#PimpMyBio #PitchWars

What happens when you only have time to look at Twitter for 15 minutes in the morn? You miss a whole load of good stuff… including the latest on #PitchWars and what?! #PimpmyBio. Yes, I just spent the last two hours reading tweets and bios and fell for two fellow adult writers—hopefully, you know who you are as I followed you and commented. Well done both of you fellow #menteeshelpingmentees.

Wait this is supposed to be about me! (Insert shot here that might win hearts or at least interest.)

Back of the Hudson

Okay, but random quote… like him or not, The Terminator spoke at my company event (I will not insert photo here) and he said that it really bothers him when people say he is “a self-made man,” because he didn’t get where he is today alone. “It’s not about ‘me’, it’s about ‘we.’”  So all you fellow Mentees and Mentors (insert applause/dancing image ) AS

But this is my bio… so now about me… that’s why you are here, right?

The fun and short story can be found above in the “This is what I am About” link. The Blog Bio. I’ll give the #Pimp version… not too repetitive—and some untold, juicy stuff.

My first book was written and illustrated by me, and published by my kindergarten teacher. One copy only and I own it. Someday it will be in the Trinity Library, not just in a box in my garage. I knew then that I wanted to be a writer.

Fast forward to oh, 10ish and I wrote a story about the smuggling of gold into the U.S. from Canada in candy bars. It was brilliant. Well, it was good.

Shout out to that one teacher in high school (love all you English teachers out there) who inspired me—and I majored in communications and journalism in college.

So about college. I was given the choice of writing about squirrels on campus or music, and duh… I became the entertainment editor of my college paper. Made sense—my boyfriend was in a punk band, all my friends were in bands, and I hung out at clubs. Of course. One of my first interviews was a band from Scotland. I could barely understand a word.

So began a near decade “career” in music “journalism”—one that had me (no name dropping allowed!) waking up in Cleveland on a heavy metal band’s tour bus (“Hello Cleveland!”); jumping out of a plane with one of the biggest grunge bands from Seattle (talk about stepping out of the box!); interviewing one of the loveliest voices that ever lived (and passed far too early) while I was standing in my shower (before you say Hallelujah, he was at his house and I was at mine—he just called when he did and I did what I had to); driving around LA and walking around NYC with the godfather of my favorite music; and that only scratches the surface.

Read my “About” to see why I stepped out of that world… and into my next corporate gig. Still writing, but oh so different. Years later, not saying how many, I’m still there…

Because, drum roll (I prefer Sean Kinney or Stephen Perkins to Neal Peart), I have a son, who is about to be 17. Single mom. College tuition. Do the math.

Finally, my writing. I love to write. I could write stories—or read them—all day. As long as I also had my dogs and tea. My first serious book was a memoir. Love it and may or may not revisit. My father passed and it was far too personal for me to continue. So I tucked it away for the moment. (Insert fave shot of dad and son)

Max and Dad tongues

So I started writing another book in a notebook. And then two notebooks, then three, and another. Mostly on planes. Then I transcribed it. And edited it. And sent it out to an editor (love her) and she helped me. I entered it in a writing competition and it won!! But I felt it needed more work (while being perfect is boring, I’m a bit of a perfectionist) and I was too close. So I tucked it away…

Hi #NaNoWriMo—I did it, really. Spent the last year and half on that book—dual POV mother and daughter story, editing and cleansing and perfecting and then thought, I need a break from Losing Oneself. So hello The Other Side of Normal—I’m back and I have missed you… and I love you!

So for #PitchWars I am selecting The Other Side of Normal. Fiction set in 1980s SoCal punk scene—complete with riots, Mohawks, drugs and mosh pits. Frida hasn’t had a great life—lost her father when she was younger, never fit in as a teen, had some pretty cruddy relationships with guys, and just wants to be “normal.” She falls for a guy (Tom) in a punk band, who is really a “normal” guy—no piercings, boring well-to-do home, studying engineering at university. Of course, the boy next door isn’t always all he is cracked up to be, and Frida also falls for the new singer in his band.

Many aspects of this novel that I love, but mostly the scenery/setting and voice. Frida isn’t really that strong in the beginning, but as she finds herself, and learns to accept her version of “normal,” she grows to be a badass—like her best friend, Kelly, who is the take no prisoners type. I feel for both of these women and believe others will too… and that some of the guys in the book are also really likeable—even those that don’t look like the boy next door. (Insert mock up here!!)

Cover shot

10 quick facts (if I still have your attention), plus the Spinal Tap 11:

  1. Tenses aren’t my strength. I admit it.
  2. Foreign languages aren’t either, but I can speak a few words of many languages as I work with people from all over the world (Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese, Scottish (I went there), etc.
  3. This year, I’ve been to Austria, Peru and Chile, and by the end of the year will add Colombia and the UK.
  4. I love to travel, but nothing compares to home.
  5. I believe always learning and growing as a person and writer is key to happiness, success, and being a better person/writer.
  6. I don’t mind public speaking, but don’t like to talk about myself (journalism background)
  7. I was in a punk rock cult movie a lifetime ago.
  8. I still buy CDs. And I still buy books. I have a collection of both.
  9. I also have a large collection of Mexican folk art (Day of the Dead, Frida Kahlo, etc.)
  10. I have dozens of stories I want to tell. Where is the time to write them?
  11. I have two dogs, Kira and Joy, both old and not healthy. It hurts my heart. (insert adorable shot here!)

IMG_2039

Good luck all!! And see you on Twitter or on the bookshelves!

 

Advertisements

My, My… Too Many “Mys”

I’ve spent the last three days combing MY manuscript for the word MY. With first person POV, it’s like I, over used. A crutch. MY crutch.

Starting from page one, I found far too many uses, but after seeing MY highlighted so many times in a paragraph that it looked like those annoying caution lights on your way home–road closed due to flooding. MY overused three times out of 10…. that’s three times too many.

MY use of MY sometimes aids in a too frequent I sentence pattern.

In this usage, opt for MY over I.

  • NOW: I rolled over to check the time on my phone; just after one.
  • UPDATE: My phone lit two minutes after one.

Check those Is. Remove when you can. We all know you are watching, hearing seeing, listening, etc.

  • NOW: I watched the white peaks come and go in the ocean, almost glowing as they reflected the moon.
  • UPDATE: The white foamy peaks came and went, glowing from the moon’s reflection.

Show not tell.

  • NOW: I rested my hand on her hair.
  • UPDATE: My hand rested on her hair.

Back to MY. MY advice, highlight all those MYs and remove those road blocks when you can.

  • NOW: My mom stirred and I rolled back, resting my hand on her back.
  • UPDATE: Mom stirred; I rested my hand on her back.

One more shot at editing MY.

  • NOW: I tucked the dolls into my suitcase with my books, and lifted the fabric of the suitcase to tuck the letter inside. That’s when I found the notebook, worn smooth as if it had been handled hundreds of times.
  • UPDATE: Before resting the dolls beside the books in my suitcase, I slipped the letter in a small tear in the fabric lining of the suitcase, revealing a notebook, worn smooth as if it had been every day for the last thirty years.

What do you think of the rewrites to Losing Oneself? What are your thoughts to the usage of My and I? I’m open to suggestions and thoughts… and observations.

Inspiration #2 Moments in Life

Palm2Lap top in lap, relaxing as the sun is winding down its day, the shadows from the bamboo cooling the backyard, leaning back in the lounger, I look up and a sea of blue greets me, beautifully broken by my palm tree, whose fronds are gently waving in the breeze.

Deep sigh.

Inspiration #2. A moment so natural, simple, quiet. Awe.

Inspiration #1 Being Open

With an open mind, inspiration can be found, uncovered, discovered, and waiting in virtually every waking (and some sleeping) moment of the day.

I truly believe this — with an open mind, open heart, and good memory (or a pen and paper at hand), I can be inspired by a blade of grass, a glass of beer, or a barely spoken word.

IMG_3473

Inspiring in June 2016:  The sunset over Maas in Maastricht.

 

Inspiration #1: Sunset in a foreign city.

Walking across a bridge in a world away from home, pausing to reflect on the beauty seen for the first time by me, but seen by many others for hundreds of years is breathtaking. The thought that millions of other people have crossed this particular bridge and paused at the same spot to drink in the beauty, hold hands, or even light a cigarette doesn’t cross my mind.  To me it is old, yet fresh–as if I am the first to discover its secrets.

 

 

A bit from The Other Side of Normal

Just a little tease….hangover

Pain split my forehead in two. The upper region—the part I was sure was responsible for planning, judgment, decision making, knowing right from wrong—felt like it was wrapped in a two pound bag of hot potatoes. Behind that cranial layer of pressure-cooker mush, hundreds of tiny splinters were being hammered into my eye sockets, deadening my ability to see and move. Nothing, I was convinced, was going to save me from this pain, except perhaps a lobotomy.

Geeking Out at the LA Times Festival of Books

20140412_102808 (2)

Geeking it at the LA Times Book Festival

I am a book nerd, an author geek, a voracious reader, a genuine fan of the written word. I’m in awe of authors who have published novels, especially good ones.

“Why do you get so excited when you meet authors? You act like they’re celebrities,” my son asked as we walked away from the signing tent at the LA Times #bookfest with personalized (to my son) autographed books from John Boyne (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) and Ransom Riggs (Hollow City).

I realized that I was a bit of a blubbering idiot talking to them. Rambling. In awe.

I’ve meet numerous celebrities and have never been fazed. But when I met Judy Blume, I acted like a giggly 16 year old (I was 19).  Not exactly celebrities, but I think authors deserve great respect — and maybe they’ll tolerate a little geeking out from a fellow writer and fan.

20140412_114330 (2)

Ransom Riggs and my son

 

Thank you for your query

A cool black parchment type envelope with a crisp query letter to a cool San Diego-based agent who is part of a prestigious agency — a big first step…. and it felt good. Really good.

And when a familiar self-addressed envelope arrived at my house, that felt oddly okay. I knew it wasn’t a sure thing — his focus is on children’s books — but I had to try.

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you for your query.

After careful consideration, Mr. X didn’t find your work was the right fit for him at this time time. I should add that he’s not actively seeking new clients, so that played a large part in his thinking.

We wish you the very best…. etc.

Dear Mr. X,

I am still thrilled to have heard from you, even a rejection. It is posted above my computer, encouraging me to push on. I shall charge on….

#RejectionsCanInspire

 

Award-winning, one small step…

Goal: Enter a contest in the unpublished category. That’s it. Just a goal, a milestone. Keep working. Edit number, I don’t know, 10 perhaps? Almost done…. almost ready to send to an editor. Then it is time to put it out there.

But before the month is out, I discover that I won the 2013 Southern California Book Festival contest! What?

Or more accurately, now what? Keep editing and writing. Build on this…. Take another step.

Feels good!

A great way to spend a Friday night.

A great way to spend a Friday night.

What, a cover?!

What? I need a cover! A book needs a cover?! Yes, hello. Does anyone click on those mysterious cutouts with the alfalfa hair on the various dating web sites? NO! No image, no interest.

No cover, no interest! But wait, I was ready to send my “finished” book out. I have to do more than just write it and somehow magically publish it on my own at some portals of consumer madness.

YES! YOU HAVE TO DO MORE!

Book cover. I am on it. So on it. Thankfully I have a modicum of skill and background in that world, and have a few super close friends that do this for a living.

Editor. Yes, I am going to hire one. I know I make tipos pu teh but. Even though I have had several friends read — including a published author. I need to pay someone.

HTML. I have spent several years happy to ignore this. Now I have to figure out coding and what not. May need to hire for that.

Promotion/Marketing/PR. Well, i can do this all day for others…. I should be able to do for myself. Gulp. Cringe. Can’t i just write. I started this blog. Does that count? Not much I thinks!

Tune back soon to see the cover.

And btw, I found this amazing post from what I know believe is my new favorite blog. I am truly humbled. Terribleminds you are amazing!