Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNo madness!

All this NaNoWriMo craziness has made me realize that I'm probably one of ten writers I know who aren't participating.  Do I feel left out?  A bit.  But I made a conscious decision not to participate, and here's why.

NaNo is great for getting you started.  50,000 words in a month is huge.  If I didn't already have two WIPs I probably would have done it.  But I've got 21,000 words of one written, and almost 15,000 of the other.  It's not fair to start NaNo in the middle of a WIP.  And it's not fair to my WIPs to shelve them while I start on something completely new.

That said, I have nothing but admiration for those who do NaNo.  And I hope to do it next year.  I just need to have my WIPs done by then!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ten Things about Me

I was nominated to do this 10 Things thing going around the internet by Lisa L Regan.  According to her post, I'm supposed to tell you ten things you might not know about me, and nominate a few other bloggers to do the same thing.  So without much further ado:

1.  My children are the greatest accomplishment of my life.  I went through hell to have them (infertility treatments, surgeries, and in vitro fertilization) and wouldn't change a minute of it.

2.  I was in an improvisational comedy group in college, called Just Add Water.  Yes, I was funny at one point in my life.  On a side note, we chose not to bring Demetri Martin into our group.  Yes, THAT Demetri Martin. The stand up comic with his own show on Comedy Central.  Good choice, no?

3.  When I was running for class president my senior year of high school, I wore a sandwich board depicting a giant duck asking for votes.  And I won.  Probably no thanks to the duck board.

4.  I love all kinds of music.  Classical, hard rock, country, rap, it doesn't matter.  If it's got a beat, I'm down with it.

5.  I can play piano, harpsichord, and pipe organ.  Unfortunately, I don't play them well anymore.

6.  I can't stand white sauce.  Alfredo sauce, sour cream, cream cheese, ranch salad dressing all earn a big "yucko" from me.

7.  I like banana flavored things, but can't stand bananas.  It's the texture, people.

8.  I broke my left arm when I was four.  I tripped over my own feet and fell down a hill.  My parents thought I was fine, until I woke up the next day with a giant, purple wrist.  I still remind my mom of her neglect on a regular basis.

9.  I found our current house while driving my sleeping child around in the car.  I didn't care that gas was almost 4 dollars a gallon.  She only slept while I drove, so drove I did.  I saw the house and fell in love with it, before I'd even seen the inside.  I hope I never have to move again.

10.  I hurt my knee wearing stiletto heels and dancing.  Apparently, grace is not my strong suit.

And now, to the people I'd personally like to learn more about.

Gennifer Albin

Sarah Ahiers

Melinda Williams

Meika Usher

Hope you all join in the fun!  I certainly enjoyed it, though it was difficult to come up with ten semi-interesting things.  Did I succeed?  Comment if you'd like!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I've been nominated for a Liebster award!

Many thanks to Joanna77 for the nomination.  It's an honor to be thought of, so thank you, Joanna77.  Here's a little more information on what the Liebster Award is all about:
‘The Liebster Award is said to have originated in Germany and translated to English, Liebster means “beloved.” The Liebster Award is meant to bring more attention to blogs with fewer than 200 followers and has four rules.
  1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  3. Post the award on your blog.
  4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the Internet. So I have decided to nominate the following five favourite blogs:
Alex Djuricich (full disclosure-- Alex is my husband, and he needs more blog followers. I do like his blog, though.)

Visit these blogs and follow if you like them.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2001

The day dawned bright and sunny.  A perfect day to be outside.  Too bad I was stuck inside at work.  I worked in a small ER in southern Indiana, where pick-up trucks ruled and hunting was taught at birth.  The first plane had just hit the WTC when we got the call.

A man, out hunting with his buddy, had just been shot.  He had buckshot from neck to knees and was in pretty bad shape.  They were bringing him to us, hoping against hope that the injuries weren't as severe as they appeared.

Unfortunately for the man, the injuries were quite severe.  I placed a tube in his chest to reinflate a lung collapsed by the shotgun blast.  I told the man we were going to get him to a trauma center as soon as possible, and to hang in there.

We called for the chopper.  By this time, the second plane had hit the tower, and the pentagon was in flames.  Nothing could fly.  Not even a medical helicopter all the way out in Indiana.

We sent the man by ambulance, but the ride took over an hour.  By the time he got trauma center, he was already infected with bacteria from the wounds in his abdomen.  Three days later he was gone.

Why do I tell you this story?  Because 9/11 didn't just hit NYC, DC, and Pennsylvania.  It hit all of us.  Some of us were affected in big ways, others in small, but it profoundly changed the lives of all Americans forever.

I will forever remember the man I resuscitated on September 11, 2001.  I will always add another number to the accounting of dead from that day.

Take a moment today and remember those who are gone forever.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Campaign Assignment Numero Uno

Here's my first assignment in the Rachel Harrie Campaign, something I've never tried before-- Flash Fiction! Here's the actual assignment:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!

 I don't know how it'll turn out, but I had fun doing it.  I managed to complete all three aspects of the challenge, all before having coffee, which is pretty incredible for me.  So, without further ado, here it is!

The door swung open, revealing the chaos within.  No light existed in this vacuum, the light from the hallway bulb fighting to illuminate the space.  The stench of something long forgotten wafted up from the floor, assaulting nostrils and offending sensibilities.  I feared what I might find as I contemplated the unthinkable: entering.
Perhaps I was over thinking things.  As far as I knew, no one had entered the door and failed to return.  All I had to do was go in, complete my task, and get out.  Simple, right?
But I didn’t do well with small, enclosed spaces.  I didn’t do well with manual labor.  And this job combined the two in a place that scared me.  It needed to be done, though.  I rolled up my sleeves, took a deep breath, and entered.
I looked around the area.  Games were on the top shelf, clothes were stuffed into every conceivable corner, and an old bowling ball of my dad’s threatened to fall off a shelf in the corner.  One small bump is all it would take.  It would land on my foot and break it.
Enough.  I was out of this closet.  Behind me, the door swung shut.

That's it.  Questions?  Comments?  Ways to improve?  All are welcome.  My entry is number 17-- don't forget to "like" it if you do, in fact, like it.  

Monday, August 29, 2011

I joined the campaign!

I joined the Third Writers' Platform Building Campaign, and am looking forward to networking with other authors and writers.  It's a great event, where writers of all stripes get together, work together, and build online presence together.  I'm hoping to learn a lot from the other participants. If you're interested in learning more, go here and check it out.  But fair warning-- she's closing the site to new participants on Wednesday, so go soon!

My thoughts are with all of those out East, especially in Vermont and the Catskills, who are dealing with catastrophic flooding right now.  We're keeping you close to our hearts.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The worst part of the writing game...

... is the waiting.  I feel like I've been waiting for responses from agents and editors for months.  And it's because I have.  Here's how the game goes:

1.  Write a book.
2.  Write a query.
3.  Send said query to thoroughly researched agents.
4.  Wait.
5.  Wait some more.
6.  Wait for it...
7.  Either a rejection or a request arrives.  If it's a rejection, file it away.  If it's a request, send the material.
8.  Wait.
9.  Wait some more...

You get the picture.  The worst part about it is, there's no one to blame.  The agents and editors are slammed with work.  They've got clients with whom they're working, they've got submissions to read, and they've got the slush pile (that's unsolicited query letters to the non-writer folk out there) to wade.  While I think it would be fun to read as much as agents read, I get that it could get really old, really quickly.

So what does one do when waiting?  Well, I've got my day job.  I've got children with whom I can play. And I've got another baby: my work-in-progress.  I've added a couple thousand words a day for the past week, and it's starting to really shape up.  I might even come up with a plot instead of just characters soon.  It certainly beats staring at the computer screen.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

When life gives you lemons...

So my lovely minivan got crunched yesterday by a beverage truck.  The front end is smashed, the car is not drivable, so I spent a good portion of my afternoon in a tow truck.  Luckily it wasn't a hit and run, so I have the other driver's info, and hopefully I won't have to pay a deductible.  Said beverage truck hit my parked car while I was inside a building at an appointment.  I wasn't even in the car.  Couldn't be my fault, right?  Well, you'd think so, but the driver's insurance is likely going to contest my claim.  Wonderful.  And it wasn't even a Budweiser truck.  At least that would have given it better story value.

Then I called to get a rental car.  It could be several weeks before my mom-mobile is fixed, so I need a car. You'd think a rental car agency would have cars.  But again, you'd be wrong.  No cars, no vans, not even a scooter.  So I had to wait until this morning to get a car.

It gets better.

My choices this morning?  A smart car or a hearse.  Now, the smart car would have been OK, except that I need to put two booster seats in it.  And you can't put a kid in a booster seat in the front seat or a hatchback.

The hearse it is.

Now, it's a perfectly functional car.  I'm not going to put the type, just 'cause I don't want to get sued, but it's black, it's long, and it looks like I'm transporting corpses.  It uses flexfuel, so at least I'll get good gas mileage while towing the dead.  Bad enough that I don't have a garage door opener and won't be able to put it inside.  No, this hearse will be waiting outside my house for everyone to see.

Even better?  I work in a hospital.  In an ER.  This car will be parked outside of said ER.  What kind of message does that send?  "If we don't make you better, hey, at least the funeral home journey will be quick!" or "Bring out your dead!"

Monty Python's got nothin' on me.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I CAN say no!

So can someone tell me how in the hell I ended up with five bags of clothes, empty containers of Dairy Queen, and a time share in the Dominican Republic?

I really can say no.  I did it today, in fact.  I said no to my daughter when she wanted a dress three sizes too big just because it was white satin and looked like a wedding dress.  I said no to the lady at Kohl's who wanted to me to sign up for yet another credit card in order to get 20% off.  And I said no to going to Target to do yet more shopping.  (Aren't five bags of clothing enough?)

But that's small potatoes.  The time share?  That's huge.  But I fully blame my husband for not saying no to my begging.  After all, don't we need a place in the Caribbean to go when life gets to be too much?

Looks like my main character is going to be going to the Dominican Republic for a medical missions trip.  I need the tax write off!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

ThrillerFest lives up to the hype

What an amazing weekend. I've been to conferences in other industries before, but have never felt the sense of community as I did in New York City.  Who would've thought such a big city could create such a cozy sense of belonging?

I was starstruck at first.  Come on, we're talking Steve Berry, John Sandford, Karin Slaughter here.  The first day, I just sat with my jaw hanging open as they taught what they knew at CraftFest.  Talk about learning from the masters.  I'll just say that I have almost an entire legal pad of notes, and I didn't even make it to the conference until Wednesday afternoon. (Silly day job.)

But I was soon talking to other authors, which is totally out of character for me.  I met a wonderful woman from New Zealand who is going to be my new critique partner.  I met another quite nice lady from New Hampshire who practiced pitching with me.  I walked up to another author (a NYTimes best-selling author, by the way) from Indiana and introduced myself.  I pitched agents without soiling myself.  And I went up to Karin Slaughter, one of my idols, and said hello.  She even said hello back.

So what's the take-home point?  Conferences are all about networking.  They're not about creating a hierarchy, or about pointing out who is successful and who is not.  They're about creating a tight-knit community of like-minded people who need one another to get to the next level.  That's the real reason for conferences.  I'll do well to remember that the next time I attend one.

Oh, and as for ThrillerFest?  If I can't attend next year, I think I'll cry.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Twitter made me think

On Twitter today, an agent asked "What would you like to tell an agent?"  That got me thinking.  There's so many things I'd like to tell/ask an agent that I'm just going to get some of them out here.

First off, I love when agents give me a "yes" or "no."  I hate being left hanging for months on end.  I'd much rather know it's a "no" than wonder if I might, possibly, get to yes.  At least, after a month or so.  (I can take the wondering for a while.)  If it's too difficult to respond to everyone, which I get is quite likely, at least have an auto-responder that let's me know that my query got to your inbox.  I'm always wondering if I got filtered like spam.  If I got an auto-response, I know I'm in the cue, and if I don't hear anything in eight weeks, I'm almost certain it's a no.  And that closure does wonders.

I also like it when an agent's website clearly delineates what he or she is interested in.  It also helps if it says that the agent has a "no response= no" policy (see above paragraph).  Plus, it's fun to read what the agent represents, what he or she is working on, and what he or she is reading for fun.  Websites are such a great resource for writers, and I love it when an agent has a good one.

What I'd like to know:  How cool is it to read books for a living?  I can only imagine how fun it would be.  Granted, you have to get through a lot of slush to get to the gems, but finding those gems must be such a rush.  If I lived in NYC, I think I'd be looking at a change in occupation.  It sounds like hard work, but fun work for someone who loves books.

How do you pick what you read?  I'm sure that there are times when the query and the book perfectly align, but that can't be common, either.  I hope my query accurately represents my manuscript, but I wonder if other writers even care, or if it's a "get my book read at any cost" game.  I don't like playing games, and I'd bet most agents don't, either.  It must be difficult.

On that note, I'd like to thank the agents for all the hard work that they do.  Wading through slush can't be fun all the time.  Dealing with editors can't be fun all the time.  And dealing with writers who don't know how to take "no" can't be fun, either.  So, thank you, agents.

Now, please sign me!

Friday, June 24, 2011

ThrillerFest part deux

I try not to cover the same topic twice, but I just can't help myself.  I'm way too excited about ThrillerFest, CraftFest, and AgentFest.  I'm excited to go to New York again, where I haven't been in years.  I even went shopping today to get a new outfit in which to pitch agents.  Can you tell I'm thrilled?  (Pun intended again.  And the rules of comedy say I have to make the same joke three times if I make it twice.  Don't say I didn't warn you.)

But I'm also petrified.  I posted my query on a PitchU Pitchfest, but couldn't bring myself to record a pitch. Instead, I've been practicing on my husband.  I think he's getting tired of hearing about CODE.  Or maybe he's tired because our girls keep sneaking into bed with us in the middle of the night.  Could be a combination.  Who knows?

The query review went well, though.  The agent to which I directed it was interested, so yay!  Now to go through the manuscript one more time and make sure it is beyond perfect.  (Yeah, right...)  The enemy of great is good enough.  So it's not good enough.  Not today, anyway.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'm going to THRILLERFEST!

I'm so thrilled!  (Pun intended.)  I was able to switch a couple of shifts, and now I've got the ability to go.  I'm working the night before, but so what?  I'm going to be in the same hotel as Ken Follett, Diana Gabaldon, Michael Palmer, and R.L. Stine.  How freakin' cool is that?

But this also means the clock is ticking.  I've got to finish my revisions before I go, so I can pitch agents at AgentFest.  I need to practice pitching so I don't sound like an idiot.  Heck, I've got to come up with a pitch.  Easier said than done, right?  And I need to research which agents to pitch.

Looks like I've got a lot of work to do.

Friday, June 17, 2011

They say you have to kill your darlings...

But I never realized it would be so difficult!  After receiving some feedback this week, I decided that my novel needed a major revision.  Suffice it to say that my word count will go down, but the quality will go up, and it needs to be done.  The only problem is, it means cutting some scenes from the point of view of my teenaged girl.

Now, don't get me wrong, she's just a character.  But I like her.  I mean, I realllllllly like her.  I like her voice, I like her spunk.  I don't know if that will come through from another POV.  But it needs to be done.  So I'm killing my darling, getting rid of Jess's POV segments, and rewriting them from the POV of my main character.

It's hard to do.  It means I'm going to have to re-imagine some scenes.   I'm also going to have to get rid of the segments from the detective's POV, which will prove even more difficult.  He's the one who figures out who the bad guy is and rushes to save the damsel in distress.  Lucky for me, my heroines have a lot of pluck and can get themselves out of trouble.  They don't need the man to save them.  So it'll all work out.  It's just going to take some doing.

Guess I'd better get off of my blog and get to work!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Submitting is addictive

I feel like I'm on something (which I've never really been, by the way, I just imagine this is the way it feels).  My heart palpitates, my palms get clammy.  My breath comes in short bursts, and I sit, poised over the keyboard, preparing to hit "send."

Yes, submitting is like a drug.  Querying has the same effect, but not as extreme.  I don't know what it is about it that makes me feel so weird.  Could be that I feel like I'm putting my life (and life's work) in someone else's hands.  Could be simple nerves.  Whatever it is, I'm starting to like the feeling.

That's kind of scary.   I know I come from a line of addictive personalities, so I've never let myself do much that could lead to an addiction.  I drink rarely, I've never done drugs, and I won't let myself gamble.  But querying and submitting?  If I want my book out there, I don't have much of a choice.  And I do want my book published.  I really, really do.  So I'll keep querying, and I'll keep submitting.

And I'll keep feeling the rush.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Being impatient

This query process is NOT for the impatient, which makes it a tough fit for me.  I've been delaying gratification for my entire life, and now I want what I want and when I want it.  That's not the way this process works.

Take, for example, a request I got today.  It had been almost two months since I queried this agent, but I'd written her off long ago.  Then, low and behold, a request for a full today!  I'm over the moon.  I'd be beyond thrilled for her representation.

So what have I learned?  Yes, you may ask.  I've learned to tread more slowly.  I've learned that this process moves at its own pace, not at mine.  And I've learned that I need to be methodical when it comes to getting published.  What am I going to do?  I am NOT going to send out the submission today.  I'm too tired after a night shift, and I want to do this right.  I'm going to wait (yes, that's right, WAIT) until at least tomorrow.  I'm going to go over my manuscript with a fine-tooth comb.  Again.  I'm going to check my resources on manuscripts and their submission.  Then, and only then, I'm going to submit to this agent.

And then I'm going to have a glass of wine.  :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Forgot to post my new, improved first page!

Thanks to everyone for their comments.  This is the first page I entered in the contest:

     The woman lay naked on the old barn door, arms tied out from her tiny body, making her look like she was being crucified.  Her long blonde hair coiled under her head, which was taped down to the rough, splintered boards beneath her.  A tube snaked into her lungs and fogged with each breath.  She struggled with her bonds.  Spotlights had been hung in the corners, and the beams focused on the woman.
            Her scrubs were piled in the corner, white coat crumpled on top.  A young man bent over the coat and pulled off a pin.  The diamonds that created a shape of a bone sparkled in the bright light of the barn.
            He pocketed the pin and went over to a box in another corner of the structure.  He pulled out a brown bottle and a scalpel.  He placed a surgical mask over his mouth and nose and walked over to the woman.  She screamed against the tube in her throat.  No sound emerged.
            He stood to her left side.  She squinted in the bright light shining down on her.  He opened up the brown bottle and poured the liquid onto the woman’s left side.  The woman’s breast and chest were stained amber under the solution.  He reclosed the bottle and set it aside.  Hoisting the scalpel, he examined the blade.  The woman squeezed her eyes shut.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

You asked for it, you get it!

I'm entering a "first-250-words" contest run by Shelley Watters, so followers of my blog get to read part of my prologue.  Let me know what you think.  Just know, this is a thriller, so the scene gets rather graphic. This part isn't bad, but if you don't enjoy that sort of thing, I'd stop reading now.  Just FYI.  CODE is a 67,000 word medical thriller.

  The woman lay naked on the bench, arms tied out from her tiny body, making her look like she was being crucified horizontally.  Her long blonde hair coiled under her head, which was taped down to the rough, splintered boards beneath her.  A tube snaked into her lungs and fogged with each breath.  She struggled with the bonds tying her petite arms and legs to the boards they lay upon.
            Her scrubs were piled in the corner, white coat crumpled on top of the pile.  A young man bent over the coat and pulled off a pin.  The diamonds that created a shape of a bone sparkled in the bright light of the barn.  Spotlights had been hung in the corners, and their beams focused on the woman on the bench.
            He pocketed the pin and went over to a box in another corner of the structure.  He pulled out a brown bottle and a scalpel.  He placed a surgical mask over his mouth and nose prior to walking over to the woman.  The woman tried to scream against the tube in her throat.  No sound emerged.
            He stood to the left of his patient.  The woman squinted in the bright light shining down on her.  He opened up the brown bottle, and poured the liquid onto the woman’s left side.  The woman’s left breast and chest stained amber under the solution.  He reclosed the bottle and set it aside.  He hoisted the scalpel, checking the blade for any nicks.  It was perfect.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Take it up a notch

Got my first request for a full this week.  Yippee!  I was so excited I spilled my coffee, then called my hubby, then spilled some more coffee.  (Luckily, said spills were in no way near my computer.)  I was waiting on feedback on my first few chapters so I decided to wait until I got the feedback to send CODE to the agent.  I knew that wait would only be a day.

The feedback was positive-- looks like I've got a good grip on voice and POV, and all my reviewers loved my story.  I didn't have to change a thing!

Still, for completeness, I decided to read through the entire manuscript again.  I found a few things to change, but not much.  Good, right?

So why was I paralyzed when it came time to send my novel?  I was so excited that I literally could not push send.  I was so afraid that I was about to make a mistake.  Not with the agent-- don't get me wrong, I would be thrilled to be represented by him!  I was just afraid that my novel wasn't the best it could be.  I've worked so hard, so long on it.  I know I'll keep working on it until the day my agent and editor tell me to stop.  But I also know it's ready.  So why the fear?

I think it's just fear of the unknown.  This felt so real.  Someone, a complete stranger, wants to read something that I wrote.  He wants to see if it's something he wants to represent.  How awesome is that?

My hubby finally talked me into pushing "send."  I did it and felt instant relief.  Now all I have to do is wait for the agent to respond.  I'm getting pretty good at waiting.  In the meantime, I'm off to work on my next work-in-progress-- MERCY.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Query Practice

Yes, I know everyone says that the more you write, the better you get.  I thought I got it.  Then I discovered, today, that that goes for query writing, too.

I've been working on my query like crazy, and I couldn't figure out why no one was helping me.  I figured I should start helping others, too, instead of just posting comments, but I didn't think I was qualified to help.  Decided to jump in anyway, and low and behold, I find that the query-writing process is getting easier!  Who would've thunk it?  It's also fun to think about the books of other people.  I've been too wrapped in my own manuscript.  I need to start reading more, especially now that my class is winding down and I've finished reading "The Imperfectionists" for it.

So instead of stressing about my own query, I'm going to try to help others with theirs.   I'm going to read other people's books.  I'm going to let my query sit for a while, then come back to it later.   Then, I'll ask for query help again, and see what I get.  It's sure to be a smarter way to approach the process.  Not to mention more fun!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The dreaded "middle"

And no, I'm not talking about my muffin top.

As a writer, the hardest part isn't getting started.  I've got plenty of idea flying around in my brain, and getting a new manuscript going is as easy as jotting down some ideas in the middle of the night during a bathroom run.

And finishing the story isn't that bad, either.  Usually, once I know how things are going to start, I'm pretty sure how they're going to end.  So once I write the beginning, I write the end.  Easy enough, right?

That's when the dreaded white space of death hits.  Now I have to make the beginning meet up with the end in a cohesive, entertaining way.  I have to create the subplots that will make the plot move forward.  And I have to move things around, changing the order to create a story that makes sense.  That's where I am with my WIP, and it kills me.  Every time.  So instead of working on my WIP, I'm polishing my already-polished manuscript, I'm querying like a madwoman, and I'm checking my writing email account every five minutes, just in case a rejection might have come in.

So here it is.  I do so solemnly swear that this afternoon, after lunch, I will work on my WIP.  I will come up with 1000 words.  And I won't complain about it.

Yeah, right.

Monday, May 9, 2011


The query process requires a lot of patience, which for some reason is really difficult for me.  After waiting years and years to be a doctor, I got there.  After waiting years to find the right person for me, I got there.  After years of trying to have children, I got there.  So why is the query process any different?

I think the main difference is that there's nothing I can do to speed it along.  With school, I got to study.  With my husband, I got to date.  With my children, I got to... well, you know.  But all I can do to speed along the query process is query some more.  Then, I've got to wait on responses to all of the new queries.  So in that case, lack of patience just makes things worse!

I know what I need to do.  I need to polish my manuscript so that it is perfect.  I need to work on my new manuscript.  And I need to stay away from my gmail account.  But none of those is going to keep me from tapping my toes and drumming my fingernails.  I guess I need to go where there is no internet available.  Too bad work has internet access, since that is where I am heading next.  I'll just have to keep myself busy doing other things, like my day job.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Did your mother let you out of the house wearing that???

I spent the better part of this afternoon at a dance competition.  My oldest was in one of the youngest groups, and they did a great job.  They danced to a classic song, wore classic costumes, and had a ball.  That's what it's all about right?

Not so fast.  There were a couple of teams wearing next to nothing.  Now, I wouldn't be quite as upset if these were older teams.  (Oh, who am I kidding?  I'd still be upset.)  But these were NINE and TEN year olds wearing burlesque costumes and simulating stripper moves.  I'm not kidding.  All they needed was a pole and they would have been set.

Why can't we let kids be kids?  Why are we forcing them to grow up so fast?  Luckily, my little ones go to a studio where they value dance as a fun way to socialize and not a means to an end.  My understanding is that the sexier outfits and dances get better scores, but our studio doesn't care.  No midriffs were shown by any of our teams.  That makes me proud.

Oh, and my kiddo?  Her team got first place in their division.  That makes me proud, too.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Constructive Criticism

I've had a couple of rejections come back with constructive criticism.  Now I've got to figure out what to do with them.  The two criticisms were different.  Do I take both and change my manuscript?  Do I just wait and see what other agents have to say and change then?  Or do I leave my manuscript as it is, and wait to get representation before making any changes?

I'm taking a class on the debut novel, and so far have gotten nothing but raves about my manuscript.  This makes me reluctant to change.  Well, I'm reluctant to change anyway, but that just reinforces my general predisposition.

What would you do?  Would you change or leave the same?  I'm interested to hear what others have done in this situation, so please leave comments.

For now, I think I'm going to wait to hear about my other submissions that are out there.  I like what I've written and want to leave it for now.  Is that so wrong?

Monday, May 2, 2011

He's gone

Everyone is saying that I'll remember where I was when I heard about Osama being killed.  I'm sorry, but I don't think so.  I'm not going to memorialize him that way.

What will I remember?  I'll remember 9/11.  I'll remember how I watched in horror as the towers came down.  I'll remember how I worried about my friends in NYC, and how I grieved for those who were lost. I'll remember the man who was brought into my emergency department with a gunshot wound to the abdomen, and I'll remember that I couldn't fly him to a trauma center because all flights were grounded.  The death toll may have been officially close to 3000, but I will always think of it as 3001.  I can't be sure my patient would have survived had he been able to fly to Indy, but I'll never know for sure.

That's what I will remember.  What will you?

Monday, April 25, 2011

What to do?

I still have over twenty query letters out there, and wonder what I should be doing now.  I'm still waiting to hear from the one agent who has a partial submission.  Querying agents is not for the impatient or the faint of heart.

I've never taken rejection well, but this process is surprising me.  For once in my life, I'm not taking the rejections personally.  It's not me they don't like, and not necessarily my novel.  It's just that my novel doesn't ignite a fire in the agent, and that's OK.

That being said, should I query some more?  Which query do I use?  Do I use my original query, or the new-fangled query tracker one?  I think I'll wait a couple of days, then send out a few more.  Then I'll wait some more.  Hey, I'm getting good at it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's a new day...

... and I'm going to look at it that way.  So an agent decided she wasn't in love with my book.  So what?  That's just one opinion.  And she gave me constructive criticism with which to make my work better.  The only thing better than that would be getting an offer of representation, and it could have been a lot worse.  So I'm going to look at it like a success and not a failure.  My glass is half full, thank you very much.

So far, it's been a good day.  The nanny brought donuts for me for breakfast, and both of the girls gave me homemade birthday cards.  My girls are so stinking sweet, and they're kind and loving.  I got so lucky in the birth lottery that I ended up with those two souls.  My hubby gave me a card and sour patch kids (my favorite), so today is looking good.  I have the morning to work on writing, I get to work out this evening, and I get to spend the rest of the day with my family.

Plus, it's Good Friday AND Earth Day.  It doesn't get much better than this.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Midlife Crisis

Some people call it a mid-life crisis.  You could call it regression to the teenage years, when impulse control was rare and pimples were the norm.  You could call it immaturity.  But whatever you call it, I call it nice to finally be able to put who I am out there.

When in college and medical school, no one ever talks to you about your career choice.  You just push on through, regardless of whether it's what you should be doing or not.  There are no career counselors, armed with Myers-Briggs or Strong Interest questionnaires, ready to help.  There is no business consultant there to teach how to run a practice.  There is just the student and his or her dreams, no matter how unrealistic they might seem.

I wish there had been someone there for me.  Not necessarily to tell me I was making a mistake, but to tell me to take my time and take everything into consideration.  I wish someone had told me emergency medicine is really hard for a mother with a family.  I wish someone had told me that it's hard to change course once you've set upon it.  And I wish someone had told me that there's more to life than a paycheck.

I went into medicine to help people, and I have.  Now I'm questioning whether the help I've given came at the expense of my own happiness.  Time will tell on that one.  For now, I'm trying to learn who I really am, and I'll be figuring out who I need to be, for myself and for my kids.  I'll  keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Off to the races...

This publishing business is tough.  It takes a lot of persistence, a lot of heart.  Rejections are many, requests are few.  And I thought medicine was difficult!

I started querying in ernest this week.  (For those of you not in the know, a query letter is an unsolicited request for an agent to represent an author.  Most agents get hundreds of queries a week.  The odds are not good.)  I'd stuck my toe in the query waters a couple of months back, but didn't really polish my letter, didn't have a synopsis ready, hadn't discovered the many ways to find agents.  After doing the research, I now know about all of these things that the average reader doesn't.  Who knew all the steps it took to get a book published?

I really like my manuscript.  The story is good, the characters are memorable, and the plot has twists and turns.  In short, it's something I'd pick off a shelf and read.  I'll just need to stick to it and keep querying.  Surely there's an agent, and a publisher, out there who will like my book as much as I do.  I just need to find him or her.  And find him or her I will.

I'll keep you posted as I continue on this journey.

Monday, February 28, 2011

You've come a long way, baby...

For some reason, I'm pondering mortality today.  (Well, I know why, but I can't divulge.)  Anyhoo, I've been thinking about modern medicine and how many times I would have died by now if I'd been born in any other century.

The broken arm at 4?  Could've done it.  The multiple cases of strep throat?  Yep, each time I could've died.  Don't even get me started on my pregnancies and how sick I was.  If I'd been able to carry the pregnancies, I probably wouldn't have survived.

Then I have to factor in vaccinations.  Small pox was eradicated by the time I was old enough to be immunized.  Measles?  Mumps?  Rubella?  Tetanus?  Diptheria?  Pertussis?  All preventable with vaccinations.

But no matter how far we come medically, we seem to be dead set on killing ourselves.  Build a car to keep you safe, we'll make it go faster.  Develop a seat belt?  Let's cut the top off.  How about roll bars and air bags?  Raise the speed limit, why don't cha?  We've distilled alcohol, purified opium, and rolled cigarettes.  But the human race keeps on reproducing.  When will we destroy ourselves in the process?

Sorry to be so maudlin today.  Guess I'll just have to be glad to be here and take it one day at a time.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Emergency Bowl

I knew before I went into work today that it would be slow this evening.  No, I'm not psychic.  I just knew that the Super Bowl was going to be on, and during big games the emergency department becomes slow.

While it's nice to get a couple of hours of decreased business sometimes, it really bothers me that I can predict the volume of the emergency department based on sporting events.  Is it only an emergency when there aren't any big games on?  Or is it that no one will take a loved one to the hospital when a favorite player is throwing a ball?  I know the commercials are good.  Well, usually, anyway.  And the half-time show is awesome.  When the singers are on-key.  But what does it say about our society that the ebb and flow of the emergency department can be predicted by what is on TV on any given night?

It says that our emergency rooms are not really for emergencies.  They are for convenience care.  They are for medication refills.  They are for obtaining recreational drugs.  We did have some true emergencies tonight.  We cared for those patients while trying to wade through all of the other junk that came through the front doors.

Until 6:30.  Then we were home free.  Until 10:00, anyway.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cabin Fever

Cabin Fever has set in here, and set in hard.  We've been through most of the movies in our arsenal, sang every princess song known to man, and we're now relegated to dressing up in church clothes and putting on makeup.  It's only 9 am.  We could be in big trouble here.

I really shouldn't complain.  We're warm, we've got lights, and we can nuke up some chicken nuggets when lunchtime rolls around.  We also have access to the all-important chocolate milk.  No rationing has been instituted.  Showers this morning were warm.  I don't even have on socks right now.  Life is good.

Most important, I'm having a second day in a row with my children.  For a woman who's most recent complaint is feeling like she's missing the childhoods of her offspring, this ice is a gift from heaven.  Guess I'd better get off of the computer and open up the wrapping paper.  Time to enjoy some cabin fever.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sentimental on the slopes

I just got back from a weekend in Cincinnati, and we spent a couple of hours today at Perfect North.  I must be getting old, because such a simple activity has made me all sentimental inside.

First, I am amazed at how my oldest daughter did.  This was her second time on skis, and she only fell down twice while she was skiing with us.  I'm not sure how she did during her lesson, since I was shushing it up on a blue, but the teacher said they were able to work on stopping.  I assume that means she was able to go.  While riding the ski lift, my brother and I saw a father with his daughter in the moguls, and the little girl was putting her father to shame.  I had visions of our daughters doing jumps and snowboarding.  I'm not ready for them to grow up.

Second, I am amazed at all of the aches and pains I have developed.  My knees hurt while I was simply riding the ski lift.  Now, my neck and back are aching, and my IT bands are tight as a drum.  While skiing, I couldn't help but look at all of the different types of helmets, and was often thinking of Sonny Bono and Natasha Richardson.

All in all, I guess I just got a huge dose of my own mortality today.  Time to live life to the fullest.  And I am more than happy that my daughter just said, "Mom, I had a great time this weekend, but it sure is nice to be home."  I couldn't agree more.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sick children

It's so hard to have a sick child, especially one who's miserable but not sick enough to go to the doctor.  Monica has been ill since last Saturday and I just can't get her healthy.  We talked abut taking her to the doc today, but of course she feels fine this morning.  Then this afternoon, it'll start up again.  Poor thing.

There are so many things that I didn't realize when I started trying to become a parent.  There's the lack of sleep, of course, but I knew that was coming.  I just didn't realize how long it would last.  And there's the expense, too.  I knew it was going to be expensive.  I want to give them the best of everything, without spoiling them.  Difficult at best.

But no one told me how much I would love my children, and how much that would hurt sometimes.  I'd rather be sick myself than watch my child suffer.  I'd vomit a thousand times over if it meant that my child could sleep through the night without cramping and pain.  And a fever?   Forget about it.  Burn me up, baby.

I could definitely do without the Barbie movies, though.  Think they'd notice if they all mysteriously "broke?"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Taking the plunge

Howdy, folks.  I'm finally doing it.  I'm blogging!  Who knew I had all of this in me?

I worked really hard at revising yesterday.  My novel, CODE, is getting closer and closer to being as good as I can get it.  I'm waiting on some feedback on my synopsis and query letter, and then I'll be ready to go.  Here's hoping that someone else out there likes my work as much as I do!

As I sit here and watch my children watching Enchanted, several thoughts are swirling.  First, what am I doing allowing my children to watch Enchanted at 7:16 am?  What kind of mother am I?  Second, I love the movie Enchanted.  Maybe that's why I'm allowing the viewing-- I want to watch it as much as they do! Talk about inspired casting.  Amy Adams is fabulous, Susan Sarandon is wicked, and I even like the bit players like Grumpy and the Not Very Nice Man.  Third, how in the world did they keep her dress so white?  I've been to New York City.  There's no way the hem of that gown would be still pristine after any time in the subway.

Crisis of conscience averted-- they want to go downstairs to play in the playroom.  Time to get some coffee and get off of the computer.  We've got a two-hour delay before school starts, so it's time for some quality princess pretending.  I'll talk to you all tomorrow!