Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I am not a very patient person. Ask anyone who knows me. If you use my name and "patience" in a sentence, they will just laugh. When it comes to agents, though, I think I do pretty well. I know it is going to take a while, so I try to keep busy. I do start to get a little antsy after a month, but I refrain from sending emails (unless they tell me to). BUT, when they say they are going to get back to me after a certain amount of time and they don't, I get a little frustrated. I know I shouldn't because they are busy, but there is something to be said about sticking to your word.

What does this have to do with anything? I hear you asking. Well, let me tell you. As you may or may not recall, I had a nonfiction book in the works. I had been waiting and waiting to hear back from the editor, and it took months before I finally did. In their email, they said they would be getting back to me in the next week to let me know about their decision. It's been over a month. I have come to the conclusion that they have rejected the idea, which is fine, and I sent an email yesterday to confirm this. I haven't heard anything back and, honestly, I don't really expect to. It frustrates me because they were so helpful in the beginning of the process, sending me letters with suggestions of how to make my book better, then nothing. I don't expect them to hold my hand through the process, but it would be nice to know if I should be working on the damn book!

Also, my zombie novel has been under consideration for 160 days with the publisher. After sending 2 emails to check on the status, they finally wrote me back. I sent them another email to let them know that the basic structure of the book has changed and see if they wanted to see the new version, but I haven't heard anything back. Granted, it was only a week ago, but this is kind of important. I mean, do they want to see the new version or do they want me to withdraw my submission all together? It would be nice to know for both of our sakes so neither one has to waste anymore time!

I know I shouldn't let this get to me. I know I should just be patient, but it's really, really hard. I guess I just need to take a deep breath, align my chakras, and continue to wait.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

One of the things I forgot to add in my last post was that my sister was supposed to sign the papers for a new house on Wednesday, but the bank messed something up with the loan paperwork, so they had to find a different bank. They have to go through the whole process again because of the new lender. Now, they have no idea when they will be closing.

OK. That's all the sad news I have. So far, this week seems to be starting out all right. I didn't work yesterday, but I had to take the boys to dentist appointments. Since we don't have a children's dentist in town, I had to drive 45 minutes to the next city. Not a big deal. It gave me a chance to think, which, normally, is a dangerous prospect, but this helped me get my ideas together for the story.

I got a bit of writing done on the new story. Not much, just about 3 pages, but I have to start somewhere. I'm already more excited about how this is turning out. Hopefully I'll have more time to work this week.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Don't you just hate those days/weeks when it seems like everything just comes crashing down? The end of this week was one of those. While I wasn't directly affected, my friends/family were. The first incident occurred when my friend emailed me to let me know the agent had rejected her story. It was horrible because this was the agent who LOVED her writing and REALLY wanted to take her on. She sent the manuscript to the more seasoned agents, and they turned it down. It was really disheartening. I thought for sure this was going to be the one.

Then, another friend of mine had some major issues at work. I mean a HUGE fight with the boss. They almost walked out, but family obligations and bills kept them there.

Recently, my in-laws dog was diagnosed with arthritis in her back. She's 10 so it's not really surprising, but it's still difficult. She has these attacks where her back arches up and she can't lay down. She whimpers cause she is in so much pain. They talked to the vet, and there is one more thing they are going to try, but if that doesn't work, they'll have to think about putting her down. As you can imagine, my in-laws are just devastated.

Even though I'm not directly affected by any of these happenings, I still hate to see my friends/family sad. I feel so helpless, but I also know that they have to work through these issues on their own. The most I can do is be there if they need me. *Sigh*

On the writing front, I have not had a chance to get anything done. It's been a pretty crazy week. Hopefully I can restart this weekend, but who knows! We'll see what the boys have planned...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I've been thinking about my new chapter, and I think I figured out why I'm having issues with it (aside from being grumpy!). I originally conceived of this story waaaay back when I was in high school, and that's when I started the first draft. It was put to the side while I went to school, then I brought it out again to work shop when I was a graduate student in college. I rewrote the majority of the story, but never liked how it flowed. Now that I am back working on it, I thought I would start it the way I had originally intended. I took the chapter and basically typed it word for word, making changes here and there. My problem: I have changed as a writer since I originally wrote the story. The reason I don't like it is because it doesn't reflect who I am now. Soooo, I'm going to restart, writing as I write now, and that (hopefully) should make a huge difference.

On another note, I received another request for a partial of the zombie novel. This one I'm WAY excited about because it comes from an agency on my wish list. Granted, ANY agent is on my wish list, but this agent has been on my radar for a long time. I sent her a query for my first book, which she rejected, and I went back and forth for about a week trying to decide if I should send this one. I finally decided that I have nothing to lose, so I sent it. I almost passed out when I read the request! Even if she eventually passes on the project, I'll still be able to say she looked at my work.

I don't know if I mentioned it (I keep forgetting), but I have received two rejections in the multitude of requests!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chapter 1 of the new novel is done. I thought I would feel a bit more excited, but I'm having a grumpy day today. Everything is making me pissy, so I'm having some confidence issues with the story. Hopefully, I'll be able to work them out. Maybe I still need a few days off.

As I was writing this chapter, it occurred to me that I don't know how to write omniscient narrator. Most of my stories occur from one perspective, and that follows through to the end of the book. For this novel, I need to have perspectives from both my main characters. I start out in the female's POV, then at the end of the chapter, switch to the males. I put in * * * so you know it's a POV change, but I'm wondering if this is the right way to do it. I was trying to remember how other authors I've read handled this situation, but I couldn't think of any (I'm very tired and have a headache--my brain has just shut off). Any thoughts?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I had every intention of getting some writing done yesterday, but my boys had different plans. I swear they have little radars in their heads that go off when you have an inkling to be by yourself. They can't allow that. If they aren't the center of your attention, they'll make sure they do everything in their power to change that. Children are so special like that. I'm hoping to get started tonight, but we'll have to see. Wait, I should be OK, there's nothing on TV I want to watch! Phew!

I decided to see if the magazine is actually going to come out in October, so I pulled my submissions from the other magazines. I'm not really losing anything either way. If it doesn't come out, I'll submit it elsewhere. There's no rush on getting this story out, so I can take my time.

I received another request for a partial yesterday. I'm very excited about all these requests, but I'll be even more excited when/if it turns into a contract. Here's to hoping...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I watched a movie called the "Mutant Chronicles" last night. Visually, it was a very intriguing film. It reminded me a lot of a comic book with muted colors and then reds that stand out against the background. I really liked the social commentary in the film, too. There was also some steam punk, which I think is fascinating, though probably not very economical/environmentally friendly. The story could have been interesting, but the characters seemed a little flat and very stereotypical. I was also a little confused about the end, but I think the intention was to leave it open for a sequel, which I doubt will be made. This film didn't get very good reviews.

I didn't know anything about the "Mutant Chronicles," so I Googled it. According to Wikipedia, it originally started out as a role playing game (RPG). I found that very interesting. The back story of the game was WAY more interesting than the back story of the movie, though probably a bit difficult to accomplish on film. If I was into RPGs, I would play this, but I don't have the time or the patience for those things! (I once had a friend try to set me up with a Dungeons and Dragons character, but the process took more than 15 minutes and there was a lot of dice rolling so I lost interest.)

I decided today that I am going to start a new novel. I'll probably do some short stories, too, but I need to get this book out of my head. It's one I started waaaaay back in high school, worked on it here and there, then when I was a graduate I work shopped it in a class. The teacher did not like/know how to grade fantasy, so she basically discouraged me from writing it. My confidence was shaken for a long time, but I've finally been able to get past her criticism and I'm ready to finish the book.

I received two requests for partials on the zombie novel last week. I was very excited. As usual, I will let you know how things turn out.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I'M DONE! I am so excited to be done with this round of edits, I don't know what to do! I sent it to the agent who requested to see the rewrite, and now I go back to waiting. I plan on spending this weekend getting caught up on all the TV I've missed over the past week, then I'll probably get started on some short stories. If I was really on the ball, I would get ahead on my agricultural articles (like I said I would), but we'll see how the mood takes me.

In other news, I received a response from the editor who I've been trying to contact for months about my short story. He claims that the mag is still coming out, but the deadline has been pushed to October of this year. I'm not sure I believe him. I mean, it took him 6 weeks to answer the email, and he answered the one I sent through myspace. I sent him two other ones from different addresses and heard nothing. I've sent my story to other publishers for consideration for publication (though I haven't heard anything), so I'm not sure what I want to do. I mean, the whole thing seems very sketchy to me, and I didn't sign a contract, so I can really do whatever I want with the piece. I'll mull it over this weekend and let you know what I decide.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I thought I would fill you in on my excursion. My mother-in-law (who is an absolutely wonderful woman and I am very lucky to have her) wanted to go visit her daughter and invited me and the kids to go, so we packed into the car. The drive itself was only supposed to take 10 hours, but with a 3 year old who is potty training, it ended up taking us 11.5. Most of the time, I'm pretty sure he said he had to go to the bathroom just to get out of the car, but I digress. My spouse thought it would be safer if we traveled with the gun (we take separate vacations. Don't ask, it's a long story), so we took it. Luckily, we didn't need to use it, but it was there should the occasion arise (there were some sketchy looking individuals at some of the rest stops we stopped at...).

We finally made it to our destination at about 8:00 at night. My sister-in-law had been waiting for us to eat, so we unloaded some of the car at the hotel and then packed the kids back in and headed to the restaurant. Dinner was fabulous, if not a little long, so we didn't get back into the car until 9:30. By this time, the 13 month old was exhausted and not handling things well, so he had a little fit and passed out in the car. When we got back to the hotel, it took both kids a while to settle down, so they didn't fall asleep until 10. I was trying to unload the rest of the stuff from the car, and I had the gun in my hand with a bunch of other sh*t. Something clunked onto the floor, and I realized it was the weapon. Of course, the safety was off and one was in the chamber (my spouse wanted me to be ready if I needed to shoot someone). Thankfully, it didn't go off. Apparently (luckily), they have safety features built into them so they don't go off if dropped. After my heart stopped pounding and my adrenaline ran its course, both of us adults crashed.

As I mentioned earlier, my mother-in-law has to wear a breathing machine because she has sleep apnea, and when that's not hissing away, she snores. It was a long night, but fortunately, the kids slept in the next day. Sunday was a lazy day, and we tried to relax, but that's impossible with two little ones. That night, we went swimming with the boys' cousin, who is 12, but us adults were so tired we just sat on the deck. The 12 year old had already gotten out of the pool, and the 3 year old was dinking around on the steps, so he fell in and went under. I stepped onto the first step but couldn't reach him, so his cousin jumped back in and saved him. As you can imagine, both of us were shaking when he got out of the water, and not from the cold.

After the first two days, I stopped trying to kill people. My mother-in-law decided to get the adjoining room so it would be a little quieter (she couldn't sleep because she was so worried about keeping everyone else awake with her breathing machine and snoring) and we had a lot more room. The last two days of the vacation were fabulous! We had a wonderful trip up the mountain in a gondola (there were sides and a door so I couldn't accidentally push anyone out), and the boys got to play at a local park (not that fun, there was 2.5 feet of snow on the ground and the 13 month old was CRANKY!). Then came the 11.5-hour drive home, and I threatened to leave my kids on the side of the road. Luckily for them, I'm all talk.

I finally got some proofing of my novel done, and I think I'm on schedule to send the rewrite either on Friday or Saturday.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ah, vacation. A time to get out of town, relax, and recharge your batteries. Unless you're traveling with a 3 year old and a 13 month old, then its the same old stuff in a different place. EXCEPT, you're usually so busy doing things, they miss their naps and have reached that "special" stage by 5:00. PLUS, since they're not in their own beds, they don't sleep through the night. Not to mention, you don't sleep very well because it's not your own bed and your mother-in-law has a breathing machine that sounds like it creates storms for Hollywood movies. BUT, you get to see the family and some fun sights, so you deal.

As you can imagine, I haven't gotten much done on the writing front.

Friday, March 12, 2010

DONE! I have finished the rewrite on my zombie novel, and now I just have to reread it to make sure it flows and I didn't miss anything. I feel liberated! With any luck, this will be the draft that gets me one step closer to an agent. Keep your fingers crossed!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I've made great progress on my revisions. I believe I only have 3 chapters left, but I go about it the long way. Instead of making edits on the computer, I like to print out a hard copy and write my stuff on there. For some reason, when I read on the computer, I have a tendency to miss things. But on paper, I can make sure I catch all my mistakes. I would like to say it's pretty exciting, but...

Monday, March 8, 2010

I got some work done on my zombie novel this weekend. Yeah. I told you I would! I feel pretty good about it, and I hope it increases my chances of finding an agent. Even if the agent who offered the suggestions decides not to represent me, I am still very grateful for her input.

I received an acceptance today. Very exciting. The story I told you I wrote last week has been accepted into Sonar 4 Publication's anthology. You can check out the details here: www.sonar4pulications.com/4part.html. I have a story in #2 and #4.

Other than that, I'm going to keep revising and rewriting. I'll let you know how everything goes!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I heard some news today. I received a rejection for a short story. Meh. But I also received an email from the agent who requested the full of my zombie novel. It wasn't what I had expected. I had steeled myself for a rejection (what can I say, I'm an eternal optimist!), and technically it was, but she also sent a lovely email with notes and suggestions of how to make it a better novel. THEN, she said she would be willing to look at my rewrite. I couldn't believe it! I pretty much knew I was going to have to do some major revisions, which is fine, but I didn't expect that much interest. All I want to do is write, write, write, but my children have other plans for me. Oh, well. I WILL get to it soon!

Friday, March 5, 2010

For a parent, there is usually something that happens DAILY to make you question why the hell anyone would give you kids. Generally, it's something small like your 3 year old asking "Why?" for the umpteenth time and you answer with a short, often angry, reply. Seconds afterwards you feel guilty because he's only trying to figure his world out. You've been around for longer, you take it for granted that you know everything. Then, there are the major things like your 3 month old pulling the hair dryer of the counter while you're lotioning him on the floor and having it crash directly into his eye (that was an emergency room trip). Recently, my 3 month old, who is now a 13 month old, has discovered the fine art of holding his breath while he is throwing a fit. The first one happened on Monday, and the poor baby passed out. Of course, I had no idea what the frick was going on, so I panicked (as any caring parent naturally would). When I called the doctor's office, the nurse said it was fairly normal and to just make sure he was someplace safe so he wouldn't bonk his head when he went down. She told me that his breathing should resume once he lost consciousness, but to stay close just to make sure. Since Monday, he has thrown a fit and almost passed out at least once every night.

How is this a viable reaction for children to have? I mean, you can't stop disciplining your child just because they might get upset, but you tense every time you say no because you're afraid he's going to pass out. The nurse's reaction of it being normal was no comfort. Have any of you actually had to watch your child's face turn purple and their little bodies go limp? Not pleasant. Scares you every time it happens. I really, really hope he grows out of this phase soon!

In the writing world, I finished a short story yesterday that I submitted for an anthology (keeping my fingers crossed). I also worked a bit on my novella. I'm feeling pretty good right now. Had a rejection for another short story, but it didn't get me down. Hoping to get more writing done this weekend!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I am STILL waiting to hear back from anyone. I know it's a long process, but I haven't even had a response to my inquiry. According to the publisher's website, they've been plagued with sickness and the head editor is working shortened days because of some type of injury. I can understand that this would put you a little behind. I know I'll get my answer in due time, but until then, I'm going to be driven crazy! I'm trying to stay busy, but it keeps nagging at the back of my brain.

I got my articles finished yesterday, which caused me to do a little dance of joy. These are ones that pay on a monthly basis, so I keep writing them, but they're also some of the more difficult things I write. I usually have to interview people, which doesn't bother me, but finding ideas and experts is a very tedious ordeal. I always tell myself that I'm going to get ahead this month, but then I never do. Really, this month, I'm going to get ahead!

Of course, now that my articles are done, I have time to work on my fiction. Too bad that doesn't pay on a monthly basis, I could get ahead on that!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Remember when you were a kid and you played super heroes with your friends? You could only have one power, and you were always torn with what that power would be. Could you fly? Did you have super strength? Laser vision? You always wanted them all, but that wasn't the rules. Of course, you always had that one friend who ruined the game by switching powers in the middle, saying that their power was they could change powers. If you had to choose a power now, what would it be? Now that I'm an adult, that's an easy answer. I'd want Rogue's powers. She's from the X-Men, and she has the ability to take other mutants' powers by touching them. I think she has a few of her own, but I'm not sure. If you think about it, that's kind of the same thing your friend did when you were kids...

Writing has been coming slowly the past few days. I've been battling a stomach bug, so I don't feel much like doing anything. Hopefully it will pass soon. I need to get back to work.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Got a little bit of work done on my new novella. I also had an idea for another short story, so I started that, too. I know, I'm terrible. I need to finish one thing before moving on to another, but when an idea hits me, I need to get it down before I forget. Plus, it gives me more things to work on while I wait to hear back from agents, editors, and publishers.

Speaking of which, I'm still waiting to hear anything from anybody. I know they'll get to me when they get time, but the suspense is killing me! I've never been a very patient person, and this is definitely pushing me to the edge! That's why I'm trying to keep busy: to keep my mind off the lack of communications.