Girl meets world

I saw Jodie – a wisp of a girl with straw-colored hair and big, downcast Bambi eyes – before I created her.

That image generated her idiosyncrasies and eccentric behavior. I reckoned she was bashful and quiet. I reasoned she immersed herself in TV shows, movies and books that sheltered her from a harsh world.

And I wondered how she would respond when forced out of her comfort zone and into college’s demanding social environment. How would she contend with obnoxious roommates, intrusive acquaintances, and the opposite sex?

At times, her journey into the real world breaks my heart. I want her to confront her secrets and fears and seek help for her depression. But I remind myself she’s a kid living in a not-so-distant past when many people refused much-needed therapy and concealed their use of antidepressants.

Jodie does recognize her problems and she’s good at keeping her most obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior to herself. Oh, she occasionally slips up (“Blossom” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” come to mind), but she realizes most people do not worry about a soap opera character’s love life or clean a spotless mirror.

That’s why her journey also thaws my heart. I applaud her for standing up to her obnoxious roommates and for hanging out with Dana and Steph. I enjoy the new friendships she forges. The ease at which she accepts Laura, Chet and Leo into her life as well as the strengthening of her bond with Eleanor and Callie help her to experience a fuller life.

And to have some fun along the way.

A print version of “Someone She Always Has Known” will soon be available. The ebook is now available at: http://www.amazon.com/Someone-She-Always-Known-ebook/dp/B00CJYJ330/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1367536240&sr=1-1&keywords=someone+she+always+has+known

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Take the challenge

Had I created a monster?

I asked myself that question after receiving feedback from friends who reviewed drafts of my novel, “Someone She Always Has Known,” and found Eleanor’s behavior unappealing and appalling.

One pal said he hoped she receives her comeuppance, another said I had made her impossible to like, and a third agreed.

Since I had never intended to create America’s next sweetheart, their remarks didn’t offend me. However, they did give me pause.

I realize Eleanor frequently goes too far. I wince when she makes Callie cry in front of Carson and Charlie or tells the newly-heartbroken Callie and Laura to get over it or…well, I could go on.

In an effort to “fix” her, I researched the subject of unlikable characters. Experts suggest writers present these controversial creations in a way that explains why they kill, steal, or cheat.

Wait a minute. What about a character who’s just over-bearing and rude?

In the end, I decided, with the exception of a few tweaks, not to “fix” Eleanor. Motivated by inner strength, stubbornness, and a need to succeed, she still recites real or imagined slights as a justification for her behavior.

She still makes me laugh. Take the passage where she pours out Dana’s beer and puts the empty beer cans back in the refrigerator. She then munches on an apple and chides Dana for having “some nerve.”

And she still displays tenderness and affection – and anger – toward Carson and Jodie, the two characters she most respects.

She’s flawed. No doubt about that. But instead of unlikable, I prefer to think of her as challenging.

A print version of “Someone She Always Has Known” will soon be available. The ebook is now available here: http://www.amazon.com/Someone-She-Always-Known-ebook/dp/B00CJYJ330/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1367536240&sr=1-1&keywords=someone+she+always+has+known

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The agony and the ecstasy

I agonize over titles.

If I had to choose between scrubbing a public toilet and coming up with a book title, I’d slap on a face mask, pull on rubber gloves and grab a brush. With the toilet, at least I know the agony will last only a few minutes.

The process of titling my novel, “Someone She Always Has Known,” lasted months. During that time, I researched words relating to coming-of-age, college and friends. I tried unsuccessfully to play on “The Golden Girls.” I started writing down movie, TV and book quotes and attempted to bend them to my will.

Nothing worked.

Until I started singing the words to Concrete Blonde’s, “The Sky Is a Poisonous Garden.” I discovered the band in high school and they still play on the soundtrack of my life. (And on my iPod.) I also plucked Eleanor’s name from the song, which pulsates with sexual energy.

When I got to the lyrics, “someone she always has known,” I stopped singing. As I explained in the book’s blurb, their common and separate college experiences help Callie, Eleanor and Jodie – the book’s main characters – evolve into someone she always has known.

Of course, the someone Concrete Blonde’s Eleanor always has known is a man who makes her moan, but so what? It fit.

And it ended the agony.

Find out more about “Someone She Always Has Known” here: http://www.amazon.com/Someone-She-Always-Known-ebook/dp/B00CJYJ330/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1367536240&sr=1-1&keywords=someone+she+always+has+known

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The long and winding road

My novel, “Someone She Always Has Known,” is now available for purchase at http://www.amazon.com/Someone-She-Always-Known-ebook/dp/B00CJYJ330/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1367275467&sr=1-1&keywords=someone+she+always+has+known

It’s about time.

I started writing the book around the beginning of the century and started sending it to agents and publishers about a decade ago.

Although no one agreed to represent me or publish the book, I did receive a couple positive rejection letters.

That’s not an oxymoron. As someone who has received a terse “not for us” written on her own query letter and a note from a publisher suggesting it was all a big nothing, I realize agents and publishers may pee on your leg, but not while telling you it’s raining.

So, I appreciated the agent who complimented my writing and the publisher who praised the book but said she couldn’t offer me a deal because her company was too small.

Still, I gave up.

Then, last year, a friend sent me a news story about Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) services. I don’t believe in fate, but I had also stumbled across two KDP success stories. Was the universe trying to tell me something?

After I researched KDP and e-publishing, I decided to take another look at “Someone She Always Has Known,” which I referred to as “that story about three friends in college.”

I hadn’t opened the file since 2005 and, as soon as I started reading, I realized the book needed work. In fact, I excised more than a quarter of the story, rewrote the beginning, the ending and parts in between, deleted minor characters and altered Tabitha’s personality.

It pained me to remove Chet’s X-rated ranch dressing story, Jodie’s involvement in petty larceny, and Eleanor’s public dance to “U Can’t Touch This.” But it needed to be done.

I considered sending the improved, more concise novel to agents and publishers, but decided to stick with my plan to publish on KDP.

I have no illusions of grandeur. I’m not fooling myself into believing I’ll become the next e-book success story that inspires other writers.

But I am glad “that story about three friends in college” is finally available for public consumption.

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Greetings and salutations

Welcome to my blog, and thanks for taking time to stop by.

I’ll be posting about my novel, “Someone She Always Has Known,” and whatever else strikes my fancy.

The book follows the college exploits of three young women. None of them fall in love with a werewolf or practice witchcraft or join the walking undead, so I’m not sure how it will sell.

It’s the kind of book I enjoy, though, which is good because I wrote it for myself.

But you can read it, too.

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