Monthly Archives: December 2009

Relief on the way…

more cool sidewalk graffiti

I signed up with Writer’s Relief, a literary submission service, this week.

I first heard of Writer’s Relief over ten years ago, from a friend who said the service was totally legit and helped her friend with tons of litmag submissions. Determined to make a go of it on my own, and wary of the service (was it a scam? It sounded too good to be true!) I filed her recommendation for later use.

Fastforward five years: hundreds of litmag submissions later, totally harried by the process, sick of having to research new litmag venues for my work, and having no more room/time for litmag submissions because I’ve prioritized my novel writing above all else, Writer’s Relief began to make sense for me.

I tweeted my discouragement about the litmag submission process–how time consuming, how disappointing, how dismaying…and a friend, that very same friend from ten years ago, tweeted, “Writer’s Relief.” Okay, I thought. And then another friend recommended Writer’s Relief, too. She’d used it because she was a newbie to the litmag submission process–and she recommended them.

So I submitted my work on over to them, and a week or so later, I received a letter in the mail that said they’d take me on as a client (and noted that they really liked the openings of my stories–hey, I’ll take any compliment I can get as a writer). The price isn’t cheap, but I’ve decided to sacrifice on other things for the sake of my writing, again, as part of my crusade to prioritize my writing above all else.

So far, I have found that the folks are great, the process is clearly outlined and very organized…stay tuned for more updates on this service.

Has anyone else used Writer’s Relief? I’m looking forward to working with them.

Update: Writer’s Relief was okay. They didn’t do anything I would have done on my own–I thought perhaps they’d do some research and find literary magazines I hadn’t heard of/might be a better fit for my writing, but it seemed like a pretty generic list of litmags. The cover letter tweaking was nice, but again, not groundbreaking.

It is great for people just starting out with submissions. Or with people who have zero time.

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Can’t believe it

I’m half a chapter from finishing the first draft of my novel manuscript. I can’t type enough smileys to tell you how I’m feeling right now. Okay. Back to my manuscript, so that I can finish….

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Filed under Novel, Writing


hope valley

In the 90s, I learned to be happy. And in the 00s (what do we call this decade? the “zeros?” the “ones?” otherwise known as “the aughts”), I found my direction and footing.

I began the decade newly married and happy, but also discontented with my career track. I was working 60 hours a week in recruiting and HR in high-tech, and commuting 100 miles roundtrip for work each day.  I had the exits off of I-880 memorized, in exact order.  I was by many definitions, successful.

However, I felt something was missing. And the thing that was missing was writing. I signed up for a UC extension fiction writing workshop with an amazing and encouraging instructor Susan, who became a very good friend, and who urged me to send out my work. My work got published. And then I applied to MFA programs…and was accepted into several programs.

When I told my friends I was enrolling in an MFA program, this is the response I generally received: “What, an MBA?  You’re going for an MBA!  Congratulations!”

To which I replied, “No.  An M.F.A…!”

To which they replied, “What?  Art?  You draw?  Huh?”

I happily enrolled in the MFA program closest to home, where I met great mentors who I adore, and who still support me today.  (thank you).

2007 was a shit year for me–what with my stroke, and then the sudden death of an immediate family member and other personal challenges and unfortunate happenings that I didn’t bother to share with the world. I withdrew from my MFA program for a semester to recover.  When 2008 rolled around, my husband and I heaved a sigh of relief and wished for a better year.

Even with the demise of the economy, 2008 *was* a better year for us than 2007 (that’s how shitty 2007 was). The Fall of 2008 brought me full recovery from the stroke and I finished my MFA program in the same year. 2009 brought me renewed drive–and a completed first draft of my novel manuscript (okay, I may be counting my chickens before I hatch on the “finished manuscript”–but in the world of counting chickens, I’ve only got one chicken eyelash left!).

In hindsight, my stroke may have been the best thing to have happened to me as a writer and as a human being. It slowed me down, forced me to re-evaluate, forced me to fight back in recovery, and identify what was most important to me in life. I was without words, without the ability to read or write, and I found myself determined to recover and “come back like Lance.”   I wanted to write, more than ever.

My illness forced me to live entirely in the present-tense (because of my severe memory problems) for at least six months. It took me months to be able to read a short story again–but until then, I read paragraphs over and over, because I would forget what I was reading by the end of that paragraph.  I wrote everyday in my journal, and on an anonymous blog, even if I forgot the beginning of the post by the time I reached the end of the post.  But I persisted, until I could read, and until I could write fiction again.

I think I am a better person and writer for that experience.  I learned to fall down and get back up again, and in doing so, gained footing and direction.

I gained awesome new friends, including one amazing BFF.

I enter 2010, a new decade, rejuvenated, hopeful (and still married and happy). And with this blog.

I hope the next decade brings you and yours lots of growth and joy.


Filed under Writing

Hello world, again

I’m reviving a blog under my real name, after a years-long hiatus from blogging.  So, hello world (again)!


Filed under Uncategorized