Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Life Unpublished

An Unpublished writer’s life is full of the highest highs and the deepest lows.  The in-betweens are usually rare; we save them for our novels. 
When we write we enter the world of our imagination and forget the world of bitter writers, tired agents and dreadful queries.  In our writing worlds things might turn out wonderful and happy or bittersweet and difficult, but it’s all anticipated in our minds.  Real life isn’t like that.  I can’t foresee the next high or the next low, and all too often they come too close together for any worldly good.  I can’t write my reactions into the script already knowing a glimpse of what is to come.
In our writing we are always looking ahead, building that next scene as the current one plays out.  But in real life we are stuck here in the moment.  Oh, this dreadfully endless present!
So what are some of the highs and lows that come on like a whim and make up an unpublished life?  Here are a few of mine:
LOWS…
-          That time you first start to look into publishing.  You realize that there are about 1,000 writers still trying after 10 years of querying for every 1 that finds their agent match.  This is the first low to wade through.
-          When you begin to research how to write a query letter and discover that there are 500 sources of information that all contradict each other.  “I can’t possibly win!”  You shout at the four walls that seem to be closing in around you.  (Tip: Don’t look for the unique things that these sources suggest, look for the things they have in common.)
-          Waiting, waiting, waiting.  At first you can handle the wait.  Ok, you’re confident, of course it takes time.  Then it starts to get to you a little bit, but you’re still ok.  But the day will come when the sheer amount of waiting will weigh upon you like a ton of bricks.  The wait itself begins to whisper words of inadequacy to you, “what were you thinking?”
-          Random critiques.  Ok, so you have a great group that has already critiqued your novel and your query.  You handled it all well, considering the advice, editing until you were happy with the results and they are all supportive of the changes.  Ok, no problem, critiques are good!  Then the random feedback starts coming from here and there.  None of it matches.  Bizarre, unanticipated questions.  Vague, vague, vague.  What am I supposed to do with vague?  You begin to do the angry edit.  “Oh, you want that?  Well, I’ll give you that!”  You shout to the absent reviewers as you make changes here and there to things you never intended to alter.  “Oh, maybe that is better?”  The angry edit actually might have helped, and you are shocked!

HIGHS:
-          The first rejection letter.  Ok, maybe you think this should be under the ‘LOWS’, but it’s not.  That first rejection, be it form or lengthy, is like a right of passage.  You are actually doing this.  You are a writer and soon you may be an author; it is exhilarating.  Besides, it sounds so good.  They’re not the right fit, but they said it so nicely and with such encouragement.  You’re sure something positive is just around the corner.  (That is before you receive 9 more with the exact same wording and realize this is just a form and you haven’t really begun yet.)
-          The first request for more!  Ok, yes, this one has you jumping up and down in the family room at midnight!  You squeal and laugh uncontrollably.  You think you might actually stop breathing as you run to awaken everyone you know, tweeting and texting at the same time!  It doesn’t matter if it is for a full or a partial, you would give them your first born at this moment if they really wanted it!
-          People first begin to notice your existence as a writer.  Whether it be through a blog, a random posted comment, a tweet, whatever… someone, somewhere notices you exist and you write.  You feel like you might be getting somewhere!  Hope, a shimmering light around the corner beckons you onward… “write more” it calls to you!

What are all these highs and lows for?  What purpose are they serving as you ride the unpublished roller coaster?  Maybe they are preparation for what is to come?
For every 1 person who openly loves your work, another 10 will hate it.  But, by that time your skin will have grown quite thick.  After all, how long did you wait for that 1 agent to see something special in your words?  How did it feel to finally get ‘the call’ that began the events that changed your writing life?
What are 10 critics compared to that one fan?  Nothing you can’t handle.
So here’s to The Life Unpublished!  To everything it prepares us for and everything it teaches us to endure. 
Here’s to The Life Unpublished!  May it be a fleeting life, leading onward to The Published Life!
Go toward the light Unpublished Life!

Tell me, what have your highs and lows been?  Do you continue on toward the light?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Child’s Play – about playing by the rules

My 5 year old is learning a lesson right now that I think we could all use a refresher course on.
                5yo at pickup time “No one wanted to play with me today.”
                Me “Did you ask anyone to play with you?”
                5yo “Yeah, I wanted to play pirates, but they all wanted to play racers.”
                Me “Did you ask if you could play racers with them?”
                5yo “No, I don’t like racers.  All they do is run around.  There’s no point to it.”
                Me “Well it sounds like you can either decide to play racers with them, play by yourself, or suggest another game to play.”
                5yo “Yeah, I guess.”
                Next day at pickup
                Me “What did you play today?”
                5yo “We played tag.  It was so fun!”

When you don’t want to play by the rules of the game, or don’t like the game altogether, you are left with a few options.
-          Suggest a new game
-          Suggest changing the rules
-          Play something else by yourself
Is my 5 year old ‘kissing up’ to the other kids if he plays their game by their rules?  Or, is he making a choice based on his needs and desires?  It seems to me he is saying, “I want to be a part of this group.  I have to do things this way to be a part of this group.  So today, I choose to do those things.”

Deciding you want to play in the game usually means playing by a set of rules that you did not create.  You can suggest a change of rules, but in the end it comes down a choice:  Do you want to play?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Shout-out to Rachelle Gardner

This blog post is my shout-out to Rachelle Gardner.
She probably doesn’t know, but her blog was the absolute first thing I read as I sat with my newly completed two novels after five years of writing and said to myself, “Ok, I guess I have something here.  What do I do with it?”
I never intended to write a novel.  I now have three completed and find myself constantly in search of time to complete the remaining stories living in my head.  (They seem to multiply daily!  Those little buggers are worse than rabbits!)  Coming out of the writing closet and face to face with the reality of publishing is a harsh and blinding thing!  Rachelle (along with so many other agents and authors out there) is a great source of unapologetic reality and invaluable information.  Because of her blog I began to say to myself, “Maybe I can do this.”  For that, I am forever grateful (and will be even more when I actually find and agent and get published!)
As many of you might be aware I just had a blog-ument (of course I think we would both refer to it as more of a discussion than an argument) with Rachelle http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/2010/09/why-oh-why-did-i-get-rejected.html regarding form rejections.  Six months ago as I sat and began to take in information on agents (what I need and agent?), and querying (what kind of a letter?), and the process of becoming published (I don’t begin to know what to do!  This is impossible!), I never thought my words could be heard, let alone illicit a response, argument, discussion!  Cool!
We are writers, we are authors, we are editors and agents and publishers.  Our job is to share ideas.  New ideas, old ideas, good ideas and bad ones too.  It’s what we do.  I welcome and enjoy the opportunities I have been forced to discover as I am yet beginning on my own publishing quest.
This process, matching up with an agent, seems flawed at best.  But what relationship isn’t?  We don’t expect to marry the first guy we meet (or if we do, we figure out right away that it doesn’t happen like that!) so why do we think an agent-writer relationship should be so easy to establish?  We are individuals with varying interest and tastes, schedules and hectic lives.  It takes time, it takes trying and failing, it takes patience and perseverance.  Eventually there will be one who sees through all the words and says, “Hey, I get that writer.”  I will appreciate them all the more because of the ones who never did.  But in the meantime, I listen and learn, I read and I write.  I also really, really appreciate all the ones who don’t ‘get’ me, but share their unique point of view with me.  I learn from them, and hopefully become a better and more refined writer because of all the things they tried to tell me.
                So to all the agents out there, reading our endless queries, correcting numerous mistakes, sharing what they know, and just being people with thoughts to express; Thank You!  Specifically to Rachelle Gardner, thank you for putting so much out there, accessible, to all of those trying to find their way into this business.  It is daunting and you want to run away screaming the moment you put the search topic into the engine!  You go from “hey look what I did!” to “I can never do this!” in a fraction of a second.  Then, if you’re lucky, you find a site like Rachelle’s, with clear rules, definitions and advice.  It starts to become manageable again.  Finally, you are able to say, “Maybe I can do this”, just like I did six months ago.
                I’ll let you know when that part actually happens.  Until then, I will write and I will query.  (Oh, along with all the reading, reviewing, blogging, tweeting, following, editing, revising, oh yeah and being a wife and mom and daughter, all that stuff too.)
                Whew!  I’m tired!  Think I’ll go to sleep now.  Wait it’s the middle of the day and besides I decided to give up the whole sleep thing, very unproductive!
                Thanks for the ears and the cheers and the jeers!

Check it out! - "Dear Lucky Agent" Contest on the GLA blog - book-length paranormal romance or urban fantasy

Here is a great opportunity to have a portion of your completed Paranormal Romance or Urban Fantasy reviewed!!

http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/Sixth+Dear+Lucky+Agent+Contest+Paranormal+Romance+Urban+Fantasy.aspx


http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Form Rejection Plea to Literary Agents

Form Rejections.
We get them.  We hate them, we love them, we need them.
We hate them because, well, they are rejections.
We love them because we can make a definite note on our query spreadsheet, not wait and wait and finally assume rejection.
We need them because they tell us we need to work harder, come across clearer, or in some way revamp our query.

We know you want to receive good queries, no, great queries.  We want our query to be one of those great queries.  We follow your blogs, we review your websites, we look up every interview we can find.  We research query writing, until we almost drive ourselves mad with information, we write, we revise, we share, we get critiqued, then we go forth boldly and present our finished product to you.
We get form rejections.  Sure, maybe some requests for partials or even fulls mixed in there, followed by form rejections.  Every once in a while we even get a miraculous and wonderful personal rejection.  Who thought rejection could be such an anticipated and noteworthy event?  But it is!  It tells us a little more specifically where we’re not hitting the mark.  It gives us direction, it gives us goals, it gives us hope!  In the end it will even give you something too, better queries for better books!

I want to send you the best query I can.
I appreciate your rejection, even your form rejection.
I just have one request.
Form rejections with a reason.
No, this does not mean a personal rejection, a critique, a line about our letter or our book.  Just a form rejection with one additional comment; one word, maybe two, at the bottom.  A category for the rejection, such as:
Genre (if the genre is not selling right now or you are just not wanting to look at it, even if it is just today, because we know that it is a genre you generally accept)
Not Exciting (if the pages or query itself were just not attention grabbing)
Writing (if you were unimpressed with the writing itself, either the pages or query)
Query (the letter itself did not provide enough detail about the book to give you anything to go on)
Personal (there was something about it that went against your personal tastes – like you just hate vampires even though you accept paranormal)
Considered (woohoo! - this lets us know that you did hold onto our query and re-read it at least once… you considered it but we didn’t quite hit the mark)
Not Match (yes, this would be back to the original standard form rejection – it really didn’t match with you, but you have nothing against it and no help to provide – we just move on and try other agents)

If these simple categories could be added to form rejections, and the agent then select which form rejection to send based on the reason code, then there could be several benefits to both agents and writers.  If you fall into our second or third query round then hopefully you will get a query that has much improved from round one.  In time this should lead to better overall queries in everyone’s inboxes, thanks to the small amount of direction provided by your colleagues in the agenting world.  We, the writers, would be able to send out more great queries quicker and spend less time wondering, assuming, and sending out queries that are just a tad off the mark.  We will hit the mark quicker, eliminating some of your query pain.

We do respect your jobs and the tough position you are in hashing through thousands of letters at a time.  (At least a lot of us do.)  We also appreciate your responses, even if they are short, vague, and form ones.  But maybe, maybe, you would consider adding this one element to those form rejections.  We would appreciate it, and hopefully you would all see the benefits of that small bit of direction as well.

We want to send you amazing queries!

Thank you for considering our literary works for further review (and yes, even rejection.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Paranormalcy… What’s filling your soul?

Paranormalcy – The Game

Ok, I was only a couple chapters into Paranormalcy before I said to myself “This has to be made into a game!  I want a Mii Evie!  I want to Bag and Tag!”
By the end of the book I saw that there were even more options besides bagging and tagging!  Running from Fairies who were trying to fill your soul, or filling your own soul with other souls and then setting them free, the possibilities are mind boggling! 
Then, oh yes, the iPhone/iPod/iPad App… yes there must be one!  Someone out there needs to get busy, because we have a year to wait for the next Paranormalcy fix, so in the meantime I want to play!

I can’t be the only one who saw the massive gaming potential in this…
Please weigh in with your views on Paranormalcy gaming potential here on this blog…

Thank you!

Win a Copy of Kiersten White’s Paranormalcy

In follow up to my recent review I am now armed with an additional copy of Paranormalcy in hand and ready to launch an epic contest of massive proportions….

Ok, maybe it will be a small contest with a few criteria for the handful of followers who cue in.  But it will be epic to at least one winner!

Here is what you have to do… Follow this blog… Live in the USA or Canada (Sorry rest of world!)… Tweet or re-tweet the announcement of this contest (make sure I see that tweet @geistwrite)… and finally the all important comment:
-In your comment on this blog please say why you want to win Paranormalcy, what it would mean to you and how it could change your life, and don’t forget to include your email address if you want me to be able to get that book to you.

The winner will be hand selected after the cutoff time of 12 noon on Thursday, September 30, 2010 and notified on or before October 1st via email, this blog, and twitter (if you give me your @).  Yes, I will spread your name to the far corners of cyber-world (or at least the little niches where I seem to have access.)

Thank you for your interest and participation!
I look forward to your winning, witty, and insightful comments!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Review of: Paranormalcy By Kiersten White

Ok, I decided that I must, must, must post a review of Kiersten White's Paranormalcy, so here goes...

Kiersten White is fun and sweet and real.  She is the perfect person to be writing great YA fiction.  If anyone out there does not follow her blog (http://kierstenwrites.blogspot.com/) or her Tweets, they should.
I decided to get Paranormalcy before it came out, not because I am a YA, I'm more of a GA (grown adult) but not quite an OA (old adult).  I wanted to see what she wrote because she was so darn fun to listen to!  I have to say though; her book is probably even more fun.

First glimpse:  At first I have to admit I started to say to myself... this might be a little young for me?  My own
writing style tends toward the dark, reflective side of paranormal.  But it was fun, and kept up a good pace and I was curious for more. 

One third:  When I was about a third of the way through the book was when I realized that I was becoming hooked.  This read wasn't just fun, it was exciting and unexpected and sat on the counter open, calling to me to read more every time I had to put it down.

Half way there: about half way through was when I started rooting, out loud, for the characters.  Things like 'Yes, that's right!' and 'No way, don't tell me your serious!' and 'You creep, get away from her!' were coming out of my mouth (the last one on several occasions).  My husband kind of thought I was crazy.  Not unusual though, so I ignored that.

The end (no, not the end!):  I want more!  Yes, perhaps it is like a guilty fix, but I want more!  I will be waiting eagerly to pre-order the second book as soon as possible.

As I mentioned, my paranormal tastes have generally ranged on the Anne Rice end of the scale, as does my own writing.  Characters that think, a lot, about their own condition, the condition of the world around them, and the condition of eternity… But, no matter what type of paranormal tales you are currently into, I recommend giving Paranormalcy a read! 
The characters are well developed throughout the course of the book, the subject matter matures as they do, and the plot takes unexpected twists and turns that are always convincing and convicting.  The reader is left satisfied, yet with a yearning for more of their great journey to come.
You will not be disappointed by Paranormalcy.

That is why I want to give away a copy of Paranormalcy to one lucky blog follower.
Follow my blog for more details to come…
            Very soon…
                        I promise…!

(And if you just can’t wait, because who can blame you, then go out and buy a copy of Kiersten White’s Paranormalcy… Today!)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Impatient Writer’s Syndrome

I have a disease. It is Impatient Writer’s Syndrome.


I am currently working on an amazing project that I love and am so excited to complete. It is a Paranormal Suspense and I have about half of it written so far. The problem is that the writing never happens fast enough. The story is there, playing out like a movie in my head, but the typing is so dang slow! I know that I am no speed typist, but still, between being a mom of an infant and ‘big kid’ and being a wife and being a school helper… There is just not enough time in the day to make this whole job of writing a speedy endeavor. Therefore, I end up formulating the entire novel in my head before I have a chance to catch up on the typing. Of course there are always the little twists and turns that take place during the actual writing, which make the story even better, and by staying inside my head for an extended period of time it is as if it has been edited several times prior to being put into print (or type.) But still… time, time, time, see what’s become of me.

Unfortunately staying up until 3 am every night just doesn’t work for me. If I could find a way to live without sleep and still be a functioning person, I would, believe me! But, as I am not one of my characters, I cannot.

So what is the issue, you say? Just type when you can, work hard, persevere, be consistent, yada, yada, yada…

Well, ok. But the real problem comes when I have a new idea! A new book starts to take shape in my mind. I ignore it at first, then it comes back. I write down a few notes. I like this idea, I want to remember it. Then the dialog begins. The book starts to actually get written in my mind one day. Opening scene complete… it would be a waste to not get it down, since it’s already there, so I begin, just a little.

Then it happens! I have spotted a new love. But I’m still in love with the novel I was working on! I don’t want to hurt it by rushing through the rest of the writing. I want to give it all the time it deserves to come into full being. So I resist the shimmering hope that this new love offers, I resist and I write! I hone and revise and edit and spend quality time with that first love. But in my mind I’m already cheating on it! In my mind I am already spending time developing characters and working through conversations and scenes. In my mind I am a novelizer!! I never thought it would happen to me! All the novels, all the possibility! Why can’t I stay true to the one I have chosen to be with? Why am I always looking ahead to that next great adventure, that next potential love?

What do you do when you feel the pangs of Impatient Writer’s Syndrome begin? How do you combat the lure of that new love? All I have figured so far is to keep writing, stay true to that first love. See it through to completion. But on the side I do make notes, lots of notes, about the new love I am tracking. I don’t want to lose the potential it offers! But I don’t want to lose the potential of the current novel either. So, I cheat!

In the world of writing can you have your cake and eat it too? Can a novel complete with the strength it began with when the heart has started to move on?

Tell me, how do you combat Impatient Writer’s Syndrome?

Weigh in with your responses here…

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

excerpt from ARRHYTHMIA - Paranormal Suspense

“I love you, May. I love you.” I put my lips softly against her cheek and she breathed deeply in her sleep. Someday I would tell her this, when she could hear it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Schizowritic

Schizowritic = multiple voices in your head and they all talk to each other. You write it down because it is so interesting that you want to share it!


Treatment = Look for an agent and keep writing.

When to seek further help = When they stop talking to each other and start talking to you.

Tumblr Blog

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Circalit.com - more postings from my novels

http://www.circalit.com/geistfeldj/

An Unpublished Writer’s View on E Publishing

Truth be told, I like books. I like to hold paper, read paper, smell paper. I like to write more than type, although the latter is more practical in the end. I don’t want to read off a screen, although I admit that I do an abnormal amount of my reading on my iPod.


But that is all about my personal preference. That is me, the consumer.

What about me the querying writer awaiting the call that will take my books off of this computer and place then into the hands of actual paying (hopefully) readers? How does the idea of E Books affect my world?

To be honest, I wouldn’t care if my book was printed on paper, a soda can, a billboard, a chalkboard, or yes, an electronic screen… I wrote a novel (well, three and counting to be precise), I never intended to write a novel, but this scene came to me and I had to know more, so I wrote to discover her story. When I had two full length novels completed I finally said, ‘Hm, what now?’ Coming out of the writing closet and finding my first reader was an amazing feeling. This world that had existed only in my head, this world that I loved, was now free and someone was sharing it with me. One reader became two; became a dozen; became requests from people I didn’t even know to be allowed into my little world! That is an amazing feeling. Sharing something you love with others and others falling in love too, wow!

So, no, I don’t care what format consumers want to view my books in. No, I would not be offended by publishers interested in e publishing as a first means instead of second means. Yes, I would love to hold my book in my hands (I do even now, every time I print a formatted copy, with cover page and all.) But what is more important to me, having my book in the hands of anyone wanting to read it, or having it bound and printed? The first.

So where do agents fit in to all of this e publishing. Well, for starters, I spent the last five years writing in my spare time and being a wife, mom, daughter… Do I know anything about publishing? Marketing? E commerce? No, truthfully, I don’t. The moment I decided to start pursuing publishing was the biggest wakeup call I never expected! An agent? What do you mean you have to have an agent first? Search, search, read, read… Oh! Then came the queries, then the refined queries, then the requests, then the rejections that mounded up, then the waiting and complete silence that followed. Ok, yes, I have figured out quite a few things by now. I’m plugging away on my querying, my patience, and my perseverance. I’m also writing and continuing to pursue the other stories and worlds that are coming into my thoughts and outlines day after day. I don’t have the time or interest in learning the things that a trusted agent could help me with. I need their publishing connections and knowledge. I need their marketing skills and advice. I need their editing expertise and experience (no matter how refined I have made it on my own!) When it comes down to it, I need the skills an agent possesses, because I don’t posses them. That fact is entirely independent of what my novel is printed on.

So how does the looming threat of digital publishing affect my pursuit toward publication? Well, publishers are apprehensive about the future. Agents seem desperate to get publishers’ attentions and to snag books that will do that. Therefore, I, the unpublished author, need more patience, more perseverance, thicker skin, and a willingness to continue to write while we all wait out the storm of publication uncertainty. I might need to know when to shelf a project, when to try something new, and when to go back to that old shelf someday too. Lucky for me, writing is a bit like exercise… the more I do it, the better I feel and the easier it becomes to take the time to do it, plus I become a more ‘fit’ writer.

I have to write. I have to hope.

Whether I have one reader that I mail a manuscript to, one thousand e books sold, or a hundred thousand novels in the hands of readers… I still sit in my dimly lit room and type my stories late into the night. It’s just what I do.

Thank you for listening to my take on an industry that is full of surprises, adventures, and amazing stories.

Please feel free to put in your take on the state of publishing!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Grey Within - Chapter 1

I wrote a story.


This image came to me and the characters in it were so compelling that I had to know more. I had to know their story. So I began to write.

Every image, every conversation, they all played out in my mind. I edited those images and I wrote their story. Six years had passed that their story played within my mind. Three books were written and still the story continued.

I had never intended to write a book in the first place. I just needed to know where their story took them and getting it out of my head seemed the only way to uncover the truth behind the mental movie. In the process I had fallen in love. These characters told me their thoughts, allowed me to watch their struggles, their hope, and their lives play out. I loved them all, perfect and wonderfully flawed as they were.

Finally these stories found their way out of my computer and into the hands of readers, who to my pure joy, fell in love also. Readers led to agents, agents led to publishers, and publishers turned my stories into novels which were sent forth into the reading world.

How did this little spark of love, this strange obsession with an image of a child abandoned in the night with preternatural gifts and a pain I could only begin to sense, turn into these lives lived out in print? How did this story even come to me? Why did I feel as if I couldn’t really take credit for these lives? It had all played for me in my mind and I was only a viewer, blessed to bear witness to their story of never-ending love enrobed in dark pain and the brightest of hope. Yet now I had somehow come to own it all. It was mine, yet somehow it owned me.



Another book in the series had been released and I was in the midst of yet another book signing tour. Tonight it was Seattle, close to home, but tomorrow it was off to San Francisco, then L.A., then San Diego. The list and dates and interviews went on and on. At least my agent was good at helping me arrange these things by state as much as she could. I was fortunate for that. But tonight they wanted a reading!

I hated readings! In fact I had always told myself that I would refuse to do them should I ever get published at all. Even the thought of reading aloud brought back those memories from childhood, sitting in class as everyone took turns reading a paragraph, counting down as my turn approached. Ok, which paragraph would be mine? If I read it ahead maybe I won’t make mistakes when it is my turn. Oh shoot, where are they now? Did they skip someone? I pre-read the wrong one! By the time it was my turn my head was swimming, my cheeks were flushed and I was sweating in some grotesquely inhuman quantity!

Ok, now I was already starting to panic as I approached the small book shop slash cafĂ©, one of a dying breed. I would get through this as always, I coached myself as I entered. I would read the lines aloud which described the movie that still played endlessly in my head, feeling all the while that I had secretly stolen the words from those whom I loved. I would sign my name a hundred times, if I was lucky, and smile until my cheeks hurt. I would answer all the same questions over again which always came up at these things. Yes, I had always been fascinated with vampire stories. Yes, it was true that Anne Rice was my favorite from the time I was sixteen. Yes, I know it’s unexpected given my own personal religious beliefs. Yes, it was hard for my parents to accept and still to this day I draw much backlash from the religious community because of the genre. Yes, you should always continue to write as long as you have a story to tell, even if your audience is only one. Yes, the whole process of getting an agent is daunting. Blah, blah, blah… The list of standard questions went on and I always longed for some clever and unexpected dialog to redirect the trend.

This evening ended far later than expected. The crowds here were always large since the Seattle scene tends to embrace anything or anyone they can claim as their own. I lived on the Eastside, that was true, but my heart was usually elsewhere. Sun Valley, Santa Barbara, Hawaii, my heart followed them to the places that they called home. Those were the places where I longed to be.

It was hot in the city tonight. Late July was usually beautiful and warm in this city that was supposed to see rain 360 days a year. Another Seattle myth. I had stuck around the shop until well after closing to insure that the crowed had dispersed. A call to the husband, then I could finally head home for at least a partial night’s sleep before my flight tomorrow. Tired, yet still pumped with the adrenaline rush of the crowd, I headed out back to my pickup.

“Excuse me.” A voice from behind startled me and I jumped as my heart raced, skipped, then raced some more.

I turned to see a man step out from against the wall where I saw the heavy steel door click shut, locking me from an escape back into the store. Oh shoot! This was not good. An obsessed fan? A crazy vampire loving lunatic? Maybe just someone who wanted to rob and kill me? Any way I imagined it, it was bad.

“I heard your reading tonight, but there was a question I didn’t get to ask. I hope I didn’t startle you just now, but I was hoping to catch you so that I could get a chance to ask.” He paused after taking just a couple steps out from the brick building and now stood in the full glow of the adjoining street light. I got the distinct impression that he did this on purpose, to somehow make me more comfortable.

“Well, I really should be going, I’m expected somewhere and I’m already a bit late. But, I suppose, since you waited and all, just one question can’t hurt.” I really should just be finding an instant escape at this point, but for some unhealthy reason I always feel this need to be polite, even at times when it is not such a smart thing to do.

“Thank you, I really appreciate this.” He smiled widely now and I realized for the first time how handsome he was. I was sure I had not seen him earlier in the store or I would have noticed him. He was not super young and definitely not my normal fan. He was probably 30ish, about my age I would say, well dressed, and well, a he, which made him not of my usual fan base. “I just wanted to know where your inspiration for your novels comes from?” When he finally came out with his question it surprised me.

“Well, I’ve spoken about that a lot on my website and in interviews. It’s actually quite a common question. I guess I don’t know exactly what more I could tell you.” I was a bit upset that he had delayed me and scared the heck out of me for information which was readily available online.

“Yes, I’ve heard your general answers on the subject, but I felt there was something more to the story. There’s something just below the surface which you never really touch at. Is there more to it?” His voice was so unalarming, low and calm. I could have taken his insinuations wrong, but something about his tone told me that I shouldn’t.

“I don’t know where these inspirations come from. I never have claimed to know. I just know that these stories exist in me and play out before me. I don’t feel a claim to them really, I just describe what I see. I don’t know what more I can tell you.” I stared at him, a bit confused by what he wanted, as he studied the ground.

“These are the first books that you’ve written?” He took a step towards me and I hesitantly let my own feet slide back a little. I don’t know how that extra space could help me, but somehow it comforted me knowing it was there. I could read in his posture that he had made note of my slight retreat.

“Yes, these were the first.” I answered, still unsure of his line of questions.

“But you have written others since then?”

“Yes.”

“The same genre, but different characters?”

“Yes.”

“But these characters are different, aren’t they?”

“Well, yes they are. I feel more connected to them I guess.” I shrugged a little.

“You love them?”

“Yes, I have always stated that.” I was beginning to get a little frustrated with his ‘one’ question now.

“Why do you love them?”

“I don’t know. Why do we fall in love with the people we fall in love with? I could give you traits I admire, but I don’t honestly know. I think we choose those things to love after the love already exists. It’s a way for us to explain or justify something which is actually beyond our comprehension. I don’t honestly know ‘why’ I love them, just that I do.” I could tell that the tone of my voice was beginning to sound short, but maybe that was ok.

“But you must know why.” He took another step towards me and this time I took a more obvious step back.

“I have to go. I really am expected somewhere.” I took one more retreating step before I had a thought that might get me out of this situation. Quickly I produced a business card from my bag and a pen. I jotted down my personal email on the back, then taking a bold step forward I held it out to him. “Listen, here is my email, if you have more questions I would be happy to try and answer them for you. I promise that I will respond if you take the time to write to me.” I stood for a moment with my arm extended towards him.

Slowly he took long steps toward me until he was within arms length of the card. His movements were graceful and smooth, almost beautiful, which is so uncommon amongst men. Slipping the card from my fingers he inspected both sides. “I’m sure you will. Thank you and I’m sorry if I kept you too long.” He bowed slightly and then extended his long arm once more with his hand outstretched.

Taking a fearful, deep breath I reached out once more, slipping my hand into his as he gave a gentle squeeze. Another slight bow and he slipped his hand from mine, turned and walked slowly around the dark corner of the building. After his shadow disappeared from view I hurried to my truck, climbing in then closing and locking the door behind me. Something about the situation told me to be freaked out. Yet something about him made me feel reassured. I had no idea what his questions or unexpected appearance from the dark meant, but for some reason I felt certain that he meant no harm. I trusted him, yet I realized I had no basis to do so. What would make most people fear more only stood as reassurance for me. I always did tend to trust the feelings that didn’t make any sense. If they didn’t make sense, then they must not come from my logic. If they weren’t coming from my logic then they must be coming from another source, part of some greater directional compass that moved me along an unknown course. This I trusted.





It was late when I got home and the house was dark as I had expected. I assumed Matthew had gone back to bed as soon as I had hung up the phone. He probably hadn’t even noticed the delay that that strange encounter after the signing had caused. I was fairly surprised to find the kitchen lights on and him waiting for me when I stumbled in with my bags.

“Took a while.” His usual tone greeted me, familiar yet indifferent.

“Yeah, I was delayed by a fan of sorts, kind of strange really.” I was going to tell him about the odd encounter, even though I knew it would only cause him to chastise me and my idiotic behavior once more. But I didn’t even have a chance.

“Well, I’ve been waiting. When I got your call I thought you were leaving.” With the same indifference he interrupted my story. Not that any of my stories mattered to him really. Not that he had ever read one. But he had put up with my writing them for years now, so I suppose that was support enough.

“I’m sorry Matthew. It was unexpected. I would have called after, but I thought you would be in bed.” Apologizing, always feeling like a five year old being scolded once more.

“It’s no matter now. It went well then?” He tried to change his tone after he had put me in my place, my submissive role again.

“Yeah, fine. Usual.” I knew he didn’t really want details, it was all just niceties.

“You go off to California tomorrow morning, don’t you?” I nodded in response, trying not to make eye contact now. “There’s something I needed to talk to you about before then. Remember the last time I went on a business trip to Florida? I went on that little cruise out to the islands and, well I was just really taken with them. I’ve decided to retire and buy us a little retirement place there.”

“What, now? But you never even mentioned this. Were you going to talk to me about it?” What was he thinking, just changing our lives like this?

“Well, you’re so busy now, how often do we even see each other, let alone travel together? I mean I’m not saying you can’t come, I just figured that while you’re so busy with all your book stuff I would really like to get away, relax, enjoy these years. I mean we don’t have kids, and there’s nothing tying me to here, so I just figured…” He stopped there and started to get his indignant face on.

“So you’re just going? What to look for a place? Maybe I can change my schedule if you just give me a little time. I mean, I wish you had told me you were feeling this way. I’m sure we can work it out if we’re a little flexible.” My mind started trying to think of all the ways we could work out both of our schedules, relocating our home spot, keeping up with my work, all the scenarios.

“Christine, no. I don’t mean any of that. I just want to do this myself. It’s already done. I found a condo, I bought it already. I’m going there next week to complete everything there then I’ll probably move my stuff there by the end of the month.” He was so matter of fact now.

“What about your job? Are we selling the house here? When do I need to be ready to move?” I was in shock, I was fairly certain.

“Christine, you’re not hearing me. You’re not moving. I’m moving. I mean, I’m not leaving you, I just want you to stay here and continue with what you have been wanting to do here. There is no need to change all of your dreams or throw away everything you have accomplished. You’ve become really successful, you deserve it all. I just didn’t want to wait, this is what I’m ready for now. Do you understand what I mean?” He was standing now and his face was looking a bit disgusted at me again.

I felt so small there. What was I supposed to do, try and fight for him, for us? Why didn’t I find the words to do that now? I just felt so small and so tired. What was even the point? “Matthew, why did you marry me?” Why did I ask him this question now? I had been asking it for over fifteen years and the response was never what I hoped. Some word about my character, some declaration of love, some sign of my worth to him. But no, it was never these.

“Christine, why must we always do this?” He was so indignant. “You were cute. You were fun.”

“But those things fade, don’t they?” It was starting to come together now.

“It’s not like that. I’m not leaving you, there’s no one else. I just want to do my thing, like you’re doing yours. We’ll see each other, nothing will really change. Why are you making this such a big thing? I mean, I’ve supported all this time wasting book stuff for years and now you’re going to try and burst my dream? Well, it’s already done, so that’s a pointless waste of time too. Why don’t we just forget it for now? You’re off tomorrow anyway and I’ll see you when you get back into town. I’m going to bed now.” He turned a cold back on me and walked out of our kitchen, out of our past, out of our future.

That was the longest night of my life. By the time early morning had come only one thing was clear; he had made up his mind and there would be no changing it. I drove to the airport before he was up, got onto my plane and headed off to California.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Welcome

Welcome to my blog.

I am an unpublished writer currently in the query process for my first novel, Deep Grey.
I write paranormal romance and paranormal suspense, yes that would be vampires and the likes.
My characters spend more time thinking then killing and as my husband says, 'I don't want to read your books because your vampires spend too much time thinking and I prefer more needless violence and action.'

So I will post bits and pieces of my writing here.
Let me know what you think or what you want to hear more of.

Thank you for joining me on my publishing quest!