Is this real? Somebody pinch me… Ow!

So for those of you that do not know… I have some news.

Where do you even begin a blog like this?  I guess like any story, at the beginning.

So six years ago ( yes. 6!) I wrote this dark paranormal romance.  A handful of people read it, enjoyed it.  I looked at it for a while knowing my dreams for this work, how I wanted it to be a trilogy, how I wanted people to love my characters.  The usual writer vision.  Then I put my hard copy on a shelf, and put the dream on hold.

Five years later, last summer to be exact, I opened the file that contained this story and blew the virtual dust off of it.  I read the whole story carefully, wincing at my words.  When I was done, I closed my laptop and went back to the hard copy on the shelf.   Armed with red ink as my weapon, I marked up the manuscript.  When I was done exposing all of it’s flaws it looked wounded, bleeding it’s imperfections across each page.

I rewrote the story, polishing it to the best of my ability and taking a plunge into waters I knew absolutely nothing about, I began the query process.  From October to February I was hit hard and fast with rejections.  By then it was my birthday.  It was the first birthday that I had ever celebrated alone and needless to say, I was feeling depressed.  I didn’t feel like going out, but I didn’t feel like wasting the day either, so with a cup of strong coffee, I began writing.  I took the darkest character in my original story, and gave him the chance to tell his tale.  Halfway through my journey, the doorbell rang and my husband had sent me red roses.  Inspired, I turned that dark tragedy into a romance.

I continued to work on that story from time to time, and before I knew it, I had a complete novella.  It was the first story that I wrote with no agenda.  The first time I didn’t put any expectations on the manuscript.  I felt free to write whatever I wanted, and basically gave my MC no filter.  Now that it was close to being done, I didn’t know what I was going to do with it.  I considered self pubbing it, but that was as far as I assumed that story would go.  (Note to self: NEVER ASSUME)

Cue in Ifeoma Dennis and her brilliant twitter  #WIPMarathon idea!  Ifeoma rounded up a few writers to do one thing: Commit to writing for the month of August.  Seems simple, right?  Write every day, root for each other and once a week check in with the group.  I was hesitant.  Thank God for Ifeoma who persuaded me to join in on the fun.  (Seriously: Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!!!!!! follow her guys… she’s amazin!!! @ifeomadennis ) I decided that I would tackle not one but two projects.  The first would be that novella that needed some polishing.  Now with a goal, and  new friends from #WIPMarathon for support, I pulled it out on July 31, and gave it a long hard look.  It actually wasn’t as bad as I had originally thought.  In fact, most of the story was done!

Three days later Entranced Publishing was running a pitch contest for novellas.  (Do you see where this is going?) I thought, why not?  I was still querying at this point.  I had two manuscripts hocking their wares to the literary community.  I had gone up and down the full request roller coaster with both of them, so I had learned to lower my expectations.

So I pitched the novella, and a minute later got a request for a partial.  I spent the entire day scrubbing that partial to a high shine, before I hit send that evening.  Before I went to bed, I checked my email.  The partial had been upgraded to a full.  So now I’m super excited, and I don’t sleep at all.  The next day was Saturday, and again, I scrubbed that novella as best as I could before sending it off to Entranced.  The next four days seemed to last forever.  Then on Tuesday night, Entranced emailed me.  They said the novella felt unfinished, and was I planning on writing a sequel?  Was I planning on writing a sequel??? Didn’t I already have it???  So I explained that I had a full manuscript complete, and I was even moving towards a third, for it really is a three part story.  They asked to see a very detailed synopsis so they could get a sense of where my stories were going.  I got right to it and clicked send.

The next morning I was greeted with another email.  Entranced had offered me an R&R.  They pointed out where the problems were in my MS and would I be willing to work on it?  Would I??  I started that night, and continued to write into the next day. ( I mean, who needs sleep, right?)  When I was done I had written about 6K in 24 hours. (Go #WIPMarathon!!!!) I had a few beta readers review it and then sent it back off to Entranced on Friday.  On Saturday morning, I got a rejection from Entranced.  BUT, it wasn’t for my R&R, it was for another full they had.  Let me tell you, the editor that rejected that MS wrote me the BEST rejection I have ever received.  It was filled with so many compliments that I actually wrote her back and thanked her for her words.  I even printed the letter out to keep for future reverence when I inevitably would receive future (cold) rejections.  That’s when I knew just how bad I wanted them to take on my novella.  They were a company that CARED, and beyond the red tape of publishing, the dreams of being an author and the fantasy of seeing your book on a shelf, isn’t that what you want?  SOMEONE TO CARE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR WORK?

Then, at 4:30 on Saturday, it happened.  I got an email from the executive of Entranced Publishing stating that they realy like my stories, they were happy with the revisions I did AND (Drumroll please….) they would like to offer me a contract for ALL THREE BOOKS IN MY TRILOGY!  ***CUE SHOCK***

Five days later, I signed and am now part of Entranced.  It still feels like a dream.

Sometimes you expect things to go a certain way, and when they don’t you fall apart.  Now that I look back on all the twists and turns that brought me to this point I know that EVERYTHING happens for a reason!  So when you feel like the darkness of rejection is overwhelming, just know that you are being steered towards your destiny and your dreams will come true.

Love & Light,

Kat

Sugar & Spice

So last night I finished the DRAFT of my novella and handed it over to my husband to read. He was the first pair of eyes to see it. While he gave me wonderful compliments and told me that my writing has vastly improved over the years, he also said something that I wasn’t prepared for. He said that I should be writing erotica. Here’s why:

My novella deals with a character that is very primal, narcissistic, and only concerned with the pleasures of the flesh. She was created to be the polar opposite of the very virtuous woman that is at the center of the story. They are a type of yin and yang if you will… so you will understand that whenever the spicy character is around, my writing became very uninhibited because I had to see the world through her eyes.

My love scenes had always been very sweet, and tender. This was savage. And if I may admit… FUN to write…

So perhaps he is right, and she has unleashed a side of my writing that I didn’t even know I was capable of.. Time will tell.

#WIPMarathon Intro Post

Committed to WRITE!!

Many thanks to the awesome Ifeoma Dennis who assembled this group of writers to embark on a Summer literary journey. I was hesitant because commitment is scary, but I’m taking the plunge!  I’ve been slacking with my writing this Summer, but now I have a reason to get back to what I love!

Marathon Goals:

I have two goals 🙂  The story that I’ve been querying this year is called KILLING DARKNESS.  It is so close to my heart that I could not let go of the characters and started writing a spinoff novella called TAMING DARKNESS last February.  I’m close to finishing my first draft of that, and hope to complete it this August.  My hope is to self publish this novella and see how it is received, based on that, I might self publish the original novel that I’ve been working on for the past six years.

My second goal is for my daughter.  I write adult novels, paranormal stuff, a little horror, a little romance but mostly paranormal, but nothing that she can read.  She’s 7 and into Harry Potter now, so she asked me to write a story that she could enjoy.  So for the first time in my life I’m writing for a MG audience.  This is exciting, and I get to test my chapters on her 🙂

Stage of Writing:

For Taming Darkness it’s finishing the first draft. I have about 30K words done and since it’s a novella it will only run about 40-45K.  For the untitled MG it’s fresh.  I’ve set the setting, the characters and I have an outline of the direction I’m going in, but everything is still new.

My Inspiration:

Anne Rice, who carved my love of vampire’s onto my heart, said “Write the book you most want to read.” So my inspiration for TAMING DARKNESS is just that.  It’s dark, romantic, painful, and magical.  It shows the weakness of an immortal and the strength of humanity.  As for WIP #2… that’s for my daughter, so I imagine the world through her eyes… it’s my Wonderland, where anything is possible.

What might slow me down:

Since my husband is working from home now, my daughter is home from school and my cats like to be wherever I tend to go, it’s difficult to sit quietly with a cup of coffee and just dedicate a few hours each day uninterrupted.  I foresee many late nights, and bottle of wine instead of cups of coffee…

So that as they say is that… and let the writing begin!! I’m excited to see what beauty we all shall create at the end of this marathon!!! 🙂

Writing is easy. Rewriting is hard. Waiting is hell.

When I completed my self imposed challenge of writing a novel back in 2008, I had no idea what true challenges lay ahed of me.  For me, pushing myself to write a chapter or scene was like going to the gym.  It gnawed at me all day as something I “had” to do.  I drank coffee and plugged music into my brain to keep me in that chair.  When it was over, I smiled happily, riding the wave of euphoria that only another writer can understand.  There was less than a handful of people that was privy to the fact that I was working on a manuscript, and for me that was what kept the fire burning.  It became a fantasy of seeing my book in print.  Of not taking the work seriously, so I could transform myself onto the page, create unimaginable scenarios for my characters.  I lived and loved through them.  Work had gotten stale, motherhood had gotten hard.  My story was my escape.

When at last I considered what I didn’t realize then was only a draft, to be complete, I felt like I had truly accomplished something wonderful.  Then I threw it in a corner and got on with my real life.  It only took a few weeks before the pangs of longing began.  I missed my characters, and to my surprise, new ones emerged and began whispering their stories in my ear.  It began with some notes.  A simple character sketch, an exchange of witty remarks… before I knew it I was back in the chair.  Where the first manuscript took me over a year, I ripped through this one in six months, feeding off of the frenzy of getting the story out of my head and onto the page before it faded from my mind all together.  When it was done, it joined ranks with the first, and began the diligent duty of gathering dust.

Life called me back, and the stories in my mind were visited less and less.

Occasionally, an idea would come.  As a result I have about seven works in progress that I bounce back and forth between.  When I finally gathered the courage to submit my work to agents, I knew I had the horror of rewriting what I had left so long ago.  It was hard, but the improvements were needed, and brought a smile to my face as I felt the story becoming tighter.

Now, after seven months of submitting, of revising and rejections, the true challenge has emerged: Waiting.

I have two requests for fulls out, and three partials.

Four months ago I would have sold my soul for one request.  Now, I have five.  This makes waiting the most daunting task I have ever undertaken.  Waiting sucks.  I jump every time the phone rings, I check my email fifty times a day, I have writer’s remorse in which I wish I could revise my submission or my synopsis…

The silence is deafening.

Yet, with the waiting there is hope, and the dreams of what each day may bring. There must have been a reason for me to write those words down in the first place… nothing is a coincidence, and the path to one’s destiny is an intricate web of decisions that have led us down this most unique journey.

If nothing else, I am enjoying the ride.

Rapunzel should have stayed in the tower.

I just read on my friend’s FB page that while she was at the doctor’s office she saw two girls who were very pregnant.  One was fifteen.  The other was twelve.  TWELVE.

What has happened to our society that such behavior has become the norm?  Since when did reality shows set the bar at which we determine all the important decisions of our lives?  And where, where are the parents in all of this?

I speak as a parent of a little girl, and let me tell you the older she gets, the harder it is.  My biggest concerns used to be if she ate on schedule, or if she got enough sleep.  Now I deal with new fears, bigger fears.  Strangers, bullying, drugs and sex.  Not to mention the normal, did she eat right today, how did she do on her test, is she reading more than she’s gaming and how to burn manners into her brain.

Kids today are evolving faster than they should.  They know more than we did at their age, and have access to far greater technologies.  They can search the web and stumble upon information in seconds that would have taken us hours at the library.  This means they can also stumble upon inappropriate material as well.  It is all to easy for evil to masquerade as innocent via the web.  How do I know that when my child is playing Club Penguin that she is in fact talking to another seven year old girl and not a fifty-seven year old man? How do I know that when I drop her off at a party or a play date that she is truly safe.  SAFE. A four letter word that we all take for granted.

Perhaps the witch had it right, and Rapunzel should have stayed in the tower. Not that I condone abducting babies, but at least in the tower she was protected.  Isn’t that what we want for our children above all else? Protection.

I send my daughter into the real world everyday armed with a backpack and the talks that we have had nestled in her brain.  I send her wrapped in my prayers and my love, and at the end of the day, I hope that I have done all that I can.

How to fly with broken wings

I always wanted a fairy for my garden.  No, not a living breathing pixie, (mostly because they are impossible to catch) but one of those sculptures that add some whimsy to an otherwise ordinary collection of grass and shrubs.  Garden sculptures are pricey,  so it’s not the thing that one simply just picks up while checking out… bananas, toothpaste, mythical creature…

Yesterday I went to a garden store with my husband where I saw the most perfect fairy.  She was everything I wanted in a garden diva, beautiful wings, pouty lips, and an awesome skirt made out of leaves.  I felt like she was my alter ego, the fantasy that I wanted to be, forever frozen, happy to be admired with her all knowing expression and sit buried in the protection of nature.  I loved her.  Well, I loved her as much as one can love a piece of fiberglass painted to look like stone.

As an early Mother’s Day gift, hubby offered to buy her.  Overjoyed, I carried her to the register in my arms like a baby.  People stopped to admire my prize, and I told them she was the last one, making her even more desirable in their eyes.

She sat in the back seat of our SUV, and I pondered where exactly to put her.  She needed some special place where everyone would stop and give her the homage she was designed for.  I found her to be so pretty, that I planned on drawing her later… perhaps even writing a story about her.  Do I sound obsessed?  We writers find our muses in the most unlikely of places… just go with it.

It was my husband who carried her this time, from the car to the back yard, and walking across the cement patio, just inches away from the safety of the garden was when the nightmare occurred.  She slipped out of his hands, hit the pavement, and SHATTERED.

My jaw dropped.  My heart hurt.  My precious fairy, my tiny twisted fantasy of future tales and adventure lay in pieces on the ground.  Half of her face peered up at me, the pouty lips now split in half.  Her wings were in three pieces, and at my feet.  How could she ever fly, now that her wings were broken?

Her hand had broken at the wrist, and it lay there, silently asking for help.  There must have been over a hundred pieces, crumbs and dust.  The memory of a once beautiful object.

There was only one thing left to do.  I went inside and got the glue.

I sat there silently with my husband as we tried to piece her back together like a puzzle.  I was making progress on her head when I held her too tight and broke her neck.  Sadly, I walked away.

But my husband stayed. Head down, glue in hand.

A few hours later, she was resurrected.  She now has battle scars.  Deep cuts carved around her body, her face cracked and determined.  She now has a story to tell.  Of how much she was loved, and how much my husband loves me.  I see her as a symbol of overcoming the impossible and believing that although things may seem dark and bleak, there is always hope.  Together we can heal the wounds around us.

All you need is faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust.

Third Eye Awakened

I’ve always felt rather intuitive.  I either fall in love hard and fast with something, or it never grabs my attention. Like most people, I can get a sense of someone when I first meet them.  Very few people or things truly surprise me anymore, and I’m starting to wonder if it’s because I’ve seen them coming all along.  

As I type this I assume that the majority of people who read this won’t  be able to truly understand or empathize with what I’m talking about.  My own husband even doubts me, but I figured I might as well start documenting the recent events that I remember so as not to forget and add to the collection the hundreds that have happened in the past & were never filed away.

I’ll start with the most recent:

Last night, while reading a book, I looked up and KNEW that my father-in-law who at that moment was overhead in a plane headed to Italy would arrive without his luggage.  The thought came, I pondered it for a moment, then went back to my novel.  This morning, My mother-in-law called me from Florence to say that they had arrived safely, but that her husband’s luggage was lost.  

On Tuesday, I sat at my laptop after dropping my daughter off, and just felt this extremely positive energy wrapping around me.  I KNEW I would be receiving a great email before the day was over.  I also knew it would have to do with my writing.  My 3:00, the email arrived, from someone I had not even queried.  In fact I had never spoken to this person before.  Yet, I was able to smile & trust the events that were unfolding.

Do I sound crazy, yet?

How about this one:  A few months ago I had a dream of Broadway actors assembling in a church before they went on stage.  The church was not the typical romanesque or gothic setting.  It appeared more like a city building.  The doors were clear, the altar was white.  Two weeks go, My cousin took me to a restaurant in NYC.  While walking there I stopped and stared at the building to my right.  It looked EXACTLY like the one from my dream.  I looked up and saw a comedy and tragedy image flying on a flag.  It was a chapel for actor’s.  It was the chapel I had dreamt of.   I had never seen it before in my life.  I didn’t even know such a thing existed. (I would love a chapel for writers…)  This is not the first time that I dreamt of a place I had never been and then stumbled upon it, in fact, it happens all the time.  A few months ago, I even had the same dream as my daughter on the same night!

Explain that one, because I can’t.