Friday, April 19, 2013

It's Official: I'm out!

It's official. My book didn’t make it through the third round of eliminations in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest. Disappointing, but somewhat expected. I’d like to think that making it to the top 500 from 10,000 entries worldwide is an accomplishment by itself.

It’s time to go on and keep searching for that right agent, or that excited publisher. I’m still hopeful, and I will keep writing (I’m halfway through my second book).

Many thanks to everyone who cheered me on. Running in the contest was exciting and nerve-wrecking at the same time. But what challenge isn’t?

 Shadows of Damascus excerpt will be removed sometime today from the Amazon website.

Monday, April 8, 2013


I attended the Houston Writers Guild Conference this weekend, my third since I started my quest to get published, and the most successful in my opinion. I loved the overall positive atmosphere; people pulsing with energy, their hopes and dreams glowing over their heads like beacons. I was no exception, joining the crowd in the grueling exercise of toning down the excitement with reality checks.

I had the privilege to meet fellow writers who amazed me with their courage. And it does take courage to pour out your most pressing ambition, your ultimate aspiration, to a bunch of strangers. Just like a job interview, pitching to literary agents to get them interested in your book is nerve wrecking and intense, weather it’s your first, third or the sixtieth time. The process seasons you over the cooking fire, until you are done and ready to be tasted, devoured, or more often than not, chewed and spit out.

Counteracting the disappointments and the heartaches was the support of other writers who went down the same roads, hitting the same bumps. I met people who were wonderfully encouraging, sincere in their attitudes and good wishes. A warm smile, firm handshake, pat on the back, or simple go for it wink, go along way for someone who needs a little push.

How beautiful some people are! How kind and caring they can be to strangers, making them feel special, giving them hope, bringing the best out of them, making them shine from within.

And I met another kind of people, the rude people. The ones who make others feel uncomfortable, unworthy of their company. Few as they were, they leave the most awkward impact on your day if you let them. If you were strong enough, you wouldn't let that affect you, flicking them off like a piece of dirt that landed on your clothes. But if you were like me, not as strong as you’d like to be, you'd spend your night wondering: Weren’t these rude people exhausted at the end of the day?

It takes effort to be not nice to someone. It requires energy to think of an insult. One must form an opinion of the person standing in front of them, analyze and pinpoint their weaknesses, evaluate their ability to respond and then come up with something insulting. It’s a lot of work!

No one is perfect. No one can be nice all the time. I am not naive to think that. There are no angels walking on this earth. I realize that. There are unkind people in this world. I understand and accept that. I just hope I am not one of them. I know I must have behaved in a stupid way toward others in my lifetime, I am not a fool to assume I didn’t, I only hope they were few, that they forgave my ignorance and self indulgence.

At the conference, I attended lectures by seasoned authors, pitched to select agents, great in person and profession, and met many wonderful people whom I hope will remain friends for a long time. I am happy. I am hopeful. I am stronger.