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Monday, August 25, 2014

Why I don't give up

I realized something today. I looked at the calendar and it dawned on me that this was the last week of August and September is just around the corner. Something about that made me happy, excited to be more precise. But why? I asked myself this question and pondered the various things about next month that should make me so happy to see it come along. A few items stuck out, but nothing that would make me this eager for the change of months. In fact, if you know me very well, you should think that I would lament the changing of the months. I love spring/summer and am not all that fond of fall/winter. So, the further toward fall we head, the more I am unhappy with the seasons. What could it be?

It finally hit me. I submitted my book, Legacy of the Dragonwand, to an agency/publisher early in August. And, unlike a good many I have submitted to before, this one gives an exact number of days before you can accept rejection. Some are vague about when you should give up. They leave you hanging, hopeful that one day they will call, send a letter, email, blow smoke signals....something. But, instead you are left in the lurch and finally when you get to the point of giving up on them you can go with someone else. This one actually said 30 days. If 30 days pass without any word then they have rejected my manuscript and I can look for someone else.

"Why on earth would that make you happy?" You might be asking. Glad you did. After all this time and a mountain of rejections spread across six years of attempting to be a traditionally published author it seems odd that rejection would give me any thrills. It doesn't. Honestly if they take the time to send me a form letter of rejection it hurts deeply every time. I question my choice of goals, I question my quality as a writer, I question my very reason for sitting here and typing words. Rejection isn't what I'm looking forward to.

What I look forward to is submitting to someone else. For a brief moment of time, a few days at most, I feel hopeful again. The old ideas of actually being accepted flutter about in my head. The daydreams of seeing my book on the shelf of a store are renewed as if they were fresh dreams. There is an unmitigated joy in those dreams, those hopes of a chance at success. The smiling face on the picture of the agent/publisher I just submitted to, and his/her statement that they LOVE to represent new authors and LOVE fantasy/sci-fi only fan the flames of that optimism. For a few fleeting seconds I am moving forward with my life goals. Success seems a little closer.

But, like a mirage in the desert. The hope slowly fades, the hazy heat of reality steals the dreams, and the empty loneliness of patience sets in. Time to wait for a response.

I have all but given up hope for actually being accepted. Even getting a new review on one of my self published books seems impossible any more. But, oh, those few moments of hope are something I relish and look forward to. It seems that I have replaced my enthusiasm for publishing with just submitting.

 This revelation about myself answered a question that had plagued me. Recently I have started looking at the big players, the biggest names in the industry who would let me submit to them. These giants wouldn't give me the time of day let along actually consider publishing my book. Why would I waste my time like that? Now I know. If submitting to a small time player gives me a rush and a high of hope, consider what kind of hope teasing my imagination with the big boys? It's like taking a Jaguar out for a test drive when you can hardly afford to buy lunch.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Blue ribbons at the Fair

Yes, it's time of year again, fair time. Round these parts it comes a bit early compared to other areas. For the second year in a row mom and I entered some items into the fair. For the first time, at this fair, I won blue ribbons. Yes 2 of them. Here are the items I entered.

If you recall from my pictures earlier this year, this is a piece I have been working on all year long. It is a style of embroidery called blackwork. This took first place in the "other" category for embroidery. (I actually beat mom in this one.)

In the "pencil" category of the fine art area I got third place with this drawing. I almost didn't enter him and went with something else, but decided it would be alright.

Mom convinced me to enter a second pencil drawing. This one was in the "Holiday hanging art: Halloween" category. Mom took first place with a stitched piece, I got second with this. I almost didn't even enter it and never believed I would've won anything for it. Now I'm glad I did.

As a side thought I decided to throw one of my knitted hats into the knitted category. I loom knit so I didn't expect this to win anything, but thought it would be fun to show it. You can imagine my surprise when I saw that it took 4th place. Mind you I think knitting has some of the most entrants in this fair, next to canned foods.

Last, and most entertaining. After we put in our craft items we learned what they were looking for in the baked goods area. The day to enter items for that was two days after the craft stuff, so we had time if we wanted to enter something. Mom wanted to put in some chocolate chip cookies, a treat this family is famous for. And I decided to put in one of our world famous vinegar cakes. It is an old recipe that isn't really complicated and very tasty. It was tasty enough to win first place! Now this long time family recipe can add "blue ribbon" to its title. I was over joyed to see it had won. (Note: What I gave them was a full sheet  cake and what was left was a tiny bite to show for the event. They did a lot of "tasting" to determine the winner.....or they really liked the cake.)

A little bit of humor struck me as I was leaving. This is the big wall at the end were some of the top winners are placed. As I passed it I realized that the top picture, the map, that's moms. You can see my dragon. AND that small piece between ours that's hard to make out, that's also moms. So, the top half of this wall was nothing but Peyton family stuff.

Now I can add award winning pencil artist, embroiderer, and baker to my list of accomplishments.