Saturday, December 12, 2009

"Craptastic" Covers

For me, it's impossible not to enjoy the little things about writting a book. Like stylization, formating, chapter headings, etc., etc. Messing aroung with small details like that--while complete insignificant and unimportant to the entire novel writting scheme--make the whole process seem more "real" and MUCH more fun. Hence, I've tried creating a few covers. They're mostly experimental, and lets be honest, "craptastic," but you know what? I have fun doing it! And plus, it's not right handing out naked copies of a manuscript... no, no. A book needs a cover, and that's just all there is to it!

This is the cover that I made this summer:

As you can see, it's quite primitive, and doesn't really tell you much about the story. But with my very limited knowledge in photoshop, it was the best I could do.

This is one I came up with the other day.

I haven't given out any manuscripts with this cover. And I actually don't think I will, because I'm not so sure I like it. Mostly I was just messing around with layering photos together (my photoshop knowlege is growing!) and came up with this. I kind of like where the concept is going... but it's going to need a few more tweaks before I feel like its read to represent a rough draft of my book.

Stay tuned! More photoshop cataclysms to come!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

On the bright side....

So I feel as though my last post might have been a bit too negative. Although I did get rejected by my number one agent and have since cried myself to sleep over it for the past few days (sniffle, sniffle), one good thing DID happen over Thanksgiving break that was both good and book-related. My little sister read my book from cover to cover in all of about 24 hours! Little sissy is a reader... she's quite skilled in the art of seeking out and devouring good books. She's also a very quick reader--when the book is good, that is--so the fact that she read my book from cover to cover in 24 hours is a VERY good thing! It means she liked it! After finishing it, she came into the kitchen (where I was making a great big chocolate cake--yum!) with this dreamy look on her face. She gave a great big sigh and said "oh, that book was goooooood." Now, you must understand, I've seen this look before. Usually she gets this way after reading a good book that I've recoomended to her. So I thought she was talking about a recent book that I had told her to read. I was surprised and delighted when she told me that she wasn't talking about any of my recent book reccomendations, but rather, she was talking about MY book! Among other things, she said she loved the ending and couldn't wait for me to write the next one. Um, Sissy Poo, YOU MADE MY DAY!!

Now, I know what you're all saying, that it doesn't really count cause she's my sister and of course, she is obligated to both read the book AND tell me she likes it. Fear not! I've already considered that! I am well aware that Little Sissy's assesment of the book is in no way an indication of how everyone else in the world will feel about it... in fact, according to the agetns I've receieved feedback from so far, NO ONE will like it! The bottom line is, I do have my head on straight about this small, miniscule victory.

But alas, it IS a victory nontheless, and I shall enjoy it thoroughly!!

Monday, November 30, 2009


I returned home from Thanksgiving break to a bummer of a rejection. One particular agent that I had my eye on as the "golden choice" for an agent, shut me down over the break. To be fair, this particular agent is EXTREMELY busy, I imagine, due to a recent brilliant business decision on her part which propelled her career--I'm sure--to the highest level possible. (Trust me, you'd all know who it was if I told you who this agent represents.) So I don't really think she's blowing me off when she says that she's really just too busy. I believe it! It wouldn't surprise me at all if this particular agent isn't even taking on new talent for the time being.

Anyway, so while I didn't actually expect to land this agent (it has always been sort of a far fetched fantasy) it was still sort of a bummer to have the reality of a rejection come to pass. (sigh) Time to start sending off more letters!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Que Jeopardy Music

Just playing the waiting game now. Wish I had updates, but really there is nothing to tell. I've queried a bunch of agents and just awaiting the many rejections yet to come! I'll be sending many more queries out in the next few weeks. With any luck at all, I'll hook one of 'em.

On another, much more depressing line of thought... I was watching Stephenie Meyer's interview with Oprah the other day. And while watching that interview, I heard dear old Steph admit that she only sent out 10 queries... Guess how many times she was rejected??

Only 5 times.

How depressig is that?! 5 rejections, 4 no responses and 1 golden "I want to read more." Now how are poor wanna-be authors like me in the world supposed to grasp at hope of publication when there are authors like Stephenie Meyer that get picked up after only 10 tries?!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

First Rejection!

Yup, that means what it says... this morning when I opened my email account, I had my VERY first rejection letter! Eeeeek!

Now why--might you aks--do I sound excited about that? Well, because more often than not, agents won't even bother sending back a rejection note. They'll just throw your junk in the "slush pile" and move on with their merry little ways, not even bothering to acknowledge that you're back home waiting in frightful anticipation for a reply. Professor Dooling told me the other day that if I get a rejection letter/email/note, I should feel highly complimented, because that means the agent actually read through my material and thoughtfully considered it.

I have to admit, though, I was surprised at how fast this particular agent responded. I sent him my stuff yesterday morning. And no less than 24 hours later, I had a response. I can't help but wonder if this was because he just glossed over everything without really reading it... It doesn't really matter, I suppose. Like Dooling said, a regection note is a GOOD thing, not a bad ( : Also, I do believe J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter was rejected upwards of 29 times before getting an agent. So I have at LEAST 28 more rejections to go before I have a good excuse to fall into the depths of despair! (Haha)

This is the email. Short, simple and to the point:

Thank you for your query letter. We've had the chance to review it and, unfortunately, this project is not right for us.

Best of success to you in all your literary endeavors.

Seems good to me. He didn't say anything about my writing totally sucking and or anything... just that it wasn't a good project for him. (At least that's how I'm reading it!) He also said "best of luck..." what a saint! Way to let me down easy on my first rejection ( :

Monday, October 26, 2009

As a side note...

On a side note that has absolutely nothing to do with the progress I'm making with the agent process, one of the titles I was considering for my book was:

Marionettes and Puppeteers

I liked it because throughout my book I try to create the picture that the government is actually controlling the American people. Like they are literally pulling at the strings of helpless puppets. One of my characters actually says something like that in the book. This is what he says:

"Don't you see, Shawn? The government you know today is not the government that was established in 1776. Power hungry men have become so corrupt and twisted by their own appetites, that our structure of government is a mere shadow of what it used to be. Give it a few more years and there won't even be a shadow left. Americans are nothing more than puppets, controlled by the greedy, wicked, vicious hands of their puppeteers, the officials of the United States government. 'The people' lost their executive power over the government a long time ago. This charade of freedom and liberty," Colby said, "its nothing more than a show. We aren't trying to overthrow the government that Washington, Adams and so many others have given their very lives for. We're trying to protect that system of government."
A long silence filled the tiny kitchen. Shawn didn't know what to believe. On the one hand, what Colby said made sense--sort of. But on the other hand, his brother sounded seriously paranoid.
"Puppets, Colby?"
Colby rolled his eyes. "Its a figure of speech, bro."

... to be continued...

That was really the only reference I made to marionettes (another word for puppet) in the whole book, so I wasn't really sure if people would "get" why I titled the book that. I also wasn't sure if it was powerful or flashy enough to get someone to want to read it. Now that I think about it, I'm not even sure my current title, Keepers of the Flame, is any good either... but it's the best I could come up with ( : If my publishers and editors don't like it someday, I'll gladly let them put their creative juices to the test to come up with something better.

Anyway, I DID, however, really like the quote that I chose to go with the book. It doesn't really makes sense now that I'm not using puppets in the title, but it was pretty powerful when paired with the other title:

"There are many advantages in puppets. They never argue. They have no crude views about art. They have no private lives."
--Oscar Wilde

I think that Keepers of the Flame is a better set up for the book and what it is about, etc. However, I can't help but nurture this sentimental attachment I have to this former direction on the title and theme. I just thought I'd share with the crowd ( :

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Its off to the races!

I've just spend the better part of my Saturday afternoon going through Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents looking for some agents! I already had a few in mind, but I went through a chunk of the book (its a BIG book) and found a few more.

But you know what? I won't lie. I honestly have no idea how to look for an agent. Short of finding one that is kinda sorta interested in a political thriller/young adult/aldultish/fictional novel there isn't much to go by. You'll never really know if you're going to "click" with that person until you start working with them. And lets be honest, with my charmigly abrasive personality, it'll be a rare find for me to find one that gets along well with me! So basically what I'm trying to say is that it's mostly just pulling names outta the hat at this point.

But the good news... I just sent out my first two query letters! (Cheer!) No, I haven't heard back from Dooling just yet about my synopquery letter, but these particular agents were only looking for a short introductory letter. If they are intrigued by the letter, they'll ask for a plot synopsis later. Since I already had a handy dandy little query letter on hand (see one of my previous posts for that letter) I just tweaked it a bit to meet their requirements and sent 'er off in an email!

So now begins the period of dreadful anticipation for the responses.Hopefully I'll still have nails left by the time its over.

Meanwhile, I'll be working on the synopsis letter that Dooling is reviewing right now. He said he'd have it back to me by Monday. If it IS back by Monday, and I don't have hours of problem spots to work out, I'll be able to shoot out a few more queries. Yikes! Thinking of all the potential rejections that are about to be sent my way, I can't help but be reminded of a line by George McFly in Back to the Future...

"What? Well what if they don't like it? I just don't know if I can handle that kind of rejection!" Yeah. Well. Me neither!

I used to suck at taking constructive criticism.... who am I kidding?? I still suck at it!! I have to admit that I've been getting better. But the argumentative side of me always kicks in when people try to criticize my work.


This could be a VERY long process! When the time comes, please kindly remind me not to talk back to any potential agents...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Synopquery burning effigies

Yesterday was one of those frustrating bang-your-head-against-the-wall-horrible-case of-writers-block-I-feel-like-I'm-getting-nowhere kind of a day. Okay. Maybe I'm exaggerating

But only a little.

I spend hours yesterday revising my synopquery letter. It was truly torturous. I swear I revised every single sentence like 10 times... and each sentence took about 10 minutes. It was incredibly slow, painful work, and honestly, I felt really discouraged. I thought I had made little or no progress on the entire thing--despite the hours siphoned into it. It was extremely frustrating.

So when my hubby asked me how my day was last night, you bettchya a gave him an earful (poor guy...)! I frustratingly related how much I hated this stupid-no-good query letter writing stuff and how I just wanted to burn the whole letter and start over kind of a thing... blah, blah, blah. But instead of agreeing with me, and accompanying me on an effigy burning of the query letter crusade, Rob, being the sweet, supportive, awesome guy that he is, he offered to read over it for me. He offered this, even though he had just barely reviewed it on Sunday and his comments only two days earlier had left me a lot of work to do. Considering the stress and frustration I'd had all day during the revision process, and the fact that I felt like I had made little (if any) progress, I honestly didn't think he was going to be able to give me any comments that were different from Sunday to Tuesday. But since he was being so sweet and supportive about it, I grudgingly allowed him to read it for me.

But then... SHOCK!

He only had two comments! Two! And they were little comments, not big revisions like his suggestions on Sunday!!! I was so wrapped up in the minuscule little details and stress of revising the letter, that I didn't even notice that as a whole, I had a pretty dang good finished product. I prodded Rob for several minutes, trying to determine if he had any hidden criticisms he wasn't telling me about, but he didn't have anything! His only two comments were about the structure of two of the sentences. He thought they needed to be reworded, that's it! "Other than that, Julie," he said, "You have a very solid letter here."


So I spent another twenty minutes or so working on those two sentences, and....

Bada boom, bada bing! I have my synopquery letter!!

I've just sent the second letter off to dear old Professor Dooling for review. If he approves of what I've written, I will officially feel secure enough to start sending it to agents! And of course, that is really the only really way to know if your synopquery letter is any good, anyway, right? Whoopeee! Things are actually starting to get exciting!!

Stay tuned!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ennie meanie minnie moe...

So I'm trying to figure out which quote to use at the beginning of my book, and, I need some help in deciding which one should represent me. Thus, I'm asking you, faithful fans, to help me decide! Now, at this point, those of you who are smart out there should be saying something along the lines of: "Julie... you moron... why are you even worrying about that?!" Because honestly, theres a good chance that somwhere down the line, an agent, editor or publisher is going to think its crap and change it anyway. So why worry about it?

Answer: Because I can.

No seriously, it really is JUST because I can. I love messing around with all the little details--like font size, type, hypothetical book covers, etc.--because it makes me feel like I'm working on a REAL book, rather than just a REALLY long school project. Its a kind of guilty pleasure, I suppose.

My excuse being counted for, here are the two quotes (Keeping in mind that the title of the book is Keepers of the Flame):

Quote 1: "Though the Flame of Liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire." --Thomas Paine


Quote 2: "The flames kindled on the 4th of July 1776, have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism; on the contrary, they will consume those engines and all who work them." --Thomas Jefferson

There is the large possibility that both quotes are "crap." In which case, please feel free to express the "crap" opinion if you would like. Or, if you have a DIFFERENT quote to offer, please feel free to express that quote as well (although, I'll warn you, I'm extremely indecisive... giving me another option might be a bad idea). I'm really just interested in hearing what other people have to say, so please (all five of you out there) tell me what you think!!

Also, on a side note, if you have no idea what all this "flame" and "liberty" stuff is about and how it has anything to do with my book, I do believe I posted a query letter a few posts back that will sort of give you an idea of what the book is about.

On ANOTHER side note, "synopquery" writing is going much better... its amazing what a good night sleep will do for your creative juices! I have the plot outlined the way I want it, and now I just have to go back and make it interesting. (I'll be honest, I'd probably even put myself to sleep reading it the way it is right now...)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Like running through water... not quite as bad as running through a brick wall. My mind is sluggish. Actually, I don't know if it is my mind that is sluggish, or its just really freakin' hard to write a synopquery (my new name for my delightful little synopsis/querry letter combo). I feel like I'm trying to run a marathon through waist deep water. Its not quite as bad as writter's block (akin to running through a brick wall, I should say--quite solid) because I think I'm making tiny minisculed amounts of progress at a time.... still, it's incredibly slow.

Uhg.... back to work. No more blogging. Its distracting me.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Practice makes perfect!

My Goal is to not go more than a week without giving an update on this blog. That way, my faithful following of five will not have to suffer in anticipated silence for another posting!

And in all actuality, I probably could have--and SHOULD have--posted an update around Thursday last week. That was the day I met with Professor Dooling to review my query letter. But alas, I switched apartments (hallelujah chorus!) this weekend and was in the middle of a big move. That's my excuse anyway. But fear not, faithful fans, I haven't forgotten about you!

So on Thursday, I met with Dooling to review my letter. I won't lie, as I made my way slowly up the stairs to his second story law office, my palms were sweating with anticipated dread on the horrible criticism he might have to say about my writ ting. There's nothing like having your work go under the scrutinizing gaze of an "all knowing" already-published-author! Although I've had several people sample sections of my book for feedback or editing, I'd never actually had a real-life author judge ANY of my writing. It was a tad bit nerve wracking! I felt a little bit like I was heading for this sort of situation:a bit mellow dramatic, you might say, but then there you have it. An imagination does have the tenancy to go wild in pressurized situations... I suppose it's good practice to go through this kind of thing. After all, the road to publishing is fraught with perils of editors and critics such as these! And practice makes perfect ( :

(Ahem) anyway, you'll be happy to know that I wasn't beheaded like the poor guy in the comic. Actually, Dooling was quite pleasant and complimentary. And thankfully, he thought that overall, it was a good letter. I particularly remember him saying that the topic sounded fascinating and that one thing I have going for me right now, is that the subject matter of my book is pretty popular. The market is ripe for a good "bad government" thriller of sorts because of all the governmental controversies hitting Fox on the 6pm news. His suggestion was to "own up" to the fact that my book is about the United States government going bad. He said that agents and publishers don't really care about publishing controversial material, because all they see are dollar signs running through their heads. If the book sells, they don't care if you're desecrating the Pope himself! Its all about money in the publishing business. Which is good to know, because if you'll note in the letter I posted, I tended to shy away from actually saying that it was a story about our government. Now that I have that suggestion, though, I'll be changing it to make it more bold.

The other change we talked about making, was combining my query letter with my book synopsis. A book synopsis is like a short summary of the book. Not like the Barnes and Noble book flap summary... no, the synopsis is more in depth, explaining plot lines and characters a bit more thoroughly. At first, I was thinking about keeping my synopsis and query letter separate, but Dooling suggested that it would be easier to combine them. I think it might be a good idea. So my next task is to try my hand at "beefing up" my query letter to make it an acceptable summary of what a synopsis would be.

Wish me luck!

Oh, this also means that my faithful editor (Anut Chrysta, who so fabulously and nobly volunteered to edit my query letter for me) is going to get some new changes to edit! If you are reading this, Chrysta, and want to wait until I get you a new draft to work with, that is perfectly fine with me! Although, any changes that you've made to the original letter would be very helpful as well.

So, it is with the great task ahead of me of combining the query letter and synopsis, that I must leave you again. I know you are salivating at the chops for more updates (haha, yeah right!) but alas, my dear fans, I can only work so fast! So it is with a heavy heart that I must bid you farewell... adieu, my friends, until I write again!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Delayed by Dooiling

My Entertainment Law professor, Richard P. Dooling is an actual novelist/screeenwriter for Hollywood. Yes, he is one of the smaller fish in the big pool of Hollywood writers, but the point in fact, is that he is "in." He's written 7 books--5 fiction and 2 nonfiction--and as an author (him) to a "wanna-be" author (me!), he graciously offered to read my query letter before I tried it out on any agents. After mulling over the draft (the one I posted on the blog) for a little while, making changes and such, I sent Professor Dooling my letter on Friday. He responded enthusiastically that he would read it that weekend and get it back to me with notes and suggestions on how to make it better.

Have I ever mentioned that patience is not one of my virtues? (sigh) It's not.

So while I can accept and acknowledge the value of having an industry professional review my work before it is slaughtered and torn apart by other industry professionals... its just so stinkin' hard to wait!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

To Query--an instance of questioning

The query letter--according to seasoned veterans in the writing community--is the single most important element when submitting your manuscript to agents and/or publishers. It lets the agent know who you are and what your book is about in a very quick, 1-paged nut shell.

Easy, right?


Think of spending countless hours on a 400 page manuscript, only to have to turn around and squeeze all that 400 pages of that into 1 or 2. NOT EASY! It's like writing that little summary on the back of book flaps at Barnes and Noble. You have to use the ink on your paper to literally scream "YOU WANT ME," demanding their attention with every fiber of your being! You have to frantically claw your way to the surface of the growing pile of muck on their desk in only 2 or 3 small desperately written paragraphs! Have I made my point yet? Oh yeah, and by the way, if you don't, you're back in the "slush pile" with the rest of the wanna-be-authors.

No pressure.

I've been putting this little project off for a while. Seriously, it's just a daunting of a task... worse than writing a novel you ask? Absolutely! Luckily, I'm not the only writer who's had a little bit of a love/hate relationship with the query letter. On his website, writer Nicolas Sparks (author of the famed Notebook, ladies, I'm sure you've heard of it) confessed that it took 17 drafts and 2 weeks of revising before he was satisfied with his Notebook query letter! I'm not alone!!

Anyway, I started it today, my first draft of a query letter, and I wanted to share that first draft with you. Does it suck? Probably? Does it need some work? Most definitely! But I thought it would be entertaining to compare my first draft to my last draft. Hopefully (fingers crossed) there will be some marked improvements!

So here it is, ladies and gents... the first draft of my query letter:

Dear Agent,

I am thrilled to introduce you to my first novel, Keepers of the Flame, the first of three in a trilogy I hope to have the privilege of working with you on.

I have an extensive repertoire of writing that I completed through my work as a History Major at Brigham Young University and the University of Nebraska Law School, where I am currently in my second year. Writing is not a foreign language to me—I love it—which is why I’m delighted to be presenting my first novel!

Keepers of the Flame, is an intense political thriller that follows the lives of one powerful government family as they are torn apart by lies, secrets, mistrust and an almost unquenchable lust for power. While their older brother seeks to establish a permanent place in the new regime, two siblings fight back at the overreaching hand of government, joining a nation-wide, underground movement as it sets out to restore the fundamental values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In our day in age where political upheavals, and uproarious government scandals, are an all-too-common occurrence, this novel paints a powerful picture of what life can become if a country succumbs to the pressures of an all-powerful government, who promises the false allure of security by stripping freedom and liberty from a people.

Like George Orewell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, or Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games, both classic novels in which a few seemingly unimportant individuals strike out against totalitarian regime, Keepers of the Flame explores the potential demise of a nation, as a few brave individuals struggle to right the wrongs built up by a power-hungry government. Not unlike George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, who fought for independence from King George’s tyrannical rule, the siblings become intimately acquainted with the deep meaning of freedom and independence as they struggle to answer the time-honored debate of right and wrong.

Keepers of the Flame explores all the treasured elements of the human soul’s fight for survival: liberty, freedom, love, family, loyalty, patriotism and courage. And yet, this novel is unique from other novels in two ways. The first is that it tells the story of the government’s actual demise. Rather than glossing over the downfall of a strong government, Keepers of the Flame unabashedly tells the story of how the lure of power can reach into the hearts of faithful leaders, tainting their minds until they are as corrupt as the evil they once fought against. Second, this novel is uniquely marketable to large audiences. Unlike many political thrillers, whose deep literary analysis can often thwart the numbers in readership, Keepers of the Flame’s commercial nature will appeal to a wide variety of readers, reaching past the normal boundaries of genre to every type of booklover.

I have reviewed some of the works you have represented in the past (examples), and would be delighted to work with you on this novel.

Enclosed are the first three chapters of Keepers of the Flame. The novel is approximately 100,000 words and fully complete. Let me know when I can send you the full manuscript.

Most Sincerely,

Julie T. B. Hansen

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Even the best books repeatedly punch you in the face while you are working on them...

There are some good things about editing, and there are some bad things.

The good, for example, is when you come across a line, a page or perhaps even an entire chapter that just amazes you. The passage that makes you stop, stunned and amazed and say: "Wow, I wrote that?!" And you sit there reading and rereading it over and over again because it literally brings tears to your eyes or sends shivers up your spine, even if you've already read it a hundred times. Heck, you wrote it and it still inspires you! (sigh) Yes, that's the one good thing about editing... witnessing your own brief moments of brilliance!

And then... there's everything else.

And I do mean EVERYTHING else. Because even if something is "okay," or even "good," there is room for improvement. Which interpreted means: it needs to be edited. That's the depressing part about writing. The "scary" part, as my sister called it. She told me the other day that she hates reviewing papers that she's already written because she doesn't like to go back and read all those mistakes she wrote. Well I'm with ya, honey! I hate reading them too! And I think she nailed it when she said that editing is scary... cause lets be honest, it is!

Unfortunately, the only way to make something better, is to just "buck it up soldier" (as my dad used to say when making me muck the cow pasture) and "get 'er done!"

One thing I worry about on these days of "editor's block" (when absolutely EVERYTHING review seems to suck) is that people will be able to tell... that they'll be able to distinguish the difference between my brief moments of brilliance and then all the rest. Its a scary thought. I don't want someone saying about me one day, "Man, that girl really had it when she had it... but wow.... when she didn't have it, she really didn't!"

Luckily, I'm not the only one with this fear. One of my favorite authors had this to say about writing/editing:

"'But if I am not inspired when I write, people will be able to tell, you say.’ But they won't. I remember one writer who famously said something along the lines of “Some things I write for love, and some for money, and nobody but me can tell the difference.” In the same way, no one but you will be able to tell which parts of a book came easily to you and which parts you sweated blood over. Sure, inspiration comes sometimes — a sudden great idea you can’t wait to write down — but it’s not often and usually at inopportune times when you don’t have a pen. And you have to learn to treasure those moments, because they are rare, and in between them are long stretches of slogging.” Cassandra Clare

Amen... I really couldn't have said it better myself. I can only cross my fingers and hope she's right!

Friday, September 11, 2009

At the beginning....

I am writing a book.

There, I said it! I don't know why it's hard to say... maybe because it sounds so absoluetly ridiculous. You don't need to tell me twice... I am absolutely one hundred and ten percent aware that the statistics are pilled high against me. The chances of an agent even accepting me for representation are almost slimmer than none. (Did you know that many agencies have about a 99% refusal rate?!)

But who cares, says I!

Someone has to get published! So why shouldn't it be me? Although the stats are not comforting in the least bit... and even though this insane hobby of mine might actually end up wasting far more time than I'll actually end up earning back in a paycheck, the fact of the matter is, is I have a dream. I have a goal. And that goal is to get this time-sucking manuscript of mine into the hands of a publisher and onto the shelves at Barnes and Noble!

Its a lofty goal, true... but I've already won half of the battle: I've actually completed a manuscript! Okay, well technically it's not COMPLETELY finished... I'm still polishing up a few things. But its just about there! And anyway, its a whole heck of a lot further than many people have made it, and I'm proud of myself for that!

So why write a blog about it? I don't know... it's honestly probably more for me than you. A chronicle of my adventures as I get rejected again and again by agents, publishers and (hopefully) readers! I'm sure there will be more pitfalls than successes, and I'm not even sure anyone will even read this blog--aside from my family, of course, who will probably feel sorry for me and read it in an attempt to boost my battered ego! However, despite all the setbacks, rejections, melt downs and failures that are sure to follow, I want to make a record of it, so that no one will ever be able to say that I didn't give it my darndest effort at success!!

So join me, if you like, as I begin to take the first major steps in this next big adventure of mine: publishing a book!