Looking Back With a Grateful Heart

The journey back from 2015 to now has been a long one. I’m not a great blogger. Never have been. I love to share inspiring, intelligent things I learn. I love to pass along what other bloggers/writers have so generously shared. But sometimes life sucks. And when my life sucks I withdrawal. I’d been in the suck zone for a while but I was recently reminded of some wonderful people I needed to thank and draw your attention too, you know, if I’m not the only one here on this blog 🙂 Some times I think it’s just me and the crickets…

There is a contest that happens in October  called PitchSlam (also happens in March). It’s an amazing Twitter contest. Go check out Kimberly VanderHorst @Kymburleev. She was the Pitchslam Captain in 2015 when I was involved… yep, I said it was a long journey. Just a word or two about Kimberly, who I only just met through this contest. She was so enthusiastic and helpful and I wasn’t even on her team! Another fabulous lady, Leatrice McKinney, find her on FB or follow her on Twitter @ElleOnWords. She is a no-bullshit kinda gal, a wealth of knowledge, extremely generous with what she knows and funny as hell. Read back into her posts and be enlightened. I did not get the chance to work as closely with these ladies and the rest of the Harry Potter crew (that year’s theme) because I was chosen for Michelle Hauck’s team in Nightmare on Query Street, another  twitter contest. I was so sad to leave Pitchslam after my initial feedback but also so thrilled to work with Michelle Hauck and Michael Anthony, the co-host. Find Michelle @Micheleel4Laughs and Michael @RavenousRushing. I had an absolute blast with them!

Just a few other names, Jamie Corrigan, Laura Heffernan, C.M. McCoy, Caitlin LaRue, Melyssa Mercado, Cindy R. Wilson, Kirk Kraft, Kirsten Carleton, Eric Smith, Michelle Richter, Stacey Donaghy, Patricia Nelson, Danielle Barthel, Nina Haberli, Tegen Wren, JodiG and Karen M. McManus who you may recognize from the NYT Bestselling list as the author of One Of Us Is Lying. Which by they way, if you haven’t already read this book, and you probably have cause it’s been on that list for like 44 weeks now – but OH! So much to love about this book! And Karen is just so nice, and so normal. So yeah, go read it.

Some of these people have cheered me, read for me, helped whip my query and first few chapters into shape. Became my friends. Some of these folks are agents I really admire and when I asked them questions didn’t treat me like a leper. Thank you all!

Here’s my advice. If you’re not on Twitter, get on it. Follow these people. Follow the links to their blogs. Then search who they follow. Follow them and their blogs. You’ll make friends, gain CP’s (critique partners) and learn the business of writing and selling your work. It’s like going on a little treasure hunt, one link leads you to the next, and then another to another and so on and you will be amazed at all the greatness you find.

So to all, thank you. Most humbly, thank you.

I would also highly recommend following Brenda Drake who created Pitch Wars. Go to http://www.pitchwars.org for more information.

All of my experience with these contests has been extremely positive. I have learned so much and since I’m a writer, in for the long haul, learning something new everyday is what I need.

I’m not a post-every-time-I-go-get-a-coffee or take a pee type person,  although if I find a latte that is the bomb-diggity, I will shout it out.

When disaster strikes, I disappear. Even in public, I’m very good at hiding. Most people don’t usually know anything is wrong with me. Well, they probably think I’m a little strange, but that’s different then wrong. My life was undergoing construction I didn’t authorize.

I just didn’t want any of my writer friends to think I’d forgotten about them or that I’d just totally flaked out but life went to utter crap in November 2015.

I had back surgery four days before Christmas that year which was super duper bad timing but a cyst was causing nerve damage down my leg into my right foot so it couldn’t be helped. Then our family dog bit me two weeks after surgery and I really messed myself up getting the dog off me. I ended up with seven stitches and then had to put our dog down. He’d already bitten everyone in the family several times and we’d tried EVERYTHING before our vet convinced me there was no other alternative. I loved that dog. It broke my heart. I ugly cried for months after that.

But then we rescued Hershey and that helped heal my heart.

So my plan had been while my back was recovering I was going to get so much writing and reading done. HA! I had a bad reaction to one of the medications they had me on. And when I say bad I mean F’d up. It’s like when you’re trying to say cup but you can’t think of the word. It made me slur the words that did come out and lose other words in my head. Just as I would have a sentence, it would burst like a soap bubble and be gone…THE worst kind of medication you could ever put a writer on. So if you had spoken or texted with me at that time, I promise you I wasn’t drunk.

It took some time to crawl out of that dark hole. But I made it. My back is awesome now thanks to Dr. Abbed and I’m writing as full time as some one who has a day job can 🙂

2016.  I went back to work. I was on the mend and my friend Melyssa Mercado encouraged me to enter PitchWars. So I did. And the way it works is you enter to work with a mentor before the agent round. I entered the mentor round and then we lost my mom August 16th and life went to crap again for a while. I was with my mom the day she died. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through and yet I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m not ready to share that story yet but one day I will ❤

2017 – Present 😉

I’ve almost finished writing my fourth book. Yay me! Took a creative writing class with author Vance Briceland that I loved! It was offered at our local high school. That’s another avenue worth looking into. You never know where you’re going to find gems in the industry. Be open to learning everywhere! I learned a lot about people over this last year. Some of it was good. Some not so much. Some situations and people were bringing me down. So I changed them. Will Smith said it really well recently. He said, “Look around you. Who is pissing on your fire and who is fanning your flame?” What that means is are you surrounding yourself with haters or people who build you up and make you a better you? Some times you have to take inventory of those you keep close to you. Make sure they’re fanning your flame. If a person or situation is causing you grief….change it. You can not change another’s actions. You can only change your own. Surround yourself with awesomeness. Fan your flame. So that’s what I’m doing…fanning my flame. How about you? Maybe it’s time to do some of your own spring cleaning 😉

And that’s just how life is… a roller coaster ride. Sometimes you’re up. Sometimes you’re down, but it’s always interesting what’s around the corner. Okay. Enough rambling, but I did have three years worth. LOL.

Until next time. Be kind. Be well. Peace and love my friends.

Advertisements

2015…BRING IT!

Happy New Year fabulous people!!

Sorry I was MIA for a bit. I was stuck in a funk but I’m done being funky.

Rejection is the suckiest of all suckishness. My finalist #PITCHARAMA status is officially over. The editor who was interested in JESSICA MARCO PI has passed on the project. There, I’ve said it. I was sad. I was distressed. There was a day or two of immature pouting, kicking, rolling around on the floor. It wasn’t pretty. I’m over it. Overall, it was a really GREAT experience. The editor, Katie Teller at Curiosity Quills, was helpful in getting the book into the shape that it’s in. Now I just need to find the agent/editor that it is right for. Although this project wasn’t right for Katie, I would definitely submit to her again . If you’ve got a story, hit her up. She’s super cool.

Don’t go feeling sorry for me. This is the game I’ve chosen. It’s just part of the process and I learn from every experience, even the ones I don’t particularly like.

Let’s move on! *fist in the air. feet marching*

While I’ve been away the holidays came and went… Happy Happy, Merry Merry EVERYTHING! (((Hugs Abound)))

I spent some great time with friends and family– eating, drinking, watched awesome movies, read fricktastic books, spent a day at the zoo, and visited an indoor trampoline park TWICE! I have no pictures of the amazing back-flips I did without killing myself or any small children in my vicinity– you will just have to take my word for it.

Some of my writer friends are choosing a word for inspiration in 2015 instead of resolutions. Cool with me. I pretty much have the same resolution every year: Be a better me. If I’m a better me, hopefully I’ll inspire you to be a better you. Better me. Better you. Better world. Simple.

Back to my word problem. What word will I choose? Oh, the pressure *back of hand to forehead* Good Lord there’s so many! Triskaidekaphobia? Not a great choice for inspiration since it’s the fear of the number 13. I don’t want the fear of anything. Fear is a real friger!

Fear can frig up the best of plans.

“I want to draw but I’m afraid no one will like it.”

“I want to take a dance class but I’m afraid I’ll look silly.”

“I want to talk to that person I think is da bomb but I’m afraid they won’t like me.”

“I want to write a book but I’m afraid I’ll suck.”

Before even trying, fear can beat you into nothingness. I don’t know about you, but I’ll pass on nothingness. I want to be lots of somethingness. I’ll get back to this.

I want to share some of the books I read.

The first is called Finding Out by Sheryn MacMunn. I had the pleasure of having tea with Sheryn, who is a self-published author, and has had huge success with this debut novel. It’s a story about a young woman in the corporate world whose life falls apart and gets help putting herself back together from her neighbor, a Holocaust survivor. Sheryn marries two very different stories in a cohesive interesting tale that I really enjoyed. She shows how the human spirit can endure and overcome just about anything. I personally find the spirit to be an amazing thing and love to read stories that show that. Check her out at sherynmacmunn.com.

Another book I read is Because of Low by Abbi Glines. I was especially interested in reading this book because it is in the New Adult genre just like my JESSICA MARCO PI and because I heard Abbi speak at the NYC 2014 SCBWI conference. LOVE her! It’s a romance with a great backbone. What do I mean by that? It’s not all about sex. It’s a great story about overcoming some crappy life circumstances told from the POV of the two main characters. Again, it’s that human spirit, that amazing power we all have to overcome. Abbi uses two very distinct voices so you see it clearly from each angle. She even had me sympathizing with the jerk in the story! Find her at abbiglines.com.

And the last book is called Every Day by one of my favs, David Levithan. LOVE! Imagine waking up everyday in a different body. You are always the same age but some days you’re a girl, others a boy. You have no control over who you land in whether they be obese, a drug addict, gay, straight or suicidal. Totally about the spirit of each of us who is really who we are anyway. The body is just a vehicle. It’s like a car for the soul. Trippy right? This book is awesome! For me this is what writing fiction is all about. Being able to step into the shoes of a character and bring you along for the ride. Did I mention LOVE? David has way too many other books for me to mention the love for, so go to davidlevethan.com. Be in awe. Come back when you’re done…. I’ll be here.

Welcome back!

So. My word for 2015? You probably guessed it-

FEARLESS

Fear is the stop before I start. Fear is paralyzing. Fear is anxiety producing. Fear of failing will keep me from ever being published. Not havin it. Don’t have time for it.

Are there an abundant amount of things to be afraid of? Hell yeah, just watch the news for five minutes. Will my worrying about any of it help at all? No. Am I telling you not to be afraid of anything? No. As my mother always said, “a little fear will keep you safe.” If you’re in a house that’s on fire– RUN! There’s a difference from being fearless and being stupid. Don’t be stupid. All you stupid people should be reading some other blog. Everyone else… Be fearless with me in 2015!

Until later this month,

PEACE, LOVE, AND A FEARLESS 2015.

 

 

EDITOR UPDATE and WORK IN PROGRESS

Hello my friends!

I completed my revisions and sent JESSICA MARCO PI back to the editor, Katie Teller at Curiosity Quills, on September 22, which just happens to be my birthday. Guess what I wished for when I blew out the candles this year!

I am not checking my email every five minutes. Okay, yes I am, but I’m also busy on my new WIP, work in progress. I am 9,000 words into my next YA novel. That translates into about forty pages, for my non-writer peeps. After reading FB and Tumblr posts by Victoria Schwab (veschwab.tumblr.com) I was inspired to chart my progress on a calendar. I tweaked her idea to be more of what I needed.

I’ve committed to 500 to 1000 words a day. I am not using fancy stickers, I’m just not that organized. Mine consists of numbers and lots of !!!!!!! and happy/sad faces. Keepin’ it simple ‘cause it’s fight-for-every-friggin-free-minute up in here and I’m easily distracted.

I find myself squeezing in ten minutes here, ten minutes there because I rarely have a large block of time that I can dedicate to writing. That makes it sound like writing is my hobby. Quite the contrary mother cluckers!

Writing is the beat of my heart. I daydream about my next chapter like some people daydream about a holiday or vacation. I know it’s weird. I’ve always been weird I’m just not hiding my freak flag anymore which earns me strange looks from people who thought they knew me.

But the reality is that so far I’ve only made fifty bucks from writing. Although it’s the bestest-frickin’ fifty bucks EVER, and as much as I consider myself an artist, the bills need to get paid; the kids need to be driven to school, sporting events, gatherings and movies with boyfriend. The oh-God-please-make-it-stop renovations on this why-did-we-move-here house need to get finished. Groceries need to get shopped for if anyone in my house is going to eat. Dinner prep; same reason. Exercise needs to happen so the size of the booty doesn’t get completely out of control and by out of control I mean splitting my pants or hanging down to my knees. Laundry! Teenagers– ‘nuff said. Oh, yeah, and then there’s that other thing I do during the day called a JOB, which for right now is paying some of the bills until my writing career blows up and I’m swimmin’ in da doe.

BUT…writing is the beat of my heart. It is where I dream. It is where impossible things become possible. It’s where I laugh and cry, like an idiot, in a small ugly room in my house along with a laundry wrack and a snoring French Bulldog.

It is what I love to do. Besides my family and God, writing is the most important thing in my life. So I realize as I work on my WIP that I too, am very much a WIP. Aren’t we all?

PEACE, LOVE AND GROOVINESS!