Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Published x2

As you can see to the right of your screen, I scored another publication with Chicken Soup for the Soul. The book Touched By an Angel just came out earlier this month. It features my story titled "A Rose Without a Thorn." That makes two stories so far with Chicken Soup. Not only that, I got to meet the lady in charge, Amy Newmark, at a meet-and-greet in Houston. Yep, she paid the Houston-area Soup contributors a visit last month. We all met at Hotel Zaza in the Museum District and chatted about our stories, the future of Chicken Soup, and all the great things Amy has planned for the company, one being a new talk show in the works. I was thrilled to meet her. Such a cool and talented lady. I'm so honored to be a part of the Chicken Soup family.

These kinds of things just boost my enthusiasm toward writing. Seeing my work published plus being invited to such a prestigious event made me feel energized. And that self-doubt that tends to creep on aspiring writers after a while (if nothing big is happening) eases up.

The Chicken Soup experience has also encouraged me to write more personal essays. I seem to be good at it. Those are one of the few types of stories I find that I can finish in one sitting. I did a little research and found that there is a big market for essays.

In case you're wondering, I'll defer to this helpful blog post I found that goes into more details. Check it out!: 20 Great Places to Publish Personal Essays. I will be submitting some stories to a few places listed there. You never know. Amy told me that Chicken Soup gets anywhere from 3,000 to 6,000 submissions per month, and they narrow it down to about 101. I made the cut twice.

Does that spark some inspiration or what. Now, on and on I go, fingers crossed for the next success story to come along sooner than later.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The no-writing weekend

This most definitely will be a no-writing kind of weekend, well aside from some blogging and social media, of course. Usually that's depressing, but not this time. Tomorrow, I move my first-born to Austin, Texas, where he'll start his new journey living on his own and being a full-time student, majoring in theatre arts. I knew it since he was a little kid, always getting in trouble for being mouthy in class, not to mention clowning around, that he would succeed in the performing arts. And thus far, he has. Lots of adventures ahead for him, and I couldn't be more excited ... and a little sad that the nest will be minus one. But at least it's Austin, and not the other side of the world.

Speaking of adventures, we had one Thursday. My son won a prestigious scholarship award from NASA, not an easy feat. His winning was based on his academic achievements but namely an essay he wrote. In a nutshell, he wrote about how much he loved theatre since day one in 6th grade, our struggles as a single-mom family, and how much he wanted to make life better for himself, his mom and brother with autism. Best of all, he proudly penned the words of his heart without help from his writer mom, which makes me all the more proud that he was chosen out of so many contenders.

I've had 20 years to prepare for this day. Doesn't feel like nearly enough, but I think I've done well at sending him off with enough fanfare. I threw a surprise going-away party, bought him most of what he'll need in his new habitat, and have been as supportive as I know how to be. The scholarship was, as the old cliche goes, icing on the cake. We spent our last Friday evening at home watching an amazing movie, "50/50", including one of our favorite actors, Joseph Gordon Levitt. A superbly written script and some outstanding acting, something for both of us, the writer and the aspiring actor. Today is all about, last-minute errands, loose ends, planning, packing and boxing up his stuff for the journey tomorrow.

It's the day I also have to explain to his younger brother that he is leaving. I've been hinting it over the past few weeks, but the autistic mind is quite complex. He doesn't handle "large doses" very well, so a little at a time. He'll be sad because these two brothers are very close. Big brother has been a great inspiration in his life, from video games, to how to dress up and wear cologne, to having manly conversations about Cartoon Network and anime. Our home will be different without him, but there's always Skype. I'm sure we'll milk all the perks of the modern world to stay in touch.

And there you have it. The day a mother can sit back and watch the fruit of her hard work blossom into the hopes and dreams of tomorrow.

Friday, July 18, 2014


Greetings all,

Has it really been this long? My lapse in posting is by no means indicative of zero productivity. It's quite the opposite. Aside from being obsessed with the FIFA World Cup the past month (Yay, Germany!), I've been on the motivation train, scribing down all my bright story ideas that never stop using my mind as a portal, submitting my ebook to various agents and publications hoping to get it a good deal post-self-publishing. I received half a dozen more rejection letters, but in the mix of it all, I also received a nice dose of positive energy ...

Yet another of my stories will be published by Chicken Soup for the Soul in their upcoming book Touched by an Angel, due out October 7, 2014. That makes two with them so far. The moment every writer craves--being published. What makes this more cool is that for years I've read Chicken Soup books and loved their themes. Being published with them is like a dream come true, as cliche as that sounds.

Now I'd like to do the same with a fiction short story! That would really thrill me. As a journalist, naturally, I tend to dish out the non-fiction stories much faster. Nonetheless, this latest piece of success is just the confidence boost I need to remain in writing mode.

So remember.

Monday, February 17, 2014

First rejection letter

Last week I got my first rejection letter (ever). I admit that I aimed a bit high, but that's why I'm doing this, right, to be successful and share my talents with the world. No worries. It didn't depress me at all. In fact, it pushed me to write more of late. The funny thing is, I don't even think they read my crafty query letter at all. I got this back in literally 3 weeks. Do you know how fast that is in the writing/publishing world? That alone tells me they are way too busy to even consider new talent. It pretty much says so in the letter (that also seemed very generic). But hey, I will use this letter to start a collection. It just means I must work harder.

This might sound crazy, but I look forward to rejection letters. To me, it means someone has considered my work. And even before that, it means I've DONE my work and sent it off. It is written proof of my productivity. I've heard from other writers that often a rejection letter will include tips on how to improve the writing. Not all of them take the time to do this, but if they do, how cool is that!

As long as I'm producing content, I consider myself a success. I advise that same attitude to others. Do not let anyone but you judge your own success. The number one reason most of us write, to begin with, is because we simply love doing it.

I like to share my progress because I feel it could inspire others to follow suit.

I submitted 4 poems to a poetry contest for Blue Mountain Arts the other day. That felt good, considering they have been sitting in a folder on my desktop for years! And today I submitted another story and a poem in two of the categories for Chicken Soup For the Soul. I had one story published last October by them, so I'm at it again.

Being an autism mom means very little writing time, but thankfully, I have a helpful hubby who takes over sometimes so I can lock myself in my room for a couple hours and tear up this keyboard. This, my friends, is one of those evenings. Off I go to write a creepy doll story. :)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Write or die: Insecurity busters

Greetings for the first time in 2014.

Friday I sent off my first official query letter to an agency. It was quite nerve-racking. My hands actually quivered a little before I let the envelope slip from my fingertips into the mail slot. Then I almost panicked because I thought, Should I have sent that via certified mail. Crap! I've attempted writing query letters many times before, but I never ended up sending them off. After many tweaks, they still never seemed ready enough to represent me to a publisher or agency. I have a different point of view this year! No resolutions, just some viable solutions to my quandary. Time to warm up those "cold feet" and get things moving!

Never break self-promises
I vowed to dedicate this year to writing more, way more, and I don't intend to disappoint myself. That's for others to do. I've spent the past couple years fixating on promoting my one book rather than trying to produce more stories. That old one-track mind thing gets the best of me sometimes. This year, I'll be doing much more writing, blogging, guest posting, and less time promoting, social media hopping, and general time wasting. I've kicked myself into productivity mode. It was a brutal kick, but I think it worked.

Get moving, build confidence
Productivity means more to me than just writing. It means performing activities that inspire and encourage me to write, like reading, blogging, and watching movies and shows that I have a high interest in, especially those in my favorite genres (sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, and thrillers). Networking is also on my to-do list but not social media related. I'm talking about joining writing groups and societies dedicated to improving the craft. I want to take more writing classes, webinars, and attend seminars and speaker events. All of these things, I know, will help me toss query letter insecurity right out the door.

Let uniqueness pave the way
Another thing I've learned as I trek through this writing/publishing journey is that it isn't wise to take others' opinions too seriously. Listen. That's fine. Even ponder their POVs. But it's best to develop one's own opinions based on personal experience and motivating factors. We all have them, and one person's is never the exact replica of another's. For example, I have many writer friends who discourage me from attempting to submit manuscripts to traditional publishing houses and agents because "it will never happen in today's world. The industry is too biased, full of politics, and the publishing giants keep most of the money." This has some truth to it, but one thing to remember is not everyone makes a million, but not everyone doesn't. Meaning, there are great writers who fall in between making pretty good money writing. I'd be content with a small-scale, 4-digit income per month.

Goals for the next few months:
  • Finish writing at least 3 stories (long and short) by March 1. 
  • Send out at least 3 queries by March 15. 
  • Become a member of a few more writing groups/organizations (I made a list)
  • Keep my desk clean and clear. (Clutter distracts me)
With that said, off I go to tap those keys.