deeply, her blue eyes clouded with remorse. My Foreman shifted in his chair, looking uncomfortable with the question. My Dwarf paced back and forth across the room, muttering under his breath and swatting his hand with the flat of his ax. My Dragon shrank to the size of a sheepdog and tried to appease me by wiggling her tail at me with endearing charm. Only my Arrogant One remained at the computer, looking unabashed.

“We noticed you had received an e-mail regarding our series,” the Arrogant One explained, completely ignoring my reprimand. “It appears to be from an agent you recently queried.”

I stood facing him, arms folded tightly across my chest (mainly to keep myself from giving in to the temptation to throttle my Arrogant One and his companions). “You’re reading my e-mails? Again?” I asked through clenched teeth.

“Well, since they are, after all, our stories, we thought we would just take a look and see what the agent had to say.” My Arrogant One lived up to his title.
“Oh, Mistress, it is terrible!” my Cleric wailed. My Dragon nodded in agreement, smoke Dragonpuffing from her nostrils.My Dwarf sputtered a string of Dwarven expletives and avowed to cleave the agent in two.




Sighing deeply, I motioned my Arrogant One out of the chair, and sat down to read. I chuckled when I saw who it was from.

“It is not funny, Mistress,” my Young Hero stated, his eyes blazing.

“I agree,” my Foreman said, disgust in his voice. “We have all worked so hard, and all for naught!”

“It just is not fair,” my Gypsy lamented.

“Suppose you all just stop your bellyaching and let me read this,” I replied sternly.

“Please read it aloud,” my Cleric implored. “The Arrogant One only read one line to us.”Elf facing right

“Okay,” I agreed, my lips still twitching with humor. “It says,


Dear Author, 

Thanks so much for letting us take a look at your materials. The volume of     submissions we receive makes it impossible to correspond with everyone personally, but in your case, we will make an exception. 

Don’t quit your day job! No, seriously, don’t even think about it! 

We have never seen such clichéd writing, such trite storylines, such plot inconsistencies, or characters that were such one-dimensional cardboard cutouts. If there are any rules for writing a great novel that you did not break, we did not find them! 

We wish you luck in finding an agent to represent your work, but suggest you don’t hold your breath waiting. 


The agents and staff at the We’ll Find You a Publisher or Die Trying Literary Agency and Takeout Deli



By the time I finished reading the e-mail to my characters, I was giggling uncontrollably and tears were running down my cheeks.

My characters regarded me in wide-eyed bewilderment. Finally, my Cleric broke the silence and declared, “She has gone mad! Where are my healing herbs?”Elf

Still laughing, I replied, “You don’t need any healing herbs, and I am not mad!”

“If you are not mad, how can you sit there laughing at that scorching criticism?” my Foreman demanded.

“You think this is bad?” I asked my characters.

Dwarf“O’ course it be bad, ye nitwit!” my Dwarf bellowed. “That agent just called ye an incompetent writer. Worse yet, he attacked the character o’ yer characters! I oughta take me ax and knock some sense inta him!”


I looked around the room. All my other characters were nodding in agreement.

“You all feel badly treated by this agent?” I asked.

To a character, they all avowed their displeasure.

“Serves you all right for snooping in my e-mail and reading things you don’t understand!”

They all looked at me, confused.

“This rejection letter isn’t from an agent, it’s a joke from a friend of mine! We’ve been commiserating over recent rejections we have both received, and this was his way of dealing with it. It’s a parody, a lampoon, a spoof!”

My characters all hung their heads, cheeks aflame with embarrassment.

“From now on, if I find any of you meddling where you do not belong, I will excise you from the books and replace you with characters who are more than one-dimensional cardboard cutouts.” I snickered at their horrified appearance, as they filed meekly out the door.

If you would like to keep up with my character’s antics, feel free to drop back from time to time. I’ll leave the porch light on for you.




More Dead Ends

More Dead Ends

“What’s going on here?” I demanded, as I walked into my office. A half dozen of my characters were crowded around my computer. “Do I have to start locking my door?”

My Gypsy waggled his eyebrows at me, a la Groucho Marx, and snickered. “It really wouldn’t help,” he reminded me, twirling his silver stiletto.

silver dagger“Yeah,” agreed my Foreman. “Remember how he once used that blade to unlock a very difficult lock?”

“I remember,” I sighed. “But you characters can’t just barge in here without permission and make yourself at home. You need to respect boundaries. From now on, under no circumstances are you to enter my office uninvited!”

They all hung their heads and looked abashed…for about 15 seconds. Then my Cleric spoke up.

“Mistress, you need to see this e-mail!”

“You’re reading my e-mails?” I asked, my voice becoming a screech.

“Well, it looked like something you could use,” my Arrogant One replied. “You have not had much luck finding an agent to represent our books.”

Our books?” I fixed him with a steely look.

“O course, the laddie be meanin’ your books. Our stories, but your books,” my Dwarf assured me.

“Symantics,” my Arrogant One replied, his voice tinged with irritation. “Do you want to see this or not?”

“If you’d care to get out of my seat,” I retorted.

We exchanged places, and my Arrogant One pointed to the e-mail my characters were so excited over. “It’s from one of the services to which you are subscribed,” he explained needlessly.

“18 Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishers (No Agent Required)” I read. “Sounds promising,” I admitted. “Let’s take a look!”

I started reading.

“You are frowning, Mistress,” my Cleric noticed.Elf



“Yeah. This first publisher won’t look at anything that’s currently submitted to other publishers or agents. Also, they don’t take electronic submissions. Even if they did accept simultaneous submissions, my finances currently wouldn’t allow for the ink and paper to print out two full manuscripts, plus postage.”

“That’s all right. That’s only the first one. There are 17 more,” my Young Hero said, his voice full of confidence.

I clicked on the link to the second publisher.

“You’re frowning again,” my Foreman observed.

“This second publisher isn’t even accepting submissions. Their call for unsolicited, unagented submissions closed last month, and they don’t think they will have another open call until 2017!”

“Two down.” My Young Hero didn’t sound quite so confident now.

I clicked on number three. “Another dead-end. This one won’t accept simultaneous submissions except through an agent.”

“By the Great Fires! This not be gittin us anywhere fast!” my Dwarf exclaimed.






“We must be patient and have faith,” my Cleric soothed. “There are still many others to consider.”

“Faith is your department, Milady,” my Gypsy reminded her. He turned to me. “What does the next one say?”

I shook my head. “Their website is still under construction. I can’t find any useful information here, except the fact they require manuscripts to adhere to a format with which I am unfamiliar.”

I quickly clicked on the next link, then groaned. “This one does publish fantasy, but not Young Adult novels.”

My Dwarf started pacing, and my Gypsy started softly whistling his birdcalls again. My Arrogant One poked his finger at the next link and demanded, “Well, what about this one?”

“Thank you for visiting our website,” I read. “Due to the overwhelming number of submissions we’ve received, we are not accepting queries or manuscripts until further notice.”

“Gee, this service to which you subscribe certainly provides reliable, up-to-date information, does it?” my Foreman commented sarcastically.

“Welcome to my world! I frequently encounter this,” I explained. “I get all excited, learning about a publisher or an agent previously unknown to me, one that publishes or represents Young Adult Fantasy, and nine times out of ten, I am disappointed. When I read their requirements, I find the information I received about them is incorrect or outdated.”

“Well, we are not even half-way through the list,” my Young Hero reminded me. “Do not give up so easily!” Somehow, he didn’t sound nearly as confident as he had earlier.

The remaining 12 listings yielded similar results. One paid ridiculously low royalties to their writers; yet another one was currently closed to submissions. One did not take simultaneous submissions; another took science fiction only, no fantasy. Two were not interested in anything aimed at the Young Adult market. One sought Dark Fantasy and another specified no Sword and Sorcery.

“No Sword and Sorcery?” My Young Hero looked dumfounded. “What is Fantasy, if not Sword and Sorcery?”


“You would be amazed at the number of sub-generes found under the Fantasy umbrella, my young friend. But that is a discussion for another day.”

I continued scanning the websites. “These last four are the most promising, except they each have their own online submissions form.”

“Why be thet a problem?” my Dwarf asked.

“I have not had much luck with those online forms,” I explained. “Some require reformatting of the manuscript. Others make it difficult, if not impossible, to query regarding a series; they are designed for single book queries. I have used online forms to query in the past, and have never heard if the publisher has received the query. I prefer e-mail queries.”

“Well, I guess that was a big waste of time,” my Cleric bemoaned.

“Not at all,” I assured her. “We have eliminated 18 more publishers in our quest to find a home for your stories. I will keep looking. I promise.”

I looked at them all sternly. “But you must make a promise to me.”

“What be thet?” the Dwarf asked.

“You must all promise not to enter my office uninvited!”

“Of course,” my Arrogant One replied, his voice dripping sarcasm.

If you’d like to see how long my characters keep their promise, feel free to drop back from time to time. I’ll keep the porch light on for you.