la_belle_laide: (Default)
I've really been meaning to write down the story of How I Got My Agent since the day I signed the contract with Caitlin McDonald of Sterling Lord (July 16th) but then, every time I get my 90 minutes of the day, I've been writing other stuff. (The new manuscript, the one that [Bad username or site: ”spatterdash” @ livejournal.com] is eyeballing as I'm writing it, to be specific. The working title as of now is “2 Blue Balls.”) And then I was gonna write it all out last night, but then all sorts of craziness happened in the neighborhood as I wrote in a locked post and it got me all mentally turned around and weirded out.

But anyway. So! Now that I've signed, I'll unlock my other posts (or at least some of them,) about the first offer, the one I eventually declined.

What happened was—for anyone who doesn't know how this goes down—I got an email from one agent, saying she'd like to talk about my work. Usually—not always, but usually—this means that an offer is coming. We had a really great phone conversation on July 2nd, and she did make an offer. I figured that was it, done deal. All that remained was to send a “nudge” to other agents who had my queries, partials or manuscripts, tell them I'd had an offer and give them a chance to jump in. Most of the time, the other agents say “thank you and good luck.”

And I didn't have many outstanding queries, tbh, because I'd been spending most of my time working on 2 Blue Balls. But, I did have a query out with my top-choice agent. I'd actually queried her last year, but we'd talked on Tumblr since then and I had asked if I could re-query her after some edits, and she'd said yes.

To my utter pants-peeing surprise, she really liked the edits, and asked if she could take the standard two weeks to look through the entire manuscript. Pee in a dazzle, I sent her the full. Again, I'd read that agents are usually “reading for a no” after a nudge. But I still had the sneaky suspicion that she might actually like it.

Two days before my deadline to sign with the first agent, (July 16th,) she made an offer via email, and said we could set up a time to have a phone conversation.

July 15th was HOT AS A DAMN CROTCH, which, I usually just breeze through days like that because I absolutely love the heat. But I was on the phone with Caitlin from just after 2 till around 3 or so, and by the end of it, I was sweating so much that I had to go change all my clothes, LOL. I just liked her so much, loved her ideas, loved what she was talking about in terms of edits, and it all made so much sense that I didn't want to say the wrong thing, stutter too much (I do, a little, in situations like these,) or ask the wrong thing or forget to ask any of the right things. She was very understanding and patient as I went through my list of questions.

I liked both agents, particularly because both of them are very pro-fandom, and both were all right with me having been really involved in fandoms and still having fanfics up around the web. I liked both agents because they both really loved my manuscript and were enthusiastic about it.

The deciding factors were a few, though: The first agent, though she personally really loved time-travel stories and loved my manuscript, also didn't think she could sell a time-travel as a debut novel. She wanted me to finish 2 Blue Balls (you know that's LOL right? Like I'm not actually going to call it 2 Blue Balls*) and we would pitch that one to editors first. Which, I would have been all right with that to a point, because my brain is filled with 2 Blue Balls right now and I could probably bang the rest of it out pretty quickly if I had to.

But Caitlin has confidence in Blueshift; she really got the idea that time travel was sort of secondary to the plot and that there were other things going on in it: concepts about reality and such. She said she really loved the way I wrote the science, which is like, WHOA, the coolest thing a SF writer can hear. And she loved my main character, which also whoa – boy, do we writers enjoy hearing that.

What's more, she pinpointed exactly the two scenes I'd always, always struggled with, and put her finger on why they didn't work. That cleared up so much for me, you don't even know. These are edits I can now handle really easily.

We talked about fandom and fanfic for a while, too; she is extremely cool with all of that. And we also discussed other things I might write later, down the road. I mentioned I had another manuscript in the works, but that I'd also had scads of work done on sequels already, and she said, “I was almost feeling a prequel” and I was like, “OMG I HAVE THAT TOO.” In mind, I mean. Sketched out. When I say that this book has been with me for about ten years, I don't mean just this book; I mean I've been dicking around in the world of this book for about ten years. I've got about 500K words in sequels, prequels, side-stories, junk I wrote for fun, and you know, I never really did anything with that stuff. It's just sitting there in a folder, waiting for me to think about what to do with it.

Another big deciding factor was that I talked to one of her clients, one who is actually in the middle of her book launch, and she had such wonderful things to say about Caitlin. She said, “You won't ever regret signing with her.”

That filled me with such confidence; I knew as I talked to her that I'd already kind of made my choice.

So, on July 16th, Caitlin sent me the 3 contracts to sign, and then sent me her signed contract as well. And as of last week, I'm repped by Caitlin McDonald of the—let's be honest here--historic Sterling Lord Literistic agency.

What's next? She re-reads the manuscript and takes notes. Then, sometime in August or so, she sends me her notes, which are going to be her ideas for revisions. I'm pretty certain that I'm going to agree with her edits, because of the way she totally nailed what had always bugged me about those two scenes in particular. Then, I revise, and send it back to her (also including some of my own edits we discussed.) Then we discuss those changes, and if we both think they're fine, we move onto line-edits, which is another thing that I'm pretty chill about.

Once we're both happy with those final edits, then the book goes out on submission, and we start to discuss what I'm writing next, as we wait for someone to hopefully pick it up.

I haven't thought much beyond that. She did mention some editors and publishing houses she had in mind, which were SO RAD, but I'm nowhere near there yet.

So in the meantime, I'm just going to keep working on 2 Blue Balls and see where that takes me. That one might end up sitting around for a while, depending on where Blueshift goes from here.

All I know for sure is that I am SUUUUPER happy with my choice. I feel so lucky! And I'm really excited, and I just wanna WRITE ALL THE WRITES








*I might call it 2 Blue Balls tbh.
la_belle_laide: (yanyan)
Today is July 4th, and I took the dogs to the beach, set up the pool filter (again) and tried to see to it that it'd be swim-ready at some point before September. (Even though it's like, 60 degrees today.) My Mom is off from work today too (it's a Saturday; I usually work mornings / afternoon, but we're closed for the day.) Callum picked some peppers from his garden and basically walked all around while I cut back bittersweet and such. Haku came outside, but Sano heard fireworks and just cowered by the door until I let him back in.

La la. But it's really July 2nd that I want to talk about, because that's the day I got THE CALL and I want to write all of that down!

So, we set the time to chat at 2:30, and of course I sat there pissing myself until that very second, when she called at 2:30 on the nose. I told her up front I was nervous on the phone and she said that was all right. I was like, “Haha nice day today, haha *sweatdrop* what lovely... weather and all, haha... hahaha...”

With The Call (always in caps like that, seriously,) sometimes it's an offer of rep, and other times it's “I like this and that aspect, but can you edit it hugely and send it to me when it's done, so I can consider it further?” and sometimes, “I like your style, do you have a different book I can look at, and you can email me when it's done and I can consider that one?” So I was pretty unsure where this was going.

She asked, “Do you want me to just launch into my thoughts on Blueshift?” and I said, “Please do.” She said, “First of all, I am really into time travel...” (“Oh, cool! Me too haha, haha, hahaha!”) “And more importantly, I love this book.” (“Oh! Wow! Thank you so much, hahaha, hahaha!”) “I really liked the world you built.” (Silent relief; I've alternately heard “too much world-building” and “the world is too vague” from other agents. This stuff is truly subjective.) “The beginning could use some tightening up; it's rambly here and there, a few scenes don't seem to have much of a purpose on the first read. I understood their meaning after I finished it, though. But it could still use some tightening, close a few loose ends, things like that.” (“I can totally do that.”) “There were no entire chapters that I would cut – just minor things.” (More silent relief.) “The ending was my absolute favorite part. That's when I really couldn't put it down.”

Which surprised me, and totally delighted me, because I have always LOVED my ending, but have been told that it's too open-ended, and you can't leave it like that because people want definite answers, and / or you have to have a happy ending. I was really pleased that she was into that. She said she loved the entire second half.

“Make those two lead characters hotter for each other in the beginning, though. I wasn't buying their relationship until close to the end. I felt like they were more like best friends, or just loved each other as people. It needs more heat and passion.” (“I can do that, for sure.”) (This also clued me in to how astute of a reader she is, because in fact, in the first draft, the two characters were related and she completely picked up on that. I was like, “Damn, she is good.”)

I asked her if she had thought of any editors or publishers while she was reading it, and she gave me the names of two editors she had considered, who are also into this sort of thing.

Then she said, “I do really like the book—I would not be on the phone with you right now if I didn't—but time travel stories don't do well as first-releases, so I also wanted to talk to you about anything else you might have?”

So I told her about the one I did for NaNo, which is an extreme first draft right now, and although it has a beginning, middle and end, and a plot, with characters, and subplots, but that I hated the ending, had left two characters sort of blank so far, and had to completely re-draft it. I had written down my short pitch for that book, too, which I had planned to read: “Blue Sphere (working title): a medical examiner, her physicist associate, and her psychic best friend survive a neurological epidemic and invent a machine that can hold a person's consciousness after death. With the help of a disillusioned cop, they have to escape the corporation who are willing to murder them to get their hands on the machine. “

But it sounded so clunky as I started to read it that I just sort of wandered from it. “This medical examiner and this physicist, these two women—I haven't really fleshed out one of them yet—they invent this machine out of synthetic neurons” etc. I went a little more into the plot than just that little blurb thing up there.

And she said, “That's what I want. I want the lady scientists. Here's my idea: Let's finish that, and pitch that one, first.”

(Thank flipping GOD I wrote that book, god damn!)

Me: “Yeah! Sure. That's cool. I have that one on my mind, actually, so I can dive right back into it. I have a really great critique partner. She does not hold back at all. She tells me the absolute truth about her thoughts, and she's an excellent writer; she has an agent of her own, in fact, and a book out on submission.” (“That's what you want in a critique partner,” she said. "Keep her.")

So by this point, I was thinking it all sounded good, but I wasn't entirely sure if this was going to be a “get back to me when you finish it” kind of thing.

But then she said, “Just to be clear, this is absolutely an offer of representation.”

Me: *voids bowels* “Oh! Yay! I'm so excited, hahaha, how wonderful!” (I actually said “yay.” >_< )

She went on to say that she is really excited about both books, but really wants to lead with the “lady scientists” one. (“After that one comes out, then it will open the doors for the time travel one.” I liked that “after it comes out” part, like, a lot. Made me feel really confident in that.)

She is an editorial agent, so she said that she would be more than happy to offer critiques as I wrote it, once I was comfortable with sending it to her. She said she understood that a lot of authors were protective of their first drafts. I said that I wasn't protective of it, exactly, but that, let me be clear: it's just not good right now. I explained that it was a NaNo, that it was a sprawling mess at over 100K words (“I like a first draft to be too big rather than too small,” she said,) and I was scrapping the ending and re-writing the last 4 chapters or so from scratch.

She said, “That's okay. I'll wait for that one. I'm not offering to rep just one book, like, Blueshift or nothing, and that's it. I'm offering to represent you as a career author.”

So, there was no, “get back to me when you're done” or anything. It was an actual offer, like, “let me send you the contract in case you have any questions” offer.

My deadline to accept is July 16th. I've sent out my “nudge with offer of rep” to other agents who have queries, partials and suchlike. You sort of have to wait for them to get back to you before diving into anything like this – it's only polite. But I really, really liked what she had to say. I am so stoked that she loves Blueshift because the truth is, so do I. I love that stupid book. I had a blast writing it. I think other people should read it. ^_^ I loved the ideas that she had and I was so stoked that she was into the “lady scientists” book. So it really looks like I'm going to sign that contract on the 16th.

I hope it's not bad luck or bad form to share this. It links to my FB, but I mean, my FB is private, so. So I hope this isn't jinxing anything. I am just so, super excited and I wanted to put this all down.

And now! Once Callum wakes up, then I'm going have a shower and go over to Chrissie's house for dinner, so the kids can play together for a bit and she, Mom and I can chat away.

I need to stop worrying about what can go wrong, and start being happy with what is going right! For once, I'm going to do that!

ADDENDUM: I also told her, full disclosure, hey, I was a pretty prolific and semi-well known fanfic writer across various fandoms. She asked, "Oh, which ones!" and as I was listing them and got to Final Fantasy, she was like, "OH WOW, I probably read those!" She said it was perfectly all right to have fanfic still out there, that as long as I was comfy with it, so was she and so was the agency. (This agency is extremely pro-fandom. So yay!)
la_belle_laide: (WWJD?)
Two days ago I wrote this really loooooong post about how I was so frustrated with querying and writing new stuff, that I was about ready to just give it up and go back to writing fanfic for good. Why bother, if I wasn't getting anywhere and never getting any better? The post was full of angst and this really hopeless self-doubt about my writing. I read it back and thought, Wow, that is super angsty, hold back on posting that so you don't flounce out of something and then change your mind and feel stupid later.

Yesterday I got an email from the latest agent I queried, to whom I had sent first a partial, then the full manuscript. She is really interested, and wants to talk to me about the novel, and anything else I have lined up for the future. Our call is set for 2:30 tomorrow afternoon.

SO.

So now it's my turn to tell other authors to not give up/ :)

Of course, you know, it might not work out. Maybe we'll talk on the phone and have completely opposite visions about what to do with this book, or different ideas about my career or writing in general, or maybe we won't click. But, I did get referred to her by another agent, one whom I like very much and she thought we'd be a good fit. So, I'm hopeful.

I mean, hell, I'm way more than hopeful right now; I'm peeing my brand new Target shorts as we speak, have been peeing since last night and will not stop peeing, IDK, probably ever. The Call, you know? It's kind of huge! It gets capital letters when writers talk about it.

So now I'm writing down a list of questions and things to say. If I like her a lot and she likes me, then I'll have to email other agents who have partials (and who have queries, too? I'm not sure?) with a nudge, tell them, Hey, I've had an offer, JSYK. It's the polite thing to do. I have massive phone anxiety, especially with important calls. I stutter and say really dumb things sometimes (and then freak out about the things I said sometimes years later.) So having a list will help; a little cheat-sheet.

And like, work has picked up and we got some good news about a kind of partnership (sub-letting) that I think is going to go really nicely. I might start teaching classes again soon, and hopefully Hula, which will just be even radder.

Gonna try to hit the beach tomorrow.

Going to Disney in about 7 weeks.

Am I going to be this lady sitting by the seaside on a beautiful day, an agented author with a beautiful little son, a nice job, and getting ready to go on vacation? What's next, Tom Hardy is going to come and marry me?

This makes me worried. Doesn't it seem too good? Doesn't something have to go terribly awry now?

(Okay yeah, not all perf, I did lose my car insurance because TWO FENDER BENDERS IN TWO YEARS OMG and because I got side-swiped and made a rather large claim last year. So that's an annoyance and, yeah, a huge chunk out of my finances. And yeah, I wish my Gram and my Dad were here for this, and that's never going to change.)

But cherophobia is stupid, so I'm also going to sit here and worry about what simply must go wrong now, instead of enjoying what isn't wrong. And what could potentially be totally right. Isn't that awful of me? Stop it, anxiety. Stop being a thing.

Oh my god, how did it get to be 3:30? It was just 2:30 a second ago. Better post this and run.
la_belle_laide: (D)
My either/or for most of last month (and all of this month so far) is either write in journal / do anything else OR do manuscript critiques with my good friend [Bad username or site: ”spatterdash” @ livejournal.com]. And the critique trades have been SO STUPID MUCH FUN that I've just gotten so involved in them. Can't stop won't stop. (Fun fact, I still think of “spatterdash” as “d_r_o_n_e”.) This is the most fun I've ever had trading crits. It makes a big difference when it's something you look forward to—reading the other person's work, as well as getting feedback on your own—instead of dreading it.

But I should write a few things down, too, like about this past few weeks in general.

It seems like so many of my close friends are having massive anxiety / bouts of depression lately, all at once. And this kinda includes me, too, with the anxiety. Some of the things I can laugh about (like the other day, I read something about how the shape of certain toddler's heads can cause intra cranial pressure and brain damage and I FLIPPED OUT, went nuts for a few days, called the doctor, the whole shebang, doc told me to basically chill,) and other things are really sticking with me, like the way that Medicare only lets women over 65 get one checkup EVERY TWO YEARS WTF, and how dangerous that is? Major issue sticking to the inside of my skull right now!

Here's a thing that pissed me off and worried me, too. So last week, a friend of mine wrote a post about how important it is to keep your cats indoors for various reasons. I totally agreed, seeing as how I, at the time anyway, had a tiny baby oriole who'd been attacked by a cat. (Oriole—which Callum named Siba—later died. :( ) And also because cats take dumps in my yard, I don't want cat turds in my garden, and dogs eat the poop, which, you know, makes them very ill. This happened to a good friend of mine recently.

So then another gal comes along, and I've been sort of HitRECord friends with her for about five years. Not super close, but like, we used to chat all the time in TinyChat, on Facebook, whatnot. So, she comes along and replies that she keeps her cats indoors, but not because she cares about the stupid birds or my gross f'n dogs, like why would she care if my stupid dogs or some dumb birds died?

And now I'm like... Wow? How do you say that about someone's dogs, right? I know a lot of people don't take pets, or pet-owners seriously. I get that to a lot of people we're considered a little flakey or whatever. There's lots of stuff I don't particularly care about, but I wouldn't say that to people I knew who did care.

So I felt like something else was up, and I messaged her like, Dude, wht the hell? Why would you say a thing like that? Is something wrong? Because I totally thought we were okay. I always made nice comments on your art, the pics you post of your cats, have always supported you on hR, and, you know, sort of pathetically, I thought we were kind of friends?

And she wrote back, “I don't owe you anything just because you liked a few of my things, THAT'S NOT HOW I ROLL, so just unfriend me or whatever.”

And I say, “Well, I've always felt that the only thing you owe someone who is kind to you, is kindness in return. That's how I roll, so, you know. And I have to say, I will miss our chats, if that's how it's to be, because I always did like you.”

And do you know what she replied? “You are honestly no loss to me.”

Okay, what the hell with that? And let me say that this is TOTALLY out of the blue. And logically, I'm going, “Well, obviously, she is an asshole of gigantic proportions, so let it go.” But the irrational part of me is going, Did I miss an episode or something? Was I evil to her in a way that I didn't realize? And then I start freaking out, thinking, do OTHER people feel that way, too? Do all of my other friends kind of secretly dislike me, or just put up with me or something? Who is gonna do that next? Someone I'd really super hate to lose?

This kind of stuff doesn't end after high school, you know? Goes on and on well into adulthood and comes from the most surprising places.

But anyway. So I'm trying not to dwell on that too much. I mean, I know whatever is up is her problem and totally not mine anymore, I'm just stuck thinking about, “But what if everyone else...?”

Aside from that. Yeah, so I had that oriole, who was a little beauty but didn't survive, and I also have a little baby crow, who Callum named Matu. A really good little crow.

Callum named them Siba and Matu because lately he's been making up his own words and using them in songs, and then dancing along when he sings them. “Siba, mati, matu, YAY!” “Siba, mingo, mango, mingi, YAY!” And he does these moves like the Maori Haka, which he's never seen, so what even.

He actually did something hilARious last night, had me in tears laughing, but it's TMI and I would hate to put that out there but OMG. So funny.

Callum is really into birds in general, as I think I've mentioned. (How could he not be?) But now, aside from knowing all the kinds of birds in the yard, and all their calls, he also knows their babies' calls. “Mahh mahh beebee grack-ow. Ree ree beebee stee-ling!”

And today, he actually told me the story of what happened to him in the morning: “Gram-gram work. Things to do. Guy-guy Gram gram! Wah-hah-hah. Cam-cam blue truck, fire truck, yay! Guy-guy truck! Wah-hah-hah. Gram-gram cookie. Thankee gram-gram. Wah-hah-hah!” Which basically means: “we went to visit Grandma at work, but she had things to do so we said bye-bye, and I LOST MY CRAP IN THE STORE BECAUSE I WANT GRANDMA. Then I played with some cars and trucks in the store, and I had to stop doing that, too, so I FLIPPED OUT CRYING. Then we saw Grandma again and she gave me a cookie, which I had to stop eating once I got in the car, so I CRIED THE REST OF THE WAY HOME.”

And he's actually awake now, which is like fifteen minutes too early for him to be awake from his nap. And I didn't even get to check Tumblr one last time. But I did send out my email/story section to Spatterdash, so that's a huge achievement for a day like today. :)
la_belle_laide: (mantis)
I've been trying to catch that stupid cat in the trap, so I can put down a garden without it turning into a giant litter box. But so far I've trapped a possum, and a terrified raccoon. Callum saw the raccoon in the trap the morning I found it, so he's been talking all about the “maccoom” since then. And of course the dogs are going out of their minds. (I did let the maccoom go. It scurried under the damn shed, where it's probably got a nice little home and a ton of babies who are also going to spend their lives trying to eat garbage. But I don't know what else to do with it.)

National Poetry Month is over and thank god for that. Almost all of my poems were forced and really sucky this year. I wasn't feeling it, and I'd almost always rather have been writing something else or even just doing something else. And to top it all off, I got a message from a curator at hitRECord, and would I be interested in writing something for a science-related radio show? HELL YES I WOULD. What's the deadline? MAY 1st. Oops! I really want to whip something up tonight before bed. I hope I can!

Right now there's a guy outside cleaning the leaves out of the yard. I went and hired someone because it's been YEARS, the place looks like trash, and I just don't have time. He's doing it for really cheap. So I keep going out there every half hour to bring him some food and water and ask if he wants a sandwich or something like that. It's not even going to be perfect; it's just getting rid of years worth of leaves. The rest of the junk (old Xmas trees, tons of weeds and brush,) is still going to be there. Two hours a day, I get. I use them to write. The yard doesn't even come in second. But it's still hard for me to ask for help – even if I'm paying.

Mother's Day is just around the corner, and then Callum's birthday. I generally don't do much for Mother's Day—really just get a little something for my Mom—but I really look forward to Callum's birthday. Err, all two of them so far. Last year's one was such a beautiful and fun day. I hope this one will be, too. I actually just bought him that stupid LeapPad thing. There are so many things I said I would never do as a Mom that I have to do now, like microwaving things. Honestly, sometimes you just run out of time and you're like, “Okay, I fail as a Mom today.” I don't necessarily think that getting a Leap Pad is a fail, though; it's not like he's going to use it all the time. He's got a little toy laptop, and even a few other LeapFrog products, like toy phones and tablets, and he only uses them once in a while. This one has WiFi, though, and I figured I'd get it for the airplane ride in August, at the very least. We still mostly run around the house, or outside, and play, and read. I'm happy to say that I'm not really exaggerating with that. We do a lot of things that don't involve watching TV or youtube. So I think a little WiFi toy will be okay; it's not going to eat all his time.

You know, the way Tumblr eats mine. ^_^ Although when I really do have to get something done, I get it done. Right now I've got a manuscript out to two people (well, a partial, and a full after a partial, which is REALLY EXCITING because hi, you liked those first 3 chapters enough to ask for more!) And I'm still revising the NaNo one like a bitch. Like a HUGE bitch, I mean I keep changing things all the time. Soon, I'm going to have to put it somewhere so that close, trusted people can look at it, and then put it into OWSFFH and let people really have a go. Do major, major revisions. And then start querying that one, too. That story doesn't even know what it is, yet. But I'm to the point where I'm dreaming about it, so I think that's good.

Yesterday was 70 degrees. Today it's back in the low 50s. Damn it, weather. TURN HOT.
la_belle_laide: (mantis)
Right, so I made the corrections I wanted to make to the manuscript and sent it out yesterday. I'm to the point now where I don't even get that excited or nervous anymore. The last time an agent was really stoked about the full manuscript, she disappeared from the face of the freaking earth, apparently. :/ So I don't even really let myself think about it anymore.

I kind of am letting the other manuscript settle for a while. I wrote it like crazy in November for NaNo, then I went nuts for a few months re-reading it and dicking with this and that. I think I might have said this before, but I changed so much that my second draft was more of a first draft than the first draft. And now I have a ton of other things I want to change, but I have to walk away from it and think for a bit.

I promised myself I would rock National Poetry Month this year, but then all this stuff happened with the manuscript requests and pitch wars and etc. that I spent all my free time on those, and my poems have really sucked a big one. I mean not a huge deal, i'm not doing anything but putting them on HitRECord or anything, so.

Oh, speaking of, a few of my ideas / written pieces were chosen for a possible hR radio show, too. I really hope that doesn't fall through!

Umm, I cut my own hair. Why do I keep doing that? I mean, I keep doing it because I get bored and I don't want to pay someone else to do it for me, but still, I always screw it up and end up walking around with stupid looking bangs. Oh well. I'm going to dye them blue or something.

Callum's second birthday is in a few weeks. This is such a mind-bender to me because I still can't believe I had him. Like, he's still so new to me. I've played specific video games for longer than he's been around so far, you know? And I keep dreading when he turns two. Everyone who has kids keeps telling me how your darling little baby changes overnight when they turn two. Literally, they say. One day you have a sweet, generous, caring, cuddly little baby, and then one day, within two weeks of their second birthday, they wake up one morning and they are the devil and you're sitting there going, “Where did my child go?”

And I can kind of see it, because I mean obviously Callum is a toddler, and he wants what he wants when he wants it, and he is definitely a button-pusher (when I tell him he's a button-pusher, he presses his finger on my face and goes, “BEEP.”) We keep having the conversation about not standing on the chairs, (“Callum, Mommy said no standing...” “CHAYS!”) and yet every single day he has to stand on the chays. But I also sort of can't see it, because, for the most part, he seems so mellow as compared to other kids his age. My cousin said her boy was the most perfect angel until he turned 3. 3 and 4 were his really difficult years. I guess every kid is different.

But for now, we try to do fun stuff every day that I'm off from work, or at least get out of the house, even if it's just to the store. To Atlantis once every few weeks to look at the fish and feed the tur-tays. For walks around the neighborhood with 'Amo and 'Aku, and sometimes Aunt Chrissie, Gavin, Mason, Gram-Gram and Mom-mom. (I used to be Mom-mom, but now I'm Mommy and Meghan is Mom-mom.) Or on some of my days off we stay inside and put seeds into seeding cups (hollowed out orange halves.) It's been so stupid cold that we've been staying in a lot.

And I'm in such a rotten mood today that the fact that it's like 45 degrees is making me rage out. In fact, we have a freeze-watch tonight because apparently it's going back into the stupid 20s. Gross. This makes me want to punch something.

Well, enough bitching about the weather, I guess. Spring will get here one of these days. I hope it's in time for Callum's birthday, at least.
la_belle_laide: (D)
Haku had a seizure at 4:10 this morning which totally sucks. And I really want to make this a big, long LJ entry full of updates, but I got a request for the full manuscript last night and I am going nuts because I decided last minute to change this one subplot, so I'm acting like a crazy person combing through every mention of it. It's minor enough that it can be done in a few hours, but I only have those two hours a day, and like 20 minutes of those are already done, so.

But this is a really cool agent. A different agent at this place was talking about fandom, and how she thinks agents should be open to people who were fanfic writers, and to email her if any of us fangirls wanted to chat. So we talked for a while and she asked for my query, even though she doesn't rep what I write. But she still liked the query, so she referred me to her associate, who then asked for a partial. When you query with a referral you'll almost always get a partial request, but then last night she asked for the full which is kinda huge?

So I'm flipping out and I have to go figure my nonsense out right now!
la_belle_laide: (mantis)
TREE FROGS. I heard the tree frogs tonight, and you know what that means. Spring! Actual spring, like with warm weather on the way. Tree frogs know what's up. If they're out there peeping their peeps, then it's about to get a smidge, a tad, possibly a mite warmer up this bitch.

Today was exciting: In the 90 minutes that my Callum napped, I entered #PitchSlam on Twitter (maybe win some more critiques?) and sent off the query/synopsis/10 pages to agent Connor Goldsmith, for the critique I won from him, too.

GIVE ME ALL THE CRITIQUES.

Then I did my poem-every-day entry on HitRECord. Gah, why did I take on National Poetry Month again? I knew it was going to be a crunch. And it is; it’s so crunchy right now.

Today’s poem sucked a monkey testicle because I only had about twenty minutes to bang it out. That's the thing about the 30 day poetry challenge, because I did it last year, too. Most of them are pretty awful. But, out of thirty, I get 4 or 5 good ones that I really like. So I guess it's worth it.

Yesterday I took the dogs to the vet for their yearly checkup. What a big production this is now that I have a toddler. Just getting everyone from the car to the office is a circus act. But both dogs were good, and Callum was good, too. He was actually really nervous, so he sat on my lap the whole time, watching the dogs getting their exams and looking really worried about it. “'Amo? 'Aku?” I tried showing him that the dogs were being so good, they weren't crying or anything (because Callum FREAKS OUT as soon as he sees the nurse or doctor, because he knows that shots are coming. :/ )

But anyway, Haku's heart murmur was about the same – no worse, which is really good news, and the doc said that his heart rate was nice and slow, a sign of good health. Sano is a bit deaf (which I knew,) but his eyes and cognitive function are awesome for a dog his age. The only real problem is his worsening arthritis, and mostly in that front leg where the dog bit him about twelve years ago (and Dr. Dickwhistle / ex boss said not to x ray it, so we didn't know until years later that it had actually been broken. I swear, that man has such bad karma coming his way.)

Well, I wanted to put Sano on some mild anti inflammatory so that he can get up the stairs with more ease, and start going on walks again, but we had to do the bloodwork to make sure his liver could handle it. And, then the general, yearly bloodwork, to check Haku's one kidney, and Sano's platelets.

Today the vet called and things are looking good for both (*KNOCK ON WOOD*) Haku's kidney values are actually improved from last year. His liver value is high because of the phenobarb/other seizure meds, but significantly lower than it should be. Vet said that whatever I'm doing is working, and to keep doing it. (For those wondering: the secret is milk thistle every day. Both dogs get it in a high dose. Also, vit. C, CoQ10, coconut oil pills, and MSM/Glucosamine.)

What a load off. I stress about it every year. But that really made my day.

I have work tomorrow, an early day. A 90 minute treatment and then staying on for a bit to train the new Saturday receptionist. Then home to write my 4th poem, and who knows, maybe even get a quick look at the new novel I'm writing. (Wrote. Still writing. IDK. It's a dripping mess but I fell in love with my cast, so that's a good sign.)

One thing I keep meaning to add because I don't want to forget it. Callum is obsessed with the mail truck; he has to watch it go by every day, and he has to yell and scream about how exciting it is. Today, we were even outside with the dogs when he saw it go by, so he was yelling at the top of his lungs. The only thing is, he calls the mail truck the “whale-cock” and I just think that's brilliant. I'm not even going to correct him.
la_belle_laide: (mantis)
This winter won't die. We got another six inches of snow last night. Why won't it go tf away? I just don't understand! It's snowed every single week since January. I'm so tired of it; it's actually making me feel really blue. I need to feel some Spring ffs.

I have a little post-concert blues, too, maybe? Which is so damn dumb, because every time I buy tickets to a show (and I only ever go to see this one band, like, what, once a year? Or less?) I'm so stoked, but then once the month of the concert arrives I'm like, “I hate this! Why did I buy tickets? Now I have to leave the house and I hate leaving the house. Ugh, I'm going to get home so late and complain complain complain...!” But once I'm there I'm all “This is so rad, I can't wait till they come back again.” (Although, Adam Lazzara, Get Your Shit Together 2015.)

What else. I have, like, one chapter I want to add to this novel I'm writing and I just keep looking at that blank page. Because I know I'm probably going to cut it out or at least cut it down by half. I'll probably end up cutting a few more chapters, even, and adding different ones. It's so insane that I write tens of thousands of words knowing that about half of them are in vain. Isn't that awful? To be writing something and going, “this is so ridic, I know this is bad even as I'm writing it, and yet I still need to put this down on paper.” (Well, not paper, but still.)

I think I already know what I'm going to do for NaNo next year, too, actually. I have two ideas, one that I've been mulling on for a while, and I think it's a pretty good idea, though I haven't connected with it yet, or really thought the characters through. So I know what it's going to be about, but I don't have any plot in mind. And the other would be a story about this set of characters I've always piddled around with, but never really done anything with. I don't have a plot to put them in, or even an idea. I just know who they are. So, next November, I'll pick one of those and see where it goes.

Work continues apace, I guess. Ish. On and off. Last week was good, this week was slow. It's nice to have that little desk job, knowing I'll at least have cash in hand every week.

So what should I do with my two hours a day in April? Should I do poem-a-day, or nah? Or should I just type away on this manuscript and try to see what's up? I have to pick one. I loved doing P-A-D last year, but I wasn't writing a novel then. I might not fit it in this year.

April, April – how can April be next week when it's still this blasted cold and there's all this godforsaken snow on the ground?
la_belle_laide: (Default)
Lots to talk about today; might have to make it into TWO WHOLE POSTS.

Last week I won a query/first 5 pages critique from the agent Uwe Stender. This guy has an actual fandom among writers, and now I understand why. First of all, it was really generous of him to offer his time to writers seeking agents. He doesn't even rep what I write, but he did the critique anyway (because writing is writing, you know?)

Second, he is *so dang nice. * In his email, he explained that he wanted this to be a nice experience, and critique is meant to help. (I actually enjoy any critique, regardless of how it's worded, whether it's nice and “cushy” or straight up, “No, this doesn't work.”) But it was still kind of him to say so.

Critique—especially from people in publishing—is gold, yo. *GOLD *.

The gist of what he told me went for both the query and the first five pages, and basically it amounted to: too much world-building, not enough character-building. And that makes so much sense to me, because I have gotten requests for this ms, and the rejections I've gotten have usually been along the lines of, “I like your writing, but I can't connect/it's too distant/character didn't draw me in.” And I never really understood why that was. (And agents don't have time to sit there all day explaining themselves and helping you make your novel better. That's the writer's job.) But with this critique, just that observation showed me exactly why that is.

About a year ago, I asked another writer friend for help with the query, and she said that there wasn't *enough* world-building. She was like, “But where is this? When is this? What's the place like? What led up to this? These are things we need to know.” So I think I went a little nuts with that. Also, he told me the query was too long. Stick to the character and the conflict.

Looking back, and looking at my other work, I realize that I do over-focus on the world of the story. And the funny thing is, I'm always afraid that I'm not doing it enough. That I'm leaving blank spaces where the setting should be, and that readers will feel lost in the book unless I hand-hold them through the landscape. But I see now that that's not true. And I should trust the reader more.

I've also reined in my characters like crazy, and that's because I know I'm a hugely effusive, emotional, fangirl-bait writer. When I do first drafts, I go crazy with the characters and I know I'm a little bombastic and overwrought. By the 4th, 5th, 6th revision, I've often cut back a lot of the actual character, because I don't want to end up sounding like a fangirl of my own creations. But now it seems that maybe I should let them breathe a little more.

The good thing is that, even though it was only a 5 page / query critique, I can apply this to the rest of the novel, and to the one I'm working on now.

He also did say that, even though the first five pages had those specific problems, he still thought the writing was really good. And let me tell you, that is so great to hear.

And now, it's time to get to work!
la_belle_laide: (D)
I am reeeeeally going to try to do the lj challenge and revitalize my journal. BUT, first let me explain why this is so hard. In one word: TODDLER. Callum is at that age where he will happily follow me around as I do chores, like laundry, cleaning, vacuuming (in fact, the vacuum is his favorite thing; he's obsessed, always asking to BAKOOM.) But he won't sit and play if I'm sitting at the computer. So the only time I really have online is the two hours when he takes his nap, and one hour (if I'm lucky) after he goes to bed – because often I'm doing other things then, too, like looking around on Tumblr and watching TV if we're being honest.

Those two hours while he's napping? Well, I did NaNo this year. I hit the 50K mark about 2/3 of the way through November, and then spent till January finishing it. And then I wanted to change this and that, add chapters, cut chapters, etc. So basically, that's what I do while he's sleeping. Along with still querying my last novel, too, and joining some cool writing sites like writerpitch etc. And stalking agents. Lots of stalking.

But let's try for a quick catch-up.

This winter has sucked, weather-wise and money-wise (often the two have been connected, e.g. frozen pipes, busted car, that kind of junk.) Last winter we got hit with a snowstorm around every Saturday. This year we got hit every Sunday-Monday and/or Thursday. WTF is that about. I caved, and bought a teeny snowthrower thing for a hundred bucks. Worth it.

I also, unrelated, bought myself and Jo-chan and Glassworker tix to see Taking Back Sunday, coming up next week. Like, I'm so peeved at Adam Lazzara right now, I mean get your shit together, you're a grown man with two kids. And I'm anxious as hell to be driving out to effing Huntington to go see them. I'm so stupid about things like that. I had major anxiety the last time I went to see them, when Callum was 6 months old and it was the first time I'd left him for anything other than work. I've definitely done that since then. But I still have this freaked out feeling like, what if I get punished for doing something fun?

Anxiety is ridiculous. (Aside: I've learned that a phobia of being happy for fear of karmic retribution has a name, and it's called “cherophobia.” Thanks for that, Tumblr. Sincerely. It helps, knowing what a thing is called and that it exists.)

Work has been a little slow, but I know it's going to pick up, since we're under new management. My Mom's very good friend bought the clinic. I took a few hours a week at the desk, too, just to make a little extra and to answer the phones, book some clients and such. I'm also going to be teaching a class or two upstairs, so that will help, too.

Callum is at that really sweet age, just shy of two, where he's not “terrible” yet, and is just (mostly) delightful and funny. He has his moments for sure, pushing my buttons and seeing what he can and can't do. If I could freeze time at any age, it would be now. He loves cars, trucks, Frozen (especially Elsa,) birds, vacuums, water, Uptown Funk. He can name a few birds, like doves (“bove,”) cardinals, (“amcraw” ??) chickadees (“kickees,”) juncos (“duckos,”) and he can do their calls, too. Ha, of course my kid would be doing bird calls before the age of two. We have to listen to the Frozen soundtrack every night during dinner. But he will gladly sing along with Cab Calloway while I'm cooking dinner, especially the song “Oh Grampa,” which he thinks is “Oh Grandma.” “Ohhhhhhh Gram-gram!” He also loves Lightning McQueen, which he calls “Keen keen keen.” he speaks so well, knows his letters, but still struggles with colors and numbers. He insists there are ten of everything, and that everything is orange.

He's asleep now, and I actually have a list of new agents to stalk, which I set up last night in about five different tabs. And the last two chapters of that NaNo novel to look through, too. (So far I'm calling it “Blue Sphere” or something along those lines. We'll see.) Oh yeah, and I do have a full and a partial out now. So, fingers crossed on that.

Today is Sunday, so, tomorrow is a few hours at the desk and a few clients, and then Tuesday is more of the same.

I will really really really try to be on LJ more, and definitely I will try to keep up with my f-list more!
la_belle_laide: (morticia)
Only three weeks until Disney! Or, as Callum calls it, “Diz-din.” I've started telling him often, that soon (“Next month, this month, three weeks,” etc.) that we're going to Disney. “Callum and Momma, Grandma and Meghan are all getting on an airplane, way high up in the sky. Then when we land, we'll go to Disney! And there we'll see Spencer and Natasha, Aunt Chrissie, Uncle Timmy, Gavin and Mason, and Uncle Don and Jen. And then we'll see Micky and Minnie, and the castle, and Haunted Mansion, and Pirates. Also a great big ball, and tons of animals.”

When I mention Haunted Mansion, he does the scream. That's because I've been reciting the whole thing to him since he was about three months old. Cracks me up. It's so weird to me that he has no idea what I'm talking about. Like, no sense of the future, that this is a thing that has yet to happen. I wonder if he thinks I'm talking about the Disney Store, or maybe the Disney room at my Mom's.

I'd been fretting, a little, a few weeks ago, because he was only saying five or six words. Then, out of nowhere, in the space of about two days: five more words. And the next week, five more. And then more. All at once! So weird how that happens.

So of course, my biggest stress is boarding the dogs, and leaving my goldfish, The Doctor. I got an automatic feeder thing for him, and I tested it today, and it works. And I'll put his light on a timer, too. But what if something goes wrong, and he doesn't have food for six days? Or light? I don't know, I guess goldies are kind of hardy, but I'd be so upset if he went without food for that long. And, I always hate boarding the dogs. I haven't done it in so long. I know it's going to trigger Haku.

In other news, I started teaching Hula again. I've got a class of six kids, ages 5 to about 10. Okay, I've taught adults and I've taught tweens before, but this is a while different box of frogs. They actually are just like a box of frogs, one that I keep trying to keep the lid on, and they keep popping out. I'm worried, because there's going to come a Monday where my Mom will have to go to work for inventory, and I'll have to bring Callum with me. How the eff am I supposed to teach six frogs, and stop my toddler from getting into everything? I'm stressed just thinking about it. But, it's really fun to teach them. At the end of the first class, the youngest girl ran up and hugged me, saying, “Miss Jules, I love the Hula!” And they all wanted to learn Hawaiian words, too. Which is pretty good, I think.

As far as writing: That one really cool agent still has the manuscript. I even nudged her last week—or two weeks ago?--and haven't gotten a reply yet. She's replied to everyone else who's nudged her (with rejections. :( ) But she is telling people that she's focusing on SciFi now, which is what mine is. IDK, maybe she's getting invested in it, and taking her time? I don't know! My palms sweat every time I check my email.

I've also started another novel. I've actually written tons, tons, TONS of stuff since this one, but either I've kept them to myself, or they've been fanfics, or I've put them on the internet or on HitRECord, and none of them were ever meant for publication. This one is, though. I've only just started it. I might join NaNo this year, even though I'll miss the first few days.

It is cold, cold, cold here today, after a relatively warm Autumn so far. My room was 55 degrees and I put the heat on a little, just to take the edge off. I like the chill, though.

Although, I won't be complaining when I'm in Florida and it's 85 degrees, either, that's for sure. :D
la_belle_laide: (D)
Just jotting some things to remember. Callum took his first steps on his actual first birthday. Then he stopped for a while, and then about a week later, he started doing it again, two steps at a time. Yesterday, he walked across the room. And now, he's walking, turning, and trying to run. WTF, how did this happen so fast?

My wonderful friend Crow-Lady has taken Havoc for a while. He needs a break, I need a break from the 5:30-all day screaming. I've spent a few days scrubbing the floor in the sunroom and generally cleaning it up, cleaning up his cage, etc. (Now that CJ can toddle around, I plop him on the floor with some toys while I clean.) Havoc will come back, probably when it's too cold for him to be outside, and anytime Crow-Lady has to go away on vacations. But I cleared enough space in the sunroom to turn it into a kind of reading/relaxation room. The kind of hipster sort of thing you see on Tumblr, with cool chairs and string lights. I only just started, so we'll see how that turns out.

Big BIG news for my cousins across the street, too. Not something I'm allowed to write about yet due to legal stuff, so y'all can probably guess that they are adopting again, and we'll leave it at that. WOW. And it is happening so fast!

I still have that full manuscript out with the agent who said she enjoyed the beginning. Still have not heard back. It's on my mind every day: What part is she up to? Did she get bored and put it down? What is she thinking if she's reading that section or this one? I know you're supposed to give 3 months for a full, but I want to nudge her every single day. O_O I'll cop to checking out her FB page once in a while to see if she's saying something like “OMG I'm reading the best manuscript ever and I'm so fired up!” or if she's like “Jeez, the first five pages of this one ms were great, but now it sucks.” But she's not saying anything. >_< PLEASE LOVE ME.

Welp, back to staring at Winter Solider TVTropes for a while before putting BB and myself to bed. ^_^
la_belle_laide: (Wildflowers)



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I should have written this 2 weeks ago when it happened, but here it is now:

THERE'S AN AGENT LOOKING AT MY FULL MANUSCRIPT.

It's crazy. I changed the name to something that was similar to the title I dreamed about a few years ago. Actually no, it wasn't even a title I dreamed of; it was a lottery ticket with a word on it. And last month, I came across a scientific theory that sounded similar to that word, and weirdly fit perfectly with my book. I thought, Well, wow! I really like that! And maybe changing the title will get me a few nibbles. So I did, and sent out a query letter, and FIVE MINUTES LATER she wrote back saying she would love to read the whole thing.

I've got to wait, what, typically 6 months for a reply on a full. But I'm really stoked. She didn't ask for an exclusive, so I can query some others in good conscience, too.

Also in good news, my close relative got some good news regarding some medical results today and I couldn't be happier.

Yes, it snowed yesterday and it is miserably cold and not at all spring-like. But that bit of good news, and having a request for a full, is really making me feel all the happies.

Last week I went out with Gold Dragon to see Winter Soldier. It was so dang good and we had a great time together as always. Gold Dragon wanted to hang out after the movie, but I'm one of those Moms now who can't ask anyone to watch my baby past 11. So I took a rain check and we're going to go out to a nice dinner some Sunday instead.

And tomorrow, my best friend Glassworker is going to come over for a hang out.
Work is fine (though my bosslady had a sad occurrence / health upheaval – she's fine now, though,) clients are generally nice (except the ones who book two slots and then cancel them both, leaving me with NO clients on that day, wtf, who does that?!) and I got a raise! Woop! I actually got it sometime previously, but my boss didn't tell me, and I didn't notice it because my paycheck varies so much week to week.

I really miss Kung Fu these days. I especially miss my beautiful training family. Empress went to another school way out west (and she works and goes to college full time now.) Snarklit moved to Brooklyn. Chrysanthemum still trains once in a while when she's around. Gold Dragon works full time, doing graveyard shifts at the hospital and then catching up on sleep. I just miss them. I miss the shape I was in, too. I'm still thin but I have no muscle and no strength. Boo.

BUT. Manuscript. Family member's health scare over. New coat of paint in the living room. Hopefully some nice weather soon. TAX RETURN. For the first time since becoming LMT, I'm getting a return!

I'm also doing the April poem-a-day thing on HitRECord. Most of them suck, but once in a while I've gotten something good, and it's forced me to think, and to write, every day.

And CJ has finally got one tooth that you can actually see now. Every few days he'll say a word or two, then he'll stop saying it. “Fish” (“dick,) “book” (“guk”) “egg” (“ehh”) and the other day he said “Haku” clear as day. He's got some good sign language, too. (Eat, milk, cousin, hello and bye-bye.)

His first birthday party is coming up fast. Though, that is slightly depressing because after that, Jo-chan goes to work and we don't see her until next Fall. Summers are nice, but a little lonely because we get so few people coming by.

Maybe I'll try to get Mom, Boychild's Momma and Boychild to come with us on our Monday Summer walks again. That was really nice last year.

But here I am already thinking of summer, when it's 40 degrees today.

Come on Spring, get it the eff together!


la_belle_laide: (floating woman)



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Auwe, the agent who asked for an 8 week exclusive on my novel (after 3 months exclusive on the first 3 chapters,) decided she didn’t feel “passionate enough” about selling it. >_<

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Bleh. Oh well! Onwards and hopefully upwards!

I don’t think I’ll be giving any more exclusives, though. That came out to five whole months of querying that I’ll never get back.

Err, unless I was super duper into the agent I guess. :) Then I’d consider it.

Still, I think it’s a good sign that this is all totally subjective now. Like, lots of agents have said that they thought the writing was great, it just wasn’t necessarily their thing. And we know it has to be a perfect match.

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AND I’M NOT OUT OF CAKE.

Actually, I don’t have any literal cake. But I do have girl scout cookies. ^_^

Then tonight, my accountant came by to go over taxes with me. Since I pay at the end of the year, I need someone to do all the complicated stuff for me, and I need to dig through every write-off I can find. Like travel, insurance, college loan interest, etc.

And then I heard the tree frogs outside. I have to document that every year. First night of the tree frogs. :)
la_belle_laide: (floating woman)



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Note to self:

March 14 will be the 8 week mark since sending out my novel to the agent who asked for it after 3 chapters. She wanted an 8 week exclusive. (I've since read some notes from other agents saying that exclusives are the worst and we shouldn't grant them, but she was really interested and I got really excited. :D )

If I don't hear back from her by March 14th, then it's time to start querying again.

It does seem like each time I query, I get a little closer; a better reply. So, even if this agent decides to pass, then perhaps that "yes" is right around the corner.

And I have to keep reminding myself: The query letter works. The summary works. And apparently, the first three chapters work, too. Agenting is highly subjective, but some agents have liked the novel—or at least my writing in general--even if they ultimately decided not to offer representation. That's a pretty big deal, right?

So, March 14th, and then I'll stop holding my breath and sweating when I open my mail.

la_belle_laide: (floating woman)



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Today I heard back from an agent I'd queried in November, who requested the first 3 chapters exclusively in December. She wanted them for 3 weeks and when I didn't hear anything, I kind of forgot about it. I was just going to start querying again tomorrow.

But then, after work today, I GOT AN EMAIL FROM HER REQUESTING TO SEE THE WHOLE NOVEL. She wants an exclusive look for 8 weeks. Exclusives are kind of a bummer because you can't query anyone else during that time. But I also think it's worth it. If an agent is interested enough to ask for that, it's a pretty good sign.

This one is really special to me because it wasn't just a synopsis or first ten pages. It was the first THREE, which is 39 pages. Which means, to me, that she thinks the writing is really good. That I'm really good. And if she rejects after this, it's not because the writing sucks, it's just because it's not her kind of thing after all.

This is some really sweet validation. :D

And speaking of sweet validation, my Mom made employee of the year at her job, out of like, 130 employees. They had a party and announced it in front of everyone. It was really cool.

Work is about the same for me. Last week we were really busy, with all the post-holiday gift certificates coming in. But this week, tapering off again. Also, I had to miss yesterday because I had a monthly check-up. It's quick – you pee in a cup, get on the scale, then blood pressure and fetal heartbeat, end of story. But I met a midwife and stayed to talk with her for a while to ask questions. We discussed the fact that I want as little intervention as possible, unless it's an emergency. (Seriously, if I had my way, I'd go and crouch in the forest and bite on a stick till it was over.) She asked me if I was single or if I had a birth partner. When I told her I was single, she was so happy for me. She grabbed my hand and said, "That is so wonderful. Good for you. And I'll tell you something else. Even if you're not single, you're still on your own. There's only so much a partner can do, and in the end, they usually don't do much anyway."

Then I asked her about the flu shot. I haven't had that pushed on me at this place and I've been thankful for that. She said she personally hated vaccinations and flu shots, but that this year she would recommend it. But then I'm thinking, she works for a bunch of doctors. It's CYA; she has to say that.

I asked my boss (acupuncturist and TCM,) and my chiropractor (another doctor) and they were both against it.

I already know what the medical community says about it, because you can't swing a dead cat without someone yelling at you that you OMG HAVE TO GET IT OR UR STUPID AND HORRIBLE, but I wanted both sides of it. Not getting it seems the most rational choice for me, but we'll see.

Well, anyway, I should get back to fretting over the rest of this novel. You'd think this whole situation would instill me with confidence, right? Yet every time this happens, I go nuts trying to "correct" things I suddenly think aren't working. Even if I was totally happy with it last week.

And that's what's up this week so far! Woooot!

la_belle_laide: (Wildflowers)



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So a couple have things have gone on, some good, some bad, some still up in the air.

I'll start with the bad first, because it's what's on my mind. HitRECord, you know, is a nice little community - okay, it's really not so little, but you do get to know some folks. One of my pals there is a gal named Inky. She lives in Hawai'i and for a while we were working on some poetry translations on the site. Then she went away for a long trip, but had to cut her trip short because her boyfriend Niko (Honeyboy on HR) was very ill. Cancer at only 30, unable to get chemo due to a heart condition.

Inky and Honeyboy went traveling around the islands of Hawai'i together for a few short months. During their trip, they were taking photos, writing, tweeting, and exchanging packages of goodies and trinkets with other HitRECorders. Every Friday was Aloha Friday, where we would all send songs to each other on Twitter. Niko sent lots of my favorite music; I'd have fun identifying the singers and bands.

Just last week I went out and bought all sorts of Long Island goodies to send to them: local chocolates, trinkets, and some local honey for Honeyboy. I didn't have a box to send it in; figured I'd get to the store last Friday and bring it to the post office.

But Thursday night, Inky posted to let us all know that Niko had passed on Wednesday evening. She sent his last photo from his phone to his Twitter: a picture of the sunset out his window, titled "Goodbye Sun."

So everyone is heartbroken, and I have this package of stuff sitting here, addressed to both of them, and I don't know if I should still send it.

I came home from work today to find two packages had arrived. One was the HitRECord book that two of my writings made it into.

The other package is from Inky and Niko. It has a card from them. "Sending you lots of aloha and hugs and kisses, XOXO Honeyboy," and "Lots of love to you! XO Inky" They must have put it in the mail that Wednesday. And I just don't know what to do with myself over this. I think I should send the package anyway.

That was the most important, and of course the worst, thing that went on this week. Me, I can feel sad and cry and go about my business, but I know that his family and friends don't have that luxury today. My week still has some happiness in it. I get that.

Some of my happiness this week is, as I mentioned, getting that book in my hands. It's gorgeous, so much better than I thought it would be. The whole intro by Joe is about patriarchy and sexism, and why he changed the ending to the story. The second "intro" is by his Mom, which details the War On Women and why books like this are necessary. She talks for a while about the terrifying bills that are being put on the table (and some passed, barring women from testifying,) and then says,

Photobucket

My two pieces are in here, surrounded by beautiful art. Here's the funny thing: the first one is on page 39 and the second one is on page 45. I have a thing about numbers adding up to 3 and 9 so I'm like "OMFG IT'S A SIGN."

I also finished up the revisions requested by that one rad agent. I "finished" them, I should say, and then I stressed and stressed, and hemmed and hawed and fussed and revised again, and then once again. And then, yesterday, I sent them out. Now, I'm convinced that I only made it worse. I could only have screwed it up more. I just don't know what to do sometimes, who to listen to!

But also, a few agents held a "Twitter Pitch" contest, which is what it sounds like. You reduce your novel to 135 characters (leaving room for the tag,) and pitch to them via Twitter. Well, the one agent who showed a little interest in mine has a thing against stories with a time travel element. BUT, she also said it sounded cool anyway, and I could go ahead and query her to give her more info. I know it's not the kind of thing she represents, but something must have sounded kind of good for her to say that! So I figured, why not? And queried her, too. Can't hurt. :)

I am running out of agents to query, though. I'm getting a few nibbles and a few "You're good, but I'm not in love with this." What if no one falls "in love" with it? Then, I guess, I shelf it, start up with some of my other books and such. Get one of those to sell. Then maybe someone will be like "Do you have any trunk manuscripts?" Haha, yeah. But I don't want this to be from the trunk. It's my favorite.

So that's more or less what's been going on, aside from the stuff I'm going to put in the locked post. Today is the first really hot hot day, and my first day in shorts (once I came home from work, that is.) About two weeks ago I fixed the aviary door. I just need to put another latch on the bottom, just to be on the safe side (didn't need one for ten years, but I'm not going to make that mistake again,) and then hose it out, set it up, and put my twelve bastard starlings into it. Will probably do that tomorrow. Then maybe I'll get my winter clothes put away. I did that much earlier last year, I think; maybe two weeks earlier. But it's been super chilly this month.

Oh, in the meantime, hey. You can order this gorgeous FEMINIST retelling of a fairy tale, with poetry, stories, thoughts, essays and really beautiful art. Scroll down to the $20 one. ^_^




Yay

May. 2nd, 2012 03:58 pm
la_belle_laide: (Default)
I've always kind of liked editing, revising, stuff like that, on stuff I've written. That's because I like having written things, and I honestly like re-reading my own nonsense. I amuse myself.

But there's something to be said, an extra special *ZING* to revising a manuscript, when you're doing it because a literary agent said, "This is good enough for a second chance, if you'd revise it."

I know that it's no guarantee that said agent will go, "OMG this is now exactly what I want." This happens a lot, I get that. You can revise till the cows come home and you put them in the barn and then milk them the next day and brush them down and feed them and pet their noses, and after all of that, said agent can say, "Sorry, I'm still not in love with it."

I get that, I really do! It's just that, the encouragement means so much. Just knowing "this is good enough stuff for another look" is like, soul-humpingly good.

I AM HAPPY.

Photobucket

REVISIONS.

Apr. 8th, 2012 12:42 pm
la_belle_laide: (Default)
This morning I woke up at 8, and chilled in bed half awake thinking about the critiques I’ve gotten from agents on my novel. All of a sudden, I had that half-awake revelation, you know the one. YES. I understand. I know exactly what I need to do to fix this. I get it. I got this.

I grabbed my ‘Droid figuring I’d try the notepad function. These are the notes I took.

So here it is, the much-needed revisions to my novel, typed on my Android at ass o’clock in the morning, half awake.

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I think the most important development is great shop hit ice Beth Wtf. That's what's going to sell this novel.

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