Monday, June 26, 2017

Need validation...or not? @Liz Flaherty

The woman who doesn’t need validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet. – Mohadesa Najumi

I read the above in a list of quotes in a random email from Pinterest. At first, I thought—in typical hear me roar fashion―“Yes, exactly!”

But then I thought again.

When I tell anyone in my family I love them, it’s true they don’t have to respond in kind or in almost-kind—“Me, too”—but I wait the extra beat it sometimes takes to hear the response. I admit that if they don’t say it, I wish they had. Just because I wonder, for only a hiccup of a moment, why they don’t.

When I worked full time with the public in the post office, I heard a lot of complaints. There was a poster in the office that said something like “you ARE the post office,” and it was true. Whatever postal employee many people saw was fair game for every complaint they’d had from birth on. It got old—the three-cent stamp was not my fault! 😊 But occasionally—no, often—a customer would give me an “atta girl.” They’d thank me and go on to tell others I’d done a good job. A few gave me gifts at Christmas—unnecessary but really nice—and  a few showed up at my retirement party.

The angry consumers? Yeah, that was part of the job. Just keep smiling and fix whatever you can. The ones who made my days with smiles and thanks of their own? The validators? I needed them.

Which brings us to the writing portion of this regularly scheduled program. Not all reviews are good. There is the occasional snarky letter or email from a disgruntled reader. But then, here will be an email that says someone enjoyed your book and was going to order the rest of your backlist. Someone leaves a great review on Amazon. Life is good.

Sometimes edits—which I’m working on now—will make you wonder why the publisher bought the book in the first place if they just want 😊 to change everything. But then at the end of the chapter will be an editorial comment: “Nice!”

So, do I need validation? I absolutely do. Although this will never make me “the most feared individual on the planet” or even in the room, I’m okay with that. I'd rather be respected than feared.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

"the wheel's still in spin" - @Liz Flaherty

If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'. - Bob Dylan

I blame it on my age that I don't like change. I say I am set in my ways, that I don't have enough brain cells left to learn new things. That...well, I say lots of things, I guess, with the comment at the top of the heap being, "I just don't like it, okay?"

Much of the time, I do like change. As someone who grew up without plumbing, central heating, air conditioning, or store-bought milk, believe me when I say I sometimes downright love change. I don't want to go back to manual typewriters, car window cranks, or black-and-white television. I never want to defrost a refrigerator, clean an oven, or wax a floor ever again.

However, I remember how many changes took place in the workplace because of greed, to get rid of employees, or because the change was going to cause a boon for someone high up in the good-old-boy network. The changes didn't improve the product, lower prices, or enrich life for anyone. They were just changes for the sake of change.

I remember when all the trees were removed from one side of the tree-lined road where my parents' house was--they'd already been removed from the other side--for the sake of widening the road. The road was never widened, but its sides certainly are naked.

Twenty-some years ago the corporation where my husband worked "enhanced" the retirement program. It was the first time I ever knew enhance and rape were synonymous.

Then there are self-checkouts. I avoid them when I can, but sometimes I really don't have the time to wait in line at one of the three registers out of 27 that Walmart opens on Sunday afternoon. When I say, Hey, those ones you do for yourself are a good thing, I also remind myself that, No, they're not. They took away jobs and human contact and--here's a word fast becoming obsolete--service.

Indie-publishing, electronic and digital publishing, and Amazon have made the business of writing books unrecognizable as the same one where Hilary Sares called and said, "I'm going to buy your book." Brick-and-mortar bookstores have become rare things.

Some of the things that haven't changed, i.e. the us vs. them finger-pointing between separate factions, where the money goes in traditional publishing, and appalling covers are ones many of us wish would go away.

But they won't.

I know I sound curmudgeonly here--remember that age I mentioned?--and maybe I am. Indie-publishing has been great for a lot of writers. Many readers (myself included) read almost exclusively on electronic devices. I buy a ton of stuff from Walmart and Amazon. Because it's easy.

I'm looking out the office window this morning. It's a view that hasn't changed, other than seasonally, for at least 30 years, and it gives me unimaginable peace. I'm so glad, even with all the changes in publishing, that I still have the best job in the world.

But I miss bookstores. And cashiers who call you by name and say thank you. And that tree-lined road.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Levity with @lcrandallwriter

Taking just a bit of your time today to bring the "happy" only cats can bring. This is Willow, my shadow and companion. I hope your Wednesday is going well! I'm getting started on a short story for an anthology with fellow authors Rena Koontz and Lainee Cole. This should be fun!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Grief and the Writer - @BonnieEdwards

My aunt passed away last month. My last remaining auntie on my mom’s side. The last of her siblings.

She had a long and fruitful life. She lived into her early nineties and left behind children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who will remember her well.

These are the things that I told myself for the first two weeks after she passed. But as her Celebration of Life grew closer, I grew more despondent without even realizing why. Then the other day, I realized I had all the symptoms of grief.

I felt blue, I was losing sleep, and lately, I’d been unable to make decisions. That was the final realization that I’d succumbed to grief. I even had a brief angry stage and found myself not wanting to return phone calls or be around other people.

The difficulty surrounding decision making is particularly challenging for writers. Every day we need to decide various things. Should I write a new scene, revise a scene, write ad copy or blurbs? Should I attempt to write a blog? (I couldn’t decide what to write for this blog until yesterday!) Should I bother doing promo when none of it seems to work? Which cover would work best? Even the dreaded: why should I bother with any of this?

Last week, I was supposed to look at 148 photos I had done with a photographer. It’s a simple publicity photo. I did not want to look like a real estate agent. I wanted something fun and flirty. I took several different tops and dresses and scarfs for the photo shoot. He took the shots.

Afterward, I felt that somehow I’d missed out on some fun…that I’d only been smiling with my lips, not my heart. That’s not me. He sent me the proofs so I could choose three favourites so he can make them look fabulous.

When I couldn’t even narrow down to ten likely photos, I realized that my decision-making had basically ground to a halt. I declined a dinner invitation because, frankly, I didn’t feel like feigning happiness when all I wanted was to lick my wounds.

My last bout of serious grief was over twenty years ago when my parents passed within three years of each other. Since then, I’ve had lots of conversations with writers about their grief, about how we need to be kind to ourselves and not push too hard when it comes to writing. 

I think it’s time to take my own advice. I’ll be kinder to myself for the next few weeks and remind myself to not stress about not making decisions. My publicity photo can wait (it’s been five years since the last one…this one can wait a while longer). I’ll read more. I’ll make some lunch dates with writer friends.

I’ll take the time I need to come back to myself.  I will choose three photos in a few days and then start using the one I think best represents the real me: the fun one who smiles with her heart. 

My latest release is exclusive to this boxed set for now. In my story Whole Lot o' Love you'll find me, writing warm characters and humour...the real me. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

@JoanReeves and the Lucky 7

This has been a crazy month for me. First, I forgot to blog on the first Friday of June. (It got here so fast!)

Then I forgot to line up an interview for the third Friday, aka today!

Wow. Maybe I should start making memos on my Smartphone. (If it's so smart, why didn't it remind me of these events? I know, I know. It's only as smart as the person who programs it.)

Last night, I remembered about my latest blog date. Out of desperation, I interviewed the closest author I could find. Me.

About Joan Reeves

The official version is at the end of this post. The unofficial version is as follows.

Joan Reeves is a small town girl who ended up in a big town world. She's had her head in the clouds ever since she can remember. "Quit day dreaming," was a frequent scolding from her mother, but that never stopped her from making up stories and watching them play like a movie in her head.

She loves reading, writing, gardening, sewing, crafts of all kinds, and driving her sports car with the top down.

Movies--comedies and suspense thrillers--are her guilty pleasure along with black walnut ice cream, Dr. Pepper, Nacho Cheese Doritos, and Whataburger French Fries.

She's lucky enough to be married to the most wonderful man in the world, and to have children who are sane, mostly normal, and happy in their lives.

Joan Reeves Tackles the Lucky 7

1. When you were 18, what did you want to do with your life?

I planned to be an English teacher.

2. When you hit 40, what did you want most in life?

To get published and be a New York Times bestselling author. It took a lot longer than I thought it would.*g*

3. What is a character name you have always wanted to use but haven't?

Sibley--for a heroine. My grandparents lived in a tiny, eyeblink of a town named Sibley. I don't know why, but I've always wanted to name a woman character Sibley.

4. What genre would you like to try but haven't?

Cozy mystery with a female sleuth. I've started a few, but they always end up as romantic comedies.

5. Let's go to fantasy land. If time, distance, and other conditions of reality were no problem, where would you go for dinner tonight and with whom?

To a little bistro on the Champs Elyses where my husband and I dined many years ago.

I'd go with my husband, and this time we'd stay at the George V which we couldn't afford when we were there the first time.

Oh, it's now the Four Seasons George V. We'd end the night with an Aviator Cocktail in the bar there.

(An Aviator Cocktail is made with gin, maraschino liqueur, crème de violette, and lemon juice.)

6. Still in fantasy land, in your most recent book, who would you cast as the heroine and hero to star in the movie version of the book?

My latest release was a short story, Last Chance New Year, in January. I prefer to tell you about Heat Lightning which was Book 1 in the Outlaw Ridge, Texas, series because I'm currently writing the second book in that series.

In Heat Lightning, a romantic suspense involving attempted murder, stalking, and amnesia, hero David has brothers who will have their own stories.

In the movie version, Karl Urban would portray David, and Sarah Shahi would be Tessa.

The book I'm writing now is Dead Heat. This will feature David's older brother John who is living at the lake house at Outlaw Ridge while he recovers from a bullet wound.

When a woman from his past arrives, she does what she's always done: completely screws up his life. I keep wavering on the cast for this story. Maybe next month when I publish it, I'll tell you.

7. Last question before we leave fantasy land. When the movie based on your book wins the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, what will you wear to the Oscars?

Something dark teal blue, one of my favorite colors, and high heels. The highest I can tolerate. (I'm petite, remember?)

I'll be escorted by my husband who always looks fabulous in a tux. He'd probably have to talk for me. I'd be so awestruck I probably wouldn't be able to utter a word.

Oh, and he'd have to carry all my stuff because it won't all fit in my little jeweled handbag.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings. Next month, I promise to have a fascinating author to interview.

Post Script

Joan Reeves is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She'd be delighted if you’d follow her on Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter.

Sign up for Joan's Mailing List and receive a free book along with new release news and giveaways.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Free Book, Limited Time Karen Kelley

Good Bye, Illinois!

     We absolutely loved Coon Creek Campground on Lake Shelbyville, AND I finished the first draft of Forbidden Nights, the third book in my Forbidden series. Now the polishing starts. I absolutely love this part of the writing process. I think because, for me, a lot of the pressure is off.
     We're headed to Michigan in the morning to stay a while at our son, daughter in law's, and grandson's house. We're really excited because we haven't seen them since Christmas. We're planning to visit Macinaw Island while we're there and to see as much as we can since this will be our first visit to this state.
     Since we became full time RVers April 2016 we've been traveling across the United States and visiting so many different places. A couple of the pictures Karl took were actually used in the background for a few of my book covers.
     I truly believe visiting so many states has opened my eyes to other parts of the country. We have mountains in Texas but we crossed MOUNTAINS in some states. It has definitely enriched my writing.
     Close Encounters of the Sexy Kind is still FREE at most ebook outlets. Grab your copy today if you like romantic sci-fi comedy. Check out some of it below.

Amazon       Nook      Kobo       iBooks

Chapter One
     “I’m going crazy,” Mala murmured.  Jumping to her feet, she strode to the plate glass window overlooking the pristine city surrounding her townhouse.
     The planet Nerak, where the light never faded and everything was white.  So horribly white—colorless, stark and cold.  Just like everything on her planet.
     “Would you like a hormone smoothie?” Barton asked over the monitoring system.
     She stuck her tongue out.  “No, I wouldn’t like a smoothie.”
     A small aero unit whizzed past, rattling her window.  Everything moved too fast.  Instant gratification.  Sad?  Drink a happy smoothie.  Tired?  Drink an energy smoothie.  Horny?  Drink a hormone smoothie.  Everything was a quick fix.
     “You get this way every year.  I’m only suggesting a smoothie because it usually calms you.”
     She cocked an eyebrow.  “Maybe because it has a sedative in it?”
     “We could copulate.”  A door that blended with the wall whisked silently open.
     She turned as Barton stepped inside the room.  He was like no other.  Six feet three inches of rugged, sexy male.  Blond hair, blue eyes...she should be happy.  She should.  Shouldn’t she?
     Then why was she so frustrated!
     “It’s been three years, twenty-one days, fourteen hours, twenty-two minutes and nine seconds since you’ve had an orgasm,” he informed her.
     And he was driving her crazy.  She didn’t want perfection, but Barton was exactly the way she’d ordered him.  A gift from her cousin on Mala’s twenty-first birthday.  Together they had chosen everything about him.  He was their creation.
     At the time, her older cousin, Kia, had been going through a rebellious period and had smuggled a catalog of male specimens into Mala’s apartment.  Barton was born from a sketch they’d compiled. But they had taken their creation a step further.  They’d practically breathed life into him.  At least, as much life as could be breathed into a companion unit.  Barton had all the emotions of any Nerakian.
     He was the perfect male.
     He was still perfect five years later.
     Everything about her life was perfect.
     She hated it.
     “You’re grinding your teeth again.  I take it sex is not an option.”
     “No, sex is not an option.”  She turned back to the window.
     “Ahh, what?” she asked without turning around.
     “You’ve been looking at that book again.”
     She stiffened, then quickly relaxed her shoulders.  “What book?”  That was the most un-innocent sounding question she’d ever asked.
     “You’re being evasive, aren’t you?  You know perfectly well what book I mean.  The one from your grandmother’s travels.  The one about that other place...Earth.”
     Why had she even thought she could fool him?  He’d been around her too long.  There was nothing she could hide.
     So why did she even try?  She might as well confess.  But first things first.
     Her eyes narrowed as she faced him.  “You swear on the promise stones that you won’t say a word? Even if they threaten to remove your microchip?”
     His chin jutted forward.  “Have I ever betrayed you?”
     “Sorry.”  Damn, she had to remember that Barton was special.  Although very analytical, he still had feelings.  She’d made sure of that even though her cousin had warned against adding the sensitivity chip...among others.  But she didn’t want just a companion unit.  She had to have more than a machine.  Well, she’d certainly gotten more than she bargained for with Barton.
     She went to the bookcase and pulled three reference books from the shelf, then reached to the back of the case, pushing a hidden button.  Her fingers tingled when they brushed over the book—her grandmother’s diary, and even more precious...the film.
     She glanced behind her before bringing them out.  “Hide the window.”
     Barton waved a hand and the window disappeared, soft lights automatically came on, only then did she bring the materials out.
     “Do you realize how much trouble you can get into by just having these documents?”
     “Of course I do,” she told him as she carried everything to the lounging sofa.  “They barred distant travel after my grandmother’s last voyage—the year I was born.  They said our society was being tarnished by the ideas that were brought back.”
     “You do realize the Coalition is looking out for your best interests.  From the small amount of information on space travel that I have programmed into my system, Earth is by far the most untamable.”
     “But don’t you see, that’s what makes it so exciting.  People can actually think for themselves.  They don’t have a Coalition of Elders telling them what’s in their best interest.  They’re allowed to make their own mistakes.  They can grow and learn from them.”
     She placed the film in the change port.  A hologram filled the room with sound and color.  She could almost reach out and touch the trees, could almost feel the spray from the waterfall as it cascaded over the mountain and splashed down into the pond.
     She inhaled.  “I wonder what it smells like on Earth?”
     She frowned at Barton before letting the unfolding scenes capture her attention once more. The hologram wasn’t much different from the ones she inserted into the port when she wanted to go to a park or just get away from the noise inside the town bubble.  This hologram depicted a place that really existed.  That was the difference.
     Her grandmother had labeled the documentary an XXX rated western movie.  Whatever that meant. Not that it mattered that much.  This was her proof there was more in the universe than Nerak. There was even a title on the box: Callie Does the Sheriff.  She wished her grandmother had explained more instead of leaving so many unanswered questions.
     She returned her attention to the waterfall.  The woman washed herself beneath the spray of water, her thin pink dress transparent as she slid a small white brick over her body.  From the expression on the woman’s face, the sensation must have been enjoyable.
     Her grandmother’s journal had described something similar and called it bathing.  She said it was a barbaric custom Earth people did to cleanse their bodies.
     How odd they had to run a white brick over their bodies.  Every morning Mala went to the chamber, waved her hand and beams of light rid her body of bacteria.
     But the woman did seem excited.  For a moment, she wished she had a white brick to rub over her body.  It looked much more enjoyable than beams of light she never felt. Sighing, she watched what happened next, even though she’d secretly watched the film before.
     The woman hadn’t seen the man yet.  When she turned from the waterfall, her pupils dilated.
     The man sat atop a four-legged beast, gazing upon her, but there was something in his eyes that made Mala’s thighs tremble.  It was as if no one else existed for him.
     He climbed off the animal.  The shiny metal star he wore on his shirt sparkled in the sunlight.  She held her breath, watching his face and the lazy look he gave her before he sat on a rock and pulled off his boots.
     “Sheriff, what are you doing?”  The woman’s voice trembled.
     “What I should’ve done a long time ago, Callie May.”
     He removed his clothes before stepping into the water, every inch of his backside displayed for Mala’s enjoyment.  Muscles rippled as he waded farther out, then dove beneath the murky green water. When Sheriff emerged, he was beside Callie May, taking her into his arms, lowering his mouth to hers.  He moved his hand to her breast, massaging.
     Mala could barely swallow, let alone breathe, her gaze riveted on the couple.
     Sheriff tugged the front of Callie’s dress and it opened.  “I want to see you, darlin’.  You’ve been teasin’ me for a long time.”
     “But we’re out in the open.”  She glanced furtively around, her eyes wide, but Mala didn’t think she looked that upset.  “What if someone sees?” she said in a breathless voice.
     “I don’t care.”  He cupped her breast before lowering his head and covering it with his mouth.  He suckled for a moment, then raised his head.  “I’m going to make love to you, baby.  The hot, dirty kind.  You ain’t never had an orgasm like you’re gonna have with me.”
     “Isn’t he magnificent?” Mala breathed.
     “This was what I was designed from?  He seems rather savage if you ask me.”  Barton sniffed.
     Sometimes she wanted to remove Barton’s sensitivity chip.  She turned off the hologram.  “It’s a primitive planet.  I’ve read my grandmother’s journal.  The beast the man sat upon is a horse.”  She frowned.  “Or maybe a cow.  I’m not quite sure.  Her journals are a little difficult to translate.  She was only there to gather the minimum amount of information.  Her time on the planet was very brief.”
     “And the couple in the hologram?  They were about to copulate?”
     “I’m not sure.  I think so.”  She bit her bottom lip.  “Yes, I’m almost certain of it.  Some of the film was damaged so I’m not positive how their encounter ended.  I think they joined, but it was more intense than just copulating, more going on than relieving stress.”
     “Would you like me to do what Sheriff did?  I can, you know.”
     How did she tell him something would be lost in the process?  She didn’t want to join for the sake of release.  She wanted someone who would...who would make love to her.  Was that asking too much?
     “Why are you so fascinated with Earth?” he asked, changing the subject.  “It’s not like you’ll ever go there.”
     A half smile played around her lips.
     “I have her journal.  It contains all the information I would need to survive.”  She took a deep breath.  “I know where they store the space travel crafts.”
     “Those old scraps of metal?  I doubt you’d be able to get one of them out of its port.”  His beautiful blue eyes grew round.  “You don’t actually plan...”
     “Yes!”  She flung her arms wide and twirled around the room.  “Barton, I don’t belong here.  I want to experience life, not watch it on a hologram.  I want to know what dirt feels like.  I want to walk barefoot through a meadow.  I want to stand beneath a waterfall.”
     “But you can do that now.”
     “No, a hologram isn’t the same.  I don’t want to find myself transported to a make-believe park.  I want the real thing.”
     “But with reality comes other things—like pain.  There are no thorns to step upon in the Coalition’s Safety Travels.  You can have the pleasure without being hurt.  It’s perfect.”
     She plopped down on the lounging sofa and drew her knees up.  “Don’t you see?  I don’t want perfection.  I want to experience everything.”
     Now she’d hurt his feelings.  Barton had been programmed to see to her every need.  There were no men left on her planet.  He was the perfect male specimen.
     “You’re my friend,” she told him.  “But I need more.  Please try to understand that it’s not you.  It’s me.”
     He raised his chin.  “When are we making the journey?”
     She flinched.  This was the hard part, but she couldn’t risk putting him in danger.  “Just me.  I won’t take a chance with you.”  When he opened his mouth, she hurried on.  “Besides, the Coalition won’t even realize I’m gone if you’re here.  I just want to see what this planet is like.  I’ll be gone no longer than a few rotations.”
     He hesitated.  “You’ll swear on the promise stones?”
     “I’ll swear.”
     “I still don’t like it.  They may be closer to us in language and atmosphere, but their culture is so far behind ours.  How will you manage?”
     “Grandmother’s book.”  She raised the journal.  “I’ve studied it very carefully.  I know their favorite saying is, well, hell, and that it’s early summer on the planet.  I have everything I need right here.”  She tapped her finger on the book.
     What she was about to embark on finally sank into her brain.  She was going to Earth.  A slow smile curved her lips.  Maybe she’d even meet the man in the hologram.  The one called Sheriff.

Free for a limited time only! Get your copy now!
Happy Reading,
Karen Kelley

Friday, June 9, 2017

13th annual Reader & Author Get Together #RAGT17

As a #RAGT17 author and sponsor, I am today enjoying the 13th annual Reader & Author Get Together, the brainchild of Lori Foster, USA Today, Publisher's Weekly and New York Times bestselling author. Billed as “A Friendly Gathering of Romance Lovers,” RAGT17 is a fan-friendly event meant for readers, and it also raises funds for many local causes in the Cincinnati area.

This year I was able to be one of the sponsors of Barnes & Noble gift cards. What fun! And for the goody bags, I’ve sent little heart-shaped stress balls. The only problem is that at a book signing, I handed out some extras, and people thought they were tomatoes. Oops!

For the moneymaking raffle, I’m supplying a Bluegrass basket filled with two Bluegrass Reunion series books, a Hadley Pottery mint julep glass, and other Kentucky goodies—think bourbon and horses. At the Blogger Lounge, 2:00 p.m. Saturday, I’m holding a drawing for a smaller Bluegrass basket to anyone who attends.

Other items in my giveaway bag include free paperbacks and Ghirardelli bourbon chocolates. Yum! I’ll be signing books on Friday and hanging around to meet the romance lovers who attend. Hope to see you there.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Is Spelling Dead or Just Ailing?  #kathleenlawless

I was heartened to learn this year marks nine decades of Scripps National Spelling Bee.  Because honestly, it appears that in today's world, spelling is a low priority on the corporate totem pole.

Last week I sat through two different power point presentations from two different professionals. Each had a spelling mistake.  Glaring to me the wordsmith; unnoticed I'm sure, by the other conference attendees.

As a multi-published author I know typos can slip through the most scrupulous and dilligent editing, copy-editing and proof-reading.  It happens.  The errors I witnessed were not typos.  They were no-one-ever-learned-the-correct-usage errors.  The mistake was' it's' being used in the possessive rather than the correct 'its'.  I cringe every time I see this because the more it becomes commonly used, the more acceptable becomes the error.  No one seems to know or care that it's really means it is.

And how many emails have I received from higher-ups where they blatantly misuse there, their, and they're, words which are not interchangeable; along with knew or new and even no and know.  (Note I'm carefully staying away from mentioning the shorthand used in texting, which is only further eroding people's care of the written word.)

I say bring back spelling.  Keep our language strong.  And please, let there be no typos in this post or my books.  I love words.  I love to spell them correctly.  With the growth of self-publishing and too many authors relying on spell-check only, I worry that spelling correctly will become a dying artform.  
My first western historical, Callie's Honor, had a typo the entire crew at Harper Collins missed, him instead of his.  I have that corrected in this latest version.

Kathleen Lawless loves words and has crafted them into over twenty award-winning novels and novellas. Visit her website, sign up for her newsletter and received a free erotic novella.

THE WAITING GAME by Hannah Rowan

            Ah!  I’ve typed “the end” and proof-read and run my story by my critique partners and adjusted and fixed my run-on sentences (like this one), which seem to be one of my particular weaknesses, and now my story is ready to send out into the world.

            Or more accurately, my story is ready to send to an editor or agent or contest.  And so I send it out.

            What a relief!  The story is finally finished and gone.  I’m glad to see it go because, to tell you the truth, I’m kind of sick of looking at the thing.

            On the other hand, I miss it.  Because even with all the angst associated with writing it and figuring out the twists and turns and making sure it was consistent and that I was showing, not telling, I’d grown fond of it.  I knew it, inside and out.  I loved it.

            Except of course on those days that I hated it and was sure nobody would ever want to read it and that I should forget about this writing thing and go work in the local laundromat.

            But then it’s brilliant, isn’t it?  And tomorrow morning the phone will ring and some very wise editor or agent will offer me half a million dollars for the privilege of putting it in print.

            (Unless, of course, they send me that “we’re sorry but this doesn’t meet our needs” letter.  The fools.)

            Any writer knows an answer doesn’t come the next day.  Or the next week or month.             
Sometimes not even the same year.

 So a big part of writing is waiting.  Yes, I know, you’re supposed to spend the waiting period working on the next story.  But after spending so much time and energy on one book, I find it hard to just slip into the next one.  Though I have a ton of ideas, I’m not always sure one of those ideas is going to turn into an actual plot.  So I dither…should I work on this one?  Or maybe that one?  How about fixing up the other one I put in a drawer a few year. 

Image result for woman waiting 
Speaking of drawers…how about if I reorganize the linen closet? Or my underwear drawer? Maybe I should bake some cookies or plant some flowers. Just as when I’m writing, I can find a thousand of things to distract me, only now I’m distracting myself from waiting rather than procrastinating on the writing.

            Well, maybe I’m procrastinating on beginning a new project.

Once I’ve finally managed to distract myself and not spend every waking moment—and some dreams—wondering what kind of response I’ll get to my submission, an answer arrives.

Right there in my inbox there’s an email with the name or the agent or editor or contest coordinator, which could contain some really, really great news.  Then again, they could be saying “no.”

            So I wait to open the email until I’ve had cup of tea and decided I need to scrub the tea stains off of all my spoons and from the insides of all my cups, and then I have to sort out my silverware drawer, and I need to wash my hair or maybe even—shudder—go to the gym for a while.

            I study the email header, which tells me nothing, and wonder what if?  What if?  What if?

            What if they like it?  They really, really like it?  It will be such a relief!

And if they don’t want to buy it, at least I’ll have very organized drawers.  

What do you do to tame the anxiety of the wait?

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