Monday, August 10, 2009

Help Needed: Do you want to keep reading?

Hiya, Folks.

I need your input. Please read the first page of Autumn Leaves and let me know if you would want to keep reading. Be honest. Be unapologetic. Be... well, just give me your feedback. I appreciate it. :)

“I’m sure this trip is going to kill me.” I held the phone to my ear with one hand, clenched the handrail with the other, and launched myself onto the moving step. The smell of coffee laced with grease weakened as I descended to the airport’s lower level.

“Stop being so dramatic. You sound like your sister.” Eve laughed.

The escalator lurched, almost sending me tumbling, but I regained my balance as it chugged downward. “Listen, I’ll call you later, okay?”

“Sure. Stay safe. And don’t die,” she teased with a giggle.

“I’ll try.” I hung up and jammed the phone in my pocket preparing to zigzag my way to the baggage claim.

The San Francisco airport bustled with people, all seeming to struggle against the confines of time. A family of four draped in diaper bags darted in front of me, almost running me over with their stroller. The disheveled mother didn’t seem to notice and yelled at her son, “Stop it! Stop pulling on me!”

The little boy began to cry and I wondered if they were here out of obligation just like me. His mother yanked him away and they disappeared, swallowed by the masses of frenzied passengers.

A crowd filled the space around me, forming a circle surrounding the carousel, like a mob before a hanging. It lunged and surged forward as luggage moved to meet impatient owners. My purple suitcase rounded the corner and I pushed my way to the front, bumping and nudging through the pulsing wall of people.

A hand sprang out in front of me and ripped my bag off the conveyor. “Let me get this for you, Autumn,” a stranger said.

With a sharp inhale, I spun around to confront the would-be thief.

His eyes, a staggering shade of blue, considered me as I tried to think of something else, anything else, other than how beautiful he was.

“H-how did you know my name?”

His lips parted in a slight smile, but before he could answer, the conveyor belt died causing a noisy sputter. A loud bang followed as one of the fluorescent lights exploded above, raining sparks down on the unsuspecting travelers. Screams ensued and I remained still, used to strange things happening around me.

So, what'd you think? Would you keep reading?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rejection Science

Rejection sucks. Well, it does, doesn’t it?

From a manuscript dismissal to a query letter denial, it all stinks. Let’s discuss Rejection – the one with a big “R.” (You are free to now say ARRRR!)

So, how do we balance the negative with the positive, even when there doesn’t seem to be any in sight?

Why not be scientific about conquering “Rejection Depression?”

Newton’s Laws of Physics seem like a perfectly rational place to start. Very logical.

First Law - A body persists in its state of rest or of uniform motion unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force.
If we don’t receive a bunch of brush offs, we won’t send out many queries. Meaning, our masterpieces wouldn’t touch the lives of the agents / editors to which we submit. Oh. That sounds like they’re our overlords… perhaps they are. By the way, don’t you just love the term “unbalanced?”

Second Law - Force equals mass times acceleration (F = ma): the net force on an object is equal to the mass of the object multiplied by its acceleration.
I’d like to change this to: First publication equals the magnitude times the activity (F=ma): the first novel published is equal to magnitude of the project (which is AWESOME) multiplied by the author’s activity. The more people you talk to, the more agents you query, and the more publishers you find that take un-agented talent, the better your odds. It’s a numbers game in the end.

Third Law - To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
I’m resisting the urge to scream, “Karma!” (mostly since I’m sitting in a stuffy cubicle-ridden space)
Newton’s third law is my favorite. With every negative force, create a new opportunity for greatness. Send out more letters. Re-edit your manuscript. Start a new project.

Conquer the Rejection by pushing ahead.

(I’d rather be Spock than Debbie Downer anyway.)

How ‘bout you? Any tips or tricks?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

New Addition

As some of you already know, Dave and I added a new member to the Shapiro family. Bienvenidos, Stoli!

So, when not working or squeezing in writing time, I teach my fuzzy kid important things like:

Where to go potty. (Yes, the technical term is "potty")

And how to make new friends.

He reciprocates by teaching me to never forget your wingman when escaping from prison -- a valuable lesson to be sure.
So, what have you learned from your pets?

Have a great week!