Monday, November 9, 2015

Swallowing the bitter pill of querying

Whoa. Yep. I'm still alive. I have to say things are coming into view. I'm not sure how much that makes sense. Maybe I'm maturing (who would've thought). I see things differently now. Some things are less significant while others take priority. Still not understanding?

When I started my path to publication, I was wide eyed and believe it or not, optimistic. Well, as optimistic as a pessimist could get. I wanted to belong and be respected. I blogged and felt like part of a community. It supported me and I felt as if I belonged. I gather with locals and engaged in writerly conversations. Deep down, I wasn't sure if I was this writer everyone kept saying I was. I went through the motions, writing and revising, critiquing and being critiqued. All because I wanted to be published. I wanted my book in print. I knew it would take long. "At least ten years," many would say. I guess my na├»ve nature was like a mask. It only pulled over a false sense of belonging. I heard stories both good and bad about the whole industry. I researched the business and followed the trends to know what was out there. I scrolled on Twitter more than I like to say, which bombarded me with more information than I wanted to know. I never said I was an expert at anything and maybe that was my problem. I always felt below. I wrote four books in four years (not that any of them are good). I pushed myself and broke down a lot. I fought depression regularly, which held me back. And I posted it about it on my blog more times than I like to admit. Yes, embarrassing. I took things to heart and felt deep guilt that I wasn't cleaning a room or that I was taking time away from my kids to write. But I wanted to query.

So I did. To date I've queried three times (3 books). Over 150 rejections. I did have a few partials and fulls, but so far nothing. Now, I know my story is not one of woe. Many have had worse. I know, because I hear the tales. I hear how horrible it can get. What I want to stress is to not let it get to you. Easy for me to say, right? Not so much. Querying has crumbled me. I'm a person who needs validation. I thought I could get it through querying. That I could actually get something that would say that I was a good writer. I relied on the professionals to determine if I was worthy or not.

Since I wasn't getting anything other than--"it's not right for me" or "it's not sellable," I began to wonder what was wrong with me. Do I suck that badly that they can't even tell me? It's a blow that for those with weak confidence, can throw you so far into a hole, climbing out of it doesn't seem worth it. Let's face it, in my mind, I'm only going to continue to get rejected. The thing is my story isn't that sad. I do have a couple of poems published and my crit group can't be more supportive. They are awesome! It's me. It's something that I have to over come to get through it. Querying can leave a bitter taste in you mouth. One that you don't want to taste again because it has made you sick over and over. But it's one you have to overcome to continue.

It made me not want to write for a while. I'd open up documents and shut them. Like I was mad at them for not being good enough. The problem is I love those stories. I needed to believe in them. I needed to get better. I've distanced myself from many things that I used to enjoy in the writer community. I think I needed to reconnect with why I love writing in the first place. It's the story, the character, the idea of traveling somewhere that may or may not exist. I must swallow that bitter pill and get over what querying can do. Fill it with sweet candy (preferably chocolate) and immerse myself back into the worlds I love. Look at querying as just a stage. If they don't like it, they don't know what they're missing.

Have a great day!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


So it's been a while. I have no excuse other than I'm finding myself. Does that even make sense? I've been trying to figure myself out for a while especially my writing self. As with all journeys, my path has been a rollercoaster and continues to be. When I first started taking this seriously, I was wide eyed and probably had more confidence in myself than I do now, which is not much. I've learned along the way that that's only part of the puzzle. I've struggled to find my place, which leads to me not having anything to say or repeating myself like I am now. The one thing that I needed to grasp is to believe. You know the cat poster in THE LEGO MOVIE. Yes, believe. If you don't have it in your heart that you can, you won't. It can be a difficult thing to do especially for someone like me.

Along the way on this path, I've written and rewritten, cried and did happy dances, got many critiques, cried some more, received many rejections, didn't want to talk about it, but the one thing I don't think I was consistent with was believing. There were times, but it wasn't a feeling I always possessed especially in my stories. It was hard to sometimes because I'm always getting rejected. Seems understandable, I guess. But the thing is --if you don't believe in the story, it won't believe in you. It will show. Some of my stories are hot messes because I was changing them to fit the market or an opinion. I didn't believe in it. I didn't back it up and stand up for what I was trying to do. This turns into learning how and what you want and only taking the advice when you know it will improve the story. Some have told me if more than two critiques address a problem then listen. It's advice I've known for years but haven't implemented myself. I was too scared that I wasn't experienced enough to know.

The truth is I am. So I'm not a teacher or librarian or bookseller. I dabbled in my visions and took them to the next level. I have to believe that I can and that what I'm doing with my stories is what I want even if no one wants it. Believing does make a difference. It shows through in the writing.

How about you--have you learned to believe?

Have a great day!

Friday, June 5, 2015

While you wait

The thing about this business is there is a lot of waiting. I think that was the biggest and hardest part to get used to. Still is. I'm no where near having a book published but the waiting in the query zone is enough to make you rip your hair out then bang it against a wall. When I first when through this, I was a mess. I was on edge and I kept repeating that no one would like it. After thirty queries and no bites, I gave in to defeat. The next two times have been more manageable. There has been some interest and I prepared myself for the months and months of nothing. Still, my neurotic brain can't help but allow the pessimistic voice to creep in. You know, the I'm-not-good-enough thing. It's a human reaction or maybe it's the lack of confidence and daily reminder that it may be true. I have developed more of a thick skin about, in fact, I think I expect rejection more than I expect someone to say they like it and want to read more.

But enough about that downer. I don't want to start complaining because I've been in this long enough to realize it's all part of the game. The one thing I keep doing is writing. On with something else. I have been writing a fantasy, as you know, and it has been my biggest problem child. I started to get frustrated and discouraged with it. The problem is--the story will not leave me alone. I'm anxious to get the first draft down in order to let it sit before revisions. But when I sit to write it, I overthink it and ask too many questions so nothing gets done. This has happened to me before, but it usually doesn't go on as long. Finally, after much anguish, I decided to just let it sit for a while and go to something else. It's funny how things come back around. My frustration with this fantasy is I'm forcing myself to think too much about it. Where's the creativity in that? I'm pushing myself and that leads to bad writing. I was missing that joyous, giddy feeling I get when I write. That feeling seemed to fizzle at some point--between learning more about the business and pressuring myself. So what do you do?

Well, you either start something new or revise something that made you feel awesome at one point. Since no new characters were burning in my brain, I decided to revisit an old shelved novel that used to make me all smiley. I don't expect anything from it other than jumpstarting the happy fuzzies and hopefully getting me out of the funk I've been in. So far, it's working. I'm looking at it differently and moving things around, playing with structure to make it flow better. The characters are like long, lost friends. We're picking up right where we left off. It's comforting. I'm not sure what I'll do with it when I'm done. It had been queried at one point, you know the one with thirty rejections, but it'll make me happy to see it in better shape than it was.

How do you get out of your writing funk when you get down?

What do you do while you wait for your queries or submissions to be answered?

Have a great weekend!!

Monday, May 11, 2015

The respark

Whoa. It's been a while again. I apologize, but I've been writing a novel that's kicking my butt and it's finally flowing again. I go through these dry spells, which I should be used to by now. It's as if the well of creativity dries up and there's no rain in sight. A drought so to speak. It could be a burn out of forcing it to happen. I don't know. But I love it when it rekindles. It's like taking a breath of air after holding your breath for ages. Anything can do it. For me, sometimes a song, a movie, but my most recent spark is a book.

My good friend, Joanne Fritz, gave me a book called RUSH by Eve Silver. I've been sort of down with my writing. I don't write the norm nor do I write anything that's "sellable" but I like what I write, it makes my frowny face turn upside down. So when I can find something that allows me to see that what I'm doing is okay, my insides flutter and my brain restarts. It makes me happy so why get down. Taking breaks are fine, the brain needs to reboot.

Anyway, this book has everything I love--first person present tense, scifi, teenage romance with a "bad boy", short choppy sentences--it's the stew that makes my heart beat fast and my brain wanting more. There are some things that bother me about this book, but the pros outweigh the cons. I'm a sucker for these books and I took the bait--hook, line and sinker. I like to read many different things but when I'm in a slump, reading what you love to write can ignite a fire that makes you feel giddy. It's makes what you love to write okay. And I love it when it happens. It's that mountain moment making you crawl out of the deep crevice you fell into. It sort of a validation. Basically, write what you want to read and stick to it.

So have you had the moment of clarity?

Have a great week!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Little gestures

Gestures are things that can help or hurt someone. They can either make or break someone's day. In our writing these simple nuggets can show a character change or even just hint at it. In reality. What is reality? You know, day to day life. There are times when it's hard to figure out what to say to someone. In this world of constant information our brains can get overwhelmed, leaving us feeling unaccomplished and alone. There will always be the negative and positive, but today I'm going to stress the happy ones. A small gesture of kindness could change all of that. It could be as small as a "hello", or "how are you?" That could redirect someone's crappy day into something with more light.

For example, my week's been kind of yucky. Nothing in particular just everything grouping in my brain at one time. Monster 2 had a check up and I was discussing the eye therapies we were doing at home for monster's eye. I do my best but deep down the perfectionist in me doesn't accept it. I'm very hard on myself in that I always think I can do better or I'm not doing enough. I guess the doctor saw it in my face that I'm freaking out inside because I'm thinking this doctor will think of me badly. Instead, she put her hand on my knee and said, "It's okay. You're doing a great job."

Something lifted off of me, even if it's only for a moment. Someone understood. Someone saw my pain. It made me smile. For a moment, it allowed me to breathe. And I got a little teary eyed too.

As a writer, these moments are crucial. We tend to be introverted and are only expression is usually in words that drip from our hearts. The pace of publishing can feel like forever, not to mention, the inconsistency of it. We deliver words from our souls only to be put in a pit of rejection and opinions. It can get lonely, but one gesture can change that. "I understand" or "I know" or a simple smiley face can help get someone through it. Even if that person has gone silent or doesn't respond right away, a kind gesture could be the stepping stone out of their dark cave.

We can never know what another person is experiencing, but we can only be kind and put ourselves the best we can in their shoes. So whether your a writer with a fresh rejection or someone who is dealing with bullying or someone who is just overwhelmed with what life has handed you, look around you and see who is giving you a kind gesture and don't be afraid to reach out.

Have you experienced any kind gestures lately?

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Some books to check out

Whoa. Has it really been that long? I didn't realize I haven't posted in a while. Well, things happen. Writing comes first so . . . Anyway, I attended two book launches over the past few weeks. Both these ladies are quite the awesome. So go and check these two books out.

Title: Blackbird Fly
Author: Erin Entrada Kelly   (who is awesome and super sweet)
Publisher: Harper Collins

Apple Yengko knows what it’s like to be different. She has a weird Filipino nickname, she’s the only Asian at her school, and she’s obsessed with the Beatles instead of boys. But her life doesn’t truly fall apart until she finds out she’s listed on the Dog Log—the list of the ugliest girls in school—and her friends abandon her. Suddenly she’s a social pariah. The boys bark at her in the halls and the girls turn the other way. Apple dreams of escape and resents everything about her culture, including her mother. She’s desperate to get a guitar so she can run away and become a musician like her idol, George Harrison. Apple is convinced that music can save her. And it might—only not in the way that she thinks.

Title: None of the Above
Author: I. W. Gregorio  (amazing lady who does it all)
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.
But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”
Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s world completely unravels. With everything she thought she knew thrown into question, can she come to terms with her new self?
Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

So, I'm saying to go and pick up these great books. The launches were fabulous and the authors are pretty darn awesome.

How about you, what new books are you reading?

Have a great day!!

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Opinions. Sometimes they are hard to take. Sometimes they enlighten and empower. Sometimes they damage and hurt. As a writer, opinions are a daily occurrence. It's something that we have to learn how to deal with especially if they are negative. But that doesn't mean it makes it any easier to take. Sure our skin thickens, but when the opinions attack us, well, defenses will rise.

It seems as though opinions are easier to deliver via social media and reviews. People express themselves in all sorts of ways without a thought of consequence--without a thought of the other's feelings. It's like throwing stones at someone, but they are not right in front of you so you don't see them getting hurt. It's as if not seeing the other person's reaction makes it okay to say. I'm not saying we can't express ourselves or have an opinion. By all means, social media makes it easy to do and change can be made, but words can be harsh like a sword. They can jab into the hearts of many and the person holding the hilt will never know or understand how many hearts were stabbed.

I've seen opinions made that I may not agree with but they are made with respect. Each word is chosen to prove a point not attack and beat another. They make you think, not enrage. Opinions do make the world go round. It would be pretty boring if we all agreed on the same thing. Opinions make us unique, but we also need to have compassion. Saying your opinion is fine, but saying it with tack and poise will earn respect.

Just a little thought for today.

How is everyone?

Have a great day!!