Friday, April 21, 2017

Scenes from an Unsettled Mind Redux

Scenes from an Unsettled Mind was originally published on February 15, 2010.

I dream in vivid colors and bold action, multiple vignettes that fade on waking. Left behind are bits and snatches, impressions of the endless parade through my mind.

This morning, left behind was a sense of frustration. Of pushing and pulling, cajoling, trying, vying. Doing what was in front of me to do, only to find I’d made the wrong choice. Wrong place, wrong time. Wrong decision, wrong action. Wrong world, wrong life.

Nampa, Idaho, March 2017
Rising did nothing to quiet the frustration, bringing it forward in to my morning.

The weather outside matches my mood, dark gray clouds raining drops all around. Scooping green tea leaves in to a strainer, I immerse them in the mug I bought last year in Solana Beach where I’d run away to escape from my perplexing life.

So much has changed since then, I live in a different home on the opposite coast, have a different partner, different car. Yet, nothing essential has changed.

My life has been a marathon; running to, running from, running in place.

There are times when I feel I’m living out an episode of The Twilight Zone. When, in the quiet, still places of my mind, I have a sense of the world and it’s a lonely, frightful place, not at all what I’ve been trained (or want) to believe.

Click here to read the remainder of Scenes From an Unsettled Mind, originally published on February 15, 2010.

That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré

O.J. Barré is author of the upcoming BLESSED ARE THE PEACE MAKERS trilogy. Book One, COMING HOME, is complete and in query. The first draft of Book Two, COMING TO, is nearing completion, and Book Three, COMING FULL CIRCLE, is swirling in the mists of creation.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Welcome to Query Hell

Holy Moley. It’s been nearly three weeks since I last posted. As of then, I’d not written on my manuscript in fourteen days. I am still not writing. Damn. One week became two. Now two has become five. And no new manuscript words.

I have spent several hours, here and there, editing the second book of BLESSED ARE THE PEACE MAKERS. Working my way through the written two-thirds of that heretofore-unedited manuscript. But my heart's not in it.

Rejection sucks. No matter the form.

Having someone meet your literary-child is tough. You’ve labored, after carrying it in your creative womb, sometimes for years. You’ve introduced it to readers, and fellow writers, most of whom liked, or loved, your baby, and were happy to help you bring it into the world.

Finally, you begin searching for the perfect agent, one who will find your baby a good home with a reputable publisher. You send queries, and participate in Twitter pitch-parties, knowing your baby’s essence can’t be captured in 140 characters. Or a paragraph. Or a full-page synopsis - that dastardly document meant to convey major plot points, including spoilers.

Watch out. Next come the "pass" lettersThose life-sucking, crushing, depression-invoking rejections.

There's the "sorry-it's-not-right-for-me rejection, the "it's-too-long" (though at the short end of the fantasy spectrum), the "I-love-your-characters-but-the-plot's-not-right-for-me", the "I-didn't-bother-to-read-any-pages-but-no-thank-you-anyway", and the "I-didn't-connect-with-your-main-character" rejection.

What now? Enter fetal position and eat comfort food. Gain five pounds. And write zero new words. Because who can write when your baby, your masterpiece, your life's work, is dissed, slammed, and otherwise rejected?

Last week the answer to my fourth query arrived. As you've guessed, it too, was a pass. I had suspected as much from the get-go, and only submitted out of obligation (because I knew the agent and she represents my genre), but I must admit – it tweaked me, still.

Such a delicate, sensitive being, am I.

Really. How do writers do it?

I have one last query pending, a tiny publisher, from Twitter’s #PitMad. I didn’t submit to the two others that liked my pitch. One had made the Preditors and Editors list a few years back, the other was a self-publishing firm. 

https://imgflip.com/i/1n4ukl
Speaking of self-publishing, I haven't ruled that out. It's a lot of work, but it would bypass the agent rejections. And the resultant paralysis. I honestly don't know if I can take twenty more no's.

Plus, it would get PEACE MAKERS to readers a year sooner.

So it’s self-publish, or suck it up, and continue querying. Either way, it is time to write again. And what if there is that one agent, or one publisher, willing take a risk on my baby? 

What to do, what to do? Any thoughts? What would you do?

UPDATE: I did it. I emailed another query. And have two more going out in soon. Guess I'm not done yet. I must've needed to write about it. To reason it out. Thank you, dear rebels, for listening!

That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré

O.J. Barré is author of the upcoming BLESSED ARE THE PEACE MAKERS trilogy. Book One, COMING HOME, is complete and in query. The first draft of Book Two, COMING TO, is nearing completion, and Book Three, COMING FULL CIRCLE, is swirling in the mists of creation.

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