When it Rains…

…It pours.

I’m not boy-crazy, though I do realize that a lot of my recent posts have dealt with persons of the opposite gender.  Love and dating have been on my mind a lot lately, but I blame society and all of the stupid happy people around me.  (Okay, I blame myself for a good portion of the happy people around me, I did make a conscious choice to spend my weekends coordinating weddings, but I’d rather blame society.)

I’ve spent most of my adolescent and adult life wondering why guys aren’t interested in me.  And then, for some reason, all at once, guy after guy pops up and makes me question whether there really were no guys interested before or if I was too busy belittling myself to notice the guys who were.

Today I went to get my oil changed.  When my car was ready, an employee called my name and I went to the desk to pay.  I took one of my headphones out, but left the other one in while the guy told me my total and I handed over my debit card.  While the transaction was running he asked me something, but I was looking away and didn’t really register that he had spoken for a couple of seconds.  When I did, I took out my other headphone and he repeated himself, “What have you been up to?”

“Just working.”  I shrugged my shoulders and put my book back in my purse.

“Do you remember me?” he asked.  I finally looked at him, trying to recognize someone from high school, but though he looked vaguely familiar, no name came to me.

“Should I?”  I couldn’t believe I asked that, but it was the first thing I could think of to say.  He smiled and pointed at his name on his shirt.  It took me another second or two and then it dawned on me.  I had dated this guy!  Not seriously, we went out a couple of times when I was a teenager, he used to be a regular at the skating rink where I worked in high school.  (I know skating rinks are incredibly uncool, but most of the jobs I’ve had have been incredibly uncool.)

I let him know I knew who he was and asked what he’d been up to.  He said he thought I looked familiar but wasn’t positive until he saw my name.  It was a very strange encounter.  I didn’t really know what to say to him, I didn’t really remember much about him, not even his last name.  What I did remember was kissing him in a movie theater.  I’ve only kissed a few guys- four to be exact.  And he was one of them.  Yet, I hadn’t thought about him in years.  Probably not since I quit the skating rink (almost 10 years ago).

There are guys in my past that I cared very deeply about, even though they didn’t feel the same for me.  I still think of them sometimes and wonder what they are doing and how they are.  Not in a creepy stalker way, but I’m sure you know what I mean.  People who are important to you have a way of imprinting themselves on your life, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve seen or talked to them.

I found it odd that this guy hadn’t imprinted.  I would have thought that one of the few men I’d kissed would have, you know?  I suppose if someone had asked me this morning how many guys I’d kissed I would have been able to tell them and I would have been able to name this guy, but I can’t be positive about that.

I don’t know why it affects me so much, but I feel guilty about it.  And at the same time, I wonder if I’m that forgettable.  Probably to some.  But maybe there are men out there who I imprinted on somehow.  I can’t be certain that’s the case, but maybe.

Sorry, back to my original topic.  When it rains, it pours.  I thought when I turned twenty-five approximately 10 months ago that this was going to be the year I met someone.  I was sure of it.  I wrote down a love story in the hopes that it would propel fate or destiny or whatever.  Of course it didn’t.  Then I stopped expecting it to happen.  And of course as soon as I stopped expecting it to happen, Religious Guy asked me out (and dumped me- although it wasn’t really a dumping since we were only trying each other out, more like he decided I didn’t fit) and then Waiter Guy tells me I’m beautiful and then Dog Guy appears to flirt with me and then I run into Guy-I-Once-Kissed Guy.  Now, I know none of these guys are the someone I’ve been hoping for for so long, but they are building up my confidence a little.  I believe in myself a little more.  Enough to smile at Dog Guy rather than looking away immediately.  Maybe in a couple of weeks I’ll have enough courage to actually speak to him.  Maybe twenty-five wasn’t my year.  Maybe twenty-six won’t be either, but it’s looking a lot better today than it was yesterday.

This is supposed to be a blog about writing and about me trying to be a writer.  But sometimes it’s so much more than that for me.  I know I ramble about random and stupid and silly things sometimes, but sometimes this blog is all I have.  After the encounter today, I really wanted to tell someone about it.  But I didn’t have anyone I could tell it to.  I’ve been closed off for a long time.  I keep to myself because friends who I thought I was close to let me down, they didn’t care about me the way I thought they did.  Now I have 2 friends who I consider to be close friends, but they aren’t physically close.  And the truth is, it’s still hard for me to talk to them about certain things.  I don’t know how to bring something like this up with them.  I end up feeling guilty for talking about me instead of them and so I make light of whatever it is I wanted to tell them in the first place.  I feel selfish if the “problem” I have isn’t big in comparison to a problem they may have.

This blog is the only place I can truly express myself and my fears and tell others about things happening in my life without feeling guilty because I’m talking about me.  I used to keep a journal and if I went back to read my old thoughts, I’m sure they would sound an awful lot like this blog- often repetitive and back and forth emotionally.  I love life, I hate myself, I love myself, I hate life- you get the picture.  I often wonder if I’m optimistic, pessimistic, or just plain foolish and sometimes I wonder if I’m bi-polar.  My mood swings probably aren’t that extreme, but what can I say, I over-think and over-analyze everything.  All of which to say that while I still intend to use this blog to chronicle my writing journey, I think it’s important to use it to chronicle the bigger journey that I’m on, too.

A journey to be happy.

Does flirting release endorphins?

You may or may not know that I have many jobs.  I am a jack of all trades, if you will.  One of my jobs is to cat/house sit for a couple while they are away on business.  This consists of staying in their condo Monday night through Thursday morning and feeding their cats.  It’s a pretty sweet gig.

Anyways.  For the past couple of weeks that I’ve been house sitting, I’ve seen this guy taking his dog out.  Now, I don’t see many people coming and going in this complex, and I certainly haven’t seen anyone else my age, but I’ve seen him several times.  And I have to admit, the guy is cute.  We haven’t been really close to each other, so I’m not sure how tall he is, but it’s at least several inches taller than me (I have a thing for tall guys, I can’t help it!) and he’s got dark brown hair- not too long, not too short (which for me is just right 🙂 ).

Anyways (again).  Yesterday I came “home” to the condo, dropped off my stuff and went back outside to go to the grocery store.  He was standing in the parking lot with his dog (a Huskie, I think, but I’m not well-versed on dog breeds) talking to a little old man.  I smiled as I walked by to get in my car.

This morning my arms were loaded down with crap when I went outside to go to work because I had my lunch and a change of clothes with me, plus I was running a little late, so I wasn’t really paying attention to anything- I was in a hurry.  He must have been just a few feet behind me walking out of the building because when I got in my car and started the engine, he and his dog walked past.  He smiled and gave a little wave.

I don’t even know if I smiled back!

But!  The thought of his smile made me smile all the way to work- all 30 minutes! Traffic has never been such a welcome element to my morning drive.  And it put me in a super good mood all morning.  Throughout the whole day anytime I thought about his cute little wave, I smiled.

I don’t know if these little interactions we’ve had actually count as flirting, because I am in poor practice when it comes to flirting, but the wave and smile this morning definitely felt like a step towards flirting, if nothing else.  And all the happiness it caused me throughout the day made me think of the question used as the title of this post- does flirting release endorphins?  I did a google search, but didn’t find anything relevant on flirting and endorphins, so if anyone out there in the blogosphere knows of a connection, please enlighten me.

Of course, this little maybe-flirting scenario has given me scene ideas for a new book I’m in the developing stages on.  I’m trying really hard not to work on anything new until The Death Effect is finished, but this idea has been nagging me so I’ve been writing down character details and dialogue when it comes to me, and cute guy with dog has inspired a storyline for one of the MCs.  Who knows if I’ll ever actually write it, but it’s nice to know that my supremely boring life isn’t as boring as I thought, because if it was, would I actually be using it to draw inspiration for my writing?  I don’t think so!

Weekly Update

On Monday I didn’t do any work really, but did jot down a few ideas I had for editing Twenty-Five. Not much, but thinking about edits is better than nothing at all.

On Tuesday I began editing my first chapter of Twenty-Five. I worked on incorporating the first scene I took out and making it less of a backstory information dump by weaving the character stuff into the dialogue of Abigail’s birthday party with her family. I’m hoping it works better, but we’ll just have to see.

On Wednesday I wrote a little of The Death Effect.  About three notebook pages, which is probably like a page and a half typed.  Again, not a lot, but even a little momentum is better than none.

On Thursday, I did nothing!  I had to work at the orthodontist’s all day and then had event review for a wedding in the evening.  Didn’t leave much time for anything else 😦

On Friday, I did nothing again!  I had plenty of time because the only thing I did work wise was the final update of the timeline for the wedding and then the actual rehearsal for the wedding.  But I took some much needed ME time.  I’ve been working non-stop the past couple of weeks, so it was nice not to do anything.

Saturday, sadly, nothing.  I had the wedding most of the day, though, and was too tired and mentally drained to do anything productive when I got home, so I just watched a marathon of Friends.  Freaking amazing show.

Today, I opened up Twenty-Five and tried to figure out how to end my new/old chapter one.  Everything I typed didn’t work, so I tried to move on to chapter two, with the hope of coming back, but then my sister, who lives two hours away, came over because she was getting her hair done by our other sister, and we ended up going out to dinner.  I just got back and I’m going to go work on chapter two.  I’m worried because I’ve decided to take Abigail’s POV of the car accident out completely.  Probably a crazy idea because I got great feedback on it, but I think I’m bogging the story down by having the accident in both her’s and Ben’s POVs, and I just finished a chapter in her’s, so I need to have his now to keep the voices even.  If it sucks, I can always go back to the other version.

So that was my week in writing.  I hope you had more success!

Starting with Action…

When I was workshopping Twenty-Five on TNBW, several reviewers told me I needed to delete the opening scene and jump straight into the action.  So many reviewers in fact, that eventually I broke down and listened to them.  And I didn’t have second doubts about following that advice until I got my rejection from Scott Eagan.  He said that there was a lack of character development.  I wondered at the time if my character development suffered because I deleted the opening scene.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately.  I’ve read 13 books since the start of the year.  And not a single one of them starts off going straight into the action.  Granted, one is Jane Austen and no books from the early nineteenth century started with action (at least none that I’ve read), but the other 12 are all late twentieth or twenty-first century.  So….  My thoughts on that are that maybe I don’t need to start with action immediately.  Maybe that’s just a rule they throw out in writing workshops and on agent blogs because it sounds great in theory and because books that do it well, do it great.  But it doesn’t make sense for my romance novel which is based around the characters and not around what happens.

I took a couple days and re-read my MS.  Again.  And I really noticed the lack of character development at the beginning.  I was shocked, honestly.  I never thought that was a problem I had.  I assumed the biggest problem with Twenty-Five was that the plot wasn’t unique enough, which is still a problem when it comes to writing the query, but I actually think it kinda works for this book.  Anyways, my point was, it looks like you can’t listen to everything reviewers say.  Now, I’m not stupid or vapid or naive enough to believe that if I add that scene back in it’s going to magically fix my character development problem.  The opening scene is going to need a lot of editing and the action scene is going to need a lot of editing to make it work with the opening.  It’s going to be a lot of work.  But I believe in this book.  And I know I’ve said that a million times.  But I do.  So I’m going to do the work and I’m actually kind of excited about it.  It kind of makes me sick at the same time, but I’m going to focus on the excitement.

Getting Back in the Swing of Things, Writing Things, That Is

I’ve decided to stop p***y-footing around.  And I use the asterisks because I hate that word, but I can’t deny that that is exactly what I’ve been doing with my writing lately.  It is time for me to really try to get an agent.  No more feeling sorry for myself because query writing sucks (which it does, btw).

For the rest of this month, if I’m not working on wedding stuff or actually at work, I’m going to be revising Twenty-Five again, working on my query letter, and researching new agents to query.  A friend of mine from TNBW thinks I have a good shot with British agents, so I’m going to add a bunch to my list.  I’m not giving up on getting an agent for Twenty-Five until I’ve exhausted every single possible agent out there.

Beginning in May I’ll be sending out all of those queries, and since sending out queries really doesn’t take that much time, I’ll be devoting the rest of my free time to writing.  Because I need to finish The Death Effect.  Anytime I read portions of TDE, I love it, but I very rarely work on it.  I’m going to finish it.  I am determined that Twenty-Five will not be a fluke, I will finish another book!  I will, I will, I will!

Your job, my lovely readers, is to hold me accountable.  I am really going to need your help.  If I haven’t posted in a couple of days, leave me a comment or send me an email asking for an update- even if you don’t care for an update.  I need motivation, I need goals and deadlines.  My goal is to have sent at least 50 query letters by the end of May and at least 60k words of TDE.  Since I’ve already sent 18 query letters that means I have to send 32 letters, and since TDE is already at 28,535 words, I only have to write 31,465 words.  Now if I can just forget that it took me five months to write the 28k words I already have, then maybe that 31k won’t seem so daunting…

Think positively, Rach.  You can do it.  You can do it.

Irritated and Inadequate in North Carolina

Dear fellow Bloggers,

I’m slightly irritated.  I know, big shocker.  I tend to get irritated at the drop of a hat, but at least I recognize that about myself, right? Possibly why I’m still single?  But I digress…

Okay, so why am I irritated?  I just finished reading a book.  I both enjoyed the book and hated it.  Isn’t that the worst?  I enjoyed it because I was rooting for two of the characters and really wanted a love story for them.  I hated it because it did all the things we aspiring writers are told not to do and did not do them in a way that made me say, “Well, if you’re going to break the rules, do it like that.”  It broke all those rules and did it in way that I was annoyed throughout most of the book thinking, I SO would have loved to critique this book before it went to the agent, maybe then there’d be fewer instances of POV head-hopping, information backstory dumps, more explanation of what certain things that may not be familiar to the entire world are, and a helluv a lot more character depth, growth, and development.

This particular book was the third one published by this author.  I wonder if the glaring rule-breaking was present in her first book.  I wonder if she was able to get the first book past agent gatekeepers with these same really annoying elements.  Actually makes me want to read the first book.  Isn’t that weird?  But my point is, that I think it’s so much easier once you have an agent and you’ve had other books published to produce a mediocre book.  Why weren’t the obvious instances of POV head-hopping addressed before this book was published?  My guess is because it didn’t go through as much editing before it went to the agent and publisher.  Because the author already had the agent and publisher.

And of course, thinking this way about a book that I’m holding in my hands and reading makes me think about my own book.  Makes me wonder if I’ll ever have the courage to attempt another round of queries, if I’ll ever be able to hold it in my hands, bound, with a cover bearing my name as the author.  I think that it should be out there in the world, that it would make people happy to read it.  But I can’t pluck up the courage to sit down, write a query, and send it out.  I believe the book is good.  I know that the only thing holding me back is me, I’m just not really sure why I’m holding myself back.  Isn’t that what cripples most people in pursuing their dreams?  Themselves?  What am I afraid of?  Being told I’m not good enough, I think.

In all honestly, I think that fear has plagued me my whole life.  The fear of being inadequate.  And yet, I make myself inadequate by not just going for it, by not believing that I AM good enough.

I told that story the other day about the waiter who hit on me and I tried to make it funny, because when I step back and think about it, it really was funny.  But the truth is, I didn’t find it that funny when I wrote about it.  When he told me I was beautiful, my first instinct was to laugh and immediately dismiss it as a joke.  I certainly didn’t feel beautiful and couldn’t really understand why he would say that.  The more I thought about it the less funny it became.  When I left the restaurant and got into my car, I imagined telling people what had happened and my next thought was that no one would believe me.  Or that people would believe that it had happened, but not that the guy actually meant what he said.  I did tell a few people, I guess in the hopes that they wouldn’t have that reaction, and no one did.  And you know what my next thought was?  That they did have that reaction internally but were keeping it to themselves.


I’m never going to have confidence in myself if my brain automatically goes to that place where I can’t believe it when someone says something nice about me.  I’ll always be “not good enough” if I don’t allow myself to be good enough.  I don’t know why I’m sharing this with the world, if indeed the few people who read this blog can be considered the world.  I guess because I write now.  Even if sometimes it does make me feel inadequate.  And maybe writing this will force me to be good enough for myself so that I can take my book, that I spent a year pouring my heart into, and actually try and get it into the hands of someone who can make it good enough for the world.


Irritated and Inadequate in North Carolina

Self-Esteem Boost of the Day

The good stuff’s at the bottom, so keep reading…

I had a really random weekend.  I had to work at the orthodontist’s on Friday, which I don’t usually do because we are typically off on Fridays.  On my lunch break I had to call all of the vendors for the wedding I’m working on the 24th.

Then on Saturday I drove to Durham to my boss’s house so we could ride to Asheville together for a seminar today.  Stupid us didn’t realize until I was already at her house that my house in Burlington is on the way to Asheville, so I drove an extra 45 minutes for no reason!

So today we went to the seminar and it was really a great class.  We learned about personality types and how we should approach selling ourselves to the different types of personalities thanks to Samantha Goldberg.  Then Mark Kingsdorf taught us about marketing our business and branding ourselves and I won a free hour consultation with him for our business!  SWEET!

Plus, Sam and I have decided to start a blog for Bliss by Sam.  We’re going to launch it next month and it’s going to be called Daring, Devoted, which is our company slogan.  Sam, our assistant Ali, and I are each going to be writing articles and we’ll be posting once a week.  My articles are going to be called: “So You Think You’re That Devoted…” and are going to be all about the aspects of wedding planning that really shouldn’t be DIY and every once and a while will include something that can easily be DIY.  Other recurring articles will be called “How Dare You,” “I Dare You To,” and “I Second that Devotion.”  I’m excited to get started on it and will of course link to it when it’s ready.

Now, on to the reason for the title of today’s post.  We left Ashville at 4:00 today and I drove all the way back to Durham, picked up my car and headed back to Burlington.  I stopped in Mebane to get some dinner at my favorite restaurant because I was tired and didn’t want to be driving anymore and I just wanted a little “alone” time since I’d been hanging out with my boss for the past 28 hours straight.  I got a booth for one, ordered my meal, and pulled out my book.  After the server brought my food and refilled my drink he stopped and said, “You know, I just have to say, you’re really beautiful.”

Whoa.  Ok, so I had just put two french fries in my mouth and I couldn’t really respond, but I could feel my cheeks just burning and he kept talking.  “You’re sitting there, reading your book with your cute little reading glasses…”

All I managed to mumble was “thank you,” and then he walked away.  Then when he came back a little later he asked me how old I am, and I told him 25.  He said something like, “Well you still have it going on,” or something like that.  I said, “Still?  25’s not old!”

He said, “No, but I’m 21.  Well, almost 21.”

Then when he brought me my check, he said, “We’re not supposed to do this, but if you want to leave me your number I’ll give you a call sometime.”

I couldn’t help but laugh at that point, it was just so ridiculous.  No guy has ever asked for my number, and here’s this kid server who’s probably just trying to get a bigger tip out of me asking for it!  I told him that he needed to work on turning 21 first and then maybe we’d talk.

He didn’t let up!  He said, “I’ll be 21 in June!”

And my birthday’s in June, too, so I told him that and he asked me when it was, and I told him and he said his was on the same day.  I think he really was lying about that, but it was just so funny.  I laughed all the way home.  I’m going to think about this little encounter the rest of the week anytime that I’m feeling a little down on myself.  It was just so random and ridiculous!  But, it makes me feel good about myself all the same!

Now your turn- share your most random “I got hit on” stories in the comments!

Better to have loved and lost?

You know the quote.  Everyone does.  “It is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.”

I’m thinking about this quote tonight because I actually saw a comment that a couple of reviewers made on a poem on TNBW (not a poem I wrote BTW).  One of the reviewers used this quote and the other reviewer wondered if reviewer #1 had ever felt so broken that death felt like a better option.

I think that’s incredibly unfair of reviewer #2, personally.  If you HAVE loved, even if you have lost someone, then you’ve known the greatest joy there is in this world.  You’ve had a light at the end of the tunnel.  You’ve had starlight and fairy dust.

If you HAVEN’T loved, well, then I totally feel your pain.  You can’t describe that pain to another person who has loved.  They don’t understand it.  The emptiness.  The torment as you ponder day in and day out what the hell is wrong with you and why the hell no one in this world has ever cared about you.  You walk around every day bleeding inside.  Loneliness defines you.  Something funny happens and you have no one to run and share it with.  Not only do you have no one right now, you’ve never had anyone.  You feel like you never will have anyone.  Yet you smile.  You enjoy life.  You find pleasure in the little things.  Because you know what will happen if you don’t.  You really will be alone forever because no one wants to be with someone as unhappy as you truly are.

So.  Is it better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all?  I don’t know.  I can’t answer the question because I’ve only been on one side of it, but if I had to bet, I’d say yes.  I’d shout it from the rooftops.  I’d take a broken heart over an un-used one any day.  And I know there will be people who want to argue with me, but I’m sorry.  I don’t feel an ounce of sympathy for you right now if you’ve broken up with your boyfriend or girlfriend or husband or wife and it was the absolute worst experience of your life because I’m too busy being jealous of you.

Okay, that’s not completely true.  I will feel sympathy for you and that will just make me hate you even more.

Oh.  And though this post has nothing to do with a practical joke, Happy April Fool’s Day!