In the third episode of This Podcast Needs a Title, Peter and Erica talk with agent Stacey Graham of Three Seas Literary about her manuscript wishlist, patience while querying during a pandemic, how to gently nudge an agent without setting your career on fire, and her work as a paranormal investigator.
This episode contains Special Features like:
TPNAT Episode 3
Mon, 5/31 5:58PM • 47:41
agent, writers, editors, queries, stacey, book, writing, people, ghost, hear, ghost hunting, stacy, peter, read, publishing, question, manuscripts, haunted, accountability, clients
Peter Malone Elliott, EVP Ghost Voice, Erica Davis, Stacey Graham
Peter Malone Elliott 00:00
Hey, everyone, welcome to this podcast needs a title. I'm Peter Malone Elliott.
Erica Davis 00:04
And I'm Erica Davis. And this is real talk about writing, publishing and everything in between. In a few minutes, we're going to be dragging Stacy Graham of three seas literary agency in here. But first, Peter.
Peter Malone Elliott 00:17
Erica Davis 00:18
How you doing, buddy?
Peter Malone Elliott 00:19
I'm good. I'm good. Thank you for asking Erica. I've, I've got a lot going on right now. Yeah, I'm moving into my new Brooklyn apartment in a couple of weeks. My sister's getting married, which I will be reading something. She sent it to me. And in the midst of all the craziness of packing and taping and whatnot, I haven't looked at it. Oh, nice. Yeah.
Erica Davis 00:42
You could always I'm good. But I just want to say you probably like, read something you've written like a page of your screenplay, or like the acknowledgement section or something. Sure, sure. Yeah. How are you? I am caffeinated. I'm gonna be honest with you. We were talking about this before we hit record, everyone, but I recently switched from hot coffee to cold coffee. And it is so much easier to drink cold coffee in rapid succession. than it is like a hot cup of coffee. I just I like the taste of it better because I like being cold. And it's just easier for me to warm up than it is for me to cool off. So I have to keep that my reptilian body temperature very low. Iced Coffee is a really great way to do it. And I have it in front of me. It's so good. You want some Peter? You want something? My voice is going really fast he wants. I feel like that. So I'm, I'm trying to play hit the slowdown button on my soul right now. Yeah, in a good way. And because I had gone down to like a cup and a half a cup of coffee a day. And now I'm actually looking at my fourth and its 1pm here. So that's good.
Peter Malone Elliott 01:48
Erica Davis 01:49
Let's talk about our accountability. You go
Peter Malone Elliott 01:53
doo doo doo doo
Erica Davis 01:54
insert theme song here. Okay. How did you do on your accountability goals, my friend?
Peter Malone Elliott 02:02
I did. I did. Well, my accountability goal from last time was to cut about half of my belongings in preparation for my move. And I believe I achieved that. There was a lot of, you know, donating stuff to Goodwill and a lot of, you know, throwing out things that I you know, hadn't used in a year and a half. And, you know, I'm getting my stuff delivered to my mother's house in Virginia. And then from there, I'm shedding more stuff. And then I'm you hauling from there the Brooklyn. Oh, that's well, you vanning I guess my sister has a van. So okay. So I'm sure more shedding will happen. But I think I think I hit the goal. Yeah. And then I also got to the halfway point in my novel, so that's good. Yeah, that's awesome. Congratulation. Thank you. Yeah.
Erica Davis 02:47
Did you do anything? Did you do anything? To celebrate that?
Peter Malone Elliott 02:51
You know, I didn't.
Erica Davis 02:54
Peter Malone Elliott 02:54
and that's on me.
Erica Davis 02:57
You're not in trouble for not celebrating it. But
Peter Malone Elliott 03:00
I'm in trouble for my with myself. Erica, how did you do on your accountability goal?
Erica Davis 03:04
You and John called it that was very lofty for me. Um, my original my goal for last time from last time was to write 50% of the zero draft of my novel, which, you know, with unlimited amount of times I absolutely can do. That's 23,000 words for me. However, I only hit I think it was like the nine or 10,000 word mark, which I'm so pleased. Good. Yeah, still great life and day job gotten away. And I have to make room for that and be forgiving of myself. And I'm not going to take away my own birthday for not meeting that goal. Good. But I'm using it as a learning moment. To sort of the next time we ask each other about our accountability goals, probably at the end of this episode. Correct. I'm going to think of that first goal and then walk it back a little bit before I speak, okay. And I'm gonna just to sort of adjust that because I think human nature is to over promise, even to ourselves. So this is getting deep. I don't mind it. It really I just need more coffee for that hold. I
Peter Malone Elliott 04:07
I feel like yeah, take a sip.
Erica Davis 04:09
Yeah, this this is a dark episode. This is the upside down.
Peter Malone Elliott 04:14
This is the ABC community with the it's the alternate timeline.
Erica Davis 04:17
Yes. Oh, yeah. That was such a good episode. It was now okay. sidebar over!
Peter Malone Elliott 04:22
Erica Davis 04:23
John's accountability goal. How did our Kiwi friend do our?
Peter Malone Elliott 04:26
Our Kiwi did well, it seems his original accountability goal was having another chapter and a half of his novel put into screenplay format.
Erica Davis 04:34
Peter Malone Elliott 04:34
And he hit it and then some he actually got two chapters done. And he said that he thanked us for the guilt train that we barrel down on him.
Erica Davis 04:43
Peter Malone Elliott 04:44
Yeah, you're welcome, John.
Erica Davis 04:46
Anything for a buddy. So cool.
Peter Malone Elliott 04:50
Yeah, so all three of us did a good job.
Erica Davis 04:52
I feel like they do a good job and listeners at home. If you don't hit your goals, go easy on yourself. You're only a human well We don't know what's out there. We don't know who's listening. So for our robot overlords, you're also only what you were programmed to be. So don't try to so hard.
Peter Malone Elliott 05:10
Yeah. Okay, so I think Erica, I think now we should bring in Stacey Graham.
Erica Davis 05:16
Alright. I feel really excited about that. And in my caffeinated state, let me tell you guys a little bit about her. She's so cool you guys! Full disclosure, when I was querying a middle grade horror that didn't see the light of day, Stacey, she knows this. She was my dream agent sees the grandmas work both sides of the literary door as a human writer with a wickedly funny Zem Zem Zambies...
Peter Malone Elliott 05:41
Erica Davis 05:45
is too much caffeine. I need to switch to water or Benadryl. Let me try it again. Peter you might have to read this.
Peter Malone Elliott 05:54
I can. I can.
Erica Davis 05:55
No no she's my dream person. You guys, she's coming in. Now. This is Stacey Graham. She's worked on both sides of the literary door as a humor writer with the wickedly funny zombie Tarot, a screenwriter, a ghost writer, a short story writer, and now as an agent with three Cs literary. She is currently looking to expand her wish list with snappy ROM coms hilarious, spooky, middle grade, and my favorite. Weird nonfiction.Stacey, get in here.
Peter Malone Elliott 06:26
Stacey Graham 06:27
Hello, hello! Thank you so much for having me.
Erica Davis 06:30
Oh, no, thank you. This is awesome.
Peter Malone Elliott 06:33
Yeah the pleasure is ours.
Erica Davis 06:34
Absolutely. I'm so glad to finally hear your voice see your face. We want to get right into these questions for you. Because I have about 9000 for you.
Peter Malone Elliott 06:42
Erica Davis 06:43
Yeah, yeah, we
Stacey Graham 06:44
Erica Davis 06:45
You did. And as previously mentioned, I might be a little over caffeinated right now, but I'm fine. Fine. All right, fine. Here we go.
Stacey Graham 06:55
I like hopped up hosts.
Erica Davis 06:57
Oh, thank you. Right. Thank you for saying that. But let me get started. My The first thing on my mind is that I see that you are currently close to queries. You opening up again on June 10, 2021. And not only am I curious, what are you looking for in your next batch of clients? But can you talk a little bit about why it is that you closed?
Stacey Graham 07:21
Oh, it's an excellent question. So I let's get this right off the bat. I love rom com. So I'm looking for romance. There's not a trope I don't like and weird nonfiction Of course. And like you know, you're saying that again with the spooky and humorous milgrain. So that's basically what I'm looking for. But I really, you know, I'm looking for stories that have a lot of heart. The voice is very important to me, especially middle grade. And if you've got nonfiction, you know, the weirder the better. Just with my background was zombie Taro and a book called haunted stuff. I also wrote a girl's ghost hunting guide. I'm just looking for things that are gonna make me laugh and make me think and you know, something that's not that I'm looking for things that don't take themselves so seriously. So kinda like me, right? It's great. But agents closed down to quarries for a lot of different reasons. Things go on in their life. A lot of us have day jobs. And you know, sometimes they just need to shut down the query process so that we can catch up.
Erica Davis 08:28
Oh, no. Technical difficulties. And we are back. We are back from our technical difficulties. Stacy, you were in the middle of telling us that agents do close to submissions for any manner of reasons. Then the Gremlins interrupted us.
Stacey Graham 08:45
Absolutely. Agents closed two queries for a variety of reasons. Some of us have day jobs others of us have, you know, large families that need to be taken care of. That's one of my things. And so what we like to do is that will close down for a period of time be able to catch up on all of our past manuscripts, and take care of our clients. And then we're better able to, you know, serve our clients well, as well as those these poor people waiting in the slush pile. It's just a Maelstrom. So what I've done now is I will be closed for a little while until June 10. And that time, I'd like to get through the 20 manuscripts that I've got waiting for me, as well as taking care of by client management football with come first.
Erica Davis 09:33
Peter Malone Elliott 09:34
Erica Davis 09:34
See, that's something I have never had the courage to ask an agent.Why are you close? Why can't I just send you one thing, but hearing why you're closed? It's like, Oh, that's actually that bodes really well for wanting this person on my query list. Because they do take care of their clients first. That's really nice to hear.
Stacey Graham 09:51
Thank you. We try these Yeah. So basically, you know, to kind of expand on that a little bit. It's not only our To our clients that by closing two queries, and now we're not having people like waiting and wondering why, you know, we haven't gotten to the manuscripts. Sure. So we're hoping to kind of cut down on all that inks that writers just naturally go through.
Peter Malone Elliott 10:17
I'm also curious if you don't mind, this isn't this wasn't listed, but it's very directly adjacent to what we were talking about. You know, I mean, you must get a zillion queries when you are open for queries, a zillion queries a day, is there something that you would like to pass on to writers thinking of querying you as what not to do things that will immediately make you go, nope, reject her? Nope, delete?
Stacey Graham 10:42
I read, that's a great question, I read every query that I get, because I feel that it's, as somebody's taking the time to go ahead and query me, then I, they get the respect that they deserve. And have me read this and make a decision. But a lot of times, I've noticed that I am just not the right agent for that project. And so I let them know, things that I would say that kind of tipped me off that I'm not that agent is it's not in my representative categories. This is a kind of a big mistake that a lot of new writers make. And because they're so excited, and they want to get out there and and you know, show the world, which is fantastic, never lose that. But check the categories and make sure that the agent is one accepting queries to that, you know, within those categories, because then you're going to have the best chance of you know, talking to that agent a little further. I myself do not represent why a but I do represent middle grade. And so sometimes writers feel that that covers, you know, both fields, but it is not. And so when I get a query for ya, I can automatically like, see right at the beginning with this one's not for me, so I have to turn it down. So always double check.
Erica Davis 11:58
Peter Malone Elliott 11:58
it's really good advice.
Erica Davis 12:00
Very good advice.
Peter Malone Elliott 12:00
Something else that I think is wonderful about having you as a guest is like you we said in your intro, you've been on both sides of the aisle, so to speak, in terms of being an author and being an agent, as someone that's published books before and as someone that's a literary agent. Now, have you found that one informs the other? Or that being an author has made you a better agent or being an agent, you know, infiltrated the writing process?
Stacey Graham 12:26
Yeah. Well, it does a little bit now, because I came from the author side, I can understand what you know, as an agent, kind of the the process that writers going through, and hopefully, I can recognize when a writer is about to just like completely lose it and need a little support, because we've all been there. And we've all you know, kind of gotten to the point where we just want to know yes or no. And so if I see this happening, I'm totally right there to talk with them, and discuss timelines. For myself, I find that timelines are very helpful. Also, next steps. So with all my new clients, I'll sit down, and we'll go over the next step. And then I describe the timeline of, you know, work those from the time that I find them to when we're working on a proposal, because I always do a proposal for fiction or nonfiction. And I feel with that o--
Erica Davis 13:24
Oh, damn. What is happening? Why don't we end this one and restart fresh so she doesn't get locked out of the lobby again.
Peter Malone Elliott 13:33
Erica Davis 13:36
I'm actually noticing, it's like every 10 to maybe 11 or 12 minutes. So let's just build that in. And we'll just take a stretch break water break the next time it happens. Come right back
Stacey Graham 13:45
Let's, I was thinking the same thing. It's like, maybe we should just plan on this, like, going South in 10 minutes?
Erica Davis 13:50
No, that's fine. Yes. Sorry about that. technical difficulty, everybody. We're gonna keep it in for posterity to some extent. But Stacey, yes, were talking about proposals.
Stacey Graham 13:59
Yes. So sorry about that. So proposals I'd like to submit to editors for fiction, nonfiction, because I feel it's more of a business plan that we can show the editor that we know who our readers are, and the marketing plans and, you know, give a brief overview plus chapter summaries, it's really a wonderful thing to add in to sending out any pitch package, just that if you were looking at going, you know, forward with books, adding that in and taking a look at it. I just I cannot emphasize enough. What a nice thing that is and also helps the editor. When she's taking that into her acquisition meeting. We've given her a little extra so that she can you know, go into Thunderdome and you know, get that budget money for your book.
Erica Davis 14:48
Oh, that's really cool.
Peter Malone Elliott 14:49
It's something that you had mentioned in our previous conversation that I'm sure COVID has affected the turnaround times and I mean, like it was already such a long wait time in terms of hearing back I mean, has, how has COVID affected your submissions in the past year with clients,
Stacey Graham 15:05
When COVID kind of shut down, everything is everything kind of came to a screeching halt, because we weren't sure exactly how this was going to affect production lines and editing. And so a lot of our editors went home. And, you know, they had to work around their children's schedules with school, and, you know, still they, they have their regular meetings with all of their, you know, publisher people, and just trying to coordinate and it also slow down things in production wise, you know, people weren't getting into manufacturers in order to manufacture the book, and shipping the books, and bookstores were shutting down. And so, you know, we had to figure out where do that. So, in many respects, for publishing, it is ground everything to a halt, we are slowly getting back from that, as they realize that, you know, the books don't have to be printed, and they still, you know, leaders are are at home, and they want to, you know, find out what's going to happen next when you're in the middle of a series. So, things are much better now. And we've kind of gotten to the groove, a lot of editors have not returned to the offices, and they and they're working now do you know things with the childcare? And if the answer, which is awesome, but as an agent, my job was to get those books in front of the editors eyeballs. And so while I, you know, slowed down myself, because my daughters were home from school, I had one graduating high school was in middle school. So I, you know, I needed to coordinate all of that for them as well. So with COVID, and everybody moving back, we're definitely moving forward, as we understand this new normal, and when the enemies are going back to the offices, you know, we will adjust again, but that's one reason why it's taking so long, we're just giving these editors grace. And we you know, we want to make sure that everybody's schedules kind of getting back on track before we you know, get in there and start fighting for money again, basically, right?
Erica Davis 17:12
As you were answering that Stacey, I could feel some of our listeners wanting to know, because this is probably something I'd want to know. Even in this this world of our pandemic. Is it okay to nudge the agent I've queried and I haven't heard from them in 73 years? Is it okay, if I
Stacey Graham 17:29
Erica Davis 17:29
Peter Malone Elliott 17:32
Never nudge me ever!
Stacey Graham 17:33
Absolutely not! No, I'm thinking nudge is fine. What I would suggest though, is going on to your agents website, and that you're worried and see if they've got a timeline listed. Some will have, you know, four weeks, some will have three months. And if they haven't listed, you know, it's like, please go ahead and match me after a few weeks. My rule of thumb is I prefer not to be nudged anywhere under three months, I have a really good turnaround time. In terms of queries, usually I try to get them done within a week. But you know, there's other people who do not have that. And so three months four query after that, go ahead, and I just say hello, you know, how it's going, if you have a full or partial out with an agent? Yes, please give them more time, everything is backed up. So you know, it six months is a little long for them to have the query with that. But you know, anyways, three, four months, and that is just fine in most, in most times, but you know, just be patient. And we will get to you as soon as we can I promise.
Erica Davis 18:44
Peter Malone Elliott 18:45
Patience, the Shangri La that writers are always looking for.
Stacey Graham 18:51
You know, can I dip into the patience, though? we're so and I was talking timelines earlier, three months is, is a blink of an eye in publishing. And once the once the book is on submission, we can be anywhere from a month to a year and a half. Before we hear back from some editors. Wow. And then after that, if you get the book deal done, the book deal might take a month or two for an order going back and forth in negotiations with your agent. And then after that, I'll take at least another year before the book comes out. So you're looking at the long game here and publishing three months is nothing that we find so but you know, you have to kind of adjust expectations in publishing ...that's just the way this this donkey barks
Erica Davis 19:39
Oh my God ---Did you use this donkey barks
Stacey Graham 19:45
I did and I'm standing by it.
Peter Malone Elliott 19:47
That might be my new favorite turn of phrase I've heard
Erica Davis 19:51
that might be our new title.
Peter Malone Elliott 19:54
Title of the episode: The way the donkey barks.
Erica Davis 19:57
the one with Stacy Graham and how the donkey barks. Oh, that's amazing. Well speak ----Speaking of donkeys barking, I guess? Um, yeah, actually not donkeys barking but something you just said made me want to really ask one of my next questions for you, Stacy. If you could change anything about publishing, what would it be?
Stacey Graham 20:21
Mmmm....I think that would, I would hope that we could work on better communication, in terms of, you know, how editors are doing with their workloads, but also in terms of agents getting back to writers as soon as possible. And, you know, if the writers are, you know, submitting a lot of places and they get an offer, if the writers just let the agents know who have a partial or a full, let us know that that is, you know, on the table. [DIAL TONE]
Erica Davis 20:52
Gosh, the ghost Strikes Again, let us know that's on the table. That's the last thing she said. This is Yeah, it's every 10 minutes.
Peter Malone Elliott 20:59
This is crazy.
Erica Davis 21:03
This is how horror movies start.
Peter Malone Elliott 21:06
Erica Davis 21:06
I am cutting this in like we're gonna keep this in as part of not only the writing process there stops and starts. But there's also some times we're all just haunted by the Zoom Ghost.
Peter Malone Elliott 21:17
it'll, it'll be great in the gaps of audio that we have, we can we can just put like, just me. Oh, ahah ha ha ha ha haa ha ha ha.
Erica Davis 21:24
no, I was thinking about that. Or Stacy, do you have any live recordings of from your ghost haunting, circle back to at the end?
Stacey Graham 21:32
oh, I have a really good EVP that I can send you if you want to check out in effect.
Peter Malone Elliott 21:39
If you see Erica's face. Her eyes just popped out of her head.
Erica Davis 21:43
Stacey, if you're comfortable with that, I will 100% be taking you up on that that would be amazing to intercut. And then you've asked people to get to this part in the recording, they'll be like, Oh, that's why we hear that in between. and I'm keeping track of the timestamps. So we have like a 10 minute window before the zoom ghost cuts us off again, here we go. When we first talked about this, Stacey, you'd mentioned two answers, one from your agenting self, but then you also spun it what you would want to change publishing as an author.
Peter Malone Elliott 22:10
Stacey Graham 22:11
Right. Of course, I've all authors want to hear back as soon as possible. So that a you could, you know, skip merrily on in the meadows with your agent, which is what I do with all of my clients is OR you know move on to the next. And as it's it's almost a numbers game by now. But, you know, communication wise, if you keep up the communication, all the way down the line, I think it would be better for your agent, it'd be much better for the writer, if you are having problems with your agent, let them know talk to them as they discuss anything that you feel uncomfortable with. If you feel that they you know, perhaps the deal wasn't quite what you wanted. Or if there's something that you know, you're... you can deal with, that he can help with, let them know that that is our job is to help you succeed in your career as much as we can.
Erica Davis 23:04
Right? Oh, that's great. Great remidner.
Stacey Graham 23:06
I do find a lot of authors are scared to talk to their agents. But you don't have to be only some of us bite.
Erica Davis 23:13
Oh, that's good to know.
Peter Malone Elliott 23:14
Only some. Only some. A select number.
Stacey Graham 23:16
That is in no way distrubing. Yeah, cuz we're not going to tell you which ones they are.
Erica Davis 23:20
I know. That's fari.
Peter Malone Elliott 23:22
Kind of dovetailing off that when you sign a new author, what are the most common misconceptions they have about the industry?
Stacey Graham 23:29
A lot of it is the timeline. A lot of times the author, I will start working and then you know, we'll dig into the proposal that takes a month or two to perfect. And then after I put it on submission, just how fast that's going to go. So like I said, it could take anywhere from a month to a year and a half. And a lot of times my new newer clients will ask me, you know, if I heard back there within a couple days, and that normally does not happen, sometimes it is and that's wonderful. And I share that with them as soon as it comes in. But you know, a lot of it, just to give yourself a little peace of mind is just to be patient. And I promise we will tell you if a lot of work comes in.
Peter Malone Elliott 24:13
Stacey Graham 24:15
Peter Malone Elliott 24:16
A mini epiphany I just had as he was saying that we love
Erica Davis 24:20
min-piphany, I don't know.
Peter Malone Elliott 24:21
Erica Davis 24:22
Epiphilette? I think part of my sanity and what keeps me sane while I'm working on my, my young adult horror is the fact that I have a day job. And I because if I I tried for two months to focus on my writing full time, not only did I burn out so quickly, mentally, and emotionally, and physically, but I had so much time I didn't I procrastinated for half of it. And that was riddled with guilt. Like I could be having income right now with a part time job, or even a full time job and that was a balance. I've only Recently struck, and I could tell him babbling right now. But what I think I'm trying to circle back to is the fact that it, I am learning patience. I'm 40 years old. And it's only something I'm just starting to really appreciate that these agents that I'm querying, they're not ignoring me. They're...
Stacey Graham 25:18
Nope. Not at all.
Erica Davis 25:18
....playing the game. Yeah, this is it, I can't say I shouldn't take it personally. Well, shouldn't is a bad word. But like, it's not necessary for me to take it personally. It's just, this is a molasses-in-January situation.
Stacey Graham 25:31
And I think it's a great attitude. And one to remember, is, you know, it's not it's never personal. And so, you know, a lot of it is just time and agents have families and lives as well. And so we're just trying to manage that on top of day jobs, for most of it, for most of us, and [DIAL TONE]
Erica Davis 25:55
was just signaling you that we have about three seconds or three minutes before we ask is that 42... Special thanks to our invisible guests. Whatever ghost keeps interrupting our tech. This is,...
Stacey Graham 26:09
Peter Malone Elliott 26:11
The donkey, he's mad about being compared to a dog and barking.
Erica Davis 26:16
Do you know what we're not even going to bother circling back to your interrupted thought, Stacy? Because it was wherever it was. It was just, it was gold. And we're just gonna let people hang in the cliffhanger world. Because I'm guessing the ghost that keeps disconnecting us probably wants us to talk about a couple of different things here. I wanted to know what-- Well, no, this is one more book question related, if I may.
Stacey Graham 26:38
Erica Davis 26:39
Or if you were in the middle. I don't remember what we were talking about either.
Stacey Graham 26:42
I don't remember either. I have shorter attention span. So yeah. Okay. One thing I wanted, I've always enjoyed asking agents is what's a project you really want? But haven't seen yet?
Peter Malone Elliott 26:53
Stacey Graham 26:55
Oh, excellent. Excellent question. I love this question. I am a huge fan of Shirley Jackson. And so I'm always on the lookout for something Jackson-esque. And that is a huge order. And but you know, the not only was she a wonderful writer of Huntington Hill House, and we've always lived in the castle, but she was also a wonderful technical writer. She the pacing and the layers, and the voice of her characters really added so much. So these stories, but that's always something I'm looking out for. I want to be you know, I want to be involved in the story. And for me, that's a lot of voice. So atmosphere is also very important. But you know, if I can relate to the characters, if I can have some sort of connection with the location, I think that's really wonderful. And I think Shirley Jackson did a great job with that.
Erica Davis 27:52
Oh, that's awesome. I had forgotten. She wrote the lottery, right?
Peter Malone Elliott 27:57
Erica Davis 27:58
Yeah, I got to I got to had to read that in fifth grade. And um, I just see Oh, The Lottery. Yeah. How boring
Stacey Graham 28:04
Read it again, as an adult!
Erica Davis 28:06
I have. Oh, no, it that chilled me as a kid. I'm like, oh, man, another boring story to read for literature class. And I'm into it. I'm like, we get to read this right now?! Filling my little Horde. heart with joy.
Peter Malone Elliott 28:20
It is amazing. When you submissions, how if even if like, I mean, obviously, the Shirley Jackson, she had the technical ability and the voice too. But like, there are some writers that, you know, the technical level isn't necessarily 100% up to snuff. But they have just an undeniable voice that completely Yeah, it's it's, I think, in a lot of ways, that's the most important aspect a writer can have is a distinctive voice. You know, and I don't know if that gets talked about enough with up and coming writers.
I agree. I think, you know, voice is so important. It sets you apart. And it also, you know, helps you to develop the structure and the plot and the technical ability that also goes along with it. I do think they go hand in hand for like the very, the more experienced writers. And so but I again, I think that that's just can be learned, and every manuscript that you write, you're going to get better and better and better. I don't think I don't think people tell writers that often enough. That those who have you know, maybe three or four stories, Trump, you are getting better every single time. And you know, we appreciate it, we can see the improvement in those manuscripts.
Peter Malone Elliott 29:29
Erica Davis 29:29
Yeah, that's, That's a really good reminder. Do you as an author, and even maybe an agent, do you have any advice for how do I know when my manuscript is ready to send to an agent? Oh, that's great. Oh,
Stacey Graham 29:38
Oh, you never know.
Erica Davis 29:40
Okay. That makes me feel a lot better.
Stacey Graham 29:43
Yeah, that is that's, that's a great question. If there's a certain point where you just have to say it's time to go, and it's very difficult to do, but you know, it talk to your beta readers, I very much suggest beta readers, I also suggest, you know, going to there's writers sports, I started writing in 2006. It's and I went to absolute right.com, slash forums. It's a huge writer sport, I suggested for anybody to get in there, you will learn, like the basics of writing, you will learn the business of writing, which I think is very important. If you want to be a professional writer, and you know, you're going to meet a lot of great people, but you know, part of that whole evolution of being a writer is learning and trying new things. And then, knowing when maybe that doesn't work so well. And you can put it aside. That doesn't mean you can't pull it out of the trunk later.
Peter Malone Elliott 30:41
Erica Davis 30:42
Oh, wow. All right. Peter, before I get to my special-special questions, do you have other questions for Stacey? I don't want to, uh, steam roll it here.
Peter Malone Elliott 30:53
No, no, no, no, you're not steamrolling at all. I think that's everything you're saying Stacy is really, really valuable advice. And I hope listeners heed to because it will it will set you above from the pack it really well.
Stacey Graham 31:06
Absolutely. Alright, Stacey, you know, very well, but I own a copy of your book, Haunted Stuff. And everybody if you're listening, please go get it because it is creepy AF and AI. I'll even post in our Twitter feed the the video review I made for it when I was, I don't know. I had just woken up one morning, and I'm like, I'm totally going to review this book. And I did. And I watched it recently in this was about maybe four years ago, and I'm like, wow, I look like I'm not awake yet. Buy your book, and I have not yet gotten my hands on Zombie Tarot. Can you tell us a little bit about Zombie Tarot? Oh, sure. So zombie Tarot. I wrote, that was actually one of my first projects that I sold. I had no idea what I was doing. And so I just went ahead and pitched it to an editor at Quirk Books, and he bought it within about 10 minutes. So yeah, I sold that on a pitch. Yep. And I had no no clue about my agent at the time. She did not deal with tarot cards. And so she got it went, well go ahead and do each one. So I did.
Erica Davis 32:20
Oh, my. So it is a tarot deck.
Stacey Graham 32:22
Yes, yes. It's a tarot deck. And again, like, I never, like I said earlier, it's Tarot for people that don't take themselves too seriously. So I have a lot of fun with that. We have amazing art on the on the self, I heartily recommend anybody who loves kind of, well, obviously zombies, but also kind of like can be just fine as that retro artwork, I really suggest checking out. And I'm not just saying that because I get a kickback, right?
Erica Davis 32:56
Of course. No, that's fine. Did you did you get to interact with the illustrator? Did you guys work closely
Stacey Graham 33:01
a little bit a little bit. He and I were not partners at the beginning because I just pitched it. But I did have a friend do a couple mock ups, which I think helped quite a bit because that way the publishers can visualize it. But then they chose their own illustrator, which is very common in publishing. And Headcase Designs did an amazing job and I couldn't be more happy.
Erica Davis 33:24
Do you remember the illustrators name? I want to give them a shout out and I can't remember
Stacey Graham 33:28
Headcase Design. And...I will have to and I'm so sorry, Paul. I forgot to your last name. It's been, like, twelve years.
Erica Davis 33:37
I know. I know. That's fair. Oh, that's so cool. So this is going to come full circle then because Cz. I know that you have a background in ghost hunting. I know that you have a history of
Peter Malone Elliott 33:49
Erica Davis 33:49
Peter that freaked me out! Oh my god! I know the Zoom Ghost is about to cut us off. But I'm curious. Yeah, very in a minute, maybe. But I'm curious. One. What's the most haunted thing you own? And two? Please tell me everything you know about ghost hunting? That's a loaded question. Yeah, go and I think you also had an antique shop or have I can't remember I don't know. And you don't have to if that's personal, you don't have to talk about that we can scrap that part.
Stacey Graham 34:17
Not a problem. So a little bit of background about ghost hunting. When I was 19. One of my college professors said, Hey, write a paper about anything you want to nice and i and i went okay, fine. So I just picked there was like a psychic fair in my town. So I just went, Oh, this sounds fun. I had no background at all, no real interest in ghosts, except that I loved ghost stories. And so I met these people. And they were the nicest people I've ever met and very welcoming. And but I mean, I ended up talking to a guy for a while and I started going on these Ghost Adventures. And so that kind of kicked me off on ghost hunting. 35 years later, I'm still doing it. But to a lesser degree, I started a website about quality in the early days of the internet called, we go, Steve. And so if anybody would like to check out we ghosties.blogspot.com Yes, that's how old it is. And you can check out kind of my adventures there. And then I started writing and get about ghosts. Let's see, I do not own an antique store. But that's I I'm actually looking at an abandoned church with about 200 graves tomorrow to see about converting that into an antique mall. I don't know how you knew that. You didn't say?
Erica Davis 35:35
Wait a minute. Oh, no, that's really creepy. What? Wait there like four years ago when we started chatting friendly wise on Twitter. I could have sworn there was maybe because of the book The Haunted Stuff book like you talk about?
Stacey Graham 35:48
Erica Davis 35:49
I don't know.
Stacey Graham 35:49
So I now I that doesn't mean I don't have stuff..that is weird on its own. But I was at an antique store. Not Not quite yet. I know. All of the old stuff in my house. It wouldn't surprise me.
Erica Davis 36:04
field trip, Peter? Meet you in the middle?
Peter Malone Elliott 36:06
Erica Davis 36:07
Thank you. That being said Stacy Graham. What is the haunted, most haunted slash weirdest thing you own?
Stacey Graham 36:16
So many weird things.
Erica Davis 36:19
Just give us the top 10.
Stacey Graham 36:23
Let's see them. I can say them. Alright, so here's a story. I was writing haunted stuff, which by the way is out of print. Unfortunately, you can only get that through my website at agent Stacey Graham dot com. Here's a great story about being an author. I released Haunted Stuff. And it had a limited print run. And it did great. I earned out like very bad. At the same time, The Conjuring came out with Annabel. So they kind of connected the two Yeah. But they went out of print about a year and a half ago because it just they couldn't afford another print run. So I have like the last 20 copies in the world. So please, if you want one, go ahead and call me. But that'll show you just how crazy cyclical publishing is. Yeah.
Erica Davis 37:12
Wow talk about full circle geeze. doubles. Yeah.
Peter Malone Elliott 37:15
Stacey Graham 37:15
So but I have the rights back. So I might go ahead and just update it and send it out again. That's what you do when you're a writer.
Erica Davis 37:24
If you please do because I would like to own that one as well. I have. I have one of the first ones the first editions, and I sure as heck will be getting a second edition.
Peter Malone Elliott 37:34
Yeah. And I'm not even a spooky person. But I want to read this. Oh, that sounds great.
Erica Davis 37:39
I mean, Peter, you're a littl espooky.
Peter Malone Elliott 37:40
I'm spooky in and of Myself. That's true. That's true.
Stacey Graham 37:44
Yeah, let's see the Okay, so I was writing a book on Haunted Stuff. And as I was folding my family's laundry, I had a it was Christmas time. And I have a small figurine of a Santa with a dangly bell. And the bell just started kind of ringing on it's own and
Erica Davis 38:00
oh my god.
Peter Malone Elliott 38:01
Stacey Graham 38:01
So that's probably the strangest thing that's happened, though. I have seen you know, just being on these investigations. But there's a lot of things I've had people yell in my ear. I've had people tickle my nose. That happens a lot. And think, oh, the EVP thing ever.
Erica Davis 38:20
I was just about to ask you about the AVP that you're going to be sending me to interconnect with our zoom ghost blocking us off. Can you tell us about where that's coming from?
Stacey Graham 38:29
sure that I took that EVP, which is Electronic Voice Phenomena. For those not familiar with the term with my ghost hunting partner, LaMisha. I call her "ghost bait", because every time I go someplace when we do a VPS I talk to her and that to me is very unfair. But this was taken around 10pm in an alleyway in Winchester, Virginia. And it was just she and I was quiet night. And we were asking some questions. And you can hear very, very quickly when we played it back of a little girl asking for her mama. Oh my god. I've ever heard an anything else you'll ever hear on those adventures or any of the ghost TV shows? It's so much better than what you're going to hear there. So I'll be happy to send that to you and you guys can can put it on your on your site. Yes, but it's a lot of fun. And I haven't been doing it for a while just because of the pandemic and people don't want me standing in an alley I guess.
Erica Davis 39:31
Right? That's fair. "Stacey get out of that alley!" Oh my god.
Peter Malone Elliott 39:36
This will be this will be a deep cut for Virginians. But I bet you that that girl ghost you heard was at the Apple--Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester. And she's
Stacey Graham 39:46
oh my gosh, you do know this
Erica Davis 39:49
Wait, wait. What's the Apple Blossom Festival?
Peter Malone Elliott 39:54
It is this this fascinatingly quirky tradition in winter. very quirky, where my mom actually wrote a novel that just came out last year that's set in that world. It's it's, it's this novel...
Stacey Graham 40:10
Peter Malone Elliott 40:12
It's called Storm Dog. If you guys want to go out and buy it. Yeah, it's it's crazy. How best would you describe? I mean, it's it's kind of like a beauty pageant, but not really, there's like, there's also dancing dogs and floats. And it's this, this really just weird confection concoction.
Stacey Graham 40:28
It's the strangest thing I've ever seen. I'm from Oregon. And so I moved out here about 20 years ago, and then moved in this area, maybe 13 years ago. And so Apple Blossom, they shut down all the schools in all the neighboring counties, so that everybody can go there's private parties, and they've got luncheons for only ladies, and everybody's wearing pink and green. And it's really a garish, horrible color combination. And sorry if you love it, but it's not. These are not good ones. But then they have a huge parade and kind of a carnival. And it was not COVID friendly this year. I'm just gonna say. But it's Yeah, no, it's, it's wild. It's kind of like the old South would you would kind of think with the beauty pageants. And the ladies out there having their lady luncheons, and then also just people out there having fun and you know, getting together. It's just kind of as a reason to celebrate. And it's fun, and it's quirky. And I just love it. Yeah. And the people of Winchester are so nice. And they are so into it.
Peter Malone Elliott 41:37
So, it's quirky in all the best possible ways. And it really does exactly community together. And it's a wonderfully, wonderfully distinctive thing. Yeah.
Stacey Graham 41:46
Oh my gosh, they raise a lot of money. It's it's really it's a it's a wonderful kind of fun thing to kind of get your mind off of daily life and all the stuff that a festival should be is is Apple Blossom. We just love it.
Erica Davis 41:59
Yeah, this is how Midsommer starts.
Stacey Graham 42:04
Erica Davis 42:06
Okay, good. I got a third of the way from a third of the way through that movie. And I'm like, nope, we're switching to Downton Abbey. Forget that.
Stacey Graham 42:12
That is a wild film. Alright.
Erica Davis 42:15
Holy cow. Well, I don't know if you guys noticed, but the Zoom Ghost hasn't caught us off. Since we've been talking about haunted stuff.
Peter Malone Elliott 42:21
Erica Davis 42:22
Oh, my gosh,
Stacey Graham 42:23
that is true. We should have started off with that.
Peter Malone Elliott 42:27
book end it with good stuff. Oh, my gosh, Erica.
Erica Davis 42:32
Peter Malone Elliott 42:33
I think it's I think it's I think it's that time now.
Erica Davis 42:35
I think we've hit every question we could have. Well, I have like 809,000 billion more questions for you, Stacey. But I'll hit you up on Twitter, DMS. Don't worry.
Peter Malone Elliott 42:44
We have a wonderful tradition of doing accountability goals for Erica and I and whoever our guest is, in our listeners too. Would you like to join us in setting an accountability goal for yourself for the next day?
Stacey Graham 42:57
Sure just sprining it on me. Go ahead. Yeah, no problem.
Erica Davis 43:00
So accountability goals, we have a little theme song that we recorded last episode with john Cosgrove. So it'll play here good.
Peter Malone Elliott 43:10
It's really good.
Erica Davis 43:11
[THEME SONG PLAYS] It's so delightful. And but basically, I want to state what I want to have accomplished by the next time we record in about two to two weeks to a week and a half away something like that. Give or take. So I'll start unless you want to Peter.
Peter Malone Elliott 43:25
Nope. You start Erica. Ladies first.
Erica Davis 43:27
I have to think of one Oh, thank you. Okay, I'm actually I know now based on my inability to meet my extraordinary goal last time, which was to write 23,000 words before today. I'm going to walk that back a bit. I'm going to aim for 9,500 words and my zero draft of my manuscript. Stacey, you don't know this about me, but I typed very fast. So that's-- that's, that's manageable. For me. It's not quality writing. Naturally. Very impressive. It's just fast So...I might like you know, throw my grocery list in there. But hey, those words count.
Peter Malone Elliott 44:04
Yes. Fresh your your your ya horror,
Erica Davis 44:07
Peter Malone Elliott 44:08
I think I think my accountability goal is going to be two pronged one. Since I am moving to Brooklyn in the next couple of weeks, I would love to try and have my apartment set up by the next time we record. We'll see if that ends up happening. But Fingers crossed. And I would also like to have at least the next chapter of my novel done if not two. So that's those those are my goals.
Stacey Graham 44:35
Erica Davis 44:36
Yeah, it is very lofty. Have you will you physically be there? Are you letting people do it for you? No,
Stacey Graham 44:42
That's the loft part.
Erica Davis 44:45
Peter Malone Elliott 44:47
I will physically be doing it. Yeah,
Erica Davis 44:48
Oh, okay. Okay, gotcha. Stacey Graham, what about you? We would check in with you via Twitter or email in the next two weeks to find out if you can--
Stacey Graham 44:56
Oh, God, I didn't realize you're going to check in on me. All right.
Erica Davis 45:00
Stacey Graham 45:01
Okay. Accountability. Let's see my accountability goal with I have 20 manuscripts to read and get back to these lovely people waiting. I would like to get out. I would like to get through at least half of them so.
Erica Davis 45:16
Okay, that's decent.
Stacey Graham 45:18
Peter Malone Elliott 45:18
Stacey Graham 45:20
I think that's attainabile.
Erica Davis 45:22
That's attainable. Yeah. If you know your own reading rate and love
Stacey Graham 45:25
I read fast.
Erica Davis 45:26
...comments. Okay, there you go. Oh, that's good.
Stacey Graham 45:28
I have to.
Erica Davis 45:29
Oh, yeah, right? I bet. in about 14 days, I will check in with you or Peter will and we'll see how that went. And it's no harm if you don't meet it, but you get triple stickers if you do meet it.
Peter Malone Elliott 45:41
And if you don't our zoom ghost will visit you.
Stacey Graham 45:44
You get the donkey if you don't make it, you get the ghost if you do make
Erica Davis 45:51
The ghost if you do make it oh my god,
Stacey Graham 45:52
Looking forward to it.
Erica Davis 45:54
Holy crap. Stacey, thank you so much. This was so wonderful to get to know you a lot better and to hear your
Stacey Graham 46:00
Erica Davis 46:01
...thoughts on everything.
Stacey Graham 46:02
Thank you so much for having what I've done hour. I really appreciate it.
Erica Davis 46:06
Hey, zoom ghost. Thank you for joining us. Sorry, we didn't interview you.
Stacey Graham 46:10
Don't worry, we will make up for it on Twitter. Don't you worry. [DIAL TONE]
Peter Malone Elliott 46:18
And that concludes Episode Three. Erica, we did it.
Erica Davis 46:20
Peter Malone Elliott 46:21
Erica Davis 46:22
Oh, how are we getting these good of guests all the time?
Peter Malone Elliott 46:26
Yeah, I have no idea. I feel like we're like tricking the world here. This is great.
Erica Davis 46:30
Oh my god, I'm really excited that we are though. Just like adulting thing is kind of cool sometimes a
Peter Malone Elliott 46:36
Kinda cool. Up next in Episode Four, we have another awesome guest. They are an editor from a fantastic publishing house. And you have to stay tuned for that specific announcement though. Very exciting. Very, very exciting. And if you have any questions, rants or raves about writing or you want to learn more about us or Pipeline, please visit Pipeline Artists dot com and follow us on Twitter at the podcast title.
Erica Davis 46:59
And as of recently You can also follow us on Instagram at this podcast needs a title as well as liking our Facebook page. I think you just need to search for this podcast needs a title.
Peter Malone Elliott 47:09
There we go. bingo bango bango.
Erica Davis 47:12
Bingo bango bango?
Peter Malone Elliott 47:13
Yeah. Let's leave it.
Erica Davis 47:14
That'll work. Take care!
Peter Malone Elliott 47:16
Erica Davis 47:16
Roll that beautiful outro music
Stacey Graham 47:25
And the wind is blowing occasionally. ...That was me humming. ...
EVP Ghost Voice 47:31