Thursday, February 23, 2012


What's a Pricklepants?

This is. Or more accurately This is our new pet Princess Caleb Pricklepants. (Long story short. Since I am not having any more kids, I promised Caleb Warnock I would name my next pet after him in undying gratitude for his mentorship)

This is also a Pricklepants. Namely me.

This week I have been overwhelmed with all the new changes in life both good and bad. Husband losing job... bad.  Getting contract signed...good.  Being denied health care...bad.  List goes on.

Needless to say my emotions were worse the California Screamin' at Disneyland. Up, down and sideways. Every time somebody said anything to me the least bit negative, my quills went up. I went in to full defensive pricklepants mode. I was finding offense in the dumbest things. So and so didn't like or comment on my facebook post. This person didn't want to sit with me.

The more things added up the more my emotions got out of control.  I tried to bottle them in, but there is a reason that teakettles have release valves. Last night my teapot boileth over. I was in the writing critique group and it wasn't going well. My grammar sucked, my dialogue tags sucked. My scene had no point. It was too much and I lost it.

Had I been smart, I would have released the steam earlier... in private. But as usual I was being stubborn "Big girls don't cry" and all that. So instead of releasing steam, I dumped out the whole scalding pot. Afterwards I found myself empty and vulnerable- all my quill defense removed. Would anyone still like me? Would they think I was a crybaby, or a drama queen? Maybe I was that really annoying friend that everyone tolerates.

So I spent last night and today in misery. Until I picked up my new friend Princess Pricklepants. He (yes he's a boy, but my daughter insists he's still a princess) is prickly, yes, but he is also snuggly and just cute. I think he is well on his way to becoming a treasured and much loved member of the family. Despite all his pokeys.

It made me think and hope. Maybe my friends and family find ways to love me and find me a valued member of their lives, despite my prickliness.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Cedar Fort Says YES!! to the Philosophy of Finishing

I have been checking my email every five minutes waiting to hear from an insurance broker to get health insurance now that we are unemployed. I saw an email that I didn't know. I opened it assuming it was yet another agent rejection. I hadn't been expecting a letter from the publishers because their sites all state it takes 4 months to hear back.

I opened the email with the care of a bomb squad officer, finger poised on the delete button. The word Congratulations jumped out at me. What the...

Cedar Fort Inc. wants to publish my book. There was only one thing to do at a time like this... cry.

I started crying and held my phone out to my mother in the chair next to me. She let out a whoop of excitement. I was still crying by the time Jarom got there 15 minutes later. His face clearly said "Now what?" After I stammered out that he was married to a soon to be published author, he squeezed my guts tighter than any corset ever could.

Four months ago today, I decided to write a book. It seems like the journey has been a rollercoaster that went on forever, but in reality I think that it's been really fast.  Talking to some new author friends of mine, I understand it can take up to a year or more before your writing sees the light of day.

I am so lucky. I couldn't have done it without lots and lots of help. My husband is my rock and my earplugs that help me tune out the world. When everyone else was telling me how unlikely it was that I would get published, Jarom stood by me and kept the voices at bay.

I also know that I probably had some divine intervention. Or at the very least a guardian angel sitting on the acquisition editor's shoulder.

A year and a half ago I was contemplating whether or not someone could die from self loathing. And if so, was that considered suicide? I stopped trying to do anything because in my heart I felt I wasn't good enough. If I wasn't as good as so and so, well then I was a failure. Better to just give up.

Today I am going to be a published author. The change didn't come from losing weight, though it is nice not to be fat anymore. It came from learning the simple truth that I needed to stop quitting on everything in my life...including myself. Becoming a finisher has changed my life or maybe gave me a better one. That's why I wrote this book.  Not because I wanted to be rich and famous. (Because I have no delusions about that, especially after I realized only major authors get advances. The rest of us get royalties, so I would need to sell a bagillion books to make any money)

I really believe in the Koolaid I'm drinking. I want to help others overcome the failures of their past and realize that to be successful, you only have to finish what you start. With each new accomplishment the past starts to fade away and you realize, "Yes I can!" Because you have proof piling up with each new thing you finish that you can show that little negative voice in the back of your head. I don't have to be the better than everyone else to be successful in life. That's where the Philosophy of Finishing came from, when I realized that not everyone can win the race, but everyone can finish it.

So long post I know. But I just had to share my "testimony" so to speak. I know there is lots of hard work ahead. I'm supposed to come up with my own marketing plan to sell this book. ugh. Unfamiliar territory again. But with the help of new friends and lots of Google searches, I'll figure it out. Here's to the continuing Journey.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Rejection sucks

Today has been bar none one of the worst days of my life. Over the last two weeks I have sent out my manuscript and been waiting to hear from the publishing companies.  In the meantime the agent rejection letters keep coming 2-3 every few days.  Most are form "Dear Author" emails. Some are personalized and say something like this: While your writing is entertaining and nice, I think I would have a hard time selling your book. Basically, while you have some great accomplishments, you're nobody.  Call us when you're famous. 

I got through those thinking number one that they are right. They only make money by selling my book to a big publishing house and I am nobody special.  But that's what is so awesome about my book. I am nobody special. If I can turn from a life of quitting and couch potato-ness to a finishing marathon machine, well anyone can. But still I get their point, but it hurts anyway.
Secondly, I kept the little fire of hope burning that the Liv Blumer agent would get back to me and tell me they loved the first 50 pages and wanted the rest. I did research on the agency and they are one of the good ones. They only take a very ecclectic list of projects. I just needed one yes through the nos right?

Well today I got the Self Addressed Stamped Envelope that I included with the first 50 pages. My heart sank though the concrete to the center of the earth. Inside the envelope was a little notecard saying "Dear Sir or Madame"  Really? Not even a personalized no? After I spent $5 to Priority mail those pages.  Had they even read them?

I called my husband to get a phone hug.
"I'm super sad, I need some love."
"Probably not as much as me" he replied.
"What you lose your job or something?" I joked.

My stomach joined my heart under the concrete.

Part of my book is pushing on when your get that figurative thud of your life hitting bottom. It's time to test that again it seems. I sure hope the Lord knows what he's doing. I know he'll look out for us. We will survive. We will persevere. This could be an opportunity. Maybe he will get a better job. Maybe I will put the book on Kindle myself. Either way I know we'll make it.  Doesn't mean I can't take a day to wallow though