It's been a while since I've been on the blog. I know I've written posts like this before but sometimes things are worth repeating.
I have some fabulous author friends (two of whom I was fortunate enough to co-author SUMMER CRUSH with) that I've promised to give some TLC on their upcoming releases this month. And sadly I've fallen flat on my face. It's called real life. And it sucks.
To S.D. Wasley and Bridie Hall... I promise I have not forgotten you, my friends! I will get your lovely titles up on this blog :) I know this will happen because I'm pretty sure February was my hell month and thank God, beginning tomorrow, it's a new month and I couldn't open my arms any wider to welcome it!
This month real life happened to me. I sometimes think people see our social media and envision writers residing in the Swiss Mountains nestled in a tiny log cabin sipping hot chocolate working on our next manuscript. That could be true for some writers, but for most, it's not. And this month that dream couldn't be any further from the truth.
The truth is this: If I posted what I looked like right at this moment you'd see someone who is a nurse, just put in 140 hours in one week (yes, that is correct) has blood shot eyes (not from drugs, just caffeine and lack of sleep) hair that hasn't been brushed in 8 days, acne from stress (this part really pisses me off as I just assumed this problem would go away after going through the hell that is called adolescence) a fever blister on thine lips and I'm wearing my glasses instead of contacts because said stress caused a damn ulcer to form in my right eye. So ... not a pretty picture. It's called real life.
Last week I lost a patient. It's been hard on me. This is the part of my job that never gets easier no matter how many times you go through it. You never forget a patient. Never. When they depart this world, they still stay with you. Especially those last moments because you always second guess yourself. Did I do enough to make her comfortable? Was she pain free? What was her last thought? Could she hear my voice telling her through the narcotics that she mattered in this world? That she was special and she was loved? I don't know. I'll never know. And as a nurse (a seasoned one at that) that part can consume you.
So ... there's a cautionary tale to not assume someone's life is great based off what they post or what their profile pic looks like (for fun, I should post one of me ... but I have to draw a line somewhere). I'd be like me doing a before and after but in reverse :)
But on to book related things. Among all the above, I still write, still participate in contests, and I can't hardly bring myself to say this next part but in retrospect I'll blame it on the lack of sleep and not being in the right frame of mind ... I've had several requests from literary agents on my YA Contemporary, The Boxer and the Butterfly.
I have never posted about my submissions process until AFTER said title was a signed, sealed and a delivered deal, only because (while I appreciate and support other author's brave journeys) the sting of rejection is hard enough. I never wanted to share while going through it. Maybe it's a suffer in silence kind of thing that I can only talk about once I've recovered with a contract. I don't know. But I've seen authors do this, and I admire their courage in putting themselves out there for everyone else to see. I've just never been able to do it. Is my New Years resolutions coming in late?
Again, I don't know. I just learned from this with my first title (that seems so long ago, and I'm a different writer ... time and experience can do that to you) when that first agent request came trickling in my inbox and I just knew said agent was the one .... only to end in a rejection. But when you tell everyone at your work and then see the sympathy in their eyes when they ask how's it going? to then tell them you were rejected ..., I don't know if you can put those feelings into words. At least I can't. So, years later ... here I am putting myself out there.
I posted about doing Pit2Pub and was shocked and thrilled at the same time when my pitch received several favorites. In the end, I grew cold feet. Could I actually garner the attention of a literary agency? With 5 titles and 5 years under my belt, we shall see. But there is a big difference this time around. Me. I am different. I'm not the green author I was 5 years ago. I'm still a fledgling in the industry, but I have more confidence in my writing. And no matter where The Boxer and the Butterfly ends up, I'm proud of it.
This title was written from personal experience. Not in a memoir kind of way, but in a way that I hope speaks to the diversity I grew up with and in. My sister is half Indian. Her daughter is half-Mexican. I worked with several Italians when I graduated and became immersed in their culture. I combined all of that and speak to the issue of poverty, teenage pregnancy, 2 of the secondary characters are homosexual. I don't hold back in this title. Because I don't have to. I cover some tough topics. And it felt good.
I loved writing my PNR titles (who doesn't love to escape) but once I wrote Sutton Summer, my first YA Contemporary .... it got me to thinking ... I loved that title. Why? Because it's real life. It's something we can relate to. And even if we can't, it shows that it exists.