Wednesday, August 17, 2016

#WriterWednesday: The Great Agent Conundrum (I hope I spelt that right)

Every writer knows the story. You finally finish your manuscript and believe it's ready to be shopped. You polish up the most succinct and clean-cut query letter you can put together that shouts "THIS BOOK IS GOING TO SELL MILLIONS OF COPIES!" without sounding like one of the old school newsboys trying to sell papers back in the 1930s yelling, Extra, Extra! Read all about it.

You still hope they don't catch the blood, sweat, and tears poured in between the lines of that letter. 
You hope that someone, anyone with the right credentials asks to see more from you whether that be a proposal, or for fiction, sample chapters. Your heart stops beating for a millisecond when you get that rare shooting star of a manuscript request. 

Yet, you feel like someone is preparing to bury you alive when you get a response to that manuscript that says, "Sorry, not what I am looking for. Best of luck elsewhere!"

I wish I could say that this hasn't happened to me but it has. My memoir is one of the most heartfelt books I've ever written. I was open and honest. And I poured everything I had into it for three and half years during the writing process. 

Recently, I finally got the chance to send an agent from a rather high-end agency and I was totally thrilled.

I actually started imagining the way my coworkers would treat me when they found out I was going on an international book tour.

Some of them would rush up and ask for an autograph.
Others would still wear the same friendly face.

Then, I got rejected on a Thursday night when I was already having a terrible shift. 
I was on break when I opened the email inside the Wal-mart bathroom stall and I just burst out crying. 

Then, I realized I had to go back out there and still ring up customers and so I put on my best customer service face after sharing my heart on Facebook, and got through my shift. 

Then, I went to Applebee's with my mom for half-price apps and drinks.

That night, I pretended I was fine but the following days, inwardly I felt like I wanted to just sit in a corner rocking and crying, and sucking my thumb.

Until I remembered WHOSE I AM. 

It seems to me like there is nothing wrong with my memoir or my query letter (even though I'm now sending out a letter that reads less like microwave cooking instructions and has more of my voice throughout).

After the three and half years of writing it, I had a writer friend (#BetaReaderLove) edit it chapter by chapter for context. Anything that read like a bottle of seltzer gone flat was taken apart or discarded. 

Following this, I had a highly linguistic genius/wordsmith beta read it and she raved over it despite the fact that her expertise is in fiction.

Plus, I feel that besides my mom, she also got the power hidden throughout it. Which means that I can't give up on it's journey toward full and complete manifestation and successful destination. 

I believe my memoir may not be getting representation for the following reasons: 
  • The memoir talks about JESUS a lot because he is my SAVIOR and not just a religious relic to me. He saved my life twice (literally) and without him, I wouldn't be able to breathe like a normal person so excuse me for being OUTSPOKEN about how much I love and owe to JESUS but I think I will not be removing him from my memoir anytime soon. Matter of fact, I wholeheartedly believe the memoir will end up being published by a big-time Christian publishing house like Revell or Thomas Nelson.
  • The memoir documents my life story from birth to current day but contains three and a half years of research on medical jargon and all types of factual information about different illnesses I suffered from such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, depression. 
  • The memoir has a major theme of loving someone so much you are willing to die for them. This is why I settled on the title ONE LAST BREATH. It not only encapulates nearly dying but serves as a double metaphor for the love I had for someone who would rather watch me die than ever love me back, and a metaphor for my life of struggles and how I've always fought so hard for what I wanted in life even if it would cost me my last breath.
  • The memoir contains song lyrics from songs I thought fit in certain chapters and because I was listening to those songs throughout the writing process. It also contains poetry I wrote during those exact moments discussed in the book and I already know that most publishers aren't looking to publish poetry. (I don't know why because poetry is seriously equally as therapeutic to write as it is to read). 
Reasons I believe the memoir will be a strong piece of American literature
  • It's unlike any other memoir out there. (Part of my research was that I started the preliminary stages by reading other great memoirs. Along the way, I realized how much I love the genre. Speaking of which, I am beyond stoked that someone allowed the avenue for Amy Schumer to publish a memoir because that woman is AMAZEBALLS and hella funny!)
  • I have a degree in marketing so I think I have a solid plan for how to get it to sell once it is published. Publicist, nah I don't need one. I'm already trained in how to be my own.
  • With the network I've developed from the Smart Cookie, I could totally find (real genuine) people who would be willing to say something nice to go in the front of the book. And also a few book blogs that could write a review and promote it to their network.
  • It was written with the help and great and mighty hand of God. My story is only as bright as the person shining his everlasting light and great favor on my life. He gave me the words to minister to people. I am just the messenger. After all, with God all things are possible!
All in all, I'm still going to shop it around no matter how long it takes to get it representation because I believe that the right set of eyes and the right heart will see it's potential and just like fire, I will light up the world for more than just one day. After all, no one can be just like me anyway.

All I ask of all of you is that you pray daily for me and my memoir, and if anyone is interested in beta reading it, please email me at

Before I leave you with a final thought, don't forget to read the first five chapters of Kickflip My Heart in the upper right hand corner.

Until next time,
Remember the strength that Colossians 1:12 talks about: As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless
~Just Keep Swimming~

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

#WriterWednesday: A Birthday For The Books (and Lessons Learned)

I bet you can't believe your eyes right now and I don't blame you there. I haven't blogged here in quite a while so it actually feels foreign and incredibly freeing to be doing so.

Before I get to my birthday, I just want to say how grateful I am to finally have a job and one that I actually love. Yes, you could say for most of my life, I've had a habit of checking people out. First, with my job at the Saint Leo University campus library and now with my job as a cashier for Wal-mart.

There are good days and bad days with every job and mine has no exception. As you are reading my birthday story, you'll see how my job fits into the scheme of things.

It all started on a Wednesday, two weeks ago, particularly on July 27, the one year anniversary of my best friend Geniveve entering heaven on a rainbow bridge. I knew the best way to honor her on that day was by living my life to the fullest. So I bought a vision board and finally put one together.

For proof, visit:

Then, my sister and I already made plans to have a late lunch of sushi to celebrate my birthday but then she offered to pay for me, and I was completely in awe of how blessed I am.

I ordered sake which I had never tried but the International Hospitality and Tourism minor in me jumped at the chance to try something culturally ethnic. (go ahead and laugh)

For a video of me trying it as well as a quick slideshow with rad music, click here!

Then, Jayde suggested I try a margarita at the sushi place since this was the first time I was eating there, and I order one.

After I tried the regular margarita, the waitress comes over with another but a different flavor and says,

We didn't know if you were going to like that flavor so we made an extra one just in case. You can have it, no charge.

I smiled to myself and as she walked away I said to Jayde, "That was Geniveve saying Cheers! for my birthday."

I got a little watery-eyed for a second then I remembered it's my birthday and queens don't cry on their celebratory day. 

Thanks Geniveve! Love you.

Then, I went to the mall and actually bought some cute clothes at actual stores and even though I spent about fifty dollars or more, I didn't feel bad about it. I needed the retail therapy.

Saturday I was greeted after work by two large boxes on the dining room table. 

It turned out that my paid in full Keurig and new mug with writer quotes came! 

Monday, my dad took me to Einstein Bros. Bagels to celebrate my birthday. 
Naturally, I got the new Twist N' Dip bagel. (oh em gee, it was delicious)

Wednesday, I had a day off and my family had my party 

My parents came in clutch with the dopest gift yet!

 A little money and a little MJ never hurt anyone!

If you want to hear them sing to me, be sure to watch this video.

Thursday, August 4, 2016, I turned 25!!!! at 8:37 a.m.

For my birthday, I decided I wanted to keep it chill by watching a butterfly documentary on Netflix (A Smart Cookie always stays learning even on their birthday).

I got all dolled up and my family and I went to Chili's

(For $5 Magaritas, duh)

It turns out that the waitress's birthday was the next day, Friday August 5th. How cool! #Leopower

All in all, I had a great birthday but shortly after I got done eating my fill at Chili's, adult life set in and umm, I guess I had to go to work.

I wore this pin thinking I would run a small social experiment: Would people say happy birthday to the cashier checking them out?

Turns out, the results were a hard pressed NO!
Absolutely no one I checked out said a word about my button or anything. I'm totally fine with it because I still got paid (for being born) but hey, just goes to show how unaware of things people really are.

I came home and Jayde's boyfriend wished me a happy birthday before handing me a card

(I pretty much looked the same when he handed me the card)

Turns out he gave me a $15 Dunkin gift card too! Totally schweet!

Then, my sister Jamie came home and ended up giving me $15 in Florida Lottery scratch-offs and I won $18 on them.

Such a rad quarter of a century birthday!

Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy day, took time to acknowledge my day, or gave me a gift! You so totally ROCK!

Plus, my site officially has some affiliates now and I'm totally stoked for that as well. 

Plus, up in the left hand corner of this blog, you can click the cover image to my new re-write of my first two novels. Feel free to read the first five chapters. It's still in it's draft stages but if I get two comments on the story, I'll post two more chapters for you! Don't forget if you like it to share it with your friends.
So never fear, take the good days with the bad, and celebrate the heck out of life because you only get one! 

Until next time, remember: God never gets weary. When we are weary, we can overcome it by waiting on Him, trusting that He will do what we cannot do. -Joyce Meyer

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!

~Just Keep Swimming~