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.

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PITCHARAMA CONTEST UPDATE & BEYOND…

Life is a crazy roller coaster ride…so grab a fist full of your underpants and hang on!

As I said in my last post, I made it to the final round of #PITCHARAMA, hosted at http://www.aussieownedandread, thanks to my friend Mel @MyInnerMG, for telling me about the contest and Cassandra Page, who chose me for her team. It may have been my creative way of getting the words “goat balls” into my synopsis or that there was no one else left to pick from, but nonetheless…Cassandra Page @CassandraPage01 you-da-bomb forever in my book!

For a few days it was all—WOO-HOO! and YAY BABY!

Then on June 27th , while on a road trip with my family, the editors made their picks. I watched the twitter feed. I stalked my entry http://aussieownedandread.com/2014/06/27/30-jessica-marco-pi-na/. NO requests—NOT ONE.

My happy dance turned into a wailing-flailing-crying hot mess that went a little like this: “NOOOOOOO! Wahhhhh! and WHY? FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY, WHY?? “

Human-Male-White-Newborn-Baby-Crying.jpg

This roller coaster ride of highs and lows dove into heartbreak hill, twisted around vomit lane, chugged up frustration tower and rolled to a stop at pissed-as-hell. I settled into suck-ville and ate lots of ice cream over the course of the next day.

The twitter feed posted to keep a look out for late requests as some editors were still lurking about. I stayed hopeful for a few more days, checking my phone on vacation constantly until I got yelled at by my two teenagers. Imagine that? My kids were yelling at ME to put down my phone! So I did.

Turning the phone off was easy. Turning off my mind? Not so much. I knew I was going to have to blog about this epic fail because I had opened my big mouth to tell everyone that I was a finalist in Pitcharama and hey look at me, I’m so great in my finalist status. Shit. Shit. Shit.

I licked my wounds, drank wine with good friends and decided, GET OVER IT! Dive Bouteille.jpg

You made it to the final round and that’s pretty frickin’ cool. I stopped stalking the twitter feed and enjoyed the rest of our vacation except for the four hour traffic jam on the New Jersey Turnpike. Oh. My. God.
People do some CRAZY shiznit when they’re stuck in traffic on a hot day.

An old man peed right next to us – did not turn away, just hung it out there for all to see, and whizzed. Dude, nobody wants to see that. We saw whinny kids get yelled at, brothers and sisters beatin’ the crap out of each other and some YA’s smokin’ weed. I’m not judging. It coulda been medicinal marijuana.

I’m thinkin’ no, but hey, you never know. And driving and smokin’, not the best choice. I’m just sayin’.

After we got home I decided to forge ahead and query like a mo-fo.

Then on July 3rd my husband and I were having coffee and I get an email from the Cassandra saying, “Hey, just wanted to make sure you saw the late request.”

My heart started to pound and I started to sweat- the really unattractive sweating- not the girly Keira Knightley glow. I checked my entry and there it was! A glorious request to see more of my manuscript from Andrew Buckley at Curiosity Quills! Thank you Andrew! Check out Andrew at http://www.planetkibi.com

I checked Curiosity Quills submission guidelines, curiosityquills.com, and sent my query and first three chapters. *Note: Whenever guidelines ask for three chapters, they mean your FIRST three. I once sent an agent chapters 5 thru 8. Needless to say, I did not hear back from her.

Four days after submitting to CQ, Katie Teller @KatieTeller1, Acquisitions Editor, requested to see the full manuscript. YAY!!! Thank you Katie!!

VALIDATION! Someone, besides my mother and Cassandra, liked what I wrote. I’ve experienced this feeling one other time when I sold my first short story for fifty bucks. Best high I’ve ever had; truly intoxicating!

Let me just say, I write because I love to write. No real revelation there. It’s the same with all writers. There are stories inside of me that I have to tell, notebooks of notes, napkins with words I’ve been searching for that happen to find me at Dunkin Donuts, and snip-its of dialogue that I’ve only spoken to my French bulldog so far because I have yet to put it all on a page. But I am also addicted to that intoxicating feeling of someone telling me they liked what I wrote, that it made them laugh, that it touched them in some way.

I will write no matter how much success I attain from it. But, getting this far in Pitcharama, is just about the best thing ever!

I’ll keep you posted on JESSICA MARO P.I. and when it can be purchased 😉

Now I’m off to write the next story.

PEACE. Peace my friends, until it oozes from your pores like an infection and spreads like the plague!

*all images from http://commons.wikimedia.org

#PITCHARAMA, JESSICA MARCO PI

#PITCHARAMA

Hi All! This post is for a twitter writing contest. You can find the details at aussieownedandread.com and on twitter #pitcharama.  You can also follow my progress on twitter @jeannieintrieri. Good luck to all participants! This is my story and here’s my pitch:

 

Title:                     JESSICA MARCO PI

Author:               Jeannie Intrieri

Genre:                  NA

Word Count:      59,000

SYNOPSIS

Jessica Marco, a twenty-four year old private investigator, is working on a kidnapping case when she discovers her sister’s piece of shit husband is the kidnapper. He unfortunately gets away by throwing Jess off a small cruise ship where the transfer of money for victim was supposed to happen.

While on the kidnapping case, Jess gets a call from a friend who runs a local funeral home where Fat Sal’s arms and legs have been stolen two days before his scheduled wake. Everyone knows you can’t pull off a wake without arms and legs. They’ll be screaming, serious freak-outs and old ladies fainting at the casket. Who the hell needs that? Jess takes on the case to save her friend’s funeral home from ruin.

Her personal life is just as crazy as her work-life with a mother who steals her laundry, a sister who’s done too much plastic surgery, a grandmother who’s paranoid about the “chill” because that bastard’s always trying to get someone sick and a hot cop/sorta boyfriend.

Her life goes from bad to total goat-balls when her investigation ties both cases together and puts her in the middle of a medical black-market organization that’s killing people for their skin and organs. With millions of dollars at stake, they also have no problem killing anyone who gets in their way.

If Jessica is successful in solving her cases, everyone, except the piece of shit husband, gets to live happily ever after. If she fails, she and everyone she loves will lose their life…and their skin.

Twitching and #Sunvssnow

I’m sitting at the computer waiting for the words to come but they don’t because ten inches of snow fell last night and I have a perpetual twitch in my left eye. I’m not sure if the twitch belongs to the snow or the contest I’ve entered at #sunvssnow on twitter.

The snow gives me anxiety that is connected to my aversion to shoveling. The contest gives me a different kind of anxiety that, if truth be told, I’ve begun to crave like a junkie. You don’t know me so I’ll fill you in. I am NOT a thrill seeker. I crave things like dark chocolate, Sicilian pizza from a tiny place where I grew up, good coffee, time snuggled on the sofa with my love watching a movie, a good run outdoors when the weather is nice and ice cream sundaes; I will plan an entire day around a sundae! I don’t jump out of planes. I don’t do drugs. I don’t dive off bridges with a rubber band attached to my ankles. I don’t cling to the side of a mountain trying to reach the top…or do I?

Now, let’s be forreals, I am not packing a parachute any time soon, I can tell ya that right now.  But I have become a different kind of thrill seeker despite my anxiety and fear. My mountain is a mass of words and thoughts trying to get out on the page faster than I can type. It’s researching the agents I think will be a good fit for me and then praying I don’t get a rejection because quite frankly, rejection sucks. It’s another round of edits while getting the new story started a sentence at a time and working a day job. It’s throwing myself into these contests even though it makes me want to throw up. So what’s happened?

Not gonna lie, not really sure how it happened. It wasn’t like I set forth a plan and then executed it one step at a time. But I say to myself ALL the time; what’s the worst thing that can happen? And the answer is usually not that bad. I do a lot of deep breathing, and I talk myself down from the ledge. In doing that, I have found such an encouraging group of peeps!

Last month when I did the #Pitchwars twitter contest, @brendadrake, I did not get a mentor. BUT one of the mentors I submitted to sent me an email with some great feedback. Michelle Painchaud did not have to do that. I am so grateful that she did. THANK YOU!! There is an unwritten code among the authors I have met about paying-it-forward. I LOVE this! Can you imagine a world where everyone lived by this rule? It would be a huge pot of “awesome sauce!” This is where my new-found junkie-ness comes in.

I crave to be part of this community! I stalk the twitter feed. I follow the blogs. I read the bio’s of all the authors and agents who have committed themselves to the task of reading all the entries in the contest. They don’t have to do this. The pool in which to fish for a new, talented author is unending. But they do it because they have stood in my shoes and walked a mile in this, sometimes, heartbreaking process. Maybe not with the anxiety and major freakouts I have, but still.

So when my friend, @myinnermg, told me about #sunvssnow hosted by authors, Michelle Hauck @Michelle4Laughs and Amy Trueblood @atrueblood5, which I had already been quietly stalking, I of course dove in. It’s kinda like falling in love the first time; I love it! I hate it. It’s awesome! It sucks. I’m thrilled! I’m nauseous. I’m high as a kite! I’m kicking and screaming on the floor. What, your first love wasn’t like that?

As I wait patiently *laughs like a loon* for the results to be posted on Michelle4Laughs blog tomorrow I will have bouts of anxiety that pitch me into brownie eating mode, moments of dreaming about the day Ellen will interview me, time spent not throwing up, witty banter on twitter with my fellow writers, plotting the screenplay for the movie that will follow my book. I dream big otherwise what’s the point?

Win or lose tomorrow, I’ll be chasing down my next fix, because at the end of the day, I can’t wait to pay-it-forward!

Until next time, PEACE