HUGE GIGANTIC EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT

So… remember how I’d submitted the Chick Lit Romance to a couple small presses back in December? And how I got requests for fulls?

Well, I am now officially signed with Soul Mate Publishing for that manuscript…

excited

…as well as…

excited2

…subsequent titles in a series!

squee-o

 

No release date yet, but you can bet your buttons I’ll keep you all updated.

Remembering What I’m Doing Here

This past week has been something of a comedy of errors around here. Babycakes has been suffering through her very first cold (at least we made it six months without any illnesses at all), which has included a fever and such bad post-nasal drip that she’s gagged and thrown up four times and has had a terrible time sleeping, even after we elevated the head of her crib mattress.

Whether it’s due to my own lack of sleep or just first-time mom with baby’s first cold jitters, I’ve been having a series of mom-fails that have included gagging my child with Tylenol (that was the first puke-fest), jamming a nasal aspirator too far into her nose (because she decided to flail at a most inopportune time), dripping saline drops into her eye because she does not want to have them put into her nose (again, flail), and, perhaps the worst, sitting her on the bathroom floor so I could get her ready for her bath, only to have her faceplant on said bathroom floor.

INcredibles Baby

And like the saying goes, when it rains, it pours. Among all the other life stuff going on, I’ve heard back from both of the editors I submitted the chick lit romance to back in December. One asked me to revise and resubmit, and the other is interested outright.

omg gif

Sometimes, in the midst of being a stay at home mom, I forget to think about myself and the goals I have for my writing career. My family, the hubs especially, is so supportive. But finding time to devote to writing is often the biggest challenge. I know it’s important to find that time somehow, and now that Babycakes is older, it is getting easier.

But it’s times like this, as with that nap transition/sleep regression crap we went through a few weeks ago, that I get so wrapped up in seeing to her needs, I forget to prioritize myself.

Or anything else, for that matter.

It’s only ridiculous luck that I heard back from both editors within a couple weeks of Babycakes getting sick and needing extra attention.

But I need to remember what I’m doing here.

Being on maternity leave has not made me stop being a teacher.

It has not changed the fact that I am on my way to being a published author.

Somehow, I can and will find a way to balance everything. It’ll be hard, and some days I’ll probably want to run screaming into the night.

But I can do this.

Checking in on the BIAW goal….

Well, somehow the nap and sleep fairies were very kind to me this week. Not only did I meet my Book in a Week goals, I surpassed my word count goal. Granted, only by about 200 words or so, but it put me square in the middle of what could be the penultimate chapter of the historical romance, so that’s good. I’d been stuck for a while.

Additionally, I managed to dust every room in the house, clean three bathrooms (the master bath shower notwithstanding, because that’s a whole party all in itself), vacuum, wrap Christmas presents, make and wrap my niece’s birthday present, and watch two episodes of “Crossbones” with the hubs.

Oh, I also got a request to submit some sample chapters to an editor. ūüôā I know nothing could come of it, but it’s the first time I’ve been asked to submit pages. So bonus points for me.

I’m signing off, for the most part, for the rest of the year. I hope everyone has a restful, happy, and safe holiday week, and I’ll see you all in 2015!

Revisions, Synopses, & Contests, Oh My!

The past couple weeks have been absolutely crazy around here. For the record, I have nine (count ’em, NINE) days of school left before summer vacation. Between last minute grading, CNYRW meetings, Book In A Week challenges, and two training workshops geared toward the new CCSS math modules put out by New York State, I feel like I haven’t had time to breathe.

Fortunately, the hubs and I officially booked our summer road trip lodging last night, and I’m looking forward to getting out of Dodge again for some quality time.

I’ve been focusing a lot on revisions to the HFMO Part 1 the past few weeks. My May BIAW goal was to revise and edit about 36 scenes for POV consistency, and look at some “scene and sequel” things. It went exceedingly well. ¬†I only had a few scenes that needed a total overhaul, most just needed a bit of tweaking. Of course, I then decided it was time for a serious sit-down from page 1 to page however-many-pages-the-sucker-is-long to do line editing. Somehow, I managed to cut about 2000 words in the process (and I still have 4 chapters to go!)

Then I thought I should really take a careful look at my query and synopsis, and I did a bit of tweaking there. I think I’m getting better with the synopsis, and I’m close with my query blurb. I suppose someday I’ll be confident in that particular skill. Because it’s hard and I hate it with the fire of a thousand suns.

And then I hemmed and hawed for about a week over entering the HFMO Part 1 in the Unpublished Maggie Awards, held by the Georgia Romance Writers. This year, they added a “novel with romantic elements” category, which nicely fits the HFMO because it’s not a “true” romance, even though it has a couple love stories. I contemplated, I worried over the synopsis, I nit-picked my first few chapters to make sure they were as clean as possible. And then I took the plunge. Away my entry went this afternoon!

Now I just have to wait until August 15th to find out the results.

New Year’s Writing Resolutions

In general, I don’t “do” New Year’s resolutions. ¬†I’ve had years where I’ve made lists of grand goals and ways in which I was going to completely change my life, but by the end of February it’s all pretty much fallen by the wayside.

Come to think of it, I’ve only had about three resolutions, ever, that I’ve really stuck to. ¬†Last year, I resolved to get healthy and fit, which involved monitoring what I was eating and trying to stick to a semi-regular workout regimen. ¬†And you know what, I did it. ¬†Did I hit my weight loss goal? No. ¬†But a year later – a year that included two months when I wasn’t even¬†allowed to workout by my doctor’s orders – I’m only 4 pounds short of my goal. ¬†So that’s not bad.

The other two resolutions I’ve managed to keep in my life were writing related, and I think dated back to my 2005 resolutions. ¬†I had started writing the sequel to the “magnum opus” when I was in college, and it was fluttering about in limbo until I sat myself down and said, “Look. ¬†You need to finish the draft of this thing in 2005.” ¬†And I did.

That same year, I said I was going to go back and start the rewrite of the “magnum opus”, and it didn’t look good for a while. Mainly because we weren’t talking about just revising. ¬†We were looking at completely scrapping the original MS and starting over. But literally on New Year’s Eve, I wrote the first sentence of the first draft of the rewrite.

Seven years later, that rewrite is in the revising/editing/submitting stage. ¬†It’s scary. It’s awesome. It’s scarily awesome.

So really, other than my healthy lifestyle changes, the only resolutions I can seem to keep relate to writing. ¬†And I’ve learned that those goals can’t be ridiculously grand and must be revisited periodically. ¬†So here’s the list of writing resolutions for 2013:

  1. Finish revisions to the HFMO (that’s Historical Fiction Magnum Opus, in case you didn’t figure it out already) Part 1, by the end of January
  2. Continue submitting HFMO Part 1 to agents and small pubs (ongoing)
  3. Finish Chick Lit Romance (hereby referred to as CLR) first draft and distribute to critique group(s), by the end of April
  4. Finish Historical Romance (HR) first draft and distribute to critique group(s), by the end of August
  5. Revise/edit/submit at least five short fiction pieces, by the end of August
  6. Begin revisions to HFMO Part 2 and distribute to critique group(s), by end of October
  7. Research self-publishing options, just in case, by the end of December
  8. Look into necessary steps to start up proofreading/editing services, by the end of December

See, giving myself deadlines right there in the resolutions is going to help. If I get to the end of February and it looks like #3 and #4 won’t happen, I can adjust. ¬†Et cetera. ¬†You get the gist.

By the way, in case you were wondering, I’m in Submission Limbo right now. ¬†I blame the holidays – Christmas got the better of my time management. ¬†But my first submission to an agent ended in a form rejection. ¬†Via email, within three days, so it was a little like ripping a ¬†Band Aid off. ¬†I’m okay with it – I was aiming pretty high with that first query. ¬†After all:

“Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.” ¬†~ W. Clement Stone

Warning: Now Entering the Submission Zone

In September, I took another leap of faith and submitted my historical fiction “magnum opus” (part one, anyway) to the Historical Novel Society Award contest. The long list of winners was supposed to be announced today. I haven’t seen anything on the website, but since I didn’t hear anything, I assume I am not on the list.

At the beginning of November, I had sort of set a goal for myself to finish revisions to my MS and start firing it off to agents and small publishers. ¬†I really couldn’t do anything until I heard (or didn’t hear) about the HNS Award long list, because you weren’t supposed to make changes to your submitted material while it was under consideration. But as this week crept along and I realized I probably wasn’t going to get an email telling me I made the long list of contestants, I decided I’d get my rear in gear and get those submissions out.

Well, it’s November 30th at 10:53 ¬†p.m. EST, and that hasn’t happened yet.

That’s not to say I’m not ready to do so. ¬†I am. ¬†It’s just that between all the stuff that happens in an elementary school in the month of November (report cards, parent conferences, etc.), I got a little bit behind. ¬†Throw in Thanksgiving, and it’s just a ridiculous month to try and get anything productive done.

Hence the reason I, yet again, decided to skip NaNoWriMo this year.

So I didn’t meet my submission goal in the least. ¬†But I promised myself I would send out at least two submissions this weekend. ¬†Only two, you ask? ¬†Well, I figure if I spread out my submissions, rather than sending out dozens at once, I’ll better be able to keep track of what I”m doing. ¬†Because I’m anal about this sort of stuff and have a spreadsheet that needs to be meticulously maintained.

I’ve submitted before. ¬†The magnum opus, in its awkward, melodramatic adolescence, was submitted to two different small presses when I was a freshman in college. ¬†Yep. ¬†Li’l old 19 year old me send that awful manuscript out into the big, bad world of publishing. ¬†Both obviously rejected the MS, but one sent me a personalized letter that pointed out both strengths and weaknesses in my work. It really is what ultimately made me realize I needed to completely rewrite the sucker. ¬†12 years later, it’s almost ready to spread its wings.

Additionally, I have a couple short stories slated for revisions, which I plan to submit as well before Christmas.

I hope, anyway. ¬†Ultimately, you don’t know what your MS will do until you bite the bullet and send it out there. ¬†During the inevitable wait time following said submissions, however, I make no promises about retaining my sanity in this particular realm. ¬†There may be fretting and obsessing and wringing of hands, possibly some gnashing of teeth.

But that’s part of being a writer, isn’t it?