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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dear Oliver with Pat Dale

Hello and welcome to another episode of Dear Oliver! Today’s special guest is my friend and fellow writer Dale Thompson who writes captivating novels under the pen name Pat Dale. You don’t want to miss Dale’s pet peeve, especially if you’ve ever had to deal with a rejection letter from an agent. If they don’t have the wherewithal to recognize a future New York Times bestseller, let them eat crow.

In the meantime, belly up to the bar and bend Oliver’s ear a spell. And while you’re eavesdropping on his sound advice, why not treat yourself to one of his legendary martinis! You’ll find his impressive venue listed on the sidebar. Not a martini fan? Not a problem. Oliver will make whatever drink strikes your fancy and serve it with a wink and a smile. Rumor has it that his hand tossed pizza is more loaded than Jessie James’s pistol. With no further ado, let’s give a warm round of applause to my good buddy Dale Thompson!

Hi there, Oliver. Manning the bar again, I see.

What can I getcha to drink, Dale ol’ buddy?

Right about now a double bourbon straight would do the trick. Hold that, Ollie. Been there, done that, and it cost me big time. How about a lemonade?

Oliver grins. You’re pulling my leg, right

No, I’m not kidding! Back when I was a jazz trumpeter, I got lost in alcoholic haze so bad I ruined my family and my career. Lost a decade in the doing, so no, I don’t need that again.

Oliver pumps his biceps and salutes Dale. He fills two tall frosted mugs with freshly squeezed lemonade. There we go then, ol’ buddy. Takes a real man to own up and turn a new leaf. To starting over. Cheers!

Over the sound of sax and trombone, Oliver and Dale share a toast while they shoot the breeze.

Why so glum, chum?

Dale shrugs and drains his mug. Oliver pours another from a pitcher brimming with lemonade, ice cubes and lemon slices. I just got another rejection from an agent. She read thirty pages of my mystery, said the opening was gripping and she loved my female protagonist, but my writing wasn’t tight enough to suit. She never even got to my male Wlead, who’d have blown her knickers off!

Oliver flicks his James Bond remote. An agent sits in her office in her ergonomic chair, glasses perched on the edge of her nose as she reads Pat Dale’s manuscript. When she gets to the male lead, her knickers shoot up in the air.

Dale chuckles and holds up his empty mug. I tell you, this business will lead a grown man to drink. Twenty years ago, it would have been a piece of cake, but no more. Now it seems most editors and agents have been indoctrinated to look for a few ‘gems’ that prove a manuscript worthy. Missing those, there’s no need to read the whole thing.
But wait, I just thought of something. Damn!

Dale slaps himself upside the head.
Just when I was ready to get a good mad on I have to remember it’s my responsibility to sell the thing to whomever I solicit for help. Now I’m back to writing that cursed synopsis, and I’d better make it good.

Nodding, Oliver fills Dale’s mug. Ah, yes, the dreaded synopsis. I hearsay from the dragon…er…boss lady they can be more challenging than writing the book, a real nightmare.

Dale nods his head in agreement.

So, Dale ol’ buddy, who can I play for you on the jukebox to chase your blues away?

Maybe a chorus of ‘One more for the road’ would do the job. Instead of sitting here crying in my beer, I should be hammering out a storyline and synopsis that even Machiavelli couldn’t fault.

Oliver presses the button on his JB remote. Instantly, Lido Shuffle by Boz Scaggs drifts across the bar. Dale sings along.
Lido missed the boat that day he missed the shack
But that was all he missed and he ain’t coming back
A tombstone bar in a jukejoint car,
Just long enough to grab a handle off the top
Next stop Chi town, Lido put the money down and let it roll
He said one more job ought to get it
One last shot ‘fore we quit it
One more for the road…”

Oliver sets a bubbling, loaded pizza in front of Dale. When did you develop this pet peeve?

Dale plucks up a piece of pie dripping with cheese and pepperoni. It’s been growing for a long time. After I’d been writing four years I submitted to an agent. Got the same doggone answer back then. Now I’ve been at it for fifteen years and nothing’s changed. Got four books published and seven more under contract, too, so I’m more successful with editors nowadays. Guess I’d best just stay with it, ol’ pal.

Sounds like a plan, ol’ buddy.

Where do you think utopia is, my friend?

*big grin* Utopia? Actually, I’m living it, Ollie. I get to spend my days creating these strange worlds that have crowed my brain for decades. Now that they’re more polished and civilized, I’m building a reader base. How much better can it get than that?

Oliver grins back and pumps his biceps. Hot damn, you got it, hit the ol’ nail right on the head. So tell me, how can Dear Oliver help

You already have, my friend. By allowing me to vent my frustration, I feel much better now. And I can see what I need to do to fix my so-called problem. I can’t control my editor or my agent; my readers, either. That means I have to modify my own approach to my situation. Thanks again, Ollie and Sharon, for hosting me today!

Oliver raises his mug. You got it, my friend. When life tosses you lemons, make lemonade!

Native Missourian Dale Thompson traveled far and wide before returning to his home state. He sailed the Pacific from San Francisco to Tokyo, spent a cold winter in Goose Bay Labrador; lived in such diverse places as Fairbanks, Alaska and Fort Collins, Colorado.
After serving in the U.S. Air Force as an airborne electronics technician, Dale earned a Bachelor of Music Degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University, and a Masters in Music Composition from the University of Nebraska. While laboring in a professional capacity, Thompson made it a point to work with a wide range of folk; observing and cataloguing what was most important to each of them.
Using his imagination and humanity catalog to draw from, he began writing novels fifteen years ago. He builds stories from his rich experience but also from constant research that allows him to keep his characters fresh and up to date. Underlying Dale’s work is a desire for us to see that we all choose varied paths in living but nobody has a lock on the ‘right’ lifestyle. He claims, “Life, as ugly or beautiful as it gets, is a wonderful thing to behold.” Something of the little child remains in the old man, writing as Pat Dale, sits at his keyboard even as we read, hammering out another view into what makes humanity go round; and with it, the world.


Sharon Donovan said...

A warm welcome for my good buddy Dale Thompson writing novels under the pen name of Pat Dale that will knock your socks off! Dale, my friend, come on out!

Oliver said...

Here we go then, Sharon and Dale, a nice pitcher of lemonade with some oven fresh blueberry muffins as big as your fist. And plenty here on the sideboard for our guests, along with coffee, Chai tea and hot cocoa. Enjoy!

Hywela Lyn said...

Good morning Sharon dear friend, and Oliver - oh thanks, Chai tea and bueberry muffins - just the thing to start the day - just fill up my 'Oliver' mug for me, Oliver, there's a dear!

Hello Dale, how lovely to see you again- and commiserations on the agent - or lack thereof. Her loss -there are plenty more agents in the sea of publishing! I do sympathise though. Here in the UK it's impossible to get publiushed without an agent (which is why I am published in the US) and getting an agent is as hard as getting published - chicken and egg situation! Anyway, don't give up Dale, somewhere out there, there must be an agent who will recognise your worth!

Oliver said...

Lyn, my lovely. Kisses love, and a Chai tea and blueberry muffin it is.

P.L. Parker said...

Ahh the agent! Tried myself but haven't succeeded yet! Not going to worry about it, just keep writing. Good post. I enjoyed it.

Destiny Booze, Novelist said...

Dale, I know your pain with agents. Surely, I do! :) Keep trying! Don't give up!

Linda Swift said...

Dale, I agree with Hywela that is, always has been harder to get an agent than a publisher. And frankly, with digital pubs, who needs one? Some pubs state they prefer you not have one? I've done it both ways, agented with a NY pub and not with digital books. Frankly, I don't think we make enough to give up 15% to an agent.Oh, and are you in Southeast MO. If so, do you know about the Heartland Writers' Guild Conference on June 3,4?
Hi Sharon and Oliver. So nice to see you both again. And I'll have a cup of tea and a delicious muffin, please. Linda

Toni V.S. said...

Counting my last rejection from an agent at number 28, I'm asking myself "Should I just give up and stay an independent?" SO far I've 25 books published and 3 more under contract so that makes (almost) one novel for each rejection. Kudos to a UNL grad for getting so far and enjoying it...lemons and all.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Patsy, thanks for stopping in to chat. I certainly got my fair share of rejection letters from big NY agent, some to the point of rudeness.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Destiny, so good of you to visit with us. The ongoing soga!

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Linda, hey! How right you and Lyn are about giving a cut to an agent. Unless you are a big name author with mega sales in every country, the royalty checks are more emotionally rewarding than financially.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Toni, thanks for stopping by. We are all in this and the beat goes on and on and on!

Oliver said...

Ladies, ladies! Always a pleasure to see my prretties! A nice Chai tea for you, Linda love, along with a buttery muffin. And more Chai for sweet Lyn and your third muffin, but of course, love. Patsy, Destiny, Toni, what can I get you lovelies? Dale, ol' buddy, more lemonade?

Sandra Crowley said...

Sharon, Oliver, Pat, I'm late to the party but I still enjoyed all the remains. Thanks for sharing!

Oliver said...

Sandra love, never too late for a party. Name your poison.

Mary Ricksen said...

Anyone who likes Boz Scaggs is a friend of mine! Top of the afternoon to you Dale! And sounds like you got things headed in the direction of great success!! Good luck!

Nightingale said...

Ah yes the great agent pursuit. I could so empathize.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Dale, I've given up EVER getting an agent. Seems if you need one, they're not interested. Anyway, not to sound like sour grapes, because I'm chugging along turning out romance nowels. Now I've begun marketing a couple of mysteries and keeping my fingers crossed.

Good luck to you!
Caroline Clemmons

Debra St. John said...

Hi Dale,

I have to say, I haven't tried the agent route yet. I'm sure when I do I'll accrue a stack of rejections...that seems to be the way it goes.

Oliver, a cool glass of lemonade sounds heavenly.

MuseItUp Publishing said...

Loved the interview, very different. And yes, at times agents don't see a best seller when it hits them in the face but then again they are going with what the biggie publishers are seeking so all in all, it's a crap shoot.

Pat, you know I wish you nothing but success because I've read your work and you need to be read. Kudos, dear friend.

Diane Scott Lewis said...

Pat, congrats on getting far enough for an agent to read 30 pages. I usually get the no thanks from the query.
It's a hard business.

Pat Dale said...

I want to thank all of you for your comments. Agent or not, I feel blessed to be able to type and compose book after book. If they get published, that's great. If not, at least I've been able to pass on some of the fascinating characters that inhabit my brain. LOL
Cheers all and happy writing and reaading!
Pat Dale

Oliver said...

Big glass of lemonade for Debra my sweet. The rest of you fair lassies are just in time for coffee, tea and hot out of the oven cinnamon buns. The first to our guest Dale. Cheers, ol' buddy!

Sharon Donovan said...

Hello to Sandy, Mary, Caroline, Debra, Muse it Up, Diane and Nightingale thank y'all for popping in to share your thoughts in the publishing world. I think we are all where we are meant to be at a particular point in time. I, for one, am most happy to be published by the editors and houses that think my writing is worth the read. But the best part is getting to know so many fellow writers, readers and friends that will last a life time. Cheers!

Sharon Donovan said...

A special thank you to Dale Thompson writing as Pat Dale for being my guest on the Dear Oliver show today. As Oliver says, when life tosses lemons, make lemonade. Here's lookin' at you!
Until next time, may the luck of the Irish be with you as you travel through life.
Love and Blessings,