Happy New Year to all my friends, family, and the hardest working literary agent on the planet, Victoria Lea.
Writers are a special breed. I knew this when I started changing my daily schedule to accommodate my fictional character’s needs. Don’t get me wrong. I fell in love with Clancy within the first chapter. Well, I didn’t actually fall. It was more a matter of stepping into love with her page by page. Anyway, this got the brain thinking about the other areas in my life that changed while pursuing an author’s career.
Signs you’re a writer. . . .
#1 : You don’t realize you’ve been working on your latest project ten hours straight until the grandkids yell, “What’s for dinner?”
#2: You are an expert at multi-tasking. You work on your manuscript while answering the phone by imitating a three-year-old. Keep quiet and nod your head.
#3: You have a writing quota to make each day and no longer care if family uses the fancy soap and hand towels in the guest bathroom.
#4: You look at the world differently. Carousels become horse tornadoes and roundabouts are amusement rides for cars.
#5: You’ve implemented the five senses to describe each scene in your manuscript to the extreme . . . that you now want your pockets stuffed with fireworks when you’re cremated, so you go out in a blaze of color.
6#: Family members said there was life outside blogging, Facebook, editing, and twitter so you asked them for the link to post it for your followers.
#7: You take your kids to the pet store because you don’t have time to visit the zoo.
#8: You don’t talk out loud yet, but can hear the straitjacket hanging in the closet, whispering daily, “Soon. Soon, my pretty.”
#9: You buy a self-help book on time management and have the author sign it. Now you’re a collector and not a loser.
#10: The five-second rule for fallen food has changed to one week.
#11: Reality calls. You hang up.
#12: You try out new ideas by reading your children “Snow White,” but change the storyline by killing all the characters except the wicked stepmother.
#13: You learn that all toilets flush in E flat and pigs have orgasms that last for thirty minutes, and all you can think about is where to place that information in your manuscript.
#14: You’ve changed the four food groups to wine, coffee, NyQuil, and Advil.
#15: Your three-second count down with your children lasts an hour because you are in the middle of writing a new scene.
#16: You spend over $600.00 at the grocery store on microwave family meals.
#17: You wrap the perimeter of your kitchen with crime tape to give yourself more writing time.
#18: While looking for ways to extend your writing time, you realize that you really can sweep everything under the carpet.
#19: You’ve described so many fictional characters that while standing behind a bald guy at the DMV, you ask him what hair color he puts on his driver’s license.
#20: Your parents never talked about sex or let sexually explicit books in the house and you now blame them for your poorly written sex scenes.
#21: You’re having a bad writing day when your imaginary friends exclude you from the conversation. You get back by eating an imaginary cookie in front of them.
#22: You catch your child reading their sibling’s diary. They lie and say they thought it was a handwritten novel by an author, but you don’t punish them because you appreciate their creativity.
#23: You know people who say words cannot hurt you . . . have never dropped a thesaurus book on their toe.
#24: You’d rather by lulled to sleep by the clicking keys of an old typewriter than listening to a CD with the sounds of nature.
#25: You can’t get past the thought that Twilight, New Moon, and Breaking Dawn make excellent names for hookers in your next novel.
AND . . .
The road to success is long . . . .
You’re not afraid to take the path less followed because . . .
you are the director of the characters running rampant through your brain.
It never hurts to have well-known family connections within your chosen craft. Unfortunately, the closest my family ever came to celebrity status was by naming their children after famous dead people. My great-grandfather was Julius Caesar Labadie and he had six brothers–George Washington, Constantine the Great, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Alexander the Great, and Thomas Jefferson. AWOOGA. AWOOGA. This stuff is too crazy to make up. I’m just grateful the tradition wasn’t passed down or I may very well be writing a blog under the name Martha Washington Sorensen or Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator Sorensen.
The Labadie’s were entrepreneurs, resided in gold country, Forbestown, California, but never struck it rich. On the plus side, I bet no one ever said, “Hey, you . . . what-ever-your-name-is.”
Forbestown-located in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains in California.
Without a famous family to help my status on Facebook, Twitter, and Word Press, I’m forced to make internet friends on my own. My new friends drink Starbucks coffee, listen to music, and post so many motivational messages that I wonder why they spend their day connected to Facebook.
Because the so-called experts say to include pretty pictures in postings (evidently, we’ve reverted to reading picture books) I created mock photos of The Taste of Orange book jackets. Not having a photographer in my family no longer matters with free websites like www.ribbet.com and www.superlame.com.
Perfect. Clancy, fears lightning more than death.
I miss the days of working on my manuscript, fourteen hours straight, which brings me to the reason for posting this blog. No matter what I write in the future, the dedication page will stay the same.
P.S. I couldn’t find a four-leaf clover, either.
Mitzi: Why did you set up Twitter while I was in Chicago? https://twitter.com/JustClancy
Clancy: Why are you complaining? You should thank me. Wait a minute. How did you find out?
Mitzi: Twitter sent a warning. You’re following more people than follow you. Makes you look like spam.
Clancy: But I have diverse interests.
Mitzi: A fictional character with diverse interests belongs on Pheed. It’s the new social network. There are no restrictions like Facebook and Twitter. It’s tailored for someone like you that doesn’t like to follow rules.
Clancy: Sounds like something my protagonist, Peter Codington, would be interested in.
Mitzi: By the way, nice picture. You’ve been working out.
Clancy: You might want to try it.
Mitzi: I worked out by playing with my grandchildren.
Clancy: I popped in and out of your head while you were in Chicago. Loved Bailey and Will. Especially the three-year-old when it came to bedtime.
Mitzi: Bailey has quite the imagination. Did you know her doll, Mary, threw up in the car on our way back from my brother’s house? How do you remove doll vomit?
Clancy: According to, Bailey, the vomit was sitting on top of your head. Why did you waste your time pretending to wipe down the backseat?
Mitzi: Bailey was so descriptive that the odor made me nauseous.
Clancy: Here’s Bailey’s conversations five minutes after you tucked her in bed.
My feet are cold. I need socks.
Two minutes later: I need my blanket fixed.
One minute later: I’m too hot. I can’t take my pajamas off.
Three seconds later: I can’t pull the zipper. They shouldn’t put zippers on little kids pajamas.
One minute later: When is it midnight?
Two minutes later: Mary got out of bed. It’s not fair that she gets to stay up and I can’t.
Three minutes later: I need my door open another crack.
Five seconds later: I’m talking to myself and nobody is listening.
Two minutes later: I shut my eyes but they won’t go to sleep.
One minute later: I need to brush my teeth again.
Clancy: And the number one call out that made your daughter-in-law jump up from the couch and run toward Bailey’s bedroom—I have to go number two.
Mitzi: What else did you do while I was gone?
Clancy: Pretty much just wondered what happened to the chubby little “Bee Girl” from the Blind Melon Video.
I have a cartoon taped to my rolltop. It’s a good example of the tribulations of a newbie writer. A publishing editor sits behind a sturdy desk, gripping a thick manuscript. He’s smiling at the author sitting across from him and says, “We loved all the words in your manuscript, but we were wondering if you could put them in a completely different order.”
Yes, I am a newbie writer. However, I got an amazing phone call last week. The kind of news that had me popping the cork on a bottle of Domaine Chandone, removing a crystal champagne flute, and calling my father in Colorado. My father told me at a young age there wasn’t anything beyond my grasp if I wanted it badly enough. (It was one of those talks you give your children when they excel in physical education, but lack interest in the three R’s) I was one of those smart mouthed kids that had to have the last word. I smiled up at my father and said, “Okay. I want to fly like a bird.” My father nodded and replied, “Believe in yourself and everything is possible.” Why was I wasting my time walking when I could fly? I shared my newfound information with my older sister, Pam. We raced up the back stairs, crawled out our bedroom window, landed on the roof of our two-storey Victorian, and surveyed the roof line. We weren’t stupid. If planes needed a runway before takeoff, we would, too. I began furiously flapping my arms. My stellar grades in physical education were about to pay off. “Let’s fly,” I said, glancing at my sister with her arms at her side. Why didn’t my sister know the basics of human flight? “You go first. I’ll be behind you,” Pam said. What? The sister I knew would never let me have the honor of the first human to fly with nothing but sheer willpower. “Wait a minute,” I said. “I thought you’d go first. You’re the oldest and do everything before me.” We looked at each other and both knew in an instant that neither one of us wanted to fly badly enough to take the first leap.
I’m now older than my father was when he told me I could fly. He didn’t lie. Last week I got a call from amazing literary agent Victoria Lea at Aponte Literary. She liked my offbeat/quirky manuscript and wanted to represent me. I flew on Sept. 18, 2012 and my feet have yet to touch the ground. Please click on the Aponte Literary website. http://aponteliterary.com/ It provides excellent information for writers.