Hi friends!

Can someone please tell me why it's so gosh-darn difficult to get used to a new schedule? I have been working from 9-6 for a month now and, still, my body hates me. I get ready for bed at 10:00 p.m. and try to get to sleep by eleven, but it's inevitable that, at some point during the night, my cat will start meowing like she's dying a slow death, my dog will rattle her crate or pace the (hardwood) floors, or my husband will start snoring (sometimes I get lucky and get the snoring AND his restless leg at the same time!). I have nowhere to go in our tiny studio apartment for a reprieve from the sounds, and when I'm tired I get emotional. I mean really emotional. Like crying-and-yelling-because-my-blood-pressure-is-through-the-roof emotional. Poor hubby. He's so patient and kind but, unlike me, he can actually function on less than seven hours of sleep. I would prefer eight or nine, if you don't mind. I feel as though I've been perpetually exhausted for the last year, and I've never had a hard time sleeping before. I guess I put so much pressure on it every night that it prevents me from relaxing and winding down (even when I've been reading under the covers for half an hour). I suppose this means I should be getting to bed earlier so when it takes me two hours to pass out it's not after midnight. But then there's the issue of actually staying asleep...

P.S. Does anyone else dislike the Internal Revenue Service? Yes? Just checking.

Yesterday I did have a happier moment when I printed out the final draft of my query letter. I did some last-minute edits on it (again) and actually added information about the particular agent I wanted to query, which is always a plus. You can't turn in a query addressed to "Ms. Agent"! Not I am looking forward to the moment these queries are out out OUT of my hands! I just have to get them all addressed, packaged, and stamped. I have this terrible nightmare where I send out the wrong query to the wrong agent and they send me a form I'm sure I'll be double-checking each address with each letterhead before they get dropped into the mailbox.

And then I'll wait...=)

Time for lunch!


This is my excited face...

Hi friends,

Well, this has just been one heckuva week! First, if you read my last post, you know that I will soon have the chance to host another author here on ABC: Chantel Simmons. That piece of news alone was enough to make my whole week. But there's more...

Last night, I discovered that my second article, entitled "Putting the 'Class' in Classy", for Susie Magazine has finally been published! I submitted it last year, in the early springtime, and it kept being pushed back for space, design, and various other reasons. In September sometime I spoke to Susie Shellenberger herself, the creator of Susie (no, Wendi, you don't say?), and she divulged that my article would be featured in their February 2011 issue. At the time I was over the moon, but I had since forgotten about it, what with traveling to California, changing job schedules, and the craziness of life in general. But then...I remembered. Last night, as I was Googling random topics, I remembered that I had forgotten, which is always fun because it's like a surprise (right???). I looked up the archives of Susie Magazine on their homepage and voila! There it was in all its printed glory. After reading it three times, I posted it to Facebook to await my congratulatory messages (thanks guys!). This, my friends, is the life of a writer.

Today I realized that, while I didn't finish my novel edits in time for my Sunday evening deadline (self-imposed, mind you), I have completed enough of them to have it out by Friday. In fact, I could have it out tomorrow, but I am so paranoid that I simply have to read through the whole thing one more time to triple-quadruple-check for errors. But knowing the exact date is such a relief to me.

And that's not all...

Just a few minutes ago, I opened an email from my former boss over at the publishing company where I completed my internship in September. He informed that he had just received the first copies of The Mayfield Family Story: my very first book! As you know, back in December I was told the printing had been postponed, but it turns out that it wasn't put off quite as long as I feared. Praise Jesus! I cannot wait to get my hands on that damn thing and cry like a little girl when I see my name in the front matter. And to my close friends and family who have brithdays in the next few months (Daddy, Brittany, Tommy, Mamer, Beth, Maddie, and Jillian): I have your birthday present!

My first published book!

I have to go work out tonight and eat a sensible dinner (woot, woot), so, please, celebrate with me and have a margarita in my honor.


New Interview Coming Soon!

Photo credit: Chantel Simmons'
 Official Website
Hi friends!

I have an exciting little tidbit for y'all this morning, and it's a direct result of my participation in the Chick Lit Plus Reading Challenge. In the coming weeks, I'll be hosting Chantel Simmons, author of Love Struck and the bestselling Stuck in Downward Dog, on her blog tour! Samantha over at Chick Lit Plus has offered challengers the chance to either do an interview with Chantel or have her do a guest post for the challenger's blog. I'm thinking I might do another interview, but it would also be fun to spice things up and have a bestselling author visit ABC, don'tcha think? I have to say that working with Samantha on this challenge has been a great opportunity to stretch my legs and get my name out there. Thanks Samantha!

As a side note: This iced caramel coffee is DEEE-vine. Yummy!

That's all for today. See you next time; same fabulous blog, same fabulous channel (site, page, what-have-you...)!


Beautiful People: A Review

Hello friends!

Happy Friday!

It's looking beautiful out here in Atlanta, and I am pumped about spending this gorgeous weekend with family and friends. I'm completely over the cold weather, if you haven't noticed. HATE. IT. Hate it.

Today I have my second book review for you to check out as a part of the Chick Lit Plus Reading Challenge. I'm loving this time to spend chewing through new novels (some debut authors and some just new to me) and I'm already working on my next choice for March.

For February, I chose (as you can see) Beautiful People by Wendy Holden. What a fun read! Wendy is British and she grew up just a stone's throw away from the home of the Bronte sisters, so I already knew I would love her...I hope you will too!

Beautiful People: My 100 Word Summary

Glamorous and sexy, Beautiful People is a pastiche of sorts, with a voice that switches back and forth between characters, sometimes within the same paragraph, and gives us many different perspectives. It works well because it's all in the third person, so I never got confused about who the narrator was. It was me! We see reluctant movie stars, arrogant politicians, insecure, wealthy spoil-sports, kind-hearted nannies, and cut-throat agents. I was afraid this would turn into the type of story that seems stolen from an assembly line of glittery, Hollywood novels, but each character was connected to one another in unexpected and wonderful ways, and so I devoured it happily.

Beautiful People: What I Think

There were moments when the sex turned from hot to not with the snap of a finger...or a rather cheesy description. I can't help but cringe at words like "groin" and "shaft" because they remind me of the Harlequin novels I used to pick up from the Wal-Mart shelves when I was a pubescent girl; the ones I used to stare at in wonder because I couldn't imagine that sex really looked like a pirate on steroids and a fair lady with her blouse hanging open. Thankfully, Beautiful People stops short of the category romance novels and does itself a favor by giving us a picture of what Hollywood (and I'm speaking in terms of the movie industry in general because the story bounces from L.A. to London to Florence) probably looks like in terms of those actors who really want to do well, and those who are just there to get their picture in the glossies. I loved Emma- the sweet, gentle nanny who wanted to take care of the world- and Darcy for her passion for food and all things luxurious. I appreciated them for their desire to move past traditional expectations (i.e. barely-present, stuck up nannies and shrieking size-zero actresses), even while they made mistakes.

The real meat of the story is not until about halfway in because the first 150 pages are just introduction to setting and characters. And there are A LOT of characters. But they each serve a purpose and, while I think it was a bit too long, Beautiful People is a great read for someone who's spending a week at the beach with nothing more than a bikini and a margarita.


If I Only Had An...Agent

Hi friends!

Sorry I've been M.I.A. for the last week; I just started school again for the Spring semester and I'm taking two graduate level classes now instead of the usual one. One of them is Non-Western Literature (i.e. let's-see-how-many-novels-we-can-fit-into-one-class) and the other is Clue: Detective Fiction (so much fun...and lots more reading!), and they have been keeping my schedule slammed. I have a novel to read before Friday and I haven't even started it yet. I'm still working on Doyle's Silver Blaze and a ton of e-readings. I hope to have two posts on BlackBoard by tonight so I can focus on my 1,000 word essay that's due by Sunday. Whew!

Still, I have to admit that I'm enjoying my classes and I only have 6 more to go before I graduate with a M.A. in Liberal Studies. Then it's on to the Ph. D.! Dr. Nunnery has a nice ring to it, yes?

One a side note: here's a little something I am super excited about sharing with y'all. I won a copy of a debut novel from the Chick Lit Plus Reading Challenge! After I posted my first review on Life After Yes, I was picked to be one of two winners for the month of January! I never win anything, so you can imagine how surprised I was when Samantha from Chick Lit Plus emailed me about the contest. Yes, it's only a book, but that's one less book I have to buy this year =).

Now, let's get down to brass tacks (I love that saying, don't you?).

By Sunday evening, 12 a.m. EST, I will have finished the edits on my novel and my query letters will be ready to go out on Monday afternoon. This is my deadline. I know I'm crazy because I have so many other assignments due (not to mention a weekend with my neices and then small group and church on Sunday evening), but it has to be done. I have to get this book off my computer before I start to hate it. I love it now, and I would like to keep it that way, thanks. It's been almost 6 months since I finished writing it, for goodness sakes! It's really a shame it wasn't out in December. Plus, I'm not getting any younger. I'm only 25, but I'm seeing some changes, particularly in the creases around the corners of my mouth and the tiny little lines that have been appearing on my forehead. Imagine what I would look like if I hadn't been wearing sunscreen every day since I turned 18 (no, don't).

Okay, now I'm getting off topic. Where was I?

Queries and publishing. Oh, yes.

As I was saying, time is going by quickly. I've written three books in as many years and not one of them has since been published. The Mayfield book printing has been postponed (it will happen, though; it's business and such), so I'm trying not to feel bitter about the fact that it's not on my shelf yet. And as for my novel...I have to honestly say that I am beyond amazed at what God has given to me. I read through some chapters and, yes, I do critique myself to the -nth degree, but I love what I see on those pages. I think of my little sister, and my mother, and my father, and all that my family has endured, and I can't imagine my life without their presence. God has created unimaginable blessings from mistakes that have been made, and that is what I want people to see in my novel. I want them to know that we are equipped to do extraordinary things with the strength of our King, and everything in this world pales in comparison to His truth; however, it's not a "Christian" novel, per se (I don't think Bethany House would want to publish a novel that drops the f-bomb a couple of times). I don't like when people assume that because something showcases elements of the Gospel or evidence of faith, it must somehow be limited to a specific audience and placed in a box (a box that will be labeled "Christian Fiction" and sent to Borders to be placed on a shelf in the Religion section). Billions of people profess their faith in Christ because He appeals to the World. He came for us here in order to die for us so that we might have life in heaven with Him. As such, I believe that anything I create is an extension of Jesus' Spirit within me, so that I might further His kingdom and give Him the glory of my successes. Our walk with God should be the biggest part of who we are. It should not be something that others see only on Sundays, or when we purchase a book from that tiny corner shelf in the local bookstore.

But didn't I just say that my novel has a bit of colorful language in it? Yup, sure did. And it does because our world is not pretty sometimes, and this language is real and true to its characters, even if it is sinful. We are sinful. We are fighting against our very flesh every day, and my novel, while not mystical in any sense of the word (it's women's fiction, just in case you were wondering), is certainly filled with elements of spirituality and rooted in something that is much bigger than our own world, or even our own hearts.

My hope is that any agent who reads my query and, as a result, requests to see the manuscript will understand what I'm trying to say. Every agent blog I've read has told me not to sign with someone who doesn't. And so I'll wait on the right one, no matter how long it takes!


Gloomy Tuesday

Hi friends!

I really wish the weather would make up its mind. Can I just say that? It's driving me nuts that, on Sunday, my husband and I spent the whole afternoon in nearly 70 degree weather, playing touch football and eating with our small(not-so-small-anymore) group in Piedmont Park...and now? It's freezing cold again and rainy. But not the dedicated-I'm-going-to-soak-you-rain...the annoying-I'm-going-to-get-you-wet-enough-that-you're-forever-cold-rain. I hope Mr. Groundhog sees his shadow this week so we can get back to wearing short-sleeves and soaking up the sun!

I'm almost finished reading David Platt's Radical, which I mentioned in my previous post, and, let me tell you, it's kicking my butt! It has completely opened my eyes to various truths in the Gospel, and the truth that we, as Christians, are responsible for one another, and I am so excited to see how the Lord is going to use this knowledge in my life to bring glory to Him. I'm still waiting to hear back from the 410 Bridge and Buckhead Church about my Kenya application, so, in the mean time, I'm going to continue to work hard and pray that God will use me in whatever way He sees fit (work, friends, writing, volunteering, marriage, etc.).

On another note: I started my second book for the Chick Lit Plus Reading Challenge. February's pick? Beautiful People by Wendy Holden. And, yes, I will admit that I chose this particular novel because the author's name is Wendy...though I think "Wendi" looks much more unique ;). I'm only about one chapter in, thus far, but I like it. No official opinion, obviously, so stay tuned for my next book review!

Ta-ta for now!