Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Query Me This

So, as some of you know, this new year I promised myself to focus my energies on my writing, not only in getting to work on my next manuscript, but in getting Grounds for Living published.

Today, for once, I am actually committing a considerable amount of time to that goal and I'm venturing into new territory: writing a query letter.  If you don't know, a query letter is a cover letter that I send to a publisher to introduce myself and my book and hopefully convince them to request some sample chapters.

And we all know how I feel about cover letters:

Anyway, it's pretty much going horribly, but I've at least drafted out a short hook and synopsis of the novel.  I'm probably going to edit it some more, but it would be really great to get some opinions.  Is anything fuzzy or contradictory about the description?  Does it actually sound like something that you would want to buy at the bookstore if you saw it on a shelf?  I realize it's probably too long, but I'm at that point where I'm not sure what to cut out, so if something feels unnecessary, please mention that as well.

Here we go (NEW EDIT ):

Set in modern day Chicago with a magical realism twist, Grounds for Living follows the blossoming friendship of Frankie and Kate, two young women seeking to rebuild their lives one porcelain mug at a time. 
Frankie has just lost her job, found an eviction notice on her apartment door, and walked in on her boyfriend cheating on her.  The only thing that gets her through the aftermath is a hot cup of coffee and her newfound friendship with cripplingly shy piano teacher Kate.  Kate, grieving the sudden death of her mother, has been hiding away from the world and clinging to her late mother’s advice that “a cup of tea is the cure for the common problem.”

When Kate takes on Frankie as her tenant in an old Chicago townhouse with a mind of its own, both their worlds begin to expand.  With Frankie’s encouragement and the house’s interference, Kate takes a renewed interest in life…and the handsome uncle of one of her piano students.  Frankie, in the meantime, starts dusting off old dreams, reconnecting with her mother and sisters, and working out whether she’ll ever be ready to love again.  All complicated enough without her ex’s shadow following her everywhere she goes.  As it turns out, he’s determined not to let Frankie go without a fight, no matter the casualties.
Maybe the answers will be at the bottom of the next cup….

So…thoughts?  I'm feeling sensitive at the moment, so be nice, but be honest, please.

Thanks, everyone!

For further amusement, another old FB post:


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Morning With Dogs

Some of you know that I recently had a change of address.  Unable to continue affording my last apartment (or, rather, unwilling and unable to continue accepting financial assistance from my parents), I have recently moved in with a friend of my boyfriend's and am renting out her spare bedroom for a few months while I attempt to find a better solution.

And I have not gone quietly.  I'll admit it.  I've been a giant baby about this move.  Once you get used to living alone like I have been doing at my last two permanent residences (ignore the 2 months of Flight Attendant training and 7 ensuing months of homelessness), it is very difficult to reconcile yourself with the idea of having a roommate again.  I am, of course, incredibly grateful to her for taking me in.  She did not have to, but hopefully the next four months will be mutually beneficial.  Meanwhile, my body is acclimating to the new surroundings.  Experience (and being a generally deep sleeper) has taught me that in a couple of weeks I will no longer awaken at the sound of her 5:00 A.M. showers or the dogs following her around the house before she leaves for work.  For now, if I'm lucky enough to be sleeping in that day (never a guarantee in my line of work), I stretch, roll over, and bury my head under a pillow.

…while silently thinking to myself how much I miss my studio.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sixty Six Word Stories

So I've been flipping through my notebook, looking for a little inspiration for something new, and I found this collection of Six Word Stories I wrote during a 3-day trip a couple of months ago.  I think my goal was to try to write 100 of them, but I didn't make it quite that far.

Anyway, I'm gathering them all here for your amusement and to see if anything strikes me as being worth turning into a longer story.

Friday, November 14, 2014

"But You'll Never Be Strong"

I am tired of being constantly on the defense.  It's something that starts at my job and continues at home and has dogged my steps as long as I can remember.

As someone who works, ultimately, in customer service1, I have found that the best way to handle attacks is by refocusing a customer away from whatever has upset them onto what I can do for them.  At its simplest, for example, if a customer in coach is upset that the airline does not provide blankets, there's nothing I can do to suddenly change the policy that we don't do that.  But instead of saying, "I'm sorry I just don't have a blanket for you.  The company did away with those years ago to make ticket prices cheaper," I focus on what I can offer.  "I'm sorry you're cold.  Can I bring you some hot coffee or tea to warm you up?"  A good majority of people will take me up on the offer.  And an even greater majority are at least happier because they've been acknowledged and offered something.  Only a very small percentage of them are still upset and, well, some people just like to suffer and you're not going to be able to make them happy anyway.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Compilation of Gingers

Endless List of Awesome Red-Headed Women In Fiction

(i.e. people I wanted to be when I grow up)

Anne Shirley

Mary Jane Watson

The Girl With the Titian Hair

I'm having one of those days where I'm remembering all the reasons I loved who I was for the 3 years I was dying my hair red.

For those of you not keeping track, I dyed my hair a dark auburn red around February of 2011 while I was studying abroad and went from this

to this

and then continued dying my hair as close to that shade of red as possible for the following three years.  Again, for those of you not keeping track, I stopped dying my hair around October(?) of 2013, and actually hardcore bleached it in November 2013, leaving it strawberry blonde.  I did a glaze in January that sort of toned it a bit, and since then have not colored it at all.  Every day I get closer and closer to my natural blonde.  My father and brother, who have been active leaders of the We-Hate-Rachel-With-Anything-But-Natural-Hair Club, are thrilled.

Why, you ask, should you give a crap?  Well, you probably shouldn't; it's my business.  But the real question is: "Why is this such an emotional thing for you, Rachel?"

To quote one of my college professors,  "Well, I'll tell you."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fifty Shades of Grey Drinking Game

Fifty Shades of Grey: The Drinking Game

Because at this point, booze may be the only way to get through the rest of this book.

One Drink:
  • "Oh my"
  • "Double Crap"
  • "Mighty _____," particularly "mighty fine."  (Who even says this?)
  • Christian's "long fingers" are mentioned
  • "My subconscious."
  • someone gasps  (no seriously you will be amazed by how often this happens)
  • absurd product placement (cars, tea, computers, etc. mentioned in excessive brand detail)
  • Ana "flushes" or "blushes"
  • Grey's pants hang "in that way"
  • gift-giving disproportionate to the relationship
  • unnecessary lists of three (one adjective or metaphor is more than sufficient most of the time, E.L. James)
  • Ana refers to her roommate by her full name, Katherine Kavanagh, rather than simply "Kate."
Two Drinks:
  • Ana is painfully ignorant to the point that you have to forcefully suspend your disbelief
  • "Inner goddess"
  • "Laters, ____."
  • Grey does something so pretentious/ridiculous you have to stop reading to laugh. 
  • You are actively offended.
  • Unnecessary ellipse ("…")
  • Someone refers to sex as "doing it."
  • Someone refers to a part of the anatomy ambiguously as "…there." 
Round for the Whole House:
  • A sexual act feels non-consensual to you.