When it rains… it POURS!

I have been querying my novel for seven months now.  In that time, I received one request to read the full manuscript and about fifty rejections.  Despite my hope, and prayers, the manuscript was rejected by the editor that had requested it.  

I felt broken.  Truly broken.  Couldn’t get out of bed kind of broken.  

My husband urged me to start querying an old manuscript I had written five years ago.  Still feeling the effects of the last rejection, I refused.  The work just wasn’t good enough, and if the novel that I had wrung out my very soul for couldn’t get a request, how could that juvenile attempt at writing get anywhere? He pushed again, saying “two are better than one.”  On a whim, I took his advice and pitched the book.  

I got a full request on my first pitch.  I. WAS. STUNNED.

I polished up the manuscript as best as I could and sent it on it’s way.  Feeling slightly more confidant, I started sending out a few more query letters to see if this book would have any more luck.  While I waited, I also entered a pitch contest on Twitter called #Pitmad.  I pitched both manuscripts.  I got three requests, all for the second book.  That’s when I realized that there is a time and place for every story.  The story that I loved, and held close to my heart just held no place in today’s market… mostly because the market is flooded.

Embracing my “winning streak”, I entered a few more pitch contests, and was requested three more times!  Surprise, Surprise… my original novel even got a FULL request.  

I received a couple of rejection letters this week, but they were easier to swallow considering all the good that I have been surrounded by lately.  So I am counting my blessings, enjoying this happy time, and rereading every word of the partial that was requested today, before I hit the send button.  

Magical Mommy

When I was a child, I believed in magic. Real magic.

I believed mermaids did exist.  I was certain that if you dove down deep enough, you would discover their castle beneath the dark waters, hidden from human eyes. I believed that my toys came alive at night and danced around my bedroom.  I believed that on Christmas Eve my pet dog spoke to the baby Jesus via our plastic nativity.

Now, as an adult, I understand that magic is real.  I am the one with magical powers. I am the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, Elf on a Shelf, Timothy the Leprechaun and Spirit of Halloween.

Let’s just get something straight:  It is a lot of work being a supernatural creature, with absolutely no margin for error.  I take pride in my work, leaving behind a visible trail for my daughter to find, allowing her to plunge deeper into the fantasy.  Each visitor leaving behind their own unique distinct magical footprint.  The Tooth Fairy, for example, is a bit messy.  She likes to shower the room with pixie dust, allowing my daughter to wake up to a glittery celebration of the gold (Two Sacagawea coins) that has been left behind.  The Easter Bunny leaves a trail of nibbled carrot droppings around a loaded basket that was left empty the night before.  Santa Claus enjoys his snack too, even drinks the milk that was left behind reinforcing my daughter’s belief in his existence because “Mommy is allergic to milk!”   He also uses different wrapping paper than the rest of the gifts, often times abandoning the paper and just setting up the toys by the tree.

My greatest magical moment probably occurred seven years ago when I taught Pre-K.  I trashed my classroom.  TRASHED IT.  Flipped the carpet.  Tossed books about, even turned the castle in the fish tank upside down.  Why?  Why would I do that?  Well… there were tiny green painted foot prints that led to the window, showing how our leprechaun had escaped.  We even set a trap… but he was too clever.  Those children are in fifth grade now, and they may not remember learning colors or cutting shapes, but they clearly remember the day they tried to catch a leprechaun.

So, I may not be the best at building lego houses, or dressing Barbie.  But I would like to think that I’ve given my daughter something far more valuable.  I’ve given her something to believe in.  I’ve sculpted her imagination and made her daydreams a bit  more life like.  I’d like to think that when she is all grown up and knows the truth that she won’t be angry at me for my twisted tales.  My hope is that one day she looks back with a smile and thinks, “My mom was magical.”

Time Warp

I’ve been dreading today.  I tried to avoid it at all costs, but it came anyway.  I suppose that’s the trouble with time.  We are helpless to stop it.  

Last night in my travels I bumped into Insomnia.  The two of us sat down and had a drink together and discussed my options.  She agreed that it was inevitable.  There was no way to avoid what lay ahead, so best if I meet the villain head on, rather than dodge my fear.  

Facing reality, I went to bed and prepared for what awaited the next day. I awoke to confusion as my alarm clock roused me from my slightly hungover slumber.  

Getting out of bed was odd.  I didn’t feel any different.  I wondered if I ventured into the bathroom and looked in the mirror if I would look any different.

Taking a breath I faced the reflective glass and winced slightly.  I looked tired, and I probably should have washed the mascara off before I went to bed, because I had the look of a strung out drag queen, but even this was not that much different from my usual morning reflection.  

Maybe it didn’t happen.  Maybe I had stopped time.  Maybe I could remain as I was, yesterday, forever.

I had hope.  A glimmer of beautiful hope.

And then my husband walked in, big smile on his face, planted a rough kiss on my cheek and voiced the horrible words of, “Happy birthday, babe.”

Cupid’s Arrow

I pulled the bowstring back, feeling the tension as the flight of the arrow rested by my cheek. I had been watching the couple all afternoon. They had found themselves nestled in the woods, and I could not be happier for the solace of the trees. I knew I didn’t have much time, others would be coming, looking for them. I needed to hit my mark with accuracy the first time. There was no margin for error. I noticed how nervously she began brushing her hair behind her ear. Her eyes longing to lock with his, but lacking the courage. I watched the boy, too aloof to notice how she wanted him. One shot and she would be his. One shot and their entire world would change for good.

I couldn’t have them see me, but I needed to be closer to ensure my victory. I inched my foot further on the twisted branch that held me high in my hiding spot, afraid to allow a single breath to escape from my chest. It hurt my body to be so still. It felt as though my very blood was solidifying inside me. I had to hold on, just a moment longer. The joy would be worth the pain. He was almost in my view. Then my moment arrived.

I shot my arrow through the plump cherub’s heart, and watched as he fell from mid air to his doom.

They say love never dies.

They obviously never met me.

 

The Virtual Slush Pile

I’ve spent the last five months stuck in a virtual slush pile. It’s a fairly depressing place to be. My husband is constantly cheering me on saying, “Don’t give up! That email is coming.” And although his words offer a momentary comfort, I would like to publicly state that I am not even close to giving up. In fact, it would be an injustice to do such a vile crime, and here’s why. I have two completed novels (pat on the back, thank you very much) and seven other novels in the works, plus a MG book that I am writing for my daughter. If I threw in the towel now then think about the unresolved conflicts that I am leaving just hanging in a virtual vortex. How cruel would I be to my characters then? I’d have a demon holding a sword to the angel she’s in love with, a vampire salivating in hunger for a little girl, a man haunted by flashbacks of his past lives, a woman watching her lover hang for a murder that she in fact committed and a child nursing a mermaid back to health. Madness, I know. That’s what it’s like in my head. I have these stories filed away in separate compartments, my brain is my own personal library. Whenever I feel the need to escape, I pull out a file and see how I can save someone today… or ruin them, depending on my mood.

The point is, I’ve invested too many words, emotions, and hours to give up. I don’t think I ever will.

That’s my life in the virtual slush pile.

A taste of my writing style…

Here’s the opening of what I am most recently working on…
Hope it grabs your attention!

I held his heart in my hands. The hot sticky flesh drizzled it’s thick black blood down my arm inking my porcelain skin. I looked past the useless muscle and onto the man that lay on the white tiles, his chest ripped savagely open, his insides torn and exposed.

I knew in that moment, I would have to learn to control my temper.

Self Publishing: Curse or Cure?

Perhaps, I’ve given up.  Or, perhaps I’ve realized my options.  Either way, I am seriously considering going down the road of self publishing.

There is a nasty stigma that is associated with this move.  It is associated with failure.  Having not been able to lure in a respectable agent with my natural talent and dynamic sense of writing style, I am considering the “easy way out.”  Rest assured, this decision is anything but easy.  

In order to be as professional as possible, I must first hand my manuscript over to an editor who will cost me more than I planned on spending.  (That’s the luxury of being picked up by an agent and being sold to a publishing house, not only do they pay you an advance, but they also provide the editor free of charge.)

So the book is edited.  Now what?

You need an artist to design the cover.  (Thank God that not only am I an Art major, but I am married to an Artist as well…) Cover in the works… check!

Marketing: You need a website to establish a fan following so you have a platform to stand on.  (Did I mention my husband is in web development?) Website in the works… check!

Now everything is done.  Book is downloaded, and the money pours in… oh, if only that were true.  Now becomes the truly grueling task of self promotion.  Not only do self published books have to be offered at a significantly lower cost than traditional published books, but they also sink or swim based not only on the author’s writing, but on the amount of buzz that the book obtains.  Self promoting your book becomes a full time job.  Who ever knew that the writing would be the easy part?

So, my hat is off to the self published author.  Those pioneers leading the charge that have taken the literary world by storm in a hope to obtain the acknowledgement that they deserve.  Some just want to know that their goal of writing a book and making it available to readers has been accomplished.  Some dream bigger.  Whatever your reason, be proud.  You have set forth on a journey that most can never imagine.  God has given you a talent, and a book that is not published can never be shared.  It’s time to share your talent with the universe and see what the future has in store for you.

Good luck to us all.