Saturday, January 29, 2011

It's been a while...

Wow it’s been well over a week.  I bet everyone is anxious to hear how the Writers Digest Conference went!  Well it went better that I had ever imagined.  But I will get to that in a little bit.

Sorry I have been gone for so long!  Some was because of how well New York went some was also because I came home to two sick kids, both with the flu!  Abigail (the soon to be 7 year old) was easy, laying in bed and watching TV.  She barely ate but I stressed the importance of liquids and I got some stuff into her.  She is better, but cranky I guess I can’t blame that on the sickness that is just her age!  Ha
When Claire (the 16 month old), is not feeling well, she wants to be next to me at all times.  If she is on the floor playing, she wants me to be on the floor.  If she is watching a movie on her bean bag chair, she wants me next to her.  I love it secretly because she is not a cuddly baby and I get to cuddle with her, at least for a few days. 

            Because of the above it made it very hard to get together all of the things I needed to send to the agents that requested some material!  Yep you read that right!  Four out of the five agents I spoke to during the pitch slam wanted more information.  I was shocked!  Especially, when one asked me to send her the entire manuscript. 
            Of course I wanted to reread my query letter, synopsis and of course the entire manuscript.  I tweaked the query and synopsis and then I shortened and polished the first chapter, since that is what the agents asked me to send them.  I also added a chapter towards the end, after learning some great tips from the conference.  I sent everything Thursday before lunch.  I had every intention to blog on Friday but……

Pitty Party for one!!
            I wasn’t expecting to receive a rejection letter from one of the agents three hours after sending!  I know being rejected is part of the business, and I prepared my self for it.  I was expecting it weeks or even months later.  Which makes me think a couple of things?
            1) It was a total mistake; she didn’t read it even to realize it was me! (even though I put it in the first sentence of the letter).  But of course total mistake, on her part. (this is the one that I say to cheer myself up)
            2) She read it and just like her rejection email stated it just wasn’t for her. (even though I totally know it is) haha j/k
            3) (and not to sound jaded) But maybe they were just being nice to me, to all the writers at the conference, and requested stuff even though they were not in fact interested.  I would like to think that this is not true.
   So being from the south my husband went out and got some comfort food to cheer me up!  Fried Chicken, French fries, mashed potatoes and gravy and biscuits.  He also surprised me with some cookies and cream ice cream.  It definitely helped!  Thanks hun!
    My skin will become super tough by the time I am published.  I already feel it after the first rejection; I know there will be many more so the thickness will come!

   I learned so much at the Writer’s Digest Conference and met so many great people.  I came back inspired and ready to write.  And not just middle grade but it all, many different genres.  A link to some of the notes from the conference is below if you want to check it out, they are very informative. 
-this is one of the fabulous authors I met.  Her blog is outstanding.  Has great notes from the conference, but it is also a great blog to follow!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Good Morning!

Well bags are packed, in the trunk and I am sitting nervously in the back seat as my friends drive me to the airport. I am again calm, as of now. Yea I did have my nervous breakdown two days ago but yesterday I pulled myself together. As we near the airport I am getting excited about meeting new people and even more excited about all the information I am going to be absorbing!! I will try to blog while I am there. I am reminding myself to be calm and be natural. Well we are parking gotta jet!! Haha! Just breathe....Writers Digest Conference 2011 here I come!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The calm before the storm...

I feel as if I am too calm considering I leave in 2 days for NYC for my first ever conference.  I am still tweaking my pitch, oh and I have 2 days before I leave! David Henry Sterry called me last night.  He liked my pitch and gave some good pointers.  I feel that I need to shorten it and spice it up.  Sounds easy right? Yep not at all. I apologize in advance that this week’s blogs are going to be short.  My brain is packed with so much information of all the things I need to do this week and all the things I could be doing. 

As I said before too calm, I am starting to think that maybe I am not calm at all.  Maybe I am pretending to be calm, which might mean I will be having a nervous breakdown soon.   

So family and friends be on the look out there might be a storm brewing!! 

2 DAYS!!

You can follow all the action from the Writer’s Digest Conference virtually through the twitter hashtag #wdc11

You can follow me on twitter lesaicherrej

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The library...

I went to the library yesterday while Ryan took Claire to the park.  Two things happened while I was there.  1) THEY CALLED!!  As in they I mean David Henry Sterry, the book Doctors!  Of course I walked into the library and before I could even pull up the card catalog on the library computer my phone was vibrating.  I had already programmed their number in my address book and was shocked when I saw that was the name on the caller id.  I went outside and we chatted for a few minutes.  We decided to talk on Monday.  We didn’t set up a time, I think I am going to email them today to see if we can pin point a time.  As you know I have 2 kids I need to make sure they are not here during this phone conversation.  That’s all I need is them distracting me, that would look very unprofessional.  Ok 2) my local library needs help!  It was very disappointing to see the lack of books they have for our youth.  The books were so old.  Not sure how I can help, but I am going to think and see if there is something we as a community can do to help their collection, or lack there of!

Yesterday I jotted down a few lines for a pitch, but not much.  I think I am going to write a completely different one.  That would give me three total.  David can help me figure out what direction I should go and probably take some from all.  So excited to hear what he has to say.  I am going off subject; I already talked about the book doctors.  Back to yesterday, last night Ryan was kind enough to watch Eclipse with me.  While watching it I started thinking how cool for Stephanie Meyers, she dreamed up this whole story and she actually gets to see it play out on the big screen.  I can not even imagine how that must feel for a writer, and I doubt I ever will, but hey Abigail thinks it is possible!  After watching Eclipse I was excited to start reading one of the 5 books I checked out from the library, the short second life of bree tanner.  Didn’t get far, I was more tired than I had first realized.  I got a wide range of books at the library: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Roverandom by J.R.R Tolkien, The Silver Chair (The chronicles of Narnia) by C.S. Lewis, the short second life of bree tanner by Stephanie Meyer and Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough.  I put them in the order of excitement, not the order I will read them.  Hopefully the kiddies will be good this week so I can get all the stuff I need together for NYC and I can read all of the books.  HAHAHA, right, a girl can dream! We shall see!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Just waiting.....

Now I am just waiting!  Not sure what my next step should be. I called and emailed the book doctors (the two people from the pitchapalooza) and just have been checking my email and phone constantly.  No response yet.  This puts me in a pickle of what my next step should be.  I know I need to work on my pitch revise it from the information I learned.  But I don’t want to put all this effort into something that could possibly change when the book doctors call.  Not that I am not willing to work, because of course I am.  I have two kids and a husband to take care of so my time needs to be divided smartly.  Especially since writing isn’t as important to anyone but me, giving me the least amount of time for what I love and need to do.  So please book doctor’s call soon!! If not I will be calling/emailing again on Monday.  After that I guess I will just move on. 

Later on today I will be going to the library.  Per advice of the book doctors and online articles I need to get acclimated with the other books in my genre.  Money is tight so I am going to see what my library has to offer.  I have made a list of some of the books the agents I will be visiting in NYC have on their favorite lists. 

Hopefully I will get to work quickly so I can stop feeling like I am getting nothing accomplished.  Very excited and anxious for next week, hope the weather is ok so I can fly in. Brrrr it’s going to be cold!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pitch practice....

Wow, last night was great!  It was an amazing learning experience.  Last night was not long so I will recall the whole evening. 

I am OCD and always overly prepared.  My bag was packed file folder with synopsis, pitch and cover letter, note pad, 2 pens, breath mints, 3 bottles of water and my awesome business cards.  We showed up an hour and a half early.  Went to the bookstore there was no sign up sheet and no real information to allow me to prepare.  Luckily there was a coffee shop right next door.  Went and relaxed with Ryan and Emily.  We people watched while drinking our coffee trying to guess who were possible writers, agents or just random people.  Quick trip to the bathroom and then back to the book store.  By this time about 20 people were seated.  We had to put our name and email address on a piece of paper.  They were going to pick your name out of a bowl to see who got to pitch.  I started to get very nervous.  I had prepared and worked so hard on this that if I was going to get to pitch I might cry.  My friend Ashley showed up about 15 minutes into the event.  It was great having so much support there.  The first couple of people that went helped me to relax some had good ideas but their pitches were long and not all that prepared.  I heard maybe one or two decent pitches and then I heard my name, thank God! 

My heart pounded and my palms sweaty while I waited behind the guy at the microphone, I didn’t here anything he said or the judges said to him.  I went to the podium and 30 seconds later I was done.  I smiled and nodded as the judges critiqued but I really was not hearing them because my heart was pounding so hard in my ears.  Luckily my three supporters heard and later relayed that it was all positive and they liked my pitch.  After it was over I felt bad for the ten or so people that did not get to pitch but was relieved that I wasn’t one of them.  I went to the agent and author who was putting on the event, I handed them their book I purchased to allow a phone consultation, to have them sign it.  They both remembered my pitch and gave me praise.  I handed my cards to them, which they commented on positively.  I told them I was going to WDC next week, which caught their attention.  They said they are always busy and on the road but they wanted to talk to me before I left to help me with my pitch.  Then they gave me their phone number and told me to call!!  To call them, oh my God.  If that isn’t a huge vote of confidence I don’t know what is.  I can’t wait to call later today and set up a time to talk to them.  I know they will give great tips and hope to make a contact for the future. 

Last night was a great dress rehearsal and I am now even more excited about next week!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It's only a dress rehearsal!

Tell that to my stomach!!  Yes, I am getting over the flu and strep but I have gained a weird sense of nausea!  I feel like I might puke at any minute, but I don’t! With being sick and not feeling up to eating I have lost 2 lbs.  Hopefully this won’t continue because I will be like 100 lbs by the time I leave for New York. 

Pitchapalooza is tonight and I have a lot to do today to get ready.  I need to print my synopsis, cover letter and my pitch.  My business cards should be in today, lets just hope they are here before I leave!  I drilled my pitch into my head as much as I could.  I think it sounds good.  I am not convinced it is great just yet.  Let’s hope that I get some good feedback tonight and am able to use that to make my pitch stronger. 

To change the subject a little, I want to talk about something that happened last night.  I am in the process of reading my entire novel to my 6 year old daughter.  A chapter a night, sometimes she begs for more (and I give in).  Last night we read chapter 8, which made me realize I have 11 chapters that are way too long (I will deal with that later, much later).  An amazing thing happened which I believe is why a writer writes.  Abigail’s eyes lit up at certain parts of the chapter.  I could tell her mouth was watering as I talked about food.  There were even parts when I could see her doing different gestures that the characters in my book were doing.  She would close her eyes tightly.  I would ask her what she was doing and she told me she was trying to do what was in the story.  At the end of the chapter she asked a ton of questions.  Is that real? Can that happen?  I replied maybe?  Her reaction last night was exactly what I dreamed of.  Of course when this story was being created in my head I never imagined it would come together as well as it did.  But since it did I realized I wanted my readers to grow with my characters and to have them wonder if this story could be possible.  I just hope one day other children, teens and adults can read my stories and too also ask those same questions! 

Well let me get back to tonight and start worrying I mean printing!  I will update tomorrow of what it was like at Pitchapalooza!!    

Monday, January 10, 2011

Just Breathe

Well it has been a lot longer than I would like since my last post but I promise it wasn’t by choice.  Ok so let me get you caught up.  I am now on pitch 3!! I loved my first one but it was entirely too long.  My second, I just liked but I think this third one is going to be a winner.  At least I am hoping it is a winner!!  Pitchapalooza is in two days!!  Good news I wrote my synopsis bad news it is 6 pages too long and I feel like it’s kind of dull.  But hey it is a starting point. 

Oh, did I mention I got the FLU and STREP throat?!?!  Yea and I pride myself on never getting sick! My wonderful husband stepped in and took care of the girls Saturday and allowed me to stay in bed and get better.  Sunday I was on the mend, my head was starting to feel some what attached to my body. It’s Monday now and I am focused and ready to work. 

I am reading and rereading my pitch to make sure I am very comfortable with it so that it just flows naturally!  Business cards should be ready Wednesday morning. Outfit will be ironed.  I will look the part and be as prepared as I can.  Nervous isn’t even the right word for how I am feeling.  I can’t describe it, mainly because I have so many things to focus on that my brain is suppressing the nerves, for now.  I am sure on the drive to the Pitch those nerves will be boiling over.  Luckily it should be cold so my sweat should be under control.  You never know, hopefully I can hold it together.  This is after all the dress rehearsal for New York.  I need to go in, do my best and listen to their critique.  Take what I learn from this experience and let it help me better prepare for Writer’s Digest!

I just need to keep reminding myself to just breathe!  (huge exhale)

Friday, January 7, 2011


Ahhhh I am so overwhelmed!!  Baby Claire got sick two days ago, which meant I had to sit on the ground and hold her, if I moved she cried.  Plus she was still cranky!  Abigail has dancing 4 out of the 5 days this week!  Plus I still don’t have my business cards, I completely changed my pitch (much shorter) and I am trying to write my synopsis. All combined makes me cranky.  Embarrassingly, I even had a little break down on Tuesday night! Ok so if you can’t feel it, I am freaking out! 
Ryan and I went shopping yesterday; I got a very nice shirt to wear for my pitch and got an amazing red bag to keep all my things for the conference! Yesterday was a really great day, I got to get out of the house and for a little while focus on myself.  But of course I woke up this morning SICK!  And wow do I feel bad, and I have so much to do today that sick is not helping at all!
Well I must forge on!  Thankfully Ryan’s aunt is helping me with my business cards and my sister is here helping out, but only for a short time.  But I will take the help for how ever long I can get it.  Tonight I hope to put the kids to bed and go to sleep early so I can wake up tomorrow feeling better so I can work!! 
I am off to go work on my synopsis!!  Can’t I just tell agents my book is amazing and to take my word on it and just sign me?!?! Hahaha wouldn’t that be just wonderful!  Well a girl can dream!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Busy Bee....

Sorry I missed yesterday, but I have been busy!  I thought I was done with my revisions.  What I am learning is that I could probably continue to revise for months, which I won’t.  Once I get back from NYC I will put Flight book 1 locked away until an agent or publisher come calling.  I will focus on Flight book 2, and of course sending out query letters. 
It was my daughters first day back at school, which also meant my 1 year old needed more attention since her older sister was not here to play with her.  Then after waiting in carpool line we had to head strait to dancing then home for homework. 
All while keeping myself busy with my family duties I have the worry lingering back in my mind of all the things I need to get ready for the conference.  Also Pitchapalooza is next week and I do not feel as prepared as I would like.  Emily, my editor, has said she will join me.  This boosts my confidence; she has such faith in my writing, my story.  I am very thankful to have many people to encourage me and keep me motivated!
Well since I feel I have no time as it is, I better get back to working on my pitch while Claire takes probably her only nap of the day.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Special Delivery!

Well it came!! Last night around 9:00 I checked my email and the final revision was in my inbox! BUT, my editor (Emily) and I have to do a final read to tweak some things.  Yea it was extremely hard for me to fall asleep last night; I wanted to start reading it then!  I just made myself get into bed and played some classical music and dozed right off.  Ryan even got up with the kids this morning allowing me to sleep a little bit longer.  

I have a ton to do today.  Take down all of the Christmas decorations, and then clean up the mess from doing that.  And I am going to start reading Flight (my novel) to my 6 year old, Abigail.  Plus, of course, working on the pitch.  Yesterday I played around with some business card templates; I think I know what I want to do.  We will see.

Ahhh I can not wait to dive into my book, I just love it.  I will keep you posted on how it’s going!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!!

Well I must say that I haven’t been this excited about the start of a year in a while!!

Last night was a lot more fun than I expected.  We had my sister; cousin and niece all spend the night.  We had two neighbors’ families over; the kids were all running around crazy.  And of course a baby toy broke, which is becoming the norm when all the kids get together.  We all counted down exchanged hugs and then the kids laid down to watch a movie; I don’t think it even started before they were asleep.  The house was a disaster but I ignored it, the mess would still be there in the morning!  And it was!!
Woke up had to start the pork, cabbage and black-eyed peas.  I was lucky my husband started cleaning the mess from the night before while I cooked and got the kids their breakfast.  Just as I was finishing the food Ryan finished the cleaning.  We started Toy Story 3 and got the game Twister going.  I have pictures but I wouldn’t embarrass my sister and cousin with posting.  Lots of laughing, I loved having them over.  We are watching football and snacking until our early dinner. 

Now of course it will not only be a day of leisure, I have been repeatedly checking my email.  My editor should be emailing the FINAL revision!!!  Yes, I understand it is a holiday and tomorrow is Sunday, so I might not get it until Monday.  But I will continue to check every half hour!  I can’t wait to do a read through and then send it to my family and friends who have been waiting to read it in its entirety!!  Then later during the week I will work on a revision to my pitch and then practice, practice and more practice.  I also have to start thinking about my business cards.  Which kind of makes me laugh, but they are necessary.

Very excited and anxious about the adventures that are approaching quickly!  Hopefully the rest of the year will be as exciting as January.