With a lot of help and encouragement from Asad, I've finally figured out how this Blogger html works. Now I have hot links in posts, have my photo posted properly, and have created tags on Technorati so I may get more traffic! YAY! Thanks, Asad!!
A query letter update: A British editor who I met on a writing board Critter Newsgroups was kind enough to look over the query letter I'd written. In the UK, their queries have a different format than ours seem to, but reading his was educational for me. I'd managed to make a one-page query that I thought was pretty good, but given his comments, I've still got some work to do!! *sigh* At least I have an idea of how to go about it now.
In response to something he said in an e, I wrote back a quick, snappy "explanation" of my story (not really what I'd consider a synopsis) and he said that was much better than the synopsis I'd written for my query. And he was right! Now I have to work out how to insert that "synopsis" into the query letter and make everything fit, make sense, show a bit of my style, etc. Argh.
All these "detail" things - strangling a three-book story into a one-paragraph-long synopsis for the first book only, for instance - take a lot of time, energy, patience, and can be truly frustrating until you hit a breakthrough. When it starts flowing the right way, it writes itself. But it's fighting my way to that breakthrough that's so time-consuming, frustrating, mind-boggling, difficult . . . argh. But then again, it's a kind of puzzle (I'm not fond of puzzles until I get INVOLVED with them! And I'm involved with the "query puzzle" now!).
It's interesting (once I get past my mental blocks and stubbornness!) to work out the very best way to write something as difficult as a query letter. It's sort of like working out a battle strategy for my novels. I've never been in battle (thank goodness!) and am no good at chess, but there's a LOGIC there that appeals to me and works for my battle scenes. Those who are or have been in the military (and may God protect and bless you, every one!) say my battle scenes are really good. Yay! This query letter feels like a battle scene. I keep picking at it and picking at it, coming at it from all different angles, trying a pincers movement, trying an ambush, aerial attack, grenades. . .LOL! Eventually, I'll beat it into submission, and THEN I'll start sending it to agents!
In the meantime - the novel is being polished again. I've added a prologue-type part, two scenes that set things up for the novel, made them "chapter 1" and renumbered all the other chapters. Suddenly everything sings BEAUTIFULLY, where the story sang "nicely" before! Yay!