What’s Up, What’s Up?!

Hey y’all!  So, the last time I posted, I wrote that I had submitted my manuscript to my ‘possible’ agent at Page Publishing, and I would know, either way, within 2 weeks.

Well, last Tuesday, my ‘possible’ agent called back.  He actually called me on Monday, but I was bravely shopping at my local Walmart.  Don’t worry, I always wear a surgical face mask and gloves.  My husband was home, so he took the call, but my ‘possible’ agent didn’t say anything except “I’ll call her back”.  When I came home from shopping with my next door neighbor, my husband told me all about it as he came out our front door and crossed the street to meet me with our groceries at our neighbors car.  For the rest of the day, everywhere I went, my phone was on me, waiting for the call back, but he didn’t call back.  However, on Tuesday, the moment the phone rang, I snatched it up.  Low and behold, it was Page Publishing.

My ‘possible’ agent asked me how I was doing; I said I was good.  He asked how I was feeling; again, I said I was good.  Then he said, “I have news regarding your manuscript.”  Now my heart is racing, beating so hard it’s in my throat.

“Are you ready?” My possible agent asked me.

“I’m as ready as I’m going to be.” I replied, and we both laughed.

Without dragging it out any further, my agent accepted my manuscript.  I’M.  GOING.  TO.  BE.  PUBLISHED!  Y’all Didn’t Hear it from Me: A Journal of Life Stories is getting published!  OMG!!!

I am sorry that it took me a week to share my breakthrough news with y’all, but I was waiting until I signed my agreement and communicated with my assigned coordinator before I said anything.  Now that I have my itinerary, it’s real!  I AM A PUBLISHING AUTHOR!

So, what’s next?  The long, patient wait while everything about my book is checked and rechecked, created, developed, and priced.  Now I have to work on writing the Synopsis of my book, my ‘About The Author’ piece, submit any images I want included in my book’s content, and anything else my coordinator may want from me.

As of right now, the journey to writing and completing my manuscript was taxing, but enjoyable.  I feel like the journey to publishing is going to just as taxing, yet enjoyable as writing the physical book was.  Even hearing my coordinator go over all of my information felt remarkable.  It wasn’t just go over my name and author name, it was more when she read my title aloud to verify my work.  To hear someone other than myself or my husband say it, “Y’all Didn’t Hear it From Me: A Journal of Life Stories”, put me on cloud 9.  I know one thing is for sure, the day it all comes together and complete, and I receive my 10 copies in the mail, I’m vlogging the video for y’all to see.  I may cry, because I never saw myself publishing a book, but here I am, doing something extreme I didn’t know I wanted.  Something my family has doubted the possibility of since my great-grandmother, Nanny, published her Christian book of poetry.  She didn’t do anything with it, so it didn’t go anywhere.  She chose not to do anything with it for her own reasons.  I have so many reasons I am doing this.

By the way, what do you think of vlogging?  I’m curious.

Anyway, until next time!  Thanks for reading y’all!

Thinking, Writing, and Reflecting About Chicken Soup for the Soul

Hey y’all!

I am a writer and because I am a writer, I think a lot.  A Lot.  I think about my past and I think about my future and all the things I want to do.  Most of it has to wait until after my daughter graduates from high school which will be in another three years, but at the same time, I can do many of the things I want to do now, in the present time, because I’ve been blessed with the ability to work from home, as an English teacher.

One of the things I want to do is publish.  I want this about as much as I’ve wanted everything else I’ve been blessed with in my life because I love writing so much.  I love sketching to, but writing allows me to bare a piece of my soul that I can’t do in creating artwork.  Yes, I know writing is just another form of artwork, but writing is also different from sketching.  In writing, I can talk about the many obstacles I’ve overcome and what I learned from those obstacles.  When I sketch, I create pictures that make me happy.  Writing also makes me happy, but differently than sketching does.

Someday, I want to see my written short stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul because Chicken Soup for the Soul is the most widely known nonfiction short story compilations book around the world.  I began reading them when I was just 14 years old.  I recommend then to anyone I know and everyone I meet.  I recommended Chicken Soup for the Girls Soul to my daughter’s best friend in gymnastics.  She’s a couple years younger than my daughter, but she loves to read, according to her grandparents.  Not only did I lend them my copy, but after reading the book and returning it to me, her grandmother went out and bought herself a copy of a more recent title, Chicken Soup for the Grandparents Soul.  I don’t know how often this happens to other people, but it was a first for me.

I’ve been writing and submitting short stories to them for the last two years and one thing I can say for sure is my ability to write is improving.  When I first started trying, yes, I wrote crap.  Boring and unacceptable for publication; and obviously not what they were looking for.  Now, two years later, reading my own work chokes me up, but maybe I’m just partial to my own work.  Rather than being my own worst critic, I’m over complimentary to myself.  I used to have my husband simply proofread my material, then I click the submit button and off it went to their inbox.  Now, I’ve improved the writing process, asking him to critique my material, not once, but twice.  The first critique is always for direction.  The second critique is to fix anything which doesn’t sound right, or doesn’t fit.  If and when he gives me an all-clear, I then ask him to proofread it for me to clear my grammatical mistakes.

I know publishing is a hit and miss no matter who you’re trying to publish with.  When it comes to Chicken Soup for the Soul, my single short story entry is only 1 in about 5000.  As of current, the only time I’ve ever received a personal message from Amy Newmark herself, it was to ask for my mailing address to mail me a couple signed books, per winning a book drawing.  It was an incredible experience, but nothing like I imagine it’s going to be when the day comes I receive an email, that my short story has been chosen for publication in a future title.

So far, I’ve submitted a short story to each of these future titles; ‘Laughter is the Best Medicine’, ‘Listen to Your Dreams’, ‘Stories About Christmas’, ‘Stories About Self-Care and Me Time’, and ‘You Go, Girl’.  The short story I wrote for ‘You Go, Girl’ is, in my opinion, my personal best.

In closing, I write to clear my head of the most concentrated thought swirling inside.  Chicken Soup for the Soul is my most favorite book series.  I can’t deny that and I won’t deny it.  I know my day will come, and when it does, I’ll laugh, I’ll cry, and I’ll jump up and down like a crazy high school girl finding out that the boy she likes, likes her back.  I’ll probably run to my neighbors and share with them this most exciting news of my life, but I am not going to deny myself the emotion of finally accomplishing what I’ve been working so hard to do since I began my writing journey.  I’ll tell you what else I’m not going to do, when sharing my news with my parents, who don’t completely understand the lengthy time and amount of patience writing a single story can take, regardless of story length, nor the hit and miss of publicating, I am not going to allow their happy-so-so attitude to clash with my over-the-moon-top-of-the-world-basking-in-personal-accomplished-glory attitude.  After all, this isn’t about them, this is about me.  They will be happy for me, supportive, and accepting, and that’s all I really can ask for.

Thank you for reading y’all!

 

Monday of Mondays

Hey y’all!  I don’t know about you, but today feels like the Monday of all Mondays.  I was halfway through my shower this morning when I remembered that it is Monday which means my daughter had school.

Where did the weekend go?  One day it was here, and the next, it’s gone and now here we have Monday.  Normally, daylight savings time doesn’t affect me.  One year, I set my alarm for the time change, waking up just so I could experience gaining the hour back.  This year I experienced losing that hour.  It was strange to watch and witness the time on my personal computer flip from 1:59am to 3:00am.  One thing is for sure, thanks to daylight savings time, I’ll never forget my first VIPKid class.

Though I’m tired, I can’t complain about the work pile.  I literally ‘paced’ my way through first class Math, drank a fresh cup of dark roast coffee for the caffeinated perk during English/Language Arts, and I still yawned my way through Science and Social Studies.  It felt like the longest day of school ever, but because of my weekend turn out, it’s worth it.

I keep thinking about the class I taught and the student I was working with.  She wore a deep purple, long-sleeved shirt, and just before I began class, she was eating a banana while the guy, appearing to be her dad, was trying to work the kinks out of their end of the virtual classroom.  Their background noise was fascinating.  I didn’t understand anything I was hearing, but I was next to tears, embracing the biggest opportunity of my lifetime, working with authentic ethnicity.  I’m eager to teach my next class/student!

The only work I did manage to find the motivation and energy for was completing my 5-star reward system.  I hot glued the magnets on this evening, after dinner, so I can use it this weekend.

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Thanks for reading y’all!

The Saturday After

Good morning y’all!

I took Thanksgiving off.  I didn’t work (except for in the kitchen), I didn’t write, I didn’t read, I wasn’t on social media, and it was the perfect day.

Mom and dad invited some friends over to have Thanksgiving with us, our daughter made a new friendly acquaintance, I socialized while keeping up with the kitchen, and we all enjoyed ourselves (with the exception of the fracture currently in dad’s back between his shoulder blades).

My husband cooks the turkey every year while I’m in charge of cooking and baking the rest of it–the fried collard greens with little smokies, green bean casserole, savory herb stuffing, ranch-infused mashed potatoes, gravy I made from the turkey drippings, King’s Hawaiian rolls, canned yams, jellied cranberry sauce, homemade deep-dish pumpkin pie, and homemade sugar-free peach cobbler.

Normally, Thanksgiving leftovers take days to finish up, and there’s still a good chance you’ll throw something out.  Somehow I pulled off the opposite and made the perfect amount for everyone.  I made Thanksgiving lunch/dinner, eating around 2pm, then ate leftovers for dinner/snack that evening.  Yesterday we ate leftovers for lunch, and then again for dinner.  Now, the pumpkin pie is gone, the peach cobbler is gone, and I’ve gotta make more cobbler.  It was delicious!

Yesterday, my husband helped me bring up our Christmas decorations from the basement.  We decorated our office, doing a ‘Christmas Around the World’ theme this year.  My husband set his village up along a high shelf, I set my late-grandmother’s Native American Nativity scene up on a shelf below that, and on another side shelf, I placed my Nativity scene of Bethlehem, Egypt.  Christmas around the world.

I placed Santa under our tree, to portray him waiting patiently for Christmas, to make his yearly trip ‘around the world’, delivering the childish spirit of the holiday.

I spent the rest of the day decorating the rest of the house, putting the other tree up in the living room for my parents.  I hung the stockings for show, some garland for sparkle effect, and put the place mats out just because.

Now it’s Saturday.  This afternoon our Georgia ‘Bulldawgs’ play the Techies (Georgia Tech).  Our dawgs are aiming for another awesome year being 10-1!

I’m still waiting to hear back about the writing sample I submitted for review.  I think I did well on the assignment, but I’m not reviewing myself.  As long as they can see that I know what I’m doing, that I can tutor their way with their paperwork, and I will only improve with time and practice, then I have my case made.  I wasn’t thrilled with the sample assignment, but I’m glad for having done it because now I have the idea, and I think that’s the point.

At first I looked at the assignment like it was in a foreign language.  I think I read everything 10 times over before finally wrapping my mind around the system; I was trying too hard.  Once I relaxed and let myself fall into the assignment, comments, remarks, and direction came easier.  When I felt like I’d completed it properly and to the best of my current ability (as my APA/MLA formatting is a little out of practice) I sent it off for review.

Now I’ve taken a step further than I normally get.  All I can do now is wait patiently, cross my fingers, and hope for the best.

Thanks for reading with me and I’ll write again Monday!

“Give In, Take Rest, Think Later”

It is only Wednesday?

Yeah, it’s only Wednesday and I’m wishing it was Friday so I can have another weekend.  Last weekend seemed to fly even though I had an extra day because of there being no school.  However, while Saturday was relaxing enough, Sunday was the Daytona 500, which Austin Dillion won, and we had company over to watch the race.  I’m not complaining, I’m just saying I didn’t take the time to ‘refresh’ like I should have on Monday.

Being an introvert and needing time to recuperate from overly energetic, highly entertaining events is a must.  Otherwise its all too much to take in and process.  After any kind of family gathering or get-together, my head ‘buzzes’ for day or so because of there being so much to take in.  In order to refresh myself, I need quiet time alone–to re-energize.

I’m learning that when I don’t take that time to be quiet and to myself, I can literally feel the lack of mental motivation.  It makes it hard to concentrate.  Today I’m feeling it more, though I am trying to work, but at the same time, my thoughts keep trailing back to my phone.  Will the guy from Page Publishing call me back today?  I called him yesterday afternoon, I wrote and sent him an email to back myself up, and I called and left another message this afternoon.  I admit, my patience level there leaves me feeling ‘antsy’, but otherwise I feel ready for a nap though I also want to work on a couple of my rough drafts.

Mental fatigue.  That’s what it is, and sometimes I give into it.

“Work From Home VS Work-From-Home”

I hate Mondays, but I can’t say I hate Mondays because in reality, I don’t hate any day, I just hate the things that can occur during the day.

For instance, through the week, my daughter is in school.  I’m there as well, listening in, keeping my daughter focused on school.  Sometimes the day goes smooth.  She doesn’t act out or act up, she doesn’t run her mouth but listens and does as instructed.  Sometimes she has a really good day.  Other days, like today (which is coincidentally Monday) she doesn’t want to do anything school related.  On days like today, her attitude gets the best of her and she doesn’t want to do any more than sit and listen.  Today she had a quiz to complete in English class, the teacher also instructed her students to locate a tune for tomorrow’s ‘Tune Tuesday’ and create a slide for the song of choice, then submit it to her.  Well, my daughter was all over locating a song, specifically looking up “Ins and Outs” by Sofia Carson, for her presentation slide.  With me supervising, she found the song, used her tablet to take a screenshot of the lyrics, and she was ready to transfer it to paper.  She grabbed a clean sheet of paper, a gel pen, and she went right to copying it out.  Later when it was time to take a quiz also assigned for English, I told her to get her paper and a pen, and get to work.  The quizzes in  school allow for unlimited attempts (except for math–I don’t know why).  She took the quiz five times she said, got an “F”, and she was going to give up.  When I checked in on her work, I didn’t see the quiz questions on paper.  When I asked her where they were, she told me in her quietly timid voice, I didn’t write them down, or I didn’t do it.  Do you see the problem here?  She has no problem copying down the lyrics to her favorite song, but school work is another story. (Sigh)

So, here I am.  I’m finally able to do my work.  I wanted to write this, and I have a story I’m working on rewriting for my manuscript (or work-in-progress).

Working from home is hard; it’s just like having any other kind of job.  I’ve worked retail, ringing up customers for 8-10 hours a day, putting out stock, unloading delivery trucks, and I’ve had other jobs.  I waitress-ed for a small cafe, and I’ve worked as a cook in a couple restaurants.  One of them went out of business, but that had nothing to do with me.  It was a financial problem on the owners end.  Working from home is just like any of that–just cut out the commute–but there is still the stress, time, and effort applied.

Working-from-home doesn’t just mean I can do my work from home, it means I work from home.  I’m a mom, a Learning Coach in School, a writer and blogger, a wife, and a caregiver.