I cannot believe how the time has flown since my last entry. I honestly don't know how people find the time to blog multiple times a week, so if anyone knows the secret please share it with me. Apparently finishing one novel, starting another, beginning a new job while still working and planning for the old job leaves me no extra time for this blog.
I'm lucky I find time or remember to eat and sleep!
Ok, let's start with querying updates. There is still no news on my cozy mystery/romance novel that I've been querying for over a year. I'm STILL waiting to hear from the 2 agents that have requested the entire manuscript while I have received a few more rejections from just query letters. One publisher from PitMad that I participated in on Twitter did respond with a polite pass, but included some very helpful suggestions to improve the manuscript. I sent her a thank you e-mail. Now I know that seems strange to thank someone for rejecting me. But I truly appreciated that she took some time to tell me why! Most rejections are just form letters with no feedback whatsoever, and THAT is not helpful.
As of today, I've sent out five queries on my children's picture book titled "Ho, Ho, Uh-Oh". This story is a cautionary tale to Santa about indulging in too many of his favorite holiday foods throughout the year, His trademark belly grows to a troubling size and then gets him caught in the tightest spots on Christmas Eve. Friends around the world must race the clock to save both Santa and Christmas. So far, one rejection and four agents I haven't heard from. So, you are now officially up-to-date on my querying status, and I'm sure you feel so much better for having this information. Lol.
So speaking of picture books and children, many of you know that I am an elementary school teacher beginning my 34th year in the classroom. I have spent my entire teaching career in one school district, have taught all grades K-6 (including some split grade classes), and have very few regrets about my career in education. I've always enjoyed helping children grow and learn to the best of their abilities. It is a pure pleasure to watch a child at the moment something clicks-you know, the Ah-Ha moment. And then to know you've been a part of helping them get to that moment is really special. Some of my former students have even stayed in touch and that means the world to me (you all know how you are).
But after this many years of teaching, the R word has begun to enter my vocabulary.
When it will be, I cannot say just yet; but the planning and preparation has begun. And so I've done a thing. Some might say I'm nuts and that's ok. I can live with that.
I've started a new job!!! I'm working at the veterinary clinic we take our dog to. I've known the vet since high school, and he's hired me to work in one or all three of his local clinics. I began my thirty hours of training a week ago, and I'm loving every minute of it. People who know me understand that I am a dog-lover and not to offend the cat people out there, I think they're adorable, too. So going from kids to animals is the plan for my future after the big R (along with my writing, of course).
Since kids and animals are such a big part of my life, my books would not be complete without them in it. Our two beloved schnauzers, Abbey and Hayley (who passed away 11 months ago) have starring roles in my cozy/romance series. Kids will also pop up from time to time throughout my novels as well. Today's teaser from Book One (formerly know as Murder By The Books but may be going under a new name soon), stars a young lady by the name of Aubrey. This sassy, little girl is the niece of my main character, Jillian, and she's come for a visit to her auntie's bookstore. As is the case with all of my characters, Aubrey was inspired by one of my own three nieces. Enjoy today's snippet!
~~~~Jillian paused to take a breath and was about to apologize to Travis for her rant, but the bell on the door jingled signaling a customer was coming in. Jillian turned to see her mother walking through the door with her youngest niece, Aubrey.
“Hi Auntie Jillian,” Aubrey sang out and came bouncing toward her aunt. Talking just as fast as she could, she said, “Grammy promised me I could come to your pretty store and get a book, if I was good at the dentist. And I was real good at the dentist.” She leaned into her aunt and whispered, “I was so good, maybe she’ll let me get two. Are your puppies here?”
Jillian wrapped her sweet niece in a big hug, kissing the top of her curly red head and taking in the sweet smell of baby shampoo. Jillian still considered her youngest niece a baby, but Aubrey didn’t like people to use that word. “I’m not a baby anymore because I’m four,” she would proudly tell you. And when someone slipped and used that word, they got a stern talking to from this precocious four year old.
“Tell you what,” Jillian whispered back to her niece, “If you can’t convince Grammy to buy you two, I’ll get you the second one. And yes, the girls are right behind the counter. You should go give them a love. They’ll be so glad to see you.”
She kissed Aubrey on the head one more time and shooed her off to play with the dogs and look for just the right book. Her heart skipped a beat, as she watched Aubrey rush around the store oohing and aahing over every book and toy she found with the pups eagerly following along behind her. Her little visitor had helped chase away all the anger she’d been feeling just minutes before. Anger she’d sadly misdirected at Travis. She would have to apologize profusely after her mother and Aubrey left.
“Mom,” Jillian said. “You remember Travis from dinner last night. He stopped in this morning just to check in and make sure I was ok. Wasn’t that sweet of him?” She smiled at Travis hoping he’d realize she was attempting to mend fences.
“Good morning, Mrs. Edwards,” Travis greeted Jillian’s mother politely. “It’s nice to see you again.”
“Of course, I remember this handsome, young man,” her mother responded. “And good morning to you, Travis. It is awfully nice of you to look in on my youngest daughter. She does tend to get herself into some sticky situations, doesn’t she?”
Joy smiled at Travis, then looked back at her daughter. If the tension in the air was any indication, she and Aubrey had interrupted something serious between these two. Joy decided to hurry Aubrey on along, so the two lovebirds could get back to….well, whatever, they needed to get back to.
“Aubrey, sweetie,” Joy called out. “You need to find your book quickly. I promised your mommy that I’d have you to preschool by eleven.”
“Grammy, Grammy,” Aubrey came running up with two books in her hands. “I found these two wonderful books in Auntie Jillian’s store, and I just can’t decide which one to pick. They’re both about a little girl like me. She loves the color pink. I love the color pink, too! Please could I, maybe, have them both?” Aubrey unleashed her brightest smile at her Grandma hoping to persuade her to buy both books.
“Sweetheart, I think Grandma can manage two books for you today. You really were a good patient at Dr. Sutter’s office. Hand the books to Aunt Jillian, so we can pay for them and get you to school.” Aubrey rushed over to the counter and placed her purchases on top.
“Ring me up, Aunt Jilly,” Aubrey giggled. ~~~~
Kids really can say and do the darnedest things, can't they? Now if you enjoyed this, stayed tuned for the memoir of my teaching career I'm working on. The stories I tell are all true, but sometimes a little hard to believe. The names will be changed to protect the innocent along with the guilty. Each chapter tells humorous anecdotes from a year of my teaching career, and this book is totally intended to make you laugh. The kids and stories I share certainly made me laugh over the years, sometimes so hard I cried.
That's it for today. I hope you are all staying safe and well. Remember to use that hand sanitizer and maintain your 6-foot social distance from others. Maybe someday soon, we'll be able to experience some sort of return to normalcy.
Until next time,