August 2015

Well

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It appears I’ve done it again. I have neglected to write in a blog I swore I would not let falter. I’m really not great at this so please forgive me.

Over the last Nine months in my absence much has happened. Not much of it has to do with writing but I’ll get to that.

I wanted to take a minute and tell a little about my story It’s rather long so go get a drink, or coffee or whatever you choose

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If you go back through my posts, you may know that 2013 was a nightmare year for me. Several close family deaths incuding my six week old great nephew and my brother. All of this put me into a depression (that I didn’t know or understand) I thought I could just bounce back but I did need help to do that. But the stress and strain did something else to my body. It awoke a disease that for most is manageable a skin condition that puts small blisters on the soles of your feet and palms of your hands. (I would put a pic to show but you might be eating and I’m not gonna torture you)

Needless to say it was extremely painful and life altering. I became sedentary and the medicine added more weight onto an already overweight frame.

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That was me for almost three years.

I heard about this thing called G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S. (Because as if you can’t tell I’m a fan of Supernatural and Misha Collins one of the actors on the show founded it) Gishwhes is the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt The World Has Ever Seen.

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I was literally all out of fight when Gishwhes started in August of 2015 but I was determined to have fun. I needed some fun in my life. What happened next changed my life in such profound ways, it’s hard to explain.

I LOVED, every second of Gishwhes, I fought, went out of my comfort zone all to earn imaginary points. Even though you know you don’t have a shot at winning (William Shatner was on team come on, I can’t beat Captain Kirk!)034teampic

What happened after it was over, however surprised me more than anything. It is hard to explain but it was as if someone switched a flip in my head that said, “If you can fight that hard to get points for a scavenger hunt that you can’t win, why not fight for yourself.”

I am stubborn, strong-willed, determined (All traits my mother will confirm) and I was giving up from a disease. So I joined a gym, one that has an indoor salt water pool that is all I could do with damaged feet and obese weight levels. I did well and eventually moved out of the pool. Something I never thought I could do.

But the next picture is a comparison from November 28, 2015 to March 4, 2015. The numbers on the scale haven’t changed much but I sure have.

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It’s easy to see why people give up when they are trying to lose weight. But I’m not trying to lose weight. I’m trying to get my body stronger and I am winning at that. My feet have cleared enough to be manageable. I work as hard as I can every day.

My size never bothered me, please understand. My attitude was as long as I’m healthy, I don’t care if you don’t like me. But I wasn’t healthy. Therefore the changes.

Now coming full circle back to Supernatural and the other actors. These men genuinely care about their fans and want to share their experiences and lives with us.

The #AlwaysKeepFighting campaign started it off. always_keep_fighting_by_bad8luck-d8v4p4w

Now there is a reminder of this…

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You are not alone!

It’s been a year since they launched the Always Keep Fighting Campaign and Now Jared has shared a very moving sentiment. The way you keep fighting is to Love Yourself First.

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These guys don’t know it but they are my imaginary trainers, yelling in my ear to keep going. They are coming to my city in October and even if I have a nanosecond to thank them I will.

They are inspiring and helping so many people and I am proud to say they inspire me.

I’ll try not to stay away so long and thanks for stopping by LeslieLand.

Les

The tree

As a writer, I’m sure many of you live in your own head at times. Dreams of what could be, or stories. Conversations with your characters, on and on. More often than not for me it is an escape mechanism for the real world. My own personal life, but different.

I dream of a different life but feel deep down that it will never become reality. That no matter how fast and hard I chase my dreams, they get further and further away. When those realizations hit, I die a little each time until my soul feels consumed by reality. Sometimes there is no way out and you have no idea what to do next. Lost. Then the serene world that is in your thoughts mingles with life as it is and it crumbles in front of you.

Your private paradise, your escape disappears.

What do you do then?

Start over?

Facing the crushing realization that your dream slips further and further away as life, the reality of life, digs its claws in deeper and deeper each time you dare start again, what do you do?

You fight, even if you’re numb. Even if you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. Even when you are most definitely defeated. You fight.

You wrap your hands around that tree and climb. You’re weak and tired. The tree with all of the broken limbs that have sent you hurling to the ground. Walking away is the easy thing to do. You don’t really have to climb up to find that limb that opens a new world. You can stay on the ground. But if you ever want that dream you climb. You claw every inch until your hands bleed.

One day, you’ll either find that limb or fall again. Each time you will face the same choice. Climb or walk.

PitchWars Mentee Bio Part Two

It’s that time of year again. Yes a writing contest called #PitchWars.

Hopefully I pitch and they catch. 

I posted a Bio of me last year and rather than rehash the same one, I’ll just add a little to it. You can read it Here 

Did you click it? Hopefully you came back. 

Now I have added even more fun to my brood. My now 25 year old stepson and his family has moved closer to us and now I am grandma (But will never be called that to them I am Lelee) 

My lovesAren’t they adorable 

Okay… I’m back. 

Outside of writing, I am a Real Estate Agent. Which helps me understand the need for an agent in the publishing world that much clearer. 

I am an active member of the writing group Scribophile and I also assist in running a group specifically dedicated to Pitchwars hopefuls. (I say assist because they seem to run themselves). I’m also part of a group which will critique and swap entire novels for critique in two weeks time. 

What I’ve learned from that is that there are some exciting and wonderful stories out there that need to be published.

There is nothing more exciting to me that the path I’m on and continue to write the crazy ideas that pop though my head. I have lived through rejections and learned one thing. I’m not going to give up. 

So if you’re still here and reading as a mentor, the four I chose in my opinion are ROCK STARS! I’m not sure what I would do if any of them picked me for their mentee.

Yep, that would be me.

Oh and just a little secret, not sure if you could tell. I love gifs 

So for now, I am off to stalk Mentor Twitter feeds. 

Getting By

I’ve found there are times when this blog thing is more like a personal journal. Stories you write to yourself about your life. I do see stats and know that some people do read what I write. In some ways that’s intimidating, but it is, after all, what I want. Some times it is cathartic for me, like this post. All I ever hope is if you’re reading this you find some small piece of it to take away for yourself.

I don’t keep it up with it like I should and it truly should be more focused on writing than on me, me, me. But, hey it’s called LeslieLand so what did you expect?

Today in a momentarily lapse of work,while watching a link to a youtube video from a friend’s page on face book. Which led me to another and then another. (Go ahead and admit, you do it to!) I questioned myself about what I was feeling.

I found myself watching Robin Williams snippets. I have posted several things about his passing because it truly upset me. No, I didn’t know the man, other than the piece of himself that he shared with everyone.  I know that it is difficult sometimes to remember that ‘celebrities’ are people. They are human with the same lives that we lead. They fight the same battles, they have the same victories. They are in fact real.

So I questioned myself. How do I mourn for someone I didn’t ‘really’ know? My heart aches for his family because they are the ones that knew the real person as a whole. The parts he shared and the parts he didn’t.

Then I wondered how come I need to mourn? Yes, to me, his death is tragic. He made the world laugh but I think it goes much deeper than that.

I think people come into our lives in different ways, some touch us personally they are weaved in our daily lives. But then you have an actor who made you laugh, whose performances entertained you.  The sound of their voice could reach deep down and pull out something you’d forgotten. That moment when you first watched a stand up comedian on TV with a tape and laughed so hard you hurt. Or sitting on the sofa with your little one watching a blue genie or Peter Pan and laughing with them.

That is what you mourn because that person you never met reached down and left a memory to cherish.  It is true of so many people famous or not that come and go in your lives. Each one of them placed there with purpose.

I find it funny that I’m not ready to watch any of his movies, I was only able to watch a little today. Because now he can’t create more memories for me to pull from later on.  That is why we mourn.

So remember every person you meet, every life you touch means something. So make it memorable.

Thank you Robin Williams for great memories. You are missed.

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Wow May 22nd Really?

I’m amazed that I haven’t written in my blog since May 22nd. Really? 

So much for my at least once a month schedule. I can give you all sorts of reasons for my absence but what are reasons anyway? Nothing but dressed up excuses. So with no excuses no ‘reasons’ I’m here saying hello again.

 

What I do know is that when you make big plans, ultimately things will get in the way. No I haven’t given up. No I’ve not stopped writing. No I’ve not been abducted by aliens. Nothing like that.

Work, life all the usual stuff. But see we all have those things. Everyone works in one capacity or another, we have all life issues that interrupt our best layed plans. So I’m here.  You’re stuck with me!

So, it is once again time for #Pitchwars on Twitter and it comes during a time that I have those ‘life issues’ that are eating up my time like Pacman on dots.

With that said there are 70+ mentors that I must weed through to find who is best for my story. I only get to chose 4!

 

Which in itself is a daunting task! I narrowed the list to 20ish. Then still need to determine which mentor would like my story.

If you’re not familar with Pitchwars it is an opportunity for me to work with a published author/editor for two months to make my story shine. Then in November agents take a look at the finished product. The object overall idea is to walk away with an agent.

 

I have until the 18th to do the following.

  1. Chose 4 mentors from the lost list of 70
  2. Be certain of the genre for my story (so much conflicting possibilities)
  3. Polish and edit the last chapters (and the front)
  4. Dodge everything life throws my way.

I can do this 🙂

 

 

 

What I’ve Learned

Today I woke up feeling that no matter how much I think I know or understand, it isn’t enough

I don’t mean that I’m Sheldon and already know everything, but it’s funny how the world opens doors for you showing you that although you may know much, you still have a lot to learn.

Last year my family was wrecked by loss. We had a difficult year to say the least and it took me a while to realize that all we suffered within a short amount of time effected every part of me and changed me.  I found that I was more afraid, I worried more, and I couldn’t pull things together despite my best efforts. It not only effected me mentally but physically. Stress can do things to the body that are still haunting me to this day.

Yesterday, however I saw the small piece of the world around me and how much I have allowed decay to set in by this change.

Recently though, my family has  reason to celebrate.  Part of my family has moved closer to us and I now have big reasons to find the person I used to be. One that isn’t scared all the time. One that would take the time to learn as much as I could about the world around me and one that took in every single second of life and loved it, instead of dreading what may come next.

I will never be the person I once was. Too much has changed and while I am struggling to get myself put back together, I am discovering a whole new person and seeing how much I have missed. For the first time I am excited to meet her.

I have begun querying agents again in hopes that someone will love my story as much as me. Wanting an agent to see, even though I am still learning. I really do have a great story that I want to share with the world.

The first query I sent out yesterday came back almost immediately and was a little harsh (getting used to that). That’s okay.  I am learning that rejection is the biggest part of publishing.

But then something amazing happened.

I research every agent before I send a query to them. What they are looking for, their blog if they have one. Because to me it isn’t about ‘just’ finding an agent. It is about finding the right agent.

This agent’s blog made be giddy. I loved her straight talk and what she wants in a story. She stuck to me and now I know I want her! So I sent my query and now I wait.

I do know that agents research the writers they are interested in and if by chance she reads my long rant today she will know I am talking about her.

Writers who live in the query trenches or slush pile are snowflakes. Each one of us unique. But that does not make us special. If one snowflake falls nothing really happens, no matter how special. I don’t really want to be a snowflake. I want to be the entire storm.

Improvement

Everyday life can lead you to the revelation that you need to improve things.

Whether it be the way you do your hair.

Or what you wear

Life in general is about improving upon things.

After that first step you tend to fall down often until you improve or in my case get older and clumsy.

Whatever you are trying to improve upon in your life it isn’t easy.

I am continuing my quest for an agent representation for my story.

All the while I continue to improve my story.

Now I feel like I have hit a brick wall as my organization skills are lacking and I can’t locate my original query notebook.

I have read many different MSWL (Manuscript Wish Lists) and when I find a match I send it off.  But now I need to improve upon those skills. I tend to purposely avoid sending to agents who are looking for a synopsis, that is the hardest thing to write (at least for me.)

Here is my Dream Agent Wish List.

I want someone who can recognize that I have a good story,

Hold my hand through the entire process.

Understand and work with me.

But most of all, help me fufill my dreams!

The bottom line is I need to figure out how to start my querying over again.

 I don’t know the exact number of rejections that J.K. Rowlings received for Harry Potter (No I AM NOT COMPARING MYSELF TO HER) but If she received over a hundred (I believe) then there is hope for me yet.

I’ll Just Keep Holding On!

Hello World (Or at least those that live in Leslieland)

Friday Morning. 9:11 am

I sit at my computer waiting for other to assist me in the task of rearranging my office. 

I spoke about waiting in my last post 10 days ago. Now I realize that waiting is sometimes the hardest part of life. The seconds on the clock tick by and get wasted. You’re not sitting in silence, you have done all the things you can do and if you are anything like me, the OCD shuts you down till this one thing gets completed.

Stuck!

Sometimes this is exactly how I feel, when I get stuck and I have to wait for other’s to come to my rescue. I have learned over the last few days that it is the most helpless feeling when you have a to do list that is ten miles long and everything hinges on this one thing getting done.  Then you become obsessed. (Kinda like what is happening to me right now)

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A few days later

I saved the earlier post as a draft, as my frustration wore extremely thin with my ‘helpers’. So now the task of turning what was one my office into a temporary home for a wonderful son that is moving here. (Not complaining about that ONE bit) Cant wait for the rest of his family to move down here (over here) so I get to learn how to be a grandmother to a 5 year and a 2 year old.

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Let me tell you I am the happiest person on the face of the world right now!

Yep even happier than this guy!

When your life changes it can be a little scary. It can be bumpy. It is a challenge, even when it is good. So since my ‘helpers’ finally helped me, I must finish the tasks at hand. The countdown has begun and I couldn’t be happier.

 

So let this new chapter of my life begin. I am ready and I am exited, nervous, scared. Every emotion right now. But I know that this part of my wait is over.

(Now if I can get an agent for my book I can start yet another chapter)

That part of the waiting is still not complete but as always I never will give up!

Nope not matter what it takes!

 

Waiting is the hardest part

There are times in everyone’s life where they are waiting for something. News of a job, news of a loved one, or even just for the water to boil. Waiting is part of life.

Sometimes the waiting makes you oblivious to things going on around you like this poor guy.

But no matter what you are waiting for, you have to remember that life goes on all around.

 

Sometimes there are so many things floating around unresolved that it makes me very cranky. Much like I am today. I really never realized it but I need closure on things. Too many things left opened to me is a mad, mad world.

I think I have always known this. One reason I was never really very good at watching Soap Operas. There isn’t an ending.

So right now I have manuscripts out, personal job issues, family moving to town and trying to find them a place to live. Rearranging several things in life in general and then of course waiting on issues with my day job of real estate.

I have so many things in limbo that need to come to completion before I can move forward with the next. It causes me to literally go on lock down. Leaving me unsure of the next move I need to make.

Then let’s add even more (now this isn’t a life issue but it is incomplete) I feel now I have bonded with Sheldon Cooper (So I might actually be going insane). I picked a new show on Netflix to watch called Alpha’s. Decent show. It ended without ending. A cliffhanger ending then a show cancellation. The following is the perfect example of me.

I realize the hardest part of writing is waiting for people to respond. There is no such thing in this industry as instant gratification. There is only waiting. The old saying “No news is good news.” I have learned in the publishing world that does not necessarily hold true.

So I am attempting to distract myself from the many things that are circling the tower in my life at the moment. I am ready to grab one, figure out how to fix it and then resolve it. But alas, when you are waiting on other people and praying for something good to happen then you had best learn patience.

Especially in the publishing world. 

Cloud Nine

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This was me today. Most of you know that I entered a contest on Twitter called #PitchMadness. It is a contest where you present the novel by way of a 35 word pitch and a 250 word excerpt. ( Mine can be found by clicking the tab Excerpts from above.)  Then out of all the entries 60 are chosen (15 for each of the 4 teams).  They ended up with over 500 entries. (I think it was like 534 but I’m probably wrong on that number).

The process then went through ‘slush’ readers. slushThese wonderful people read through all the submissions then narrowed it down to a few then a draft was held (all in private of course) to determine the 15 spots on each team.

After these spots are filled there will be an agent round. Where the agents will play the game of CLUE.

clueThere the agents will review the pitches posted on each blog and (not entirely sure how this part works) then if they like the pitch, me the author will hopefully provide them with either my query, 50 pages or the full manuscript for them to review.

It is a truly fun and exciting way to get your story in front of agents. After all for an Author the goal is to get an agent that will hold your hand through the crazy world of publishing.

If you follow my blog you know that I entered a contest like this before and sadly wasn’t chosen. HOWEVER!!!!!

THIS TIME I WAS!!!!!!!

I was selected as one of the fifteen on #TeamSmartie.

See Here is the Actual Tweet :

There are no words for how excited and grateful I am for this opportunity. If my body would let me this would be me right now!

 

So I finish this love letter to everyone who has ever encouraged me, stuck with me through my countless episodes of self doubt (Those probably will never go away, jus’ sayin) and to everyone who supports me. A big THANK YOU. I will keep you updated.