Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.

- Graycie Harmon

Friday, April 30, 2010

Making This Carbon Neutral

Alright, I'm not a crazy activist, and sometimes I feel horribly overwhelmed with everything that needs to be fixed about the planet we live on. I do everything in my power (and budget) to help. Now, I'm pleased to announce that I can make this blog carbon neutral for the next 50 years. No, seriously.

There's this wonderful programme called "My blog is carbon neutral" that was started in Germany. How does it work? Well, for every blog that sends in, they plant a tree. For free. They'll do it for websites too, and you get this nifty badge I have here on the top left hand side of my blog.

Click this link to go to the site and check it out yourself.

Every little bit helps.

Oh and there's one more search to mention:

Visitor Location: Albany, NY
Date: April 26, 2010
Time: 2:18 PM EST

That's it everyone. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

New York, Day Three

April 25, 2010

I had slept well the night of the 24th, much to the consternation of my Sifu, who wondered where it was I had gotten to that night. Apparently the group that had returned to the hotel with the bus all went out for ice-cream, which turned into going out for cheap beer instead. I'm not sorry I missed it. I was tired and I don't like beer.

*sounds of static*

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming with this news flash:

Yesterday afternoon at approximately 1:08 pm, an agent had requested more material. Please remain calm and do not panic. Simply because an agent asks for more material does not mean they will offer up a contract. I repeat, remain calm. The requested material was sent and the matter will be resolved shortly.

*sounds of static*

Wake up was a little later in the morning, as the bus wasn't to leave until about 9:00 am. As I woke up at 6:30 am, this meant a nice period of approximately 40 minutes of lying in bed and daydreaming, before the rest of the gang in the room woke. It also ensured a nice leisurely breakfast before boarding the bus.

Our destination before heading home that morning was the Woodbury Outlet Mall, an outdoor mall with tonnes of stores to go shopping in. It was a cold, rainy morning with no signs of abating for the entire hour drive there.

Shopping really isn't my thing. The stuff I really liked was well and truly out of my budget (139.00 for a summer dress? Seriously?), and the rest of the stuff was either trashy or not in my size. I did manage to walk away with a nice pair of black trousers for $15.00 (regularly $89.00 - hah hah!), but became frustrated shortly thereafter and returned to the bus to sleep.

It was only an hour and a bit later before we were one our way back to Ottawa. The eight hour drive didn't seem like eight hours. I read a lot, watched Romeo Must Die, and slept. We arrived back at the Baseline Station Park and Ride, and headed immediately to the bus stop. No sooner did I arrive but then the 118 stopped. I jumped on and was home before 10:30.

It was a fabulous trip, but I was very glad to be back home with my kitties and in my own bed.

And that was my three day weekend in New York. Oh, before I go, here is a the promised photo of the cauldron that was the large drink size at the Burger King we stopped at on the way in (it's all shaky and blurry because I was dying of hunger and my hands wouldn't keep still):

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New York, Day 2, Part Two: Dying of Laughter

My mission was successfully completed, in so far as I could control. The rest is up to the U.S. Postal Service to ensure that the envelopes get to their intended recipients. It was out of my hands. With most of the day left to kill, so to speak, I headed out to Fifth Ave. It was a beautiful day, and warranted a walk. I figured that I could walk to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was on 33rd, and I needed to get to 81st. 47 blocks. No sweat.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day. There was a cool breeze, and the sun was warm. Not a cloud in the sky. Now, for some of you 47 blocks might seem like a bit much. It's really not. That might be because I walk to work and back every day.

For those of you who are unaware, Fifth Ave. is beautiful. It's nice and wide, so you don't feel so closed in, and there are some really beautiful churches along that route. I decided to take a smap of a couple of the sights that caught my eye.

These are the doors to St. Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Ave. The Cathedral itself was under renovations, so there was scaffolding everywhere. Still pretty, non?

The Church of St. Thomas.

This was my favourite part of the walk up Fifth Ave. To my immediate left, Central Park. These trees over the footpath like that were just gorgeous. I love trees.

And then, there was the Metropolitan Museum of Art. By far my most favourite thing about New York.

I made it to the Met. in just under and hour, so it was roughly the same distance from my house to my work back in Ottawa. The walk was so wonderful, and early enough in the morning that there weren't that many people about, that I was utterly relaxed before I even stepped foot inside the building.

Deciding that I deserved a short break, and more food, I sat on the stairs of the Met. and soaked up some sunshine while I ate my riceworks chip things. No sooner had I sat down than this musical group of five (four singers and a bassist) began to entertain the crowd with some lovely singing. I stayed fro the entire length of their first son (my girl), before deciding that the crowd they were drawing was getting too large for my tastes. I retired to bliss inside the Met.

I took so many photos of things, it isn't funny. However, there were two things that caught my eye, and made me laugh. The first thing was more of a quite giggle and my own geekiness (new word. If Shakespear can do it, I can). For those of you who are Stargate fans, this ought to tickle you too:

The images say all the words I want to.

This next one was far too funny not too share. It had me laughing for almost a full half hour. Sure, the loud laughter was only five minutes, but for a long time afterwards, and in galleries far, far away, I would think back and giggle. I'm going to let you guess why I found this so funny:

Hint: (If you hold Ctrl while scrolling the mouse wheel, you can zoom in and out).

There were tonnes more photos, but I didn't have room to put them all here. If you want to see more of what I saw, click here to view my Picasa album.

After wandering through the Met. until about 2:30pm, I wandered outside to listen to music and ended up spying my Kung Fu brothers K.C. and M.F. I ran down to greet them and we all sat in the shade and listened to a man play classical guitar beautifully before we decided to wander through Central Park as the tour bus was very, very late. New York traffic, you understand. It was roughly 5:00pm before we were all back on the bus and headed into Flushing to meet with another Kung Fu uncle in the Chinatown there and have dinner.

By 8:30pm, the time when we all met the bus to return to our hotel, I was exhausted. Needless to say, the day was wonderful, and, being so closed in with people the whole trip, getting out on my own was lovely and very much needed!

To be continued...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New York, Day Two, Part One: Mission Impossible

(Sorry for the lateness of this post, the photos took forever to upload from my camera)

Saturday, April 24th, 2010


Good Morning S.M. Carrière. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find a Post Office and mail the post-only queries prepared for you. You will find the envelopes in the satchel by your bed. Please note that each envelope contains a smaller envelope, upon which is to be affixed sufficient U.S. postage to be mailed to Canada. Everything you need is either with you now, or can be purchased at your destination. Good luck to you.

This recording will self-destruct in 3... 2... 1... *poof

Does anyone smell smoke?

Breakfast was early Saturday morning. Well, early for my exhausted self. I managed to be dressed and down for breakfast at around about 7:30am. Not bad. The bus would leave at 8:00am to take us into Manhattan for a bus tour. Given my mission, taking that tour was not an option. It was fortunate, then, that we were given the option.

Having been in New York once before, and not terribly enthralled with big cities, I decided to strike out on my own at the drop off point - 34th street and Fifth Ave. It was imperative that I find a post office. As it turned out, my good friend S.D., had acquired a map from a contact that had all the post offices listed on it. Knowing my desire, she very kindly accompanied me on my mission.

After a great deal of fruitless walking, it became painfully apparent that she had been double-crossed. The dirty rats gave her a map that was mis-marked. Damn them. Under the guise of clueless tourists, we wandered the streets of Manhattan, occasionally accosting employees at various stores for information. Twice we asked in vain. The third attempt yielded some results. There was, according to this source, the main post office behind Madison Square Gardens on Eigth. I had become suspicious at that point, but had no choice but to at least check it out. Thus, S.D. and I headed there only to find the mother of all post offices.

The mother of all post offices.

With marked relief, we wandered inside and lined up. S.D., her assistance no longer required, departed to wander Manhattan and shop. Shopping was never my thing. I stood in line for only a brief moment before summoned to window no. 8 and was greeted by a woman who looked like a Caribbean of Indian decent, and suspiciously like my friend's mother, M.H.

'How can I help you today?' she asked in an accent that was a curious mix of the hard sounds of American English, and the musical inflection of an Islander.
"I must send these," I replied with smile. "But I have envelopes inside that require sufficient postage to be returned to Canada."
"I don't understand, dear, what do you mean?"
I frowned. What does she mean 'what do I mean.' I mean just what I said. I tried again. She shook her head.
"I still don't understand you."
Was there a secret password I required?
"I need international postage for letters going to Canada."
"You're sending these to Canada."
"No." Was she playing me? Was this some agent from the other side sent to confound me? "I'm sending these within America, but the companies I'm sending to require postage for a letter to Canada."
"So they're sending something back to you in return?"
Has this woman never heard of such things? "Yes."
"Oh, I see. You'll need 75c stamps then."
"Will that get them to Canada?"
"Then I need 75c stamps."
"How many?"
At last! I'm getting somewhere.

With everything organised, I needed only to apply the postage and seal the envelopes. Graciously allowing me to cut the growing line once the sealing was completed, the post office assistant then weighed all my envelopes of various sizes, applied the postage and handed them back to me.
"You'll need to drop these off at window 49. Make sure you put the big ones where it says 'large envelopes.'"
"Right, thanks!" I started moving off.
"It's that way," the attendant said, pointing in the opposite direction I was headed.
"Oh, thank-you."

I could feel her eyes on my back as I delivered the envelopes, and hoped to high heaven that she wasn't an agent from the other side. Suddenly the spacious and beautifully decorated interior of the post office got to me. I needed out and fast.

Inside the post office. Pretty, yes?

I was not obstructed as I pushed through the rotating doors into the warm sun. It was still early morning, and there weren't that many people about. Feeling safe enough outside, I sat on the steps of the post office and ate a fruit cup. It was no-sugar added. Unfolding my map, and knowing I did not have to report back until 8:30 that evening, I searched the map for directions to the one thing I desperately needed to see: the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Satisfied that I could now find my way without constantly consulting the map and giving myself away, I folded the map and stowed it in the now-empty satchel I carried at my side. Finishing my fruit cup quickly, I squared my shoulders and, with a cursory glance to ensure I wasn't being followed, set off in search of Fifth Ave.

To be continued....

Monday, April 26, 2010

Trip To New York, Day One

Friday, April 23rd, 2010.

The day started off in a terrible frenzy. We were all to be awake and at the Baseline Park and Ride no later than 5:45am. The bus was to leave at 6:00am sharp. I awoke at 3:50am without the aid of the alarm clock and got dressed, mostly. Realising that I did not have to be awake for another half hour, I lay back down on the bed and stretched.

I'm not quite sure what happened, but when I next looked at the clock, it was precisely 5:42am. Swearing in a manner closely resembling Hugh Grant's character in Four Weddings and a Funeral, I flew off my bed and into my flatmate's room and with a plaintive whine said, "uh, Jazz... It's a quarter to 6. The bus leaves in ten minutes."

Also swearing, my flatmate flew off the bed, and having received a "where is she text" from my Kung Fu brother and good friend, K.C., (to which she replied "stall them!") raced me out to the car, whereupon I promptly threw my gear (thankfully packed the night before) into the boot and I threw myself bodily into the front seat, putting on my shoes as Jazz roared out of the driveway.

Thankfully, my flatmate can drive like the devil himself. With an agreement that any speeding ticket she receives will be paid by me, she flew down near empty streets to get me to the bus in just eight minutes (also, lucky that we don't live that far away from Baseline Station). At precisely 5:59am, I flew up the bus steps, the last to arrive, to a fatigue-muted cheer and in another 5 minutes, we were on our way to New York.


A hundred thousand "thank-you"s to my flatmate, who really is very awesome for doing all that, despite the fact that she had a 9:00am call time that day. Words cannot express my gratitude!

The drive down was pleasant. Many sounds of friendly banter and laughter filled the bus, though some people decided they needed to catch up on the sleep they lost the night before. I managed to get some pleasure reading in. That was bliss. I even managed to listen to my music for an hour.

We stopped off at a Burger King for lunch. For those of you in Australia, that's the same chain as Hungry Jack's. The sizes in the U.S.A. are simply massive. I thought all of North American sizes would be relatively homogeneous. Not so. A small drink there was the equivalent of a Canadian medium. The large was spectacularly huge! I do have photos to illustrate the different, but alas, I forgot the USB cable that will allow me to upload them. I will post them up tomorrow, provided I don't forget that cable....

In any case, I am very glad that I was health concious enough at the time to ask for a small, though it turned out to be not that healthy anyway, as the small was, well, large. Others were not so fortunate.... suckers!

After we all piled back on the bus (and after a detour to return to the Burger King to retrieve a passenger's purse - a detour that was about an hour), it was another four hours until we arrived at out hotel in New Jersey. We were all given the chance to freshen up before heading into Manhattan to meet up with our Kung Fu Uncle, C.K.

Let me explain C.K. to you a little:
A Chinese James Dean.
Complete with white shirt, jeans, and motorcycle helmet. C.K. is an incredibly nice guy, with a very open spirit and full of adventure. I was exhausted after the trip in, and so decided to skip out on the partying in Manhattan that C.K. and few of my Kung Fu brothers elected to partake in, and return to the hotel. There, we dined at the Outback Steak House, whose menu always makes me laugh hysterically (Kookaburra Wings? Seriously?). It was a fortunate choice, as they all arrived back very late (or extremely early, depending on which way you choose look at it), and in pretty poor shape.

There was another pub next to the hotel called Bazooka's which had $5.00 pitchers. Many went there to take advantage of that fact after dinner. I decided that sleep was the best course of action, and thus I showered and collapsed into the hotel bed, excited about tomorrow.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's episode: New York, Day Two, Part One: Mission Impossible.... and hopefully some photos as well....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Oh Boy....

Well, I had a great time last night with friends. We went out for a few drinks after work. I had planned on going home 'round about 9pm, but time just flew past and I ended up arriving home a full hour and a half later. I was exhausted, and so the laundry I ought to have done didn't get done. Oh well. Such as life. It was nice to simply relax and be silly for a few hours. So thanks to A.H. and P.M. for a good night out.

There was one more rejection in my inbox this morning. Grr. The agent very kindly said that the letter was intriguing, but she didn't get excited enough to warrant her accepting the job. Man, this is irritating! That said, I would very much prefer an agent who was excited about what I had written, so it's just as well, I suppose. Thanks anyway, lovely agent, for at least looking at my stuff.

Tomorrow will be the beginning of an exciting three days. I'm headed to New York with my Kung Fu school on a 'just for fun' trip. They've organised a bus tour and everything. The tour itself is optional. I'm not going to take it. My whole reason for going is to:
a) See the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art. I fell in love with it last time I was there; and
b) Find a post office to buy U.S. international stamps for my SASEs. The only place I can get them is in the U.S., even though websites might claim otherwise. So, I'll be sending a whole bunch of paper queries out while I'm there.

The only downside to this trip to New York? We leave Ottawa at 6am. Not bad, I'm usually awake (thanks kitties) before then. The issue is that in order to take the bus that will take me to the place where the tour buses will be waiting, I'll have to leave the house at 4:30am. Yucky!

So, tonight, I am going to skip out on training and use the time to pack, and make sure that the house is in a respectable state before I leave.

There also will not be any post on Friday (lucky you). I figured this is perfectly acceptable, since you got a bonus "life sucks and I'm hyperventilating' post on Saturday just past.

Oh, and to clear out my inbox, a couple more searches to report:

Visitor Location: N/A
Date: April 19, 2010
Time: 12:59 AM EST

Visitor Location: N/A
Date: April 19, 2010
Time: 6:43 AM EST

Visitor Location: Waterloo, ON (Canada)
Date: April 19, 2010
Time: 11:41 PM EST

(Hi Waterloo!)

So, with nothing else to say, I shall bid each and all of you a wonderful weekend! Take care!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More Rejections

Well, I got home from training last night feeling so much better after having pounded the hell out of the heavy bag for a while. Thanks, P.M., by the by for holding it for me. Where was I? Oh, right... I got home feeling pretty chipper actually, and quickly checked my email before heading to bed.

Three more rejections.

One, apparently, doesn't represent Sci Fi or Fantasy any more. He must be pretty miffed, 'cause on the list I got, it says he does. He must get queried all the time!

The other two were actually very encouraging.

One agent noted that he really enjoyed reading the material, but it wasn't something the agency could represent. To this I can only say... pour qua?! But, I can't fight some guy over something he obviously knows more about than I. Thus I shall just cut my losses and say "thanks for reading it" and move on.

The other one said this exactly:

Unfortunately, we will have to pass on THE THIRD PRINCE. Your email is intriguing but we receive a large number of queries and can only read a comparatively small number of manuscripts. Often we must turn down a promising query. We wish you well in all of your writing endeavors and hope to hear from you again.

That was lovely, wasn't it? My query is intriguing and may be promising. They were lovely about it, and I'm pleased with that rejection. Well, as pleased about a rejection as one can be.

I will be published... I will be published... I will be published.....

I haven't read in a long while, so I'm going to pick up where I left off, relax a little, and read for pleasure today...

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Crappy, Crappy Monday!

Monday started out with such promise. I was so relaxed and feeling great after a completely self-indulgent Sunday. It was not to last, however. No sooner had I finished writing and publishing Monday's blog post than two more rejections arrived in my inbox.

Granted, they were both kindly worded, but they were still rejections. It upset me. I should have been marking exams, but instead I found myself querying yet more agents (by the by, there is a fantastic website called, a link to which happily resides now on the left hand side of this blog under "Writer's Resources.").... and I was suddenly feeling depressed.

I went home only to discover an email from my landlord saying she was planning on selling the triplex in which we live - hello uncertainty - and wanted access to the flat tomorrow at noon. The place isn't very tidy, thanks to the frantic lives my flatmate and I both lead. I now had to catch up on the day's marking and clean the entire house.

Persephone is in heat, again, and thought that spraying me was a great way to get a tom's attention.

That was the proverbial straw that broke the donkey's back. I lost it. Not as in an aggressive destroyed-everything-in-my-path sort of lost it. I just collapsed in on myself. All the strength I thought I had to face the countless rejections all aspiring authors must face simply vanished, leaving me alone and small. I curled up into a ball on my bed and cried so hard I had to remind myself to breathe, which I forgot to do and so promptly had a panic attack.

I haven't had a panic attack since my first year of university, when I was miserable where I lived, stressed out of my mind as it was end of year exams, and hating the programme I was enrolled in. I used to get panic attacks quite frequently in high school (school bullies made my life miserable). This one was the first in many, many years. They're not fun.

I'm too busy right now. I have too much to do. There's cleaning of the house that needs doing. Marking that needs finishing. Agents to query. Articles to write..... and it seems that everywhere I turn there are more demands on my time.

I feel so run down.

The only light there seems to be is news that my eldest sister is coming for a visit this summer. I have all sorts of things planned to do with her. I intend to go to Laflèche Adventure Caves and Aerial Park with her (going to get a group together), she will be attending at least one of my training sessions with Wutan, and possibly an Equestrian Archery lesson. It will be good! Best of all, it's only a couple of months away!

Right. Monday was terrible. Let's see if today improves the week any.... Have a happy Tuesday. I will try to....

Monday, April 19, 2010

Labyrinth and Spa

This weekend was heaven and hell. Thank goodness, heaven came after hell, or I'd not have survived to wake up this morning and get to work!

It began Friday night when myself, N.G. and T.H. all went together to a labyrinth walk. Now for those who are unaware, a labyrinth walk is like a walking meditation. You walk the path of the labyrinth (which is different from a maze. That's important. A labyrinth has only one path. Only one. It's near impossible to get lost) to clear your mind and reflect upon whatever issue is bothering you the most. Some people come out with realisations so profound they border on visions. Or so I've been told.

Feeling a little blue from all the rejections, and a little stressed about not going anywhere fast, I decided that it couldn't hurt and so I walked the labyrinth.

No there was no Minotaur. There was, however, a choir and a guitarist. A large number of candles, and more people than I expected.

It was actually quite nice. I didn't manage to glean any amazing insight into myself and my current situation, though the impatience of one of my companions may have had something to do with that. I did come out feeling calmer and more centered, however.

I'll definitely be doing it again, though perhaps on my own, so I am unfettered by anyone else's time.

A big thanks to N.G. for taking me out to this one.

Saturday was hellish. I woke up just in time to go to lion dance... if I took the bus. It was cold and rainy and miserable, so I rushed to the bus stop only to discover that my bus was five minutes early. There is something so disheartening about watching your bus pull up to the bus stop when you're stuck on the other side of the road. In any case, I had to wait 45 minutes for the next bus in the freezing cold wind and drizzle.

I arrived to lion dance late and in a mood.

After lunch with the rest of the Lion Dance troupe, which was delicious, I headed off to teach Kung Fu for an hour. That was not out of the ordinary.

I had to go to the University of Ottawa to help the professor proctor her exam there. For three hours. I managed to acquire the most excruciating headache whilst there, and it didn't let up the entire weekend. The exam was from 7pm to 10pm. To fill in time, I went over to a friend's apartment and her and I and her boyfriend played boardgames. I had to leave one third of the way through a game of scrabble. Grrr!

The day was very long yesterday. I left the house at 9am and did not return until well after 11pm.

Sunday was much better. My awesome flatmate, who has been working really long hours, decided that today should be a girly day for us both and treated me to a visit to Le Nordik - a Nordic Spa in Chelsea, Quebec. It was bliss.

The spa works like this: you enter the sauna or steam room and stay until you're really, really hot. Then you go outside and stand under a really, really, really cold waterfall for 10 - 15 seconds. Then you find a place to sit and relax until your body temperature returns to normal. Repeat three or four times. Now when I say that this waterfall is really, really, really cold, I mean it was really, really, really cold. I lost feeling in my feet. It was that cold.

Surprisingly, it did seem to have some health benefits. I was having trouble swallowing all morning (the beginnings of a cold, perhaps?), but by the second time through the cycle, the pain in my throat had completely disappeared. I was so relaxed by the end of it. It was simply awesome.

I was feeling very girlish by the time it was over, and decided that I would take my flatmate for a pedicure. Alas, everyone was all booked up and we couldn't get one. Instead we each bought nail polish and sat at home eating chocolate and painting our nails before heading out to dinner at my flatmate's parent's house.

It was a wonderfully self-indulgent day.

Well, that was my weekend. I'm now ready to face the marking that I must do by Thursday, and I can do it with a smile!

Today there are a few searches to report:

Visitor Location: N/A
Date: April 14, 2010
Time: 3:26 AM EST

Visitor Location: N/A
Date: April 14, 2010
Time: 6:39 AM EST
This one bugged me:

Search Engine: Google
Search Terms: sonia carrere 83 yahoo canada
Visitor Location: United StatesDate: April 16, 2010
Time: 6:03 PM EST

I clicked on the link, and I still hadn't come across my profile on ziggs by page four. They really must have looked and looked.

That's it from me! Have a great Monday everyone.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Unusual Saturday Post

.... which was actually written Friday, because I have absolutely no time on Saturday to even look at a computer let alone turn the thing on and wait for it to boot.

Let's see... in the morning I have Lion Dance training, assuming that I get up on time. In the afternoon immediately following, I have the Kung Fu class I teach. I won't be going home as that evening, I will aiding the professor in proctoring an exam at the University of Ottawa. I think I'll bring some art supplies and draw while I'm there.

In any case, that means that I won't be home at all Saturday... uh... today.... from about 9 in the morning to 11 or so at night (the exam is 7pm - 10pm). Thus, this is being written Friday.

Friday night I went to a labyrinth. It's a walking meditation exercise, and I'll tell you all about it Monday morning because I technically haven't done it yet. Confused yet? I'm a little bit nervous about going, and wondering if it'll bring up a whole bunch of repressed issues....

In any case, today's special blog post is going to talk about feelings. This public blog will, for one day, turn into a 'dear diary' entry of sorts. Before I start - don't get mad at me! This blog was meant to be a journal of my experiences trying to get published. Emotions are part of that experience. Please don't assume that just because I'm feeling down, or getting frustrated, or start swearing profusely at the world, it means I've given up. I'm not going to give up, but I am letting everyone out there know that trying to get published isn't easy, and sometimes it plays with the heart.

Right, so, here goes.

Dear Diary,

I received another rejection Friday morning. That makes my total rejections by agents to 11. I haven't taken it personally. Most of the time the agents are quite encouraging. Sometimes the letters are less than inspiring, making me wonder if they've even read what I had to say.

Every rejection makes me sad. I don't feel low or worthless, just sad. Every so often, I get a little angry, but unlike my other rages, any anger at the publishing process doesn't last very long. I can't really blame the agents. I mean, it's a difficult economy out there at the moment, and I'm a complete unknown. I have such a small fan base, made up mostly of family members and close friends. In this climate, who would dare take a risk on me? I'd be hard-pressed trying to justify it myself, if I were an acquisitions editor.

Still, I'm sad, I'm tired and so very frustrated.

I'm frustrated mostly at that horrid little spirit on my shoulder who put this story into my head in the first place. That evil little git is also compelling me to try and publish the damned thing. It's like this story has a life all of it's own, and I'm some powerless pawn left to deal with the aftermath of its failed plans. How annoying.

The thrill of having a story take over, of having it rush through your fingers and onto the page as you sit, an almost mindless conduit, has long since passed. The story was finished last year. There have been two more books written. Another story is taking shape even as I try and settle into writing a serious academic essay (for the first time in a few years).

Still, The Great Man is plotting, prodding and pushing me around like I'm some rag doll. I have no say. At its insistence, I sit and hope that the publisher I've submitted it to in February really likes it, and meanwhile I query agents like there's no tomorrow. Sure, it's not digging a trench, but it's hard work all the same, and to have all this work - the years spent writing, the editing, the hoping.... To have all of that go unanswered and unrewarded is frustrating and heart-breaking.

Sometimes I cry. Having one's hopes fall slowly apart, one rejection letter at a time, is a little difficult to take.

I've developed serious complexes. What if I'm not that great? What if I'm not good at all? What if this passion for my craft is wasted on a talentless no-name? What if everyone whose read my stuff and said they enjoyed it was lying? Have I surrounded myself with 'yes-men'? I despise yes-men. What if this path I am so sure of is not actually the path I am supposed to take? That last one scares me. A lot.

I spent the better part of my adulthood (thus far) lost and floundering. Writing was like a miracle. It filled me up. It made me happy. I gave me a sense of purpose and my life a sense of direction. What if it is all for naught?

For all of the insecurities, the slowly crushed hopes and the fear, there is something inside me that is so very sure that I will be published. I don't know what it is, or where it comes from. Every time I get really low, a little voice in my head pops up and says:

'No. This will be published. You will be an author.'

At my lowest points I wonder if I'm delusional and should seek professional counselling. And then that little voice comes back, and I feel sure that I will be published again.

I don't get it. How can I be so sure of something, when signs all point to failure? Tired, confused and frustrated. What a wonderful combination.

No wonder so many authors are alcoholics.

Thanks for listening, diary. It actually helped to put into writing everything I'm going through right now. I'm still sad and confused, but I feel a little lighter. I will get there. I will be published. You'll see.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Yep, today is Friday. There is almost nothing to report except that my speaker was unplugged this morning when I went into work. I'm not impressed. I need my music to function.

There was yet another rejection this morning. Such as life, I suppose.

Google Chrome won't display webpages today.

It's pissing me off.

Neil Gaiman is awesome.

I'm going now to try and get these speakers to work.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Just for a Laugh

You know those silly facebook applications that people use from time to time. Well, I have one. It's the Chinese Astrology one, and linked to it is some thing called "Destiny Cards."

I might be intrigued by it in real life, there's no way that it could be even remotely accurate if done electronically. In any case, Wednesday afternoon I had a look, just for a laugh, and my Destiny Cards are definitely out to get me!

Here's what they said:

*important disclaimer - this is just for fun. Please don't rail me with all your opinions about their validity. I don't take these things to heart. It is just for fun. Did I mention it's just for fun?

My Birth Card - 6 of Clubs
The Card of Higher Purpose

This card is also known as the psychic card and it is surprising to see how few of the people of these birth dates are aware of their gift. The Six of Clubs means responsibility to truth. These people must learn to find a system of truth that they can believe in and live their life by. Once attained, there is no limit to how much good these people can do in the world. Those who have not yet found their path can be the biggest worriers and procrastinators of all the cards in the deck. They have a responsibility to maintain inner balance and peaceful communications with those in their lives. They often attain financial affluence and have inherent protection over their lives. Love is important to them. The women make good wives and mothers while the men are often dominated by a woman. Once they tap into their hidden reserves and their natural intuition is recognized, they find their lives guided and protected from the highest sources possible.

Yes, I worried and procrastinated a lot before I felt certain that writing was my path. Now I just worry....

My Yearly Card (Begins November 14, 2009) - Ten of Clubs
The Teacher Card

The Ten of Clubs usually brings measurable success in one of the mind-related fields or endeavors. This could be publishing or teaching or other areas where large groups are benefiting from your talents and mental brilliance. Recognition for your talents and efforts are common when this card is present.

Essentially, the Ten of Clubs is the card of the 'teacher'. It means spreading knowledge or information to large groups of people. This is a great card for those in the publishing, radio or television businesses where much information is being distributed to large numbers.

Eh? Publishing you say? Really? This year? Truly? See - they're playing with me!

My 52 Day Card - 4 of Diamonds
The Card of Solid Values

The Four of Diamonds means a solid sense of values that attracts enough money to meet our security needs and then some. When we know exactly what it is we want, we tend to attract those things to us more quickly. Thus, when this card shows up, it usually means that we have gotten clear about what we want and then we get it. Satisfaction and prosperity are indicated here and you may have a good foundation upon which you can begin building a financial future. Managing your resources could come into focus in a greater way when this card is present and this card can give you the ability to handle financial matters with a clear mind.
You are currently in the Mars 52-day period of your year. This period began on 02/27/2010 and will end on 04/19/2010.

I will be published, I will be published, I will be published.....

My Daily Card
The Card of Faith

The powerful Seven of Spades will challenge you to rise to higher levels of thinking, speaking and acting. Its challenges will manifest mainly in the areas of work and health, areas where you are likely to be holding some negative patterns that need to be changed. If you are willing to take responsibility for your condition and practice positivity in spite of circumstances, you can realize the powerful spiritual potential of this card and attain new heights. In its highest form, this is the card of FAITH.
Today is your Mars Day. You are feeling energetic and competitive. Watch out for arguments. Sex could be great!

OK, so yes, I could use a little faith after all the rejections I've been getting.... I will be published, darn it! There, is that higher level enough?

Alright, I'm done being silly. I'm going to spend today relaxing and playing Sudoku. I deserve it after the monstrous mountain of marking I went through in record time! Have a lovely Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Speech That Drove Me To Tears

J.K. Rowling is one of my heroes, and here is one reason why:

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement from Harvard Magazine on Vimeo.

In other news, two more rejections came through. One last night and the other this morning. Both stated that my work wasn't for them. It must be for someone though, so I'll keep trying.

Still a bit sad over it, though. It's not a personal hurt, just sadness.

That is all. Have a very thoughtful Wednesday... got to get this marking done!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Yet More Rejections

Le sigh.

Of course, almost all of them are form letters, but one can hardly blame the agencies for that. They must be so swamped with hopefuls like myself. I'd be using a form letter too, if only to save myself a few minutes each day!

Jenny Brown was quite nice. Straight to the point, but it made it seem like she at least read the query letter. Lippincott Massie and McQuilkin was much the same with their rejection. Pleasant and to the point without being awful. They also sounded like they had read it.

The reason for both these rejections? My story isn't quite their fit. Well, better that than "it's utter crap" I suppose.

One agent asked for my forgiveness on the impersonal note. That's OK. Most every other agent has been much more impersonal, and I do very much appreciate your encouragement.

My favourite rejection? Why, it's this one, of course:

Dear Ms. Carriere;
You are a good writer and this looks like a book that will be published, but I have to decline. I'm afraid my work load won't permit me to take on anything else. I wish you the best of luck with this book and with your writing career.

Wasn't that sweet? She used my name and everything!

Now, I received this rejection only a matter of hours after I sent in the query, which had me wondering if it was actually read, or if every writer is told by this agent that they are good, and their book looks like it will be published, creating a virtual army of authors who are in fact awful, but now believe they are good.

That's an absurd idea, and I have since dismissed it and figured that the agent was genuine in her praise. I celebrated with chocolate milk. I'm going to have that first sentence printed and framed, and placed on my monitor above the top of the screen.

Many thanks to this agent, who I won't name because I haven't asked her if I can use her name. It was an ego boost - and I needed it, after being slammed a couple of times this week by peers.

With this particular list of agents exhausted, I shall give the queries a rest for now, and concentrate on marking the essays that landed on my desk early this afternoon. Ugh!

In other news, there are some shout-outs that I must give before emails flood my inbox completely.

Good morrow, United Kingdom!

Visitor Location: Chichester, United Kingdom
Date: April 07, 2010
Time: 8:17 PM EST

Visitor Location: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Date: April 10, 2010
Time: 4:07 PM EST

These searches excited me as they came in shortly after I queried a couple of agents in the U.K. Coincidence? Yes... but it's still exciting!

Hello, Brazil!

Visitor Location: Cornélio Procópio, Brazil
Date: April 11, 2010
Time: 10:20 AM EST

Ooh! Brazil! This is new and exciting!

G'Day U.S.A.!

Visitor Location: College Park, MD
Date: April 08, 2010
Time: 8:04 PM EST

And to you too, no freakin' clue!

Visitor Location: N/A
Date: April 10, 2010
Time: 7:53 PM EST

Visitor Location: N/A
Date: April 11, 2010
Time: 11:37 AM EST

I really wish I knew where these searches were coming from!

Right, so that's everything up to date for now. I will, of course, keep you informed of my progress. As of now though, I'm going to print that lovely first sentence and stick to my computer, and then get back to marking these essays. Have a lovely Tuesday everyone!

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Latest Music Obsession

Epic, isn't it?

E.S. Posthumus, I adore you.

I huge thanks to my good friend K.C., who now seems to know my musical tastes expertly, for making the introduction. I am now a fan of theirs on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.

And just because they are deserving of all the exposure they can get, here's another one.

I think I'm in love.

Friday, April 9, 2010

End of the Week, Thank Heavens!

Well, this has been a really crappy week. I'm still really bruised over that bloody typo, but there's nothing I can do about it now.

I've had interest in my manuscript once, from Awaticka Literary Agency. I thought the letter was too enthusiastic to be honest at first. As it turns out though, and with many, many thanks to Ms. Strauss at Writer's Beware, Awaticka is absolutely legitimate, if young and inexperienced.

So, I'd like to take this moment to thank Awaticka for their interest, and I'm sorry for my initial distrust. I think I'll have to follow my instinct on this, however, and submit elsewhere. I'm going to send them chocolates though, because they were considerate.

I received another rejection this morning, from P.S. Literary. They didn't even know my name. It simply read "Dear Author." Seriously guys... did you even read it? Le sigh. Oh well, someone else will pick it up.

The highlight of the week? Training. I managed to get out all my aggression and disappointment through training this week. It was great. Even better, a Kung Fu sister of mine who hadn't been around in a long while dropped by to training today. It was lovely to have her around, and I do hope she shows up more often. As it is there is a remarkable deficit of woman in that class!

Even better was the "end of the training week" dinner we regularly have Thursday nights. Oh the discussion was wonderfully "literary geek." It made me happy.

Right, I have a whole new list of agents to annoy (insert evil laugh), so I best get on that. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It Starts....

Though this won't be posted until Thursday morning, I'm writing this Wednesday afternoon.... if only to say this:

I am an idiot.

Plain and simple. An idiot, I tell you. After my third rejection in less than two weeks, and a handful of further submissions, I found a typo in my query letter. Well no wonder I'm being rejected! Who wants to represent a writer who can't even write? Gr! Argh!

What a bloody mess.

Hello... this just in (and by just in, I mean at 3:31 Wednesday afternoon)... a response from Awaticka Agency.... Reading now... thought it was a rejection... but they're asking to see my manuscript... hmmmm.... seems kind-of fishy to me... doing research... can't see anything wrong.... emailing Writer's Beware, just in case.... Hmmm...

Alright, so here is the email Awaticka sent me:

Dear S.M. Carrière,

I want to begin by thanking you for considering Awaticka Literary Services for your query. I had planned to reject all recent queries without even reading them because we are currently back logged with work and have had to turn away even really good authors because we can't always keep up. Awaticka Literary Services is a very VERY small agency. There are only three and occasionally four of us so we have to be careful about who we select to work for. Still, I find myself compelled to look at your work, even if I should have to invest my personal time, I would do it for the right piece. Anything you have that you think would sell me on your book... you are invited to send it along with any precluding chapters you may have to accompany the main text, such as a prologue, foreword, etc...

In submissions, we like to see manuscripts that have at least one to one-and-a-half inch margins all around, double spaced lines and paragraphs indented by .5. The name of the manuscript/yourname should be in the top left corner of each page and the page number should appear in the top right corner.

We run several software packages as we do have more than one agent and more than one department, but if you save your document with a rich text format file extension (.rtf), any of our agents will have access to your work and it will probably be read sooner because of it.

Artwork, if submitted electronically, should be seperate from the text and be attached as a .jpeg file.

If you would prefer to submit your work in the printed version, feel free to use the guidelines above and print only on one side of the page. You may insert artwork with text as long as it has coinciding page numbers. (More than one of us makes the decision to represent and we just hate misplacing parts of the manuscripts or getting them confused due to lack of page numbers).

It is important to put the words "Requested Material" on the outside of the envelope so that your work will be placed ahead of the slush piles. Please send this material to The Awaticka Literary Services Agency ATTN: Senior Agent : Veronica Coldiron 1911 Dell Drive, Columbus, GA. 31906. Make sure to include a cover letter, and brief bio like the one you've placed here in your letter.

We prefer electronic submissions as an attachment as they are read quicker and accessible to more of us, but realize that some people have limited access to the computer or internet and so we have absolutely no qualms with physical submissions.

Thanks so much for your time and attention. We look forward to receiving your material and have a beautiful week!

Sincerest best wishes,

Alright. I'm suspicious for several reasons.

1. They answered me the very same day... only a matter of hours after I submitted.... how could they have done so if they were so busy?
2. They spent an entire paragraph explaining how they weren't going to accept new clients 'cause they were small and very busy, but thought they just might give me a go. I mean, I know my stuff is good, but my query can't have been that good.... could it?
3. 'your name' was written as all one word.
4. She spelled 'separate' incorrectly.
5. Why aren't there agent bios listed on the website?

If this is genuine, I might be happy... but there's just something telling me it can't be. Have I read too much Writer's Beware?

If anyone has had any experience with Awaticka Literary Agency at all, I'd be delighted to know how it went, and if you have any advice for me at all.

Those who have been approached by an agent can also help me out here. Does this letter ring true to you?

I'll save responding to Awaticka until I can discern more. Until then, I shall ceaselessly curse myself for that stupid bloody typo! GRARGH! (That was 'gr' and 'argh' squished together, in case you were wondering. It was deliberate. I swear.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Busy Little Bee

I was very busy last night. I sent around 13 electronic queries to 13 agencies here and abroad (one was in Holland!). It was crazy. I was so cross-eyed from staring at the computer screen by the end of it, it took me a full ten minutes to walk straight again!

There is no rest for the wicked, I will be submitting more electronic queries to agencies, and then preparing the snail-mail ones to send out once I reach the U.S.A. at the end of this month. That should keep me occupied for the next millennia.

See... I haven't given up, despite feeling like I wanted to bury myself in a large bottle of Brandy and a tub of ice cream on Monday.

I was in such a good mood afterwards (because of the submissions or the computer screen emissions... I'm not sure which), that it took everything in me not to skip all the way to training. Kickboxing training last night was hell. In a good way.

The warm-up had me ready to faint, which, I suppose is a good thing. All the hyper activity I had acquired from the submissions (or emissions... not sure which) was spent in that 20 minute warm up. By the end of Kung Fu in the following hour, I was so flat out exhausted I crashed on the crash mats... funny that... and couldn't bring myself to work during the last hour (which was free-train). That is what I call a great workout!

There was a wonderful, wonderful thunderstorm last night. It rolled in slowly and sweetly. The rain and the thunder lulled me to sleep, with a smile on my face. I love, love, LOVE thunderstorms. Don't know why, but I find them soothing.

Persephone wasn't bothered by the storm at all. This was Galahad's first storm, however, and he was a little freaked out, more by the lightening than by the thunder. It was amusing!

Oooh... in other exciting news, I have three more followers on twitter (in case you want to follow too, look for SMCarriere). Not sure how they found out about me, or why they're even interested in an author that is yet to be published, but hey, I'm not going to complain!

Right, I really have to get on those submissions again. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cheering Me Up

Well, the Wii proved less than effective at cheering me up yesterday than I would have liked. The chocolate worked only slightly better. Yet, strangely, this morning when I woke up I was feeling rather chipper. Like everything was going to be alright. Don't know why, but that's how I was feeling.

This morning when I went to moderate my comments for yesterday's post, KuietKelticGirl left me with a couple of links that made me laugh out loud. As I found them hysterical, it's only fair that I share.

The first is a link to a blog by a self-professed "writer wannabe" and it was very funny indeed!

The second was to a LOLcat which now sits happily on the right-hand side of this blog.

Thanks KuietKelticGirl!

The only other bit of news I have is a profile hit from the U.S.A.

So, here's a shout-out America!

Visitor Location: Portland, OR
Date: April 04, 2010
Time: 9:09 PM EST

Right, there's stuff to do today. Must get on that. Have a wonderful Tuesday everyone!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rejection No. 2

Well.... It happened again. Less happy with this one, but I guess I have no choice but to soldier on and continue to submit. This one came from Folio.

Thank you for your recent email and your interest in Folio. We are always
eager to hear from writers who are serious about the business of writing;
unfortunately I do not feel that I'm the right representative for your work.

I have to be very selective of what I choose to represent and all of my
decisions are based on a frank assessment of the current needs of the
literary markets. The fact that this work doesn't fit my narrow criteria
for representation does not mean it couldn't find a home elsewhere. I urge
you to submit your work to other agencies or management companies that may
be more suited to this type of material. If you have other work you wish to
submit, please feel free to query again.

All best,

Makes me sad. Oh well, I shall eat chocolate and play Wii until I feel better.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone.

There isn't anything to say except that. I do have on search from France... but I highly suspect that they were looking for that other Sonia...

Thus, a suspicious shout out to France:

Visitor Location: Paris, France
Date: April 01, 2010
Time: 6:57 AM EST

Now, make sure you have a lovely weekend. Mine will be four days long (yes!). I hope yours is full of chocolate - or your favourite equivalent. Now, it's only 8:30 in the morning, so I'm going back to bed because I promised myself a sleep in.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


... and I feel... pretty good actually.

You know the agency I submitted a query to last week and said I could easily forget about because they only respond if they're interested? Clue: The Veltre Company.

Well, they responded yesterday afternoon... to tell me they're not interested.

Before everyone pours on the pity feed (please don't, by the by), I'm really quite fine with it. Actually, I feel pretty good about it. The editor at Veltre who emailed me to tell me that they won't be representing my work was really quite sweet, and to be honest I'm really grateful that they took the time to respond at all, since it was noted in their 'acknowledgement of receipt' email that they generally don't.

For those who are curious, here is what the letter said:

Thank you very much for sending us your query, which we have now reviewed.

Congratulations on the progress you’ve made with your work. Unfortunately we don’t believe it is right for us at this time. As you know, this is a business of opinions and ours is but one, so please don’t take this note as a disappointment. We do very much appreciate you thinking of us, and wish you the best of luck finding the right representation elsewhere.


The Veltre Company

And here is what I responded with:

Thank-you very much for taking the time to respond. I know there often isn't time, and I do appreciate it.

Have a lovely Easter,
S.M. Carrière

'Cause let's face it, they responded and were, on the whole (apart from the 'no' bit), quite encouraging.

Now, while I am disappointed to be unrepresented at this point, I am still hopeful and will soldier on - onward and upward!

Now, I am aware that some advice people out there are dead set on recording or announcing rejections to the world, as it might make acquisition editors and agents everywhere think twice about representing your work. Frankly, I don't care.

I believe in my story, I believe in my ability and simply because it is not right for one agent, doesn't mean it isn't right for another. As the kind person at Veltre said, this is a business of opinions.

I meant for this blog to be a chronicle of an unknown author struggling to get published, and that's precisely what this blog shall be. That includes all the waiting (the long, long, long periods of waiting), and the editing, and the rewriting, and the terrible business of writing a synopsis (ugh!). It also includes the rejections.

If there are any other struggling authors out there, it might be something for them to know that they aren't struggling alone, that someone else has had the rejections, the disappointments and the frustrations that are a natural part of the writing business.

So, I shall note the rejections, and I shall let you know every time I get one, because I believe that no matter what, one day, I will be published.

Right, have a wondrous Thursday everyone. I'm going to daydream.