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Pitchwars 2016: #PimpMyBio

Whew. Here I go. Nervous as hell. Pitchwars first timer.

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The Basics:

  • I am almost 46, having completed my first novel at age 43, so I have a bit of a late start.
  • I have a wonderful husband and two awesome kids, all very supportive of my writing. The best part of all this writing is that I have inspired both my children, ages 10 and 12, to write!
  • I have a BS in Agricultural Journalism (that is a thing) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. buckybadger.gif
  • We currently live in a small town in Southern Wisconsin, but I grew up on a horse farm near Green Bay (Go Pack Go!). I spent my childhood showing horses throughout the Midwest. What a fantastic ride!
  • I usually hide my nervousness with humor.

A Few Things I love:

  • My Family. (Duh!)
  • Books: If it’s fiction, I probably love it. Lee Child, Emily Giffin, and everything in between.
  • TV: Dexter, House, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, House of Cards, Mad Men…
  • Movies: Anything with Ryan Reynolds.

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  • Animals: Especially my stinker of a rescue dog, Cosmo and horses.

My Novel:

My Pitchwars manuscript is a Contemporary Romance, about a woman, her horse and a man.

When Willa Wray, Olympic Gold medalist, falls off her horse, she suffers a career-ending injury and a heart-breaking breakup with her boyfriend. She goes home to her parent’s horse farm in Wisconsin to heal her body, but childhood crush Shaw McAlister shows up to heal her heart.

I would love your criticism, prospective mentor, it will make me a better writer, and this story that I love, a better story. I’m a hard-working Wisconsin girl, and have a positive attitude so I think you would enjoy working with me.

I look forward to pitching to you and (crossing fingers) working with you! Thanks for taking the time to read my bio.

-Jodi

Thank you Lana for putting this together. Check out all the other great bios here.

Agents.

The past year has been an educational one for me in regard to book publishing. I am not yet published, but have no doubt it will happen. In the mean time though, I thought I would share with you what I have learned so far.

A year ago I posted that I finished my first book, a fiction novel, The Stalking Horse. I thought I knew a lot, but in reality I was an uneducated boob! I knew virtually nothing about:

  • Finding an agent
  • Query letters
  • Manuscript length, and apparently
  • Fiction genres

Twitter has become my new best friend. In my initial search for agent was spent on Google. What I quickly learned is that A LOT of literary agents are active on Twitter. I started following each agent I could find simply to learn what I could from the experts. I currently follow about 450 agents and the information I have learned from their posts has been phenomenal.

Secondly, I thought that writing the book was the hardest part of getting published. Boy was I wrong! Actually it is the query. The query letter is a one page formal letter sent to, in my case, potential literary agents to “pitch” a novel in hopes of getting representation. Now I feel I am a really good writer but this one little page has been the bane of my existence. Fortunately I was lucky enough to win a query review from a professional so I have had some guidance, but the art of describing your novel in a couple of compelling sentences is a daunting task.

Then there was the little task of lengthening my manuscript. As it is, it still might be a little short at 55,000 words, but nevertheless I feel this book is complete at that length. In the past year I have reworked my book probably 15 times, adding and paring as I saw fit.

Finally, I thought my book was a Thriller, but I learned it is actually a Cozy Mystery. I read a lot of books, and I was sure mine was a thriller, but as soon as it was identified as a cozy mystery, it seemed so obvious. Genre is really important because certain agents represent only certain genres. Send it to the wrong agent, you’ve just wasted your time and the agent’s. You don’t want to do that, the literary agents have enough to do without having to sort through a missent query.

I have learned a lot, and I have received rejections. Through it all I will keep writing.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”  Samuel Beckett

Finished!

It has been a long time since I’ve been here.

Where have I been you may or may not be asking? Well, I have been raising my kids, working a little bit, and probably wasting a lot of time. It’s been five years in the making, but I am very proud to say one thing did get done:

I finished my first novel!

I’ve been celebrating for about a week, but have a feeling the tough part is ahead of me. First of all, no one else has read it yet.

Is it good you ask? Well of course it is, and my children are the smartest, best behaved, sweetest in the world. (I may be a little biased.) So now I have the hard part, submitting it to someone who knows what is a good book.

What do I do next? I need to have an editor look it over, write a summary, find an agent, etc.

Do I know what I am doing? Not really, but I am learning quickly! I’m not naïve enough to think my first book out the gate will be a winner, but I still have fantasies that it will be! No matter the outcome though, I am really proud of myself. I finished a novel which contains 50,000 words that are all mine, written in a document that tells a story that has never been told before. I’ve created people who I sometimes forget are fictional. I even slipped up once and shared an anecdote with my family, forgetting that the person in question was simply a figment of my imagination.

The more I write, the more writing is becoming part of me. I am finished with my first book, but have only begun my life as a writer.

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Chicken.

I am a chicken. I have piles of half written stories and novels, but I have never been able to finish one. I am pretty sure it is because I am a little scared to find out I might not actually be a good writer.  I don’t show people my stories because I am always fine-tuning my writing, and therefore it is never ready to show. Well that’s it! In my own personal multi-step program I am forcing myself to get out there and write.  This blog is the first step, and now today I am sharing a short story I have written as  well. Thanks for reading!

Yours and Mines

“Your fetus is not viable.”

 The physician continued on, “We should schedule a D & C as soon as possible…”

 Not viable?

 Rachel did not understand. The only thing she expected to hear was a fluttering heartbeat, not those incomprehensible words. She needed a point of reference for the phrase, ‘not viable.’ Rachel thought back to a research job she had in college. For just a moment she was back in the lab studying berry seeds, recording whether they were ‘viable’ or ‘not viable.’ In that moment she remembered ‘not viable’ meant the seeds were unable to grow.

 Unable to grow.

 “Oh my God,” were the words that ran through her head, but no words could escape her mouth. She looked at her husband James, and then at the ultrasound monitor. She began to shake, and then simply wept. James wrapped his arms around her, his eyes moist from both sadness and the knowledge that this was one time he could not protect her.

 A half an hour later, Rachel was dressed, back in the exam room. Quietly, James and the nurse scheduled the “procedure” to complete the miscarriage. There were forms to sign and pre- and post-procedure instructions to review. There were some pamphlets and telephone numbers for grief counseling. Rachel, unable to cope, sat curled in a chair.

 When the nurse was completed with her paperwork, she turned to Rachel and asked if should like to keep the ultrasound picture.

 “I don’t know.” Rachel whispered. James reached for it, “Sure, we’ll keep it. Thank you.”

 Rachel and James had both driven separately to the appointment with plans to return to work afterward. Instead of showing off her baby’s first picture to her co-workers, she drove home alone with her baby’s last picture sitting on the passenger seat.

 She tried her hardest to concentrate on the ride home, grasping at any thought to keep her mind off of the horror that she just experienced. She turned on the radio.

 Since you’ve been gone, all I’ve been is blue

I wish I would have said how much I love you

You left me all alone, before we got to know

The funny little ways that our love would grow

 The song was unfamiliar but spoke to her. As she listened, she couldn’t shake the incredible feeling that this song was sent to her by the child she had just lost.

 It’s as if I did not know you, never spoke your name

I miss you so completely; life will never be the same

 Grief overtook Rachel. She pulled the car over on a side street and wept for the loss of her child. She tried to comprehend why it happened.

 Where did you go, the dreams seem so real.

When did you leave, how did it feel?

 The weeks passed and Rachel often heard the song on the radio, and if the radio was not on, the song simply played in her head. Though the song was said to be about young love, Rachel thought only of the child she would never know.

 Sometimes I still feel you here, breathing next to me

Why do we always miss the love not meant to be?

 By midsummer, the radio stations stopped playing the song so frequently, and time was beginning to heal Rachel’s emotional wounds. By late autumn, she would have been lucky to catch the song on the radio. Rachel’s head began playing other songs as she made it beyond the lost baby’s due date.

 

Three years later, the sun was warm, the air was fresh. It was spring again. Rachel took a deep breath and smiled as she closed the back door of her SUV. She hopped in the front and put on her sunglasses. She turned the key and as the engine started, she once again heard the song.

 Since you’ve been gone, all I’ve been is blue

I wish I would have said how much I love you…

Rachel breathed deeply, almost a sigh, and for a moment her heart felt heavy. “Gosh, I haven’t heard this in a couple of years,” she thought. As she put the car in reverse a tiny voice came from the back of the car.

 “That’s yours and mines song Mommy.”

 Startled, Rachel said, “What did you say sweetie?”

 “That’s yours and mines song.”

 For a moment Rachel did not respond, and then tears welled in her eyes as she looked in the rear view mirror. “Yes sweetie, I guess it is. It really is. Let’s go home and see daddy.”

 I know someday I’ll find you, that our paths will cross

Then we’ll love each other once again, with never an anguished loss.

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