Friday, June 27, 2008

Be prepared!

We’re about a month into hurricane season 2008, and so far, things have been fairly quiet. The season generally kicks into high gear in August and continues through November, so we’re on guard. I have a box filled with hurricane supplies, like flashlights, batteries, a windup radio, and a few other essentials (lipstick, powder, mascara, wet-wipes, etc.) I still need to buy some jugs of water and canned goods.

It’s good to be prepared in every aspect of our lives. Our spiritual preparedness is ongoing. We prepare our children for the real world by making sure they’re educated and have a working knowledge of being good citizens. We prepare for marriage, jobs, and having children. Life is full of preparations for something.

When I first started writing, it didn’t dawn on me to prepare for anything other than the submission at hand. I used the proper format and wrote what I thought was an excellent story. Then I mailed it. What else did I need to do?

Um…quite a few things, actually. I should have done a much better job of researching markets. I needed to have a better understanding of what constitutes a great story. And I needed to prepare my ego for the rejection. Yup. My first and the next dozen or so submissions were rejected, and every single time, I was floored and confused.

Then I discovered there were workshops, classes, and books on writing. Not being one to give up easily, I pounced on every bit of information I could find. I practiced and had people critique my writing, until it sparkled. Then I submitted some more.

An amazing thing happened. I sold my first book to Avalon on October 6, 1999, and my first novella to Barbour Publishing a week and a half later. I now have a bunch of books and novellas in print.

As for the hurricane preparation, I’ll get everything we need for the season. I’ll even make sure we have enough gas in our cars to get away from the coast if needed—even at these crazy fuel prices. I'll also check the National Hurricane Center website periodically to see what's brewing. But still…hurricanes have been known to do the unexpected and go inland, so we’ll just have to do the best we can with what we know. And pray.

There are still no guarantees in anything outside God's promises through Christ—from hurricanes to publishing—but I’m convinced that all my preparation has set me up for whatever success He thinks I should have.

What are your goals? What have you done to prepare?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Somebody stop me!

I went shopping with Beth today and wound up with some of the best stuff! I got a brown leather Terry Lewis jacket (Yeah, I know it’s almost 100 degrees out, but it was a good deal!), 2 pairs of really cute, comfy Helle shoes, a fabulous Falchi handbag, a soft, stretchy Carolyn Strauss top, and some Joy Mangano Huggable Hangers (You wouldn’t want me hanging my new jacket and top on regular old wire hangers, now would you?). In case you haven’t figured it out, this was bring-a-friend week at the HSN employee store, and I was Beth’s guest! She didn't have to twist my arm too hard to get me to go. In fact, the second I read her e-mailed invitation, I grabbed my keys and purse and headed for the door, only stopping off at my computer for the five seconds it took to let her know I was on my way!

Working as a product information writer at HSN was a wonderful experience because I got to know some really great people. When I resigned, I left all my buddies in PI and QA with the promise I’d visit once in a while. Of course, I haven’t been back as often as I would like, but I ran into some of them while they shopped during their lunch break. It was great seeing Sherrie, Danielle, and Deborah who all looked beautiful as ever. Maybe next time, Carrie, Ortaega, Angelina, and Meaghan can get away for a visit.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Special birthday!

Today would have been my mother's 77th birthday. I've thought about her throughout the day and wondered how things would have been if she hadn't passed away at such a young age. She was a wonderful grandmother, and she would have been so proud of how her grandchildren turned out. Seeing both Alison and Lauren graduating from college would have made her extremely proud. She would have loved the sweet beauty of Alison and Jason Ingraham's wedding. And she would have enjoyed the feeling of looking in the mirror when she looked at Lauren.