Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I Have an Agent!

Although I never posted anything on my blog, my friends know I lost my agent last year when she quit the business for personal reasons. I had enough respect for her to trust she was making the right decision for herself, but I'm not going to lie, it was rough. My novel was still on submission with our first round of editors, and the feedback we'd received so far was positive. I felt certain we were close to selling. So when my agent quit without warning, it seemed like all the hard work and momentum I'd been building came to a screeching halt. After a couple days of bleary-eyed staring at the wall, I decided to get over myself and get back to work. My mom reminded me it's those who don't give up who succeed. I dove back into the last stretch of drafting my new novel and started querying my previously agented novel.

I'm going to back up and tell you I got my first agent without querying. When my first novel was polished and ready, I pitched it to her at a writers' conference, and she requested my full manuscript. Within a few days, she enthusiastically offered. I never queried anyone else. So when I queried for the first time after I'd lost my agent, and the interest in my novel wasn't dynamic, I worried. Was I really as talented as I thought? Was it a total fluke that I got an agent in the first place? In the meantime, my husband was still searching for adequate work after being laid off his job at the beginning of summer, and our perfect credit went down the drain as we could no longer afford renting out our home in Florida for less than the mortgage payment. We tried to sell it for what we owed, but no bites; pursuing a short sale was the next best option. My husband, our three children, and I were living in my in-laws' basement for what we'd originally thought would be a few short months, but now it seemed a never-ending prospect.

It took a lot of willpower, perseverance and courage to believe everything would turn out all right. It took a lot of faith to push through finishing my story, to let go of my own reality long enough to get lost in a world of my own imagining--but where my heroine also wrestled with loss of control over many aspects of her life, and where she worked to find creative ways to move forward and not be a victim to circumstance.

Sometimes my strength would crumble. I had my share of sob fests and moments of despair. But I refused to linger in that state of mind. Again and again, I'd pick myself up and get busy writing. At the end of January, I was ready to query my new novel. I took a deep breath and sent it out into the world. And this time I did see dynamic interest. Within a week, my full manuscript was out with several respectable agents. I tried not to get too excited, but I did allow myself to hope. I often hear people say, "Don't have any expectations." I see the logic behind that, but shouldn't we have faith? Shouldn't we believe in ourselves and our work? It's the more painful route when things don't work out, but I still believe we should dream. Sometimes it takes all the bravery in the world to cling to that hope. It often takes every last ounce of faith. It's hard, but I find it--that belief in me and my stories.

Josh Adams
My good friend Sara B. Larson read my manuscript and fell head-over-heels in love with it--so much so that she volunteered to recommend it to her agent, Josh Adams. He was sick with chickenpox (poor guy!), so she waited until he was better to mention me and THE LOVELY INVISIBLE, my YA fantasy, a retelling of the Greek myth, "Cupid & Psyche." Within a few short days, I got an email from him saying he wanted to call about a "possible offer of representation." Cue butterflies of anticipation and random fits of giggling. And then, as luck would have it, I caught a terrible cold and lost my voice. I emailed Josh a picture of myself, asking him to envision what I really looked like when we spoke, and not an 80-year-old smoker. He later told me when he got that email, he busted up laughing and knew right then and there he'd love working with me. He thought it was so "cute" (aww) that I was worried enough about my voice to feel compelled to do that. And telling me that endeared me to him. (He likes my weird personality! I can be myself with him! We're going to get on great!) That's how I felt during our entire phone conversation--so at ease, but also like I was in the hands of a pro, a business-savvy, personable power agent--WHO LOVES MY NOVEL. Does it get any better? Nope.

So, yes, this story has a happy ending. I am ECSTATIC, OVER THE MOON, WISH-I-COULD-SCREAM-IF-I-HAD-A-VOICE HAPPY to announce I'm now represented by the fantastic, one-of-a-kind Josh Adams of Adams Literary. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world and am beyond grateful for the opportunity to partner with someone so amazing for my publishing career.

I believe in good things to come.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Say What?

I found this old paper in my files. And when I say old, I mean written-on-a-typewriter-and-Xeroxed-a-thousand-times old. My friend gave me a copy of this in high school. I have no idea whom the original source is. BUT THIS IS HILARIOUS. Like I was crying. A lot. So without further ado, I present to you "SIGNS RESULTING FROM BAD KNOWLEDGE OF ENGLISH: How Communication Gets Crazy When You Don't Have Common Meanings." Which one is your favorite?

In a Tokyo hotel: Please to bathe inside the tub.

In a Bucharest hotel lobby: The lift is bing fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.

In a Belgrade hotel elevator: To move the cabin, push buttons for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.

In a Paris hotel elevator: Please leave your values at the front desk.

In a hotel in Athens: Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 a.m. daily.

In a Yugoslavian hotel: The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the maid.

In a Japanese hotel: You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.

In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery: You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russians and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.

In an Austrian hotel catering to skiers: Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.

On the menu of a Swiss restaurant: Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.

Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop: Ladies may have a fit upstairs.

In a Bangkok dry cleaner's: Drop your trousers here for best results.

In a Rhodes tailor shop: Order your summer suit. Because is big rush, we will execute customers in strict rotation.

In an East African newspaper: A new swimming pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers.

A sign posted in Germany's Black Forest: It is strictly forbidden on our black forest camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are married with each other for that purpose.

In a Zurich hotel: Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.

In a Rome laundry: Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.

In the window of a Swedish furrier: Fur coats made for ladies from their own skin.

In a Copenhagen airline ticket office: We take your bags and send them in all directions.

In a Norwegian cocktail lounge: Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.

At a Budapest zoo: Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.

In the office of a Roman doctor: Specialist in women and other diseases.

In an Acapulco hotel: The manager has personally passed all the water served here.

In a Tokyo shop: Our nylons cost more than common, but you'll find they are best in the long run.

From a Japanese information booklet about using a hotel air conditioner: Cooles and Heates: If you want just condition of warm in your room please control yourself.

From a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo: When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with vigor.

Two signs from a Majorcan shop entrance:
  • English well talking.
  • Here speeching American.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Pucker Up!

I've joined the Kissing Scene competition Cupid's Literary Connection is hosting. The following is from my young adult fantasy, THE LOVELY INVISIBLE. Isidora is a newly crowned 18-year-old queen in ancient Greece. Because her council wrongly views her as an ignorant girl, unprepared to rule, they rescind her governing power until she marries one of three preselected suitors. But the man she is drawn to isn't one of the three--or like them at all. He is invisible. In the excerpt below, Isidora is with one her suitors, Perrin, a money-wise fashionista from Athens. They are alone together in Aphrodite's temple to see how repairs are coming along after a recent earthquake.

“Would you like to try an experiment?” Perrin asked, his eyes dropping to my lips. He seemed...worried.

“What kind of experiment?”

“Just a kiss.” He narrowed his gaze, still fastened to my mouth. “Yes, that’s all I ask.”

The sound of striking hammers reverberated from outside, along with the faint shouts of commands from the workmen. I stared at Perrin and tried to imagine what kissing him would be like. I couldn’t stir up any buried sensations, only strange curiosity. But I supposed I ought to know if kissing him was agreeable. If we married, if we had to produce an heir one day, well, I should see what I was getting myself into.

“All right, Perrin. You may kiss me.”

He nodded with furrowed brows and took a deep breath. “I do find you very beautiful,” he said, as if to encourage himself. Then he let go of my hand and straightened his shoulders.

I glanced back at the temple door to see if it was still shut. When I turned around, I bumped noses with him. “Oh, excuse me, I didn’t realize you were so—” He kissed me quickly. “Oh,” I said again, reduced to a one-word vocabulary.

He drew back and scratched his clean-shaven chin. “Maybe if I…” He leaned in and kissed me again, or rather smashed his wet lips against mine, as if hoping more pressure might make the sensation more gratifying. He tilted his head a couple of times for good measure. Then he abruptly pulled back and we both gulped in a great breath.

“Thank you, Isidora,” he said, his cheeks colored more from embarrassment, I suspected, than a rush from the moment. “That was most, well…” He shrugged, and then turned and bowed to the frozen eyes of the goddess like he’d just offered her the grandest libation. “I’m sure Aphrodite respects love, or uh, admiration of all kinds.”

I wiped a bit of wetness from the corner of my mouth. “Indeed.”