"The world hasn't been quite the same since I stopped blogging a few weeks ago, my traveling done and my Hardcore Travel Reporting blog rendered futile. Thus I am back with this tasty new blog, where I will seek to peel back the many layers of infinity and hopefully come to a profound revelation of some sort regarding something somehow. I may be only pale fire compared to the venerable Jack Handey, but I will do my best to think deeper, harder, and longer than almost every human being on the planet with the exceptions of Alan Greenspan and Gary Kasparov."
I see now that my cheeky goal of thinking deeper, harder, and longer has been achieved, but at the great cost. While babbling on this blog, I have also somehow written fourteen novels to date.
1. The Nebula Quest (sci-fi age 15-16)
2. Other Dreams (YA fantasy age 16-17)
3. Torch Lit (literary age 21)
4. Knocking Over the Fishbowl (Literary age 22-23)
5. The Suicide Collectors (sci-fi/horror age 24-25)
6. The Cobalt Legacy (literary age 24-25)
7. Wormwood, Nevada (sci-fi/literary age 27)
8. From the Void (dark fantasy age 28)
9. The Ragged Mountains (YA fantasy age 29)
10. The Floating Luminosity (literary/fantasy age 30)
11. Special (literary/horror age 31)
12. And the Hills Opened Up (horror/western age 32)
13. The Firebug of Balrog County (YA literary age 33)
14. Bring Her Back (thriller age 33-34)
As one can see, I have not been sitting idly by the past ten years. I have been sitting and typing! And drinking. And plot outlining. The books have come so fast and furious I had to dig into my email archives to recall their order and approximate date of conception (I was three years off in my mind for SPECIAL, for example). Upon my digging, I found an email my agent Jonathan sent me nearly ten years ago, approximately three months before I began this blog.
I've been agonizing over your novel for the past week, hoping that I might be able to find a suggestion that would overcome my reservations. Unfortunately, I couldn't find that "one thing" that would push me one way or the other, and I felt that the delay in my response has become too great. Ultimately, I also concluded that you should have an agent representing you who does not need a "push" like this.
I really have no negative comments to speak of regarding KNOCKING OVER THE FISHBOWL. I enjoyed all of the characters, and I felt that you smoothly went from person to person without losing track of the storyline as a whole. I also liked the humorous undercurrent throughout - and in this way I found your writing similar to Dave Barry, albeit a bit less farcical. You captured Wilson's "insanity" accurately and poignantly, but never allowed the reader to feel sorry for him. The only narrative line that I felt needed some work was Officer Lance's out-of-control antipathy towards Scrags and others, and the motivations for the behavior. Still, overall I felt you have created a wonderfully eccentric cast of characters and storyline.
Unfortunately, I just didn't fall in love with the novel. While a few agents might feel that "enjoyed" is sufficient to take on a work, I feel differently. Getting a book published is becoming more difficult every day, and I really feel an author needs an agent who is so passionate about the work, so in love with it, that they will fight for it to the very end.
I am sure this is abundantly clear from my above comments, but even still, you should know that this business is a highly subjective one. I strongly suggest querying other agents, and I have no doubts that you will find one that feels as passionately about your work as you do. I wish I had better news for you, and I would be honored to look at anything else you might produce in the future.
Jonathan I. Lyons
I would go on the rewrite FISHBOWL with newly acquired MFA skillz and Jonathan would be kind enough to reread it and take me on as a client. Thus began the greatest mistake he would ever make. As he reads the newest book, he is reading his eleventh Oppegaard work, not counting many, many rewrites.
And the wheel in the sky keeps on turning...