Wagner Writer

Hi you!

Here’s my 5-pronged update:


Current Book

I’ve started in on the fourth draft of my book. My goals this time are to clean and cut where possible. Admittedly, there’s still one chapter I’m just not crazy about. And it’s one of the first sections.

On the publishing side, I’m finalizing different versions of my query letter and synopsis. I’d say they’re about 85% there, but they still need that last bit of polish that really attracts enthusiasm and interest.

Also, I’ve been going through a publishing book that lists all reputable agents in the country. It’s very handy and I’ve assigned scores (1 thru 10) to all the different agents. When the final draft of the manuscript is ready, I’ll be making an extensive spreadsheet of the high scores and then it will be time to submit.

I was gonna say wish me luck. But it isn’t about luck at this point. It’s about perseverance and doing whatever I can to get the book out there. YEAH!!

New Book

I’m making really good progress on the book! I just finished one of the pivotal scenes and I think it turned out pretty well.

I admit this book is veering wildly off my original outline. But what I’m writing now feels so much more organic. When I read the first draft, I’m either going to throw it off the dam into Lake Powell or cry with joy. Nothing in between though. It’s one or the other.

Another thing about this book – it’s really freaking long! I thought it would be about 350 pages, but it’s going to be closer to 525. It’s actually longer than the first book. Considerably longer. Oh man I’m going to have some editing to do!


I’m still waiting for a stupid microphone! I went to Wal Mart looking for a replacement and the only one they had was on sale for $2.50. Something tells me it probably won’t be of the quality I’m looking for.


OK this is kind of music related 🙂 My sister’s boss just told me she has 6 front row tickets to see Josh Groban in Phoenix next month. I knew she was planning on attending, but she asked if I wanted to go.


I’m so excited! Josh Groban is the only person alive whose voice alone can turn people on. He’s the one person I don’t like singing with, because he makes me sound like Lucille Ball wailing.

It turns out she also has 4 meet-and-greet passes. So of the 6 attendees, 4 will actually get to meet Josh. Normally, I’m not so much into celebrity meetings. I mean, just because a person can sing, that doesn’t make him or her better than others.

But for this backstage pass, I’m ready to sink to new lows of groveling.

The big question is, when I meet him, do I try to sneak in a song or a monologue?

That’s right! I’m going to be that guy!!!

Enjoying the Area

This past weekend, I went to a friend’s redneck surprise party. The hick theme was completely appropriate as he’s really into ‘huntin’ and ‘fishin’ and ‘killin’.

Last week, we all went out and put together redneck costumes from Wal-Mart and the local goodwill store. Mine consisted of crocodile boxers, a wife beater, and a sleeveless Wal-Mart employee shirt. Fun! OK I was going to post a picture here but, apparently, nobody took any. Boo.

Funnily enough, a few people didn’t have to shop at all. One guy actually loaned his wardrobe to people – the birthday boy wore one of his shirts.

Once everyone was in costume Friday evening, we hid out at the agency where most of them work in order to surprise him. After that, the party kicked off.

Here were the best moments:

1. When the birthday boy came into the agency (for the surprise part), he entered the wrong door. In fact, it was so wrong, he never would have seen us. When we caught on to what had happened, we freaked out and all snuck out into the hall – in our redneck costumes. Then, after a quick discussion, we made our way towards him. At one point, he saw us wandering around, so a small group yelled ‘Surprise!’ However, we were all lined up down the hall so he could only see a few people. Therefore, the rest of us awkwardly filed past him, shaking his hand. WHEEEEE!

2. At one point, four of us put on a Jerry Springer skit for the party.

This was the proposed scenario:

Guy #1 (to be played by my brother-in-law, Chris) is married to Mother #1. Mother #1 is pregnant with her millionth kid. One of her daughters, Mother #2, is also pregnant… with MY baby (that’s right!). So it’s one of those mother-daughter pregnant shows. At one point, Mother #1 reveals I’m actually the father of her baby (I’m butch!), which causes me and Guy #1 to fight. Naturally, our fighting ends up sending both mothers into labor and they give birth. When the doctor presents the babies, they’re both black. Sounds fun, huh? In theory, it was.

Here’s what actually happened:

Chris dressed up as a redneck woman (complete with daisy dukes and a teensy shirt) – the complete opposite of a ‘daddy.’ Mother #2 was so drunk, she just sat there giggling at everything. Me and Mother #1 tried our best, but yelled random things at everyone. Confused, most of the audience began yelling at/with us. At one point, me and Chris did pretend to fight, but it ended up being a girly little slap war. Finally, the mothers went into labor. Unfortunately, the dolls weren’t hidden, causing one person to prematurely yell, “Bring on the black babies!”

The moral of this story is: Don’t drink and act.

3. One guy brought moonshine to the party. I don’t think it was actually made in a bathtub or anything, but it REEKED. He informed us it was strawberry (“the best flavor!”). It smelled like rubbing alcohol.

When he opened it, I could see real strawberries floating in the liquor. He proceeded to take them out, cut them in half, and made us all eat a piece. At the time, I was thinking, It’s a strawberry. How bad can it be?

Here’s how bad:

One woman immediately spit up into a napkin, another ran to the sink and gagged it out, and the rest of us choked it down with any food or drink around (I think I used half a hot dog). They were like little coyote livers soaked in astringent. I don’t know what was worse, the taste or the texture.

Random Insights or Stories

Hmmm after the complete lack of value in the previous story, I should probably have something really insightful to say here. Well, I don’t!


Short Stories

I have some exciting news! A couple years ago (has it been that long!?!?), I did a play with a girl named Jackie Smith – Barefoot in the Park! During the production, we had SOOOO much fun. She’s supremely nice and talented. I still remember a scene where she was supposed to leap into my arms but my knees weren’t situated right and I Charlie Horsed her right in the leg (sorry Jackie!).

Anyway, over the course of my journey, I found out she’s also been writing…. And she’s several months ahead of me.

What does that mean?

Wellllll, her first book, Cemetery Tours, was released today! From what I know, it’s a ghost story aimed at young adults. She pre-released the first two chapters and I thought they were really fun and engaging.

I just ordered my copy and encourage everyone to do the same. If we support our small, local authors, only good can come of it. I’m talking ‘world peace’ good. If you’re interested in buying, here’s the link:



  • jacqueline e. smith
    September 19, 2013 - 5:21 am · Reply

    Thank you for the shout out, Cody!! And just so you know, my leg will never be the same. But the real honor was acting with you!!! You were like a celebrity! I can’t wait to read more about your adventures!!!

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