Friday, October 18, 2013

Half Down, Other Half To Go

Well, it happened. The first huge step in realizing my dream has come true. I am now represented by Beth Campbell of BookEnds, LLC. *screams, dances in imaginary confetti to the tune of "We Are the Champions"*

And before I get to how it happened, here's an interesting side-note: BookEnds was the first agency that ever caught my eye years ago, when I first decided I wanted to make a career out of writing. Back when I decided to look into the business of getting an agent, back when I had no idea how it all worked, I came across the BookEnds blog. No joke, between this and the Nelson Literary Agency blog, I learned every single thing there is to know about the publishing and agenting world. Everything. I owe my passion for it to this blog. Unfortunately, they stopped doing posts because of time constraints, but they keep the blog public for anyone to reference. Because of this immediate love for them, and in researching their agents and agency, they were my dream agency.

I queried them.

Multiple times.

On a few different projects, back when I was an even greener rookie than I am now. Of course they were all rejected, and rightfully so. It wasn't until a couple of years later, when doing my last round of queries for Hemlock Veils, that I came across Beth, who was a new agent with the agency. Funny, after dozens and dozens of rejections, and many other agencies I came to adore, I would eventually land a place with the agency who was my original number one choice. Kind of awesome.

So, how did I get my agent? This last batch of queries I sent off, about six months ago, was probably my roughest yet, because even though the batch before showed a lot of interest, this batch, for some reason, showed none whatsoever. I don't know if it was the market's sudden decline for an interest in paranormal, or timing, or what. Either way, I was having ZERO luck, unlike six months before that (a year ago) when I had numerous requests (all of which were rejected because the project wasn't ready, and I totally appreciate that now because that rejection and feedback made Hemlock Veils what it is now). So, I had put all that wishful thinking aside and moved on from the world of agents for a bit. I had decided that I would hop back into it a few months down the road, and do a whole other batch.

So in the meantime, I bettered my manuscript and even entered a few contests. The last contest I entered was a simple twitter pitch party--one I was feeling pretty negative about, I hate to admit. I was thinking, These things never work! It'll get me nowhere, and I'm doing this just because I feel like I have to. I had spent so many months/years trying to be positive through the rejection, that I had just sort of reached a point of giving up. I had started thinking, for the first time ever in this process, that it just may never happen for me. But I pitched anyway.

And though I didn't get the attention of an agent, I did get the attention of a certain editor from a certain publisher. It shocked me. She wanted to read my manuscript. Still not trying to get hopes up, I thought, Okay, sure, I'll send it. Whatever. So I did.

And she loved it. My jaw dropped when I read that. And, what?! She wanted to sign me?! I was floored. And SO flattered.

But...I didn't have an agent! I was kind of freaking out. I didn't know how to treat the contract. I didn't know what to do. So I did some research on the publisher, waiting it out. And what happens in the meantime?

Beth from BookEnds just so happens to email me, back from the query I had sent her months before--the one I had mentally moved on from. Turns out she got married (how dare she?) and was pretty darn busy. Turns out she was interested and wanted a partial.

So I sent it to her, but told her I got an offer from a publisher and they gave me a deadline.

So she asked for the entire manuscript. And Heaven help her, she read the entire thing in a week, even with all the other things she had going on.

My deadline was quickly approaching by this time. During, I decided to take a somewhat spontaneous trip to Oregon by myself. Yeah. For me, an introvert writer mom, this was a dream come true! I had never been there, but always wanted to, which is why I placed Hemlock Veils in that setting. I researched the place to death--felt like I had actually been there. So as a deal/reward to myself, I always said if I ever got a publishing offer, I would go. So I did. Like, totally spontaneously. And not without a lot of guilt. But I am SO glad I did, because let me tell you: Portland and the surrounding areas are so unbelievably BREATHTAKING! I was in awe to find that it didn't just meet my expectations, but surpassed them. And the time I had alone with nature was so invigorating and inspiring.

Okay, anyway. So, as soon as I get off the plane at the Portland airport (after a horrendous SLC airport experience, I might add), I turn on my phone and find an email and voicemail from Beth.

I listened.

And I flipped inside when she said she wanted to offer me representation. Guys, this call was the thing I had been dreaming about for the past three years--the thing I had been working SO desperately hard to achieve, and the thing I was beginning to think may not come to pass. So, right there in terminal D, I had "the call." I was so thrilled, and it just set the tone for the rest of my amazing trip!

I think Beth and I will be a great fit, and I love the way she works and the way she moved so quickly to make things happen for me. I love the way she believes in my writing and my story, and the way she speaks as though we will be in this thing for life (because, duh--we will).

Now, for the second part of my dream: publication, and much success. Beth is working hard on this for me, to which I am grateful, and I can't wait to give the update when things progress! Stay tuned!

Old Bio!

My old bio, in the summer of 2013, before I got picked up by an agent:

I'm a stay-at-home mom with three beautiful, blond boys (see my other blog, Fond of Blond, which is actually pretty out-dated), and in my need to make something of myself and become more than just my children's mother, I decided, six years ago, to turn my love of writing and words into a daytime hobby.

Eventually, that hobby became a need to create. It became a passion, a part of me. It became much more than a hobby.

I love any well-written TV show, movie, or book, whether it makes me laugh, cry, moved, or pissed off. I love anything that inspires true human emotion, and some of my favorites in the way of television are Dexter, Breaking Bad, the Walking Dead, Homeland, and the Newsroom, just to name a few (and I can't not mention the more campy, fun-loving obsessions, like True Blood and Once Upon a Time). In movies, I have far too many to name, but I love anything from comic-book action to slower paced dramas (bending on the not so funny humorous side) in the vein of Lars and the Real Girl. In books, I just love getting swept away, whether it be by beautiful pros or a catching, fun story. From YA fantasy in the vein of Aprilynne Pike's Wings to slower paced but beautiful and mysterious settings in the vein of Ali Shaw's Girl with the Glass Feet. From fascinating narrative nonfiction like Jon Ronson's the Psychopath Test to epic YA tales like Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series, and epic fiction of a larger and more adult scale, like the fantastically written the Passage, by one of my favorite authors, Justin Cronin (currently reading book two, the Twelve). From Nicholas Sparks, before he was trendy, to life-changing tales like Tuesdays with Morrie and Life of Pi.

Among my greatest passions in life, music is at the top. Music can move me like nothing else. Put some heart-piercing lyrics with a beautiful rhythm, and I'm drawn in, hooked. Mumford and Sons, for that very reason. Imagine Dragons, for their upbeat, electric sound. And if I don't stop here, this whole blog post would be about music I love.

I used to write poetry in my spare time as a teenager and young adult, but went back to my roots of writing books (I wrote lots of silly children's books when I was a child) after having my first child. Eventually, when halfway through my first novel, I realized it was a long-hidden passion--something far beyond a pastime.

Finally, after years of not knowing what I wanted to be when "I grew up," I hit the nail on the head.

Aside from being a wife and mother, which I do with full attention and love, a writer is who I was meant to be (I'll say again, aside from being a mother). Why it took me being an adult and having a newborn baby to figure that out, I don't know. But I did, and my children, and the person I became by loving and nurturing them, are my inspiration. They are my motivation. They are what gave me a new and fresh outlook on the world around me.

And my writing is how I stay sane. It is who I am, as an individual. I am a writer.

One day, I will be a published author. Whether that time is sometime soon, or whether it's years down the road, it will happen. 

Now, the trick is finding an agent who is willing to go the journey with me, one who is as in-love with my work as I am. One who feels passionate about spreading it to the rest of the world because they know it needs to be devoured by the masses.

My first novel, In the Family--which I will always hold near and dear to my heart, because it was my experimental "first child" in all of this--is one I will never try to publish, simply because it lacks way too many elements a successful novel possesses. It's a women's fiction with romantic elements...but along with an almost irking dark and somber side, it has a humorous and lighthearted side--things you might find in a romantic comedy. So, not really sure where it would fall on the bookshelf. Perhaps one day I will polish it up and give it a go.

Next was my most beloved women's fiction, November Rain, which I once upon a time called Prayers to Russell. I steered away from the title November Rain, due to the Guns 'n Roses' song, but eventually realized there was not a better fitting title. It holds in it the somber yet renewing theme of the novel. These characters--though I am in love with all characters I create, and feel to know them personally--are the most real to me. It's Lucas and Raegan I drift back to when I need a certain character motivation.

I then decided, when I realized I may have real potential, to try my hand at some paranormal women's fiction. The Exception, however, is more than a women's fiction, I think. I'm not sure whether it would be placed on the shelf with women's fiction, or with mainstream paranormal (though, usually it's in the same area). In this novel, I realized how exhilarating it was to create things that didn't exist in our world, how creative my mind could actually be.

And it was that realization that set my love for writing fantasy on fire. I have always been a lover of fantasy, but never thought I had the guts to think it up and write it. Anyone who knows me well knows I lack a certain confidence in many areas of my life. Though I love my projects, it's always been hard for me to accept that others do, too. When I began thinking up the concept to Hemlock Veils in December of 2011, it was a topic that lodged itself so securely in my heart that I couldn't let it go.

I dreamed about it.

I daydreamed about it when I was supposed to be focusing on other things.

Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite fable. The message, the story, the characters: I love it. I have read all the adaptions, from Robin McKinley to Donna Jo Napoli, and always loved the different takes. But there was always something lacking, and I felt it was my turn to tell what had been missing. Hemlock Veils is very loosely inspired by it, to say the least. While it holds many of the key plot elements of the classic story, it differs so much that the reader may forget it's an adaption at all. It is a story of its own, about second chances, forgiveness, love, acceptance, and facing your own inner monsters.

When first fleshing out the concept of the novel back in January 2012, and then sitting down to write it two months later, I originally thought it was just going to be me feeding my own whimsical dream--something for my eyes only, to humor myself. But then it became real to me, and I wanted it to be real for others. I wanted others to fall deeply in love with the characters like I did, and to feel the beauty of the settings I dreamed about for months (and still dream about).

So with baited breath, I had a dear friend read it, just to get a general consensus on what others thought. Then another. And come to find out, it wasn't just me who held this as the number one project of mine; others did as well. Others gushed about it, the way I did in my mind, and I thought, just maybe, I could see it on a bookshelf one day, where strangers can fall in love with it, too.

So here I am, querying and revising and querying and revising some more (did I say revising?), because I refuse to give up on the gut feeling that Hemlock Veils will be open to the public one day.

My luck hasn't been strong so far. I've had handfuls of interested agents, but none who feel strongly enough to take it on. Someday, one will. Someday, maybe adult fantasy will be hot on the market again (since right now it seems New Adult, Young Adult, and a little bit of women's fiction are all that's making headway). 

Currently, while I query and revise, I am plugging away at the sequel. This, again, I thought may be another "selfish" go (doing what I want and not what the market demands), but now, halfway into it, I'm beginning to realize how good it may be. In a perfect world, I would sign a three-book contract for a series, since I have outlines all fleshed out.

I have had a major roller-coaster of a journey on this path, many highs and many lows, as any writer will experience. But a determination has been born, and it's unconquerable. It's that determination that has led me to learn from my mistakes and build upon my downfalls. And I'm grateful for the downfalls and rejections, and even the negative feedback, because it is those things that have allowed me to step outside myself and view my work with a keen and critical eye. It has left me with excitement in knowing how much better I can be and how I can improve.

It's been years of refreshing my English, Literary, and Grammar knowledge, learning the know-hows of writing, studying the craft, doing writing exercises, entering countless writing contests, perfecting my prose, and simply learning by my many imperfections and mistakes. I have done, and still do, extensive market, publishing, and agenting research, and keep up-to-date on current trends. I believe that one day, it will pay off.

I have learned that writing pitches, blurbs, query letters, and synopsises are definitely worse and more difficult than writing a novel itself (since I have done it for three of my four completed novels). I've learned that many times it feels like homework, while other times the process involves slipping into a dream and letting the words flow freely from my fingertips. And that expression of myself--that expression that allows me to be myself--makes all the "school work" worth it.

While doing some blog writing exercises in 2011, I also started a short story series, Red Wheelbarrow. And maybe one day I will write a novel from it, given the many requests I've gotten to do so.

But for now, it's writing, revising, and querying my fantasy. And this blog is where I post updates of the sometimes mundane and sometimes dream-like process. Who knows, I may even post some excerpts.

You can learn more about each particular project on their specific pages, or by clinking on the hyperlinks above.

Oh, and as you can gather by this page (cough as well as my novels' higher-than-average word counts cough), I'm wordy.

You can follow me on Twitter: @may_davenport



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Write Your Heart

This is what it all comes down to, and what it's taken me five years to realize:

"When you want to write well you have to be fearless. Otherwise, you just give your characters your own hang-ups instead of letting them be themselves."

My friend, Katherine Lampe, is a genius, folks. On top of being an excellent indie author (check out her ebooks here), she has been a great friend to me (one who I would like to meet face-to-face someday), and even an invaluable mentor (though it wasn't intended).

Being fearless. For me, that has included writing outside the norm, forgoing some writing rules, and last but not least, writing what I want to write and not what others think I should write. Worrying about what friends or family will think of a certain scene or story direction (especially, in my case, morally), and feeling the stress of having to please the masses: it was once my greatest hindrance as a writer. I can honestly say that as I've learned to overcome this, and not worry so much about what others think, I've felt a new freedom and my writing has greatly improved!

That was just my writing thought for the day. Carry on. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

All for #PitMad...

Some people during this #PitMad contest have been requesting that, if at all possible, a longer pitch and excerpt of their work can be put up on their websites, for any who are interested. So here's mine, for HEMLOCK VEILS. I'm posting the blurb from my query letter, as well as the first 250 words:

When Elizabeth Ashton escapes her damaging city life and finds herself in the remote town of Hemlock Veils, Oregon, she is smitten by its quaint mystery; but the surrounding forest holds an enchantment she didn’t think existed, and worse, a most terrifying monster. The town claims it vicious and evil, but Elizabeth suspects something is amiss. Even with its enormous, hairy frame, gruesome claws, and knifelike teeth, the monster’s eyes speak to her: wolf-like and ringed with gold, yet holding an awareness that can only be human. That’s when Elizabeth knows she is the only one who can see the struggling soul trapped inside, the soul to which she is moved.

Secretly, Elizabeth befriends the beast at night, discovering there’s more to his story and that the rising of the sun transforms him into a human more complex than his beastly self. Elizabeth eventually learns that his curse is unlike any other and that a single murderous act is all that stands between him and his freedom. Though love is not enough to break his curse, it may be the only means by which the unimaginable can be done: sacrifice a beauty for the beast.

It's also important to note, I think, that this novel (an adult Urban Fantasy/light fantasy crossover with romantic elements, complete at 118,000 words) is a loose modern-day retelling of the classic fable, Beauty and the Beast. Though it works very well as a standalone novel (that's how it was originally written), it is being written into a 3 part series. 

Excerpt:

Every trace of Willem’s blood had been scrubbed away days before, but Elizabeth Ashton’s hands would never be clean. It caked the space beneath her otherwise spotless fingernails, imbedded there for life.

She drove northwest on Oregon’s U.S. Route 26, the cone of her only functional headlight attempting to cut through a fog whose density gave it the ominous appearance of a living, breathing being. It had hovered from the moment she passed through Warm Springs twenty-eight miles ago, like a protective shield that settled over the Indian Reservation—a conscious mind that was all too aware of what she’d done. Perhaps it was a warning. Perhaps it was an attempt to push her in the other direction, back to the place she wasn’t welcome anymore.

Cash fattened the worn corners of the manila envelope on the passenger seat. It screamed for her attention, but she didn’t look. She wouldn’t be able to see it in the dark anyway, even if she tried. It taunted her, its energy as blunt as the murderous smile of her brother’s killer. It belonged in the hands of its rightful owner, not on the hardened vinyl seats of her Saab. But if there was one thing Mr. Vanderzee was it was true to his word. If he said he would track every last cent to see that her end of the deal was met, somehow, he would.

At the moment the fog gave way like an unveiling curtain, rain pelted the windshield with a livid fury, the almost-midnight sky heaving its early April wrath.



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Denial No Longer

I don't have my own office, or even my own uninterrupted writing space. I use my little desk when it's not occupied with a husband doing homework, and the bed if I'm feeling too ill to sit in a chair. I attempt to go to coffee shops and write, to change my creative surroundings whenever I can, but because of where I live, it's not often enough. Always, a child beckons at the door, or pulls me away from a battle between wizard and Curse Breaker to tell me he is hungry. Always, I'm left torn between the two lives I adore.

I don't have designated alone hours to write in that nonexistent writing space.

Instead I have a house full of little shoes, piles of dirty (and sometimes clean) laundry, hot wheels, children's art supplies, and demanding tasks. I don't have a nanny. I am the nanny. The only full time job I have is Mother. And Wife. Everything else is just wishful thinking, for the time being anyway.

Today I did the usual. Got the kids ready for school, dropped them off, put my toddler in front of breakfast, and sat down to my own breakfast. As morning ritual, I browse Twitter and Facebook on my phone while eating (smartphones were the best inventions, were they not?). Most days, immersing myself in the creative writing worlds on social media inspires me, motivates me (unfortunately, a lot of the time it motivates me to the point where household chores are put on the back-burner so I can write).

Today, however, it left me discouraged. I saw things I always saw, was aware of things I always knew. But the little flecks fell hard today, instead of drifting like light snowfall and blowing away with my thoughts of determination. Today, after realizing how these authors live their lives, all they've done to get where they're at (and realizing I'm not anywhere near that), and of course seeing again that nearly every trend in the market right now and what nearly every agent wants is middle grade and young adult, I was Discouraged with a capitol D.

These many thoughts were running through my mind when I was pulling the wet clothes from the washer and stuffing them in the dryer, managing to pick up the tiny sopping socks that had fallen to the floor while my mind was somewhere else.

I've dreamed of being a published author for years now. But in reality, not many, retrospectively. I think most authors started wanting their dreams at much younger ages than I did. I feel like I have a lot of making up to. But I'd like to think my passion and determination makes up for those lost years. I fully stand behind the Pat Walsh quote at the head of my blog. My writing talent (and yes, I can admit now it's a talent) wasn't something I immediately discovered. It was cultivated and crafted carefully. I wanted it. I needed it. So I gained it, by hard work and dedication. Isn't that how many talents are received?

I've already accepted the label of writer. But in reality, it's only part time. As much as I'd like to think it's a second "job," it makes me internally cringe to admit that at this point, it's more of a past time. The drive and passion makes it more than that, but the time and space I've been given to work it makes it only a past time. A dearly beloved hobby. I suppose that's the purpose of my post today.

It's one of those I'm-feeling-especially-introverted-and-thoughtful-and-melancholy days today. One where my internal struggles are examined at every angel, distracting me from the things that demand my attention. My eyes still light up at every tiny accomplishment my children show me, my ears are still in tune to every interruption I get (I've gotten four, just since I began writing this post...hence the reason my writing dreams probably won't be realized at this stage in my life).

But my heart aches with the raw realization I had while doing that laundry. Now that I've accepted that realization, and no longer face denial, I'm simply trying to deal with it.

It's hard having a dream that motivates your soul and spirit to the point of sleepless nights, especially when even through that dream you still know your priorities: that your family is first and foremost. I would never change that. I thank God with every ounce of my spirit for the children he has given me, and the husband I have lying beside me at night. They are my everything, as I've mentioned many times before.

But the writer in me wants so badly to be accepted in the world of published authors. I want my love and passion and work to be realized. The money is pointless to me. We have sufficient for our needs now, and I know anyway that a supple income as an author is as rare as finding a moth-winged bull (Ali Shaw reference). I just want to be known for the beautiful things I write. I crave for others to love my stories and characters as much as I do--to know them as real people in the way I do (I'm convinced Elizabeth and Henry are real, and that if I take a drive up to Oregon, I can knock of their door).

Sometimes I feel I should avoid social media sites like Twitter for a time, to put things into perspective. I get swallowed in the agent, author, and publishing trends, enter every contest, follow every person I can that may help me "break in" the business. And I've found a wonderful community of people who are surprisingly supportive and welcoming.

But in doing this, I've also seen the lives these people lead--these people who are, in a sense, my writerly idols. They have a large following. They have adoring fans (Oh, to send out a tweet of an excerpt and have fans eating it up!), they have opinions and skills that are valued. They have potential. They have an agent who loves their work. They have conferences and critique partners and critique groups, as well as book signings and book tours. They have giveaway deals. They have deadlines.

One day, that will be me. I tell myself over and over again. Every time I start to think I'm not made for it, that I could never break into that world, I push the thought out with a reassurance that I will be there one day. I will not let myself accept failure. I will never quit. I will continuously try to better myself and gain more skills, and will never stop trying to break out that debut novel.

But these beloved authors and writers talk of writing spaces, and writing times, and things that come along with "the life of a writer." I don't have any of those things; nothing but a laptop and stories that beg to be told--which, I know, is how it starts. I have small children and live in a small town at least ten hours away from any extended family members. I live three hours away from the closest place that may have good writing groups. My three small children keep me extremely busy, and when they don't, my health situation makes it difficult to find the energy (mentally and physically) to write. I have a husband who not only works full time but is going to school for his masters, and picking up to go to a conference is just not something that's in the cards.

I can't do what's necessary to become a part of that world. While the internal yearnings draw me to it, the outside forces in my life won't allow it. I can't go to conferences or writing groups (not to mention, I don't have any professional degrees or credentials which could ever give me a leg up).

I am a stay at home mom, plain and simple. Nothing more.

And when I do have the resources and time to do what's necessary, I will be fighting against every odd.

Will I make it as an author someday?

I still believe, with every fiber of passion in my heart, I will.

I keep telling myself, "Sure, I'm not ready. But if I could just find an agent to love my work, all would fall into place..."

A part of me still believes that, I won't deny.

But for now, it's time to be a mom. It's time to force myself to stop searching and searching hopelessly for an agent who is probably not out there yet (or who isn't ready for my un-ready self). It's time to focus my writing on just that: writing. It's time to use my spare time (and it's not much these days, honestly) to write and read because I want to, not because I need to try to break in to that world.

I know I got into this game much later than other writers (again, another odd against me). Hell, I didn't even realize a writer was what I wanted to be until after I had my first child. I never even read many books, if any, as a teenager (curses to me, I know). I used to write poetry, and little short stories of no worth. But it wasn't until I was an adult that I started appreciating literary works, and reading. And it wasn't until I was moved by giving life to my first son that I felt I needed to express myself that way. It wasn't until I began what I felt at first was a hobby that I realized I was going to be a writer.

I'm still learning new things with every revision. I'm a rookie, through and through, and I'm well aware that my manuscripts probably show that. I'm thirty years old, but probably at the stage an aspiring twenty-year-old author would be. I still learn a new grammar rule every single week that I didn't necessarily know before. I love my novels and characters, but I know I have a long way to go, and that knowledge leaves me with less confidence. I am reminded of that every time I read other books, or creations from other talented writers I know (Wow, they have it all together. I wish I wrote as well as them. My book isn't nearly as good, nor is my premise.).

And the end result to such hurdles is always the same: every time I get thrown back, put in my place, feel sorry for myself and wish I could do things over in the past to be at a more advanced place now, I recover and rebuild. And after doing so, my determination to conquer is more fortified than ever before.

I'm happy with my life, and know it's moving at the pace it needs to be right now. I will keep doing this because I can never quit. But I've accepted that it's simply not the right time. *fights off the tears* 

*waves fist in the air* One day you will be mine, publishing!

For now, I have to go wipe a toddler's butt.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Timing is Everything...and Sometimes Nothing

Generally, I'm against using my blog as a bitching session journal, but I'm breaking the rule today. Kind of. We all experience things in our lives, during certain periods, where we raise our fists in the air (figuratively, but sometimes literally) and curse. We wonder why certain things are happening to us, or why certain things aren't. We wonder, especially if we know certain things will happen, when they will come to pass.

My life is all about that recently. I need to emphasize first that I have too many blessings to count. I am extremely happy with my life. Of all things I have been blessed with, my family (husband and children) is the greatest, and I feel overcome with joy when I think about it. I am so incredibly lucky/blessed, and if my family was all I had, as long as I had them, I would be content. Yet, my blessings go so far beyond that. Great town, great house, great job, great friends, great gospel and ward, working vehicles, great teachers for my kids, great opportunities, etc. etc. etc. The list goes on and on.

But things, with me personally, feel to be at a sort of standstill. And every time I think maybe I will catch a break, I am proven wrong. Like a big roller-coaster of emotions, expectations, and realizations (yes, I am a believer in the oxford comma), everything is so up and down.

I've known, from the first moment a person other than myself read Hemlock Veils, that one day it would be published. Like a sixth sense. Maybe it was just wishful thinking, but with all the rejection I've gotten from it during the past year, the inkling still gnaws. In fact, it's all the more stronger from it. It's something I know, something I feel in my gut. It's why I simply can NOT give up on it.

It's just hard when I put so much sweat and tears and heart into something, only to be told it's "not quite right." Or "not the right fit." More than a handful of times, I've gotten manuscript requests from agents who say it sounds fabulous, only to return to me later saying (always saying) the writing was beautiful and they loved the characters, but the story just wasn't for them.

Really, I appreciate the honesty. I don't want an agent who will be in it only halfway. I want one who will be just as passionate about it as me. One day, I feel like that will happen.

My problem is I've always lacked patience. I'm sort of indulgent, and tend to want things now. It's always been a weakness of mine. So, I write something I believe is fabulous and I want others to see its fabulousness, too...immediately. But what I have to keep reminding myself is that God's timing is everything. I truly believe that. I really do feel, from an intuition I can't really put into words--or revelation, for a lack of a better term--that my goal will be accomplished someday. God knows it and I know it.

But right now, for whatever reason I can't determine or see (damn the blindness sometimes!), the timing isn't right. I keep thinking, maybe it's because we need to get pregnant with our last child who we know will be here someday. Maybe that's what my focus needs to be on. I've even felt--again, by a personal thing I can only describe as revelation--that that's definitely what I'm meant to be doing right now: expand my family now, personal goals later.

So why can't we get pregnant?!

This just begins my lost train of thought and purpose lately. We've been trying. For a long time. We never had to try hard with our other children. So if I'm supposed to be bringing another child into this world, why is that not happening either? Surely, God can give me one of the two things I feel meant to be doing...right?

Well, wrong. Again, God's timing. And again, I wish I could see the big picture.

Maybe it's my bad health. I've had multiple health problems lately, which I have been seeing doctors for...and which we have had no success in diagnosing. One of the problems they think I may have may be responsible for my inability to get pregnant. So maybe that's what I need to be focusing on right now, as dismal as that seems.

What's really dismal though is feeling like the more you and doctors dig, the further from an answer you become. I'm so sick and tired (pun intended) of feeling so horrible all the time. I just want to have a diagnosis, at least so I can feel justified in feeling like crap. So I can feel like I'm not making it up.

But the more the doctors test and search, the more hopeless I feel. I know I'm not alone in this. I know many many people, with auto-immune disorders especially, go through this. Some take years before they find the answer, and some never do. I just may be one of those people. But it's extremely emotionally wracking (as well as physically) to think you may have figured out one piece to the puzzle, only to realize you were wrong. Talk yourself into something, talk yourself into accepting this reality about yourself, only to be shoved in the opposite direction and have to re-accept the other option. More than once in some cases.

So I suppose that's where my real frustration lies lately. My health. In that, my drive for publication has been put on the back burner. Not my desire, as it is still burning strongly inside me. Just my motivation and drive. So lately, though I still follow the publishing and agenting trends, and even enter a contest or two when they come about, I'm focusing all my writerly energy on writing and revising. I'm almost finished with the sequel to Hemlock Veils. I have my bumps and roadblocks with it, but don't we all? It's something I only get the chance to work on a couple times per week, unfortunately, due in part to busy schedules and in other part to my foggy brain. But I just have to accept that that's the way it's going to be for now.

So when I see announcements for writers conference locations and dates, and I pine ever so strongly to go, I need to realize that one day, it'll be my turn.

Anxious to know what the future holds. Hope, hopefully.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Back in the (Blogging) Saddle Again

In following and internet-stalking fellow writers and authors, I came to a realization today: I've got NOTHING in the form of a formidable website or platform (fellow Grammar Nazis, fire away at that last sentence). All I had going for me was a measly Twitter account (which I would love to grow one day). No author Facebook page (since I don't feel I've earned the privilege to have one yet, being unpublished and all), and only an outdated, less than par blog.

So here I am, contributing to one of the necessary evils of the industry: keeping a writing blog. Or really, just revamping an old one. I hadn't blogged here since 2010, I think, and with how much I've written, learned, grown, been trampled in the dirt, and realized in the past three years, the old stuff--the posts before this one--is only here for record-keeping purposes: so I can look back one day and say, Aw, look at the little, naive writer. (And then say that again about this post in three more years)

The blog has been completely updated, with an added Bio tab as well as tabs for the projects in my portfolio. There, there are blurbs and summaries about each, and one day even excerpts, maybe. Here, I will post updates on my agenting/submitting/writing/revising journey. So, to get a more detailed update on what is going on in my writing world, up to this date, check out those tabs.

Right now, the latest update on the writing world is: IT'S ROUGH.

It's rougher than hell to make it.

It's rough to write what you love to write, and still write what you know the market will want.

It's rough to submit adult fantasy when it seems that the trends now are young adult, new adult (sheesh, I remember months ago when agents were saying this wasn't a real genre; how quickly the trends change), and a little bit-o romance, women's fiction, and paranormal. Basically, the things that aren't Hemlock Veils.

So what do I do?

I write the sequel.

Presumptuous? Probably.

But I gotta do what my heart is telling me (trust me, my writing voice in my novels isn't this bad). And my heart is telling me to go with it. I have a great outline for a series. I have some great new things to introduce, and the idea of the second installment (Veil of the Rose, tentatively) being loosely inspired by Sleeping Beauty, while the first is loosely inspired by Beauty and the Beast just excites me. Same characters, exciting new journeys, different fable inspiration: I'd like to think I'm onto something. But I have been known to be delusional.

Originally, my plan was to wait until I hear back from every agent I'm querying and go from there. Do they (if I sign with one) want a sequel? Well, I got impatient.

I'm about halfway through, and still waiting for agent replies, and I'm loving the direction it's headed. So whether I have to eventually put this beloved series of mine on the back-burner and query it at a later time (possibly query my paranormal women's fiction in the meantime?), this will. be. a. series.

A series I love even if no one else does.

So here's to waiting. And writing something whose success I can't predict.