Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Pursuit of Happiness and Publication

Thanks to my brilliant wonderful husband, is up and running. And in connection to that, is up as well. This site and the connected blog are about writing. In the future, this blog will be more family related and less writing related. The following is the first blog entry from

I talked to a fellow unpublished writer today who just received a rejection from two of her dream agents. Both agents complimented her writing, told her she had great talent, but said no. One sited the competitiveness of the market, then other said her characters weren't sympathetic. Having recently received my own painful rejection, i understood her frustration as she pondered why if her writing was good she couldn't get published after two years of submitting and editing.

May I comment here that the writers I follow for the most part go through many more years than this of rejection. I think why so many writers quit is because of these years of trial and error. Also all those well-meaning friends who say "Don't quit your day job" or "Trying to get published is like playing the lotto."

I have several friends right now who aren't writers, but who are having trouble getting pregnant. Some of them have actual fertility issues, but a few of them have no obvious medical problems. If motherhood is your life long dream, would you quit trying after two years? If writing is your life long dream, would you quit after two years?

Getting paid to make up stories and worlds and people is the ultimate dream job to many people. For others, a dream job may be being a CEO of a major company, owning a successful business, or holding a major political office. No one with any of these careers get there overnight. I know a woman who recently started an art business with her husband. It's been interesting to watch the dogged and persistent way that she has worked on networking this business. Realistically they realize this won't be an overnight success, and they've been planning this project for years. Most business owners accept that the first few years will be challenging, I think that it's important as writers that we recognize that as well. For every Stephenie Meyer, (who truly was an overnight success) there are dozens of Stephen Kings and Becca Fitzpatricks. I highly recommend reading King's "On Writing" to truly appreciate how much rejection he went through. Becca Fitzpatrick worked towards getting her debut novel published for five years, and as publication neared she did a stunning amount of self-promotion on her website. As I watched her different contests and blog entries as her publication date neared, I wondered if it would pay off for her. When "Hush, Hush" debuted at number ten on the New York Times Bestseller List, I silently congratulated her success, while making a mental note of her brilliant pre-pub work.

In the recent Will Smith movie, "The Pursuit of Happyness", the main character faced homelessness, poverty, and many crazy obstacles to be part of a prestigious unpaid internship. At the end of the internship, only three of the many perspective candidates would be offered a job. Most people would have passed on the internship, and taken some menial dead end job. Instead, Will's character sought out every possible way to give himself an edge. He pursued perspective clients doggedly, becoming a borderline stalker at points. He made connections, built relationships, and at the end got the coveted job. Now, personally, I wanted a bigger bang at the end, I wanted to see his son go to a nice school with no misspelled words in its title, I wanted to see him out of the homeless shelter and in a big house with a nice car, but I think the message in this movie is one as writers we should take to heart. We are doing our unpaid internship, learning the business and the craft, working to build the relationships that will hopefully one day lead to our dream job becoming a reality.

Keep pursuing.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Photos for Swamp Monster Book

Back during our trip to Florida for Thanksgiving, we drove out to Madison, and I got some Five Hole pictures to share. This is one of the settings for my swamp monster book.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Things I'd Rather Do...

There are many things I could/should blog about tonight, even some pictures I could share. Instead I'd like to share my list of things I'd rather do than wait for feedback from a literary agent. I love writing, I want to get published, but this process is PAINFULLY slow! So here's my list:

1. Read bad teen romance fiction.
2. Get a root canal.
3. Go through natural childbirth.
4. Listen to nails scratching a chalkboard.
5. Watch 80s soaps on TV.
6. Read bad teen romance fiction when I'm having a root canal done that happens to take place while I'm in natural labor in a hospital that plays 80s soaps on the TVs all day with a nurse who won't stop scratching the chalkboard with her long acrylic nails.
7. Write and edit 10 more novels.

I'd say all of these are easier than this horrible waiting process.

The good news? The Big Agent, the one I really want, liked my first chapter and wants to see 50 pages...

Oh, I hope I don't mess this up!

Let the torture commence...

Sunday, November 8, 2009


It's been ten years since I left Madison County, and I really haven't missed it much. I haven't had much reason to return, and have only been back a handful of times. Faiyaz has been there twice I think...both times to visit a friend with me who lives just off the interstate. I grew up on what was termed 'roller coaster road', as I kid I lost at least ten dogs to teenagers and adults speeding over those two hills. I ran wild through the woods, I'd bike the 5.5 miles into town or the 6 miles to my friend Donna's house. We never had cable TV, and sometimes we didn't have AC in the summer. I wore ratty hand-me downs with bleach stains because that was all I had. I was never popular, actually the opposite. I would never move back to Madison, for a myriad of reasons. The biggest of these is race. Racism is still a major issue there, and that's something I don't want my amazing girls ever to be exposed to.

But as I've worked on this latest book, I'm finally appreciating the other-worldly beauty of the deep south. It's like writing about a foreign country. As I expose my main character, who is a 17 year old who has spend the last 13 years in New York to rattle snakes, swamps, and alligators, and tonight the bizarre practice of spraying hunting clothes with deer urine, I am missing Madison a little. I'm not a country music person, but tonight I've been listening to "Chattahoochee" by Alan Jackson. Very popular shortly before high school, I can remember a group of girls at Pinetta Junior High climbing on a bench and singing this song while dancing to it. I haven't thought about that for I can't count how many years.

Tonight I planned out a scene of my novel to take place on the Swanee river, at Five Holes in Lee. Five Holes is one of those off the charts hang outs you get in small towns. There are five connected sink holes, some with water in them, and a sandy patch on the edge of the river. Back when I went there, a giant rope hung from a tree limb, the end of which was knotted. You'd swing out over the river, and jump off. I remember the day I decided to swim across the river. I could see the far bank, it didn't seem that far, so I did it. The whole time the group I was with screamed for me to come back, I wouldn't make it, there would be alligators, there would be moccasins...after that day, every time I'd go I'd swim across the river. No one ever went with me, it was just my thing. I'm excited to use that place. "Chattahoochee", even though it's a different river and it's the story of a young man, is a great song for my experiences at Five Holes.

I feel like I'm a different person now. I think if I did revisit Madison at this point of my life I'd be more like my main character than someone returning after a long absence. I am glad that I'm recording snippets of what that part of my life was like, and what that place is like.

I just wish I had some photos to share with all of you of Madison. If I ever do go back, I'll be sure to pack my camera.

Friday, November 6, 2009

NaNoWriMo Update (aka: What Was I Thinking?)

Ever since falling in love with the adventures of Meg Dare earlier this year, I've made it to a wonderful place, and into the best writing rhythm of my life. Namely, I always desire and am willing to write. Well, maybe I should rephrase that. I always feel the need and the urgency to write, thereby enabling me to take advantage of all the odd snips of time I can siphon out of a day. If Anjali is zoned out on TV and I'm feeding Nadira in the high chair (she now feeds herself, I just dump food on the tray) then I'm writing. If Anjali is at preschool and Nadira is napping, then I'm writing. If Nadira is napping and Anjali is absorbed in an art project or playing with her doll house, then I'm writing. If they are both in bed and hubby's working late as usual, then I'm writing. It's urgent. I must do it. You get the idea.

So when I found out about National Novel Writing Month, I thought that would be fantastic! After all, my usual word count commitment is 2000 anyway, writing 50k in a month wouldn't be bad at all, right?

I'd forgotten about the other thing that can happen with my little snippets of time I steal. They can all disappear. POOF! Kids can be sick, preschool can be closed, there can be a sudden shortage of sleep, there's an election and we have to go vote (after an annoying round of automated calls to remind us to go vote) the left overs in the frig can run out, roofers can come and bang on the roof right above Nadira's crib during nap time. The dog can chew through the cable wire, taking away the TV for two days and the repair guy can come right when both girls are napping and I am trying to write. He can then require a length explanation of what happened. (See those teeth marks? Hear the barking coming from the laundry room? What do you think happened?) Kids can coordinate waking up all night to ensure that mommy doesn't get a single moment of sleep. And everyone I've ever known can suddenly have the urge to call and catch up. Even mommies can get sick. And all of this, every bit of it, can happen in the first week of November, my first week of this writing insanity.

And because I've trained myself to 'feel the heat' when I give myself a deadline, and I've made this commitment to write this month, I've been pushing on. My house, spotless clean floors and all on Sunday, now looks something like a war zone. I've been blaming it on sick kids and being sick myself, but I think hubby's going to catch on soon that the real culprit is the writing (as usual).

Despite all of this, in four days my novel that I've been fooling around with for almost a month, has doubled in length. I'm now at 26,910 words, and I started at 13,148. Technically, I'm on track for NaNoWriMo, but because we're going out of town at the end of this month, I want to finish early.

So that's my update. That's the story of stolen snippets of time, sleep deprivations, kids dog and fate aligning against the writer, and the writer coming up victorious.

Now to try to get in my 3k for the day before anything else happens...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

National Novel Writing Month

So the goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month, in this month, the month of November. I've been hyping myself up for this for a while. I'm doing my own variation of this because I want to keep working on my swamp monster book, so my goal is to add 50k to what I already have, which is 13,148. So my goal essentially is to get this book up to 63,148 by the end of the month...Those of you doing NaNo hard-core, don't black list me for this deviation! I jumped the gun a little, but I still plan to do 50k in a month.

So wish me luck...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hush Hush

Here's me and Becca Fitzpatrick's debut novel, "Hush, Hush". Why am I posting pics of someone else's book? Well, she's a new author, I believe in supporting new authors. This was an enjoyable book to read, so I'd thought it would be nice to share it with all of you. Oh, and she's holding a contest. :)
Seriously, contest aside, this is a book I'd be talking about. I think it's safe to say that fans of Twilight would also enjoy Hush Hush. And, most important for any novel, it leaves the reader wanting more. I think Patch and Nora's story, with the inherent obstacles to their relationship, is intriguing. This was a fast read, the action moves the story along at a nice pace, and it keeps the reader guessing.
Some explanation on the in air shots: I read on Becca's blog that the photo used on the cover was taken with the model jumping on a trampoline. So when I was trying to think of interesting shots to take with a book, that's what I came up with. Faiyaz was going to help me cut them, but that just didn't happen. All of you wonderful women who have children can guess the surprise I got upon jumping (I had no idea that was coming!)...yeah, if you've had a baby in the past year, stay off the tramp! I'm laughing in those photos, but believe me when I tell you they were get. Plus Anjali, and the two youngest of the great friend who let me use her tramp, kept wanting to join me! Don't worry, after three painful rounds of photos, I 'recovered' and let Anjali have a nice long jump. Then at home, Nadira couldn't resist posing with mommy (Anjali was asleep)

So that's Hush Hush, and that's me with Hush Hush. Enjoy the book!