A PRETTY PICKLE: Deleted Sections


Often the writing part is easy; it's the editing process that's a gigantic b-otch.

Sometimes cutting a section of well-considered text is painful—more that a little.

In the end, a writer has to kill off parts of the story to make the remainder tighter, more concise, and which better serves the reader.

I did, however, read Libba Bray's BEAUTY QUEENS (which is a hoot and a holler). Bray cleverly added these extra juicy tidbits as footnotes—which were sometimes the most hilarious parts. Maybe I could follow suit? Something else to ponder...


Random backstory

I haven’t smelled anything that rotten since Mary Sue Padley had the koi pond removed from her backyard—twenty-five year’s worth of concentrated fish poo gets a person’s attention right enough. Mary Sue got herself in a kerfuffle after her daughter, Carol Lee, fell into the pond the night before the Miss Morning Star of Southeastern Oklahoma Pageant, and the poor girl’s overly tanned skin and bleached blonde hair lapped up that smell like funnel cake batter in a vat of hot grease. Even with Barbie’s emergency de-skunking procedure, Carol Lee’s pores just wouldn’t lose the scent. The pageant organizers ended up disqualifying Carol Lee because no one could stand to be in the same room with her; luckily, the official record listed the reasoning as “act of God” to limit the scandal and to keep her eligible for the next event. However, Mary Sue was ready for the face-off with Honey Boo Boo—the reigning four-time Ultimate Supreme Queen and had “Bye-Bye Boo Boo” shirts made for the entire Carol Lee Beauty Team. With sequins. And LED lights. Mary Sue never quite recovered from the trauma of the event, and to this day, starts twitching anytime she sees fish.


so—as the “Hee Haw” gang used to explain—you better be sure to listen close the first time.

About Holli

I consider myself more of a gourmand about such matters, preferring a giant dill pickle and Cheetos.

About Trick

You would think with all the hacking and phlegm, the man was on his death bed. Oh, no! It's like how they say once you lose a sense the others become heightened--a blind man hears, tastes, a smells better than someone who can see. The more Pop's lungs go to shit the more I swear I can hear the gears in his brain whirring faster, plotting his enemies' demise.


... an adorable fluff that fit into the palm of [Trick’s] hand. I called her Bunny because she reminded me of a cottontail.


He even—and color me shocked here!—started a GoFundMe page for the Parker kids when their parents died in the boating accident at Lake Texoma; last I heard, the community raised nearly twenty thousand dollars—a virtual fortune in our corner of the country.

About Mrs. Dahl (Barbie's mom)

Used to being the prettiest woman in the room. Wonder how she felt once the mirror informed her that title now fell to her daughter?


The woman has a such a fear of sunlight, even when she sponsored our senior trip to South Padre Island, she slathered on SPF 1000 sunscreen so thick it resembled wall spackling.


Hell, Mrs. Dahl hasn’t forgiven my family since the MerryWanna brownie scuttlebutt at the Murray County Fair in 1998, when she claimed the cannabis-infused goodies unfairly prejudiced the judging. Mrs. Dahl’s epic tantrum resulted in Murray County Merry Mandate III: Thou shalt not use mind-altering ingredients in the cooking categories at the annual fair. The first two mandates related to Gramma’s handcrafted hooch and unlicensed home business—which the county sheriff wholly ignored, being one of Gramma’s best customers.

Since then, Mrs. Dahl’s been convinced the community conspires against her. About five years ago, she opened Sweet Potatoes, a ketotarian restaurant which promised all the benefits of the keto diet without the immorality of bacon and burgers and cheese. When the Roadkill Grill moved in next door—featuring calf fries, rattlesnake bites, armadillo stew, and yes, bacon cheeseburgers—her tuna salad and chickpea stuffed avocado didn’t stand a chance.


Of course, Grand Damn is inserting herself in her nearly-thirty-year-old daughter’s life. Again.


P.S. Look for more deleted goodies on the character pages.

There is a small snippet on the "Meet Holli" post.

And, an even larger scene on the "Meet Buck" page. HINT: It is the first time we see Holli and Buck together!


A PRETTY PICKLE: Query Letters


“a pretty pickle” potential query version 2

AKA The revised query my professor found professional and acceptable.


*Insert pouty face here.* I am not a fan of this iteration: it feels sad and appropriate and not representative of the voice in my story.

Should I go with my professor’s advice—and tradition—and submit my manuscript with this letter? Part of me says, yes, do as you are told.

Part of me says… Well, you can imagine what that part says.


Dear Future Agent,

At 3 p.m. Holli walks out of county jail. Twelve hours later, she digs up her grandmother’s grave.

After Holli sleeps with her best friend’s estranged husband Buck, Barbie threatens to reveal Holli's twelve-year-old secret—a teenage prank gone wrong—which could ruin her career and devastate her family. Holli also discovers her grandfather's shenanigans include stealing money from her grandmother—who dies and literally takes the mystery's key to the grave with her. Hog-tied by blackmail, retribution, and love, Holli must decide how to appease Barbie, how to derail her grandfather, and how to get Buck naked again.

A PRETTY PICKLE is a 90,000-word work of women's fiction that should appeal to fans of Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Maddie Dawson’s Matchmaking for Beginners.

I study at Southern New Hampshire University. My major is Creative Writing and English with a concentration in Fiction, and my minor is English Language and Literature.

Thank you,

Marnie Lyn Adams


“a pretty pickle” potential query version 1 or epic fail

AKA The query assignment my professor FREAKED so much about you would think I had burped in her face and insulted her puppy.


I know the querying process takes place after the manuscript is complete, edited, and ready for immediate delivery upon request. I also understand the query letter is an agent’s first impression of the author’s writing ability as well as the potential of the book, and the query itself requires multiple edits and thoughtful word choices.

As a fan of Janet Reid, I have read her Query Shark blog for years, reread every single post in the last couple of weeks, and will probably reread it again before I submit to the first agent. I am also considering sending in my query for Her Sharkiness to chomp on and get another pro’s input on what is working and what isn’t.

Yes, the query below is not your traditional fare: written in first person with a heavy dose of snark. However, this version represents the voice in my story so well, I would love to use it anyway.

Something to ponder.


Dear Ms. Agent:

 I have cemetery dirt under my fingernails, and chicken shit in my ears. And I just finished unearthing Gramma's three-day-old grave.

Yep, my life currently resembles an ass-load of steaming cow patties. Yee-effing-haw!

Let's not forget my ex-best friend Barbie's attempts to blackmail me—which I probably deserve, seeing as I slept with her not-quite-former-husband Buck. My grandfather Trick wants to get his grubby little hands on Gramma's money hoard, and after last night's shovel party, I literally hold the key to the stash. Oh, and did I mention the false arrest and release from county lockup—yesterday? Hell, if it wasn't for my brother's cannabis-infused assistance, I'd be boots-up in a vat of wet cement. If the particulars don't change soon, Barbie will kill my career. Trick will ruin my family. And Buck will break my heart.

Here’s my Lake Texoma-sized quandary: How can I appease Barbie? How do I avenge Gramma?  And how the hell am I going to get Buck naked again?

A PRETTY PICKLE, women's fiction, is complete at 90,000 words.

I study Creative Writing and English at Southern New Hampshire University. I am also a lapsed Okie with a spotty work record which includes crafting marketing copy, AKA making crap up for a living.

Thank you

Marnie Lyn Adams


P.S. I won’t bore you with my tribulations once I do start submitting my book to literary agencies.

Be certain, however, I will brag-brag-brag once I sign with an agent!


A PRETTY PICKLE: Meet Munro, Oklahoma


My novel is set in present-day Southeastern Oklahoma, in a small fictional community, population around 2,000, close to the larger towns of Sulphur and Ardmore. I grew up in Oklahoma City and spent many weekends visiting my grandparents (both sides) in the area. It is rural, with strong familial ties, and people who love God, hard work, and even harder play.

For more information about the area, check out my post, "Real-life Locales."


Munro, Oklahoma Inspiration Board