What being an intern has taught me so far

So, back in October I stumbled upon an open call for interns/readers for an agency I adore. I think their whole group of agents are pretty spectacular. Now, I haven’t personally gotten to have conversations with all of them. But over the last year or so of seeing exchanges on Twitter, plus all the fantastic words of fellow writers as they mention the agents or the agency, well, it’s really made me think well of them as a whole.

And then this opportunity comes up, and I’m thinking no fucking way would they ever consider me. I’m a stay-at-home mom and have been for over 16 yrs. My work experience is as dusty as a New Mexican arroyo, (an arroyo is a dry creek not slang for something weird) and what do I know about this industry I’m just starting to cut my teeth on anyway?

Nope, no way do I have a chance.

But, because I’m me, and my aspirations run the gamut from trying to become an alpaca farm owner to, oh I dunno, turning a few acres into a community where all my wayward friends can come and lay their head… well, applying to be an intern didn’t seem as unreachable as it could have. If you’ve ever seen the movie Wanderlust, I’m pretty much a real-life, occasional cafe kinda girl.

No has never really been part of my vocab.

So, I applied. Annnd I was denied. But the whole process was so exhilarating.  Reading the sample manuscripts made me feel alive. I was doing something for me, to better myself.

It felt fucking fantastic!

So, I wrote a thank you letter to let the agent know how much the opportunity meant to me. I don’t know if she’ll ever really know how much, but I can only hope. Books have been my escape since I could read. As a child, and then a teen, there were times when life waved at me from the windows, and I would be so caught up in whatever story I was reading at the time that I just waved right back and continued on reading. As a new mom, books got me through a lot of lonely and tired days.

As a stay-at-home mom you tend to lose yourself sometimes. There’s a million and 3 things about it that I’m thankful for every day. But in learning to be selfless it’s easy to lose oneself. And it takes a moment like this to wake up, and say oh yeah, I’m more than a mom.

That was my moment.

Sooo, another intern/reading position came up for the same agent, at the same agency, and I grabbed the bull by the horns, threw caution to the wind, (and a few other cliches) and tried out again.

I made it! I squealed. I shrieked. I did a little victory dance. I probably cried a bit.

Since then, I wake up with a purpose. When I see that email with said agent(angel)’s name, my heart speeds up– cause I know I’m about to take another amazing journey and it fills me with joy.

 

Fellow writers, I admire you so much… Your words inspire me to become that much more in my writing. Every time I finish reading one of your manuscripts it motivates me to push myself that much further. I know your pain and your fear in letting your babies out into the world and having someone judge them. That’s the hardest part. Measuring my truth, my personal taste, and how I feel it will do in a market is so difficult. Every word I write in my report I want to erase. What if that one sentence dooms someone? Alternatively, what if another is the exact sentence needed to realize this ms could be the one?

Thank you, Agent, for trusting me with all the words. Thank you, writers, for making my life that much more. Between you both I have a reason, a reason for myself. Every day that I’m learning something new, honing my craft, and walking this path I send out a silent thanks that she decided to take a chance on me.

I don’t know how much time I have left. I’m not exactly sure of the lifespan of an intern. But I will make the most of every moment I’m given.

Holy shit, I’m one step closer to my dream y’all. One day I’m gonna get somewhere, and be someone, and now I know what I really want to be. I love writing sooo damn much. I’m in love with reading. Author, or agent, or intern for life– I’ve found my home and I don’t ever wanna go back. ❤

Thank you, secret angel agent. 🙂 (I wish I could give her a true shoutout but I’m sworn to secrecy 🙂

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Cass

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So, A long time ago

I used to have a camera attached to me. Everywhere I went, no matter what I was doing, there it was. It’s been a really really long time since I’ve held it with purpose. My Flickr account renewed today and I hadn’t looked at it in so long.

Man, was that a mistake! Going through the last 10 years made me a little emotional. And I still have another 4 years of photos to look through on there. I can’t wait. I think I might dust off my camera and start taking pics again. I don’t know if I’ll ever have that obsessive must take photos of everything drive again, but it would be nice to capture life now every once in awhile through something other than my phone camera.

Anyway, here’s a few I especially enjoyed. Have a nice day everyone! And don’t forget yourself, or if you do, try and find what’s missing. You might be in for a pleasant surprise 🙂

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Ode to the querying writer

As a child, a teen, adult, or crone

you’ve decided to give your daydreams a home

Each day you struggled, laughed, and cried

as your lyrical journey took you for a ride

Through heartache and joy, interweaving a story for your eyes alone

and then to share with friends, and family,

the ones who always throw you a bone

holding your breath, hands balled up tight, hoping and wishing with all of your might that they LOVE IT

and they do. So you think I’ve a bestseller… or two.

Then you spread your wings and find others like you.

Writing, revising, downing a cup or four. Trying to turn your draft into something much more.

You let go your chains, fears, and shakes

and share the words you held deep in your core

and finally

FINALLY you hear the words needed. The ones your family forgot to tell you.

Edits begin with a ravenous rush

for now is not the time to be a lush

a tweak here

delete there.

Sprucing and pruning without care

it’s true.

Wait? My 200,000 word draft is too long? chop, snip 70,000 gone over night

another 20,000?

yes, that will make it tight.

Kill who?  Seriously you want him to go? But,

but I thought he was the star of the show.

and then it all makes sense.

This dream, this story came together again. Thanks you your new circle of writerly friends.

 

Until

 

the moment came to set it free

And you write your first fucking query

That awful, soul-sucking, mind number page.

the one, you know, that fills you with rage

because no one said when you started your dream

that you’d be judge by 3 little paragraphs.

and perhaps

they forgot to mention you’ll end up growing scales of titanium before your done

 

did not connect

your voice? well it sucks

subjectively, of course

keep looking, bubye, sayonara my friend.

Adios, till next time, please, let’s not meet again.

and then

you revise, resub, brush it off. Chug a bottle or two

secretly tell everyone off.

your crit friends hold your hand while you blubber and cry

One day, they’ll see, you say with a sigh

and they do

because you do not give up

you power through, dust yourself off and move the fuck on

you write a new manuscript, or two, or four

you go through the struggle again and again, knocking on their door

because you’re a writer.

you’re a fucking amazing, daydreaming, word-slinging, make-believing, world-building, murdering, fucking freak.

and those words you’ve written are fucking unique.

and you deserve to be heard.

so don’t give up.

because one day I’ll need you. One day i’ll pick you up. I’ll open your pages and you’ll take me away and you’ll break my heart over the course of the day.

I’ll cheer for your protagonist while creating ways to kill your antagonist. I’ll boo, hiss and cheer in all the right places

I’ll cringe in fear at your scary blood-mangled faces

I’ll try to pronounce each word of your world (and then secretly make up nicknames when I can’t)

But never once will I rant, because you’re story is still fucking awesome

without you, dear writer, our world can be gray. Full of dreaded real life. monotonous day by slogging damn day.

You are my rock, my soultrip, my escape.

carry on my friends, you unbelievable strong people. Please do not crack.

Forget the rejections, your words are not wack.

You’ve already won the moment you began

you created something from nothing and that deserves the ultimate hand.

and when your dear words finally come home

remember to cheer on another who’s still in the zone.

pick them up, raise their head and remind them it’s time

for their words to fly free, for they are sublime.

Dear perfect writer

It’s some hard fucking shit, yes it’s true.

never give up

if not for me, than… for you. ❤

 

 

 

 

Bad Beat

So I have a few WIPs I’ve been working on. And tonight I’ve decided to work on BAD BEAT. It’s been a few weeks since I touched it last, but I just booked a trip to Las Vegas, a place I’ve lived over 7 times in my life, and even confirming my trip had me wishing I was already there.

Anyway, BAD BEAT is a YA Thriller about a girl who’s a poker shark and get’s caught up in the high life when she wins way too much money at the casinos with her fake ID. I grew up playing poker. My granddad’s Sicilian blood runs through me strongly, and by age 5 I could play most card games.

I love it. It makes me feel alive when I’m at the card table. Anyway, since it’s Friday, and I’m missing cards, my grandparents, and my youth I decided to post the first 5 pages of my WIP. Feel free to lemme know what you think 🙂

Chapter 1

 

I hate people who say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. I bet you any amount of money the people who say that don’t live here. They weren’t born here. And sure as shit, they don’t keep whatever extreme moment that called for such a dumb saying here.

My fingers tap a rhythm on the cool metal table. The clink of my handcuffs keep time with my digits. It soothes me. I’m getting used to it.

“Could you tell me why you started playing poker, Ms. De Spirito?” The Las Vegas juvenile correction officer asking me questions tries to pull off looking like she cares. She’s horrible at it, but I’ll humor her. Every minute spent out of my cell is one less minute spent in it. I’ll take as many seconds as they’ll give me.

“Why do we breathe? Why is the sky blue?” I shake my head. They’ll never understand. “I can’t tell you why I started, or even when. I could probably play cards before I could fully walk. My dad always called me a natural. Said I had a talent for reading people. You see, a lot of people play statistics, numbers. They are very methodical about pot odds and how that determines what hand they’re playing and why.” My fingers speed up, building to a crescendo. With a final tap I bring my hands away and gently place them on my lap.

“And?”

“And I’m not that kind of a person. I couldn’t tell you the first thing about pot odds. What I could tell you is how Big Bucks sitting to the left of me is holding a pocket pair of aces because his eye twitched when the board hit two kings and a five. He overbet to protect his hand and wouldn’t you know it, the little fella sitting next to him called it in about two seconds flat. That’s how I knew Shorty was holding the third king. The way he fingered his chips spoke louder than any pot odds could ever do. Made it pretty easy to throw down my jacks. Never was the kinda girl who liked two boys at once anyway.”

Officer Dean clears her throat. It looks like she’s trying to hide a smile, but I play nice and pretend I don’t see it.

“So, you don’t see anything wrong with the fact that you cheated multiple casinos out of one point four million dollars?”

Before I can stop myself, my hands shoot out of my lap and slap the table. I stand and look Officer Dean in the eye.

“I won that money fair and square.” I’m seething on the inside. It’s pointless, but I still try to calm myself by breathing slowly.

“Well, yes. You could say that under normal circumstances. But the fact remains. To gamble legally in the state of Nevada you must be twenty one or older. And you, my dear, are only seventeen.”

I sit down. The air rushes out of me until I’m deflated. Only seventeen.

“Thanks for the reminder.”

“Now, enough of the games. We both know underage gambling isn’t the main reason you’re sitting with me. Why don’t you start at the beginning? And tell me how you got to be here. I’ve got all the time in the world so there’s no point in stalling.”

“Stalling. Stalling? You think I’m stalling?” I wait for her to laugh, something. Anything. But she doesn’t even grin. Must not be a fan of Spongebob. Her loss.

“Fine. Well, it all started on the last week of school. You could say I was a fashion victim. Guess being overweight is a crime after all.”…

…The sound of my jeans ripping as I bend over should embarrass me. The fact that it’s happening in first period, only five minutes after the bell has rung, should probably have me melting in shame—wishing I was part of the horrid, orange and brown paisley carpet. I squeeze my legs together in the hopes that my white, “grandma” undies might have less of a chance to peek through. Carefully, I stand, and penguin-walk to the door.

Amidst the peals of laughter from my fellow oh-so-compassionate classmates I sketch a solute, and quickly hightail it out of class—Mr. Baldwin’s theory of the melting ice caps be damned. At least one good thing has come from this. The rip up my backside provides a much needed loosening along the whole waist area. Might as well go for glory. A sigh comes out of me as I give in, and undo the button to my jeans. It borderlines erotic. Yeah, soooo much better. I’m so busy looking down at the roll of fat now hanging slightly over my undone jeans it takes me a second to comprehend someone is talking.

“Hey, Sonja, you getting ready to enter a strip contest or what?”

Great. Not just someone.

“Oh. Hey there, Kai. How’d ya guess?” Without thinking, my fingers grasp the zipper and I begin to pull it down. A few flutters of my eyelashes, and a kiss blown in his direction, and we both break into laughter. I spin in a circle ballet dancers would be envious of—happily showing off my predicament.

“Ah, nice one. How in the world did you do that?” Kai raises his eyebrow.

“Well, I was trying to pull off this new parkour move. You know, show off for Billy. He’s really into girls that leap tall buildings and shit.” Silence greets me, so I continue on with my explanation. This time a measure of heat crosses my cheeks. “Or actually… I accidentally dropped my pencil when I got into class, and when I bent over to pick it up my jeans decided they were tired of being together. Think they wanted a break.”

Even though embarrassment courses through me I hold my head high, stare Kai straight in the eye, and dare him to laugh. To his credit he doesn’t even grin.

“Damn, Sonja, that’s booty.” The previously missing smile breaks through. “Haha. Get it? Booty?”

“Ugh. You so suck.” I shake my head.

“What are best friends for?” Kai wraps one wiry, muscled arm around my waist. As it touches each hill and valley that my body is comprised of I want to suck in my breath. Will his arm get stuck between the rolls? No such luck. Thank God for small favors.

His hand comes to a rest right on my hip. It’s in the place where a hipbone should be, but isn’t. Due to the extra padding my lovely body provides me any and all hints of bone structure are hidden. It’s like I’m supplying a pillow for his hand instead.

“Come on, songbird, let’s get you home.” Kai hooks a finger through my belt loop, and drags me down the hall.

Let it rain

As I sit in my car waiting (something that becomes a bit of a full time job for a stay-at-home mom) in the somewhat pouring rain, it’s come to me that we, Washingtonians, in general, are apposed to umbrellas.

Now, this is neither a novel, nor a new idea. I’ve observed it many a time and have heard others as well. But 10 years in and I’m still not quite sure why. It’s not like I was anti-umbrella pre-Washington. In fact, I remember clearly owning a few and using them.

However, since living here it doesn’t ever occur to me to use one. And by the amount of people walking by sans the useful gadget, I see I’m clearly in the majority. When raindrops hit us do we soak any less? Have we developed superpowers of deflection? Perhaps we’ve evolved to oily skin such as birds have on their feathers to let the rain trickle down. Or perhaps we’re so hipster rain falls around us as we walk, never on us.

It doesn’t matter the reason behind it, I suppose, but it does tickle me to see us so blatantly defiant in a land where rain is so common.

I guess we can all take comfort in things like the song, Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, or the fact that will will never suffer the bad luck of opening umbrellas indoors. If you think about it, even the community is so secure in our lack of want that stores/malls freely offer the “use” of umbrellas to their customers on an honor code that they’ll be returned , in my opinion, knowing they are in no way going to be used in the first place.

I know this because I never see them out of their lovely little pots. No matter the deluge.

I’m sure I’ll ponder this again. Till then, stay wet Pac northwesteners. And if you do know the reason, don’t let me know. I like the mystery 🙂