Stop…Silence

The rain was pouring (shocker, it’s Portland). But then the force and heaviness of the drops hit even harder, making me flinch as it pelted my sunroof. I cursed my windshield wipers to catch up; this was their time to shine. On my drive downtown, first, I must a cross through Terwilliger Boulevard, bobbing and weaving through the sideline of trees hugging both sides of the road. They shake their branches overhead, forming an arch over the road, taunting all drivers with the dangers of the forest.

The car in front of me was slow. (They’re always slow because they probably learned to drive in Portland…) Slowby turned off and the open road lay ahead. The splash of warnings hitting the windshield was not enough to make me need for reduced speed. Swooping in and out, I hugged the curves and pushed for more.

But then a young deer sauntered in front of my car. Apparently it was her time to enter this part of the story, center stage.

In the middle of a busy and crazy world and a hectic day, the deer taunted me to slow down. But I needed to be downtown for a 12 PM meeting.

She walked off to the side of the road and a car in the opposing direction stopped as well. I swear we smiled at each other and turned back to watch the deer. The rain didn’t seem to hit her. I kind of wanted to see for myself how pillowy soft her untouched fur was in that moment.

The car and I were afraid to move. The deer walked off to the side and kept her one eye on me. She wasn’t sure about me. And I’m wasn’t so sure about her either. So we froze. Silence. And the chaos was still.

She walked away with a theatrically slow step, and I started a soft roll forward. She took a step back toward me so I immediately slowed to a stop. And again our eyes met.

With a quick jerk, she was gone. Her work was done there. Without looking back, she started slotting, running off perpendicularly into the forest.

I like her style.

It sure is beautiful for those few precious minutes, even when you’re forced to slow down.

deer

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What Keeps You Up at Night?

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I’ve been brainstorming book #3 with some themes that I’m looking to explore and I keep getting hung up on this idea of letting go. Perhaps it’s something about being on the cusp of a new decade with many friends celebrating the big 4-0 that’s begging me to assess life and take control of, well, letting go.

So much about life is about making things work, carefully curating our own lives until you hit a big moment and you realize…we don’t really have that much control over these things. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely agree with the need to put ourselves out there and take risk to grow, learn and be, but sometimes we’re not necessarily the one driving those plans. And it’s not just us that may learn from our mistakes or growth.

This takes place in so many forms: family, illness, jobs, addiction, and more.

Tell me: What keeps you up at night? When you get together with some of your best friends, what are you coping with? And what stops you from making peace with it?

I’d love to hear from you privately or online!

Keep dreaming! xo

The Agent Round Begins

Today the #NoQS Agent Round begins! The contest is called Nightmare on Query Street, appropriately themed for Halloween, but also because many authors experience how difficult it is to write a query letter.

Please come cheer on my fellow authors who were selected to be on Laura’s Legions! We are on one of three teams and through tomorrow, on Halloween, literary agents are invited to come review the entries and request pages.

Many of us will be hitting REFRESH many times…

Here’s to another adventure in the writing world. May everything bring us closer or create an opportunity for learning and growth.

I wanted to thank my amazing mentor, Farah Heron, who worked with my project and helped me to look through a different lens so that we could get ready for today.

Please come take a look at my project, CURTAIN RISING. http://blog.lauraheffernan.com

CURTAIN RISING, is women’s fiction complete at 105,000 words, weaving together a dual point-of-view journey of a father’s cover up and a daughter’s pursuit of her past.

 

Contest Dreams!

I’m so thrilled to be selected on Laura Heffernan’s team for the Nightmare on Query Street contest! Authors were invited to enter and submit a query letter and first 250 words of our books.

All of the authors chosen are paired with mentors to finalize our submissions for the final reveal. I was lucky enough to have Farah Heron as my mentor for Curtain Rising. It has been an amazing experience and I’m so thankful for a different point of view.

On Oct 30-31st, our finals (only our query letter and first 250 words of the book) go live and 25 literary agents will review and request for more pages if they’re interested.

Please send any good thoughts, wishes and prayers if you have any extra 🙂

I will post more for a peek at my final submission when they go live. Stay tuned!
“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” — Babe Ruth

Empty Your “Someday” Bucket

There are so many times where you cross paths with a decision and you think, “I’ll do that someday…” or “maybe another time.”

I think today is a great day for whatever that is…

Just a little birdie over here cheering for you to grab today with both hands and live it fully.

Today is a great day for you. Go get it!

bucket

 

I Am the Highway

Hearing the news about Chris Cornell’s passing today took my breath away. I lived my teen years in the ’90s as thoroughly as possible. Chris Cornell’s raw, gripping and unique voice was part of the many great experiences I had throughout my high school years, along with other alt greats of the time, including Pearl Jam.

His voice was youth, passion, energy, love, and hate: all those things you feel so deeply in high school as you’re trying to navigate yourself around the idea of living in the moment and becoming an adult.

When I heard that Chris had passed, my heart ached and I immediately wanted to reach out and hug my high school best friends. Because his voice was all of us, with the promise of tomorrow with each other by our sides.

It made me sad to realize that many of the bands that took over the radio in Chicago while growing up have lost their lead singers due to death: Alice in Chains, Nirvana, STP, Sublime, and Blind Melon.

I leave you with one of my favorite songs from Chris from Audioslave. It feels fitting.

“I Am The Highway”
Audioslave

Pearls and swine bereft of me.
Long and weary my road has been.
I was lost in the cities, alone in the hills.
No sorrow or pity for leaving, I feel.

I am not your rolling wheels, I am the highway.
I am not your carpet ride, I am the sky.

Friends and liars don’t wait for me,
‘Cause I’ll get on all by myself.
I put millions of miles under my heels;
And still too close to you I feel.

I am not your rolling wheels, I am the highway.
I am not your carpet ride, I am the sky.
I am not your blowing wind, I am the lightning.
I am not your autumn moon, I am the night… night.

I am not your rolling wheels, I am the highway.
I am not your carpet ride, I am the sky.
I am not your blowing wind, I am the lightning.
I am not your autumn moon, I am night… night… night.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Lyrics per AZLyrics

 

highway-wallpapers

How do you measure happiness?

In – five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life

How about love?

Seasons of Love – Rent

I saw Rent last night. The last time I saw the musical was nearly two decades ago in London. About halfway through, the tears started falling and they basically didn’t stop. It was cathartic. Aside from the actors’ beautiful voices, for me, it was so moving because the message seemed to pertinent with the world today.

It was such a great reminder that it’s the people that you love and surround yourself with that make each day more special and worthwhile than the next. Sometimes we get so distracted by the noise that it limits our ability to enjoy what we have. I’m guilty of that.

But not last night.

rent

Just Make it Happen Already

There are so many things that we say throughout our lives, “Oh, I’d love to do that…” and eye someone with envy when they’ve given themselves the permission to do something out of the box.

I think women are particularly hard on themselves for these sort of things. When I think of something I want to do, it has to make it past my list of priorities: husband and kids, writing, work, friends, and more.

I’d love to do that…but I’ll just be bringing the kids back from gymnastics and the timing is really tight.

I’d love to do that…but work just started to pick up.

I’d love to do that…but that’s like two months straight that I’ll need to find some backup to watch the kids.

Recently, a friend passed away from cancer and everything around me has seemed like a missed opportunity. My heart has been broken since her passing. She used to say every day counts.

We don’t get a second chance at our lives.

So this is a note to ask you what you’ve been wanting to do lately. And I give you permission to do it for yourself!

On Monday, I start ukulele lessons…get ready world!

ukulele

 

New Book is Finished!

I want to scream from the mountain tops…it’s DONE, it’s DONE!!

I’ve just finished writing CURTAIN RISING and all 68,000 words of it. While I couldn’t be more excited, I’ve been simultaneously editing it with feedback from beta readers, and I know there’s quite a bit more editing to go.

But first, a little celebration!

I do need some thoughts on the ending so if there are any other WF beta readers out there that want to speed read for me? I’m looking to send out submissions by September.

I want to deeply thank all the lovely authors and beta readers that have helped me to finesse various parts of the book: Christi Suzanne, Erica Steele, Gayle Seely, Eric Butler, Sara Adams, Natalie Spada, Suzan Headley, Karisa Tell, and Katerina Baker.

Now, on to more editing!

happy dance

Pitch Wars Setting Workshop

Writing novels has its highs and its lows. For anyone that has queiried an agent, they now understand what “tough skin” really means. But it’s all part of the process.

I’m working on my second book, CURTAIN RISING, and was so lucky to be selected into the Pitch Wars Setting Workshop and have my first 500 words reviewed.

I’m so thankful to have some great critique partners; everyone adds value in a different way. For the Pitch Wars Setting Workshop, mentor and fabulous author Kelly Siskind provided some great feedback. Having someone who has gone through the process and has written some great books, is pretty great.

So here is a sneak peek into the amazingly tough, yet wonderful, yet painful, yet amazing process of writing. This is my exerpt of CURTAIN RISING, with Kelly’s feedback.

http://www.brenda-drake.com/2016/06/day-2-june-setting-workshop-pitch-wars-mentor/

For those who don’t know Kelly’s work, check her out!

Kelly is the author of CHASING CRAZY and MY PERFECT MISTAKE, the latter being the first of her Over the Top series, all published through Grand Central’s Forever Yours. A small-town girl at heart, she moved from the city to open a cheese shop with her husband in northern Ontario. When she’s not neck deep in cheese or out hiking, you can find her, notepad in hand, scribbling down one of the many plot bunnies bouncing around in her head. She laughs at her own jokes and has been known to eat her feelings—gummy Bears heal all. She’s also an incurable romantic, devouring romance novels into the wee hours of the morning. http://www.kellysiskind.com

 

books

Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago via http://bookshelfporn.com