Query Quest

One writer's journey to getting published

Sarah Fister Gale

Sarah Fister Gale
Chicago, Illinois, USA
August 07
Sarah Fister Gale is a freelance journalist, novelist and wine-drinker based in Chicago. She is agented by the fabulous Jacquie Flynn of Joelle Delbourgo Associates who is currently seeking a good home for her novel, Losing Jenni, a story of a little girl who drowns in the Chicago River, and the amazing choice her mother makes to cope with her loss. Follow her on Twitter @SarahGale.

AUGUST 2, 2013 7:24PM

Chaos and Calm: An ode to motherhood


My days are anchored by what I do,

halving the chaos and quiet in two.

In the mornings I hover,

helicopter mother,

always the nervous one.

Nudging and budging,

feeding and pleading,

I urge and discourage till the tasks are done.

Then… Read full post »

JUNE 10, 2013 1:08PM

Of course you're not fat

 On the challenge of raising a girl to love herself in a world that teaches her to hate her body.

“When I sit like this, my legs look skinny.”

My 12-year-old daughter made this declaration on a recent morning while we were waiting for my sister to pick herRead full post »

 Nine years ago, my son had just started first grade in a small private school in Minneapolis, when one of the classroom moms approached me in the hallway. “I want to start a Boy Scout troop for the class,” she announced. “Are you in?”

She was so excited about the… Read full post »

In the days leading up to the last election I had a brief but contentious argument with a friend over why I would never vote for a Republican candidate.

I asked her how she could choose a party that was so anti-women. How she could support a group that is… Read full post »

In less than a week my kids will start a new school year. My oldest will be a freshman in high school, and my youngest will start sixth grade at two terrific Chicago Public Schools (CPS). 

Yet it’s likely this next phase of their lives, and the lives of all CPS… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 14, 2012 9:44AM

I'm incorporating my ovaries as cities in Arizona

As many of you may have read recently (while gasping in shock), Arizona’s woman-hating Republican governor, Jan Brewer, signed into law a new “20 week ban” on abortions.

Why should you be shocked you ask, when so many other states have similar laws? Because, this law is the only on… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 14, 2012 5:24PM

Planned Parenthood Changed My Life

When I was a child, if I needed a doctor I always went to the same guy. Dr. Horton was my pediatrician from the day I was born. He was an old man, tall and stern, and bald as an egg. He wore a white lab coat and steel rimmed glasses… Read full post »


This morning after driving my son to school I turned on a news radio program in the middle of a story.

“…The letter stated that ‘LGBT rights are not human rights’, and they have ‘nothing to do with fundamental human rights,’” the newscaster read. &ldRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 19, 2012 6:22PM

Why Rick Santorum would have killed my daughter

Next month, my daughter Ella will turn 11-years-old. She’s a beautiful girl, with blond hair and green eyes. She’s an amazing artist, a brilliant writer, and she can do the splits without even warming up.

And if I hadn’t had an amniocentesis, she would have died the day she was… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 23, 2011 3:25PM

I quit crying, when my dead friend asked me nicely to stop

When I was 22-years-old, my friend Caroline was killed. It was five o’clock in the afternoon on a sunny street in San Diego. She was driving home from work and a drunk tow-truck driver blew a red light and slammed into the driver’s side door of her car. She died instantly.… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 2, 2011 1:29PM

How a calendar error changed my life

 In the Spring of 1994, I made a careless mistake that I thought would devastate my life plan. Instead it brought me the exact thing I’d been trying and failing to get my hands on for years.

Since I was a child, I wanted to be a writer. As a little girl… Read full post »


In 2004, PBS Kids launched Postcards from Buster, a show about an animated rabbit who visits real-life families across America. It was an innocuous little show, but my kids were six and four at the time, and we spent many hours during the long cold Minnesota winters watching anything PBS… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 11, 2011 12:54PM

My Disastrous Career as a Joe Walsh Dancer

I am not a good dancer.

This is not my “mortifying disclosure” however it would have been a helpful revelation to make to Joe Walsh’s  back up dancers when they asked me if I wanted to come on stage during the show. But they were cute, and I was young… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 4, 2011 6:16PM

I got bullied into fighting breast cancer


Let me begin by admitting right up front that I did not sign up for the Avon Two Day Walk for Breast Cancer because I am driven to change the world, or to avenge the death of a loved one. While I am aware of the devastation that breast… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 27, 2011 11:58AM

Skins is appalling-- but not because of the sex and drugs

Despite every voice in my head begging me not to, I watched the first episode of Skins at MTV’s website yesterday. And I admit it, I was appalled, but not because it was rife with 16-year-olds having sex and taking drugs.

'Skins' dropped from 3 

I question any person with access to cable… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 8, 2010 2:37PM

I’m With the Band

I was 26-years-old and it was the first time I had ever traveled for business. A mere two months into my first real job as a trade magazine writer, I was flying to Dallas to cover an annual conference of mechanical engineers. I had a shiny new American Express corporate card… Read full post »

As every writer knows, the act of writing is a lonely process. You can talk about your book, wax poetic about your goal of writing 1000 words a day, even brag about your progress as you move the literary  narrative steadily forward or tackle a key point in the plot. But… Read full post »

This week I received two requests for chapters from queries I sent to agents. A day later I attended a funeral for a child. Her name was Louise. She was 10-years-old and she attended school with my kids. 

Two weeks ago I wrote a blog on how sad I was about gettingRead full post »

This is my first Teaser Tuesday posting, ala the Twitter group, so I hope you enjoy. This is from the first chapter of my unpublished but finished novel, The Three of Us. 

The setup: A couple is driving to the hospital with their son who has just been hit by a… Read full post »

JUNE 26, 2010 10:11AM


max and maddy night swim

 Because American families come in all shapes, and sizes, and shades.

On the beach in Benton Harbor, Michigan.  Read full post »


A little girl died today.

I did not know her, but I felt like I did. She went to school with my kids, and my sister was her teacher.

She had cancer. She fought it for a year, but today she lost that fight. Last week… Read full post »


This week I made a triumphant discovery.

I am not alone.

Apparently the world is full of rejected writers, some of whom have completed this journey successfully, found an agent, and went on to publishing fame; some who  never found an agent, but are still… Read full post »

JUNE 14, 2010 11:23AM

Query Quest #4: I am sad today

Sunday was a good day. Despite overcast skies, I spent a glorious afternoon watching my son play in his soccer championship on the fields along the lovely Chicago lakefront. After a impressive second place finish in his division, we headed home to dine on a tender – and not at all… Read full post »

When I started writing this book I had an ace in the hole. My friend and colleague Wendy Webb, author of the brilliant new novel, The Tale of Halcyon Crane promised me that once it was finished she would read it; and if she liked it – how could she not… Read full post »

Last night at my son’s playoff  baseball game – go As! – I had a long conversation with a woman who is the grandmother of one of my son’s teammates. For the most part, it was your garden variety Little League parent chatter. We discussed the joys of living in Chicago,… Read full post »