Writer Wednesday

Writer Wednesday

Hey guys! This morning, I realized something. I have not posted any of my YA novel–that I’ve been desperately searching for a literary agent to fall in love with and decide to publish–since August 2013! That’s just craziness!

I posted the first chapter back then (if you haven’t read it, click here!) and I decided I was going to share Chapter Two with you right now! (This way you can see what a totally awesome book it is and reblog/re-tweet/re-Facebook this so it can go viral or whatever it is that you kids do these days. I promise to thank you in my memoirs!)

Here is Chapter Two of Couture in the Cornfields:

Chapter Two

The sun had not yet fully risen but Morgan was already awake, gazing at her closet door. Hanging there was the most beautiful piece of clothing she owned—her prom dress.

Now, this was no ordinary prom dress. To Morgan, this dress would be the shining seal on her glittering legacy as fashion icon at Elliot Reeves School for the Elite. Morgan always wore the latest fashions and set the trend in her school. She had been voted Best Dressed in the high school yearbook for five years! She was placed as an honorary winner her eighth grade year!

Morgan was a VIP among Fashion Week attendees and worked hard to never be outshined by anyone. She had Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang, and Valentino all on speed dial and had a seamstress on 24-hour notice for those dire fashion emergencies.

Morgan’s reign as “Queen Fashonista” was once in trouble when, in ninth grade, Cassie Adams had stolen Morgan’s top secret design for her gown to the Winter Festival Fiesta! Morgan leapt into action, quickly designing a new, original gown. One quick call to Paris, two jets, and one steamboat later: Morgan walked in victorious and gorgeous to her first high school dance.

For Senior Prom, Morgan had taken extra precautions to ensure her dress would be one-of-a-kind and completely confidential. The Millers sent Morgan and Rosa all over the world researching the newest and hottest names in couture. After an entire summer of searching, Morgan decided to enlist the talented Rafael Barino.

Rafael was an eclectic designer from Italy and had a knack for knowing the trends before they happened. He’s the one who coined the phrase: “Pink is the new black.”

Rafael was flown to New York on many occasions to meet with Morgan and design her dress. After months of planning, sleepless nights flipping through fabric swatches, and two tearful phone calls (from Rafael to his mother in Rome), the gown was finished. The Morgan Miller and Rafael Barino masterpiece was hanging like a shrine in Morgan’s bedroom.

She watched gleefully from the comfort of her silk sheets as little flecks of the morning sun glimmered off the genuine Swarovski crystals intricately placed on the bodice. She closed her eyes and dreamed about prom.

She hummed to herself and pictured walking into the room: the double-doors burst open! Everyone stops and stares. Suddenly, applause breaks out and two guys pick Morgan up and carry her on their shoulders! She waves, blows kisses, and catches flowers in the air! A crown falls from the heavens and lands softly on her perfectly coiffed hair. The room cheers: “Morgan! Morgan! Morgan! Morgan!”

“MORGAN!”

She was jerked back to her bedroom by the sound of her nanny’s voice. Opening her eyes, Morgan saw Rosa, leaning over the bed, scowling.

“Mees Morgan!” Rosa yelled in her thick, Cuban accent. “You are being so lazy! You must get up! NOW!” Rosa quickly trotted to the bathroom door and Morgan heard her turn on the shower.

“Oh, Rosa,” Morgan sighed. “Tonight is going to be the best night of my life!” She skipped around the room, staring dreamily at her gown.

Rosa snorted and threw open the curtains.

“Aw, Rosa, you don’t think I’ll have fun?” Morgan asked playfully.

“I think you are too young to be wearing dresses that show your chi-chi’s and riding in the limousines with boys!”

Morgan sighed, “Oh, come on! You’re not going to get all Mary Poppins on me, are you?”

“I don’ know this Maria Pop-eens, but if she keep her chil’ at home, then she is a sain’!”

Morgan grinned and grabbed her nanny’s arms. She twirled the round woman around as best she could; Rosa was shaped like a square. Rosa squealed, “Dios mio!”

“See, Rosa! Isn’t this fun?” Morgan giggled as she grabbed Rosa’s hips, trying to shake them.

“No!” the nanny cried. “I am not J.Lo!”

Rosa stamped her foot and released herself from Morgan’s grip. She put a chubby finger in Morgan’s face.

“And you tell Meester Trent to keep his hands off your hips tonight, mija!”

Morgan flinched slightly at the sound of her date’s name. Trent Wellington was very handsome and very popular, but Morgan thought Trent was a little…dumb. He had played football since the sixth grade and Morgan seemed to think that maybe he had received a few too many tackles without a helmet.

“You don’ like Meester Trent?” Rosie asked, seeing Morgan’s reaction.

“Oh, its not that, Rosa… It’s just…” Morgan stopped herself and changed the direction of the subject. “You know, I overheard daddy saying to a client that Trent’s family comes from really old money! Like, Middle Ages. He even said that some of his ancestors were nobles!”

“Hmm…” said Rosa, noticing her charge’s aversion. “That is een-tress-ting…”

Morgan fingered her dress in her hands. “Tonight’ll be great,” she reassured herself.  Rosa looked at her watch and jumped.

“Mees Morgan!” she screeched. “You need to stop playing and get in the shower! Hair and make-up will be here soon!”

Rosa gathered up towels, threw them into Morgan’s arms and herded the girl into the bathroom.

“Don’ forget,” said Rosa, pushing Morgan through the open bathroom door, “Mees Stacy and Mees Jordan will be here at seven o’clock with their dates to pick you up!” Rosa closed the door and Morgan undressed for her shower.

Stacy, Jordan, and Morgan had been inseparable since kindergarten. Stacy was one of the nicest people in the world. One of the things that made her so endearing was her ability to be confused on the simplest of things.

Her bright green eyes were always opened wide, as though she saw things for the first time, every time. She wore her emotions on her sleeve and was a compulsive worry-wart. Her red, curly hair always bounced when she walked. Sometimes, Stacy would skip slightly when she walked, just to make her curls bounce more.

Jordan was the total and complete opposite of Stacy. Jordan was tall, thin, brunette and very serious. She was competitive in everything from sports to academics and would not take “No” for an answer. She was more level-headed than the other two girls and tried to think of every situation logically. She had only cried in front of Morgan and Stacy once and that was in the third grade when she made a B on her spelling test. Jordan worked hard and volunteered for many different programs at school. Her life plan had been in place since she was in seventh grade: she wanted to be a botanist and run for a seat in Congress.

The three girls were so different, but one thing they had in common was their uncontainable excitement for prom. Stacy was going to prom with her boyfriend, Ben Nichols. The two had been “on again-off again” since second grade. Jordan’s date was Tucker Foster—strictly as friends though. Jordan refused to be tied down in any relationship before she went to college.

“Boys get in the way,” she had once said. “I should be thinking about classes next semester, not whether a boy is going to take me to the kegger at some frat party, ultimately to leave me crying in the bathroom because he was being an idiot and threw up on my shoes! Honestly, Morgan, if you worried more about your grades and less about boys, you’d be going to college this fall too!”

With Jordan leaving for college, Morgan had hoped that Stacy would stay behind in New York to keep her company; but no such luck. Stacy and Ben had already been accepted to Boston College and were invited to rush the most exclusive social clubs. So after tonight, Morgan knew her life would change. Her friends would be leaving for universities and she would still be at home.

Today, however, Morgan refused to think of college. She pushed out thoughts of applications, graduation, or what her career would be. All Morgan wanted to think about was tonight. She hummed as she stepped into the shower and, with shampoo on her head, danced around under the hot water.

Stacy and Jordan arrived, and hair and makeup went by in a blur. Before Morgan knew it, she was standing in her couture gown.

“How do I look?” asked Morgan, twirling.

Muy bonita,” whispered Rosa, wiping tears off her cheek. Morgan grinned and went to her nanny, taking her in a soft embrace, as not to wrinkle her dress.

“I tell them you’re ready,” Rosa said, giving Morgan another look before walking out of the door.

Morgan waited a while until she knew Rosa had announced her, and then she made her way down the spiraling staircase. As she made her descent, Morgan saw Stacy, Jordan, and Morgan’s date, Trent, collectively sigh.

“You look hot,” said Trent, sliding the corsage onto Morgan’s wrist. Rosa made a sound like a low growl under her breath.

“Thank you,” Morgan replied, giggling as she saw Stacy and Jordan making kissing faces behind him. A bright light flashed and the kids looked around.

“Woah, Rosa!” Stacy whined. “You’re going to blind us.”

“Yeah, no joke,” Morgan said, blinking her eyes. “Rosie, will you go get Mom? I want her to see us before we go.”

Rosa slipped out of the room and returned a few minutes later with Mrs. Miller screaming into her phone.

“No, I don’t care if that statue was built for the victims of the bridge collapse, we own that property and the spa is going in!” she yelled into the phone.

Rosa coughed loudly, causing Mrs. Miller to look around the room.

“Well, don’t we look lovely tonight?” Mrs. Miller said, covering up the receiver. “You must be Tristan,” she said, walking toward Morgan’s date.

“It’s Trent, ma’am,” Trent replied, shaking her hand.

“Yes, well… you kids have fun,” Mrs. Miller said, and turned to the nanny. “So, we’re done here now, Rosa?” Rosa nodded and Mrs. Miller started out the room.

“Oh yeah? Well I attend the same club as the Chairman of the City Council, so we’ll see who wins this argument!” Mrs. Miller screamed louder into the phone as she left the foyer.

“Oh, Mom, I wanted to get a…” Morgan cried out after her mom who continued to walk away. “…Picture…” Morgan sighed and turned to her friends who gave her small smiles.

“Your mom’s pretty smokin’…You know, for an old chick,” said Trent, oblivious.

“Go see you father before you leaf,” Rosa said to Morgan and cast Trent an annoyed stare.

“Where is he?” Morgan asked.

“His office,” Rosa replied.

Morgan knocked softly on the door to her father’s office. “Dad?” Morgan called, opening the door slightly. Mr. Miller’s office was enormous. It was a good fifty-foot walk from the door to the desk, and Morgan’s voice slightly echoed.

Mr. Miller was sitting in his leather chair, legs up on the desk, talking on the phone and smoking a cigar.

“No, Jim! We specifically said ‘No’ to the Germans! This cannot happen! I thought you said you were on top of this!”

Morgan walked into the office and closed the door quietly behind her.  She tip-toed to the bookshelf and ran her fingers over the leather books. Her father looked up.

“Hang on, just a sec, Jim. Morgan’s just walked in.”

“You look very pretty,” he said.

Morgan smiled.

“You have enough money?”

Morgan nodded. “Yeah. I have the card in my purse.”

The two waited in silence.

“Hey, Dad…” Morgan’s father cut her off before she could finish.

What? No, we will not reschedule!” Mr. Miller yelled into the phone.

“Morgan?” said a voice behind her. Morgan turned and saw Jordan poking her head into the room. “We need to go, the limo’s here.”

“Alright,” Morgan sighed, turning to tell her father good bye; but Mr. Miller had already turned his back to the door and was yelling into the phone.

The group went outside and piled into the stretch limo. The first stop was Ben’s house, which took longer than expected. Ben had insisted on dying his hair to match Stacy’s green dress, causing a yelling match to break out between him and Stacy. When the two had finally calmed down, they all loaded into the limo again and started for Tucker’s house.

“How about I just go in to get him since we’re running a little behind?” Jordan suggested as the limo stopped in front of Tucker’s house. They all agreed and Jordan left, reappearing seconds later with her date.

Dude! Nice hair!” Tucker said to Ben, holding his hand in the air for a high-five.

“Shut up,” interrupted Ben through clenched teeth. He nodded to Stacy; and Tucker lowered his hand sheepishly back to his lap.

Though they arrived forty-five minutes later than planned, the festivities of prom had only just commenced. Morgan was rather excited that their convoy was tardy, this way everyone at the prom would see her in her gorgeous gown.

“Hold on a sec,” she whispered in Trent’s ear. “I want to go in last.” Trent nodded his head in agreement, checked his hair in the reflection of the glass doors, and waited for the rest of their party to enter.

As the duo walked into the large ballroom, Morgan could swear she heard a collective deep breath coming from the room.

“Your dress is gorgeous!” squealed a petite blonde; “It’s like she just walked out of a magazine!” she heard a boy whisper to his friend; “Wow!” came a cry from across the ballroom.

“Everyone is looking at us!” exclaimed Trent delightfully.

“I know… cool isn’t it?” Morgan replied.

The night continued on with compliments upon compliments, each one more gratifying than the last. Morgan was swelling with pride at being the best dressed at her Senior Prom.

“Excuse me,” squeaked a small, woman’s voice over the speaker system. The room was still abuzz with Morgan’s dress and the general frivolity of the evening and no one took notice.

“EXCUSE ME!” the woman’s voice called louder. Everyone on the dance floor turned their attention to the short, frazzled-looking teacher on the stage.

“Thank you, yes, I am Miss Deranger and it is now time to reveal your Senior Prom King and Queen!” announced Miss Deranger. The audience clapped loudly.

“I just know you’re going to get it, Mo!” Stacy shouted over the applause.

“Yes, yes, thank you. And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for!  Your 2008 Senior Prom King is…” Miss Deranger ripped the envelope open. “Trent Wellington!”

The room exploded with claps, cheers, and whistles. Trent winked at Morgan and walked up to the stage. He strutted over to Miss Deranger who, slightly turning pink, placed a paper mache crown on his head.

“Yes, such a handsome king,” said Miss Deranger.

Trent nodded and gave the teacher a beseeching look. Miss Deranger merely gazed at his bright, green eyes and sparkling teeth that seemed to glitter even more under the stage lights.

“And the queen?” he whispered.

“What? Oh yes, right.” If possible, the short teacher was going redder. “Your Prom Queen is…”

Miss Deranger seemed to pull at the envelope slower than with Trent’s results. When finally out of the seal, Miss Deranger read the name and frowned. “Morgan Miller,” she said flatly.

 

If possible, the cheers were louder than ever. Morgan glided through the crowd and pranced up the steps to accept her crown. Miss Deranger placed it upon Morgan’s head (rather roughly Morgan thought) and went back to the microphone.

“All right, everyone, now the king and queen will have their first dance,” Miss Deranger said and stalked off the stage.

A slow song started as Morgan and Trent walked hand in hand to the dance floor. Trent twirled Morgan and gave a little bow.

“Your majesty,” he whispered regally. “Might I have the pleasure of this dance?”

Morgan giggled, “Yes you may. But only if you don’t talk like that anymore.”

“Okay!” he said, smiling and took Morgan into his arms. “This is great, isn’t it?”

Morgan sighed, “It really is.”

 

Dare to Dream…?

 

Before I go into today’s post, I want to preface with a few things. First, let it be known that I’m really not trying to be a Debbie Downer. And second, I’m not fishing for compliments. This is genuinely me trying to work through my thoughts in blog form. Get it? Got it? Good.

 

Here lately I’ve been feeling pretty forlorn. I’ve had my YA novel completed for months now, and reaching out to literary agents to get some representation but to no avail. I’ve been getting rejection after rejection.

 

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And I know that, as a writer, you’ll get a thousands No’s and you only need one Yes. But dang! when am I going to get that Yes?! I have an email folder and a file folder full of rejection letters (that I will use to wallpaper my office in my mansion after I become a famous author so I stay grounded) and I’m getting a little sick of it.

 

I’m starting to doubt my abilities as a writer (even though my manuscripts have all been critically-acclaimed by ME) and I’m starting to wonder if I need to keep pursuing this dream. Maybe I’m not as good of a writer as I think I am.

 

you suck

 

But then I think: “No. You don’t suck. JK Rowling was rejected twelve times before she got an agent, and Judy Blume spent two years getting nothing but rejection letters. You can do this.”

 

 

People always ask me, “Why not self-publish like you did with The Speaker?” Self-publishing costs a pretty penny if you want to do it right. Books aren’t necessarily always in the stores, and plus, with the marketing you have to do (all on your own, I might add) it basically becomes your life. Can I really do that with a full-time job, a husband, and a kid?

 

 

I just don’t know what to do. I guess I’ll keep pursuing this crazy dream until I either find an agent or get tired of trying. I hate to think of me giving up, though. I hate giving up. I mean, I wanted to give up so bad during the marathon but I didn’t. I just don’t know if this particular marathon is worth running.

 

I guess I’ve got a lot to think about.

 

thinking

 

 

What about you? Do you have any goals you’re working to achieve? Do you want to give up? Are you? Why or why not?

 

Blog Hop

Marisa Mohi, a panda-loving pal of mine (and former coworker/Sarcasm Society sister) asked me if I would be interested in doing a blog hop.

 

“A wha–?” I asked. “Is this like a new thing the kids are doing?”

(I am obviously “so down” with the “haps” nowadays.)

 

She informed me that a “blog hop” is when a fellow blogger gives you questions to answer on your blog and then you send those questions to another blogger. Of course I said yes because Marisa is AWESOME and a kick-a writer (who I will now embarrass with shameless plugs for her blog and her hilarious writing for TheLostOgle.com) and can come up with puns, plots, and protagonists at a moment’s notice.

 

 

Let’s start blog hoppin’!

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(By the way, Marisa, I totally stole this jpeg from your blog. Finders, keepers.)

 

What are you working on?

Right now I’m working on a couple of projects. I’m trying hard to find a literary agent for my second YA novel, Couture in the Cornfields. I’m also “jazzing up” the first novel I ever wrote—The Speaker. I like the basic storyline of it, but reading it now, I see just how much I’ve grown as a writer and I’m simply aghast at what I thought was “good” back then. (Sigh. To be 22 again and believe that Twilight was literature….) And finally, I’m working on an adult (no, not that type of adult) novel about a young woman who is burned by love and ends up as a nanny for a washed up, one-hit-wonder band that’s trying to hold on tightly to their last pieces of fame.

 

 

How does your work differ from others in its genre?

Honestly, my stuff is so much better than the rest of the crap out there! Just kidding. I’m not better than JK Rowling. She’s a goddess. But, I think my writing’s just as good if not better than a certain YA writer that has a penchant for vampires. I haven’t read anything like Couture in the Cornfields, which I hope is a good thing. Here’s a little background info on that book.

The Speaker is a supernatural YA novel that gets back to basics: ghosts. Right now, it’s as though the shelves at bookstores are inundated with vampires, fairies, shape shifters, angels, demons, etc. I think its time for a good ole fashioned ghost story!

The latest project I’m working on (which is only about 20 pages long thus far and has no title) is sort of a fantasy of mine. I would LOVE to be able to tour the world and hang out with my favorite band (though, this fantasy was concocted in my early twenties when I had a lot more energy, an iron stomach, and the ability to stay up past 9:00 p.m.).

 

 

Why do you write what you do?

Most of what I write is young adult because that’s primarily what I read. I don’t know why, but young adult novels are—in my opinion—more relatable than adult novels. Probably because I think I’m still 18. To which my aching back and creaking knees reply, “Nope. You’re almost thirty, honey.”

 

 

How does your writing process work?

I used to just wait for inspiration to strike and then I’d hide away for hours and write. The first rough draft of The Speaker was written on my flight home from London in 2008! But now I’ve learned that you have to have discipline. You have to have time set aside so you can focus and make the magic happen!

 

So that’s it! That’s my sage writing advice. What about you? Are you working on anything? Got any tips for your fellow authors?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I haven’t found a blogger to hop this to for next Monday, so if any of my awesome blogger friends would like to partake, let me know!)

Book Update

As most of you know, I finished my second book recently. (Not my second book ever…being a Ghostwriter, I’ve written TONS of books. This is my second personal book.)

 

I had an editor friend look it over and help me with some of the technical and not-so-technical stuff. Now comes the fun part: looking for an agent. I’m sending out queries (say a prayer, cross your fingers, light a candle and all that jazz) and hoping for an agent to bite! (Not literally of course. That’s how plagues get started.)

 

In the spirit of sharing with you guys, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek! Here is the first chapter of Couture in the Cornfields:

 

 

Chapter One

 

     “What is all that noise?” screeched an old man, sitting in his armchair.

“It looks like a parade,” said his wife, peering out of the dusty blinds.

“For what?” he replied, his pale cheeks puffing. “It’s January!

“I’m not sure.” She searched down the street. “Oh wait! I see a banner.”

The old man huffed and shifted in his arm chair, watching his wife expectantly. Finally, she spoke.

“The banner reads: Happy 17th Birthday, Morgan Miller,” the old woman said, enunciating every word. “Miller…Miller…Oh! That must be Hanlon and Marla Miller’s daughter!”

“A parade? For a teenager? What is the world coming to?” the old man huffed, picked up his remote, and turned the television set volume up.

“I think it’s nice,” she said, looking down at the crowd.

Down on the street below, Morgan Miller was sitting atop an elephant, decorated with a pink headdress. She waved and smiled until finally the elephant came to a stop. A man dressed like a sultan helped her down from the animal.

“Four miles on the back of an elephant!” Morgan whined to two girls waiting for her. “Just look at my hair!”

“You look fantastic,” said the first girl.

“Thanks, Jordan,” Morgan said, trying to revive her curls.

“This is amazing!” said the second girl. “There has to be more than three hundred people here!”

“Three hundred and fifty-two to be exact, Stacy,” Morgan said, smiling. A man on stilts walked by, carrying a try of cotton candy. “We’ll take three,” Morgan said to the man.

“Mo, this has to be the best birthday party ever!” Jordan said with a mouthful of cotton candy. “I can’t even imagine what your parents will do for you next year!”

“I guess it’s not too shabby, huh?” Morgan said, distractedly. She was looking at her parents. Both were glued to their phones, back toward the party. Jordan saw Morgan’s gaze.

“At least they came this year, Mo,” Jordan said.

“Yeah,” Morgan sighed. “Maybe next year they’ll even talk to me. Ugh, next year.”

Morgan was not looking forward to her senior year of high school. She was tired of listening to her classmates make plans for the future, especially when she had none. Rosa had given her stacks of college applications, but Morgan always came up with a good excuse to not fill them out.

“Rosa, there’s a party this weekend,” Morgan would whine. “I can’t write an essay.”

Rosa would scold her, mostly in Spanish, and Morgan would promise to get to it later. Later turned into two months, which turned into four, which turned into eight. The stack of college applications were buried under Prada dresses, Christian Louboutin shoes, and Coach purses.

Every now and then, Morgan would find the applications hidden around the house. They’d pop up in the refrigerator, the pantry, the shower, even in her Glamour magazine.

“Rosa’s getting desperate,” Morgan said to herself one morning. She had poured herself a bowl of cereal and out rolled an application for the United States Army.

“Why should I go to college?” Morgan asked her friends one day. “I don’t need a degree. I mean, look who my parents are! And besides, who’d give up a house like this for a stinky dorm room that hundreds of other people have already used? And, you have to share bathrooms.” Morgan wrinkled her nose.