Friday, January 23, 2015

Writer Wish List

Dear Lit Loves,

It's that time of year again.  Everyone makes resolutions.  This is what they're going to strive for this year or this is what he/she wants to accomplish this year.  And in publishing, you have what we call literary agent and editor wish lists.  If you look it up you will see Tumbler, WordPress, Twitter, etc commentary on what agents and editors are hoping to find in their inbox this year.  I'm quite familiar with these wish lists because as a writer I peruse them to determine who on God's wonderful and green earth might eventually understand my desire to be published in the memoir genre.  It's not enough to just find a literary agent who acquires memoir.  No, you've got to find the one that acquires memoir in subjects that the agent and editor really like such as food, inspirational, life adventures, etc.  I've done enough research that I have a little black book of literary agents and editors.  I note what they currently acquiring in terms of manuscripts.  I also note what they've already acquired or published.  If an editor has three memoirs and I've read all of them, chances are we might make a good publishing match as author and acquiring editor.  When it comes to literary agents, honestly, I have no idea what makes them like one memoir and not another.  It's true.  The agents will often tell you that it's intrinsic.  They just "know" when something speaks to them. I get that.  I really do.  But I must say there are times when I've ordered a memoir that I thought for sure I would hate and then I'm surprised to discover I couldn't put the book down or I'm amazed that the author was so vividly transparent in telling their story.  So, I decided to make a Writer Wish List for 2015 because well, I haven't seen any of those and I'm not shy about being the first to try something.  So here goes..

Writer Wish List For 2015

1)  A literary agent who replies to my query telling me  I have a unique concept, a well-written query letter, and damn, what an interesting life I lead so send him/her the whole kit n'caboodle.  Send the synopsis, send the book proposal, send the whole manuscript.

2)  A literary agent who reads my book proposal and manuscript and sends me an email saying "Offer Of Representation!" along with a personal note that he/she was deeply moved by my work and where have I been all his/her life?

3)  A literary agent who replies that she "gets the premise and the hook of my writing".  One who can tell why I wrote the book and what I'm attempting to say about life, humanity, and the larger society by writing what I do, the way I do.

4)  A literary agent and editor who call me to say, "Hey!  This is great!  What else do you have in the works?" 

5)  A great editor who asks me if in the future he/she can have first dibs on perusing my book proposals and manuscripts.  That's the holy grail for us newbies in publishing folks.  An editor that would like to work with you on a long term basis.  Halle...freaking....lujah!!

And that's it.  There you have it.  I also want to write an adventure memoir this year which is a complete break from the normal major life drama/trauma that I write about quite often.  Something along the lines of I Was A Public School English Teacher:  So What You Gonna Do About It?!! I've got loads of stories folks.  Now, where is that literary agent that loves me and that editor who can't get enough of my work?  Hello?  Are you there agent, editor, publisher??  Yoo-Hoo, Anybody Home???

Still Looking,

Monday, January 5, 2015

Zero Tolerance For Domestic Violence/Harassment

Dear Lit Loves,

Greetings!  And Happy 2015!  Just wanted to comment about a recent experience I had witnessing and reporting domestic violence.  We'll get to that episode in a moment.  Most close friends know I have vast experience when it comes to domestic violence and sexual harassment.  My first marriage was to a man who liked to practice his karate kicks toward my face and found it amusing to lock me in an attic.  I walked out on him and never looked back the day he decided that he was going to dictate to me when I could and could not speak to him.  Good riddance.  Next, I worked in the tech industry where I worked as a receptionist/office assistant and was surrounded my a mostly male work force.  The male staff members thought it would be appropriate to hold a strip show in the company lab for the resident chief executive officer's birthday.  And I actually had an engineer come to my desk, lay hands on my skirt and proceed to measure the length of said skirt.  He also wanted his business card title to read "Engineering God".   Yes, I reported these forms of sexual harassment and idiocy.  Did I lose friends as a result?  You bet!  Do I care?  Hell no!  If you can't stand up and do the right thing fellow sisters, then go find another boat to sail!

Also, I was harassed by an assistant principal when I taught middle school.  His abuse came in the form of comments about me as a woman, how I dressed, my hair, my mannerisms, etc.  Didn't tolerate that either and reported him to the school superintendent.  I thought it was pertinent then to also report that said assistant principal's ex-wife arrived at the school one day and slashed all four tires on his truck.  He was a royal jerk.  I had fellow staff members who backed up my reports as well.  Needless to say, I was not amused when I came across an instance of domestic violence this weekend upon returning home from lunch on Saturday.

First, I moved to the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina over the 2014 holidays.  It was a scream.  Packed up a house, found a new place to live, and moved to a new residence in the span of three weeks.  Upon arriving home to my new residence on Saturday, I saw a man and woman out my bedroom window.  It appeared they were taking a walk except there was screaming, pushing, and shoving involved.  Then, the man and woman wound up behind the tennis courts and transformer units in my direct view.  I watched as the man, who was about six foot two, place the woman in a headlock and proceed to drag her around the area.  Next, the woman started screaming for him to stop and calling for help.  At this point in time, my husband had witnessed the whole scene while walking back from our mailbox.  He reported the woman was trying to fight back and screaming for help.  I called the police and gave a full description of both individuals and what we witnessed.  Now folks, I don't know about the NFL and football players, but no one is going to put a woman in a headlock and proceed to manhandle her on my watch.  And no, I'm not going to stand by and let a friend of mine be verbally abused by a man either.  I'll advise her till I'm blue in the face to kick him to the curb and change the locks accordingly.  Because you know what people?  SOMEBODY HAS TO TAKE A STAND AND SAY TO THE WORLD:  YOU DAMN WELL ARE NOT GOING TO ABUSE A WOMAN, MAN, OR CHILD ON MY WATCH.  And if the abuser can't understand that?  Well then,  his arse needs to be jailed and sentenced.  End of discussion.