My first “bad” review

When I was in fifth grade, I had this teacher who was awful.  Mr. Hunger.  Yes, that was his real name.  I probably wouldn’t remember much about being 10, or his class, except for the fact that he was a very, very harsh grader.  He gave me my first “D” and told me my writing sucked

Writing, much like reading, was always something I’d enjoyed.  I liked penning characters, developing plot lines and creating drama even at a young age. I loved English class. I can’t decide if I like reading more than writing or vice versa, but I figure they are so interwoven it doesn’t much matter.

Our end of the year assignment was to write a fictional piece of our choosing, about anything we wanted.  Being a huge Fear Street fan, the genre I read the most, I opted to go the murder mystery route to express myself.  Probably not something you’d expect from a 10 year old…but whatever, shoot for the stars.

I spent weeks writing my story.  I took the whole thing very seriously because I wanted it to be good.  I had, even at 10 an innate desire to impress people with words.

When I turned the paper in, I had hole punched the edges and tied them together with string, I had typed the story out–this was back before that sort of effort was expected and even asked my tutor to go over it with me.

It was extremely detailed, about two friends out to lunch and a murder happens.  Like I said, deep for a fifth grader, but if I was going to write something it was going to be all balls to wall.

I was very, very proud of the piece I turned out.

I waited anxiously for Mr. Hunger to return the assignment.  When he finally did, he failed me.  The F I earned was huge enough to pull my solid B down to a D in the blink of an eye.  Ouch, that hurt.

I went home in tears, embarrassed–not by the my lackluster grade overall, but by the dismal performance of my paper.  And, to be honest, it wasn’t even the F that hurt the most, it wasn’t the failing, it was the comments scrawled across the page that hit an emotional nerve.  He said my story was bad.  Not bad because the spelling was poor or the grammar left much to be desired…he didn’t like the topic and looked for reasons to grade me poorly because of it.  (and if we’re being honest, isn’t that what most critics do?)

I am still stupefied, all these years later as I revisit the review, that creative writing can be judged on topic.  Doesn’t that go against everything creativity is supposed to inspire?

Mr. Hunger still teaches in my old district, at another school.  I did a quick google search and that’s all I was able to discover about him.

But, I should thank him.  And maybe someday, if I ever get published, I’ll drop him a note with a copy of my book–and welcome his review, of course…

His harshness prepared me for the rest of the critics that would follow, most of which I’m sure I haven’t even encountered yet.  There is something about being told you’re bad that hurts, but also makes you stronger, thickens the skin, makes your work ethic brawny.  It’s a lesson in the way the world operates, you can’t please all the people all the time.

Bad reviews are painful, they suck, they are the worst.  But if you take them in the right way, they help you grow.  Mr. Hunger showed me that, maybe, horror wasn’t my genre–and that’s okay.  I can do something else…and be better for it.

 

 

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Ciao Borders–goodbye old friend….

There is a Borders bookstore down the road from where I live.  It’s where I bought my Bridal books, and magazines.  It’s where I browsed for hours with a cup of pumpkin coffee in my hand.  It’s where I discovered Jodi Picoult, James Patterson, Wally Lamb, Gillian Flynn and so many more beloved authors.  It was my place to be lost or be found.

I can remember, being a little girl in love with R.L Stein and Fear Street.  My mother always had a rule, she’d never say no to a book.  So every Friday, after school, we’d pile in her mini van and drive to B. Dalton (a subsidiary of Borders).  I’d hightail it to the kids fiction section, and there, on the bottom self was every Fear Street book published.  I’d sit on the floor and read the backs, picking one or two that would last me the whole week, I was the sort of kid that loved to read.  I’d carry my selection to my mom would plunk down cash at the register and hand me the plastic bag.  It was my idea of fun.  And maybe, somewhere in that memory, is the reason I have this unyielding desire to be a writer.  Because I remember the way those books made me feel and I’d love the chance to give that feeling back in return. But that wouldn’t be possible without that first love–and so imagining my life without a Borders is…odd….

I stopped in the other day, lured by the transient workers, holding signs in neon yellow-nothing held back, everything must go.  I walked through the doors and had a pure moment of vertigo.  This wasn’t my place anymore.  The coffee shop was closed, piled to the ceiling with cases and chairs and end caps, all for sale.  The leisurely pace of a bookstore replaced with a grab and dash mentality.  I found erotic in travel, and YA in mystery.  Best selling books hidden behind magazines.  It was…in a word…sad.

I know this is a taste of their own medicine.  That not so long ago, Borders blew into town with it’s free membership offering 20% a best selling book and undercut a bagillion locally owned stores, shutting them down systematically while they counted their cash all the way to the bank.  But still, it’s unfortunate.

I own a Kindle, and therefore, I take a lump of responsibility.  I moved on.

I stopped in less, and when I did, I bought less.  I’d go there only to sneak peeks at what was being newly published, making reminders to look the books up on Amazon when I got home.

Bookstores are an otherworldly place.  The moment you walk in the door, you enter a world that is full of great stories, great loves, great heartbreak, betrayal, redemption.  No where else is so much kept, waiting to be found, read, enjoyed, remembered.

I think the change is going to inspire more people into the eReader realm.  With less brick and mortar book stores, people are going to seek out other ways of reading.  I’m considering becoming an Indie Author, and for that reason, the idea excites me–a potential bonanza of new readers coming everyday.  But it’s still taking a huge chunk of history and washing it away.

I’ll always remember the discovers I had in Borders.  I’ll always miss the way it felt to walk in there and find the next great read.  But, life goes on…so, goodbye Borders, we had a good run…

The Twilight Saga

I think, as an author, one of the best things I can do is read.  It makes me a better story teller for one thing, and it also shows me the other side of the coin.

One of my favorite stories is THE TWILIGHT SAGA by Stephenie Meyer.

First of all, I don’t consider TWILIGHT, NEW MOON, ECLIPSE and BREAKING DAWN to be separate in and of themselves.  It is one story broken up into four parts.  And, it’s brilliance.

Meyer’s saga of shape shifting werewolves and sparkling vampires has caught a lot of flack by “big” authors, Stephen King comes to mind, about her writing style–going so far as to say, “…Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn…she’s not very good,” (eonline.com).

To that, I have to say, say’s who?  You?

The first time I read Twilight, I’d already seen the movie.  I was home sick with the flu, as so often happens when you’re chasing after germy kids all day–but I digress.  I’d heard about the hoopla surrounding the books, Robert Pattinson and K. Stew flitted across my television looking every bit the part of those thrust into the lime light resembling two people who didn’t really anticipate such a career windfall.  But, I didn’t get it.  Vampires?  Werewolves?  What’s the big deal?

Then I saw the movie.

I immediately sent my husband to the bookstore demanding he pick up every single book in the series, and gouged myself on Edward, Bella and Jacob over the next three days.  That’s right, 4 books, 3 days, no sleep.  I didn’t care…I was officially on the road to becoming a Twi Hard.

THE TWILIGHT SAGA is quintessential YA, save for BREAKING DAWN which has hot R rated goodness dripping from the pages.  The books ping into the heart of every teenage girl, changing their expectations of love and teenage-hood and what it means.  Gone are the things like cool clothes, fancy cars and promiscuous sex…enter: loving waiting for marriage — or the right person, confidence in ones self and following ones heart.  Not a bad message to send the youth, right?

Other long published, successful authors may miss the point entirely.  But a reader won’t.

TWILIGHT was published at 130,000 words, a dictionary by publishing standards, but it inspired kids–kids, who have their noses in video games, and cell phones and live chat on the internet–to read.  To love to read.  To look forward to reading.  It took adults, with their adult responsibilities and obligations, back to the time when love was innocent and as simple as how you felt inside.  And from there, grew a phenomena.

TWILIGHT may not be everyone’s bowl of ice cream–that’s why there is chocolate and vanilla.  But no one can deny the positive things it gave the literary community.  And isn’t that what a good book is supposed to do?  So when someone says, “oh, Meyer can’t write”…I have to ask…if Meyer can’t write, then what is it that she did here?

Since I fell in love with Edward Cullen THE TWILIGHT SAGA only visited Forks and La Push, but I’ve attended the conventions and opening night of the movies, I’ve visited the blogs and forums and fan sites.  And guess what I’ve found?  Not only are people inspired to read…but they are inspired to write and craft.  Not only do I see gaggles of girls in their “team appropriate” attire, but they are there with their mothers, grandmothers, fathers…there is a connection made between people over these books and movies during a time when connections between parents and children (the teenage years) are tenuous.

Fan fiction and fan created art flood the internet.  Sites like Etsy.com boast page after page of locally crafted wears, jewelry, photo albums, and the like. In this economic climate, crafty folks are supplementing their income by filling a niche.  Fans of the series are writing fictional takes on what could have happened.  How amazing is that?  Kids that can barely force out assigned homework without grumbles and groans are taking to the interest to expound upon the Cullens and Wolf Pack, Bella and Charlie.

Good books make masses of people think and feel.  Not everyone, but some.  So, by definition, TWILIGHT is a really good book.

For more information, including outtakes, soundtracks and breaking new visit: www.stepheniemeyer.com

Indie vs. Published Traditionally (the dollar show down)

Today is my husband’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Mark!) and so we were over at my parent’s house for dinner and we got to talking about the process of publishing.  My parents (God love em’) are totally behind this little project of mine–no one’s got it better than I do when it comes to unwavering support from all angles, and so for that, I’m blessed.

But…

My parent’s are old school.  They are sweet, educated, good natured, well intended people…but somewhat “new” when it comes to realities of publishing and the track technology has put this long unchanged industry on.

I should probably throw out a backstory here to understand where they’re coming from before I get into what we discussed.

Many years ago, my parent’s close friend’s son was bent on being a rockstar.  He was good in all the ways that matter when that’s what you want to do–he was good looking, sounded good, good work ethic.  He wanted this dream and pursued it down every single avenue possible.  At some point in the process, he hooked up with an agent/manager who promised he’d be the next big thing…but first…he had to pay umpteen thousand dollars to get started.  And so he did, with joy.  When that didn’t work, he scrounged up another umpteen thousand.  And so the story goes…fail, money, fail, money…the merry-go-round of paying for fame.  He now works for a clothing store chain.  Success, as a rockstar, evaded him.  He couldn’t buy it, couldn’t find it, couldn’t make it his.  And it cost him dearly, both in time and money.  

My parents come from a place of “if it’s good, someone else will see that”…they honestly don’t believe that going it alone–force feeding your product–is a rational move.  Like their friend’s son…if he’d been a great rockstar, wouldn’t he be famous without having to pay for the pleasure of it?

Well, yes and no.

Yes, because, if you’re good you will gain a following and people will take notice…

No, because, there was no such thing as iTunes…

Like the music world before it, the publishing world, as I understand it, is changing.  Ten years ago, eBooks were stuff of science fiction.  Borders and Barnes and Nobel ruled the world, proficiently shutting down Ma & Pop bookstores across this great country with their bargains and book clubs and rewards.

Now, we’re seeing eBooks give the big chains a taste of their own medicine.  As I write this, Borders is being wiped off the face of this Earth.

Things.  Are.  Changing.  Ready or not, here is comes…

So…what is the ripple effect?  There must be one, right?  OF COURSE!  Just like when the housing market collapsed and everything else suffered because of it…one huge ass bookstore going under is going to change things for writers, publishers, readers, and so on in sequence .

How is the publishing world going to depend on the likes of Barnes and Nobel to float all of this when even they have an eReader on the market and selling well?

I think what we’re going to see, is this…

Publishing houses tightening their belts and eBooks opening the door for otherwise unpublished authors to make their literary mark.  And how freaking cool is that?

But…you say…big publishing houses can now save money on materials–they don’t need to physically make as much product, which means they can pay more/accept more!  Yes…but…all those indie authors, with their secret society of cool books you never got to read because they were hard to find….are now on a level playing field!  A reader will go to Amazon looking for the newest Jodi Picoult novel and right next to it is “Sarah Somebody” with an equally interesting, less expensive book…a reader might just snag them both up!

So, let the debate begin!

With all the changes…what’s the right move for a new author without any baggage?

*******

First of all, I should credit the amazing folks over on the Kindle Boards for a lot of this knowledge.  And the many who hang in the Writer’s Cafe are giving of their knowledge, time and wisdom freely.

*******

When you publish a book–in my genre–you can expect (or hope) for an advance of somewhere between $3,000 and $10,000.

Wow, you think, that’s a nice hunk of cash!

Here’s the truth.  If you have an agent, and probably would have to have one to net that sort of coin, they take 15%.  But, the advance is divided into three installments–so let’s do the math and shoot for the stars…

$10,000/3 = 3,333 (not bad, right?)

$3,333 x .15% = $500.00 (okay…)

$3,333-$500= $2,833 (that’s it?!)

$8,499 net advance

*Payment 1 comes when the author signs the contract.

*Payment 2 comes when the draft is accepted.

*Payment 3 when the book goes to publication.

Oh, and by the way, that agent charges you for postage, phone calls and printing…so, you’re going to have to come out of pocket to some extent, let’s call it another $500.00–could be more, could be less.

$8,499-$500= $7,999

Most books, from editor to press, take many, many months.  So–that first time author with her $10,000 cash advance either better have a full time job or she’s gonna be broke.

Then you start tiptoeing into royalties.  Royalties are usually given on a sliding scale of success, the more you sell, the more you get.  From my research, it seems like the number falls typically between 10%-15% averaging an author around $1.50 per book.

The thing is, royalties don’t kick in until you’ve outsold your advance.

Meaning, you’d have to sell, roughing, 5,666 books before you got another check.  ($8,499/$1.50=5,666)

Where as, with indie publishing…

You pay a freelance editor or beta reader.  Usually this charged per word…something like .0075 per word.  A 100,000 word book will run you $750.00.

You pay a cover artist, let’s say, $200.00

An ISBN number runs around $50.00

$750.00+$200+50.00=$1,000

Okay, so you’re in hole $1,000…ouch, that hurts…especially when you remember you’re trying to make money doing this!

But, you go to put it Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, Smashwords, you put it anywhere and everywhere you as the author feel like.

Most indie books on Amazon sell for $2.99 Amazon takes a 30% slice of the pie, which is roughly $.90

So, let’s compare…

TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING NET

$1.50 (royalty) – 15% = $1.25 net

SELF PUBLISHING USING AMAZON NET

$2.99 (sale price) – 30% = $2.09 net

**But, remember…you’d have to sell 4,067 books on Amazon before you’d touch the territory of your traditional net advance of $8,499

You’d have to sell 1,599 books less using Amazon to make the same money going the traditional route.

You’d have to sell 478 books on Amazon to break even with the cost of self publishing.

Wow…let that marinade for a moment….those are big, scary, exciting numbers…

It’s true…publishing in the traditional sense will bring you a bigger presence on the market.  Publishers will work to get you press, book signings, write ups and highbrow press mentions.  You’re advance is a sure thing, the publisher cannot call “take backs”…but, you’re paying for it–and earning it!

However, there is no accounting for the emotional toll publishing takes on you.  There are millions of threads you have to unravel before you get there.  There is rejection, deals that fall through and hopes hung high on promises.  It often requires compromising one’s story to fall within the guidelines of a “good read” by their standards–less words, genre specific.

Self publishing, or being Indie, means that you can cut the corners.  You get the luxury of staying true to your work, put out the product you want–it doesn’t have to be this or that or the other, it can be what you intended it to be when you started on the journey.  You may get a bad review, or several, but you don’t have to listen to someone you don’t know, who doesn’t know you, say “I don’t believe in this” before they’ve even read it.

The downfall is, obviously, there is no guarantee, no promise, no fat check to motivate you.  You may never, ever, never sell anywhere near 4,097 books, maybe not even 478 books–you might even lose money.  It’s an adventure, that’s for sure.

In the end, I think both are really good options.  Something to explore and be excited about.  I like to tell myself, there is NO way to fail, be it either picked up as a fresh meat author or a lone wolf on the Indie road.  I’ve done something I love, and I have options–two big, big, wins.

The Query Worry

Who knew writing would be the easy part.   Not me!

Finding an agent…is not…easy.  You’d think: they could make money, I could make money–we should all be so happy…but that’s my greenness poking out.

Agents want something.  Something you have to consolidate down into a paragraph.   Something that says “represent me, I’m the next big deal.”  In.  A.  Paragraph.   Holy sh!t is that not easy!

Okay, I am so not dogging agents.  Not at all.  I want one.  I’ll do whatever they say, send whatever they request and try my best.  I’m dogging me and my nature.  I’m wordy.  I like to explain things.  I want to write books–not memos.  It’s really, really hard…

So…here it is…thus far.

I started querying at 9 am on Thursday, August 25th 2011.  I joined a site (for anyone interested: http://www.1000literaryagents.com ) which boasts, as promised, 1000 agents at your finger tips. The process is very simple, you register (it’s free!) and suddenly you’ve unlocked all sorts websites and e-mail addresses.  Pretty amazing, no?

((Side bar: How did anything ever get accomplished before the internet? As hard as it is now, and it is hard, it must still be a thousand times easier…right?))

So, I plotted my course, page by page, researching the agents accepting queries from first time authors in Women’s Fiction or Chick Lit.  I opted to go to e-mail route, and set my sights of those willing to go electronic along with me.

I did my best to find the agent at each agency that I felt would, either through history or personal statement, get what I was trying to do.

The first query I sent out made me sick to my stomach.  Not what I was expecting, but okay…lets go with it.  I realized, the moment I clicked “send”, that I had unleashed my private art to the world.  It was my moment to scream “judge me!  Am I worthy?”…and it scared the you-know-what out of me.  Talk about a flash flood of doubt.  Suddenly, this project I believed in so hard was up on the chopping block.

But, I kept on, because that’s what we do–we swallow the fear and hesitation down, and keep going forward.

At the close of the day, and I’m talking like 15 hours of “Dear So & So,”…I’d queried 18 agents, had officially I hit my mental wall and called it a night.

…This is where it get’s discouraging…

I picked up where I left off the night before.  Bright eyed and bushy tailed, I logged onto 1000 Lit Agents and got back to work.  I sent out two queries first thing—and within 10 minutes got the dreaded “Not for me.  Thanks” from one that I’d literally just e-mailed not even 10 minutes before.  Talk about frustrating…it takes me longer than 10 minutes to decide what I want for dinner, forget about holding someones future in my hands…

%&(#%*# = me.

Just as I’m recovering, giving myself the pep talk “this happens, it’s okay, you still have a bagillion more out there”…in rolls another.

&^&%%^#*(*%*(# = me, again.

Here’s what I’ve learned in…oh…the last 24 hours.

E-mail queries, while amazingly fast and smart and savvy, are a curse.  That goes double for anyone with a smart phone and triple for anyone whose e-mail puts the message under the senders name.  You hear the little chirp and you immediately check–there is no sensor, no “maybe this is a bad time”…you just check your e-mail, same old, same old.  And the rejection doesn’t care.  It doesn’t wait until you’re ready for it.  No.  It just jumps out and smacks you in the face, POW!  You’re not accepted.

Putting yourself out there, be it in a relationship or when you’re looking for an agent, is scary.  Scary because there is a good chance you’re going to be rejected, and when you click “send”, you’re opening yourself up for that.  People will say “it’s all part of the game”…and while they’re right, it doesn’t make the sting go away any faster.

There is no saying that an agent, any agent, will ever see potential in my story and pick me up as a client.  That’s what I’ve realized.  But that doesn’t mean “don’t try anyway”…I’ll keep sending my queries, and pounding the pavement (and by pavement, I mean keys on my Mac) and hope that somewhere in the slushpile, someday, I get lucky enough (blessed enough) to hear “It is for me…thank you.”

P.S: I wanted to add that to the agents who shut me down–I appreciate that you both reached out to tell me that directly.  I understand that the demands on your time are deep and wide, so that you’d give me even a second glance, matters.  It may not have been the answer I was hoping for, obviously, but still…knowing is better than not knowing…so, thanks!

Put Down The Pen…

Here is what I’m finding… I’m becoming “content obsessive”…I unearth myself worrying about if she shrugged or maybe she looked up at the ceiling, did she say that or just think it…should I spell it out in detail or let the conversation speak for itself (no pun intended).

Basically, the longer the story stays in my hands, the more editing I find myself doing.

Great!  You say to yourself, she’s taking this seriously.

And yes, I am.

But, here’s the problem…I’m approaching the red zone…the place where I’m cresting dangerously close to 100,000 words, and as anyone knows–that’s the limit.  Unless, of course, you’re writing an epic, historical novel, spanning the length of time…which, by the way, I’m not…my feet are firmly planted in the light, breezy world of Chick Lit.  

Stephiene Meyer once said, that even with the extravagant success of Twilight, she still looks at her book and would change things.  As a fan of the series (Edward is my hunk of sparkly stone ::swoon::) I can’t imagine how it could be better.  I know she’s caught a lot of flack for her writing style and the prose of it–but as a reader, I don’t worry those things, I am way too caught up in the world she created and the beauty of it.  Whatever her flaws may be (imagined or otherwise) she did something really, really right.  How could she possibly change a thing and make it better?  It’s amazing, as is.

Maybe that’s the hex of the writer.  The responsibility of the author.  The nagging feeling that it could always be just a little bit better.  I feel accountable for my characters.  I want them to resonate with a reader, and give them a chance to really make an impact with their own gravitational pull.

We’ve all read the “sizzle-less steak” novel.  The book that almost goes there, but not quite.  I don’t want to be that author who could have gone there, wanted to go there, and failed.  It’s an abject fear of mine.

I guess the thing is this…I’m a writer, or trying to be a writer, not an editor.  I’m a reader, not someone who can critique a book with the facts to back it up, I can only go forward with gut reaction and feeling.  I write like I speak, I didn’t go to college (well, I did…but dropped out because math is H.A.R.D hard) so I don’t know where the exact placement of a is coma all the time.  And I over think it.  But what I give away when I send this book out into the world–that’s me.  Those are my thoughts, my words, my story.  And I want it to be fantastic, edge of your seat, blow your mind, make you think, inspire you to feel, good.  I want to write a good book.

So…in closing…every time I think it’s time to put down the pen, I don’t…I pick it up and make one or two or ten more tweaks, because that’s me…I’m a tweaker.

But, just incase I ever go overboard…I read this article…

http://www.theonion.com/articles/novelist-has-whole-shitty-world-plotted-out,21193/

Let Me Tell You A Story….

Once upon a time there was girl.  She was just an average girl, with an average job, working above average hours.  She’d wake up at 6 in the morning, get to work by 7 and stay there until it was dark outside.  She’d drive home, kiss her husband and play with her dogs. She’d open her Kindle and read books.  Books that touched her, inspired her, scared her, made her laugh and made her cry.  She’d scour the internet looking for more books, more books, more books, never getting her fill of the written word.

One day, that girl had a brainstorm, a small spark.  She was nervous at first, opening the blank page on her computer and typing the words.  But she believed in the story, so she kept writing.  She still worked her job, kissed her husband and played with her dogs.  But now, she’d go to bed at 3 in the morning and guzzle coffee on the way to work.  She’d skip the grocery store and order in.  She’d write, and write, and write–she was inspired and scared. Sometimes she felt like fraud and sometimes the belief in her project overwhelmed her.

Four months later, after endlessly long nights and emotional wrought, that girl finished her book.  She drove with her husband to Kinko’s and asked a man in a purple shirt to please print and bind her book.  30 minutes later, still warm from the press, she held in her hands, her story.  She wasn’t scared anymore, only excited.  100,00 words and they were all hers.

But the girl knew that wasn’t enough.  She wanted to publish her book.  She wanted to see it, with a glossy cover and ribbon binding beside her favorite authors at Barnes and Nobel.  So, she made up her mind, she was going to try.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained, she promised herself.

Her sister laughed when she weighed the merits of particulars of post-it notes and pens at Target.  But these were her tools, she said, they had to be “just so”.  Another few weeks passed slowly.  The girl sat at her kitchen table, hunched over her story, reworking and editing and finessing the finer details, building her characters to have gravitational pull, giving them their rightful voice.  She toted her husband to Borders, snatching up every publishing-for-virgins book she could find.  She dreamt about her story, and found herself not only staying up late, but getting up early.  It takes work to make it work.

If you didn’t already guess…the girl is yours truly.  And, it’s all true.

Four months ago a story came to me, like so often happens to authors, from the middle of absolutely nowhere.  But it was real.  It was something I would read–not that that means anything per say, but I am a pretty ravenous reader.   I was (and am) balancing this endeavor with a “full time plus” job.  A Nanny-by-accident, my job isn’t exactly a walk in the park, I’m “on” for 10 and sometimes more hours a day.  But, I’ve made it work.  Juts and lags, ebbs and flows, but I did it–I wrote a book.

As many authors can attest, writing for ones self is an amazing gift…but it almost always is accompanied by the desire to do something with it.  After all, you’ve created lives, conflict, drama, happiness, grief…that can’t all be boxed up on your computer…right?

This blog, the La Bella Novella blog, is my journey.  I’m just starting out…green and fumbling, as I like to say…into the literary world.  I’m starting from absolute scratch, no friends in high places, no frame of reference, just me and my little (okay, not so little) book.

I gave this blog a name because I like to name things–but, more so, because I thought the name was fitting–La Bella Novella means, roughly, A Beautiful Story.  And that is my hope…but I don’t exactly know what that means, sitting here tonight blogging.

Does that mean this is going to be an easy road?  Am I going to query the right agent (who also happens to be a pit bull, black belt, legal savant and future, life long friend)…am I going to be swooped upon by big publishers with money to burn (who also happen to believe as hard in my little/big book as I do)…am I going to be hunted down by Hollywood with clamoring offers for picture rights (and A-list stars foaming at the mouth to play my characters)…or…am I going to learn all sorts of things I never intended to about disappointment, embarrassment and hurt (crickets…)….am I going to have to go it alone into the wild of publishing (thank you Amazon, B&N and the like for making that an option, by the way)…

We’ll have to wait and see.  But, I’ll say this because I mean it–because it’s already beautiful–I’m going into this with hope.  High, high, holy hope.  I hope something beautiful can come from this learning experience–down a path many, many have taken before.