Tag Archives: Life decisions

When saying “no” is a good thing…

Just as an aside, I am a member of an on-line chapter in my RWA organization, the Contemporary Romance Writers. Since this is what I write, it makes sense I’m a member, no? Hee hee.

CRWA has a blog that many of the members contribute to, including myself,  and the other day a new post was presented that I swear on everything that’s holy was written exactly for me. I  know it wasn’t – but it really could have been, because it was posted at a time when I was struggling with whether or not to compromise something I’d written just in order for it to be sold.

This is the post :Its’s Okay to Say No, written by  author Brighton Walsh. The gist of the article is that you should never say a yes when you’re feeling a no to a writing situation. As an author – and still one who is relatively unknown – this hit home for me. Hard.

Let me e’splain it Lucy….

I received a phone call – yes, really A phone call, not an email!!! from someone in the publishing industry the other day to whom I’d cold-sent a new manuscript proposal. (Cold sent  is what over the transom means nowadays. It’s basically an unsolicited email about a manuscript). This person called me and was utterly professional, very forthcoming and sincere, and really, really lovely and nice as he/she went about telling me everything that was wrong with my proposal and how I had to change it to make it something he/she could even consider worthwhile to try and sell. Everything from my character names, to their professions, even the plot arc of the book series was “weak” and cliched and needed to be tightened up. I was told that if I wanted to make all those changes  and did – I could feel free to send along the new proposal and manuscript for re-review.

So here are the emotions that went barreling through me at that call: ( in order of their appearance!)

  • thrilled to have been called and not summarily sent a form email
  • nervous
  • hopeful
  • anxious
  • doubting myself as a writer
  • depressed
  • flummoxed

When the call ended I seriously don’t think I took a breath for a few moments.

Here’s the thing: I lovelovelove the story I wrote. truly. It’s got one of my favorite heroine/hero couples that I’ve ever written and every point in the story from their careers to the story arc is exactly how I wanted their story to unfold.

But this in-the-know person in the industry was saying if I made these changes the book might have a chance of being sold to a publisher.

See my dilemma?

Was I willing to change almost everything I’d written with the story just on the slim marginal chance it would be published? Was I willing to sacrifice a storyline and an entire series plot arc, rename characters and change their professions, just to get the story published? Was I willing to abandon all that I’d written and tailor-make it to someone else’s specifications inorder for my words to see print commercially?

I seriously gave myself a stomach and headache that afternoon from all the angst ripping through me.

And then I saw the new CRWA blog post.

After reading it, it was as if the sky had opened up and was shining after a downpour had moved through and darkened it. A little dramatic, but true. I was able to breathe again. My headache disappeared and my stomach pains went the way of the dinosaur. My decision has been made and I think you can guess what it was.

I’ve been talking a great deal about angels lately and how I think they are surrounding me and sending me messages almost daily. I truly believe that blog post was something I was meant to read and learn from. And, just BTW, it’s a really good blog post! You should read it because it can be interpreted for way more things than just writing.

The power of saying No to something that just doesn’t feel right deep down in  your soul, is an amazing sensation.  As women we need to learn to do that more often, especially if saying yes means we have to compromise our integrity. As writers, new and even established, no is a word that doesn’t get said enough.

If my story never gets sold commercially, that will be okay with me, because with all the options of self publishing available these days, I know I could release it on my own.

The power of NO. It’s, as Martha says,  a Good Thing.

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When #Reality slaps you in the face….

I’ve been a mother for 27 years. And although my daughter is the same age, she will, always in my mind, be my baby.

But…

On a car ride home from a New Year’s Eve party and a discussion about another party she and her man were going to, I pulled out all the mom stops – because it’s what I do. A mini-lecture on driving on hazardous, snowy roads, not getting behind the wheel if either of them had been drinking, promises to text when arriving and leaving were all accompanied by heavy sighs and quiet a few gasps of indignation…from my daughter.

Then she said something that put everything into perspective for me.

“You know,”  she quipped, “You were married at my age. Did anyone say these things to you?”

Utter silence in the car. Then, tears started to swell up in my eyes when I realized what she was telling me. Something I guess I’ve never accepted, wanted to accept, or thought about, really.

My baby was no more. She was a grown-ass woman, more intelligent than I’ll ever be, and responsible for her decisions, actions, and thoughts. My job as the voice in her head is done. I’d raised her; instilled in her a moral and ethical code; educated her both mentally and spiritually. I’d given her roots and wings, a shoulder to cry and lean on if needed, and the where-with-all to problem solve, conceptualize, and theorize.

She lives on her own in a city one thousand times larger than the town she grew up in; commutes every day to a powerful job using public transportation, pays rent, supports herself, and travels all around the world….without me holding her hand.

She doesn’t need her mommie telling her what to do. She doesn’t need my reminders for safety. And she certainly doesn’t need me second guessing her actions and decisions.

Damn…

When does your baby stop being your baby? When can you mentally let the little child who used to reach for your hand, unbidden, when walking on the street, forge ahead on her own? Not want to reach out and protect her from every bad thing that could potentially happen? Keep her safe, and snug, and protected? When can your heart follow your head and say everything will be okay, don’t worry, keep calm?

Does it ever? Can it ever?

So, after I dried the tears, I said the one thing that I’d never thought I’d hear myself say, hear myself think: “Okay. You’re a grown-ass woman, not a two-year-old. I’ll stop. And I’ll respect your maturity. Truly.”

And I will.

But there’s still that little niggle deep inside that wants her to reach out and hold my hand….

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Life challenges, Strong Women

The year of YES

I did a post at the beginning of this year, telling you all that I’d made 2016 the year of saying yes for me to things I don’t usually  say yes to ( or even want to!) Thought I’d give you an update on how that’s going.

yes

I said yes to attending a woman’s expo earlier in the year as a vendor when an old friend asked me to. I was allowed to have my own “booth”, set up to sell copies of my books. This wasn’t a book conference, or a literary meeting, but an expo for women of all ages, all walks of like, and was filled with all things pertinent to, well, women.  Life style coaches, diet, exercise gurus, local and national vendors alike all converged on my local college for the day. I figured if I sold one book I’d be happy. Didn’t sell one book…sold 50. Mostly to people I didn’t know ( so that’s a plus!) Very glad I said yes to my friend when she asked me to participate. Another reason I was happy I’d said yes was when the guy at the booth next to mine told he was the sponsor of a woman’s retreat weekend, coming up this September and he would be thrilled if I participated and  maybe…wait for it…be a speaker. As a speaker, I’d also be able to sell my books during the weekend’s own trade/vendor show. Since this is the year of yes I said…Yes! I’ll let you know how it goes after it’s over next month.

yes2

Even though I retired from my job last year so I could write full time, I said yes to going back for a few months to help my old office out with a problem. Because I knew there was an end-date on that “yes” I was happy to help out and actually had a good time interacting with my old patients and my crew. I really don’t think I need to tell you how happy my husband was when I said yes to this, since I would be getting paid for my time!

yes1

I was asked to be a judge in our annual Keene Dancing with Stars and said yes – and was sosososo happy I did. I had oodles of fun and made some new friends.

I attended RWA in July ( you know that!) and this year when the call went out for volunteers to work the conference I said…yes. So glad I did because I got to chat up some of my all time favorite authors, like Jill Shalvis and Kristan Higgins, in a casual, fun-filled, no stress-sweat situation.

Remember my friend who asked me to participate in the woman’s expo? She also asked me to participate in this year’s Taste of Home Cooking show that will be happening this October at our high school, and again, I  said yes, because I get to sell my books to the 600-800 participants this event usually sees attend. More on that after October, but another good reason to say yes to something I’d rather avoid – crowds!!!

 

Here’s where you can find me when I’m not saying yes!:

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