Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2015, I'm Ready...

Here we are again, the precipice of another new year. And though last year I laid out a series of resolutions by quarters, I find myself in a different place this time around. I'm embarking on one of the biggest, scariest parts of this journey--querying. I've come so far, and have learned so much more about what it's about than I had ever dreamed I would. I must repeat that I am not the girl who started this blog--she's just a glimmer in the rearview at this point. But I'll never forget her, all doe-eyed and na├»ve to the process. It's her optimism that brought me here and has pushed me to continue, even in my darkest of hours. Hours that I swore would never end...  But it's also been you, my supporters. So before I continue, I want to share a pair of emails I got at this time last year from a writing friend who frequented my critique rounds and has been a wonderful supporter of my goals. I apologize for it taking so long to share his precious words; I wanted to wait for the perfect time to share them, as I have carried them with me this past year like a small security blanket, almost selfishly.

 The first:

"Dear K.T. Crowley,
I read your email this morning and it really touched my heart, as you so often do. I don’t know what your personal resolutions are, or what it is that you believe you need to change about yourself. But let me tell you this, I’m in awe of how you unselfishly render your inner-most feelings to people you’ve never met, sharing your warmth and passion with strangers on screens you barely know. Spellbinding all in your magic with each sentence that’s been read, each paragraph concluded, subtly touching our souls and somehow transforming us into kindling spirits; forming bonds that will make us strangers no longer. Your blogs are moving, warm, and so very human. You write from your heart with a passion and warmth unattainable to most. I thank you for all that you’ve done; your inspiration, your tireless effort, and your un-bias dreams of success for all. My resolution to you… is not to change a single thing about yourself. Not a single thing. Thank you, K. T. Crowley… thank you.
Most sincerely,
Dominic Dinere"

And the response to my email expressing gratitude:

"You are such a special young lady and I honestly meant everything I said. You’re more than welcome to share it if you’d like. I wrote it to you to thank you for everything you’ve done and all that you’ve given. Because I know how tough sometimes it is just to keep going, to keep pushing -- but you have. And you’ve also helped others to keep pushing, to grasp for the stars, reach to the heavens. Believe that one day, someway, dreams will be realized. You have a wonderful gift, and though I will miss your magnanimous presence, which even shines through in cyber-space. I’m a true believer that there’s a reason for everything, even bad years. I know it’s hard, especially with a heart as giving as yours, to step back. But if that’s what it took for you to dedicate more time to your writing, then perhaps it wasn’t such a bad year after all.
The best to you always my dearest friend, I will be an admirer forever. 
Most sincerely,
Dominic Dinere"

Dominic, thank you so much again. I wish I could put into such eloquent words as yours what you said has meant to me. Your messages have carried through this year in my heart, and I'll carry them with me always. I will forever appreciate it and you. It's all of you who've supported me that are amazing. I'm blessed to have a place, whether it tiny or large, in your journeys. One of the most incredible parts of the writing community are all the geniune, awesome people I've met. We're a special group of people, us writers, incomparable and unique. It's a darn cool group to be in.

So what are my resolutions for 2015? I don't have any. Honestly. Sure, I want to exercise more, read more, do more, but what I really want is to continue following my dreams and living life to the best of my abilities. Hugging my babies and absorbing every amazing thing they do into my heart. Writing with the gusto that I always have, not worrying that I may fall out of the PC column. I want to spend more time with the people who matter, my husband and boys especially, and make sure they know exactly how much they mean to me. I want to be there for the people who want me there. What 2014 has taught me, once again, is that life is much too short. That each moment should be cherished, and that regrets take up too much space in time that could be spent living instead of thinking about living. That the people who talk the talk but don't walk the walk have no place in my realm--or in my heart, regardless of relation. That those who need to change for the better are not my responsibility, as I have enough to worry about. And that the people who left a void in my soul by leaving much too soon have taught me to appreciate all that I've listed before. I've lost a lot, sure, but in perspective, I've gained A TON. Because taking anything or anyone for granted is just a waste. Trust me, I've learned that the hard way. Despite all my personal hills and valleys, I've realized just how blessed I am in comparison to many.

As you may remember, I took some time off from the blog and from offering critique rounds to focus on my own writing and myself. It was one of the best decisions I've made, and now I am starting 2015 where I've long hoped to be. Which means, soon enough, I can get back to offering critique rounds to all of you. I miss them and all of your amazing work, the collaboration and support given to one another. 

What are your goals and resolutions for 2015? I'd love to hear them and support you in keeping them! Post them in the comments or shoot me an email or a tweet. And I'll keep you all apprised of my adventures and progress, because that's one of the best parts of this. :)

Happy New Year, my loves. I hope you find what you're looking for and that all your wishes come true. We are the key holders of our destiny, after all; we're capable of anything we set our minds to. We just have to believe and refuse give up. <3

P.S., this is also the year of the mustache, cause, yanno, they're all sorts of fabulous. If you've got one, post your pic!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Feeling All the Feels After A Rejection...

To the writers who've been chosen for Baker's Dozen 2014, I congratulate you and wish you luck. *High fives* Rock on!! You made it in!! I'm waving my pom poms for you and will be throughout the auction!!

To those who weren't chosen, well, I have a little more to tell you. I know how you're feeling right now, cause I've been in your shoes multiple times--I AM in your shoes right now, for the forth time. It's a not-so-great pit in your gut, attached to your heart which is probably kind of crushed. You may be feeling defeated, disappointed, sad and maybe even angry and/or bitter. Oh, so many feels... You've hit a bump. But it's okay. Let me say, if the road to publishing were smooth, everyone would be out for the ride. Everyone would get picked and everyone would go home with an agent and a book deal. But that's not possible. This is one contest, of many out there, in a subjective industry. And it's rare that writers walk away with an agent from contests. Most authors published have gone through a similar journey, and they'll all tell you that doing your due-diligence, polishing your manuscript, querying and revising as needed is still the way to go in traditional publishing--not putting all your chips down on agent contests. 

Dry your eyes and take a deep breath. I'm here, holding my hand out to help you back up and to remind you that you wrote a freakin' book, and that is incredible. You're no longer an aspiring writer, you are an unpublished author, and that is pretty kick-ass. Not many people make it to their own story's "the end", but YOU have. You had the guts to enter when many others were afraid to. Pat yourself on the back and remember just how much of a star that makes you. Use this as a learning experience on how to deal with rejection, because it happens a lot in publishing. It's how you handle it and what you take from each one that's important. Just because yours wasn't chosen doesn't mean yours wasn't good enough, I promise. And you're certainly NOT ALONE.

Be kind and offer congrats to your fellow writer pals who were selected, cheer them on and give your support, say a HUGE thank you to Authoress and Jodi for putting their time and energy in, and be grateful to have had the opportunity to be considered. 

Your time will come, as long as you're willing to continue on and roll with the punches. As long as you're willing to put in the effort and continue to grow as a writer and hone your craft. When you're knocked down, GET BACK UP. Heal from this, then go back, reexamine, find good critique partners and figure out what may have led to this "no". Can't find anything wrong? Then try again, send out some queries and enter some more contests. Maybe it's that your story wasn't their cup of tea (it's subjective, remember?). If after all that you're still getting rejections, then it's time to take off the author goggles and see your work honestly. 

I'll end with one final thing as I hand you virtual chocolates and wine: at the end of all this, you have to always believe in yourself, because if you don't, it'll be hard to get others to. Stay positive, even when you're feeling the stab of rejection. It'll pay off.

Hugs to everybody and I'm here if you need me! <3

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I'm Just A Believer That Things Will Get Better...

About two weeks ago I made an announcement via my social media outlets. In case you missed it, here it is:

I've finished revisions! And I can now add that my query letter is done, too!

I can't tell you how good it feels to have rode the waves of revisions and to have survived. There were a couple moments there where I seriously believed I may be drowning in the blankness that stood between me and some rewrites. But I relaxed, let it flow organically (because that tends to works best for me) and though it took me longer than I'd wanted it to, I did it. Then I celebrated by dancing wildly to my personal "get psyched" playlist. The top song for that amazing moment? "Believer" by American Authors. It's a good jam if you need a pick-me-up, I highly recommend it!

With research completed on my first batch of agents-to-query, I will be subbing as soon as next week with any luck. Just waiting on some final feedback to make sure it's in good shape.

This is craziness doused in awesome sauce. The only way I can describe the idea of querying is its equal parts insanely exciting and painfully terrifying. Rejection is no fun, so preparing for the worst while hoping for the best outcome is all I can do right now. As I've said from the start: I believe in my story and its characters. I don't think I've followed this path for this long if it wasn't meant to be. Now I can finally go on the hunt for an agent who feels the same way, who can see my passion for and dedication to this universe I've created on paper, and who shares my hopes and enthusiasm for its success.

In other K.T. writerly news, I'm taking one final stab at The 2014 Baker's Dozen over on Authoress' blog. I'm not getting my hopes up, but I can't not try. The first pages have had a total makeover, one that's received (mostly) positive feedback. Fingers crossed this is my year. At this point, it'd be a nice form of validation for all my hard work. Not saying I need validation, but it's always a great feeling to have someone else judge your work as worthy enough to grace their agent auction. I know I'd be honored to say I finally made it in. Again, not getting my hopes up. 

Okay, maybe just a little bit.

Speaking of Baker's Dozen, if anyone needs feedback before next week's adult/NA submissions, or YA/MG, let me know if the comments. If there is enough interest by tomorrow evening, I'll host a critique round for over the weekend (it will be a quick round, so please be quick to respond so you can benefit from this rare opportunity to receive some honest, supportive and helpful feedback!). When commenting, please let me know what you'd like critiqued (logline, first 250, or both). 

Stay golden, my lovelies. I'll check in again next week! 


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Forever A Dreamer, Remain A Believer...

Hello friends!

So I’m writing this from quarantine—okay, not like, actual quarantine, but I’m locked away in my bedroom with a temp of 100.7, to keep my little ones from catching whatever I may have. And although I despise being sick, I’m a tad grateful for the solo time, because the past few months I haven’t gotten as much of it as I’d like.

I can’t believe how much time has passed since my last post. I know one of my resolutions was to post more, but as unpredictable as my life is, I should know better than to make long-term plans. Things are still pretty topsy-turvy in my personal world. But I feel like in spite of all I’ve been through, all my family has been through these past couple of years, my outlook has changed for the better and remains mostly positive now.

With that said, I’ve been elbow deep (more accurately, eyeball deep) in revisions on my pet project, my first baby. The biggest change? I’ve moved it up to New Adult Fiction from YA. Yes, I still write YA, and yes, I’ll always consider myself a YA novelist. My second baby is YA and will remain YA, as well as my third and forth novels (that are on the back burner while I take care of the first two mentioned). I’m just opening my career into a new, blossoming field of hungry readers, in the hopes I can eventually be a trailblazer of NA. Big hopes, big dreams, people.

The next change is the title. I’m no longer calling it “Unnatural”. I’ll announce the title when I feel ready, but for now, it’s something I’m keeping between me and my betas and editors. The third change is that I’ve rewritten the entire beginning and eliminated a chapter that I once believed crucial to the story. And finally, I’ve changed a major character to more reflect on paper how he is in my mind, because he wasn’t coming across as I wanted him to.

These changes I once thought impossible. Why? Because I was seeing my book as the author, not as an editor or a reader. I became blinded by love for my own words, a mistake often made by lots of writers. I was in denial over this fact, but once I opened my eyes to what the issues were and actually worked on them, I became a better writer for it. I’m also extremely happy with where my manuscript is now. It’s healthy, it’s mostly polished, and soon (like, end of the month soon), I hope to FINALLY QUERY IT!

I’d hope to do interviews/profiles with them, to pay tribute, but for now I’d like to just give a shout out to two people who’ve helped me get to this point. First, T.J. Loveless. T.J. offered her copy editing services on my first 50 pages as a gift, for my work on the Write Stuff for Boston auction back in April/May 2013. Because of that, I can now see where I make errors and stop making them. That input has saved me a lot of time. I still need a second set of eyes, but thanks to T.J. and her generosity, I can now save myself from most of my silly errors.

And then there is Jen Malone, my content editor. Jen answered my call for a content editor via Twitter back in May. I’ve followed Jen’s blog for a while (since before the auction she so generously contributed to), so to have her take me on as a client was exciting, to say the least. She’s supportive, creative, has a keen eye for editing and is totally awesome sauce. And funny enough, we found out we live 5 minutes away from each other and have a lot in common. I’m thrilled to be working with her on this and hopefully on future projects, for her advice and guidance have been invaluable. She’s gone above and beyond to help me see what needs to be done, with the patience of a saint. I do hope to call her my mentor in the future (no pressure, Jen haha!), cause it’d be an honor to do so. If you’re reading this, Jen, thank you! You’re a writing rock star!

Now that I’m done gushing (and scaring them off with my fangirling, I’m sure haha), I want to share one last thing. Though I love writing novels and such, I think my heart wants to write for TV and movies, too. I don’t just want to write, I want to be a show-runner. I want to be like a Julie Plec, a Shonda Rhimes, a Jerry Bruckheimer or a Kevin Williamson. I don’t want to be them, but I do want to do what they do, establish my own name. I want to create stories and characters, and then bring them to life on screen. From writing to casting, to site-scouting and pre/post production and everything in between, I want to be involved with it all, not just one aspect of it. I want to take the worlds out of my head and create them for all to see. I’ve always been fascinated with how TV shows and films are brought together from creation, everything that happens behind the scenes to make viewers tune in, and now I know why. I think I can do it someday, with a lot of hard work and perseverance. It’s a BIG dream, a far-fetched one at that, but a dream I never truly identified until a few days ago. But it clicked. It was a revelation. I tend to live with my head in the clouds, though my feet remain on the ground.

First thing’s first, though; I need to get these revisions completed and my query letter out the door. I’ll write again once those are done.

Until then, Happy Fall and Happy Writing! <3

Monday, March 31, 2014

Quarter One Is Done Already?!

I've reached quarter one's deadline for my list of goals for 2014.  My progress report?  I've probably accomplished 25% of what I had laid out to do.  Whoops.  Better crack the whip in quarter 2 if I stand any chance of making 2014 a good year for my writing!!!

Last month, I met a new protagonist (or, should I consider him the antagonist, since his story is darker than what I'm used to?).  He (yes, he) was such a surprise in my head space that I was almost afraid to push him, scared he may scurry off into a dark recess of my mind, like a lot of my characters have done.  When I realized he wasn't going anywhere, I felt such a surge of joy, I almost leapt in the air like in the old Toyota commercials, hoping somehow, someone would catch a freeze frame of me, mid-leap, and pair it with a catchy jingle.  I did squeal like a little girl, though.  I may have also rocked the Mentos thumbs up, too.  This is progress, people.  I'm getting there!

To keep my spirits up and my attitude positive and sunny, I've adopted a new theme song.  "Happy" by Pharrell Williams.  I can't not smile and enjoy when that song plays.  I swear, since hearing it for the first time, my perception of things, my demeanor and my overall outlook has drastically improved.  I feel good, in a cautious-but-gradually-not-kind of way.  It's a sign I may actually survive my drama-filled days after all.  I feel different this time.  Thanks, Pharrell!

In the coming weeks, I'll be preparing myself for an agent contest (gulp), receiving a critique from another agent (double gulp), and sharing with you some precious words that seriously made me misty that I received from one of my rock star readers/writing buddy.  And last, but not least, I hope to introduce you to an editor who has helped me tremendously. She's seriously fantastic and I'm so hopeful she'll continue to work with me, despite my absences.

In news unrelated to writing, I recently went on a mini-vacation with my family and some very special people/relatives.  It was fantastic, and I wish I could've stayed longer.  I got to shop, which is always a blast for me (I swear my credit card is still hot from burning up the shops but oh boy do I love my spoils), enjoy good food, see majestic mountains and scenery, spend time with my beautiful, amazingly-awesome cousins (who are more like siblings/close friends) and just enjoy quality time with my hubby and babies.  I feel beyond blessed to have had those few days, to have that time with the people I love dearly.  After 4 losses in 13 months, I've accepted just how time is precious and limited.  Spend it with those you value and who value you back, appreciate what time you have and live each moment to the fullest.  

My oldest is turning 4 in a couple of weeks, if that just shows you how quickly time passes.  Which means a birthday party, which means lots of work, lots of energy expelled, and one tired Mama afterward.  But I'm looking forward to it.  I'll save some virtual cupcakes for you all!

Depending on how the next 6 weeks are, I may offer up a critique round, cause I'm missing them something fierce.  I miss you guys something fierce.  And just as I typed that, the song "Reunited" came on TV.  How fitting.

Carpe Diem, friends!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Best Has Yet To Come

I know.  Part of my to-do list for 2014 was to blog more.  To which I haven't.  When I made that list, I anticipated 2014 being a great year from the start.  Whelp, in the first 10 days, two relatives passed away unexpectedly, my husband's job got turned upside down, and my oldest son began a series of appointments to solve some sleep issues, which has since snowballed a little into more than we anticipated.  And that was just the first 10 days!!!  

Much, much more has been happening.  So much more than any person should ever have to deal with, let alone, deal with after everything my family and I have already been through.  I feel like I am slowly going insane.  And a few days ago, when I thought I was having a heart attack (seriously, chest pain and arm tingling, it was scary) I actually laughed and thought "I know I asked for a break, but I didn't mean like this.". Life truly has a sick sense of humor.  

Anyway, I'm okay.  It was stress and anxiety, and I have it under control.  For now.  

You're probably thinking "Man, this chick is bumming me out".  I promise you, I'm not trying to.  Nor am I trying to gain your sympathy.  What I hope is that your laughing and shaking your head, good-naturedly, wondering "what possibly could go wrong for her next?".  Because that's the point of insanity I've reached.  So please, laugh with me.  I feel like I'm at rock bottom, so really, it's only up from here!!!  I have to laugh, cause then when I look back on these past few years and start writing about them in what will be surely thought of as crazy fiction, I won't feel so bad about the padded room I'm residing in.

All I want to do is get back to writing full time.  Get back the burning passion, that pit of excitement when new characters introduce themselves, or the whir of a crazy plot twist that takes my breath away, knocking me on my butt.  I miss that.  I crave that.  I NEED THAT.

Another part of my list for the first part of 2014 was to perfect my query and submit to at least 5 agents.  Life changed that plan.  I don't think I can possibly handle that kind of immense pressure right now.  I need to be there for my son, my family, as we face all these challenges.  So...  I'm reconsidering self-publishing, at least one of my novels, for now.  Traditional publishing is the dream, but only one of them.  The ultimate dream is to have my work read and enjoyed.  I can do that.  I think I need to.  I need validation that this dream is achievable.

Is my list out the window?  No, definitely not.  I can't give it the attention I thought I'd be able to when I made it, is all.  And who knows; the next few weeks, everything could change again, but for the better for once.  That could be the insanity speaking, of course, but hey, I have to keep hope alive!  To help motivate myself and to remember why that hope should remain, I'll be re-reading the books that inspire me, sporting some accessories that will always remind me to keep chasing my dreams at full speed, and listening to the music that makes me feel alive with emotions.  I want to make 2014's goals happen--the timetable just has to be tweaked.

Thank you for all your support, encouragement, and tolerance.  You may not know it, but you guys help inspire and motivate me, too.  I'll never forget that.