Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category
Four days after signing a contract for DIVA IN THE DUGOUT, I’m still riding the high that comes with a first sale. But in the quieter moments (read: when I’m not jumping like a maniac and talking 3,000 miles a minute), I find myself wondering: What just happened here?
Yes, I’ve been working hard — writing new stuff, revising stories that still need help and, perhaps most importantly, opening myself up for rejection by putting my babies out there.
I’d also decided — not so long ago — to take the plunge into indie publishing. I signed up for a self-publishing class online. I hired a web designer and started working with a cover artist. I lined up an editor for HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS and sent OPERATION SNAG
MIKE BRAD out to several readers.
Of course, I hadn’t completely given up on a more traditional path. After all, so many folks these days are doing both. Last Monday, I entered Bree and Mike’s story, OVEREXPOSED, in the Golden Pen. The goal was to get feedback to better prep the entry for GH2014. (I wasn’t satisfied with its 2013 scores, even though it landed in the top quarter. I wanted another GH final under my belt.)
But I no longer hung all my hopes on landing an agent/finaling in a contest/selling my book to a publisher. I opted to take my career into my own hands.
Funny how life works, isn’t it? My book deal found me only after I stopped looking for it.
The day after I entered the Golden Pen, I got the email from Turquoise Morning Press; on Thursday, I inked the deal. (I believe that makes me ineligible for the next Golden Heart competition. Correct me if I’m wrong, please. I hate to have wasted an entry fee.)
Did anyone get the license plate number of whatever sent me spinning in a completely different direction?
Is it simply that, as Depeche Mode says, “God has a sick sense of humor”? Or is something else at work?
They — whoever “they” are — say that love finds you when you least expect it. Does the same principle apply to book deals?
Or maybe there’s something to visualization, to the principle of “acting as if.” That’s what these cards I found at Target the other day seem to suggest.
I also have some personal experience with visualization.
After chatting with me about my goals, Jenn emailed me this paragraph for me to consider:
I see a woman who is confident. She is glowing with happiness, she is vibrant. I see a woman who is fit, she is active, she enjoys the outdoors with her dogs and she practices regular yoga. She is lighter, she may even be at her goal weight! I see a woman who enjoys food. Food has lost it’s power over her. She is excited about her future as a writer. She is independent and she believes in herself. I see a woman who is a writing finalist, carrying a new MacBook. I see a woman who is a traveler. She is surrounded by people who love and support her, and she is connected with her family.
As best I could, I took our vision to heart and acted as if I’d already achieved the success I sought.
And guess what?
The fit, active yoga devotee is still mere pipe dream. Most days, I’d rather veg on the couch … or in a chair at Starbucks. The part about food losing its power over me hasn’t materialized yet, either, though I wish it would.
But the part about writing that I highlighted in purple? Spot-on.
I did become a Golden Heart finalist a few months later (and found out I’d won the Beacon on the very same day). I’ve also gotten not one but TWO new laptops since then. (Okay, the first one was reconditioned … but the current one is all mine. Never-been-owned, fresh out of the box — and I love it, even if I’ll be paying for it for a long, long time.)
While I can’t say for sure how big a role our visualization played in my success, it does make me wonder. Perhaps I should start imagining myself as a fit, active yoga lover who doesn’t let food control her.
It’s worth a shot, right?
How do I know? Take a look at some of the search terms people have used recently to get to my blog:
only fear (the mindhunters). Okay, that one’s not so strange. “Only Fear” author Anne Marie Becker and I live near each other, belong to the same RWA chapter (NARWA) and sit down to write together at least once a week. I don’t read a lot romantic suspense, preferring to stick to contemporary romantic comedy and certain historicals — but I read (and loved) Anne Marie’s debut, and blogged about it.
arlene hittle. Also not weird. I’d be more upset if my name didn’t drive folks to my site.
fotune+cookie+love+panda. Huh? Just because I wrote a post about the fortune I got from a cookie at Panda Express?
copy editors need to have a dirty mind. This is one of my favorites. It harkens back to this post about my experiences as a copy editor. Really, where else but a college newsroom would you have a five-minute discussion on how to describe the new “no parking” signs on campus? You can’t say they were “mounted.” “Erected” is also out.
What did we decide? Give me a break. You expect me to remember the resolution of a conversation that happened two decades ago?
Mr Happy story ideas. Not a recent search term, but I still crack up every time I think about this one. After I blogged about heroes who have names for that certain special part of their anatomy, someone got to my blog via that search.
Hmm. Maybe I should aim to become the author readers put on auto-buy just to see what pet name comes up next …
Over on my weight-loss blog, I blogged in February 2012 about how I asked for Reese Witherspoon’s sideswept bangs at the salon. To this day, I still get traffic related to Reese Witherspoon searches. (Top search terms include “reese witherspoon haircuts,” “reese witherspoon weight gain 2012″ and “reese side swept bangs.”)
Strange but true!
When the universe starts talking, you listen.
Actually, I’m not sure if it’s just that the universe is talking or if I’m just more inclined to listen now that I’ve made the decision to take the self-publishing plunge.
Or maybe it’s really true that Sedona’s hippy-dippy, woo-woo psychic energy vortex has finally wormed its way into the fabric of my daily life.
Whatever the reason, I’ve been stumbling on more and more fuel to affirm my course. It started with that fortune-cookie message, but went on to infiltrate the bag of Dove Dark Chocolate/Caramel/Sea Salt candies I keep in my desk drawer at work.
Tuesday night, I found this one:
And Wednesday night, it was this message:
I snapped a picture of that one with a photo of me and my Mom in San Francisco (2003) because I think she’d approve of what I’m about to do. I just wish she were alive to see it.
Hopefully, she knows.
Prep work for my indie debut continues. I’m revising away on my MS and I’ll be signing with a graphic designer soon to redesign my website and unify my look across all platforms (Facebook, Twitter, blog, Google+).
It’s going to be a busy summer!
The Boston Marathon bombing was a horrendous tragedy, and plenty of folks more eloquent than I am have expressed their thoughts much better than I ever could.
Why’s that? I write romantic comedy. I don’t do well with dark moments, tears and a heavy heart. My whole family’s like that. There’s a reason we sat around cracking jokes before and after my dad’s funeral.
My predisposition to avoiding sadness is why, after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, I stopped writing. Months — maybe even a year — passed before I shook the funk and continued with the story I’d been working on (“Blind Date Bride”). I didn’t feel like being funny when the world as we knew it had changed forever.
But that was more than a decade ago, and if I’m going to be published before I’m too old to enjoy the victory, I don’t have the luxury of taking another six months to a year off. Besides, I signed up for the NaRoNoWriMo (National Romance Novel Writing Month) challenge to write 40K in April. I’m woefully behind — and was even before Monday’s attack. A couple of new rejections have waylaid me more than I’d like to admit. You’d think I’d be used to it by now, but my skin apparently isn’t as tough as it needs to be.
In keeping with the spirit of trying to get back in the swing of things, I made myself a note:
The sentiment is from my fellow NARWAns, Karen and Anne Marie. We were gathered for some writing time at Starbucks Thursday, and when I confessed I was struggling, they gave me a gentle shove in the right direction.
I will write — not only for myself, but also for anyone who needs to boost their mood … who wants a good laugh … who, like me, uses humor to cope with their deepest, darkest doubts.
I will write because if we stop doing what we want — if we don’t continue to follow our dreams — the terrorists win.
Uh-uh. Not on my watch.