Wagner Writer

Hi you!

Here’s my 5-pronged update (that’s right, I said 5-pronged):


Current Book

I finished the third draft of the book today! Windy and Chris have been gone the last week, so I’ve been able to dedicate TONS of time, weekday and weekend, to the edits. I’m a bit burned out but am glad to be done quickly. YEAH!! Actually, I can’t celebrate just yet. There’s still some clean-up work to do and whatnot. But it’s just about there. 

Because the book is (hopefully) nearing completion, I’ve spent more time researching publishing. Essentially, there are three ways to publish a book.

The first is to submit your manuscript to a traditional publisher and hope for the best. This route is the most glamorous and could guarantee some money up front. But a statistic shows that 99.5% of new authors are rejected.

Let me say that number again: 99.5%! That means I essentially have a .05% chance of getting published.

Regardless, I think I’m going to try submitting to publishers while still exploring the other routes. That means putting together a query letter, synopsis, etc… In the query letter, I have to condense the book into 1-2 paragraphs. That’s going to be so difficult. Time to put some of my advertising knowledge to use!

The second way to publish is to utilize a publishing service. A publishing service is a company that will handle book cover design, editing, printing, marketing, etc… for a cost. Basically, you pay them to handle the non-writing aspects for you. I’m looking more into this route and I think I want to find a service that gets some money up-front and some for each book sold. That way, they have extra incentive to market your book.

The third way is to self publish, meaning I’d be doing everything myself. This route is intriguing and would teach me a lot. I’m just worried that, as a new author, I’d get overwhelmed by everything.

New Book

I should be getting back to the new book here soon.  I actually hope the mini-hiatus will result in some fresh, new ideas.


I ordered a replacement microphone this week. That’s it for this section 🙂 Because everyone is out of town, I have no help setting up, filming, etc…, so there’s not much I can do (except practice singing, which I do most days).


Things still aren’t set in stone regarding the singing opportunity I mentioned two weeks ago, but I think I can go ahead and talk about it a bit.

(Drum Roll)

I’ve been asked to perform at a festival here. From what I understand, it’s about the largest event of the year in town. Everyone gathers together in the park and there are games, contests, raffles, food, dancing, and everything else you can think of. I heard there’s also an amazing pumpkin carving exhibit where tons of glowing pumpkins are on display.

Ok that’s not related to the singing aspect, but bunches of carved pumpkins are awesomely amazing!

Anywho, the woman who heads up the festival asked me to perform the National Anthem each day (Friday – Sunday) to start the festivities. She also wants me to perform for people throughout the day!


Even though Page is a small town, this is a pretty major thing for me – I’ll get lots of experience performing. And hopefully, I can make it fun. I’ve started jotting song ideas but if anyone has cool thoughts, let me know.

Enjoying the Area

On Monday, at about 6:00 PM, the doorbell rang. I admit I was expecting the Mormon teenagers I’ve been putting off, and I walked to the door preparing my pre-planned speeches (“Thanks so much but I’m not interested”, “I’m a lost cause”, “Short-sleeve white button-up shirts freak me out”).

When I opened the door, this was standing on the other side:

I admit I screamed “OH SH%T!!” and jumped back, not knowing what the frick I was looking at.

It turned out to be my friend’s son, who came over to scare me. I think they filmed it, so my freaking out might be on the interwebs any day now!

Here’s the most interesting part (for people who know the inside joke): That thing is called a Gilly Suit (it’s actually spelled Ghillie, but I’m changing it)!! For those of you who don’t know, I used to be obsessed with Gilly, Kristen Wiig’s character on SNL. A great friend/coworker and I used to quote her nonstop, annoying everyone at work.


The reason I put this story in the “Enjoying the Area” section is because that suit is pretty typical around here. People in Page LOVE their hunting. Seriously. You would not believe how much they love their hunting. For example, the kid wearing it said they were just eating at a local restaurant and no one gave him a second look. So I guess to look cool here, I’m going to have to buy one. I hope they make it in a ‘smedium’.

Random Insights or Stories

I got another opportunity from the same woman who offered me the “singing at the local festival” gig. This one involves directing a musical starring the guys and gals her company provides services for.

What a cool opportunity if it happens! I’ll have input on the choice of musical (I have one in mind already) and will get to help make it all come together.

The company’s clients, who will star in the show, have cognitive disabilities of varying severities and I will get to work with them. They just love being on stage, so it sounds like a really fun, fulfilling thing to do.

Two years ago, they put on Wizard of Oz, and the girl who played Dorothy did sign language to the songs while a CD played the vocals. NEAT!

I don’t have much directing experience, but have done enough plays where I should be OK in blocking and setting scenes. As long as I don’t plop people in front of each other or smother someone in darkness, it should be fine.

Short Stories

After last week, I figured I’d be posting other short stories from time to time. Therefore, I’m adding this brand new section to the blog, complete with a new story.


This story was written using the theme ‘children’s imaginations’:

Most unsure kids in small Bible Belt towns were told “WWJD.” “What would Jesus do?” “What would Jesus do?” It was hammered into them from the crib to the grave.

James was different. He lived under a different mantra.


What Would Optimus Prime Do?

Sitting on the swing-set plopped across the street from his house, James saw Optimus Prime watching him. Optimus always watched him.

James began to swing. He pushed up as hard as he could and kicked out his legs as far as they’d go. He did it for Optimus – Optimus was fearless and he had to be fearless.

James pictured the giant robot smiling at him. Maybe, because of his bravery on the swing-set, Optimus would ask him to go on the next mission! The thought caused James to flush with pride and swing harder. He kicked out his legs, smashing Starscream, who shrieked and flipped away into the distance.

Optimus gave James a huge thumbs up.

In his reverie, James missed the fight that had broken out on some blacktop next to him.

When he noticed, James froze and skidded to a halt using the toes of his sneakers. Peeking through fingers, he watched an older kid punching a small boy who lay on the ground, sobbing.

James’s heart began pounding as he pictured his older brother punching him on their kitchen floor. He had to run away. But something stopped him.


James faltered. This was probably Megatron’s doing.


James knew exactly what Optimus would do. Optimus would swoop in, kick some butt, then give everyone a message about being kind or helping your neighbor.

Steeling himself, James tried swooping in. It was more like a stumble, but he managed to push the bully off the kid. The bully looked at him and, just as James was about to say “Let’s work out our differences by talking”, the bully punched him in the nose.

James never saw Optimus or Bumblebee or anyone bleed before. But, sure enough, blood gushed out his nose as the bully ran off. James wanted to cry, but heard a meek “thanks”. Looking down, he saw the small boy staring at him as if he were a superhero.

James swelled and forgot all about the blood. He looked up and said “Cool.” Optimus winked back at him.

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