joni abilene

Just another site

Month: February, 2012


Another nice rejection. I’m starting to realize what everyone tried to warn me: short story collections just don’t sell. I was hoping a strong query letter would help me out, but perhaps not.

So now I guess I start working on the next book and put this one aside. That’s so darn depressing, I can’t even tell you. However, there are a couple of strong book ideas in my head, and there’s a lot of joy in writing . . . And there’s also wine.



This is my query for Woodsocket ’79. It isn’t perfect, but I feel it captures the voice and feel of the book. I’ve had a few rejections now, very nice ones though. All it takes is one acceptance.

Dear Agent,

Bartender Willa Davies speaks to her husband in two-word sentences, “Fishsticks, fucker!” Loretta Raven is determined to fix her life one little imperfection at a time, but ends up half-naked in the park like a Botticelli. Helen Beatty is the aging millionairess who spends her days reading paperbacks and her nights seducing young cowboys. These, and others, make up the fabric of one town and one year, WOODSOCKET ’79.

Told in the span of eighteen interconnected stories, WOODSOCKET ’79 is a voyeuristic look into small town existence. Woven throughout is construction worker Gerald Kennedy who loses both wife and baby upon arrival at the local hospital. He can’t get over the memory of their blood that seeped down; it’s in the concrete he pours; it fuels his violent fantasies for Dr. Buck Kent. Revenge comes in the form of a beautiful drifter who knows Dr. Kent very well herself. She has one last match to burn before leaving Woodsocket.

Finally, there’s Brietta Lowell, the quiet florist who’s held onto an obituary for almost a year. When she sends a floral arrangement to Gerald with a note saying, “My condolences,” she doesn’t realize the consequence will be him passing out on her shop floor. Inside bedrooms and bars, Gran Furys and football fields. Love, concrete and a fu manchu. WOODSOCKET ’79.

The manuscript is complete at 56,000 words and might appeal to fans of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.

Boy, that was a long stretch without a post. Yeah. Sorry about that. I was a little busy with life and writing. And writing about life (or at least my version).

I’m currently trying to query a book of interconnected short stories called Woodsocket ’79. Story collections are, unfortunately, a hard sell. One thing to do is to get a few pieces placed in the pro pay market. So . . . I’ll be working hard toward that, but I will also query in the hope of getting a bite. Querying stresses me out, but I also love it because you just never know when someone will ask for a full or partial.I love opening email and seeing those words. But it’s also quite painful to see a rejection. I’m in good company. That’s one thing all us writers can share: rejection. In that I find comfort.

Thanks for reading. I’ll try to write more often! Heck, six months would be more frequent. I’ll aim for less than that.