Wednesday, July 25, 2012


"Bow, mortals, to your almighty overlord." - what I would scream if it wasn't 1AM. Why? Oh, I don't know. Maybe because I:
  1. Rewrote my query.
  2. Sent out requested material.
  3. Found a new song I'm in love with. ((The entire album is amazing, but this song in particular makes me want to throw on my combat boots and go save the world...or send out requested material))

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Aftermath

This past weekend was the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Summer Conference. I attended last year with high hopes of getting My Bad Luck, the story I was working on at the time, picked up by an agent. Even though I snagged almost a dozen requests for material I knew my work wasn't ready. I thought it was until I attended the workshops and presentations at the conference. My work was good. It was not quite great. Despite that I sent out the requested material, waited, and took the rejections as they came back to me.

This year was different. I took everything I'd learned last year, everything workshops and critique groups had offered, and all the notes the editor I'd hired gave. I took it all and marched in there ready to conquer.

Since I registered early - something I recommend everyone do - I was given not one, but two power pitch blocks. The power pitch setup was new to me and a bit intimidating when explained. Basically they had a bunch of agents at one table and you waited in line to talk to them. Each pitch was three minutes and each block was ninety minutes. In the first block I pitched to six agents and two editors. In the second block I pitched to five agents and one editor. All in all I loved the power pitch blocks. There were a couple of hitches with them, mostly just inconsiderate people who didn't want to budge when their time was up and the agent or two who had eleven people waiting in line for them.

Now, the events leading up to the first pitch block were a bit dicey. I had a pitch prepared. One I felt pretty darn good about...and then I began to over analyze. I heard feedback from other writers like 'it's a bit wordy' or 'can you clarify this part better'? Constructive criticism is my best friend. I rewrote. I repitched. Same response. I tried again. It got worse. Towards the end of the first day I'd been through seven drafts and finally called on my friends, bribing them with alcohol after diner to get them to help me write my pitch. Maybe it was the Merlot, but I went to bed that night feeling awesome. The next morning was bad again.

My friends (old and new) told me it was all in my head. I was too wrapped up in it. I disappeared for hours, wallowing in self-loathing and wondering why I'd wasted so much money on a conference I didn't have a pitch prepared for. I loved the story I'd written. I loved it more than anything I'd ever written and I knew there was a place for it in the market. I just needed to convince agents of that without throwing up all over them in the process.

Finally I threw my hands up. I resolved to just go in there and wing it. I knew my book. I knew which points I wanted to hit, and if need be I had a dozen different pitches memorized if I choked. My power pitch block rolled around and I walked in there, fully prepared to kick butt.

And I kicked butt. On my desk right now I have fourteen requests for material, three of which are requests for the full manuscript. So if you're choking when you're preparing a pitch, get out of your head. I am a very confident person and I was somehow reduced to a depressed heap of flesh sitting in the corner contemplating slitting my wrists with my note cards. Deep breath. Relax. That's what everyone around me was telling me to do but I didn't listen until I was on the verge of going home. I loved my book too much to give up on it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Forty Dollars In Postage Later

It's there! A hard copy of my manuscript arrived at Sangeeta's door early this afternoon! And now I wait...

On an unrelated note, Seattle's having a heat wave! I can remember back when 70 degrees was light sweater weather. Nowadays that's prime sundress weather. I guess I've acclimated to the west coast finally!

View from the top of Seattle's ferris wheel.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

That Awkward Moment...

So I hired an editor. I even thought I was hot stuff when I sent out the check today. Then I told her how she'd have the payment by Tuesday and she replied with 'great! hope you put a hard copy of the ms in there too!' I stared at those cheery words for a long time. Any and all desire to eat the slice of cake I'd been looking forward to celebrating with disappeared. I was left with a horrible pit where cake-hunger had been.

Guess who made the mistake of reading an important email at 5AM. I have a horrible sleep cycle. It's very unhealthy but I've always thought I manage just fine on a handful of hours of sleep every night/morning. Until now. My tired eyes glossed right over the words 'include full hard copy of mss.' That's right. Me.

So finally, after almost half an hour of staring out the window in self-loathing, I managed to reply. I apologized like I'd personally vandalized her home, shaved her dog, and offended her mother all at the same time before hurling all over her best shoes. So embarrassed. So unprofessional. So much for getting things off on a good foot.

As if that wasn't bad enough, tomorrow's Sunday. No mail. I will be camping out in front of the post office until Monday morning, clinging to my manuscript and sobbing salty tears of a shameful writer. That is, of course, if I don't cave and buy a plane ticket to New York City so I can deliver it to her door myself tomorrow.

In my defense: I am exhausted. This last week has been awful. I've been hosting guests from out of town, working extra shifts, and nursing a fever. No excuses though. It was a very, very unprofessional for someone who wants to be a writer and I will return to my corner now to wallow in my shame.

Friday, July 6, 2012

2AM Rambles

The view.

Killing some time. Fighting off levels of exhaustion bordering on delusion. Pardon my French/grammar boo-boos/rambling mon amie.

Well yesterday was the 4th of July. Had a spectacular view of the big show over Lake Union. For what I'm paying in rent I deserved a good seat! On the topic of seats though, some jerk broke my couch. By some jerk I mean a friend who's just an idiot I let drink too much. Poor couch. Thank goodness I wasn't quite sober enough to get as mad as I should have been. Loved that couch though. Polar bears weren't too happy with the fireworks. It was sad watching them bounce and do laps all night. For the record, you can totally give Benedryl to dogs. It's 1 milligram per pound, so an 80 pound dog gets 80 milligrams...assuming that after you force it down his throat in a ball of cream cheese he doesn't throw it back up. Too panicked to even keep a hot dog down, poor pups.

And, I'm going to just throw this out there, I thought Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter was an amazing film. It's one of those ones I'm actually going to buy when it comes out on DVD. Magic Mike, however, can be one of those things I'll say I saw but never ever allow myself to spend another dime on.

Oh! And I saw a guy juggling a chainsaw today. Just going to leave on that note.

Au Revoir.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Dog Toys Dilemma

So this is just a ramble of some strangely poetic comparison I made between me and my younger polar bear. He's actually a Samoyed, but at 80lbs full grown I call them my polar bears. Truthfully I think they think they're Pomeranians. It makes for fun trips to the dog park.

Mama's bears. Yuki (bottom) and Kai (on his head).

Back on topic though! My younger bear, Kai, has a bad habit of picking one toy out of the hundred or so sitting in the corner and loving it to death. These are the big durable ones for tough dogs too mind you. He's just kind of a cute beast. As I was throwing out pieces of Mr. Crab this morning I saw him searching through his toy box for his next victim. I don't think he means to kill them, he just loves them too much and they can't handle all his love/teeth.

Maybe it was the glass of wine I'd had with breakfast (poor life decision right there) but I was suddenly having this weird idea that, like Kai, I was loving my work too much. With seventeen days until the PNWA summer conference, every spare moment I have has been spent at a computer combing through my manuscript. Chopping. Rewriting. Reading things I wrote the night before and hating them. I was killing it. It took a puppy polar bear and a glass of Coco Rosso to make me see that.

I love Zhukov. It's my seventh complete novel and my favorite so far. I was going through my older work and of course there are bits which just make me smile, but never have I felt so confident and fully committed to a story as I have with this one.

So I took the rest of the day off. I called out sick from work, got out with a friend I haven't seen in a while, played with the polar bears and cuddled with my boyfriend. At the end of the day I sat down at my desk and opened Zhukov back up. It was like I had a new set of eyes and a full tank of energy to face it. That said, I'm going to try to take a step back for at least a little while every day. I know it's crunch time but I feel like if I don't take a breath every now and then I'm going to just rip my story apart like poor Mr. Crab.