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Thanks for Being There, Blog

Blog conceptSo, blog…

We’re having that awkward moment where I see you, after months and months of thinking I should get in touch, and we don’t know what to say to each other.

You look at me with hurt eyes, wondering what you did wrong, or if I’m just a big, fat disappointment of a friend and narcissistic jerk, too busy with my other relationships. The books, either on the page or in my head, must be prettier, or more interesting, or be the kind of friends who come with benefits (wink, wink). Did I ever once think to invite you to any of those little soirees? Never! Could I at least touch bases and pretend I care once in a while?

I babble incoherently, filling the uneasy void with the sound of my voice, because the uncomfortable silence is more than I can take.

Out of social convention and politeness, you ask how I’ve been, knowing you’ll get way more information than you asked for.

And you do.

And when I finally stop for a breath, waiting for some sort of response from you, you smile and embrace me in forgiveness. Because that’s the kind of friend you are.

I’ll check back in with you soon. I PROMISE. And I’ll catch you up on what’s been going on. Like my very first passport, and cruise, and grownup vacation back in February. Or the Power of the Pen conference in March in which I pitched the book. Or my recent submissions.

Let’s not be strangers, okay?

Thanks for everything. You’re a peach.

Tana

 

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I Said I Was a #Twitterspaz

twitterthumbsDo #PitchMAS, they said. It will be fun, they said.

Who knew tweeting was such a fine art?

This week was filled with pitching opportunities for those with the talent of distilling the very essence of their story to 140 characters, spaces included.

I am, apparently, not one of them. Today I came, I tweeted. I was ignored.

My friend, writing buddy, and tweeting Sensei, @debra_elise, got a quiver full of requests for partial and full manuscripts.

I got quivers.

Here are my attempts of the day at twitter pitching AS LONG AS THERE IS CHOCOLATE:

Going against resolve, new chocolatier falls for small town royalty. Is he too good to be true, Casanova &con man, or her destiny? #PitchMAS

After chaotic childhood & bad divorce, chocolatier chooses happily ‘independent’, over ‘ever after’ Small town hero doesn’t buy it. #PitchMAS

Wanting roots, new chocolatier in town gets more than she bargains for Hot widower’s family is EVERYWHERE& they want him married. #PitchMAS

Romancing the Stone meets My Big Fat Greek Wedding-in Mayberry Confectioner &widower-next-door find room untouched for 30yrs-&LOVE #PitchMAS

He attracts women like a weepy-day carton of Ben&Jerry’s. She avoids him like Ebola. Is he just a pretty face?Can she trust again? #PitchMAS

Heartbroken CPA gets do-over as Chocolatier. RealEstateMogul returns to family deli @wife’s death. She’s who he’s waited 5yrs for #PitchMAS

CPA-turned-Chocolatier & RealEstateMogul-turned-deli-guy find HEA & that every day is a good one-AS LONG AS THERE IS CHOCOLATE #PitchMAS

And the final Hail Mary Pass:

“Sweet Lord of the Dance!” “Holy Hannah & her sisters” “Mother Mary Tyler-Moore” “Dalmatian!” “Hell O’Kitty” –Heroine’sPottyMouth #PitchMAS

 Many a terrific book has been overlooked because of a horrible pitch or query. Getting the right person to read a manuscript is 90% of the battle. It’s a very good thing for me that twitterpitching isn’t the only option.

I’ve never said 20 words when 40 will do. Ask the Captain. He’ll nod, because I won’t have paused for a breath.

Sigh.

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Coming to Terms

shirley maclain screaming

“It’s time for her pain medication!!!”

I think the time has come to talk about it.

I had always wondered how I’d be affected by the death of my mother, though, on some levels I believed she would live forever. I’m still stunned and a little put out that she left us three months ago.

Mother/daughter relationships are complex, sometimes fragile things. At least ours was…Is…Will always be.

I was her only daughter. All her daughter-chips were riding on me, and frankly, her losses at that table were frequent.

mom 1982I would never be created in her own image. In every way imaginable, we were different. (Although as we both got older, I began to resemble her a little, despite having inherited my father’s squinty-eyed, dimpled smile.)

When I was twenty-four, and in the middle of the false labor Cha-Cha with my third child, she and my Nana came to stay. (They ended up leaving after a week of no birthing, taking my 23-month-old with them to wait it out.) One evening during their stay, my mom sent CAM and I to see TERMS OF ENDEARMENT. She said I just had to see it.

Because she recognized it herself, I think it is okay for me to share that there has never, in the history of all time, been a truer example of life imitating art than that movie and our own story.

It was not just pregnancy hormones that made me bawl uncontrollably that night. I’m not usually a crier—at least not like that—even in pregnancy. Captain Awesome Man was helpless; I was a mess.

If you’ve ever seen the Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jeff Daniels interplay in TERMS, you’ve had a fly-on-the-wall view of our own little dramedy on earth. Nothing explains it better than that movie. (Except that my husband has always been loyal and faithful and my very best friend.)

She and I loved each other fiercely, sometimes disagreed fiercely, and rarely lived up to one another’s expectations. We were occasionally critical of one another but defended against criticism by someone else. (Siblings have a lifetime exemption from this rule.)

We were each other’s pains in the rear, but the ones all up in someone else’s business on each other’s behalf. Like Shirley, maniacally circling the nurses’ station when it was time for Debra’s pain meds.

We were proud of one another’s accomplishments, talents and strengths, though they were almost never like our own. Our brains worked differently, and yet, I hear her words in my head—and out of my mouth—on a regular basis.

For two such vastly different humanoids, living hundreds of miles apart, our lives were so very tightly intertwined. Like Shirley’s and Debra’s.

Three months after her death, my brothers and I are still circling a nurses’ desk, dealing with someone she put her trust in, who has failed in his duties to honor that trust. I know she’d expect nothing less than to make this person do his freaking job. She’d be stretching up to every inch of her five feet and spitting nails. I find myself spitting them for her. That’s what Debra would do for Shirley.quen for a day

The answer to how I would be affected by my mother’s death? It’s like an amputation. The recuperation period is pure torture. I’m still feeling a bit crippled, and she’s not here to tell all about it. The ghost pains, the residual sensations of the missing part, may always be there.

But it’s also like an organ transplant, because the bits of her I’ve kept—her words in my head and out of my mouth—are starting to make me stronger every day.

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Mockingjay 1

Captain Awesome Man got me out of CAMLAND and took me to see Mockingjay. I wore my Mockingjay pin for the occasion. I take my nerdiness very seriously.

I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say that they did a wonderful job.

I’ll be guest blogging over at Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers today. Go check it out.

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You Know I’m All About That Blog. About That Blog. No Twitter!

traynor

Who hasn’t heard this song? Seriously.

Blogging is dear to my heart, because it was through blogging I remembered how much writing means to me and always has. As I actively blogged, I gained confidence and encouragement from others to “kick it up a notch” and start working on a book.

Through blogging I got the push to join local writers’ groups, where I began entering contests for my fiction and knowing I was on the right track.

AS LONG AS THERE IS CHOCOLATE is a small town contemporary novel with strong romantic elements. It began as a prize-winning short story and has developed into a full length novel, gaining more prizes along the way.

With this story, I’ve finally dipped my toe into professional waters, by pitching the book to agents at a writers’ conference. The two lovely women I met requested partial manuscripts, and I’ve sent them on, so the next step is to keep polishing the rest while I wait and see. I’ll begin sending query letters next month to other agents.

It’s happening.

Pinch me.

And it started because of a blog.

When I launched this blog in late August, it was with every intention to build its functions and content quickly.

The death of a loved one just a few days later sort of knocked me off my feet for a while.

I’m feeling ready to jump back in because I’ve got so much to talk about (and just try to stop me!)

It’s a great time for authors right now, with more avenues to publication than ever before. With that, there has come a greater responsibility for writers to take an active part in promoting their work. “Building a platform” through social media has become an important part of a writer’s job . I waste spend more time on Facebook than is healthy, so I have to take drastic measures to be on it less and write more.

And if my livelihood depended on understanding Twitter, I’d be hosed. #twitterspaz

I use Pinterest to gather visual ideas for stories, but have no clue how people use it to gain readers. But they do.

Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram? How do writers keep up with all of that and have a minute to create stories?

But I listened to a speaker at RWA’s national conference say that a blog is the best foundation for a platform there is.

And I enjoy blogging.

So I guess I had that one right all along.

I’m bringing blogging back! Go ahead and tell them tweeting authors that.

Because for me, you know, it’s all about that blog.

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Happy Birthday, Baby!

FreeDigitalPhotos.net ID-100165767
Today TanaLovett was born! This is the day I birthed my very own bouncing baby blog.

I’m a writer, not a programmer, so pushing this baby out has been long and excruciating. I’m exhausted! It’s a good thing GoDaddy was out of reach during the pushing, or I would have told him I hated him AND his buddies, HostGator and WordPress. Now they are finally working together to take care of the little bundle of joy.

I guarantee I will have war stories to tell later. I’m sure I’ll complain about the stretchmarks on my brain.

It is kind of my birthday too. Today is the day I can no longer say “I’m thinking about writing as Tana Lovett.”

There’s no going back. I’m committed to my new AKA, and besides having special meaning to me, I think its a great name for a writer of Romantic tales.

The baby should grow quickly, and I’ll teach her new tricks, like RSS Feeds, plugins, contact forms and all the other foreign words roughly meaning pretty spiffy.

So thanks for stopping by for the shower. Check back soon as she grows. They change so quickly, you know, and they’re only small once.