Defying Gravity And Throwing Up In My Mouth Just A Little
Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Editing Note: Blogger is hating me today and my links are not working. The following 
fabulous blog can be found over on the side on my blogroll. If you are a writer, check 
these ladies out. They are 2 authors who are chock full of wisdom and they've got their 
hands out to all writers who are looking for help and advice. 

They have torches to light the way.

So, remember that query contest I entered at the blog, Writing Out The Angst: 
The Twisted Path Toward Publication?

Well . . .  I won. 

I still can't believe the power in those 2 little words. Those 2 little words have rocked 
my world for the last day and just sent me into a tailspin of excitement and elation, but 
mostly, I've been walking around thinking I'm going to throw up in my mouth any 

It's feeling real, this writing gig and the thought of that scares me to death. 

The Empress emailed me yesterday with the news in capital letters: YOU WON!!!!

I had to put my head between my knees for a few minutes. 

My house was brimming with teenagers, the usual way of summer around here and 
they were all, "Um . . . what's up with your mom?"

There was a lot of whooping and hollering for about 5 minutes when I told them the news 
and then somebody mentioned popsicles and the whole herd of them went tromping off to 
empty out my food reserves, but not before reminding me that I promised to take them to the 
mall later and then they were all coming back to my house for a massive sleepover. 

Because we don't have enough teenage girls in this house. 

And so, I was left alone to contemplate this jump off the high dive. 

My next thought was weirdly, I've got to amp up my tricep dips. Because, of course, the 
thought of query letters lends itself to agent shopping which morphs into the hopeful thought 
of publication which leads into the dream of book signings. 

And I have this thing about jiggly arms. I don't like them on me. 

And mine are a bit jiggly right now, because I've been sitting in front of a computer 
constantly and no matter how hard you hit those keyboard buttons, it doesn't do a thing 
for your triceps. 

Trust me, I've tried. 

And so I pictured myself at a book signing and people muttering, "Get a load of her 
ham hock arms." And so my angst went even higher as I thought about my to do list. 
Polish the book up one more time, try to conquer the tower of laundry and carve 
out those triceps. 

I still can't believe I won. The only thing I've ever won was a spatula from our local Flapjack 
Festival's big raffle. 

The grand prize was a Buick LeSabre. I won the spatula. 

I've never been fond of Buicks anyway.

It was red and painted down the side in puffy paint was the phrase, "I'm a Flippin' Fan of 
(the town) Flapjack Festival."

I had no idea what to do with that spatula. Did I cook with it? Was I supposed to display it? 

Now, I don't have a whole lot of decorating sense, but I do know that spatulas decked out 
in puffy paints really don't capture any home decor look I'm going for. 

We did end up using it a couple of times, but the handle started splintering and the puffy paint 
would drop off into the pancake batter. And I wasn't sure if puffy paint was toxic or not, so 
sadly, I had to throw my beautiful prize away. 

The only other item I've ever won was a bottle of champagne. Although, technically if the 
grapes are not harvested from the champagne region of France, it is called sparkling wine. 
This stuff would have probably been considered Sparkling Dirt. 

It was that bad. 

I was young and blonde and my boobs were still upright when I was shoved onstage at 
a club to collect my prize. Problem was, it wasn't really my prize. 

See, my hubby and I and our friends were regular patrons of a certain college hangout in our 
day. A reggae man named Rupert, wailed out some great reggae tunes there every Saturday 
night and Rupert always stopped his song to herald us when we walked in the door. 

Those were the days, when we felt like the Kings and Queen of the Universe. And there 
were no bad backs or early morning kid soccer games to keep us from dancing the night away. 

As we swayed to Rupert's lazy sound and drank our way through rounds of cheap beer, 
Rupert announced the winning ticket for the sparkling dirt. And since young folks don't hold 
on to their entry tickets when liquor is involved, no one knew the difference when Rupert 
smiled and pretended that, yes, this young girl in the mini skirt with no need for spanx had 
indeed won the dirt. 

My dishonesty was paid back in full with the splitting headache I had the next day from 
drinking down every bit of fizz in that sparkling dirt. I still remember guzzling it straight 
from the bottle. 

A different time, folks. A different time. 

Oh, and I've just been reminded by some of my commenters, that over at Bye Bye Pie
last week, I won a caption contest. And what a lucky girl I am to win an inflatable fruitcake 
and some bacon air freshener. The other commenters over there are so JEALOUSSSS. 

But, this win is so different, so much mightier than puffy painted spatulas or Sparkling Dirt or 
bacon air freshener. 

This is a turn the corner kind of win. 

And I feel like every nerve in my body is exposed, raw to the world. 

I wish I took drugs, right now. But, as a Catholic girl who saw entirely too many filmstrips, 
(That's right. that's how old I am. It wasn't even a film, it was a dang filmstrip), on the horrors 
of drugs and how I will turn into a crack whore if I take more than 2 Advil at a time, I can't 
venture into the world of prescription drugs. 

I have to do exactly what my sister advised me to do last night when I was emailing her 
with all my angst. I have to calm the crap down, because this is just the beginning of a long 
journey. See, sisters can do that, give you the slap across your face, when you need it the most, 
right at the peak of your hysteria. 

Suzanne Hayze, one of the two incredible authors running this contest, (the other being 
Amanda Bonilla), already contacted me yesterday with some questions about my genre. 

I won't bore you with all of it. I'll just say my novel veers towards chick lit, but not too 
fluffy. Dare I say, a little like Jennifer Weiner? And in these days, some literary snobs 
feel chick lit is too overplayed and so the answer is to blanket novels like that into the all 
encompassing women's fiction. Suzanne wasn't too sure that was my genre.

And I, of course turned into a neurotic mess and was like, "Oh no! I didn't get it right! 
Oh Lawzy, Miss Suzanne, I don't know nothin' bout birthin' queries!"

And Suzanne was all, "RELAX, girlfriend. We will figure this out together."

*Sigh* She couldn't see my tears of gratitude as they dampened the keyboard. 

I researched genres until the words started to swim before me and last night as I fell asleep with 
my dog draped across my head, the words, chick lit, marching across my brain, I dreamt of a 
new genre. 

And yes, I did say, dog draped across my head. One of my pups has this weird penchant for 
flopping on top of my head and crashing. And since she's very fluffy and soft, I find it oddly 
soothing, a dog on my head. 

So anyway, how's this sound? My novel is in the Joann Genre. 

How bout that! Could you imagine the agents reading my query with a frown, mouthing the 
words, The Joann Genre? And then googling it? 

But, I've heard that oftentimes agents can be a little crabby when you try and get inventive 
like that, so I'll just keep researching and sending every bit of minutiae I can find on the subject 
to Suzanne. 

I'm sure with the flood of information I'm sending her, she's soooo glad I won.

For the next few weeks, I'm going to be a raw open wound, crying at the drop of a hat, 
laughing hysterically, swimming in self doubt one second and then feeling like I can champion 
the world, the next. 

But, mainly I'll be hunched over my computer as if my career depended on it. 

Because, it does.

And since kids and dogs and laundry don't care about queries or careers, you might hear my 
primal scream through the virtual wires. 

I will be blogging along with my writing because blogging is my Xanax or whatever it is I 
should be taking right now for my angst. 

Please forgive me, if I don't visit for the next few weeks as much as I'd like. But, don't worry, 
once I have this Joann Genre down and everything wrapped up in a pretty little bow, 
I'll BE BACK. 

Now, I gotta go. I've got to go cry and the tricep dips are calling my name and so is a little 
something else called my novel. 

Wish me luck. I'll be seeing all of you, my lovely friends, very soon. 

Today's Definite Download: "Defying Gravity" And even though Idina Menzel does a 
goose-pimply job with this song, I'm giving the props to the cast of Glee. Oh, how I love that 
show. I think it's the best show I've seen in a very long time. I also added a few of my own 
lyrics in parentheses. 

And once again, even though she's probably getting as tired of me thanking her as she is of all 
the links I'm sending her, this goes out to Suzanne Hayze and Amanda Bonilla for taking me 
under their query wing. Thank you, more than words can say. 

Something has changed within me (my triceps)
Something is not the same (my triceps)
I'm through with playing by the rules (Joann Genre)
Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing (Oh Crap)
Too late to go back to sleep(That's for sure)
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!(This is me screeeeaminggggg)

It's time to try 
Defying gravity (too late for my boobs)
I think I'll try
Defying Gravity (here we go!)
Kiss me goodbye (Ahem, Bono)
I am defying gravity
And you won't bring me down (self doubt and laundry)


Lisa said...



Kelly said...

How can you forget you won the Grand Prize over at Bye Bye Pie, a prize that should have been mine but wasn't because you played dirty and mentioned Carin in your submission. A prize I was coveting with every ounce of my being? Remember? You won the Inflatable Fruitcake!!

THAT is something to be proud because not everyone wins an inflatable fruitcake.

So. When do I need to start demanding when your novel will be available at the Borders of the Noble Amazon?

twelvedaysold said...

Yes, the Bye Bye Pie prize! Many were jealous, including myself.

Oh, I can't wait for when you have your book published and you have an Amazon link on the side of your blog. I'll preorder it!

SurferWife said...


And go put your head back between your knees.

Or your husbands.

He will thank me later for that.

Dee said...

Congratulations. The first step on your journey.

cheri said...

congratulations! can't wait for your book...

Katie's Dailies said...

I THOUGHT that was what was going on! CONGRATULATIONS BIG GIRL (and I mean that in the most loving of ways and I wasn't talking about your triceps or anything else, especially after I polished off a bag of Doritos for lunch, the evil food)!

There really ought to be a Joann Genre. Your writing is like no one else's: totally unique, thoughtful, peaceful and funny as all get out. You'll do wonders in the world of words, sweetie, and your book is going to be wonderful, too, just like you!

Smiles and Hugs! ; )

Britt said...

YAY!!! I can't wait for a whole section at Barnes & Nobles or Books a Million (or some other big chain) of Joann Genre books! Yours of course being the best! Can't wait till it comes out and I can brag to all my friends, I read her blog before she was published, so we practically go way back!!

Cheeseboy said...

Well honestly, I can't say I am surprised at all. This is one contest you were meant to win. I just hope it doesn't mean you are too big to blog anymore.

Also, my boobs are just now gaining some elasticity!

Cari said...

YAYYYYYYYYYYYYY!! Congratulations!! That is awesome!

Unknown said...

ACK! everywhere I click it's "JoAnn (not YOU) won the caption contest!"
Enough already! I know I can't be as cool as you, and maybe I'm a little edgy from babysitting a 2 year old boy this morning, to match the one I already had, added with the 1 year old, and at this point I'm just glad my house hasn't blown up...but I wish I was you right now.
You're such a winner!
Although, I knew you would win the whole time. No Surprise.

Noelle said...

And in the middle of it all I come along and ask you to post on my blog...and you say yes.

You're amazing!!!

Anonymous said...

You are just so funny! You know how happy I am for you!!!

I like the Joann Genre, it is catchy!!

And the Gone with the Wind reference is priceless.

You are amazing and you WILL get published.

Katherine said...

That is AMAZING! I have a little throw up in my mouth now just in honor of YOU!

Anonymous said...

oh yes... and I remember film strips. We had them a LOT!

Emily thinks it is used to test the pool water. I just asked her.

Shell said...

I love the idea of the Joann genre!

Good luck!!!

Shell said...

The Joann genre? I love it.

Good luck!!!!

Deidra said...

Congrats! I'm so happy for you! :D

And FANTASTIC song choice, by the way! If you've never seen Wicked live, you have to. The emotional power of that song can bring tears to the eyes and take the breath away from every person in the audience.

Ashley said...

Yay! Looking forward to reading your novel :-)

One Photo said...

Congratulations once again Joann - all the very best of luck on the next stage in this journey of yours. Know we are all right here rooting for you!

Anonymous said...

Yay! You won! I am so happy for you. I am already thinking of the day I'll read your book and say, "Hey! You know what? I read her blog! She's a friend and all.."!!! Yay! Yay yay yay!




Okay, let's work on getting there Joann genre!

pieters said...



awesome news my friend.


Ms. G said...

Congratulations! That is Very Cool: )

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

Oh my goodness, Joann, that's awesome! Congratulations - woo hoo! I want to be first in line at the book signing when you hit my neck o' the woods.

Melanie said...

Winning feels great, especially when you're used to losing (in my case, anyway :))...Congrats!


jayayceeblog said...

I'm not even surprised. When you said you won, I thought, "Well, of course you did!" There was never any doubt in my mind. You will be awesome. You will do the work as if you were made for it -- and you are. You will be published. You will do a book signing in Phoenix and I will be in line to meet you, my friend! Bacon scented air freshener sounds like the perfect Father's Day gift! And, P.S., I love chick lit!!!

Gigi said...

I see it now...a big sign hanging over the Joann Genre section in B&N. We can say we knew you when :)

Lori said...

Congratulations! That's fantastic news! Your book will be successful because you're too darn funny for it not to be. "birthin queries" I'm still tearing up from laughing over that one!

alicia said...

Congrats!! Well deserved. I keep telling my husband that you are going to be famous and I can say that I knew you way back when...

Oh, and I saw the "Why I hate Kate" post linked below and had to check it out. Thanks for the giggles. And if it makes you feel better I gained more than half my body weight with my first.

Liz said...

Congratulations!! That's so fabulous!! You crack me up that you are thinking about your triceps. I think Joann genre is perfect. You can work it, sista!

Of all your prizes, I'm kinda sorta jealous of the bacon air freshener. Just sayin'...

Judie said...

Not only do I love the Joann genre, I actually know what it is! I am excited! When the book comes out, I will buy a copy that is not 8 1/2 x 11! Then I can read it again in the pool.

Anonymous said...


You are awesome! No worries lady. You got it all under control.


Aunt Becky said...

I just peed myself out of excitement! YAY!

Al Goodwin said...

Congratulations! Warm thoughts for you and your family.


Liz Mays said...

Congratulations!!! You're on your way!

Pat said...

Well, a BIG congratulations to you!

I, myself, am a LOSER. My luck is SO BAD, in fact, that when my husband and I went to the race track and bet on a horse? He DROPPED DEAD (the horse, not my husband) BEFORE the finish line. And that, my friend, pretty much sums up MY LIFE!

I, too, am confused with the genre "Chick-lit". Is that all inclusive of novels about women? From the sickeningly cute to the nice, modern day love stories? How IS Jennifer Weiner's writing categorized?

Meg said...

I have to say, I don't think I entered this contest. Mostly because it scared the hell out of me. Win a vintage apron, pans, bowls, or anything else that sadly coincides with here my husband likes to pretend I belong? Absolutely! But the very idea that I could possibly win something to further my career? I believe that may have been the fastest I've ever shut down my computer...mostly because it was the only time I've ever shut down my computer.

So KUDOS to you! Not just for winning, but for having the guts to enter in the first place.

BTW, Do Kudo bars come with the prize? Because that would be awesome. Especially the chocolate ones...

Jen said...

This is sofa king (as Meleah says) exciting!!!!!!!

Yay for the Joann Genre, I'm going to google it now.

You go girl!

Dawn in D.C. said...


I don't read much chick lit, but I am totally into the Joann Genre!

Unknown said...

Congratulations, Joann! YOU WON!

DOn't worry about the arms right now. Just celebrate. and relax. Don't be gettin your Hanky Pankies in a wad now.

Joann genre? LOVE IT!


Tiffaney said...

YAY Joann!! I knew you could make it to this stage, and I am holding a steady vision of your imminent publication! It is going to happen, this I know for sure!

Ally said...

You're so gonna kick ass! Can't wait to hear more. You make me want to go back and finish my novel though I'm only on page 10. Ha ha.

Keep us posted! CONGRATS and by the way you're hawt, don't let yourself think anything but that, since it's the damn truth!

Bossy Betty said...

So happy and proud of you!!!! Yeah! You are following your bliss, baby and the universe is totally supportive!

MrsBlogAlot said...

Congratulations!! Yipee you won!!

Like there was any doubt! (-: So very happy for you and might I suggest taking SurferWife's advice not only because it was so damned funny but it will take your mind off all the loose arm stuff (-:

purplume said...

After reading your posts I wanted you to win so much. It is meant to be.
Sally Kirkland, an actor once said they tape up her arms when they are filming so they don't jiggle. You could tape yours and then wear a see through sleeve so people can see how fit they are and not see the tape.
I'm so happy for you.

Lula Lola said...

The Joann genre is so much better than chic lit! I'm so glad you won! I had wondered and hoped!
You're on a roll! I mean, seriously, bacon air freshener! The world is your oyster lady! I'm so tickled for you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Joann-I'm just catching up. I'm so glad you won-Congratulations!!!!

Alexandra said...

Joann--I am so glad you entered and went for it. I'm so glad you just did it, without thinking all sorts of excuses of not ready, not right, not now, etc.


This is meant to be. I was so happy when I saw your name up, you'd a thunk I knew ya or something (wink)

Love ya, girlfriend...xoxoxo

Cupcake Murphy said...


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