Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rehoboth Beach - You Wanted Pictures!

I was in Rehoboth Beach, DE this week with my awesome son, Ethan. Some of you requested pictures, so here they are. In a future post, I'll disclose some big decisions I've made lately, so stay tuned. ;-)

The red moon was amazing. We were taking a night stroll along the boardwalk and were overwhelmed by the magnificence of the bright, red moon. The picture below barely does it justice. (Click on it and you'll see it better.)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fresh Beginnings or Changes Aren't Permanent but Change Is

First of all, thanks for all the positive comments on my new blog look. For those of you seeing it for the first time, I'd love to hear what you think. (Just keep your comments honest and exceedingly positive.)

The artist in me likes to change things up in all aesthetic areas of my life. I love redecorating my house, updating my shoe collection (hah!), changing my hairstyle, and shaking up the look of my blog from time to time. We humans are constantly changing internally, so why not reflect that on the outside as well?

There are small changes in life, like hairstyles, and big ones, like long term-relationships coming to an end. As many of you know, my recent change-of-life event was not my choice nor my preference. However, it is what it is, and I'm doing my best to remain optimistic. Therefore, I've given a lot of thought lately to the question, "Where do I go from here?"

Wherever it is, it will be "new." In fact, "new" pretty much sums up my life right now. I thought I was at a point where I was cozy and thinking "how nice this getting older with someone I love thing is." However, my virtual snow globe has been drastically shaken up, and everything I thought about my future is no more. Now I'm considering ideas for a new book, the excitement of new relationships, and looking for a new place to live. Exploring new territory brings on challenges and possibilities for fresh beginnings, expanding your horizons, and creating entirely unimagined worlds.

I'm a stereotypical writer; two of my great loves are cats and the sea. I live with six feline captors, so that part is handled. However the sea situation is duly lacking. I leave today for a three-day road trip down to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware with my son, Ethan. (He will be leaving in four weeks for college. This will be the first time since he was born that we aren't living together. More new beginnings...) Depending on what I think of the area, that may be where the next chapter of my life unfolds, as well as the next chapters of my new novel.

It will be interesting to see how new surroundings effect my life and my writing. Of course, change is always a bit scary, but like the band Rush sings in their song, TOM SAWYER, "No, his mind is not for rent, to any god or government, always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent, but change is..."

Change. Possibility. Potential. The Unknown. The Unimaginable.


Bring it on.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

SUBLIMINAL THURSDAY: I'm Sending out an S.O.S to the World or What About Cheerleading Tryouts???

This is, perhaps, one of the greatest challenges in all of novel-writing - where does the story begin?

In my second book, a women's fiction novel entitled, SPARKS FLY SOMETIMES: CONFESSIONS OF A ROCK PRINCESS, I sliced out over 30,000 words at the "beginning" of the story. Yup, you read that right, folks - 30-freaking-thousand words. It was hard. Brutal. Laborious. Life-sucking. [Can you say, "Drama Queen?"] Without those vitally important [innocuous, boring] words, how would the readers [my mom] know what compelled Jenny, my main character, to do the things she did as an adult? [No one cares.] I mean, if nearly every thought Jenny had as a kid wasn't fully, painfully, and - dare I say - exquisitely expressed, wouldn't there be something drastically missing from the story? [See last SM]

And, what about cheerleading tryouts?!!! If the readers [Mom] didn't walk through that heart wrenching experience with Jenny step by step, how could they [she] fully understand her neuroses? Yeah, I knew you - my fellow writers - would "get it." [Do I hear snoring?]

About those cut words? Never fear! I kept all 30,000 of those precious babies! [Holy Moses on a Popsicle stick, say it ain't so.] They're in a document entitled "Outtakes," which I'm sure will one day be a huge best-seller all on its own. [Just about the same time Sarah Palin realizes she can't actually see Russia from her house.] I'll probably rename it something like, "Jenny: The Early Years." Who could resist a title like that? [My mom and everyone else on the planet.]

Which brings me to my current challenge. I've completed my fifth draft of my YA novel, and I'm starting to feel pretty damn good about it. Not good enough for AA to take it on submission, mind you, but close. [Unfortunately, a book is not a horse shoe or a hand grenade.] However, I'm not 100% sure about the beginning. I thought I was, but then AA made a suggestion and now I'm not so sure. [Why does she have to be so much smarter than me? Doesn't she know I'm insecure enough as it is?]

So, I'm sending out an S.O.S. to the world. How [the effing hell] do you know where the perfect place to begin your story is? [Either send a message in a bottle, or leave a comment, whichever you prefer.]

Monday, July 19, 2010

Moving Forward After The Fall

Strange how sometimes life throws you a punch that you never saw coming; how it smacks you hard and knocks you down for the count. How you feel like you can't breathe, like you'll never be able to take a full breath again, like you're buried alive with no way out. Stranger how you focus on that punch and hold on to it as if your life depended on it - as if that punch and what led up to it is somehow a reflection of you; all the while hoping against hope things will change - go back to the way they were or move forward as if this ugly thing never happened.

Slowly, the proverbial clouds part, the gray skies clear, the sun begins to shine, and you get your bearings again. You see a glimmer of light and feel laughter, hope, and joy rather than tears, pain, and suffering. You realize the universe will take care of you as long as you're willing to take care of yourself. Friends, family, and even pets find ways to lift you up out of your sadness. It's a beautiful thing if you let it be. Life. Possibility. Hope. Tomorrow.

Thank you to those who have lifted me up. My love and deep gratitude can never be properly conveyed.

Perfect Dance

That night I saw you in town
Your wheels were spinning on the ground
You were out running 'round
Round and round...

Love and days pass away
Like living creatures, rippled waves
I watched you walk away
With teary eyes, blinding pain

You never understood me
I tried to tell you every little thing
In your heart, you left me
Broken, bittersweet

I begged you often not to leave
But my words didn't mean a thing
I watched you fade away
As you stepped down and out

How does a perfect dance end
Without a curtsy or a bend?
I look in to reach out
With no doubts, no doubt

You didn't understand me
I told you, but you didn't hear a thing
I thought we shared the same dream
You let me go, and now...
Now I'll set you free

How does a perfect dance end?
Without a curtsy or a bend?
How can one choose to leave behind
A dream-filled lifetime for an empty twisted rhyme?

Words & Music by, Jamie C. Keys (aka D.L. Schubert), 6.22.10

Resilient, that's what we humans are. Be grateful, courageous, and ever generous. Give away all the love you can while you're here, to yourself and others. Namaste.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

SUBLIMINAL THURSDAY: The Waiting is the Hardest Part

I know it's not Monday, but subliminal messages come whenever they damn well feel like it, and I have no real control over them. You'll just have to deal with it. [Or not.]

I love Tom Petty, and in my fantasy life, I know him personally. [Yes, in the biblical sense, along with Ashton Kutcher, George Clooney, and Robert Pattinson, though not all at the same time. Hmm, that might not be such a bad idea...] Therefore, I'm allowed to rip off his song lyrics whenever it suits my needs. Like now, for example.

I'm waiting, and it's undoubtedly the freaking hardest part. AA has the fifth draft of my [awesome, Earth-shattering] YA manuscript, and she even claims to be reading it. So far, two beta readers have finished reading this [mind-blowing, put-Twilight-to-shame] draft, and absolutely loved it. Of course, one of those readers was my mom, but unlike other moms who read their kids' books, my mom's opinion counts. Why? Because she's my mom. [I'm a princess, which makes my mom a queen.] The other reader is a 20 year-old, female, YA fanatic, who is my target audience. Theoretically her opinion should count more than my mom's, BUT, she's not my mom, so she's got less street cred. [I had to add this in case my mom ever reads my blog.]

These [resounding] reviews give me a drop of confidence, but we all know that AA's opinion is - at this [every] stage of the game - the only one that matters. [Please don't tell her I said this. I'd hate for her to think she has the upper hand.]

In the meantime, I'm filling my days with important things like playing spider solitaire, napping, tanning by the pool, and searching for a shore house on the internet. [Usually, in that order.] I would be writing, but I'm not one of those [annoyingly gifted] people who can juggle more than one writing project at a time. If I dive full on into the sea of a fresh, new novel [lousy cliche left over from my 7/8 post], then I will have a hard time redirecting my attention back to my current WIP to make whatever revisions AA deems necessary. ["How can a perfect manuscript need revisions?" you ask. GREAT QUESTION! I have no idea, but I'm sure AA will have the answer.] THEREFORE, I wait. And wait. And wait some more.

So, tell me - what are you waiting for in life? An agent? Book deal? New car? House? Different significant other? [You can leave it in the comments. I won't tell.] Whatever it is you're waiting for, I hope it/he/she shows up soon.

After all, I'd like to think I'm not the only one besides Tom [one of my many hot, rich, famous boyfriends] who believes the waiting is, indeed, the hardest part.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I've Got an Agent... Now What? or for Writers/Agents

Many of you are wondering what happens after you ride the carousel and catch that elusive gold ring: an agent. At first, it feels like the heavens have parted and the angels are singing the most beautiful songs ever written only for you. A few days later, you're still dreaming about the angels and their harps, and about a week later, reality starts to sink in...

"I've got an agent, now I need to get back to work!"

The glamour wears off fast, but the gratefulness remains. For me, the time after finding my agent has been all about revisions; a continuous journey of learning and growing as a writer.

There are two points I want to make in this post:

1) Getting an agent is not the end, but rather a very important beginning.

2) There is no "right" way to find an agent. Trust your instincts, follow your own path.

Awesome Agent ("AA" aka Bernadette Baker-Baughman of Bakers Mark Literary) and I started working together in the middle of November after I finished the first draft of my YA novel. This is not "normally" the way things go, but it's important to remember there's really no "normally" in an agent search. However, one thing is fairly standard: you need to have your manuscript polished to within an inch of its life before you start querying.

My road was unique in that I'd been in communication with AA regarding a murder mystery I'd written when the YA idea came to me. She loved my new idea, and asked to read when I had my first draft completed. You can read about my journey here, but my point is, you need to trust your instincts, make the most of every opportunity, and have confidence in yourself and your writing.

Do any of you feel defeated or depressed or unsure or even hopeful? Whatever stage of the "trying to get an agent" process you're at, know this: you will find your way! Keep writing and treat the rejections for what they are:

a) a sign you're in the game;

b) proof that certain agents are not a good fit for you;

c) evidence that you and your future agent have not yet connected.

It's easy to get down in the dumps every time you get a rejection, but please know that's part of the process. It's like being on - you have to weed through the ones who aren't for you until you find your perfect match. The right agent will "get" your writing, love you for it, and want to do everything in their power to set your writing career in motion.

Oops, I lied, I have three points in this post:


I'd love to hear where you're at on your journey. Feel free to whine, scream, cry, boast, etc in the Comment Section.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Now What? WARNING: Cliche-Infested Post Ahead!

First of all, I'M BACK!!! I needed a short break, and I appreciate you not abandoning me in the meantime. Really. Chocolate for everyone.


Even though it's frowned upon in the writing world, I love writing cliches (I also love cliches that are about writing!). "They" say it's lazy and unimaginative, but what the hell do "they" know? Here are a few of my favorites on the topic of writing:
  • It's time to turn the page on this chapter of your life.
  • I'm glad we're all on the same page.
  • Thank God for happy endings. (Or, wait, maybe that's not a reference to writing at all!)
I bring this up because I am, in fact, turning the page on this chapter of my life. My marriage is heading towards the history books, and I will soon be closing the final chapter on a relationship I thought would last until death did us part.

So, now what?

Now it's time to move forward, blaze a new path, set myself free, dream a new dream, start a new life, insert your favorite cliche here. I've cried rivers of tears over the past few years, felt sorry for myself to the point where even I couldn't stand being around me, and wished upon wish that things were different - that they'd go back to the way things were, to the life I thought I'd continue to live.

However, as I posted a couple of weeks ago, it's smarter and healthier to eat from the tree of possibility and acceptance; to move forward and embrace "what is."

So, I am doing my best to follow my own advice. On that note, I'm considering a move to the shore - a dream I've had since I was a kid - preferably New Jersey, Maryland, or Virginia . (They say VA is for lovers. I believe thorough research is warranted). I'm not a huge fan of incredible heat, so I don't think I want to venture further south (ironic, given we're in the middle of 100+ degree temps in the Northeast right now!). If any of you have suggestions for great shore towns that are affordable and fun, please let me know, either in the comments or via email at

I've sent Draft #5 to Awesome Agent (cue loud cheering and party music). Now, once again, I wait. Normally, I'd be writing, but this time while I'm waiting, I'm researching beach towns. Though, my life has taken an unexpected turn, I can sure as hell create a life I will love with all my heart and soul. A life that includes writing, great music, being inspired by the sea, new friends, and always, great family.

Good to see y'all again, and thanks for wading through the cliche-laden swamp that is this post. I'd love to hear about the new chapters you're writing in your own lives.

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