Taking a Break

Last week, my best friend and I took a trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama.  Long story short, it was everything I like in a vacation; beachy, Southern, relaxing, and just a good time.  I thought that since I have no news regarding the search for literary agents except that I’m still looking, I’d share some pictures from the trip!

IMG_8403 2

This is our sand turtle.

IMG_8493 2

I suffered a skinned knee, wrist, and swollen ankle for this picture. But there’s a baby dolphin, so it was all worth it.

IMG_8776 2

Tacky Jacks is an Orange Beach landmark. If you go to the Gulf Shores, you need to eat here.

IMG_8818 2

The Flora Bama is a famous bar/music hall on the Florida/Alabama border.

IMG_8832 2

My personal tribute to the movie version of “A Walk to Remember.” Straddling the state line between Florida and Alabama, I’m in two places at once!

IMG_8298 2 IMG_8303 2 IMG_8304 2 IMG_8305 2 IMG_8348 2 IMG_8418 2 IMG_8427 2 IMG_8429 2 IMG_8436 2 IMG_8439 2 IMG_8457 2 IMG_8469 2 IMG_8472 2 IMG_8538 2 IMG_8607 2 IMG_8632 2 IMG_8641 2 IMG_8643 2 IMG_8649 2 IMG_8650 2 IMG_8659 2 IMG_8715 2 IMG_8816 2 IMG_8817 2 IMG_8819 2 IMG_8867 2

Fallen Hero

If you’d asked me a few years ago who my hero was, I would have been honest with you and said, “I don’t really have one.”

It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in heroes.  I can think of several heroes; firefighters, teachers, mothers, doctors, pilots, etc… I just honestly could never think of someone that really moved or inspired me enough to call them my hero.

Then Josh Hamilton came along.

I’d always been a huge Rangers fan.  Ever since my Daddy first started taking me to games when I was nine years old, they were the only sports team I ever loved, even through the not-so-great years.  My first game ever, Rusty Greer hit a grand slam against the New York Yankees.  I was there when we won the 1999 West Division Championship.  I have a baseball signed by Juan Gonzales.  I.  Love.  The.  Texas.  Rangers.

When I first heard Josh Hamilton’s story, I knew I had finally found the hero I’d been missing. Not only did he play for the best sports team ever (the Rangers), he was very open about his love, not only for his family, but for Christ, and he’d overcome his struggles with addiction and substance abuse to become one of the finest hitters in Rangers – no – in baseball history. This guy was the real deal, a living legend.  Even though I’d never met him, I’ll never forget how proud I felt when, after one particularly awesome home run, one of the announcers stated, “The best hitter in baseball shows you why he’s the best hitter in baseball.”

No doubt about it; having Josh Hamilton play for your team was definitely something to brag about.

Unfortunately, when you turn someone into a hero, it only hurts that much worse when they disappoint you.  And that’s not their fault.  All heroes are human.  No human is perfect.

Josh Hamilton has had a pretty disappointing year.  From his complacent attitude and lack of effort at the end of last season, to signing with our known rivals, to the “Not a Baseball Town” debacle, it’s easy to see why his former fan base wasn’t exactly thrilled to see him make his grand return to The Ballpark in Arlington.

I’ll be the first to admit his remarks about Texas, the Rangers, and the fans ticked me off.  We loved Josh Hamilton.  We cheered for him.  We supported him through everything.  He was our hometown hero.  I’m not at all surprised that, upon his return to Texas, the fans booed him.  If I had been there, I probably would have been right there with them.

That being said, I think Rangers fans went too far.  I’ve read reports that fans said ugly things to his wife and children.  The abuse was so nasty that she had to call security.  I saw signs that taunted Josh for his alcohol and drug history.  Rangers fans chanted “Crack-Head” from the stands.

I understand booing Josh for the hurtful remarks about his former fans and for, come on, signing with the Angels, the one team in the world that Texans despise more than the New York Yankees.  Any former Ranger who signs with the Angels should expect to be booed.  Like I said, I would have been booing too.

But the attacks on his family and on his personal demons?  That’s going too far.  And maybe I’m a hypocrite for saying this.  It does kind of sound like I’m saying “This kind of jeering and abuse is okay, but the other is bad.  Don’t do it.”  But the world of baseball is a little different than the real world.  In baseball, opposing teams expect to be booed.  I’ve booed the Tigers, the Yankees, the Angels, the Oakland Athletics, Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, CJ Wilson, Mike Trout, just to name a few.  If I ever met David Freese, you can bet I’d boo him for stealing the World Series from us (but I’d probably apologize, because, unfortunately, he is really cute).  Usually, booing someone in baseball isn’t personal.  But with Josh Hamilton, it is.  That would have been hard enough without the personal attacks on his family, on his little girls who were just there to support their Daddy, and the taunts about his past.

Before this series, I wanted nothing more than to see Josh Hamilton fail at the plate.  I have to admit, I’m thrilled that the Rangers won two of the three games, and ultimately, this series, against the Angels.  But instead of feeling like justice was served, that Josh got what he deserved, all I feel for my former hero is pity.

I hope for peace, both for him and his family, and I hope that the next time he plays here, the fans are at least a little more merciful.

Hate the team?  Fine.  Hate the player?  Fine.  Hate the person?  Not fine.  Never fine.

On that note, I hope the Angels fail miserably.

And go Rangers.

My Manuscript

Well, I finally finished my query letter!  I’ve got to be honest, I never thought it would be so difficult to write a one-page letter.  But, as a couple of my creative writing professors have pointed out in the past, I am a loquacious person.  Of course it’s hard for me to fit everything I want to say onto one page.

So, as I get ready to begin the whole process of querying, I’m still not going to give away too much about my manuscript, but I thought I could at least share a little more about it.

This is the second manuscript I have completed.  It is the first manuscript that I have edited three times over and allowed other people to read and critique.  These people include my family (of course), friends, strangers, and even my high school English teacher.  I have gotten a lot of constructive feedback, helpful advice, and words of encouragement, all of which I appreciate immensely.  

This idea is one that has evolved over the course of about four years.  I must have started trying to write it about five times before I finally found a formula, plot, and characters that really worked.   

There is one character in the manuscript that has been around since the very beginning.  He is the only one that never changed.  

The official word count is 78,631.   

A few years ago, when I was working on a different manuscript, I kept going back, reading it, and thinking that I didn’t like it as much as I thought I did while I was writing it.  I liked the characters, but there was no real point to the story, no conflict, no direction, and that always bothered me.  However, I’ve gone back and read my new manuscript multiple times, and I am happy (and a little shocked) to discover I always like even more than I did while I was writing it.  

I have already begun writing the sequel to this manuscript.  In fact, I had the sequel planned out before I knew what was going to happen in the first one.

Encouraging Words

I got my manuscript back from my friend’s writer friend.  She had nothing but kind and encouraging word for me, and I can’t even begin to describe how much I appreciate her taking the time to read and comment.  

So now that I’ve read her notes, I guess the next step is completing and sending out the query letters!  Does anyone else find writing a short synapsis of their manuscript really difficult?  Because this is harder than writing my entire novel.  

Anyone have any words of wisdom?  

Finding an Agent

So, in the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of research on literary agents.  I have a list going of whom I want to query, but to be honest, the whole process is intimidating and a little confusing.  Not the writing a letter part, but trying to decide whom to query.  The problem isn’t the agencies.  They are all very helpful and resourceful and specific about what kind of literature they want to represent.  

My problem is I’m not sure what my genre my book is.  

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of Meg Cabot and Nicholas Sparks.  I like to think my book and my writing style are a bit of a combination of the two.  I’m not as quirky or girly as Meg Cabot and I’m not as steamy or mushy as Nicholas Sparks, but my story has several similar elements to both authors. 

Off the bat, I’m tempted to say the closest fit I can figure for my manuscript would be Paranormal/Romance, because there are ghosts and there is a little romance.  The problem is that whenever I hear the words “Paranormal/Romance,” I think of Twilight and all the other supernatural love stories it’s spawned inspired over the years.  You know, the ones with really dramatic titles, pink and purple and dark blue covers mixed with black and silver, and a ridiculously attractive person staring down at the ground and looking pensive.  That is not my story at all.  Yeah, my story has paranormal elements (ghosts), but there are no fallen angels, vampires, witchcraft schools, half-humans, or anything of the sort and the romance is light, fluffy, and clean (I try to keep my work PG-13).  There are also elements of suspense (because hello, we need a plot), character development, revelations along the way, and, if you want to read it in such a way, a touch of Christianity and spirituality mixed in.  All in all, however, it is a general work of fiction with a few ghosts thrown in.   

For the record, this is the most I’ve ever written about my book online.  It has been copyrighted, but I’m still not ready to post too much more information, such as title, characters, etc…  Don’t want to give it all away!  I’m just hoping that I might figure out what to do as far as pitching/query goes.  Or maybe, if I’m lucky, someone might see this post and offer me some guidance!

A girl can hope! 

Anyway, thanks for reading and if you have any advice or input, I’d be glad to receive it.  

 

 

Owl Post

Growing up, I was always an artsy kid.  I loved writing, reading, and all kinds of artwork.  I took every after-school sculpting, drawing, and painting class my school had to offer.  I guess you could say that creativity has always been my calling. 

However, as much as I love to write and make art, my true passion has always been wildlife and nature.  Maybe I write and make art because of my love for the natural world.  Along with being an author, I also dream of being a wildlife photographer. 

This afternoon, I got a rare treat.  My mother texted me that there was a baby owl up near the store where she works.  I’ve seen owls before at festivals and in zoos, but you rarely see them out and about in their natural habitat (well, as natural as you can get in the suburbs). 

This particular owl was a screech owl, and obviously very young.  He was still in the process of losing his baby feathers and growing into his adult plumage.  I went a little crazy taking pictures, but he didn’t seem to mind.  He was probably hoping I would go away and let him sleep. 

He really was beautiful, and seeing him totally made my day, even if he didn’t bring me my Hogwarts acceptance letter.    

Oh well.  Maybe next time. 

Image

 

Another Week

It’s the end of another week.  Not all that much to report.  I went back to the library for more books for my new manuscript.  I’ve been talking a little to the woman who is helping me with editing, but her friend is still reading.

My mom and I ended up having to take Midnight to the vet today.  There was nothing seriously wrong with her, but the procedure to take care of the problem was, to put it lightly, unpleasant.  She is home now and is still trying to decide if she’s going to forgive us or not.  As far as she is concerned, we’re just lucky that we’re still allowed to live in her house.

I texted the saga to my sister, who found the whole situation hilarious, and as a result, ended up creating this little masterpiece.

Image

That’s my mom, my sister, and me.  I’m the one with the cat on top of my head.

So yeah.  That was my day.

The Struggle

I went back to the library today to return books that I checked out and to check out some new ones.  I checked out five different books, all on the same subject, for half a chapter of my new manuscript that I need to get written.  Why?  Because this chapter includes sailing and I’ve never sailed before in my life.  I’ve kayaked.  I love kayaking.  But I do not know how to work a sailboat.  This should be fun.

Also, I checked out three other books that I want to read and now I am forced to decide whether I want to be a responsible writer and get to work finishing my chapter or if I want to be self-indulgent and read.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to go with self-indulgent, since I’ve already spent money on a huge cookie that I did not need. 

And I’ve already eaten it. 

Life is hard.

How to Survive A Horror Flick

As I write this, I am watching Sinister with my mom and my sister.  I’ve been wanting to see it ever since my sister, who is not easily spooked, declared it the most disturbing movie she’d ever seen.  So disturbing, in fact, that she told me that I wasn’t allowed to see it.  She thinks I’m a wimp because I got scared watching The Woman in Black with Harry Pot – I mean Daniel Radcliffe.  

I won’t deny that this movie is very disturbing.  But my sister told me so much about it, that I knew what to expect, so I’m pretty okay right now.  What usually scares me most about horror movies (like The Woman in Black) is when things jump out and surprise you.  I am very easily startled.  My sister is a bit smarter than I am, so she gets freaked out by all the deep, twisted psychological stuff.  Me?  I scream every time something pops out of the darkness and yells, “BOO!”  

Anyway, watching this movie, I realized that characters in these horror flicks would have a much better chance of survival if they stuck to a few basic guidelines.

1.  Don’t go in the attic.  Nothing good ever comes from going into the attic.  The same goes for the basement and especially the woods.  NEVER EVER GO INTO THE WOODS.       

2.  Never tell the antagonist or psychotic stalker or crazy killer that you’re going to call the police.  When you’re in a situation with an antagonist, you don’t provoke them.  You tell them exactly what they want to hear, play along, so that as soon as they leave, you can make a run for it.  Then call the police.    

3.  Don’t try to be the hero.  It’s never pathetic to ask for help, especially from someone who knows what they’re doing.

4.  On the flip side, if you are a side character in a horror movie, never offer to help the protagonist, especially if you are the only person who can help.  You will always end up dead at that pivotal moment when you are the protagonist’s only hope.

5.  The moment you realize there is something wrong, bail.  Get the heck out of the haunted house or creepy forest as fast as your feet can carry you.  

Bonus:  Don’t marry crazy artists or writers who get so obsessed with their craft that they go crazy.