A Letter to Time

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Dear Time,

Why do you leave without saying goodbye?

I wait for you to come, for you to pass, our fingertips brushing against each other in the narrow hallway of life. But when I blink, you’re gone, and I can’t get you back.

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When I was a child, waiting for you seemed like forever. Christmas morning felt like it would never come. The school year dragged on, while I impatiently wished for summer. I dreamed of the day that I would grow up and be free of being thought of as ‘just a kid’.

But I blinked, and you were gone. I didn’t even realize how many times you’d passed by.

Now, I ask you—no, I beg you—please stay a while. Slow down.

Sit back, relax, put up your feet. Take a break from rushing through my life like a hurricane, sweeping away each day as the clock in my living room tick-tocks at me.

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I look at my daughter and I can’t remember what she looked like as a baby until I pull out old pictures. I look at my son and wonder when on earth did he get so big. I look at my husband and see the crinkles in the corners of his eyes from the years we’ve spent smiling and laughing together.

Can you stay a while? Can you give me some more time to cherish what I have?

My heart can’t beat fast enough to keep up with you. It seems like just yesterday that my children still fit snug in my arms, that my son needed to hold strands of my hair in his little fist so he could fall asleep. My children are too big for me to carry now, and it hurts. It hurts so much knowing that my little bugs will never be that small again and that those moments with them are gone.

Sometimes when my children are sleeping, I find myself watching them, my gaze lingering on their faces as I try to memorize the way their long eyelashes tickle their cheeks and the way the tips of their noses curl up just the littlest bit.

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I know that I need to be here—in the moment. I know that to make this life worthwhile I need to savor every little piece of each day, even on days that are so bad I just want to forget them. Yet somehow, when I try to make each moment last, you—Time—still slip through my fingers like grains of sand.

I remember hearing my children’s cries for the first time, and hearing my husband sob with me as we experienced their births together. I remember my babies toddling as they learned to walk and their big round eyes when I would play peek-a-boo with them.

If I hold my breath, will you stop, Time? Can I grab your hands and hold tight, stopping you from walking out the door and leaving me choking on memories I want to live again? Do I have to grip your coat-tails with white knuckles to get you to stop and just give me one small moment to catch up—to catch my breath?

But you won’t wait for me. I know that. You go forward, gaze ahead towards the future without letting me stay in the past.

I blink, and you’re gone.

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You took it from me, Time. I take back all the moments when I said that I couldn’t wait. I can wait. I will wait.

If you just stay a little longer.

Always,

Kimberly

How I Got My Agent… and Survived

Uncategorized, writing

I’m going to be blunt.

The past few months have been the hardest, most stressful time of my entire life. First, you should know that stress and I are long-time rivals. I have two soon-to-be-seven-and-five-year-olds. Stress comes with the dual-child package.

Let me clarify that I do not claim my journey to representation as more difficult than anyone else’s individual journey. There were many of outside contributing factors to my stress acne and late-night Eggo waffle binges, such as my minions, my student-teaching internship and finishing college (graduated with a B.A. in Education December 2017), and a little thing called Pitch Wars(More about my entry here.)

Every Pitch Wars mentee selected can agree with me when I say that during the two-three month editing period, you feel every single emotion possible. AT ONCE.

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I decided to join Pitch Wars after querying with no success with two different manuscripts. Looking back now, I can’t believe I thought those manuscripts were ready for agents to see. THE EMBARRASSMENT WHEN I LOOK BACK AT THOSE DRAFTS.

THE HORROR.

By some miracle, after submitting to Pitch Wars mentors/mentor teams, Rebecca and Stacey saw something in my characters and story. They wrote me the most amazing edit letter, identifying all those pesky weak spots and helped me take my manuscript to a whole new level. I couldn’t have asked for two better mentors and friends and it’s because of them that Pitch Wars was a success for me.

But there was the half-way point.

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The point where you’re debating whether or not to just drop out and say you can’t do it because you still have so much editing ahead of you and everything you wrote feels like it’s crap, but it had felt brilliant when you’d had written it after drinking one too many cups of coffee.

THE SELF-DOUBT.

There were tears. There was anger toward myself and my procrastinating habits. Late night thoughts of why I ever thought that this crazy dream of mine could ever be reached. But when I reached out to my mentors, I found kindness and understanding. When I reached out to a group of fellow PW mentees, I found out I was not alone. Turns out this doubt is a common step for many writers. So if you’re at that same place right now in your own writing journey, take a deep breath with me and repeat these High School Musical lyrics because they’re highly appropriate.

We’re all in this together
once we know, that we are
We’re all stars,
and we see that.
We’re all in this together
And it shows when we stand,
hand in hand
Make our dreams come true.

If I could sum up the Pitch Wars experience with one word, it would be:

perseverance

After two months of revisions and line-edits, scraping by with barely any money in my bank account thanks to a non-paying, student-teaching internship, while still finding time to be a semi-conscious parent and wife, I made it to the Agent Showcase round of Pitch Wars.

THE EXCITEMENT/ANXIETY/OBSESSIVENESS.

Create a 50-word pitch? Write a brand new query? And a synopsis in case any agents request one? If writing a query already wasn’t the bane of my existence…

While studying for state licensing exams and preparing my teaching portfolio.

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The excitement and possibility of it all drove me through it. I mean, this was what Pitch Wars led up to. Yes, my manuscript improved. Yes, I was finally ready to query. But the showcase was like the chocolate lava cake the waiter/waitress tempts you with when you know you’re already completely satisfied with the meal you just devoured. It was the cherry on top of that cake, glistening, teasing me with the possibility of sweet success.

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The showcase opened and I exploded with nerves. Would my pitch click with any agents? Would they like my writing style? Is my title catchy enough? The questions were never-ending.

I received requests from agents, and I spent my downtime refreshing my browser for more. When I watched other amazing entries receiving heaps of requests from agents, I was over the moon for all of my new friends. But I couldn’t deny that the cherry on top of my chocolate lava cake didn’t taste as sweet as I’d hoped.

BUT IT WASN’T OVER.

I stayed up late the night the flood doors to send out submissions opened. I sent out my requests. I sent out my revised manuscript to agents who’d previously had a full request before I entered Pitch Wars. I sent out cold-queries to agents who didn’t request during the showcase. Then I went to sleep with a little flutter of hope.

And in the morning, at 9:49 am, I had an offer of representation from Amelia Appel at TriadaUS. She had had a previous draft of my manuscript before Pitch Wars and had also requested the new draft during the agent round. She had read the manuscript overnight, so I knew the excitement from her was 100% genuine. I had been nervous about THE CALLSo nervous that my phone shook in my hand. But Amelia and I connected the moment we started talking, joking about my southern accent, swooning over characters, and in a blink, my nerves were gone, and I knew I wanted Amelia on my side, cheering for me and my work. Accepting her offer of representation was one of the easiest things I ever had to do.

EVERYONE’S JOURNEY IS DIFFERENT

The road to my dream has just begun, the first true steps finally taken. I was privileged enough to be a part of Pitch Wars and my struggles laid in the expectations of the contest. I have friends and know many who have been querying for years or face heavier obstacles and struggles of their own. I leave this post with some advice, even though I am no advice columnist.

Don’t face it alone.

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Find someone to share your brightest and your darkest moments with. There’s a wide community of writers out there with arms wide open, ready to listen and help you in any way they can. Take the opportunity to meet new people and learn about what this evergrowing, beautifully diverse community has to offer.

I sure am glad I did.

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I am a Pitch Wars Mentee!

Uncategorized

I still feel like I am in the beginning of my favorite Queen song.

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

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In all seriousness, someone pinch me (but not too hard), because I must be dreaming. Not only did I get chosen for Pitch Wars, but I am also lucky enough to have snagged a dream team!

Agent or not.
Publication or not.
I am so incredibly grateful to be given this opportunity to not only improve my book, but also my writing abilities. I intend to work my ass off and push myself further than ever, but I did not get here on my own. 
I have a few people that I want to thank.

Rebecca Sky and Stacey Trombley, I cannot thank you enough for believing in my book. After years of entering contests and years of coming close to winning, but not close enough, this means that much more to me. Thank you for spending your time on little ole me.

Francesca Grandillo, Einat Segal, and Tara (TK) Yeager have been my biggest supporters and motivators.  Without your encouragement and your advice, I’m not sure I would have had the faith in myself to enter Pitch Wars.  Your endless support means the world to me and you deserve ALL of the cookies.

Thank you to Brenda Drake, Heather Cashman, and all of those behind the scenes of Pitch Wars.  The amount of time and effort you put in to this contest is amazing. You and your team are selfless, inspiring, and a blessing in the writing community.

ALL of you kick ass.

So, what now?

I will be attempting to blog about this journey–my struggles, my triumphs, and everything between.  Attempting is the key word here, because my edits, school, and teaching come first. Well, and time with my family of course, but they’re always number one.

To start off, my mentors sent me the most amazing edit letter ever. My strengths and weaknesses became more prevalent to me than ever before, their ideas for new scenes are off-the-charts, and the letter is so organized that breathing became easy again.

After reading their letter, the first thing I did was completely restructure the chapter outline.  New chapters and scene ideas were added, previous chapters were moved around and restructured, and I cannot tell you how satisfied I am already. I feel like I know my characters and story more and I haven’t even started REALLY editing/rewriting/writing/throwing my coffee mug at the wall in frustration.

I’m confident in Team Gingersnaps and what we are going to accomplish these next few months.  Having experienced authors help guide me into making my book better than ever is truly a blessing.

So, come with me on this journey.  You’re in charge of bringing snacks.