Any other writers out there mad at the process of querying? I’m sure there is at least a few out there. Those who don’t know what querying is… to put it simply it’s a cover letter tailored to pitching our book and ourselves to an agent. That person if they like your work and are hooked by the ONE PAGE letter might ask for more. Now, some are a little more reasonable and ask for the first ten pages or first three chapters. The operative word being little in that sentence. For what you get in reply to most is complete silence. You heard me right. Most don’t bother to even send if they rejected it or not. The few that do will give you a form rejection… ironic (the nicest word I can come up with) when they ask us to customize every letter written to them. The few criticisms I’ve gotten from responses are “well it didn’t really hook me in” or “it’s more showing then telling”. And all I have to say is… well duh. You don’t create a whole new world and just blaze through details. That’s how confusion happens. On top of this we have to set up the story no matter the genre. No one is going to care if someone is randomly running away or fighting an unknown assailant… for the reader is not invested on either side to win. Now, maybe this works for some stories, but I can’t think of a really good one that fits that description. There’s always an explanation of character, places, rules, and motives within the first couple chapters. Although it might not be the most fun to read at first… It’s necessary for understanding how the rest of the tale flows. Honestly, the whole process makes me distrust traditional publishing. They seem set on the same old same old, not producing anything fresh or exciting. Even scarier is it seems it wants to follow the trends of movies where action is in favor of telling an actually interesting development of characters and compelling plots which twist. It makes one set their eyes on a different path of self publishing. However, this requires much more expertise in fields I’m not entirely strong in. Not to mention the cost. I have much to think about and I hope my fellow writers find their way to being published.
I have found myself in the past week fighting a forest. You might ask what would I be doing in a forest? Well… it may not be as it seems. My terrain is actually a yard which is mine. As of the past couple months I have purchased my first home with my wife. And the yard… well let’s just say it was left in pretty bad condition when we started. Slowly, the transformation has begun. Where once was all but undergrowth and vines is now something that looks maintained. No longer do snaking vines try to choke my deck. They have been cut down to their den to thrive in a different burrow. Hidden “treasures” of beer and other waste have been removed. Yet there is still so much to do. Once this taming has been done, I can focus on the fun part… Setting up and decorating the outside. So many plans I have in mind. The question is what ones to follow through with. That I’ll let you all know when I’ve gotten it a little more set. Sorry for the brief blog. but it has taken a lot out of me as of late. Hoping you’re taking good care and remember to trim your forests as well.
Before we begin, I would like to apologize for not posting in a while. Lots of events have been having in my life as of late including a new house, holidays, and some work toward my career. But that for be for a later time. Let us begin.
My oh my was our honeymoon such an enjoyable trip… Looking back on that last phrase that sounded a bit too suggestive, my apologies. Anyways, we started out veeery early in the morning (4 AM) to grab our flight. Zombified, we made it to each terminal without fail until arriving in Atlanta, Georgia. Finding the cure, we awakened ourselves to explore the city with a rental car. I will tell you that there is no room for any car to move too smooth in that city. Now, its not because the roads are so tight (though it does not help), but the fact that bikes get so much right of way. They do not seem to care how far into the road they are or how close they turn to a car that has to suddenly slow down because of them. But, lets not focus on such agitations shall we?
We arrived at our distraction for most of the day at the botanical gardens. Even in fall this place looked oh so pretty and got us excited to see the Alice in Wonderland portion that was created. However, we did not anticipate how large this place was; tuckering us both out by the end of it. My wife then realized she did not have a swimsuit for the jacuzzi for the cabin. This meant adventuring further into Atlanta to complete this quest. Finding the location (Thank you Google), we discovered a unique shopping square complete with wandering concierges, a ride along train, movie theater, shopping, a decorated center, and restaurants. The latter we found ourselves in after obtaining the item we sought; and boy did I underestimate how much they would spice my food. Understand that I have an abnormally high tolerance for spicy foods. Once even eating a whole bag of jalapeño peppers with very little need for water. But… this took me for a loop. I ordered a buffalo chicken sandwich and let me tell you that first it was delicious. Even writing this now my mouth water for that perfect combo of crunchy and soft breading with nicely seasoned, moist, and fulfilling chicken that had me mowing down such a delicacy… causing my dilemma. See, I was not paying attention to the spice at all. Imagine my surprise when my mouth suddenly caught on fire? Quickly, I grasped the magical cure of soda that minorly quelled the flames. In retrospect, I really should have asked for water. C’est la vie. After our great meal, we headed out to our cabin for which was an hour and a half trip. We found it interesting that most of the exits were on the left. Soon finding it terrifying when it came time to cross two-three lanes of traffic to get to our cabin. Winding paved and dirt paths guided our car up the mountain to our destination; a cozy cabin that was jus beckoning us inside. Heeding the call, we entered to see a welcoming sight of a fireplace (not lit of course with a comfy couch and a couple of rocking chair situated ina half circle. A small table sat in between these to provide a place for food and drink. Behind this was a table with a small goodie tote bag of two souvenir cups and other assortments. This sat next to the open kitchen for our use. Our adventurous minds would not rest until we explored everything, even though it was dark. On the left and right side were a mirror set up of bedrooms and bathrooms that helped with the cozy feel. Through the open cabin gives us our breathtaking sight of the mountains. To enhance our enjoyment, there laid in the back deck a bench swing, a couple of chairs, table, bonfire pit, jacuzzi, and grill. We took full advantage of all our amenities throughout the week including the first night by taking a dip in the lit up jacuzzi.
A well deserved rest led us to our next day of adventure; a romantic carriage ride and tour of a farm. But before that, we needed some fuel… so I was dragged to my first ever Waffle House. Now you must understand something about your truly… I strongly dislike breakfast foods and places due to the hatred of eggs. For some reason I cannot eat cooked eggs in any form; omelets, scrambled, poached etc. you name it I cannot seem to like it. And do you know what comes with every breakfast meal? Eggs. Now is this dislike strange? Yes, considering I like eggnog and other products with the substance in it. Call it a quirk. On top of this, I do not like French toast (sticks are awesome) or pancakes, but waffles are fine. I know I know I hear the silent judging and I do not blame you for it. All I can say is that it is all about texture. Anyways, here we were in this place sitting right next to the kitchen. I actually found something I would like called a bacon and cheese hash brown bowl. Best part? No eggs. Not expecting much, I bit in and the rest suddenly vanished. It tasted soooo good… so much so that I conned my wife to let me try some of her waffle. Another astounding taste made me wish we had a Waffle House in our area. A good start to the day gave us the energy to continue our adventure. We arrived at the farm and shown a little around as the horses were made ready. There we were led to a small chapel built in the middle of the farm with old documents framed on the wall. A piano that sounded like it had one tooo many drinks was there and I decided to tickle the ivories before we boarded the carriage. Off we went as we learnt one of the horses did not like to listen; being badgered almost the whole ride. All in all it was a nice ride through the back roads of Georgia while we talked with the couple who ran the farm (yes they came with us). Halfway through our ride, we were given a small picnic lunch was provided with fresh produce for us to enjoy. On our way back the horses were unhinged to go full speed as the world blurred by. After that exciting burst of speed, we arrived back at the farm. There we met many an animal and shown their honeymoon suite above the barn (something they pushed hard on). We thanked them for the ride and went on our way to the grocery store. After seeing the grill back at the cabin, we decided we wanted to grill a couple a days during the week. We grabbed a few items we do not see at home along with the original target and returned back to the cabin.
Rain kept us in for the day as we enjoyed each others company while cuddling on the couch and watching Back to the Future. With a roaring fire, it honestly felt like perfection. A relaxed day ended as we had to arise early to get to our train ride. This we barely got tickets for… it was only achieved by my wife’s determination. Every day, she kept checking the site for available tickets. Her stubbornness paid off halfway through our carriage ride on Monday. But I digress. We arrived early to try to grab a parking spot at the direction of the company; learning we should have come earlier. Barely we found a parking spot at the end of the town parking. The lines had already formed to check tickets and bard as we scurried to join the crowd. Thankfully, it was such a nice day that we got to enjoy it and chat with others. The boarding began as we found our seats on an open observation car to nestle in. My lovely was kind enough to grab me a hot chocolate and some popcorn as the train began to whistle and whirl. I can tell you one benefit of Covid… no smooshed rides of any kind. Being particularly tall, I am ecstatic to finally be comfortable on such excursions. Nice and comfy were we as we held hands and watched the world move on by. From rivers to hills to fields our journey went as we arrived in a small town that was both in Georgia and Tennessee. Painted on the ground, we could state hp back and forth as we searched through the small town. First we visited a Cuban restaurant for their popular bunt cake which we took to the cabin to eat later (‘Twas okay). Next our journey took us to an antique place that sold fudge. That. was. amazing. Orange creamsicle fudge just melted in my mouth that it was gone after the first bite. A bit out of order, lunch was next as we stopped at a place on the river called Burra Burra. Although a bit noisy (due to us invaders), it was still a comfortable atmosphere with a friendly staff and delicious food. I have to tell you that their (at least for me) strange chicken sandwich was probably one of the favorite things I ate on our honeymoon. Paired with their unique riverbenders, my tummy was filled and satisfied. Rejuvenated, there was little time to doddle while we tried to see more of the little town. We ended up exploring the rest of the small shopping center that Burra Burra was housed in. From hiking stores, African culture shops, Christmas emporium, artistry outlets, and mining marts we found items to bring home. The whistle blew as we hurried back… only stopped at the train gift shop before boarding. Back down the same route we traveled, looking at expensive homes and cabins with stairs that led down to the track and river. This second time around we were able to see a Native American fish trap was made in the water. This has bee kept in tact through the years; one of few that still remain. The train returned back to start as we made our way to an indoor golf course. A tough battled ensued… We went from room to room until a challenger just barely pulled ahead… of whom I will not say cause I do not feel like sleeping on the couch forever. A small pet store caught our eyes as we thought of our cats back home. We found a multi-line, stretchy line cat toy that we were excited to bring home. (For it to be destroyed in the same night. Positive side was now they are batting it around the house.) My love of antique stores called as we stopped in one where I found a beautifully made Native American decorated pocket watch. We found our way to a comic book store (I will find out what happened to Zuko’s mother), a country store, general store, another mineral mart, and a bakery which was run by the winner of a famous TV cupcake show. A full day had, we went back to the cabin to enjoy our amenities.
Laziness hit us again as we chilled at the cabin. Steak was served while we enjoyed the deck and our view. As night turned around our jacuzzi looked and felt relaxing… until some noise we could not identify was stalking around our cabin. At first, we thought maybe something small was making such noise… but it kept getting louder. Next course of action was to be a little louder ourselves to see if that would scare it off. It worked… or so it seemed. Cuddling and chatting how it could have been a deer… the noise returned. You know the feeling when you know something is up? Yeah… seven alarms went off in our heads. Retreat was the best option as we shut down everything and chilled inside. Unfortunately, we still do not know what made those noises. But what were we to worry?
Our next day was planned full of food for we had signed up for a food tour. But first, my phone decided to misbehave. So my wife, who hates when my phone is off/not working, set course for a local repair shop. In my head I am thinking, It is not going to be cheap to fix. I am sure it will need new parts and we are a little far from home to wait for that. What if it was completely trashed? Is this a new expense? When will I get that done?.. Aaaaaand so on and so forth. All of that was shattered in a mere seconds as he cleaned out the charger part. I do not know if I was more relieved or embarrassed. My victorious wife led us back to the car as we laughed at the whole incident. The tour was marked from the beginning. First, the lady running it said to meet at a landmark that was no longer there. Long enough that only one person around seemed to know where it had previously been located. Finding ourselves with another couple, our guide was still no where to be found. Ten minutes passed when we were supposed to meet and she finally finds us; saying that the others had gathered at the platform instead. Before I go on, I want to stress something about the experience. How it was advertised on the site was we were going to get the best of southern food and enjoy many different flavors. This expectation led to the experience we ended up having that day. The tour began at a wine bar with some fancy food; none of which I would say was very fantastic. Their wine though… made even a wine hater like me enjoy it. Next we went to my favorite stop on the tour called Southern Charm. We were given fried mozzarella balls and fried tomatoes to eat. So delicious… The breading that was used was the same kind traditionally used for chicken. Even my wife liked the cheese dish; something she would not usually eat. In all honesty, I wanted to stop the tour and just eat there for dinner. Sadly, that was not meant to be as we went to our next destination. Confusion was met as the staff had no idea we were coming; followed by rude service and shouting as they begrudgingly gave us our food. This meal was a selection of tuna, chicken, egg, and pasta salad scooped on a plate. Oooo ah how hard was that to set up? I am sure everyone felt a little pressured by the staff to leave; even though the guide was still praising the place and telling us how it used to be a garden. I am thinking it should have stayed that way. Anyways, an unique experience promised to lift our spirits. Making our way into an oil shop, we were met with vanilla ice cream served with oils poured on top. So weird and yet it was so yummy. My favorite was a blackberry and lemon mix that tasted so tangy and sweet to wash out our pallet. It was looking better as we got to the restaurant the tour guide had hyped up since the beginning… and were met with confusion yet again. Seems they were also unaware of our visit and had nothing prepared. On top of this, they were refusing us seating inside for being over the max capacity for COVID regulations. One of the servers had a “great” idea to solve this problem. Out in the cold, darkening air we sat as they brought out the chosen food. I don’t even remember what it was… all I know was it offended all five senses. However, the weird vinegar drink we were given tasted decently good. Now at the beginning of the tour we were promised full stomachs by the end… that did not happen with my wife and I. She ended up finding a restaurant hidden away that served freshly made pizza. This place knocked the socks off most of the eateries we had gone on the tour. Very relaxed, good food, comfy seats, and a friendly staff were such a plus and great end to the day. As se settled back into the cabin for our last night, we decided to try the gas bonfire. Oh boy.. How the instructions were worded did not mention to put the lit match in before turning on the gas. A burst of fire almost singed us both before we settle next to it. We soon realized we liked real fires better when no great heat came from the flame. Watching the stars for a little while, we decided that the jacuzzi would be a better idea. Ah, how inviting the warm, bubbling water was to our cold, stiff skin. We cuddled and reminisced over the week.
The time had come to make our way back home, but first we needed some sustenance. Since the beginning of the week, we had our eyes on a local market call Mercier’s. Its specialty was apples, but it had a variety of goods. Our noses led us to the bakery in the busy place. Through the bustling people we went to the back where the pleasant scents had emanated. Sooo glad we stopped here before heading back. Between the two of us, we had an apple fritter, mini apple pie, and a cinnamon roll. Each dessert was warm, moist, crisp, and tasty that we scoffed down the treats in seconds. Back on the road we went as we traveled back to the airport and headed home. All and all I would say it was a very relaxing and loving trip. I felt as if we got even closer (did not know that was possible) and really able to find what we loved about each other; sharing dreams and of our future in that nice little cabin in the mountains. Such thoughts led to an exciting new chapter in our lives… which I will share next time. Thanks for reading and I hoped your enjoyed hearing about our time in Georgia.
So many things have transpired since last we talked my friends. For starters, I am now a married man. Yes indeed, the long awaited date had arrived and I finally got to say the two word phrase. My wife melted my heart when I saw her in that dress and our love grew ever stronger. The weather was so fair and perfect for our risky outdoor wedding and thank the lucky stars it was; for that was the happiest day of my life. Our reception was just as good as everyone ended up rolling out of that place. Thanks to Puritan, it ran so smooth even during this hectic time. But, honestly I was only really paying attention to my wife most of the time. Laughing, dancing, kissing, drinking, eating, and loving… I wished it never ended.
On another happy note, I have gotten my editor for my book and it should be finished around January. In the next coming days I should also have a book cover designer as well. It seems to all be lining up as I begin my journey toward the future. Please stay tuned as I build it one brick at a time, but also remember to enjoy yours as well. Love, live, and laugh.
Some of you may have noticed that my posts are not the most polished of works. This is actually on purpose for a couple of reasons. One, I want my readers to experience my raw emotion when I write a post; nothing to hide my feelings as I weave my tapestry. Hear the clicking and clacking of the keyboard as it grows faster with anger or tentatively slower with an aching heart. If I get even a flicker of any kind of emotion from another person from my stories, I feel giddy and can’t help but smile. Second, it is to show others where a writer begins. Every great author had to start somewhere and many struggled at first to get that first book published. But it is also important to show that they were not all fantastic writers at first. They had to learn the skills of the trade before becoming the great story tellers they were meant to be. Which brings me to my third reason, humility. I want to look back on these posts and remind myself not to get too big for my britches. Honestly, I believe that I will find great success in my future and do not want to lose myself in that achievement. So here my first thoughts shall be scribbled down, you hear that future me? Do. not. forget. yourself. Money does not buy you happiness and everyone is equal.
Oh exciting news everyone. I have decided to go into self-publishing as I have ran into a sum of money as of late. Once that comes in I can start that process. Further postings will keep you up on my adventures on this new frontier.