Thursday, September 27, 2012

The War on Naps

So the little Lawns has declared war on naps as of late, and all week she hasn't gone down in the afternoons AT ALL. This has been really hard because that's my writing time, which means no blogging, no working on book writing, no nothing and that aggravates me. Right now she's napping, so fingers crossed. And I have plenty of stories for you!! She does go to bed very early on days like this, but I'm so exhausted that I've been in bed by 8:30 every night. It's pathetic. I used to have classes that last until almost ten and I watched the Daily Show every night, but post-baby, I can't even stay up for Modern Family. I'm going to start eating dinner at four, like old people, if this doesn't stop.

Quick update. Nothing has happened with my book. I edited and edited and put it away and came back and edited some more. I wrote the most ass kicking query letter in the world, which was also edited about 41 times and I began sending it out and getting rejected, which leaves me with this conclusion: my book isn't good enough or my idea wasn't original enough or didn't come at the right time for the publishing world. So that kind of sucks, but I'm leaning more and more towards self-publishing it so you all can read it because I know you want to, but if I go that route, after more editing, I want to do it right and not be cheesy about it and put out a product I can actually be proud of and not be all like, yeah I self-published a book, which makes me cringe. I have met some serious cheese-balls down here in South Florida who call themselves authors because they have self published books. You can only imagine.

I started writing my second book. It's a shorter selection of Christmas themed essays called O Holy Shit! I've been cursed my whole life. No Christmas has ever turned out the way I've wanted and each holiday season seems to gift me with a new disaster, so in these essays I've set out to analyze my Christmases past and try to figure out that elusive "true meaning of Christmas" that they're always talking about in movies on the Hallmark Channel. Don't worry, it's funny. I mean, for God's sakes, I got scabies on Christmas. How is that not hilarious? Then one year my dad got arrested. Another year I engaged in some Robin Hood types of activities. These are the milder stories. Then my grandfather had a massive heart attack on Christmas Eve. It just gets better from there, let me tell you.

So anyway...

I've been reading a lot at night before bed and in the middle of the night when I wake up and can't go back to sleep. I also read while rocking Toddler Lawns to bed, which I do because I am a horrible parent and never sleep trained her because it felt mean and I wouldn't want anyone to do that to me.

I read The Age of Miracles: A Novel by Karen Thompson Walker. It's a coming of age story, told by a middle school girl and the twist is that the coming of age happens during a worldwide, natural disaster. The earth has slowed its rotation and everything goes terribly wrong from there. The thing that got me with this book and which has stuck with me since, is how very, very real it felt. I'm not kidding you. It was so real that I felt like it had actually happened and I was so freaked out by this book that I kept thinking the world really had slowed down. That's some good writing, people, and this is an exceptionally well thought out book. It's also poetic and there's a slowness about the writing that reflects the very theme of the book. There are magnificent, haunting images. I still can't get a scene about a house overcome by the sea out of my head. The whole time I read though, I kept feeling that there was a metaphor, that this was all a metaphor, though I could never quite grasp it.

Then I decided to just go the hell on and read Gillian Flynn's   Gone Girl: A Novel I wasn't going to read it. Didn't seem like my thing. I'm not into mysteries and I thought this was one of the Mary Higgins whatever kind of books my grandmother likes. Oh was I wrong. This book kicks some serious ass. There's a couple. The wife goes missing. Husband doesn't look good.  That's all I can tell you because everything past the first few pages is a spoiler, which is why it's hard for anyone to write a good description of the book. I'll leave the plot points out, but I'll tell you that this book will fuck with your head and you will love it. I read it in a day and a half and throughout you will experience a wide range of emotions. There's one part where a character describes the "Cool Girl" act that most women feel they have to put on and it was so dead on right. Unfortunately there's a part in my memoir where I discuss the same thing, though not half as well as Flynn, and I think because of this I might have to edit that part out, but whatever. Great book. Ending pissed me off though.

Now I'm reading   The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I heard about it because of the movie and the premise appealed to me because it's about kids in high school in 1991, the year I would have graduated if I stayed in school. I felt like reading some YA lately, and I wanted some nostalgia for my younger years so I decided to give this a try and it really brought back my late teens. Wow. It was uncanny. I feel so sentimental reading it. There's not really a plot, but that doesn't bother me because this book has just about the most likable narrator I've ever read, as opposed to Gone Girl where the narrator is a total a-hole. This is just a sweet, lovely book about a depressed teen boy and his friends and it so perfectly captures this particular feeling I remember having in fleeting moments back then where it seemed that life was magical and horrible all at once and The Smiths were always playing. I really like this book. I may even see the movie.

Well, my luck ran out. The child is awake. Maybe I won't be so tired tonight. In the meantime, read the books I told you about. 


Anonymous said...

You're too impatient. Getting a book deal is about two minutes is very unlikely. You need to meet some editors and talk to them---which means traveling to a conferences,making phone calls, making contacts, etc. You need to keep sending out queries. I'm not saying you should completely rule out self-publication...eventually...but this is too soon.


beatgrl said...

I just read and enjoyed Age of Miracles as well. It's just the kind of near future sci fi I enjoy. Thanks for the book reviews, I'm going to check out the Perks of Being a Wallflower now.

Dawn said...

I'm glad you liked Gone Girl. I always feel personally responsible when I strongly recommend books. I will definitely check out the other two you suggested.

As far as self publishing goes, of COURSE I would buy whatever you're selling, but I would keep that option in your back pocket a little longer. I'm assuming you've tapped all of your parents connections? It seems like your biggest challenge is just getting the right set of eyes to read it. In any event, I am so excited to buy it, and I know it will be successful.

Jess said...

I agree with waiting a bit longer and keep sending stuff out. Are you sending directly to publishers, or are you sending to agents? I hear agents in the way to go.
If you self-publish, hiring an editor as a second pair of eyes would probably make a big difference in coming off as more professional. There are English majors out there who will copy-edit for barter or relatively little compensation.

Anonymous said...

I loooove Perk of Being a Wallflower. I read it when the book first came out, and have reread it a dozen times since. Fingers crossed that the movie does it some justice!

I want to read your book so badly. One vote for self publishing if that's what it takes!!

FreeDragon said...

This might help:

Melanie said...

In book-publishing time, you've only shopped your book around for about one nanosecond. I think if you're a little bit more patient, the right person will look at your book and the rest will be Best Selling Novel history!

Amy Bickers said...

I completely hear you on the agent-shopping pain. I have been rejected 16 times which, in publishing terms, is probably a drop in the bucket. And it's all about what they think they can sell, not about if the book is good or not. I keep telling myself that the woman who wrote "The Help" was rejected 60 times. I keep thinking, "Should I add a shit pie to my book?"
The other night I got an out-of-the-blue rejection from a publishing company I'd forgotten about. Ouch.
But I hope you'll keep pitching your book. I hope I'll keep pitching my book.
Good luck!

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