Monday, June 25, 2012

The Queen of Rejection Would Like to Renounce Her Throne

So, I received my rejection number 12 (of 12) of the agents I submitted my supernatural YA novel to back at the beginning of the year. I got the email a few days ago and was like "Oh, totally forgot about you." I suppose those are better than the ones where you were really hoping for great news. But, it's been six months--I kinda assumed it was no like five months ago. Still, I was slightly irritated by the rejection because they asked for a lot of information for the submission (a survey, a synopsis, and 30 pages)... I don't know why I expected at least a few words from a real person. Maybe a "Hey, interesting premise but I can't jive with your main character." But no, it was a basic form letter. Here, I'll share it:
Thank you for submitting to Prospect Agency.
We greatly appreciate your submission, and have
given The Spirit Keeper our careful consideration.
Unfortunately, your project is not a good fit for
us at this time.
We wish you the best of luck in finding an
enthusiastic agent and in your writing career. 
Again, thank you for thinking of Prospect Agency.
With best wishes,
Prospect Agency
Hmmm... "greatly appreciate"? Is that hyperbole? I think it is. I do hope to find an "enthusiastic agent" at some point. I definitely expected SOMETHING more than a form letter, especially when they touted about how much time and effort they put into reading submissions. But at least they sent me something. Another one I submitted to was like "if you haven't heard from us in 6 weeks, it's a no." That's just lazy.

Oh well....

I'm tired of rejections to be honest. That's something that e-publishing takes out of the equation. Well, except any negative reviews, of course. Negative reviews are a new kind of beast.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

When It's A Little Scary

This weekend I uploaded my first novel in ebook format. It's actually not the first novel I've ever wrote, but it is the first one that I shared with people. And by people, I mean random strangers on the internet who just happened to come across it, read it, and like it. I wrote the first draft in 2006, and then six years later, I pulled it out, edited it and stuck it on the Internet (complete with a few pesky typos). Now... I'm sharing it with not only those first readers, but with people I know. People who might look at me with raised eyebrows and ask: "Whoa, you wrote this crap? Thanks for polluting American literature!"

There's a different level of scariness to this step of self exposure. People you know can be dishonest in order to spare your feelings (thus lying to your face). People you know may be brutally honest. People you know may be disappointed. There's nothing worse that disappointing someone that I know, for whatever reason. So... yeah, this blog post scares me. I feel paranoid and anxious. I don't know why I'm getting so worked up. It's not that I'll ever know if someone in my life purchases the book (or doesn't). That's not really how book sales work. I'm more scared of the people who are like: "HEY, I bought your book!" Instead of imagining that they may really like it, I see them slamming their Nook/Kindle/iPad/etc. shut with a yell of: "What a bunch of poorly written sh*$!"

This will likely happen, at least for a few.

I can't please everyone, but wish that I could.

There's also a level of me thinking: "This book is who I am, what I like to do, the kind of writer I will likely be forever. What if people I care about crap over that.?" But at this point in my life, I'm trying to challeng myself to do things that are a little scary.

With that being said... KILLING MEMORIES (under my pen name: Tatiana Moore) is now available on Kindle and Smashwords.

If you buy it (.99 cents)... don't tell me. Thanks for any and all support!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Battling With My Omentum

So, on June 10th I will have finished my 6th month of working out (I started November 10, 2011). I have a lot of preconditioned expectations of weight loss, especially as a person who needs to lose a large amount. For example: "I should lose 1-2lbs a week doing XYZ" or "By the end of the year I'll be 90 lbs lighter." (I think this last one only works for people on The Biggest Loser, or are starving themselves, so basically Biggest Loser contestants.) Usually after 6 months if I haven't seen what I'd consider "results" I'd get frustrated and would stop. Now, in the last few months I have seen some results (about 15 lbs and a few inches lost)... but I'm still frustrated. I feel like I'm doing something wrong (losing 2 lbs a month seems so SLOW).

While doing bicep curls while facing the gym mirror, I realized that I now look like this:

Not sexy.
It's kinda frightful in a way having a little head and a big body. I hope my eyes aren't bugging out. The other day my lips looked bigger and they're already pretty big.

Back to me being frustrated: I'm losing inches everywhere but my stomach (I have monthly measurements that back this up). The one place I care the most about isn't going away. My Omentum is a fighter, people. I'm not really sure what's going on with me. Am I doing something wrong? I feel like I must be doing something wrong. Maybe I'm not eating enough or maybe too much? (I'm sure this Chick-fil'a I'm about to nosh on won't help matters, but a girl needs a little comfort food.) I'm not working out enough (maybe not hard enough), but I'm up to an hour of cardio (at least 5 days a week)... I just don't know.

My mantra of late has been "Just keep on keeping on," and if I do that I'll continue to lose 2lbs a month and will reach my goal in three years.

Whoever said that it was easier to lose weight if you're an apple (compared to pears) was lying to me.

Some days are better than others... today isn't really a great day. At least I went to the gym.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Thought

A few months ago, during a Couch Conversation with Sister, she decided to alert me to all the potential danger of cat litter. And how by now my body is likely full of dangerous spores and what not. At the time I was like "meh, I'm not pregnant, who cares if I'm full of cat bacteria." Now every time I scoop poop I feel like I should have a doomsday gas mask. Maybe this isn't fat on my body but feline fecal spores.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Do I Smell?

Today while walking on the treadmill I was compelled to look over my shoulder, which is when I saw a 6-foot tall, 50ish-year-old, white man wearing short blue shorts, a t-shirt, and white knee-high socks. He was staring at the wall, hands on hips. There was nothing on the wall.

Can you see him?

I'm not sure what made me turn around. It was kind of like that feeling where you know someone's watching you and you look up and someone is actually watching you. But this guy was all about the wall, so I'm not sure what it was that made me turn. Maybe the socks. Like a "oh hell no!" beacon, they called to me. They pushed through Maroon 5 pumping in my ears to drown out the grunting dude three machines down.

(You can hear this guy running from across the gym; he breathes hard, grunts, wails, and repeats the same chant over and over--a "you can do it" chant in a language I don't understand. I've made the mistake of stepping onto the machine beside his in the past. He's quiet at first, but fifteen minutes in and I'm looking around for the source of all that noise to find it right next to me. By this point I'm usually a good clip into my workout and don't feel like moving machines. I often feel like reaching over and decrease his speed a few notches. Nothing should be that taxing or that loud.)

Anyway, his sock pushed through the din of the gym and grabbed my subconscious. I was so shocked that anyone would pull their socks that high. I mean, if you're cold, wear pants.

I then realized, quite shamefully, that they were some kind of compression sock and therefore forgivable. But it made me think about other strange outfits at the gym. The most startling: full winter wear. Several guys wear thick sweat pants (likely over long johns), gloves, knit caps, and sweatshirts with hoods. They then do cardio and sweat through all the layers. I don't really understand this method. Gym rats out there who might be reading this... is that really beneficial? Do they think that the more they sweat the more calories they burn, because I'm not sure it works that way. Sweat doesn't always equal calories burned, right? That getup just seems like the perfect choice for a person who wants to experience heat stroke or dehydration. And it's the PERFECT way to marinate the funk.

Some of these people are straight up funky, men and women alike.

I was approaching this one dude on my way to the ladies gym and I could smell him about 8 feet away. That's quite the funk bubble.

Now, I know that most people don't smell like roses while they work out. Sweat has a distinct odor to it, unfortunately. But... when your funk starts to impede into my personal bubble, we have a problem. I am so absolutely horrified about making anyone around me uncomfortable with any aspect of myself, I don't know how others can go to the gym already smelling nasty.

If I'm on a machine and there's no one around me and I get a whiff of smelliness... my thought process goes a little like this:

Funky, loud guy at the gym.
Whoa, did someone fart?
...Did I fart?
What is that SMELL!?!
Where is it coming from? 
Oh god, is it me? 
 (discretely sniffs myself) 
It's me!!!
(peddles faster in effort to speed up the time that I have left and then realize the machine doesn't work that way.)
Okay, so as long as no one gets on that machine next to you, you're fine. 
Wait, the smell is gone now. 
Maybe it wasn't me.
I gotta wash these pants!

Basically, I try to be considerate of anyone and everyone, but  I worry that I'm inadvertently polluting the air. I'm sweating more these days, which I think means I'm becoming more fit? I don't know where I heard that fit people sweat more than unfit. Is that true? Now that I type it, it sounds a bit backwards. I don't want to be the smelly girl at the gym. I also don't want to dress in knee-highs, sweat suits, or other strange things.

The other day I saw a girl wearing what looked like a red and black trash bag jacket.

If I ever wear a trash bag to the gym, please slap me and tell me that cotton works just fine. Also, if I ever buy matchy-matchy workout clothes (pink shoes, pink shirt, black pants with a pink stripe, pink iPod shuffle, and pink hair bands, etc), please put me in check. And if I ever do start putting makeup on my semi-man face, please make sure I wipe it off before working out. There's no reason to wear full makeup at the gym.

I wonder if I smell. I could be the major of Funky Town and not even know it. I think Sister would tell me.... she better.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Putting Makeup on My Man Face

Not sure who this is, but this is how I feel.
I am acutely aware of every hair on my body.

It seems like such an inconsequential thing to obsess over, but I do. From the 30-year love-hate relationship with the nest of curls on my head to this odd silver arm hair that grows 4 times the length of its sister hairs, to the 1-2 visible (and quickly plucked) hairs on my chest. (The very ones that make me throw back my head wailing "I'M A MAN!") To the hair on my toes and face. To my overgrown eyebrows (I can't keep up with those caterpillars; I do keep the unibrow in check). To the fact that I must have a super hair-growing gene. To the fact that once a month my bathtub clogs after I shave my legs.

Ooo... too much?
Yeah, too much.

[The bathtub thing was hyperbole, in case you thought I was semi-serious.]

At any rate, I am very aware of my hair. From what it's not doing to frustration because its never doing what it's "supposed to do" (you know, lie sleek and flat against my head, and it should, shouldn't it? Where are the 50% white genes in me?!). I just want manageable hair. The funny thing is that for the majority of my life (beginning at like 8?) I relaxed my hair (chemical straightener) to tame the wild. About three years ago I stopped (it was too expensive and I was curious about my natural hair). Now it's all natural: a semi-tight curl with loads and loads of volume. I have enough hair for twenty people. Because there's so much, I pull it back all the time. Even now, I don't know what to do with it or how to take care of it. I switch hair products every few months. It does look good when it's down, but I'm always patting at it, wondering: Is it to big? My hair draws attention. I don't like such attention. At the same time, when I pull it back I feel like a man. Multiply this by the fact that I often have unwanted facial hair and you probably have the prime reason why I'm not approached by men. They probably see me as one of the brethren (I have been called "sir" to my face and I don't think it's my authoritative personality, ha!). Or maybe I'm not approached because I morph into Samuel L. Jackson a la "Coming to America" 'bout ready to blow someone away if they get to close.

I'm not sure where this obsession with hair came from. Hairless Barbies, most likely. Countless ads for Venus razors? (I bought one--they really are top of the line.) I wish I wasn't so obsessed with hair. Even more so, I wish I could stop focusing on my man face.

For the past few weeks I've been contemplating wearing makeup. I stopped wearing it a while ago (except for special occasions). Here are a few reasons: (1) I'm lazy and don't want to put in the effort; (2) I like the idea of being wanted and/or desired for the "real" me sans makeup, Spanx, and other beauty paraphernalia that is supposed to make me aggreable to men; and (3) being darker skinned, the stuff smears all over everything. I remember being so hesitant to hug people without leaving a brown cheek print behind. I'm only thinking about it now because I've been feeling quite manish of late.

Like man troll manish.

I wake up and hobble into the bathroom and find a man standing in the mirror. That man is me, and she is not sexy. And as I stare at my manflection I think: maybe a little make up will make this hombre prettier? And that man shakes her head and I head out the door with my hair pulled back and a pair of girly earrings in my ears.

So I am in limbo. Tomorrow, maybe I will wear makeup. Or maybe I'll quit thinking of myself as a hairy man troll. Positive thinking is supposed to be sexy, right? Meh. It's just been one of those days (ie, years).

I'm pretty sure my birth father (or mother) was part Sasquatch. Curse my little brown hairy body.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tea with a Necromancer

Necromancer: Hello

I look up from my computer as she places a tea tray between us. Hints of cinnamon and orange lift into the air. There are two cups and a large bowl of sugar cubes. The Necromancer is the size of a petite 13-year-old girl. Where she is from, she is several thousand years old. Hairless with paper white skin, her cheekbones and chin have sharp angels; she has no ears, no visible nose. She is otherworldly. Against her sternum a large lavender stone pulses with her life force. Her eyes are lavender and gold. Although her body is humanoid in appearance, she is not bothered with modesty. She wears only a breast plate of woven gold. Her extra-long, slender fingers grasp the sides of the white tea pot instead of the handle. Her movements are precise, but the tea splatters everywhere but the cups.

Necromancer: What are you doing? 

Me: I was going to start working on book two of my trilogy.

But now that she's here I can't think of anything else. Finally two cups of tea are filled. She slides one across the table. She adds seven sugar cubes to her cup; each cube pushes a little more tea over the sides. Soon her tea is mostly sugar. Her pupils grow as she takes in our surroundings.

Necromancer: Where are we?

Me: My dining room.  

We are actually everywhere: work, home, in the shower, at the gym, driving home, driving to work, driving to the gym, talking with Sister, editing, reading, falling asleep.... She follows me everywhere. I close my laptop and push it aside.

Me: Why are you here?

Necromancer: You've been thinking about me. A lot. And about Andy.

A 10-year-old boy appears. He's struggling under the weight of a heavy green backpack. His dark brown hair falls across his forehead, framing a slight unibrow over one blue eye and one green eye.  His green and yellow striped polo is loose around his chest and snug around the belly. Beneath the hem of his shorts, his knees and legs are covered in dirt, scrapes, and old sleepwalking scars. His blue sneakers are untied. He has a sprinkling of freckles across his nose.

Andy: Hello!

As he smiles, his hair turns three shades darker. His green eye turns lavender, then brown, then back to green again. His blue eye turns green and then back to blue. I frown. He was better before. His hair lightens. Finally, his features settle to what they were. He and the Necromancer are whispering. They are best friends.

Andy: What are we doing?

Me: I was going to work on my series, but now...

Andy nods in understanding.

Andy: You're going to write about us. Are you going to write about the first time I sleepwalked into the other world? Or the "three pulses"?

Necromancer: Perhaps she will name me.

Me: No, I'm not writing about either of you. I'm going to finish this project.

I open my laptop.

Necromancer: We're to easier write.

Me: No....

Necromancer: Yes. In that other series, you have to write two more novels, which will be at least 1000 or more pages (times 8 or 9, depending how many edits you do). You must also complete three complete story arches, and don't forget the big problem: a few readers haven't liked your main character. And even after the last edit, you're still not sure if she's any good. With Andy and myself, and some pre-ploting and outlining, our story could be complete in twenty-five fifteen-page chapters.

Andy (eating sugar cubes): Are we a series?

Me: I don't know what the hell you are. And you're not any easier to write. Right now you're just a human boy and a Necromancer creature who have popped into my head. I don't know anything else about you. Plus, I'll have to create a whole new world, research what's already out there about necromancers, and decide just what the hell the story is about.

Andy: That always comes last for you.

The Necromancer blinks, bored. Her tea is untouched. She doesn't eat or drink human food.

Andy: Didn't you figure out the story purpose in the car today? An ordinary human boy in a not-so ordinary world, discovers that being the last full-blooded human boy makes him extraordinary after all.

My shoulders droop. 
Me: That sucks.

The Necromancer nods. 

Me: I have to figure everything out. You're just a distraction. I know what I need to do.

Necromancer: Go to Target?

Me: Yes! Let's do that. Let's go to Target.

And... that's just a taste of my life procrastinating. It's not uncommon for me to think of new projects to work on when I'm in the midst of another project that feels impossible. In truth, I have a lot of work to do on my SPIRIT KEEPER series. A lot. And I just don't want to do it. I'm not over the project. I think it's a great concept and a decently strong story, I just feel overwhelmed by the enormity of it.

Like all things that seem insurmountable in my life (such as losing 100 lbs or paying off $100K in college and life debt), I tend to shut down and put things off. Take losing weight. My mindset has always been: "Ehh, lets do that tomorrow." (This wasn't about laziness, I've discovered. It's completely a mental thing.) Fast forward 18 years (give or take), now that I'm making a very strong effort to hit the gym and eat right the scale moves like a snail, and again it feels like I missed the boat. I can't help but wonder where I'd be today if I started this journey years ago. I didn't know myself years ago.

I've since learned that I'm a cycler. Five months of hard exercise and eating well, two years of not trying, five months of working out and Weight Watchers, three years of sitting around boo-hooing. This year is about shattering this cycle. I just broke through my first major hurtle (well, it's still lingering, but I'm almost got my other leg over): I'm nearing month 6. No quitting... On November 10th, I will it a year mark, and hopefully by that time my health cycle will be shattered.

But, I digress. Back to writing...

My last edit of THE SPIRIT KEEPER was completed in early February (I think). I haven't even tried to send it out anymore. And I certainly haven't worked on book two in several months. It's easier to think about new projects. New ideas are fun. First drafts are fun. I'm not sure what spurred my imagination to the necromancer idea. I'm not even sure how I know what a necromancer is. Wait... maybe the idea germinated several years ago when I was actively reading Laurell K. Hamilton novels? My idea (a type of alien/other dimensional race of beings) is a little different than a human having necromancy powers. Anyway, Andy and the yet-to-be-named Necromancer really have taken over my brain. It does seem easier to focus on that, but it'll likely be the same amount of work. At least I have some vague idea of where the trilogy is going.

I need to finish what I started--I put a lot of work into that first novel and I want to see it through.

Like all things that are difficult in my life, it's starting that's the hardest part. I need to figure out how to start and how to fit it into my routine. Maybe it's opening the Word file? Maybe it's looking at the outline? Maybe it's working on something new... I don't know.

Maybe I do need to go to Target.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Back to Blog

Hello. It's been a while.

I've decided that I need an outlet (other than the other, and sometimes better, me) where I can be random, rant, philosophize (yea, right), and just... blog, I guess.

I started this blog when I was doing my MFA, and now that it's over, I feel like I want to use it for other things too.

Such as writing about:

1. My journey to a healthier me (aka, when will I ever reach the top of this ginormous mountain).

2. Writing (cause lets face it, that's all I do and all that I am).

3. Monkeys. Duh. Please see "Chimpanzee" this week. It looks amazing.

4. Daily ponderings, such as:
  • Why does my coworker chew with her mouth open? And why do I want to kill myself around noon each day? I may become deaf soon (it takes a lot of volume on my headphones to drown out all that smacking).
  • Why does this girl at the gym wash her hands before peeing? And why does she then proceed to take a paper towel that she's dried her hands on into the stall? And WHY does she use that same paper towel to turn on the faucet? I'm not sure how she's protecting herself, but she's making the rest of us sick.
  • Why am I so intimidated by long books when I write long books? Seems a little hypocritical.
  • What are those two huge birds on top of the light pole watching us all drive by, bald eagles? No, probably crows. Huge crows. And what are they thinking? Just shootin' the shit, I suspect.
And I'm sure there are more, but those are just a few. I'm usually so bad about blogging. Maybe I'll be better at it this time. I should have things to talk about all the time considering the amount of nonsense that filters through my brain every day. We shall see.


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