Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy Holidays and All that Stuff!

Hey cyber world,
I'm taking a well earned holiday from life and am heading away for two weeks, my sole aim, to enjoy myself, relax and accomplish as little as possible. Okay, maybe the accomplish part is a lie, but this is going to be about fun accomplishment.
My back still pains me, but less than it was, and my goal is to come back to the real world in 2010 with a renewed fighting spirit. The world of agents and publishers served to poke a bit of a hole in my gumption during the last part of this year, but I refuse, refuse, refuse to believe there isn't someone out there that wants a manuscript that is funny and entertaining, quirky, interesting and complex. Like hallo!! There is a block buster Sandra Bullock movie sitting in my hands and all you sillies aren't getting that. I have no problem with moving right to a movie without the intercept of a publisher, but I think the full meal deal would be a win/win/ win for everyone.
I may start publishing parts of the book here next year. We'll see. I haven't yakked about it that much on here, so I have a bunch of options up my sleeve, and after a little rejuvenation, look out world! I may also post a resume. It would view something like this. Type A personality, totally driven, accomplishment oriented counsellor/author seeks an agent/publisher who can keep up. I have more than enough motivation, smarts, and drive for both of us to make this book a success, so if you can manage to get off your seat and send me an email, I'll be happy to do a lot of the work and whip your butt into shape.
Happy holidays all. I'll see ya all in 2010. In the meantime, I'll be hanging on the beaches of Cabo and splatted against a tree or two in the Kananaskis. Cheers!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

One Little Sneeze

One little sneeze is all it took to send my back into shattering spasms of pain. Me, I, who has never had a back problem, was struggling wholeheartedly to conquer a single stair this morning. Nothing like a dose of humility. Nothing like a left field experience to send one somewhere else. I've been pushing my body lately. Long three mile walks, isometrics, and every form of muscle crunching activity one can do, have all been completed daily in an attempt to get back to the form of body I recognize as being mine. Strong. In doing all that, I've injured nothing, suffered no ailments. But yesterday morning, as I reached down toward the floor to pick up a piece of lint I sneezed, and was taken to my knees as my back protested against the combination of sudden muscle movements that was required of those two seemingly simple things. Out of nowhere came the unexpected, trying to move me away from my goal, slow me down, get in my way. And now, as I sit and think about what that all means, I know that I am looking for ways to get in shape that get around the fact that I have a stupid back injury. I'm taking advice from my chiropractor, but also listening to myself. I'm determined to keep working toward getting in shape and I'm finding exercises that allow me to do that without further inflaming my back. I've hit an obstacle, but I'm moving around it, determined to succeed, and that's what I need to do with my book. Move around the obstacles, work toward publication even when things get in my way. Not sure what that looks like yet, but I'll find that. The last year has shown me how determined I can be. I'm only now discovering just what exactly that means.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Silence of December

As I have continued to work on shrinking my expanded back side over the last month, through long walks with my dog and assorted muscle burning exercises, I've had a lot of time to think. What did I think? Primarily I thought that I feel a lot healthier and more energetic when I'm on the move, rather than engaging in the sedintary activity of typing away on my computer. I've felt guilty a few times, when I thought I should be pushing things more regarding my writing, but the reality is, I pushed myself incredibly this summer. In just over 4 months time I completed my novel, all 387 pages of it. I don't even want to fathom how many hours I spent sitting in front of my computer screen as I worked at hitting my goal. And I did it. I finished my novel, I've been successful in making it funny and entertaining, with a great story. But now, things are no longer soley under my control. Trying to find an agent or publisher who is willing to take a risk on a first time author seems to be almost worse than finding a needle in a haystack. I mean, if someone puts a needle in a haystack, you know it is in there somewhere, and it's just a matter to taking the time to find it. With finding an agent or a publisher, there are all sorts of factors to consider, including wondering if my query letters are stunning enough. Maybe in one of my next posts I'll write an online query letter. Then it will be there for all to see in cyber space.
In the meantime, I've been in the midst of a great chasm of silence. No rejections, no nothing in my inbox day after day. Just waiting for some responses that seem so long in coming. And when you believe in something, like I do in this book, it can be hard to sit back and wait even when you know it's the right thing to do. Right now, waiting is the right thing, but boy, would I be happy, if when this silence finally breaks, it the is sound of "We would love to see the rest of your manuscript." that shatters the stillness of my inbox.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Numerous Ways to Avoid Feeling Blue as One Works Toward the Elusiveness of Publication

I've been avoiding this blog for awhile. I've been avoiding most anything connected to writing, other than anything that can be put in a list. My brain is still trying to work through what I read on one agents website. In short, she wrote..."first time author? unknown? you want to get published? ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. good luck!" And so I thought: why am I spending day after day, hour after hour writing my life away, my butt expanding exponentially with every word I type? To have a behind the size of Mount Baker as a published and validated author is one thing. To be described as mountainous and unpublished just won't do, and frankly it would really do a number on my sense of self worth. And so, as I struggle against the grain in pursuit of the elusiveness that is a contract for publishing for my first book, I am going to do so with a butt that is narrower than Mount Baker. This is my key to self worth survival. If a certain accomplishment eludes one, pursue other accomplishments. Thank goodness I'm good at multi-tasking and redirecting.

Whew! Writing a whole paragraph was hard. Obviously my brain is exhausted from all the lunges earlier in the day. So, back to a list. Here's all I can think of to avoid anything to do with writing. This is kind of like pregnancy. Wait, wait, wait, grow, wait, and wait somemore, and when you can't stand any more waiting, distract, distract and eat ice cream.

Things I have done that have no relation to getting published:

1. I fell asleep...a lot...many times...both during the day and at night. On the couch, on a floor, in a vehicle ( and no I wasn't driving). I can sleep anywhere, anytime. Sleeping is good and cozy and I'm not having rejection dreams yet.

2. I've been walking the dog and working out. The dog is happy. My stomach is not. It hurts. I'm happy when it hurts cause it looks a bit deflated. A deflated stomach is good.

3. I've cleaned the house, several times over. I'm so thankful I don't have a housekeeper. There's nothing more rewarding than looking at a sparkling clean floor, other than getting published, or major surgery.

4. I worked on getting a new website up...for my paying job. It's done...AND IT'S PUBLISHED!! And it's so pretty. Check it out.

5. I've spent time with my son and husband without saying, "Nice talking to you, but sorry gotta go and get stuff done. Dinner? Huh?"

6. I've got myself a new smart phone and spent hours and hours making it my own. Too fun. I've turned into a techno geek, and I can now say I'm happy for that. The best moment of the week was when I called Telus ( my service provider) back, to tell them how to solve a problem with the phone, cause they couldn't figure it out.

7. I've been planning dinner parties with friends. Doesn't matter whose house it's at, I'm planning it. Out to dinner, in to dinner, appies for dinner, I'm in. Course this only happens twice a year, where I feel like I have the motivation to cook anything other than something that comes out of a box.

8. I've started writing a second novel. It's slow right now, but the first one was slow at the start as well. It moves with one of the characters from the first book, because those who have read the first one, wanted to know more..... Ooops, guess I have been writing.

I'm an accomplisher. Ah well. In between the sitting quietly in life, one has to do something, and while I'm waiting to get the energy back to face the world of publication again, there are other mountains to climb, other people to feed, other things to work on. Someone sent me their bucket list the other day. It reminded me that I'll have to rewrite mine. Lists are fun and easy and it's amazing what happens when you write things down.

PS. Ellen, I know I haven't caused a great scandal or anything, and not a lot of people know me or anything, but wouldn't it be grand to catapult an unknown onto the bestseller list? Just for the fun of it?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Amazing Christmas Gifts

I'm all written out at the moment. There's no oomph left in the hemisphere of my brain from which the ability to write sproings forth. I suppose I could spew forth on more of all the feelings and frustrations of being an author who is working toward getting published...but...Nah. I'm just waiting for some responses to various queries right now, poking away at a second book, occasionally grumping to my friends, family and the dog about my situation, and doing some well intentioned, but of little consequence pre-marketing. Perhaps along the way in all of this effort to get something going, I have fried the connection my humourous glandas as well, cause at the moment I have no motivation to even attempt to write something funny. Scratch that...there's some motivation there, but methinks me is just too tired, and being funny takes work, or the right mood, or something else which I can't quite find at the moment.
So, since I'm not going to amuse you with my wit, I'll just share with you a link to some really amazing Christmas gifts. I'm really not feeling like I need anything this Christmas, and was doing the usual "what do I get for everyone else who has everything and really needs nothing" when lo and behold, a catalogue arrived in the mail this afternoon from the Plan Canada. You can buy a goat for a person in need. Clean water for a family or classroom. Mango trees, Birth Certificates for children in need! How cool is that? You can give the gift of reading to children or immunize a community against polio. So check out the site In my family now, my parents and us give to some charity every year instead of giving each other presents. I'll be putting one of these gifts in their names. Maybe a pig? Farming tools and seeds? Wow. Spread the word. This kind of stuff makes Christmas fun!
And of course, if anyone wants to help get my book published for Christmas, how could I say no? I mean, hey, if it's a success, just think of all the pigs, cows, chickens and clean water I could buy. I'm game for giving back!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The 'Who Is...No One in Particular?' Contest

No One in Particular is, at present, an as yet to be published fictional manuscript detailing the ‘not quite normal’ and often hilarious journey of a therapist who falls apart and who must somehow find a way to come back together. In the novel, Danny, the quirky crispy fried heroine, writes to an enigmatic email contact: revealing her most personal thoughts, her most demented poetry, and just about everything else you would normally never willingly share with another human being.

Who do you think No One in Particular is? Is it Prince Charles? Your crotchety 87 year old aunt? A hamster? A dead zombie on Left for Dead? The barfed up fur ball of your cat?

Here is your chance to get creative. Who or what might No One be? Think inside, outside and around the box. The possibilities are endless. To submit your entry for this contest, email your guess along with your name and email address to or simply submit your guess to this blog. And just to let you know…although I, Lisa McLellan, hold that email address, don’t bother guessing me. I acquired the email address for the purpose of using it in the book. The contest will close 10 days before the release date of the published book. I’d like to post some of the funniest/most creative entries on my blog so when you write, let me know if you consent to have me post your guess. Manuscript readers are not allowed to enter the contest and are sworn to secrecy about who No One in Particular is.

And what will the lucky winner receive?

The first person to submit the correct answer will have a character named after them in my next book (already started). Yay! You will forever be immortalized in fiction! They will also receive an original, signed by the author, first draft manuscript, and a free signed copy of the book, along with a quirky t-shirt. And if the book gets big, sell, sell, sell, your stuff on E-bay! Talk about a win/win situation. Oh, and hey, if I happen to get a spot on Ellen or Oprah, I'll gladly take you along with me!

The most creative entry, as voted on by me and whoever I select as judges, will receive a free signed copy of the book and an original quirky T-shirt (Danny wears several of them in the book, all with different sayings) signed by the author.

When, and I say when, not if, I happen to happen upon a publishing contract, I’ll add more categories of winners. In the meantime, have some fun with this, invite your friends to participate, and follow things along on the blog, Face book and Twitter at . The more people pushing for publication, the greater the market for the book, the higher the demand will be for your prizes on E bay.

And, if you happen to think this is hokey , then by all means email me with a better idea for promotion. Maybe we can have a hokey contest. That's hokey, all you Canadian boys, not hockey.

Monday, November 16, 2009

International Day of Tolerance

In the spirit of the International Day of Tolerance, which is today, unless I'm mistaken, which is possible, because life has been a bit of a blur lately (sick child, house renovations, life...need I say more?) I am going to try and be more tolerant in my own little bubble of isolation. I guess I could spew on the need for world tolerance, but the likelihood of anyone reading my diatribe on that is slim to none. I don't much care for being lectured, why would I expect anyone else to feel differently? And so, here is my pledge for the day.
Pledge of Tolerance
*I will continue to tolerate rejections from agents respectfully, even though I know that if they would just read the whole of my manuscript instead of a one page query letter, they might want to take me on.
*I will continue will continue to submit to agents and publishers while tolerating the knowledge that as an unknown author, the chances of getting someone to take a chance on me are apparently approaching the infinitesimal.
*I will continue to tolerate the fact that some publishers would rather take on a bad book from a known author than a good book from an unknown author, but I am only tolerating this, because really, what choice do I have?
Now, that's enough complaining for one day. I must recognize that as an author, agents get their pay from having authors that are highly marketable and successful. Since there is a very good chance that many more people might want to read what Ellen Degeneres has to say, vs. me. 'Ms. No One In Particular' I can see why she's much more likely to get a publishing contract than I am. I also have to admit that on a scale of funny, Ellen has me beat by a landslide. So, I shall suck up my frustration, and tolerate the realities of my situation. And in the meantime I will continue to work at trying to get published. This is the fight for the every day Jane, the small fish in the pond, the common person, because we have sometimes have something important worth saying, or writing and we need to be given our own little swimming hole.
Did I mention that I have emailed Ellen about my book? Well I did. I mean, hey, she campaigned Oprah for over a year to get on the cover of her magazine. I should be able to campaign her right? And just because I'm an unknown that doesn't make my campaign any less legit that wish me luck. Time to come up with some ideas. Anyone got any good ones?
And in the meantime, practice your kind to someone less famous than you.

Friday, November 13, 2009

World Kindness Day: Mission Kindpossible

Seeing as I am part of and today is World Kindness Day, I am once again blogging about kindness rather than about the mind-bending, seemingly insurmountable, optimism crushing process of trying to get published as a first time author. That being said, if any agent or publisher happens to come upon this blog, feel free to hit me with your own random act of kindness by asking to see my mansucript. I'll be more than happy to oblige you!
I tend to think that on any typical given day, I act with kindness toward others. Overall, it's a much nicer way to live, and even if I'm in the grumps, being nice to others helps me to feel better about myself. Today, though, I set out to go out of my way with being kind, it was my mission to purposefully instill kind acts on others. Although creatively speaking I don't feel I was at my very best, it has so far been an interesting experience. I think there are a couple of people out there who are still shaking their heads in shock, wondering what happened, because, I didn't tell all of them why I was doing what I did, I just did things. If you've read other posts in my blog, you've read about 'out of left field experiences,' uncommon events that shake us up and shock us. I gave some people left field experiences of the pleasant kind today. Fun, fun, fun. The world needs more of those.
Without further ado, here's how the day has gone down so far.
8:30am-Stopped at the Macs store to pick up a couple of little things. The friendly clerk asked if I would also like to buy a lottery ticket. I asked how much the jackpot was. His response-"$15,000,00.00." I bought a ticket along with my other stuff, briefly wondered at my own loss of sanity, and as I went to leave, handed him the ticket and said, "This is for you, it's world kindness day." I will always remember the complete look of stunned shock on his face as I left the store. He couldn't speak.
11:30am-Morning chores completed I ventured out for the day and drove through the Starbucks drive through for a morning decaf (I can't drink the real stuff, I'm already too wired). I had a $20.00 Starbucks card in my wallet I'd bought the week before, so after paying cash for my coffee and giving the barista a bit of a tip, I then gave the card to the Barista asking him to use it for the people behind me until the balance was gone. I was rewarded with a smile, and an acknowledgement of how nice that was. I've had this happen to me from others before and it does feel good. It was nice to do a pay it forward.
11:45am-On to Safeway (all these kind free plugs for businesses) where I purchased 6 bunches of tulips. The friendly clerk made each of the bouquets very pretty with rafia, and while she was doing that, the woman behind me had to wait a bit, so I chatted with her, and she told me how she liked to put poinsiettas on her stairs for Christmas because they looked so pretty. As I purchased the tulips, I also purchased her two poinsiettas. I think the poor woman was initially wondering if I was stealing her poinseittas, because she looked so confused. As I left I gave her a reassuring smile and told her to have a nice day. Another very stunned look.
12:10pm-I entered hospital emergency wanting to give the tulip bouquets to the triage nurses. They have so much crap to deal with I figured they could really use a random act of kindness. Emergency was packed with people, it's gotta be overflow from the flu I guess, geeze. Anyhow, all the nurses in there were so sweet and so thankful. It made me wish I could have done more in there. I was really glad I could provide a bright spot in their day.
12:20pm-I left emergency (and yes I disinfected my hands on the way out-kindness to me) and headed to Shopper's Drug Mart cause I knew I had some points for free merchandise wracked up on my Optimum card. On the way in there was a young woman from Child Find standing behind a table. Now, to tell the truth, I normally am prone to walking right by just giving a smile at times, because like a lot of people, I sometimes feel tapped out, or like it wasn't on my agenda to give to a certain organization. How dumb is that? I mean, here was someone staring me right in the face asking for help, and I almost walked by? I wouldn't have even paid attention to what organization was asking for assistance. Wake up call! I stopped, talked about how doing what she did must be hard and lonely at times. She was so sweet and there she was, volunteering her time, not because it was World Kindness Day, but obviously because she just is a caring, kind person. I gave her my last twenty dollars, went into the store and used my points to get two organic stuffies for free. On my way out of the store, I stopped at her table and gave them to her, telling her to give them to any kids she saw that looked like they could use some cheering up. She was so thankful. But really, I should have been more thankful to her. She's the one spending her whole day there in a very hard position. Did you ever notice that those who are generally the most giving are also the most thankful?
12:45pm-There's a church on a main thoroughfare in town and they always have a signs with sayings posted by the road. I thought it might be cool to have the sign changed to say "World Kindness Day, Beep for Kindness and Pay it Forward" so I went into the church to talk to someone about the possibility of this. A nice woman came to talk to me. She said she thought it sounded good, but the sign changer wasn't around and she knew the pastor had wanted other stuff on the sign. I offered to change the sign myself, but it basically came down to her being worried that the pastor might not be happy because he had his own sayings he wanted up. On the sign already was the saying "Act as the kind of person God would want you to be." Now, I'm not going to analyze this situation. You can do that. Interesting though, wouldn't you say?
It's now 4:30, and I'm back at home, supervising my son who I have kindly let have two friends sleep over. It's been an interesting day so far...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In Celebration of World Kindness Day on November 13

November 13 is World Kindness Day, and as a firm believer in all things kind, I thought it would be appropriate to write a story about kindness. The story I am about to write is true, and it’s time to say “thank you” publicly for an act of kindness that occurred over 60 years ago. Do you ever wonder about the impact your acts of kindness might have? Wonder no more.

It was the end of World War II and a small family from Latvia had been living in a Displaced Person’s camp in Germany for several years, having fled their home as the Soviets invaded. When the allies arrived and the camps were dispersed, the family feared the repercussions of returning to their homeland, and like so many others during that time, needed a safe place to rebuild their lives. There were many who ended up returning to a Soviet occupied Latvia, some by choice, some not. For this family, mercy and kindness arrived in the form of an American Red Cross worker with a Latvian heritage. Understanding the potential of what the family might face on their return home, he worked to ensure they would be able to find safe passage elsewhere.

And so the trio, a mother, a father, and their young son, boarded a boat, eventually arriving in Canada, their new home. They worked hard to contribute to the new country that welcomed them, the parents instilling a strong work ethic in their son. Their son turned into a very kind man, his experiences in his early years undoubtedly impacting his compassion and giving nature. Eventually he went through university and married a woman who also believed in giving to others, and they had three children. The man worked as a social worker and the woman as a nurse.

Although quiet by nature, over the years the man told some of the stories of his own childhood to his children. His values of making a difference in the world, and of treating others with kindness, were passed down to his children, and they in turn became a teacher, a nurse, and a counsellor, each in their own way working hard to make a positive impact on the lives of others. I am the daughter of that man, I am the counsellor, and I will never forget the kindness and mercy of a certain man that I do not know from the American Red Cross whose actions have given our family a safe place to call home, in an amazing country. Thank you to him, and although he doesn’t know it, over sixty years later, he is still thought of with gratitude, and his actions are continuing to ripple in this pond we call home.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Life's A Beach

Got up bright and early this am, cleaned self up all nice and even managed to dress in something other than jeans. Altogether I think I looked good enough for civilization. The plan was to be out and about in the world for the day. To commune with other humans and to utilize my slowly getting rusty social skills. And then...."Mom...I don't feel good..." echoed down the halls of the house. One sick son later, it was off with the dressy uppy clothes and on with the sweats and piggy slippers. Regrettably I didn't purchase the piggies that oink, so my two little comfy pink friends just shuffle around silently on my feet. No chance for intelligent discourse with them. And my son...well...he's lying on the couch, absorbed in his new i-pod touch, purchased with his birthday money. Every ten minutes or so I harrass him by asking if he wants something, just to provoke some sort of conversation. I've realized that some days, I could lose my voice and not even realize it until the end of the day, when the guys are home from school and work.
**Newsflash** More manuscript reader comments have arrived! They'll be posted under the 'manuscript reader' headline...but I bet you probably already figured that out didn't you? Whoever you are...if there really is anybody out there. Is there anybody out there? Helloo? There's probably a billion people out in cyber space. There's gotta be a least one of you accidently stumbling onto this blog right? Time to go. My son is contagious and the piggies are looking green with nausea and feel ever so slightly feverish. It appears I have a purpose to fulfill today.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Oh, To Be Back in Maui!

Miserable cold wet sheets of rain are pouring down and messing with my hair. Yuck. I'll just stare at my Maui pics with fond memories of my research trip. Gotta get this manuscript published. Beaches the world over are calling my name...
This location is in the book, but the book has to be published, so you can find out about where it is. Any guesses?

Friday, November 6, 2009

An Interview with Myself

Q. So why are you interviewing yourself?
A. Because I’m not famous enough to be interviewed by anyone else at the moment, although my dog would be happy to interview me, but she only speaks Chewbacca and most people don’t understand that language fully. Also, spending day after day at the computer writing is a lonely experience and I need someone to talk to. It seems less weird to do it on paper, rather than out loud.

Q. What’s Chewbacca?
A. Malamute speak-it consists of yelps, growls and a whole other assortment of weird noises. Apparently his own malamute what inspired George Lucas to create Chewie’s character on Star Wars. How is this relevant to anything?

Q. It’s not, but you brought it up. So how’s life in the land of trying to get published?
A. Frustrating, interesting, depressing, challenging, character building. Luckily for me, once I’ve set my mind to something, I’m not one to give up. This will happen. It’s just a question of when. I’ve just got to hit the right agent/publisher. Someone has to be willing to take a risk on a first time author and be open to reading the manuscript.

Q. You sound confident.
A. I waiver. I have bad days, but I believe in the foundation of what I’ve written. No One In Particular is a great story, it’s engaging, and it keeps you wondering what will happen next. The characters are appealing, and the ones that aren’t, well they’ll provoke some emotional responses as well. The book will provoke you emotionally. Mostly it will just make you laugh, but it will also make you uncomfortable, and it will make you think. Women from 25 onward will love this book. It’s not the kind of story you would read, put down and just say, “that was great.” You’ll have some sort of response to it. I love that about this book. It’s different. It’s not what you might initially expect, if you read any part of it, although I believe there are some very funny parts. It has to be taken in the whole.

Q. Can you expand more on the book being different?
A. Sure. It was written through stream of consciousness. I didn’t have the story planned out in my head at all. I just wrote. You can write a book and have everything planned out ahead of time, and a lot of us do this in our lives, we know where we’re going, where we want to be and we plan how to get there. Like me right now. I want to be published and I’m working and planning on how to get there. Sometimes in life, though, we are lost. We don’t know where we’re going; we’re not sure about our future, or something knocks us off track. Turns out the character in the book doesn’t know where she’s going and stream of consciousness writing worked perfectly, the story arose. I think that part of the writing will make some people uncomfortable-especially people who like to plan and feel in control. But they can’t know where the book is going, because the character doesn’t know-they’ll have a reaction to that though. Some will be bothered, some won’t. Some people are okay with an uncertain future, others, not so much.

Q. What else might someone who is going to read your book want to know?
A. It explores the whole concept of left field experiences. That’s never mentioned anywhere, and none of the manuscript readers were told that before they read it, but now, thinking about it, I wonder if knowing that ahead of time, people might be provided with a different depth of experience of the book.

Q. Explain. First, what is a left field experience?
A. Left field experience: a phenomenon in which a happening or event arises from an unexpected, bizarre or uncommon source or direction. The happening may range from being minor, such that one’s reaction to it entails only a brief surge in adrenaline and a fleeting sense of shock, to catastrophic, resulting in an intense personal reaction which precedes a transformation of consciousness and a change in the very core of one’s being or life direction. Basically, something unexpected occurs out of the blue that shocks one, and it provides an awakening of sorts, sometimes temporary, sometimes longer lasting. An example of a minor left field experience would be crossing the street when not paying attention and nearly getting clipped by a car. You’re shocked into paying more attention to life. Major left field experiences can be much harder to deal with and I think the challenge there is to awaken more into life, even though a person’s initial reaction can be to want to turn away or avoid.

Q. And there are left field experiences in the book?
A. There are. The main character, Danny, has a lot of them. She is also very good at giving them to other people. She’s busy trying to wake other people up at times, but she also needs to wake up.

Q. It sounds like the book has a few levels to it.
A. It does. And they are levels that can be missed. There’s the obvious and the not so obvious. On the surface it’s a funny read with some great characters. If you look deeper, there’s a whole lot of other stuff there. Try getting all of this down in a one page query letter to a publisher or an agent. There’s an exercise in frustration.

Q. And if they only read a chapter or two?
A. They’ll get parts, but they won’t get the whole, and they may very well miss all that there is.

Q. As a new author, you’re considered a bit of a risk to publish aren’t you?
A. Yes, but every writer out there was new at this at some point in time. I believe in this book and I believe it has mass appeal. I’m only too happy to work my butt off getting the word out about it. In the meantime, because I’m totally out there about what I’m doing, I just get to hang with the public humiliation of everyone knowing about my rejections, and I hate public embarrassment and humiliation, hate it. But getting this published is worth all that to me. And hey, I can be an inspiration to others for taking risks. It’s kinda cool actually. I’m presently facing one of my worst fears. And I’m surviving.

Q. Any ideas for marketing?
A. Lots. I’m an idea person. Sometimes I have to calm myself down though. I can get over the top sometimes.

Q. Future plans for writing?
A. More books. I’ve got an idea percolating. If it keeps doing so and starts a roiling boil then I’ll know I’m good to go. That’s what happened with this book. My top was ready to blow by the time I sat down to write it. I couldn’t ignore it. It had to be written.

Q. In the meantime?
A. Submit, wait, work on pre-marketing, hope, submit, write the blog, and pay attention to life.

Q. Thanks for the interview.
A. Thank you. It’s always nice to have someone to talk to. Even if it is only me.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Day in the Life of a Wanna Be Published Author

6:30 am

Stumble out of bed, head to kitchen, make coffee. While waiting for coffee t o brew check email inbox in misguided hope of finding email that states “We want to see your manuscript.” Hopes temporarily shattered when only mail received is “Oddly Enough News from Reuters.”
Read about weird things happening in world, drink coffee, play solitaire, allow a million and one thoughts about ways to get manuscript noticed stream through mind. Notice feeling of exhaustion after thinking too many thoughts. Drink more coffee, play more solitaire, go to bathroom.

7:30 am

Wake up child, make lunch for child, feed child breakfast and transport him to the zoo they call school. On departure from school parking lot look in rear view mirror and notice raccoon eyes- waterproof mascara from yesterday has smudged during the night. Put on sunglasses for drive home even though day is cloudy and rainy. Get home, check inbox, acknowledge to self that behaviour is starting to get slightly obsessive. Brush teeth and wipe mascara away from eyes. Check inbox. Play solitaire.
8:30 am
Scan “2010 Guide to Literary Agents”. Flip to middle of book looking for agents to submit too because maybe everybody else starts at the beginning? Cross off bunch of agents that only accept nonfiction and children’s literature. Briefly wonder why decided to write a novel when everyone wants real life…what’s with that? Wonder if only forms of escape people do anymore is drinking, drugging, gambling and internet. Play solitaire. Add gaming to list of escapes people use. Check inbox. Vow to self to not check inbox for at least another 15 minutes. Phone friend. Whine, commiserate and seek out compliments to keep self-esteem above the -5 mark. Drink more coffee. Pop some vitamins for breakfast. Get bout of indigestion. Drink some Pepto for dessert. Eat real breakfast. Try to get real breakfast flakes out from between computer keys.

10:00 am

Find agent in book that seems to be a match for submission of work. Read over their website. Re-do query letter for 25th time because it can only keep getting better…or more neurotic, but whatever. Take last look at their website. See line that didn’t see before. “Sorry but we are not taking submissions at this time.” Curse heavily and stomp off to bathroom. Come back and check inbox. Curse heavily and go do load of laundry, vacuum house and clean out Tupperware cupboard.

11:30 am

Find another possible agent after ten more cross outs. Read all of website…every single word, twice. Re do query letter for 26th time. Press send. Press send/receive button 15 seconds later. Realize behaviour is out of control. Get dog’s leash and prepare to take dog for walk. Look in mirror on way out the door. Realize very scary looking. Realize don’t care. Leave house. Thirty seconds later go back to get howling dog who’d been forgotten.
1:00 pm
Shower and get ready for paying job. Go to paying job. Think that paying job is a lot easier than non-paying job of trying to be a published author. Wonder if have turned into masochist.

4:00 pm

Child playing after school with friends. Head back home after clients. What else? Check inbox. No rejections, no acceptances. Check blog. No new comments. Play solitaire. Find another agent to submit to. Do the drill. Hope for miracle. Press send. Feel exhausted. Feel hopeful. Feel exhausted again.

5:30 pm

Get child, get dinner ready, etc, etc. Talk to child, talk to husband, talk to self in brain. Get child to do homework, everyone settled in. Check inbox. Realize is like gambling. Am waiting and hoping for the jackpot. Wonder if chances of getting agent are more or less than those of winning jackpot. Realize might be better not to know.

7:30 pm

While child watching TV decide better work on blog. Work on blog even though have minimal people reading it at this point. Realize it’s kind of like manuscript. Is all for the love of writing. Ha ha ha ha ha. But must love it, cause just keep persevering. Check inbox.

8:30 pm

Hang out with family. Thinking about inbox but know that is no point to check it. Leave family and check it anyway. Not sure what will happen if ever there is good news in there. Go back to hanging with family. Always thinking of book though. What did I used to do when this wasn’t in my life?
Oh right…I spent my time thinking about writing a book.

10:30 pm

Time to get ready for bed. Goodnight inbox. See you in the morning.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ping Pong

It’s Sunday, the end of the weekend. Weekends are nice. Agents don’t send out rejections on weekends. Altogether that makes life a little more pleasant. Rejections aside, lately I’ve noticed I’m much more prone to violent mood swings. On top of the world one moment and in the deepest depths of gloom the next. My life as a human yo-yo is tiring. Who knew that working toward one’s life dream would be such a mood de-stabilizer? My brain is in constant conversation with itself. “What you’ve written isn’t good enough.” “What you’ve written is fantastic.” “Great query letter, they’ll ask for more for sure.” “That query letter sucked!” ping…pong…up…down…and so it goes. The optimist in me is trying to hang on, but reading about the world of publishing is a little like having someone lift your fingers one by one as you hang on to a tree branch…your grip gets a bit tenuous to say the least.

My dad finished the manuscript last week. That in itself should say something about the manuscript. The book is written for a target audience of women, and my dad, who is 70ish, finished it…and really enjoyed it. He even started re-reading my Master’s thesis after finishing my manuscript. I guess he just couldn’t get enough of my writing. He still seems to be pondering where I learned to write so well. Um, Dad, it was during the seven years of university education, which I am still oh so happily paying off. Having actually written all my papers along the way to graduation, it appears I picked up a few skills along the way. And of course I have your brains. Need I say more? Feel free to make some sort of smart retort if you read this, Pop. The comments are few and far between at the moment. I’m still working at having an existence on the web.

Another reader has finished the manuscript. She’s a colleague and friend of mine…and yes, I would love to find someone who isn’t a friend to read the thing, but in case you haven’t noticed, if you ask most strangers to do something, they usually want money, or to tell you where to go. So… back to the friend and colleague...her name is Dianne G. She’s a Master’s level Counsellor, and these are her comments-edited to prevent giving away important parts of the plot.

Okay, I have to tell you right off that I loved it, Lisa. I genuinely mean that. I honestly sat with an overwhelming feeling of something almost spiritual after I finished was like I could almost feel …{ ***}(as crazy as that sounds)… It was beautiful.

I think this book should be on the "Required Reading List" for new therapists. I learned a lot just in the session with the "good shrink" (an oxymoron?) alone. I laughed out loud when you wrote about how shrinks should be called {***}...hilarious. I loved the {}thing. Powerful stuff reading about how …{***}.

The book has a good flow to it, you segue so beautifully. We see Danny metamorphose from…{***}. And throughout the entire process of that character development you make the reader fall more and more in love with Danny with your use of humour. The {***}…was powerful for me. I'll remember that metaphor for the rest of my life.

I'm finding it hard to explain the feelings I was left with after finishing the book....a sense of possibility, hope....that it's okay to let go of certain people and situations in our lives if they are no longer working for us. To find humour in even the darkest times...that if we just open our eyes to it we'll see that there is no such thing as coincidence, that everything happens for a reason.

Thank you for writing this, Lisa. I'm proud of you beyond words.

Now let's get the {bleep} published. Dianne.

Any readers whose comments I publish are willing to give their names and numbers to interested publishers/agents to verify their comments.

Thanks Dianne, I believe in the book too. For good reason. Gotta go, I creatively challenged myself today in other ways and made some bread, and holy cow, it looks like it’s actually rising! Lisa

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Unadulterated Self Promotion

Top Ten Reasons No One In Particular should be published:

10. Given the choice, would you rather read about “Jenkins at the Majors” or “No One In Particular”?
9. There’s nothing like a great escape novel.
8. Everyone likes a revenge fantasy come true.
7. Happy endings are hard to come by these days.
6. It’s always fun to watch an unknown skyrocket to fame.
5. Funny books are better for the body and soul than anti-depressants…and cheaper too.
4. ‘Depends’ stocks are suffering, and you might need some if you read this book. Everyone should contribute to our failing economy in some way.
3. It provides a great excuse to ignore your husband and children.
2. You’ve been waiting forever to read something that is totally hilarious…and based in Maui. You can pretend you’re on vacation without leaving the couch.
**And the number 1 reason No One in Particular should be published is: **
1. Someone, somewhere, somehow, should be able to do something of note without having to have sex with some old dude. Uh… sorry Dave…it’s just my opinion….

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dreaming Big... and Falling Flat on My Face

Me being me, I have a habit of dreaming big, and although as a kid, my favourite spot for viewing everything was from behind my mother’s knees, I knew that out there in that big old world there were endless possibilities...and some very scary things. Eventually I toddled out from my favored observation point, but it wasn't without a lot of scrapes and bruises, bumps and splats along the way. I still have the scars to prove it. I’ve come to realize that if I’m ever going to get published I've gotta stick my neck out once again... show my face to the world so to speak... and risk falling flat, in front of everyone. I figure that if I must jump, I might as well attempt the quadruple half-cow, backwards semi-split with a skinny latte ending. If I land in a graceless mangled heap, people might focus on my sheer bravery rather than my bad landing. Of course, I'm sure there will be some who will just call me stupid. Fair enough.

And so, in the art of the war that is publishing I have already attempted a couple of unsuccessful jumps. Why am I about to tell you...whoever that might be....this? I'm telling it, because it's part of my journey...however strange and weird it might turn out. It's all part of the process.

So...this summer, in June, I emailed Oprah. That’s right. Like I said, if you're going jump, make it a good one. Why not, I figured. I emailed her... oh... about 6 times, letting her know I was writing a book, sending her preliminary reviews from some friends. I proposed that if she would be my agent, helping to get the book published, I would take half the money that an agent usually takes and give it to her for a charity of her choice. The other half I would give to a charity of my choice. I thought it was a great proposal. I have yet to hear back from her. I think she must be busy. Maybe her charities don’t need the money? Or she thinks I’m an email stalker…or she’s not taking me seriously. I was serious. Call me Oprah. The mansuscript is good. I’d love to hear from you!

Onward and forward...when I completed the manuscript I emailed one of the DJ’s at our local Vancouver Radio Station, the Beat 94.5 FM. I offered to send in the manuscript for her to read telling her that if she hated it, she could just trash it, and if she loved it, well then she'd be entertained, and maybe she could just mention it on air. I said that in exchange I’d be willing to do just about anything. I haven’t heard back. Not a peep. Not even a “thank you for saying you loved our station. Please don't email us again.” I still listen to the station every morning, and now they’re getting free advertising on my blog. Same with Oprah. I’ll have to stop writing about rejections or everyone will be doing it just so I write about them.

The first two jumps having been rather unsuccessful and quietly deflating, I then tried to hire a Public Relations firm. I was even prepared to pay money. They were really quite nice but said that while my proposal sounded interesting , since I wasn’t published yet, it would be hard to promote something that “didn’t exist.” I didn’t email them back to point out that just cause I wasn’t published, it didn’t mean my manuscript didn’t exist {HULLO!} (memories of Philosophy 101 anyone?), because they did refer me to an agent. Unfortunately I woke up this morning to a very nice rejection letter from her in my inbox. My manuscript isn't a good fit for their agency. Sigh.

The good news is that I have submissions out to some other agents and I haven't heard anything from them yet. I may never hear anything from them. Or, at this very moment, maybe one of them may be sitting in their office, thinking that maybe, just maybe, they are willing to take a risk on a first time author. In the meantime I will continue to work on perfecting my technique, so that eventually somebody might say "Very Nice! We'd like to see more!" And if I survive all these moments of humiliation, it will have all been worth it. Oh...and're still welcome to call or email anytime. My inbox is always open.

Monday, October 19, 2009

hello world!

In between everything else I'm doing lately, I thought this would be a great time to start a blog. As a brand new author of an unpublished manuscript, great writing skills aside, apparently my only hope of getting noticed in the publishing world is to do things like this....and I thought all I had to do was write a manuscript...ha. That was the easy part.

A little bit about the book for anyone who wants to know.'s hilarious. Just ask any of the three people who've read it so far. They all agree. And yes, one of them is my mother. And so what if the other one is my sister. The third isn't related and no I didn't pay her. Hey, wait, I think it's hilarious too, so that makes four people.

Just a comment on the whole process of publishing. No one seems to want to hear what 'Jane Ordinary' the average reader has to say. How come all us avid readers who dish out the money for books aren't considered to be legit in our critiques of books. We're the ones actually spending the money for the things. You can bet the reviewers from the papers and the magazines aren't paying for their copies...just a thought.

Back to the manuscript. It's hilarious. Whoops. Said that already. It's a dark, edgy contemporary comedy about a therapist who has a breakdown and her unorthodox journey toward putting her life back together. Along for the ride are : the world's ugliest dog, a couple of strange psychiatrists, some offbeat and kooky friends, a guy (there's always gotta be a guy-why is that?) who pops up at the worst possible times, and the mother beast with her Jerry Springer blended family. Sound interesting? It is. Wanna read it? Find me a publisher. Or find me someone who knows a publisher. Or someone who wants to change their life and wants to be a publisher. Quick before my fingers go numb.

I've had three rejections from agents so far, and I'll take that as a good sign. Apparently Gone with Wind had over a hundred rejections. It would seem that if you write something really good it takes a while before the the people who publish can figure that out. Hmm.

Wish me luck, this is my journey. Lisa