Thursday, October 10, 2013

Drops of Awesome – The Book – Coming Soonish

I’m thrilled, in that YayButOhWOWIHaveTonsOfWorkToDo sort of way, to announce that I just signed on with California-based publisher Familius to create a book based on the ideas in my blog post, Drops of Awesome. I cannot think of a better partner for this project. They are amazing!

Here’s me signing the digital contract with the help of my closest advisors minus one because he’s manning the camera. And when I say “manning”? Yow! You’ll have to take my word for it.


The post, based on inspiration that has helped me change my entire outlook on life, resonated with a bucket-load of people around the world and your stories and kind words have really informed the direction I’ve decided to go with the project. There were a ton of options and I considered each one over the past year and tried writing a couple of them.

Christopher Robbins of Familius first contacted me back in January, interested in having me write for their website and possibly pursue a book project. Familius is a new publisher with its sole mission being to help families be happy. I loved the idea and it jives with what I aim for here on, but I wasn’t sure about the project. Drops of Awesome has a lot of religious significance for me personally, and their company does not cater to a religious audience. They believe that all families are important and that there are universal practices that can help make all people happier. I believe this too, but I just didn’t know how to separate Drops of Awesome from its religious underpinnings or if I even wanted to.

So we exchanged a few emails and when he told me that they were branching out into children’s fiction, I sent him pages from my completed YA Novel Dark Bird and my Middle Grade work in progress.

Six months passed.

I continued being Awesome. A bit. Drop by drop.

I spoke about Drops of Awesome at women’s events large and small in Oregon and Washington and had a blast doing it, meeting new people and hearing their stories. Interestingly, I heard from agnostics and atheists in person and online who were just as enthused about incorporating Drops of Awesome into their lives as any of the Christians who’d read it.

I worked on a Drops of Awesome book in its various forms and started to feel stuck. The religious version of the book was not going well. I sounded like a bit of a wind-bag, honestly. It’s a small idea and I was trying too hard.

Then, out of nowhere, Christopher from Familius emailed to set up a phone conversation about my fiction. As we discussed the work I’d sent him and I got a better idea of their mission and the work they do, I told him I was open to discussing a Drops of Awesome project. I’d been feeling more and more like it was something I could and should open up to a broader audience.

He suggested that I consider writing it as a journal or gift book.


We agreed that I’d mull it over and get back to him in two weeks with a proposal. As soon as I started working on Drops of Awesome as a journal, things started flowing. Suddenly, it wasn’t me writing a book, preaching at you. It was me co-authoring a book WITH you. I’d share ideas and then invite you to share your own. Rather than being a book for you to sit down and read passively, it was becoming a well for you to draw from, but also a bucket where you could capture all of your Awesome, a journey of self-discovery for both of us.

Design is really important to me and having a book that looks fresh and feels good to hold, manipulate and write in is crucial. Before we negotiated a contract, we negotiated paper samples. It had to feel right and be writable on-able. It had to fit in your purse.

Most of the ideas behind Drops of Awesome are universal, regardless of your background or beliefs. These concepts resonate with people from every walk of life because we have more in common than we have differences. We all have important missions to fulfill in our lives. We are all uniquely qualified to achieve our highest personal goals. But, we also all fall prey to many of the same destructive thought patterns.

-Many of us obsess over and wish we could change the past, but we can’t.
-Too many of us spend too much time listening to that voice inside our heads telling us we’re not good enough, that our best efforts are failures because the one thing we’re not doing is the only thing that matters.
-We verbally abuse ourselves in ways we would never think about using on others.

If the entire world would adopt an attitude of living in the moment, putting our best foot forward one tiny Drop at a time and then celebrating those efforts, the entire world would change for the better.

So, what I’ve come up with is a concept for a book that will be interactive, playful, and hopefully as life-changing for you as getting to this point has been for me.

The book is set to release in Fall of 2014 and I’m excited to share it with you! In the meantime, I will be blogging here, at and at about the concepts in the book and the progress of the project.

I also intend to create resource pages on for my LDS and other religious readers who want to experience Drops of Awesome through the lens of spiritual belief. Go forth! Be AWESOME!

This post also appears on

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hoping I Never Get That Confident - Or Deranged

Earlier this week I blogged about losing IT with my kids. It happens, not often, but it happens. I’m working on it. Usually it happens because I’m convinced I’m right and I’m trying to make them see, just open their eyes and SEE how their actions are affecting everyone around them. This always backfires and what we all end up SEEing is how immature their mother is.

Well this morning I was reading about the attack on Pam vanHylckama, an agent who was attacked by a disgruntled psychotically-unhinged rejected writer. At first I was horrified, re: W T Heck!? Then I was angry for her and that we live in a world where people are abused and assaulted. My third thought was, I hope I never get that confident in the divine perfection of my own prose.

Personally, every time I get a rejection I tend to think, Yeah. She’s right. And I a little bit think, Isn’t it funny how I was pretending to be a writer these past few years? Then I chill and go back and rework my manuscript a little. I also accidently… all the chocolate.

I cannot imagine being so convinced of my all-powerful writerly-ness that if someone rejected me, I would decide there was something wrong with them and I should therefore stalk them and assault them. Now I’m sure this guy is dealing with issues far more serious than inflated ego, but the thought remains, I hope I never become so in love with myself that I feel the need to unleash my inner demons.

No agent needs me to track her down and dump her satchel out all over the sidewalk. Or maybe if I were really mad, I would lecture her for an hour while she cried. No one needs to experience that. It’s best if my confidence remains safely where it is. That way, the only person who suffers is my manuscript. His name is Phil.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Almost a Rider

Mandy Hubbard spoke a couple of times to our SCBWI chapter today, her evening keynote being playfully titled “Rejection Sucks.” She makes me glad to be part of a community of writers. She was candid and shared the dirty details of what it takes to make it in this industry, even sharing actual text from rejection letters and revision requests she’s received.

What does it take to make it? It takes persistence. Insane, unswerving, willing-to-beat-your-head-against-a-brick-wall-and-beg-for-more persistence.

Sometimes that’s hard to muster. I do not like having a hobby/career that involves pouring my heart out on paper and then sending it around for people to reject or ignore. Suckage? Indeed.

But tonight I was reminded that I’m part of a collective, a sisterhood/brotherhood, a familyhood of people who are passionate about words and ideas and stories and who all experience rejection and who all hate it almost as passionately as they love writing, but they carry on anyway.

And she says it’s worth it. And I choose to believe her.

So far I’ve entered one contest, where I didn’t get past round one. I’ve sent out queries to 15 agents, been flat-out rejected or ignored 10 times, received 5 requests for full or partial manuscripts and had 4 of those rejected so far. Today I participated in a Twitter pitch frenzy and got one and a half requests from that. (One of the requests turned out to be someone who was looking for adult fiction.)

This process all makes me think of Magoo, who yesterday decided that he wanted to ride his bike with no training wheels. So after years of preparation, successes and failures, today he decided to ride and he just rode and now he’s a rider. Wednesday he was not a rider. Today – rider.

Today I am not a published author. Tomorrow – who knows? I’ll dust off my helmet and get ready for success.

This is cross-posted to

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Kind that Pays Better

In the opening credits of Castle, Nathan Fillion’s character says, “There are two kinds of folks who sit around thinking about how to kill people: psychopaths and mystery writers. I'm the kind that pays better.”

Well, I’m not so sure that being a writer pays better but I am sure that as I continue to write, I will build up quite a troubling series of search strings in my computer’s memory.
Currently, I’m searching for things like, “How much money is in a bank?” and “How to rob a bank.”
What will be next? Only time will tell. Hopefully my manuscript will be sufficient evidence to exhonerate me in a court of law.
“See, your honor? I didn’t rob that bank. I only imaginary robbed it while pretending to be a chubby 11-year-old boy."
"Okay, then. No problem."

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I Am a Writer

I’m not a salesman. I think that’s what makes querying so hard. You’re selling something. You’re selling your work and you’re selling yourself. I like me. I like my work. Please, sir. Will you like me and my work too?

So I’ve got to write something fresh. Middle grade is looking good to me and I’ve got an idea and characters that I’m excited to play with. When I told Dan about the concept, he said, “That will be awesome… if you can pull it off.”

Isn’t that always the trick? Pulling off a great idea?

Sometimes I think I’ll reinvent myself as a storyteller, gathering strangers around a campfire and telling them all the stories that are traffic-jamming in my head.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Today It Sucks

It’s easy to be the next great undiscovered author when you’re sitting home alone with your manuscript. Your characters love you. You made them. Your mom and your former editor and a couple of other Beta readers love your manuscript. You think – this is going to be my breakout novel. Should I go with a veteran agent or find someone fresh and young who’s looking for their big break in the industry? Because this could surely be their big break as well.

And then you start sending it out and you realize that the road to publication is far longer and more difficult than the road to a manuscript ever thought about being.
Writing has got to be the most emo thing I’ve ever done besides bearing and raising children. You’re in love and then you’re disappointed. You’re euphoric and then you’re shattered. It’s enough to turn a healthy brain bi-polar.

This week I’ve been stalking my email inbox waiting to hear back about a contest I entered. 200 writers were accepted into the contest, essentially at random. Hundreds of hopefuls didn’t make it in because their internet speeds were too slow to upload their information in the first 30 seconds the contest was open to submissions.
And I’ve watched on Twitter as writer after writer has been chosen. There are 40 spots in the next round. So, the top 20% move on. I felt good about my query, and like nearly every other writer in the contest, I had no doubt I’d make it. After all, if I can’t be chosen as one of the top 40 in a group of 200, how will I be chosen out of thousands in a cold submission to an agent by email?

One agent I currently have my eye on said she accepts 1-10 new clients per year. She receives over 50 queries per day. So I have a 1-10 in 15000 chance of her choosing to represent me. The 1-in-5 odds of this contest seemed promising.

So, like a 20-something girl headed out to a singles mixer in an outfit she spent half her paycheck on, I put myself out there again. And I went home alone.

Maybe it should be comforting that many of the writers chosen for the contest appear to have a history with the judges. Among the winners, there were judges’ critique partners, online friends, people whose partial or full manuscripts the judges have already read. But it doesn’t. If my content were strong enough, I would have managed to rise to the top 40 entrants. That’s a lot of winners, my friends, far from an impossible nut to crack.

And the judges’ picks overlapped quite a bit. Some entrants were picked by multiple judges and some that were picked by only one judge had other judges saying, “Yeah, I had her on my short list too.” So there appears to be somewhat of a consensus about what is good and what is not.

When setbacks like this happen, successful authors seem to always use it as motivation to work harder and go stronger. Maybe I’ll get there, but today I’m just gonna let it sting and suck for a while.