This morning, as soon as my eyes fluttered open, I thought: What. The. Hell.
This is not my usual first thought in waking. Most of the time, it's: Crap! I fell asleep with my makeup on during Andy Cohen and missed the Jackhole of the Day, AGAIN! Large pores, here I come.
And I did fall asleep during Andy's let's-pretend-we're-sneaking-beer-and-hanging-out-in-my-parents'-basement fabulous late night talk show, but this morning, bigger things took precedence.
As in my lip.
My fat lip.
I felt like I'd been in a bar fight and some roller derby queen had punched me in the mouth.
But as far as I know, I wasn't in any pubs last night quaffing down boilermakers with roller derby queens.
I don't take Ambien, so I'm pretty positive on this.
My lip was just slightly swollen, but it tingled and felt a little bruised, so of course I knew I was dying.
I wandered around the house all morning muttering, "This is so weird. Why does my lip feel like Lisa Rinna's?"
And when I say muttering, I mean I followed my family around, obsessing to anyone who would listen.
Oh, who am I kidding! No one listens to me in this house. Except for the dogs. It's why I love them best.
I googled tingling mouth, which is not something you want to google before you've had your coffee. Trust me on this.
And I welled up a little when I realized I had either Hypocalcemia, Hypoparathyroidism, Guillain-Barre syndrome, oral cancer, Elephantitis or The Jumping Frenchman disorder.
Or, in fact, all of them. Probably all of them.
By the time I realized God had appointed me the modern day Job, my husband was the only one left in the house to ignore my hypochondriac hysteria. And that's when it hit me.
Dear God. It was a brown recluse spider.
See, the brown recluse is as common here as the Great White Shark is to Australia. And they're both serious hit men, like Luca Brasi sticking a horse head in your bed, serious.
We have had our fair share of brown recluse bites in our family involving trips to the ER, skin grafts and a dog that almost died. So, clearly these murderers know where we live. And guess where brown recluses are most likely to attack? That's right. In your bed. While you're sleeping.
Just like Luca Brasi.
So, I was all, "FORGET WORK, HUSBAND! YOU NEED TO TAKE ME TO THE E.R. BEFORE THE VENOM REACHES MY HEART. But hang on, let me go blow dry my hair first."
And as I went racing off to my hair products, my hubs said, "Or you know, maybe the tv remote might have hit you. You know. In the face. Or something, I don't know, something like that."
And I was like, "Um, what?"
And he shrugged sheepishly, like he does when I sit in a wet spot on the toilet seat lid and I scream, (in a loving way) asking him if he, perchance, forgot to lift the lid.
He said, "You know the remote is always in the bed because you never put it on the nightstand, so maybe it hit you."
And I was like, "Well duh, that's because I was watching Andy Cohen. And what? Were you trying to teach me a lesson? 'She never puts the remote on the nightstand, so I'm gonna bash her in the face with it. That'll show her.' Is that it, Chris Brown?"
And he said, "No. I felt something under me when I was trying to sleep. I pulled it out, saw it was the remote and I just kind of tossed it over my shoulder and that's when it may or may not have hit you."
And I said, pursing my Lisa Rinna lips, "And just how do you know this?"
He'd been reading the paper when he confessed to battering me and he hid behind it then, as he said, "You might have sat up in bed and yelled, 'What the &@# hell? You just *!# hit me in my #@! mouth with the mother *&#, $#* remote, you mother#@#*!' But then you just lay back down, so I figured you were talking in your sleep again."
Or more like cussing a river in my sleep.
My husband gave me a fat lip. I will never let him live this one down.
And one more thing.
An update for all of you on my querying. As you've probably noticed, I haven't been around much lately. It's because I've been writing and revising and reviewing and revising and pretty much riding this crazy roller coaster of trying to make a dream come true.
On my first query go-round, I sent out four queries. This isn't a lot by query standards, but I'm the type who dips my toes in first and then slowwwwly eases into the pool. I'm not a cannonball jumper, by any means. That type of rambunctious nonsense totally trashes a good hair day.
I sent these four queries to my dream agents, the cool girls, the ones who I would die to be invited to sit at their lunch table.
Two days later, one of those agents requested my full manuscript.
See, the way it works is: You query an agent. If they like what they see, they usually ask for a partial manuscript or about three chapters. If they like that, they ask for a full. This agent bypassed that partial and asked me for a full.
I couldn't believe it. I'd heard the stories, how hard this was supposed to be, how 98% of writers get rejected, how many famous writers toiled forever before anyone sat up and took notice.
I sent off my manuscript, elated. In the meantime, two of those agents sent me rejections. But no matter, an agent of my dreams had my full manuscript in her hands.
And then I went to Pebble Beach for a vacation and as I sat at breakfast one morning, I got an email from my number one dream agent, asking me to send her a partial manuscript.
Oh, I tell you, I was in heaven, aspiring author heaven.
We toasted with champagne and I emailed all my writer friends to tell them the big news.
I floated home from that vacation, dreaming about book tours and NY Times lists and Isla Fisher playing my main character, Kel, in the blockbuster movie.
In the meantime, I got back to work because those two rejections were getting under my skin. Because I always want everyone to love me. And those two rejections told me there was always room for improvement.
I sent out four more queries while I waited. But this time, the news wasn't so good. I got one rejection and the other three didn't respond. Many agencies will say if you don't hear from them, it's a no. So I figured I got a no, no, no and no on that go-round.
Still, two agents were reading my words. So I worked and I polished and I revised.
And I stalked those two agents—reading their blogs, buying their client's books, following them on Twitter.
It was a Sunday, when I saw a tweet from the agent who had my full, stating she had big news on her blog.
I raced right over to see what was going down.
And that's when I found out she was quitting the agency. In fact, she was quitting agenting altogether. For a big job, the job of her dreams.
I sent her an email, congratulating her and politely asking about my manuscript. She didn't answer. I spent the next few days, crying, eating all of the chocolate chip cookie dough from my daughter's fundraiser and commiserating with all of my darling, darling writer friends.
Not too shortly after that jolt, the agent of my dreams who had my partial sent me a very kind email, telling me that although my writing was lovely, she didn't think my novel was right for her.
I started on the Keebler Elfwiches.
A few days later I got an email from the agency of the agent who had quit, telling me they were still considering my manuscript.
And I was all, "Yay! Yay!"
And then yesterday, the newest agent at that agency sent me an email, saying that although she was drawn in by my premise and my entertaining and well drawn cast of characters, she wasn't as pulled in as she would have liked to be.
And so . . .
I begin again. And again. And again. If that's what it takes.
Yesterday, it was Costco's chocolate fudge cake that helped me through. And as always, as always, as always, my so patient, talented and kind critique partner, A.B. Keuser.
I was sad yesterday. But I'm back to fighting mode today.
I am polishing and tightening and revising. And next week, a whole handful of new agents will have me knocking on their query door.
And a little over a month from now, I will be attending my first writer's conference. I am excited and shaking in my boots. I've signed up to pitch an agent my novel, which essentially means I have ten minutes of one-on-one time with an agent where I have to try and sell her my work and not babble inanely like I usually do. So, on top of revising and eating cake, I now have to craft a pitch that will knock this agent out of her chair. Figuratively, that is. I hope I don't literally knock her out of the chair. Who knows, I get extra klutzy when I'm nervous.
But the best thing about this writer's conference is my lovely, oh so awesome, writer friend,Ash of Shades of Blue and Green is coming with me. We'll hold hands and brave our first writer's conference together and because of that, I know it will all go as smoothly as peaches and cream.
And so, please forgive me if I'm not around. But this writing gig? It's everything to me. I'll blog here in my usual sporadic way, but know that I'm always thinking of all of you lovely people I consider my friends. Your love and kind comments and support have bolstered me indubitably through this writing journey.
Today's Definite Download: No download today. A very special link instead. When I got the news yesterday, after I emailed A.B., cried and ate cake, I googled rejections. And that's when I stumbled upon Kathryn Stockett's story. Kathryn Stockett is the author of The Help, the novel that spent over 100 weeks on the NY Times Bestseller List and was made into an Oscar nominated blockbuster movie.
Kathryn Stockett wrote about her journey to publishing, her obsession with her manuscript, her constant writing, foregoing everything else in her life to get it right and her 60, that's right, 60 rejections before she got a yes.
Her words spoke to my bruised writer's heart yesterday and it was the perfect balm. Her amazing tale, only a few paragraphs long, is right here.
I will leave you with these words from her: "The point is, I can't tell you how to succeed. But I can tell you how not to: Give in to the shame of being rejected and put your manuscript—or painting, song, dance moves, (insert passion here)—in the coffin that is your bedside drawer and close it for good. I guarantee you that it won't take you anywhere. Or you could do what this writer did: Give in to your obsession, instead."