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.

 

 

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

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

Don’t give up. Like, ever.

Hello! I’m back. Sorry I missed last week but I was doing something called #PitMad. It was an all day twitter event done by Brenda Drake, @brendadrake, where authors pitched their manuscripts in 140 characters to agents searching the feed. Well, let me tell you, it was not an easy task! BUT it was a great experience. I really had to dig deep to tell my 77K story in basically two sentences. It went like this:

Everything Emily knew about this world was a lie. Now she’s torn btwn a life she wants and one that’s imprinted in her genes.

Even though I did not hook up with any particular agent that day, I learned a lot and got a ton of new leads. Super excited!!

But, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t bummed at the end when none of the agents asked to see more of my work.

So that night I settled in with my copy of

January/February edition, and I came across an article labeled “success story”. It was about author, Augusta Scattergood. She started writing a book in 2001 and after nearly ten years of conferences and workshops she met her agent in 2008 at a summer conference and had her first book published January 2012, Glory Be (Scholastic, 2012). And in 2013 that same book received a Crystal Kite Award.

For all non-writers, that’s pretty badass in the world of writing. This wasn’t even the book she pitched that day! It goes to show, you never know what can happen. For more info on Ms. Scattergood please check out her website at http://www.augustascattergood.com, and most definitely check out her books! I was so inspired by her story that the next day I put my big girl pants on and got right back to work writing my next book. *fist pump*

The successful people in the world don’t have magic wands. They have oodles of passion and a boat load of tenacity.

Passion is a crazy thing. It’s the driving force behind my dream that pushes me, every day, one step closer to achieving my goal. Can you imagine if Ms. Scattergood gave up in the winter of 2008? She would have missed fulfilling her dream by just a few months and not even known it. But this is not just about writing. It’s like that with life too. If you give up on something just because it’s hard, you’ll never make anything happen. And if you’re not happening in life, life will happen to you like a leaf blowing in the wind, never in control of where you end up.

Reach out to other people who may be in the same situation as you, whether it’s trying to get into the college you want, going for a new job, struggling to write that first story, learning to play that instrument, getting healthy, whatever it is, don’t give up. Your next NO may be just one step in front of your YES. So even when it’s hard, and believe me I know, don’t give up. The journey to your success is worth the journey.Take a class. Read a bunch of books. Research. Strive for greatness. Don’t settle for less. Do what it takes to make it happen for you. You have what it takes. We all have what it takes inside of us. We just have to dig deep and pull it up to the service. WHO’S WITH ME??

Peace My Friends 🙂