Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Thirty-Third May

I feel as if I've barely blogged this month. I feel just slightly as if I've barely been conscious this month, actually, especially during that week and a half of non-stop rain and gloom. At the same time, I can't believe how much I've gotten done. I turned thirty-two on the second, and so far the thirty-third May of my life has been…all over the place.

As the month started, I'd just thrown in the towel on a third failed Blaze proposal, eyeballs-deep in a weird mix of frustrated / discouraged and liberated / hopeful. Two weeks after hearing I needed to put that last proposal out of its misery, I'd started and finished the next proposal (synopsis and first three chapters) and sent it off to my intrepid editor. I got a call about it just this past Friday while I was waiting in the train station—I'd gone into Boston for a physical and to get my possibly stress-fractured shin x-rayed. My editor wanted to see some deeper emotional insight in both the hero and heroine's initial opening POV scenes, and a stronger first couple paragraphs. Um, period.


Period! No changes requested on the spartan synopsis. No issues with either characters' conflicts or motivations. Nothing wrong with the hook, the setting, the premise. For reals?

Apparently, for reals. When I had what I'd cautiously hoped was a light bulb moment, chatting with senior Blaze editor Brenda Chin at the New England RWA conference, I prayed things might go this way. The last three proposals have missed the mark flagrantly and unsalvageably, though I thrashed and struggled as much as anyone could, trying to force them to work. Then at conference I finally gave myself permission to quit overthinking and overworking, overguessing the details of the overwrought plot, when I'm simply not an up-front plotter. I got the green light to explore a workable hook, and did just that, 100% chart-, graph-, and fourteen-page synopsis-free. It may not have scored a resounding, revisionless acceptance, but the writing process felt infinitely more organic and intuitive that the last few efforts, and I'm not surprised it garnered far fewer editorial misgivings.

This morning I finished (I hope) addressing my editor's concerns with the opening chapters, and sent the revised proposal back out into the ether. And she's encouraged me to keep working on the subsequent chapters, which can't be a bad sign. So keep those fingers crossed, if they haven't grown arthritic and mangled with your unwavering empathy. Maybe I'll have extra-good news to share soon. Maybe I'll even manage to make my second Blaze sale within a year of the first… For those with Doomsday clocks at the ready, set them to July 12.

May was also the month of no meat. This experiment, of all the Discipline Year self-imposed challenges I've yet tackled, was far and away the easiest and the most fun. The only temptations came during family barbecues, and I resisted with little angst. Otherwise I had a blast rediscovering an interest in cooking. I always enjoy cooking, but in the past year or two I'd gotten to a point where I simply recycled the same half-dozen dinner standards over and over. Meat-Free May was a great excuse to try out new dishes. In fact tonight I'm making that African stew again, so my repertoire of regulars has expanded! And of course, my life will no longer be complete without tempeh making the occasional appearance.

I didn't lose or gain any weight, so no revelations on that front.

My husband suspects that, in part, my unnaturally long blue spell (nearly two weeks' funk) in the latter half of the month could be linked to the decreased protein intake. I'll buy it. It was also rainy and I had PMS and was dealing with stupid social media melodrama angst and was uncertain about my proposal, but I rarely stay bummed that long without something else going on, so perhaps he's on to something.

Still, I'm in no rush to bring the meat back. I'll be excited to order seafood at my favorite restaurants once more, and it'll be nice to toss chicken in with the stir-fry, but I haven't missed meat all that much. Doesn't hurt that I have a broad-palated partner with West Coast ideals, either. The entire household went veggie this month, at least at home. Thanks, manfriend!

Next month was supposed to be No Java June, when I go coffee-free (if not caffeine free—tea was to still be kosher) but I think I'll switch it up. All things going well, I may be on deadline, and that is not the time to volunteer for chemical withdrawal. So I'm likely going to swap June and July and go sugar-free for the next month. Anyhow, more on that tomorrow.

Despite the possible stress fracture, which is keeping me from running, May has been a great month for exercise. Lovely spring temperatures for my daily walks, plus we've been cycling a couple times, hiking even more, and at long last I got my shit together and rearranged my room, making it yoga-friendly again. Unless you're talking to someone who's practiced and enjoyed yoga themselves, it's hard to say how powerful and awesome it is without sounding like a self-satisfied hippie-dippy douchebag. So I won't ramble, but since I got back to hardcore stretching before bedtime in the last week or so, I've slept better, felt better, blah blah blah. Go yoga.

Back to work! Hoping to finish my evil conjoined erotica-writing twin's edits quickly, so I'll have time to indulge in a beer and last night's Bachelorette episode before chores call me to wifely duty. Enjoy the final day of May! Or if you're already in June when you read this, don't tell me what happens. I hate spoilers.


  1. Congrats on the Blaze proposal! Very exciting. And well done on the yoga studio, too. I do yoga, but I can only ever bear to do it at the yoga center in a class. I have some DVDs in the basement, and they are Not So Enticing. But I am always so much happier when I'm yoga-ing and running.
    (On the hippie-dippy douchebag threat -- overheard at the playground this morning, one 8-year-old boy to another: "I saw a hippie mowing the lawn in Oconto. His lawnmower didn't have gas or a battery. He was just pushing it." The kid's tone spoke volumes about his disdain for this horrible man, who no doubt smelled of patchouli. More on this threat as it develops.)

  2. Great news on the Blaze proposal, and thanks for sharing your ups and downs on that front. It's so encouraging to know we all go through stages of confidence and despair. It's the job we've signed up for... you know, for better or worse.

    Good luck with the book, and the sugar-less month. You're a much braver woman than I am.

  3. Just savored my final lumps of chocolate until July!

  4. Maybe this will help break you out of your funk.

    I sent my CP an Amazon gift card for her birthday a couple of days ago. She was asking for recs, and remembered I'd spoken highly of Willing Victim. I'd also mentioned Shivaree and its prequel/sequel.

    Last night, she blew up my inbox with text messages. She'd sat down and read all three before coming up for air.

    I think you've made (another) fan for life. LOL

  5. Ooh! Fingers crossed on your Blaze proposal, that sounds very promising!

  6. Wow, thanks, Hailey! That's so flattering. I'm glad your recs didn't go astray, and even more glad to deprive a reader their sleep. I'll stick this smug feeling in my pocket as I tackle today's word count.

    And thanks for the crossed fingers, Shoshanna! Can't believe you hit your 50K May goal! Not that I can't believe you hit it, but that anyone could! Must be all that NaNo training. I'm happy when I get 30K in a month…speaking of which, time to hunker down and try to hit 2K.