Sunday, November 27, 2011

Swimming Through Angstarctica

I love my Psycho gloves so much that, yes, I want to marry them.
I've been saying for a long time -- before I'd even discovered the bliss and exhilaration of the open water -- that I was hoping one day my wetsuit would turn me into a super hero.

Today, I got one step closer.

Thanks to my dear friend (and lovely, adorable, fellow-lunatic), Annmarie, who delivered an early Christmas present, I am now the proud owner of new, improved swim booties, and, more importantly, a pair of 5mm Psycho gloves.

The name says it all. They're the ones in the photo that look like they belong to Iron Man. And they are the Swim God's gift to womankind.

Despite 47- 49 degree temps in the Sound today, we swam 40+ minutes and, even then, I wasn't ready to get out.

It was crazy!

It was delirium!

It was likely this winter's salvation.

Because December is here. The crush of the holidays (I'm a Jew, you know, we just don't get all that excited). The cold, dark days. The oppressive weight of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

For the past few winters, I've barely made it through.

But, now I've got a plan. And my plan now seems attainable. Thanks to an early Christmas present, from a dear friend who seems to need the bliss of the open water just as badly as I do.

Thanksgiving Day. That's me in the center. Losing my religion. (Annmarie, photo left)
Plus, the other hardies of the West Neck Pod.
Btw, if you want to read more about our open water swims, go here to the Water-blog.

Together, with Psycho gloves, we're gonna swim right on through it. We're swimming through Angstarctica. We're swimming till we meet the shores of spring.

So, don't worry about me. Because the water will buoy me, and my fingers won't feel a thing. <3

- gae

p.s. This just in:
Me, with my PSYCHO GLOVES today!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How Red (Cold? Blue?) Can You Go?

If my hair is any indicator, very, and likely proof that I am frantically staving off  (another) mid-life crisis.

It started as a strand or two, and now look, it's taken over my head. What's worse is that I'm eyeing bottles of green, and orange and purple.

At least my kids think this version of insanity is cool. Only when they're older will they realize. . .

Some days it's not too bad, but the rain this week doesn't help.

Nor the fact that I'm out on submission (writer speak for praying an editor will freaking just please take my book!). And, despite an amazing, competent new agent, who believes in me, it's this market that's killing my confidence...

Also, NOT helping? The fact that the open water season is going to end one day soon, like, say, yesterday, maybe, or at best, this Saturday. Because the novelty of swimming in 40-degree water is quickly wearing off. Been there. Done that. Thrice, as they say.

Then, it's six months in the (fucking) cholorinated pool.

Plus, there's my eyesight: yep, I need reading glasses . . . and, even still, I can't see shit. My last trip to the eye doctor nearly made me pass out. It's the light they shine in your eyes while they describe how you're slowly losing focus. . .

Oh, and  my "bum" hip which, no, has not gotten better despite all I've done to ignore it *coughs*. I mean, bursitis???? What the fuck?!)

And, suddenly, I realize I never made the five-mile swim this summer I was counting on -- okay, I realized sooner, but suddenly the weight of it is hitting me hard, and bumming me out big time.

I know, I know. There's always next summer. But I wanted to do it this one.


So, yeah, I'm feeling angsty and blue and fearful of the cold days looming ahead. So maybe it just doesn't matter how red I go. Maybe no red is quite red enough.

Maybe I need to go blue . . .

(You know, as in, 
5. blue - adj. - suggestive of sexual impropriety; "a blue movie"; "blue jokes"; "he skips asterisks and gives you the gamy details"; "a juicy scandal"; "a naughty wink"; "naughty words"; "racy anecdotes"; "a risque story"; "spicy gossip")

This is my writer-friend, cum girl crush, Tami Sue Snow.  (yes, people, that is a totally business-like and respectable way to use the word cum. You know nothing):

Yeah, I said girl crush. I mean, seriously, can you blame me? 


I didn't think so.

Anyway. Tami hosts an erotic radio show on Shark Radio called The Naughty Slot (*curtseys because she helped her name it*) and, as sexy as she is, she is also sweet and talented and adorable, and suddenly I find myself rushing home on Saturday nights at 10 pm EST (if, miracles of miracles, i am even out in the first place) to chime in on the chat room delirium that takes place in the sidebar, along with my new VBFF (and very funny counterpart) Heidi (she's a peach!), as if we are silly school girls.

Silly, blue school girls staving off an emotional breakdown...

Me, flaunting my blueness on a recent Saturday night....

I would have thought that all this girl-on-girl (and totally in-fun) debauchery would actually be more entertaining to my husband -- who would usually only dream of such things -- but mostly he just seems to shake his head at me. 

Maybe it's the combo of red, cold, AND blue, that's freaking him out just a bit.

And, the fact that it's only November.

But that's what marriage is for, right? To roll our eyes while the other spouse isn't quite looking, then nod supportively when we realize they are.

*nods enthusiastically*


It's gonna be an interesting winter.

- gae

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Writing Life: Chutes and Ladders

I've been thinking lately how much the whole 'publishing thing' is like a game of Chutes and Ladders.

I mean,
maybe all of life is like a game of Chutes & Ladders and that's why it has
remained such a classic
(or maybe it's just that it's so dang fun to slide the little colorful pegs up and down the curly slides), but, certainly, my publishing journey has felt a lot like playing this game.

Here, I'll show you what I mean.

Imagine my first attempt at writing a manuscript in 1998 as the Start Space, and the completion of the first rough draft of THE JETTY (4+ years) as Space #4.

Up, I go to Space #14 where there's a yummy cake waiting for me. Yay, cake! You know how I love a good cake.

Perhaps at space #15, I submit to my first round of agents, which all come back rejections. Space #16, down I go! But at Space #9, I get a bite, my first agent request for a look at a partial or full.

Woohoo, I'm off and running on Space #31!

At Space #36, THE JETTY makes it to the Semi-finals of the first-ever Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, but at Space #47, I'm eliminated (luckily, I land in water).  

Space #28 is totally elusive for most of us -- there's a forcefield around it or something -- but it's back to Space #36 again, where I get my first real NYC literary agent who loves THE JETTY and my writing and is convinced we will get a six-figure deal.

Up to Space #44. Look how tall I feel now!

At Space #51, I finish the revisions she's asked for and we begin to send the manuscript out to publishers. At Spaces #53 - 63, the, "we love this, but. . ." rejections from said publishers start to roll in.

At Space #64, while at work on a new middle grade manuscript, I fall and break my arm.

No, really. I fell and broke my arm. Totally lost all mojo on that manuscript. It still sits half-finished somewhere.

Instead, on Spaces #61 - 79, I begin work on my second to-be-completed women's fiction manuscript, SWIM BACK TO ME and, at Space #80, it's ready to be submitted.

I land on Space #87. What more can I say?

For a while, I see stars (no, really, I'm telling you, I'm pretty sure I saw stars), but by Space #31 I'm off and running again. This time, it's a young adult manuscript, THE PULL OF GRAVITY.

At Space #36, I get an amazing editor at fsg interested, and at Space #51 she loves it!
Look at me just sweeping up over there.

But at Space #56, another in-house editor says, "Not so much," and sends me sneezing back to Space #53.

I engage in rewrites, my agent newly-confident in the manuscript and on space #71, the editor calls us back to say she misses the manuscript and, voila! I have a book deal.

It's a book deal, peeps. I eat an entire ice cream sundae!!! (Though I am careful to put my bib on.)

After 18 months of Space #91 glee and nerves and joy and revisions and line edits, the book comes out to very good reviews.

Woo hoo!

Good reviews!!!

*looks for ladder space*

Er. Um.


What? You say there there are no ladders here? Only more potential chutes? Ah, my TPoG cover hasn't made the Macmillan catalogue (most bookstores buy at least partially based on cover appeal), and, as a non-lead title, I receive only mininum marketing support from my publisher.

At Space #93, I scribble profanities all over the walls of facebook and start to slide down.
Days and nights turn into endless self-marketing ventures instead of writing ones, trying to get word of my title out there. I also work on what I think will be my "option" book -- an upper YA called JACK KEROUAC IS DEAD TO ME, which I finish in rough draft and my new agent loves.

Oops, might have left out some chutes and ladders, didn't I? As a result of a layoff at an inopportune time, I split with my first agent and am quickly taken on by a new one who is ready to pitch SWIM again after deep revisions. She also loves JACK KEROUAC, but I've started a second "option" effort, called FRANKIE SKY, which she loves too, and we agree to submit that for my option.

At Space #93 (what is it with that space, I ask you?) my editor rejects FRANKIE SKY as too commercial, but loves a new manuscript I've also started called IN SIGHT OF STARS. At Space 94 she's taking it up to the exec board, but unforseen objects sometimes have a trajectory of their own, and, at Space #95 she rejects it. At the same time, new shiny agent #2 -- not so new or shiny anymore -- loses steam with everything, becomes unresponsive to anything to do with my career, and we part ways somewhat less than amicably.

What day is it?

What year is it?


At Space #80 -- aw, come on, you didn't really think I would land on Space #80...

At Space #79, I get a shiny, new agent -- one who comes highly recommended by a writer-friend, and in whom I have lots of faith. He takes me on for FRANKIE SKY but asks for revisions which are (gratefully) made. At Space #96 I kick ass (avoiding that damned broken window) and my revisions get approved.

There are just three spaces left that stand between me and a second book deal.





one chute. 

*stares at dice in hand, and tries not to pull any cat tails.*

 - gae