The best laid plans …

Of either mice or men. It matters not. We are either fools who thrash about the universe attempting to change our fate … or we are part of the divine design and create our fate from sheer determination.

Although I have often played the fool, I cannot ascribe to the belief that I am to muck about waiting for divine intervention to deal me a winning hand.

I promised my good friend Christi Corbett that during the month of July I would discuss exactly what my plans for my work include.

How it began …

My original plan was to self-publish my first book and use that to gain the attention of an agent for the other books I wanted to write.

I set those plans in motion five years ago this month. On a sunny Friday morning, clutching my precious fledgling stories to my chest, I walked into the Parkland Library in Florida and joined my first writers’ group.

I didn’t know what a “hybrid” was. I had not yet learned of the negative connotation agents had towards those who “self” published anything.

In short, I was naive. Hopeful and happy to finally be doing what I had dreamed to do so many years ago … but naive nevertheless.

sunset park

Sunset Park Photo Credit

That first precious book was the beginning of a collection of short stories I connected under one theme and titled Sunset Park. And since that Friday morning, I have completed seven full novels, three partial novels, a completed novella, two collections of short stories and The Blog.

One year after I joined the Parkland group, I abandoned my idea of self-publishing and sent my work out in earnest. Every four or five months I sent out my work. The first three books, one novella and several short stories, flew through space to agents, publishers and literary magazines. Alas, they were rejected. This allowed me to qualify for the Pro status of RWA, and encouraged by Laura Drake, I did that two years ago.

Did I despair? Did I fall into a morass that it meant I was not a good writer and my dreams were foolish?

The journey continues …

No. I had evolved into a stubborn fool and plodded ahead against the odds.

crazy writer

Crazy Writer Credit

One year ago, I made the decision to rewrite, revise and edit my first two full length novels and send them on submission to agents again.

Please don’t quote me the odds. I read all the same Writer’s Digest articles and Jane Friedman posts as you do. I am well aware of the “odds” of landing an literary agent in this climate.

My plans, however, do not include folding my tents because the climate gets rough.

Six months ago, I planned to promote this blog for amazon.com blog subscriptions. I followed that blueprint for three months and rejected it.

Next I had the notion of publishing a “blog” book. That lasted a full month and was also rejected.

who am i person

Who am I person

And so I have come full circle. Back to that morning five years ago. Back to what I thought I knew instinctively was the best course of action for me. Back to the idea of becoming a hybrid, full time writer, blogger and amazing teller of tales.

Allow me a short detour …

I can hear my children moaning. My son was of the belief that my detours were planned to drive nails into his head. My friends believe I am incapable of telling a story without at least one or two detours. In a book they often become back stories. And we all know what we have to do with too many back stories.

But for today please relax and follow me into the organized chaos of my memory.

“I’ll give you chaos. Just wait until your father gets home.”

Yes, that was her again. My mother that is.

Some of us spend our entire adult lives trying to understand the neurotic relationships we had with various members of our nuclear family. I try to understand my relationship with my dead mother and fail miserably each time.

We talk or yell at each other across the divide, and like Will Robinson’s family, all sounds reverberate, lost in space.

I see us, pontificating, expounding and much to my continued frustration, never actually listening. My mother and I didn’t listen to each other.

But she was fun. She was complex. She had the best material for a kid to play make believe and if she were sitting here today, she’d surely smack me for telling anyone all of this.

From Sunset Park …   

It could be said that Carmela Gallucci was a typical Italian mother. She was short, with a full figure and rounded hips, her hair was dark and long and she kept it twisted first into a braid and then in a bun at the nape of her neck, her lips full and blush, her eyes sharp and dark; eyes her children thought could see what they were doing from another room. She wielded a wooden spoon like a Samurai warrior and could hit her son Joey on the fly from two rooms away with her paddle slippers. She was no woman to mess with and she was anything but typical.

sunsetpark.02

Sunset Park Photo

Our family might best be described as five satellites circling the globe, each having in common the shape and trajectory of our sojourn in this life, each representing a spec of cosmic dust. We traveled in the same orbit … that is I could see clearly there were other bodies in motion before and behind.

In Sunset Park I have told the stories of them … or my fictional version of them. Therefore, I am allowed to exaggerate, embellish, and wax melodramatic about anything at all.

“And if you tell tales out of school I’ll wash your mouth with soap.”

To keep my promise to Christi and to finally get to the point of this post … I have decided to follow up on my plan to become a hybrid and will put some of the short stories from Sunset Park together and publish them vis-a-vis amazon digital and Create Space for the print version.

Or at least at this writing that is the plan.

Do you believe in fate or divine intervention?

Have your plans gone astray or have you kept them on a single track?

fOIS In The City

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28 Comments

Filed under Ramblings

28 responses to “The best laid plans …

  1. The other day I was on Amazon and saw a promo for a YA novel called I think ON LITTLE WINGS. Novel was rejected and rejected by agents who called it “too intelligent.” Readers apparently do not think so.

    Self-pubbiing and blogging are a combination that works for me.

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  2. I feel ya, Florence. I started this writing journey in May 2009, so I’m going on four years of writing. I have five books under my belt and am gearing up to send query letters for the fifth one as we speak. I’m shooting for that “find an agent” star and won’t stop until I have my work published. We have many options, as “they” say and I’m happy about that.

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    • That is so true, Patti … you also have the amazing story of Moon Over Alcatraz to your credit. I think there are no easy answers . If we want to reach our goals, we must be deligent. Thanks for sharing your story 🙂

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  3. Love the description of the mother (your mother?) in that excerpt, Florence.

    As for plans, a fun thing always happens on the way to meeting those goals. For me, the trick has been sorting those happenings into opportunities I must not miss, and distractions I must ignore.

    Still finessing.

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    • Sherry, Carmela is my “fictional” mother. She is also the mother of the MC in my first mystery. I love taking those characters and bringing them along for the ride in other stories.

      I know you have done amazing things with your short stories and I look foward to reading more. I think we are both moving in the right direction for our longer work 🙂

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  4. Vicki Batman

    Hi, Florence. In five years you have accomplished a bunch, bigger than a bunch. Never feel you have done nothing when you can look back at that collection and say “I did that.” I also have heard that we need to spread our assets around, sorta like the stock market, for a good revenue stream. So pub here. Something will come along and pub there. Something will happen. Because we all know, you are incredibly talented. ox

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  5. sfreydont

    I believe in what ever works (as long as it isn’t hurtful) and detours??? They’re what make the journey interesting. Maybe that’s why I sometimes get nowhere fast.

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    • Shelley, I think detours might be what has defined so many things in my life. Detours and taking the left instead of the right at a crossroad. This detour should be lots of fun and I think I’ll live to tell another tale 🙂

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  6. christicorbett

    Florence,

    You are about to spread your wings and I know it’s scary (trust me, I do!) at the thought of going it alone, but never forget you’ve got an army of writing friends who will support you and back you and be your biggest cheerleaders when it comes time to make that leap.

    And I am certain you’ll soar through the air because your writing is amazing and you have the perfect amount of stubbornness to get what you need done.

    You’re going to do GREAT!!!!!

    Christi

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    • We’ve been in this for a long time together, Christi … and I think I will be very frightened at first. Then like so many new things, I’ll probably adjust.

      It’s good to know I’ll have people like you in my corner 🙂

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  7. I’m just glad you’re putting stuff out there, Florence – however you do it!
    You go, girlfriend.

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    • Thanks, Laura … I am thinking something might happen with one of the subissions while I’m getting Sunset Park together. We used to say: If you want the buss to come, light a cigarette. Who knows 🙂

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  8. Five years and so prolific, Florence! You simply must release all that writing into the world. I’m so excited for you. Just give a shout if you need any help.

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    • I appreciate the support, Debra. I will also take you up on that offer to do a guest blog one of these fine days 🙂 It is exciting to finally put the word out into the world where I know I can no longer deny it to myself. Like one of your guests … once we make the committment public, we make ourselves accountable. Let’s see what happens next ???

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  9. Florence – With everyone believing in you, and that includes me, I’d say do what feels right in your heart.

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  10. Florence,

    I’m traditional and indie or as you refer to us–a hybrid. I’m not sorry I’ve done both.In many ways I love the control the latter offers as I’m a bit of a control freak. I’m as proud–actually even more proud–of my indie pubbed books because I had that control. I felt more empowered because of that. I think having been published with a publisher first and going through the steps helped me immeasurably once I took the indie plunge.

    Like you my journey has taken paths I didn’t expect but I’m so glad I feel comfortable with both. With all your support your journey should give you this same satisfaction.

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    • Yes, Casey … I knew that you did both traditional and indie. There are a few writers I read and who visit here who do both and love each of them for different reasons.

      Since that is what I had wanted when I started this, I think I’ll be happy taking that direction and more than happy to have so many of you support me 🙂

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  11. I believe in divine intervention for sure!! We may stray off the path, but God always has us in his hands 🙂 Everything happens for a reason and in perfect timing. Timing IS everything!!

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  12. Florence, plans are meant to be adjusted and changed. Isn’t that why they call them plans? 🙂 I’m so excited that you’re jumping into the publishing ring and I can’t wait to read your stories because I love your writing style!

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  13. We are both stubborn fools. It’s the path to success. And stubborn fools have the sense to adjust the plan as we go. 🙂

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  14. Florence, it’s tough out there and unless there’s a real love of writing, it can be hard to stick with it whether your “indie” “hybrid” “traditional” or WHATEVER. It’s so clear to me you LOVE to write and that’s really what matters most. I fell out of love with the writing of fiction so it was easy for me to abandon that (at least novel-length stuff). You haven’t given up because you have a passion for it. That’s inspiring to me. Good luck with this next project! And HAVE FUN!

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    • Nina, novel or not, I love what you are doing with your craft. You have a gift that is very special and I can see that you love what you do as well.

      Thanks for your kind words … I rely on my passion to see me through the hard part of all of this. I will as they say … keep you posted 🙂

      Like

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