Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Current listen: I Am Not a Robot courtesy of Marina The Diamonds
(This song should be my theme song, and copies distributed to my family members)

 When I decided to become serious about the burning passion my writing "hobby" created, I turned to those I trusted most, guardedly divulging my dream to write a book. I expected hysterical laughter (even a mild heart attack at my expense), not to mention endless whisperings questioning my sanity, although the issue of my "sanity" has been up for speculation for years. The reaction I received surprised me, to say the least. Nothing but overwhelming encouragement and a barrage of requests to be my "test readers."
However, only a select few, those who I trusted to be honest (to the point of brutal if necessary) and tell me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear, would be chosen as my personal "editors." And so, I began the gruelling, frustrating, and joyful task of writing The Program. Almost a year to the day, several bucket loads of tears (not to mention being laid off from a law firm I'd invested 15 years with during this time) and rounding out my rear end from sitting and consuming chocolate to alleviate my stress levels, I penned the ending to The Program.
The first of many panic attacks ensued, endless hours of editing commenced, and vast amounts of time researching how to get my story from my desk, to the shelves of Barnes and Noble, a labyrinth I'm still working through, took over my life. I can only equate this experience to an "alien abduction," and I've yet to be returned to Earth. As I said in my earlier blog, writing the book was the easy part.
I'd reached a point of surrendering because the task of getting published seemed insurmountable. Then my husband, whom I shall call Damien for tonight's episode (picture hair the color of strong coffee, straight, shiny, and draping loosely over cobalt blue eyes . . . ) repaired the telephone of an enchanting lady living in an artist community across town.
Now, I don't believe in "accidents." I do believe people come into our lives for a purpose, whether its for that moment, or for a lifetime, and I like to think of them as "earth angels." However, this particular lady I've elevated to the status of "fairy godmother."
Her name is Ivy Ruckman. Google her. She's amazing, and a young adult author! (Not to mention one of her books was made into a movie: Night of the Twisters.) Sadly, she's been forced to set writing aside, but she's transitioning from talented writer to gifted painter without stopping for a breath! I am in awe of this woman.
Longer story shortened, in the course of conversation Damien mentioned I was writing a book. She graciously offered to give me pointers in exchange for a cup of coffee. A Jamocha Frappe sealed the deal and opened the door to a friendship I hope lasts many years. After answering my barrage of questions and hearing the embarrassing slurp of the last of my drink, Ivy asked me if I would feel comfortable letting her read and critique my first chapter. Butterflies turned to soaring eagles in my stomach. I paced in front of the mailbox (I sent a return envelope) for three weeks. Finally, a call came with an invitation for coffee at her house. She wanted to meet and discuss my chapter. I threw up.
I will never forget that day. It was raining, and we sat under her covered front porch, eating cookies while she made me read my chapter aloud (an editing tip that snares the obvious mistakes). When we were done, she gathered the papers and said with true sincerety "Joelene, this book will publish and I'm so sure of it, I'm requesting a signed copy of the first edition." She used the word "shocked" as her first impression and said she especially loved the way I wrote dialogue.

I cried the entire thirty minute drive back to my house. Someone who'd been down this path I was stumbling, believed I could do this. If a stranger believed in me, how could I not believe in myself? I resolved right then to jump off the fence and dive in with both feet (I have large feet, so it could be a while before I surface).

Ivy Ruckman became the "wind beneath my wings." Keep in mind, I never said I was "flying," but I'd like to think I've progressed from "fluttering." Of course, more than honorable mention must go to those running around on the ground with safety nets, who have held my hand from the beginning, through to my final edits: Kaye, Karla, and Sascha. I can't begin to express my appreciation.

There you have it. The long sordid beginning to what's brought me to this point. Again, your thoughts (be kind), suggestions, and just stopping by, are welcomed.

Today's thought: Believe in something, and let that something be yourself.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Current listen: No Ones Gonna Love You by Band of Horses

My iPod is my oxygen tank. Diet Coke and plain M&M's are my food pyramid.

Welcome to my crazy world . . . by clicking onto my blog, you have become a passenger on my wild ride. If you listen carefully, you'll hear the "$7.50 an hour" monotone voice enthusiastically (not) announce: "Keep your arms inside the ride until it comes to a full and complete stop . . ." I'm still waiting for the full and complete stop.

Here I am writing my first "post" into cyberspace. I have my rubber ducky inner tube secured around my waist and I'm standing on the edge of the diving board while far below, the voices call "it's okay - jump!"

My first time snow skiing, my dear friend who claimed to be an avid skier (and being my first time, she could have claimed me she'd won a gold medal and I'd have believed her) told me all I needed to do was point my tips to the bottom of the mountain and push myself off. I have a faint recollection of her snickering as she swooshed off to catch up with some cute boys who'd ridden the lift in front of us (thank heavens, they'd missed the whole "falling off the lift" stunt I'd perfected. F.Y.I. it is really deep powder at the base of the lift house). Her "words of wisdom" were my first real encounter with "it's okay - jump!"

I did as she instructed, inhaling a deep breath and pushing myself off. Dear Lord, where did all the people come from at the bottom of the hill?! I screamed my hysterical warning for all of them to quickly jump to safety and aimed for the tree that would cause me the least physical pain. A few brave fools (none of which were my BFF) came to my rescue, while others, dressed in their expensive Lycra bodysuits skied by, giving me new "nicknames." (I've been called a few of those "nicknames" at various times throughout my life.)

So here I am, ready to jump into this new world of blogging, in hopes of promoting myself to those in the "publishing game" who may want a closer glimpse of me, and for those who are merely along for "the ride", stick around. I've discovered when God needs a good laugh, all he has to do is point his finger my direction. Stay tuned . . .

I am a new author, specializing in the Young Adult Romance genre, currently "dystopian or urban fantasy." I completed a manuscript the size of "War and Peace" (before it was edited) about 8 months ago, and have been painstakingly editing almost every day since. "The Program" is now two completed books and the first part is almost ready for presenting to the literary agency arm of "the publishing world." I welcome advice, shared experiences, or helpful hints to taking the steps necessary to see my dream of publishing my story, come to fruition. For those of you who are starting and happened (probably by accident) to follow the little "hand" to my blog, I hope through my experience, I can help you further yourself in accomplishing your own goal. If not, I hope you come back, even if just for a laugh. I'm cheap entertainment.

The past two years have been the most joyful, exhilarating, frustrating life experience. And I'm just getting started! I'm in awe of any of you who have already accomplished the insurmountable task of getting published. Writing the book was easy!

I feel like a baby bird that's been watching the shadows move around outside the glowing bubble safely encasing it, until it needed something more. The want to discover what made those "shadows" encouraged this bird to peck away at the fragile existence surrounding it, cracking it enough to let the light peek through. Finally, being brave enough to actually shatter the shell and spread its wings wide, it felt the breeze of "freedom" lift beneath, encouraging the bird to walk out on the limb. With a heart pounding strong, this baby bird listened until it heard "it's okay - jump!" and instead of falling as it thought it would, this bird soared.

My thought for today: Never give up on your dreams . . .