Traveling the Path to Publication – Also Known as Editing Hell

books

Hello Precious Readers!

I know, it’s been months since I’ve contacted you. Thank you for continuing to subscribe, or pop by to read my words, as randomly placed here on WordPress as they are. Your patronage is humbling and makes me feel a little bit better about myself each day. (Ha ha.) And, lucky you, that’s a great thing! Look at the new style! Enjoying the new digs? I am. I thought the previous motif was good, but a little too serious for my style. Style is important, whether formal/traditional, goofy/whimsical, or airy/uplifting. I went with goofy/whimsical with a touch of airy/uplifting. What do you think?

There has been a lot of work occurring behind the scenes. Hopefully my lack of social interaction with you via blog should show how diligently I’ve been working towards my goal of becoming published and succeeding… TWICE! I’ve now crossed the threshold into a new group of people … Authors published multiple times over!

That’s right! Trifecta Publishing House liked my work so much they contracted me for 3 BOOKS TOTAL for the “Roxy Summers Mystery Series.” That means more great books for you! Even better, last week I sent in my manuscript for CRUSH ON YOU, A Roxy Summers Mystery #2!  Yes, it’s a direct sequel, but it’s a standalone book. You do not need to read Book 1: CAPTURE ME to understand Book 2… although it helps a LOT.

If you’re a follower on Facebook and Twitter, you know that there’s a LOT of activity over there! And, why wouldn’t you? Check out Facebook and join my FB group: Katherine Bacher’s Happy Hour. There’s a LOT of funny memes and articles to share.

Life is funny. (Understatement of the year.) Immediately after making my announcement to family and friends that I’d signed my first book contract, I was greeted with a surprising amount of people immediately asking me, “How did you get published? [I, my friend, my sister, my cousin’s brother’s uncle, etc.] has been writing for years, but is constantly getting rejected/doesn’t know where to start!

I want you to know that my path of publication is an uncommon occurrence. I’m not a better writer than you. My story isn’t better than yours. I write in my corner of our bedroom/office, inside of my messy home, while the buzzer alerts me that I need to transfer my freshly washed laundry into the dryer. I’m just a former suburbanite who now lives in a semi-ghetto apartment in the Pacific Northwest who wrote my story, and submitted it to the publisher that I thought would best fit my genre and style of writing.

I’m not going to deny that I think my stories are good. I worked hard on them. I’m proud of them. I literally gave blood, sweat, and tears over my books. I firmly believe in the entertainment value of my stories and and believe they are worthy of sharing with the masses. There is a foundation level of self-confidence (or a friend/family member) required to send in your manuscript for open criticism.

 

Ready To Get Published

That being said, and I don’t know if I’ve written this here before, but I’ve lived by this rule:

DO YOUR RESEARCH.

That’s right… again. I’m throwing the big, angry, bolded, center-justified words at you. I’m going to write it again, in all caps: DO YOUR RESEARCH.

Writing your manuscript is not the only way you will need to prepare. I submitted my book to the right place, at the right time, with the right people, at the right time of the market. My story is one that is still considered a marketable and profitable genre of writing at this moment in time. The market may change. For now, it’s in my favor.

Submitting to the right publisher at the right time with the right genre of work can make or break you.

Submitting your work exactly to the publisher’s formatting requests can make or break you.

Make sure your manuscript is as clean and error-free as possible.

The hard truth is, many publishing companies will not look beyond the first page if their formatting requests have not been met, or the manuscript is riddled with poor grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation.

Imagine your day is spent reading. Every minute of every hour of the business day is reading. You are not only expected to read, but to read quickly. You need to get through X amount of manuscripts per week.

Aha! A new manuscript! Yea! Wait… the font is too small for my tired eyes. It’s not double-spaced allowing me open areas to write notes. It didn’t follow the margin requirements, making it difficult to find where I last left off from reading.

This equals to: Manuscript is thrown out.

When a project is so close to home, you won’t catch everything. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best writer in the world. No matter what you do, there will be typos. I’m formally trained as an editor/journalist, but I won’t catch everything within my own Work In Progress (WIP). There are things in Book 1 I wish I had caught before it went to print, and it went through at least 4 additional editing stages after submission. And I re-wrote it 8 times before submission. Have a trusted close one (friend, family member), who won’t leak your story out to the world beforehand, or if you plan to self-publish, spend the money to hire a professional editor.

Now, let’s say you’ve followed the rules. Your manuscript is shiny and new, and POLISHED! You’ve done your research and you found it. This is the one! This is the publisher I need to be with!

Make sure the publisher is accepting your genre at the time of submission.

The publisher’s website says they are not looking to publish works of your written genre. You think: I’m going to submit my book anyway!

This equals to: Manuscript is thrown out.

This process has been a whirlwind, and I’d like to point out to fellow not-quite-yet-published-authors that the process normally doesn’t happen this way. After several discussions and advice I’ve received over the many, many years (I won’t declare exactly how many years), this piece of knowledge was drilled into my brain:

Be prepared for rejection.

Hundreds and hundreds of letters of rejection.

Then, maybe, you might get a request for the full manuscript…

Followed by another rejection.

Hundreds more of rejection letters, you might get published.

Precious Reader (and fellow writer, storyteller, scribe, etc.), this is not to discourage you. It is to bring you to reality. I have attended several conferences over the years, and received responses from authors who answered the same question I’m now being asked. “How did you get published?”

9/10 traditionally published authors will tell you they were rejected several times over before obtaining their first contract.

I’m not a special case, though my experience was highly abnormal. But, I went back to Rule #1: I did my research.

I will tell you right now, and if you’re a longtime follower of this blog, you know this already, I am not a social person. I don’t enjoy social engagements, I barely tolerate my own friends. They’re amazing, wonderful, talented, skillful, kinder than I’ll ever be, and funny people. I’m unfortunately, not great with social interaction. My self-loathing goes soul deep. That being said, I go out of my way to do the best that I am capable of at making personal connections. Personal relationships are important. Whatever your level of comfort for social interaction, it’s important to have social interaction of some kind in your life.

This includes business connections. I was fortunate enough to attend writer’s conferences and make connections with people. They’re talented writers, authors, editors, publishers, and everything else in between. Conferences are GOLD.

A few years ago, I made a connection with the fabulous Lori Lyn. A woman who rocks a wide-brimmed hat and ultra heels like like they’re water and air, unlike any other woman I’ve ever met. You know, it’s a real shame that hats have gone out of style, excluding the semi-ghetto “trucker hat” phenomenon, which I’ll never understand. I suppose I’m too old. I wish I could wear fabulous hats. Unfortunately, I have a gigantic, Charlie Brown-like, pumpkin head, which makes hats of a suitable size impossible for me. Unless it’s a beanie. But, I digress. She and I met at Emerald City Writer’s Conference in Bellevue, WA, an annual conference that is the biggest romance writer’s conference on the West Coast. We connected, I thought she was hilarious, and she actually got me to speak out loud. She handed me a business card, indicating she was starting up her own publishing company.

I held onto that card like a drowning man to a life vest.

Two years later, I finished what would turn into my first published book, CAPTURE ME. In all of that time, I kept a sharp eye on Trifecta Publishing House, to ensure that my style of writing might find a home with them. They were accepting my genre. They were accepting my style. The stars aligned. It was good planning, writing with the best of my ability, and good execution of the characters and story inside of my head.

There were still typos, but my research, time, and relationship nurturing had paid off. Which is good. Lori not only turned out to be an amazing friend and mentor over the years, but after pitching my idea to her, she was eager to read it.

Even after signing the contract, the confidence within myself was minimal. It took two author events and her telling flat out to my face that I was a good writer, that I actually started to believe it.

Some people have confidence. I have a Type-A, detail-oriented, obsess-over-every-little-thing, “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst,” type of attitude. This ended up working in my favor by careful planning, and trying my absolute best.

Could I have been rejected? ABSOLUTELY, COMPLETELY, AND HIGHLY POSSIBLE!

If I hadn’t paid attention to their submission requests, my manuscript, as wonderful and amazing as I thought and hoped it would be, might have ended up in the trash bin. (Either physical or electronic, again, depending on your publisher’s requested formatting requirements for physical or electronic copies of your WIP.)

“It’s not you, it’s me.”
“It’s just plain, ol’ bad timing.”

Perhaps the publisher is looking for your genre of writing. But, they receive such an influx and flooding of submissions, they have to cutoff somewhere. Like applying for college or trade schools. There are only so many manuscripts a publisher can do in a single year.

Maybe your work hits all of the criteria, but it’s too controversial at that point in time. We live in an amazing era and country. Free speech is an incredible freedom to have. That being said, a publisher has to take into account risk. If your work happens to be a controversial topic, or a controversial opinion about the topic, the world may not be ready for you… yet.

Sometimes biding your time and taking a socio-economical temperature check can make a world of difference between publication, and sitting in a corner while holding your manuscript and crying. And I’ve done that. With a book that will never see the light of day.

For those who have struggled, have you considered self-publishing?

One of the biggest changes in publishing history was the invention of self-publishing. A concept that isn’t new (look at Benjamin Franklin), but was never so mainstream as it has been in the last 15 years. If you had asked me 15 years ago if I’d read the work of someone who was “self-published,” and I would’ve responded with, “Huh?” For those who had heard of self-publishing at that time, it came with highly negative connotations.

American publishing used to consist of these big powerhouses all based in the New York, and what they said was the “end all, be all” of publishing. Once stigma of self-publishing wore off, there was a power shift. Now writers/authors, could get their work closer to your hot little hands.

Nowadays, many authors are what we call “hybrids.” They are traditionally published in one genre of writing, and self-published in another genre.

Imagination

Here is the simplified breakdown of my best explanation between the two:

Traditional Publishing

PROS:

Branding. You have a big brand name behind you. You will be branded and marketed across all platforms.

Exposure. With a big brand name comes the exposure of tons of readers to your book and name. Your readers have the confidence knowing the book didn’t “come from nowhere.” Your publisher will have a larger budget, dependent on your book, to market your book across all types of platforms.

Most Likely – Higher Sales. If your publisher is a big name, you will most likely get a lot of sales, quickly, compared to self-publication.

Less Cost. Publishers handle all of the costs of publication, instead of you paying straight out of pocket.

CONS:

Contracts. You need to be savvy, or know someone savvy, in legal-ese. The legal language that can make or break you. Often, traditional publishing contracts will include a “right of first refusal” for any future works you write, whether it is the same genre or different genre. It will depend on your negotiating skills, and how you foresee your own future in writing.

Your characters are no longer your own. Yes, you heard that correctly. Unless you have an incredibly giving publisher, or a crack shot of a lawyer, your characters now belong to the publisher. This includes if you pass away, break your contract, etc., the characters belong to the publisher for as long of a period your book/series is contracted for. This can be a few years, to decades, depending on the language of your contract. (Refer back to “Contracts” above.)

Little to No Control. You have little to no say about what the cover will look like, the font style, font on the front and back covers of your book, if your picture will be on the back, etc. You will have little to no control as to the pricing of your book, and little to no control of when sales occur.

I’ve heard several times over from authors traditionally published, where they’ll notice a book that has been “out there” for say, 3 years, suddenly get a spike in sales. When they ask their publisher about it, the publisher replies something along the lines of, “Oh, for 24-48 hours, your book was $0.99!” To which, the author says, “Well, that’s great, but I wish I’d known about it sooner so I could’ve told family and friends, marketed it on my blog/website/social media.” It ends up being a ‘too bad, so sad’ moment for them that they missed out on advertising their book being on sale to more potential readers.

Self-Publishing

PROS:

Full Control. The world is your oyster, just as your book all yours. From the editing, the formatting, the cover design, how it’s marketed, everything.

CONS:

Full Control. I will warn you, self-publishing is not an easy road. You must be highly business savvy to navigate the winding road of self publishing. You are in charge of all of the design, photos, graphic design skills, finding a book printer, etc. needed to produce your book. This means $$$. Each and every little thing makes me think “ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching” out of pocket. For many, this is not as affordable as they once thought.

This also means that marketing and promotion are completely in your hands. You set the price, you create and launch your own advertising, you monitor your own sales. This means if you are not someone who is highly business savvy, not a self-starter, not motivated to finish projects that you start, this may not be the path for you.

You are your biggest cheerleader. What do I mean? I mean, that you are submitting your book to the masses. I’m paraphrasing, but someone once explained it to me as this: Imagine you are ready to share your book with the world. Now, you are standing on a box with a bullhorn on a street corner, holding your book out in front of the faces of all who pass by. You are asking hard working Americans to part with their hard-earned paycheck, to dedicate 12 hours of their lives to reading your work. So what is your idea, pitch, and hook to get the passers by to part with their cash if they’ve never heard of you? Ask yourself if you’re business savvy enough to convince that person to fork over $12.99 for your book, on your sole word alone, that it’s awesome?

This is not meant to discourage you from self-publishing. It is meant to be an eye opener to how much work you will be doing. Marketing is a 24-hour job. You need confidence, strategy, a keen eye in spotting opportunities, and being a self-starter. Even with my own publisher, I get reminders to participate in contests, offer free books at conferences, Tweet at least twice a day (even though all who follow me on Twitter know that I post far more than twice a day), and to keep my Facebook profile active. Get on Goodreads. And I don’t even have to worry about a majority of the business side of things.

I am not a numbers person. I’m Asian, but I’m not that Asian. Anyone who knows me, understands that math hurts my brain.

Q: Why did you choose Traditional Publishing?

A: Well, I sort of did. I’m with what’s called a “boutique publisher,” yes, Trifecta Publishing House is a boutique publishing house. It’s a print on demand, and a smaller company. Think of it as the “mini me” of the big publishers. So, I am traditionally published, just not at the same scale as Penguin, or Random House, or its other brethren. As Trifecta Publishing House grows, (which it is definitely expanding the number of authors it is accepting at this time), it may change, but as a first-time published author, I’m enjoying being part of our growing family.

In conclusion, the world is an amazing place, and time can shift all things. Opinions and ideas are as fluid and dynamic as the people who shape them. Don’t give up hope. If you believe your work is meant for the masses.

There are many, many other ways to be published. Some use WordPress and keep blogs to post chapter by chapter for free. There are tons of websites that allow you to put your work out there. You don’t need to be published to share your work with the world. Heck, I’ve written this blog for years, long before I dreamed up Roxy Summers.

If you have your WIP and it’s almost ready to go, or you’re finished and looking for your new publishing family, or pioneering out on your own to self publish, don’t give up hope. The gal who wrote P.S. I love you, was 19 years old when she wrote that story. Some people are first-time published at the age of 65 because retirement gave them the freedom to write. I spent 30 years of my life working towards this goal. I’m older than 30, but don’t wish to share the exact number with you. But, I digress again.

For more information about different types of publishing, I recommend this article by The Future of Ink.

Good luck to you, and as always. I am in no way an expert, nor the “end all, be all” final word of how this works. But, writing is a field where your competitor is also your biggest ally. We’re a supportive bunch who love sharing our craft with others and to help stimulate creativity within your own work.

Share your publishing journey!

What were your struggles? Successes?

What’s the toughest hurdle you’ve encountered on the path to publication?

Do you have better advice?

it’s like picking a favorite child

Everyone has a few.

Well, my first was out of my control. I was shipped UPS-style at the age of six months, traveling internationally to meet my new family.

I still wonder if I should tattoo a bar code on the bottom of my foot with the words “Made In Korea” on the other.

Fun Fact: All photos of my airport arrival had a gift shop in the background. The top of each photograph said, “Tax and Duty Free.”  My mother claims this was a major false advertisement on the adoption agency’s part, and demands a refund from them.  If I can find the photo, I’ll post it.

Another was betting on my future by not applying to the UW.

Besides, as a very strong, high B-average student, I doubt my GPA would have gotten me in.

Letting go of the past and opening my heart to Pilot.

One of the best decisions ever.  I finally have someone who will attend hockey games with me and thinks my ridiculousness is “cute.” I would prefer he had said something more along the lines of “genius,” “trendsetting,” or “Pulitzer-worthy,” but hey, you can only ask for so much, right?

The night my dad passed away.

I can only hope that I bring a small amount of happiness to my mom, even though I know I’ll never be enough to fill that loss.

Being diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

I’m not going to compare my lame-ass experience with those of true cancer survivors. Mine was caught very early, thanks to a great doc and new technology. I am in no way a cancer survivor. Cancer survivors are true heroes with more courage than I can imagine. I was… grazed (?) by cancer, if that makes any sense.

The day I said “Really?”  (That’s a story for another day.)

And, my absolute favorite day, and each day since then, was the day I said “I do.” (Also a story for another day.)

Aww… More sappy moments.  Are you sick of me yet?

I’ll warn you. Pilot and I are the smoochy “Bewitched”-like couple. The Samantha and Darren Stevens couple who makes everyone else want to hurl.  (Except the baby talk. I can’t stand people who “baby talk” each other. I don’t even “baby talk” babies.  Their brains are like sponges, they absorb everything. Do I really want to be responsible for the person who thinks “ga ga goo goo” is a phrase? Bitch, please.)

These are moments that not only tested me, they made me surprise myself and others.  Included in these experiences is the day I began this blog and made a dedication to myself and to you, my very precious viewers, that I would write and do everything (morally and legally) within my power to become a good, succesful, multiple-times-over published author.

What were some of your most defining moments?  The ones that pivoted your life in a new direction? How did they change you? Was it worth the change?

Daily Writing Challenge

Day 19: Today is a day that will change your characters life forever. What course of events occurs? How does your character react? Write a scene from this day.

I’m so sick of waiting…

This is terrifying…

I’m so excited…

Each of these thoughts simultaneously ran through her mind as she tapped her fingernails on oak dining room table.

“All right, honey. I have the suitcase in the car, and we’re ready to go.” Oliver stepped through archway, anticipation twinkled in his eyes.

Sylvie pushed herself up from her chair and he guided her to their sedan.  Well, here goes nothing, she thought.

As they drove down I-5, she watched the buildings sweep past her window.  In a soft voice, Oliver turned briefly to look at her.  “Now, honey everything is going to be fine,” as slipped his hand in hers.

“I know. I just don’t know what’s going to happen.  We’re as prepared as we can be, but…” she looked down at her protruding stomach.  “I’m scared.”

“Oh Sylvie, don’t worry. I’m going to be right there with you.”

At 8:03 am, Pacific Time, Sylvie was induced.

~~~

Seven hours, forty-nine minutes and eleven, now twelve, seconds later…

~~~ 

“It’s not a baby, it’s a damn elephant!” Sylvie screamed.  “Give me the epidural! I want the epidural!”

“Just two more pushes, honey!  You can do it, Sylvie!  Just breathe!”  Oliver was a pillar of calm and she wanted to deck him straight into the New Year.  Focus.  Focus on your breathing. Sylvie bit down and breathed as slowly as she could though her teeth.

“Hoo-hoo! Hee!”

She wanted to boil whoever insisted she not use painkillers. Oh wait, she convinced herself of that.  Natural is best, my ass, she thought. But her thoughts vanished as quickly as they appeared when another wave of pain shot through her body, causing her back to go into spasms unlike anything she had ever experienced before.

“It’s ok, Sylvie! You’re doing great!  Now push! Push!

“I can’t!” she cried, squeezing her eyes shut.  “I can’t do this anymore! Make it stop. Oh god, make it stop!”

“Just one more push, Sylvie. You can do it,” Dr. Gustafson said encouragingly.

“Sylvie, look at me!”Oliver’s voice drifted through the waves of pain that were drowning her.

She opened eyes.  Oliver’s deep brown eyes were full of determination, compassion and love as he held her gaze.

“Honey, I love you. I’ve loved you since the day you threw that Frisbee at my face and knocked out my tooth-”  Breathe. Keep breathing.

“One more push,” Dr. Gustafson ordered.  Sylvie pushed with all of the strength she had left, which wasn’t much.

“-and I know you’re tired, and I know you want to give up, but I won’t let you.” Oliver continued to look into her eyes.  “You’re the woman who never gave up on anything. You’re a fighter! You’ve never let me win anything without a fight,-”

Sylvie screamed as the pain consumed her.  Sweat was blending with her tears now, dripping down her face.

“I can see the head,” Dr. Gustafson commanded.  “Keep pushing, Sylvie! Just one more!”

“-and I know you’re going to fight for our baby!  Don’t you want to meet our baby?”

She barely stopped herself from biting straight through her lip.

“So I know that you’re going to do this Sylvie! You’re going to push because I know you love our baby as much as I love you!”  A searing white light blinded her, tearing her in half.

Silence.

A cry pierced the air.

Sylvie slumped back against the pillow, sobbing.

“It’s a healthy baby girl!” Dr. Gustafson announced as he handed the tiny pink blob to the nurse.

“You did it, honey!” Oliver whispered as tears ran down his face.  He silenced her crying as he possessed her mouth firmly.  “She’s beautiful, Sylvie. She’s beautiful, just like you.”

The nurse handed Sylvie the tiny, crying blob, wrapped in a soft blanket and already wearing a little pink hat that was too big and came to a point at the tip.

“Oh,” Sylvie whispered.  “Oh my god.” Her breath caught in her throat as she looked down at the tiny face, the tiny hands and feet.  Ten little fingers. Ten little toes.

Sylvie barely heard Dr. Gustafson congratulating her Oliver.  All the noise and memory of the pain faded wayside as she looked at the face of the miniscule person screaming in her arms.

She looked wide-eyed up at Oliver.  “You’re a daddy, Ollie.”  He brushed a strand of hair out of her eyes.  A warm glow settled on both of them as he beamed at her.

“So what should we call her?” he asked softly, as he kissed the baby’s head.

“Perfect,” she whispered.

“No,” Oliver chuckled softly.  He kissed her again.  “That’s you.”

i think mother nature has an evil twin… and she hates me

Take that disgusting thing off of my boobs, thank you!

Holy cow! I can’t believe I’m already on DWC 15! (There are a total of 25, so I’m over halfway through!)

ATTENTION ALL READERS:

Coining a term from my Daily Life, “Scope Creep,” has fallen upon me. Maintaining a lifestyle of a full-time job, dealing with said Daily Life, writing this blog, working on the DWC’s, trying to carve additional time for my WIP’s and trying to obtain a fair amount of sleep each night… Well, it’s becoming all too much and something has got to give. If I’m not careful, it could quite possibly be my sanity.

Let’s face the facts: If the sanity is completely gone, who wants to read the ramblings of a crazy person?

With most of the outline for my first of a two-book series written out, I hope to have at least both outlines completed, along with officially having started to knock out the first book by the end of the month.

With the ultimate goal of getting published someday, (if I’m lucky enough to be selected by an agent, and then, by some miracle have my work picked up by a publishing company), these last two weeks have proven me wrong:

I cannot continue with the mere goal of writing something each day. I need to be focused on my WIP’s each day.

The (mostly) daily blogging has assisted with me getting back into the groove of taking at least one hour to focus on my Real Life work. I need to use my now aging memory for redeveloping my writing skills.

I will try to post as often as possible, at minimum weekly. So bear with me readers, the few but precious you are! I promise to remain faithful as ever to provide a detailed, if slightly ridiculous, report of my progress.

And now, back to our show!

Daily Writing Challenge 

Day 15: Your character is upset. What about? How does it affect them? Does anyone come to comfort them? Write a scene where your character is distraught.

[Today’s DWC and my daily blog post are one and the same. So hope you enjoy!]

Lesson Learned: No matter how much you try, one cannot fight Mother Nature.  Even if you hate it sometimes.

I believe that God has a sense of humor, (don’t believe me? Have you ever seen a platypus?), and although I’m 100% sure He loves everyone, I also believe the caveat of His humor is that He enjoys screwing with me, just a tiny bit, to see how I’ll react.

Case in point: As part of Pilot’s birthday weekend, we went out to watch the IL2, a Russian WWII war bird fly this afternoon. Instead of being part of the museum’s crowd, we made our way to the opposite side of the runway, near the windsock, amongst the tall grass.  After an amazing one-hour show, Pilot and I made our way back to our car.

As I was belting myself in, I felt a presence on my shoulder. Batting the nuisance away, I froze.  The annoying presence fell into my shirt.  Glancing downward, there it was.

A spider.

A really big spider.

Cricket on a cracker, there is a HUGE SPIDER IN MY BRA!!!

As I gracefully scream and tastefully swat at my boobs-

Get it out! Get it out!  Get this fucking thing off of MEEE!

-I end up repeatedly squashing it against my poor, innocent breast.  (Let’s just say some more screeching ensued for the next few seconds on top of the additional swatting and accidental exposure of myself to those within viewing distance of our vehicle.)

Desperate to remove this creepy crawly from my person, I was finally able to dislodge the Spawn of Satan out of my shirt, flinging it unceremoniously onto the console of Pilot’s vehicle where the humongous thing proceeded to lie there… somewhat flatly while twitching.  Bursting through the car door, I stand outside facing the interior of War Machine, (Pilot and I dubbed his vehicle War Machine not too long ago. What can I say? I already told you it’s a tradition that we name our modes of transportation), and pointed directly to Evil Incarnate calmly requesting Pilot to “Get that… that… THING, away from me!”

Pilot, having just sat in the driver’s seat watching this whole ordeal with a look of amusement on his face, (the rat bastard), proceeds to take his hand from the steering wheel, placing his forefinger and thumb behind Satan’s Mistress and flicked it out of the car.

Sadly, I was under the misfortune of not having my wits about me, (remember, I said complete loss of sanity. I never claimed to have full sanity to begin with) and was standing in the direct path of The Devil’s Wrath Upon Humanity.  The spider bounced off of me, causing another Eek! to emit from me, and it landed on the ground.

I maintained my composure by gracefully scrambling into the car, proceeding to lock all doors, seal all windows, securing Pilot and myself in impenetrable cat suits complete with boots and gloves, placing heat-seeking goggles over our eyes, surrounding our vehicle with motion-sensor cameras and setting up a perimeter of an electrified, barbed wire fence.

Pilot: Um, Sweetie? Don’t you think you’re overreacting just a little?

Me: <moves joystick to turn motion-sensor cameras back and forth.>

Pilot: I promised my parents we’d go visit them so they could celebrate my Birthday dinner with us.

Me: <adjusts heat-seeking goggles, searching for unidentified moving entities.>

Pilot: Sweetie, weneed to get going.

Me: <puts finger to lips.>  SHH! They’ll hear you!

catapulting over the ultimate brick wall!

Right here folks! You’re witnessing history!

Exhilaration tingled throughout my body as I bobbed and weaved through the jungle of I-5 traffic. Destination: Home, after a long and tedious experience of my Daily Life. For the first time in a quadrillion years, I looked forward to today. Perhaps it was because of the semi-decent hair day I seemed to have acquired, or that I scrounged together enough cash to buy a bagel this morning. Well, I’m pretty sure it had to do with the fact that yesterday, I took my first step into the blogosphere.

However, upon returning to my (very) humble abode, I rammed straight into the ultimate brick wall.

What the fuck am I supposed to write first?

I’m sure most bloggers begin with posting something poignant. Perhaps either to prove to others he or she actually knows something about the topic they picked, or maybe proving to themselves they’ll actually follow through with this blogging thing. With so many topics lolling around in my brain, it was difficult to select just one idea.

Review a recently read novel?

Post a status on my WIPs?

And what about tone?

Should it be serious? Insightful? Thigh-slappingly funny?

Similar to picking a favorite child, the choice was impossible and I was intimidated beyond all recognition.

Well, this is me, and this is reality. The Friday of a 3-day weekend comes along and flicks a switch in me, turning me into one of humanities greatest nightmares: a person with Vacation Brain.

Its symptoms are easily spotted by those not exposed to this debilitating and stupefying condition. Unfortunately, those who have been affected by Vacation Brain go through a serious case of “revertigo,” causing even the simplest of functions, like thinking, to become a feat similar to climbing Mt. Everest.  You’ve seen these people. They’re at your workplace, your hometowns. They’re the ones on a tour, standing in front of a sandy beach facing the water. Their guide dutifully announcing, “Here’s the Pacific Ocean!” To which they respond to said statement by pointing out the nearby lake exclaiming, “Oh! So this must be the Atlantic Ocean!”

So how does a newbie blogger attempt to write her first real post with Vacation Brain?

She doesn’t. She leaves home, grabs some grub with the hubby and goes to a hockey game.

You heard me! I threw on my team’s jersey, left the house (ok, apartment), and didn’t think about writing at all.  And, do you know what happened? A flash of inspiration illuminated my work-weary head, cleansing the obscenities about to be expelled from my lips at the referee currently ruining my sport of choice.

I realized I needed help. A guide if you will.  After searching the interwebs, I came across another blog someone posted with a daily writing challenge.

So witness below, my attempt at my first real post with Day 1 of the Daily Writing Challenge below. Under the duress of Vacation Brain, mind you. (No pun inte- … Ok, the pun was intended.)

Daily Writing Challenge

Day 1: Write a biography of your life. Only use a seven-word sentence.

  1. To make a biography now is presumptuous.
  2. With seven words the possibilities are endless!
  3. Refusal to live my life with limits!
  4. Accident prone, plus brutal honesty spawns creativity.
  5. Insomnia plus coffee addiction equals free time.
  6. Friend, wife, lover, writer: all are me.
  7. I am one; but who am I?
  8. Prepare to be assimilated; resistance is futile.
  9. I love all of the wrong things.
  10. I will always end up writing something.

and so it begins…

What the heck have I gotten myself into, now?

This is exactly what is going through my mind at this exact moment.

I have a love/hate relationship with myself. I love to give myself frank, honest tough-love to ensure I continue to grow as a person. (Ok, and also to keep from becoming too boring.)  And, typically, I hate going through every minute of it.

Allow me to explain:

Every so often, I give myself an enormously-heaving shove outside of my comfort zone.

As a child, it was facing my fear of heights to jump off of the high dive at the local pool. (I’m still ridiculously terrified of heights, but at least I did it.)  As a guarded, semi-nerdy college student, it was the decision to make new friends with a more open, positive attitude. (The first person I met was moments after making this attitude-adjustment decision. He is now my husband.)

And now as I gently drop-kick myself out of the bliss-bubble, I’m committing myself to this and forcing myself to put IT out there. For all of the internet masses to see. The highs, the lows, the real, the fictitious.

I just can’t keep it to myself anymore. Not if I have a snowball’s chance in Old Scratch’s homestead of being successful.

“IT” being the need to write. To breathe life into characters. To share a story. (Ok, and to sometimes commentate on my daily screw ups in hopes of learning from them.)

This is acting as the spark to my creative outlet in hopes of accomplishing my dream of being a successful romance novelist.

So join me as I flail out of the bird’s nest. Take a few minutes to read and have a laugh, as I try to grasp life’s lessons, even if I hit every branch on the way down.  Go ahead, pour yourself a glass of your favorite relaxation beverage of choice.

I’ll wait.