Thursday, October 31, 2013

Rejection--How my Rear End Met the Couch

I've had a rough couple days because of a very silly problem. That stinkin' R word--rejection. My manuscript got rejected by one of the agents I met at the conference. I've been sulking, I hate to admit. I've realized I'm not as thick-skinned as I should be. I know everyone deals with rejection at some point, be it with writing or relationships or anything you put your heart into. How do you handle it? My response was to sit on the couch with a bag of potato chips. Deplorable, I know. But really, what are some of your coping mechanisms in dealing with rejection? Leave me a comment and help me get my rear end off the couch!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Lesson Galveston Taught Me

Four years ago, my family packed up from our home in Galveston and moved to Tulsa. Dave had trained in medical school for four years and was to train in Tulsa for his residency for the next five years. We'd had our ups and downs. By that point, after Hurricane Ike had torn Galveston apart, after scraping by on pennies through medical school, I was anxious to leave.

I remember before we moved I went to Kroger's. I sat in the parking lot. My kids weren't with me, which never happened, and was probably why I was able to enjoy a quiet moment. In my rearview mirror, I watched the sun set over the beach. It was one of those sunsets you don't forget. Bright pink tinged with gray. At that point, after living in Galveston for four years, I felt ready to leave, mostly because I was done with the tiny apartment, done with hurricanes, and done with being broke. I was ready for the next adventure, and thought anywhere we went would be better than Galveston.

And now we're going back...

Oddly enough, I want to. It's not a perfect place to live, but is anywhere? I thought Tulsa would be the promised land. In some ways it was, but in actuality, they've got tornadoes here. We're still scraping by. I've learned that anywhere you go you still have problems. You'll never find paradise, not on this earth anyway. I'm not trying to be Debbie Downer, but I want to point out a lesson I've learned, and I'm still trying to learn.

On the final episode of The Office, Andy Bernard offered this advice. "At what point do the good old days become the good old days?"

I remeber that sunset, and I remember thinking, Will I ever see a sunset like that again?

I've come to learn that we have to enjoy what we have right now. Sure, life may get better, or it may get worse, but the point is--ejnoy your time right now, because someday you may look back and realize how beautiful that sunset really was.

Surely I'm not the only person in the world to realize this. Please comment and let me know if you've ever experienced the same thing!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Spot That Error

I've been playing Spot That Error! for the past couple weeks. Why? Because I had three agents request my book at the writing conference. I wanted the thing 100% error proof. Which, if you've ever written anything 80,000 words long, is impossible. So I focused mainly on my first chapter. Surely I could get those words whipped into shape, right? I read, re-read, re-re-read, you get the idea. I read the thing so much I could quote it word for word.

Yesterday I sent it off. Whew.

It wasn't easy.

And of course I couldn't leave it alone. I had to go back and read it again, just to make sure I'd caught everything. I still have one agent left to send to, so reading it now isn't a total waste of time. Here's a snippet of what I sent. And, of course, there is an error. See if you can find it. If you do, please (please!) comment and tell me if you see it. It may be so hidden no one finds it, which means the agent may not find it. But you've been warned about it, so it probably won't be too hard to spot. Honestly, it's probably not a big deal--and certainly nothing to lose sleep over, although I did. Am I overreacting? You tell me. Here's the snippet:

“You think he’ll jump?” he asked.
“Not a chance. The guys do this every year. Usually they just climb to the top, wave their arms around, and act like morons. A sophomore died a few years ago. Broke his neck when he hit the water. Three people drowned trying to save him. Now everyone’s too scared to jump.”
“Are you?”
She rounded on him. His question sounded innocent enough, but something in his voice seemed like a threat. “Why do you think I would want to jump off a ninety-foot dam?”
He shrugged, acted casual. “I’ve heard you’re a daredevil, that’s all.”
“That’s all?”
“You haven’t heard anything else?”
He locked his eyes on her. She froze. He knows. How could he have found out? She’d never told anyone. Maybe she was overacting. How could Ian know about her ancestry? He’d only been in Jefferson a few months. He cleared his throat, turning his gaze to the dam where Ross stood on top, waved his arms around, and acted like a moron.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


I've been invited to work on a very special project by author William Bernhardt. He's written a comic-book style series of stories about a girl named Aura, who finds out she has special powers by supposedly blowing up Seattle. He's invited me and a few other authors to create our own stories, which will debut soon.

I've read the story, and let me tell you, it is good. Just be sure not to schedule any house work before reading!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

So You Think You Can Think?

My brain has liquefied. I'll tell you why. I attended the Rose State Writing Conference this weekend. I loved it. It was motivational, I learned new things, and I got to pitch my book to three agents, and all requested pages. (WOOT WOOT!) But when I came home, the pressure of getting my book out to three agents started to eat at me. What if it isn't good enough? That cannot happen. It has to be good enough. No, not good. Stellar. Rock star.

I woke up the same night I got home and started rewriting my first page. At one a.m., my thoughts were a blur, but at some point I managed to come up with something decent. At least I hope so. I'm on page 87 now, still combing through every sentence, weighing each word with careful precision, trying to make my character so likable that you would cry with agony before sending her to rejection land.

This morning my brain feels like runny oatmeal. I'm surprised I'm able to type this post, to be honest. But it's worth it. By the end of this process, my brain is sure to be chicken broth, but it's worth it. Why would I put myself through this? You might ask. Here's the answer:

When you're a writer, at some point your characters are born. For example, in my third book, my main character's name is Lily White. I'd come up with her physical description (long, dark hair, very curly to the point of annoyance.) Her personality (shy, when she's not in demon-mode) and her positive attributes (loyal, especially to her father who's been captures by her aunt--The White Demon). Yet I still didn't really know her. By the end of the first draft, I wrote a scene where she walked through a cave, backpack slung over her shoulder, hiking boots. It was a simple scene of a person hiking through a cave, but that's when I saw her. In my mind, I saw her walking through that cave. And that's when Lily White was born.

Now I feel it's my obligation to get her story out there, no matter what it takes. One a.m. brain-busting sessions, writing conferences, one-thousand words written every day--I'll do it.