Yep, I’m at it again


So, I just submitted to another agent.

I swore I wouldn’t do this until I heard back from some of the agents I’ve queried recently, but then I realized, I had. One of them isn’t accepting queries any more (backlogged, I suppose. Given the amount of email some of them say they are getting, I can well imagine. 1900 emails? My brain would fry in my skull. And now I understand why agents are so like Nancy Reagan–they “Just Say No.”**). So I moved to the next agent on my list.

I keep thinking it shouldn’t take me so long every time I go to submit a single query, but it does. Below is a list of how submitting one query looks (for me, anyway).

1) Think about querying agent in question for x period of time (I’m embarrassed to say how long).

2) Review his/her agency’s website.

3) Fret.

4) Check and double-check to make sure they represent what I’m pitching. Write down everything they represent.

5) Check AAR, Editors and Preditors, and Absolute Write for information.

6) Check my notes to see what they represent again. Recheck the website. Can anyone say OCD?

6) Fret about fretting so much.

7) I look at my query letter.

8 ) I  (attempt to) personalize it.

9) I review (for probably for the 30th time) how the agent wants his/her submissions.

10) Change mine to fit those parameters.

11) Review the guidelines again.

12) Fret.

13) Review my submission again.

14) Correct things that didn’t format correctly into the email (for instance, paragraph indents never seem to come out right, and I always have to manually put them in. Every. Single. Time.)

15) Fret.

16) Check out agent’s blog. If what the agent says he wants in the blog (in terms of submissions–you know, query letter only; query letter + synopsis; query letter + synopsis + first x# of pages, etc) is different from what’s listed on the website, I’ve been going with what the agent has listed on his blog. I’m probably wrong and have just shot myself in the foot, and therefore, I…

17) Fret some more.

18) Consider following agency website recommendations for what the agent wants, despite the fact that the blog is considerably newer information. While I’m doing this, I…

18) Review my query letter again. Change one word. Maybe I change that dash in the second paragraph to a period, and leave the last phrase as a fragment. Maybe the English nerd in me hates the fragment at the end of that paragraph and changes the period back to a dash. Maybe I change an and to that. It’s really exciting stuff, trust me. And because I’m making changes, I…

19) Fret.

20) Once I’m satisfied with the query, the mouse pauses over the “Send” button.

21) I suddenly require water–I will just die if I don’t get water RIGHT NOW!–so I get it.

22) I get distracted by something shiny on my way back to the computer.

23) I wander back to my computer. Notice the open email.

24) Mouse hovers over the send button. I take a big breath.

25) I hit send.

And because I hit send, I then…

Fret.

**A joke people! Kind of. Maybe. Well… But yeah. It’s easier to find a six foot tall, god-like Swedish man named Thor who carries a mighty hammer (yeah, you know the one I mean. Giggity) and will randomly give you rubies for no reason than it is to land an agent. Sometimes. Actually, I haven’t had a terrible ratio of rejections to requests off of queries. Really.

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Changes, Part II


I guess I’m done with changes for the day.

It’s been a big day for the blog, what with changing the title of the blog, and the tagline. And, hell, the theme. And adding the widgets. And taking some of them away.

Actually, let’s be honest: there’s not a darn thing I haven’t changed about the blog today.

The new title is not only a reference to my aspirations of becoming a romance novelist, but is also something that would happen to me if I regularly wore a bodice. Actually, I’d probably get felt up in a bodice, which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Except it would be by the creepy guy in History who spends the entire class period making chain mail.

Oh wait, that really did happen. To me.

So, yes, there’s a bee in my bodice. I’m sure there will be lots of shrieking, general insanity, and maybe, if we’re lucky, a little romance.

And maybe, just maybe, some really, really good news.

Hey, there’s always hope.

The Boys


For those of you who know me IRL, this will not be a surprise. For those of you who know me mostly via the computer, this will probably… not come as a surprise.

I have a harem.

It started out in high school, when I made up a “boyfriend”. Now, before you go, “Oh, you poor dear,” I want to assure you it wasn’t as sad and pathetic as it sounds (and I admit, it really does sound pathetic). See, I was sharing my exploits (or rather, lack thereof. I am, admittedly, kinda geeky) in Europe with a friend of mine (the same friend from the “Points game” blog), and was telling her about the man I’d seen in Monaco. A man so seriously gorgeous that almost twenty years later, I still think of him as the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen. He was a guard in Monte Carlo, and rather than admiring the scenery, which I remember very little of, I spent two hours admiring him. Yeah, go ahead, call me a creepy stalker. It’s probably true.

Anyway, me and my stalkerish ways are not the point. At some point during this conversation, my friend, Red, says to me, “You should have brought him home with you.”

“Right. Because he’s my boyfriend.”

“Absolutely.”

“Don’t know his name, Red.”

“Armando. He speaks very little English.”

“Riiight. We speak the language of love. Or lust. Or whatever.”

“Fabulous! When do I get to meet him?”

And thus, my harem began. With Armando, a man who speaks very little English but, as I once joked, is so much cuter with his pants down and his mouth shut, anyway.

* As an aside, I once used that line with M. It didn’t go over quite as well as I thought it would. Apparently, he sometimes likes to talk to me, and doesn’t want me to think of him strictly as “man meat.” And to think, I thought he’d be flattered. Go figure. *

Anyway, Armando was swiftly followed by the Swedish bikini team, Sven, Bjorn, Thor.

For four years, my harem “lived in my basement.” Didn’t matter that I didn’t have a basement. That’s where I said I kept them. Long before M and I began dating, I’d told him about  my harem, Sven, Bjorn, Thor and Armando. Alcohol may have been involved, but that’s beside the point. The point is, he knew about them going in. So he was either so desperate he simply accepted my weirdness as his last chance to go steady, or he liked it. I like to think it’s the latter. Especially since he gets hit on by 22-year-old badge bunnies and I get hit on by meth heads on bicycles outside of Dairy Queen.

Don’t tell me I’m not awesome.

Anyway, I know for certain he knew about the harem, because he gave me the final member (no, not him, and get your mind out of the sewer! That’s where mine is!). He gave me Enrique after he’d failed to teach his brother’s parrot to say, “[R] loves Enrique.”

Mostly because my response was, “Oh, Enrique! That would go so well with my harem!”

M bequeathed me Enrique. So, Sven, Bjorn, Thor, Armando and Enrique. The Swedes, the man who speaks very little English (but doesn’t need to), and my latin lover.

Ah, the boys. Still living in my basement.

Yep, the one I don’t have.

Occupational Hazards


Every job has its occupational hazards. Here are mine.

1. I’m never clean. Today a little one wiped her nose on my shirt, and another one ran grubby hands (covered in mystery substance) on my nice clean capris. It was impossible to get off. I will never be clean again. It’s like when you first have a baby, and you go back to work with baby barf on your shoulder and you don’t notice. I rarely notice how dirty I am until I go somewhere where I’m expected to look like an adult… and not one who lives in a box under the bridge.

2. Carpal tunnel (from all the data I have to collect, and all the reports I have to write).

3. Being peed on (I’ve only been barfed on once, and since I know for a fact I’ve barfed more often at work than I’ve been barfed on, I won’t count that). Or accidentally sitting in pee (I’ve done both just this week… Bet you didn’t know that after eight years of University, you’d get out of school to get peed on and run lessons on why we don’t pick our noses. And yes, I do run month-long booger picking lessons, complete with social stories).

4. Parents who make you cry because they’re so mean.

5. Parents who make you cry because they’re so nice.

6. Falling in love with a kid just have them break your heart when they leave. Or you can’t fix them anymore. Or you’ve actually fixed them and have to dismiss them (though this one is a fun meeting).

7. Getting stuck in a preschool chair. When I was nine months pregnant with my son (just a couple of days before I had him), I was in a meeting with some parents in the preschool room. When the meeting ended, I tried to stand up to thank the parents for coming in and couldn’t get out of the chair. The principal had to help me up. I basically required a crane. It was awful and embarrassing. But not as bad as the time I got stuck in a bounce house.

8. A very sweet kid asking you, “You’re having a baby?” (No, no, honey. I’m just fat.) Or  asking, genuinely concerned, “You have pock?” (No, no, honey, those are freckles. Not chicken pox. I look like this naturally. Sad, but true. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I am a ravishing beauty. Honestly).

9. The Germ Factory. When you work with kids, for the first year, you get sick all the time. It’s not as bad after that, but I basically get exposed to EVERYTHING. I’m sick right now, in fact.

10. War wounds. I managed to get beaned in the eye by a flying shoes yesterday (I’m really not that fast, and by the time I realize something’s flying at my head, it is usually too late). So yeah, on top of being chunky and pocky, I also have a black eye.

Yeah, I really am a ravishing beauty.

I Feel a Draft (Another in a series of wardrobe malfunctions)


I walk across the parking lot of our local University. Feel a draft.

I smooth my skirt over my thigh. Yep, still in place.

I catch people looking at me, but I look cute, so maybe that’s it? I check my skirt again. Still there, lying flat against my skin. All is fine, I reassure myself.

I walk across the quad, past the student union and a gaggle of student athletes. You know, the popular people everyone knows, even at a moderately sized university. Football players and cheerleaders. They watch me as I pass. I don’t want them to–I would prefer to be invisible to the popular people. Every time I’ve made their radar, it’s not been for something awesome. It’s always been for something I would prefer no one find out about.

I hear whispers, and, like all shy, paranoid people, I suspect they are whispering about me. I begin blushing furiously.

They’re not talking about me. It’s the epitome of conceit to assume every time anyone whispers it’s about you. I do not have narcissistic personality disorder. Nope. It’s not about me.

But I hear giggles behind me, and can’t stop the embarrassed flush from rising to my cheeks. I run my free hand over my skirt again.

It’s still there, and covering all the important bits.

I walk toward the humanities building, so embarrassed I think I might ignite, though I don’t have the foggiest idea why. Begin to climb the stairs, when behind me, I hear a voice.

“Oh my God, Meggan, you’re gonna die.”

Of course I am.

A girl in one of my classes yanks on my skirt. Hard. So hard I’m worried it will fall from my body. Hey, it’s happened before.

And pulls it out from underneath my backpack.

I’d walked nearly a half mile with my skirt tucked up under my backpack. My skirt had felt fine because I could only check the left side. Unfortunately, it was my right butt cheek that I’d been exposing to the entire world. My right butt cheek, in pink, santiny, granny panties with a well worn elastic waistband.

Yeah, I’m that much of a fashionista. No cute thongs for me. Nope. When I go for exposure, it’s in old underwear I’m embarrassed I even own.

Super awesome.

This is my life. I try to keep as many layers of fabric between my butt and the rest of the universe as humanly possible. I’m loath to wear a bathing suit, but stuff like this happens to my butt. Far too often for it to be accidental.

It ‘s enough to make a girl think the universe is out to get her.

Sad, but true.

Five Things About my Daughter


I’ve dedicated more than a few posts to my son, Chewey. So this one is for Sea Monkey.

Some things, like her love of banjos, I totally understand. I love banjos too. But here are some of SM’s quirks.

1) She can do the robot to banjos. It’s awesome.

2) Her little booty is always in motion. Even when she’s standing still, the thing is moving. And if there’s any music involved, whether banjos or mariachi or Nine Inch Nails, that thing is bouncing. It’s cute now, but I think it will start freaking her father out when she’s about 13.

3) She loves outdoor wilderness shows. And fishing shows (Dual Survival and Monster Fish are big favorites. Other kids are watching cartoons. SM is busy pondering why Cody doesn’t wear shoes and trying to start fires in the backyard with sticks and rocks–supervised, of course, on the off chance she’s successful. She also wants to try to catch a giant catfish).

4) She really wants to go bowling. Loves, loves, loves bowling. Sure, I took bowling in high school instead of PE, but I’m not any good at it. I got a 69 on my bowling final (incidentally, a failing score). Granted, it was kind of on purpose. I hit 69 on the 9th frame, so I threw gutter balls for the rest of the game to keep it. It’s not like I was going to pass the final, anyway.

5) She’s desperate to go camping. Me, I’m a “You want me to do what in the wilderness?” kind of girl. I once held it for two days because I was in the wilderness with no access to bathrooms. Kid will drop trow just about anywhere if she has to pee. I’ve slept in some pretty skeevy places in my time, but I always had access to a bathroom. The functionality of said bathroom was somewhat questionable (warm water for less than two minutes, and a toilet so dirty I still shudder to think about it), but it was there. She wants to camp, catch her own food (though I’d be stunned if she decided to eat it), sleep under the stars. I’m willing, but nervous to sleep in a tent. I’m not a lucky person. I’d step on a snake, or get eaten by a bear (I’m pretty certain I’d be delectable), sprain an ankle on the way to the bathroom.

Anyway, so there are five little factoids about my kid. In case you wanted to know.

The Trouble with iPhone, and a Massive Digression


It’s rather like The Trouble with Tribbles, is it not? You have one little issue, and they expand until they take over your entire phone.

Wow, I just totally outed myself as a geek.

In any case, my hub’s email address comes up as “neglects” when you type it into iPhone. Without fail, no matter how many times I change it. Which, when I’m not thoroughly annoyed, cracks me up. Sometimes, I type it in just so I can watch it change to neglects. I find it vastly entertaining. Though sometimes, doing so makes me wonder if maybe I need to get out more.

It’s kind of like the time I was home on maternity leave with one of the kids, and when M came home, I spent 30 minutes telling him about baby poop. And when his eyes glazed over with that dazed, “Oh, God, help me. This is both disgusting and boring” look, I thought to myself, “Shit. My entire life has been distilled into this one moment.”

It was then I realized that the highlight of my day had revolved around bodily functions. The entire day. To an extent, it still does. When a kid peed on my table recently (don’t ask, it’s a long and troubling story, though how she managed it was quite clever), that was the highlight of my day. Or, at least, the thing I talked about the most (after I went through an entire box of Clorox wipes).

I really do need to get out more.

I wonder if neglects will take me.

Motivation


No, no. Not for me. I don’t have that.

For my son.

Demon boy, who threw fits last week like an angry eel (lots of shrieking and writhing around on the ground), has decided that he will work at being good in order to gain access to the sword fighting game on the Wii (it’s bloodless, like fencing. I’m not letting him play Preschool Grand Theft Auto or anything like that. I may not be the best parent in the world, but I know where to draw the line).

But that demon boy is gone this week. What I have this week is a boy who nibbles on his potatoes, flashes me his winningest grin and says, “Thank you, Mom, for making such delicious food. These are the best potatoes ever!” Never mind that I am fully aware he doesn’t like them. He’s flirting with me, and being charming at school, in exchange for playing a video game where he actually has to be active.

It’s pretty cute. My little butterball boy will even run when the person the screen runs. He gets really into it. But, more importantly, he’s so sweet to get it.

I know he’s manipulating me, but if I get good behavior out of it–he has to earn it by being good at home and school for at least two days in a row–does it really matter?

He’s sweet. He’s charming. He will actually go to bed without (too much of) a complaint. So I finally found something he cares enough about to behave for.

He even made a friend. Two, in fact. It was very sweet.

Yay!