FROM THE DIARY OF DENNY O’HANLON
6:15PM – Rosemead. Fried chicken, 5 stars, made by Miss Cecelia. Eaten: wing and thigh, two biscuits, one helping of beans. Too stuffed for dessert.
The above is a hilarious chapter entry from my Young Adult Southern novel, The Relic Reader, which follows the five O’Hanlon children’s lives after they’re dropped off at a decaying North Carolina plantation. Hijinx, including having to ride in an old 80s limo and waking up to the sound of grandpa Pervis singing, ensue. I started the idea last year for National Novel Writing Month, and while I enjoyed working on it, my attention diverted to other areas: namely work.
Yesterday, I got some disappointing news. While I know all of us writing receive these rejections all the time, it did threaten to take the wind out of my sails. Uggghhh. Why work on a second book, when my first one hasn’t found a home yet?
One of the things I liked about myself is that shortly after receiving said news, I did decide to donate the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. I’ve been meaning to renew my sponsorship of Zurura for another year, but I decided in the face of disappointment, I could show my gratitude by giving some money to charity. It was like saying, SHUT UP AND BE GRATEFUL YOU HAVE FOOD (unlike some orphaned elephants and rhinos in Africa). Weird, I know. But I felt better after doing this.
Second, I talked to some writing friends who did cheer me up. Plans are potentially in motion to go to RT Booklover’s Convention in Chicago, April 2012. Maybe I can pitch multiple projects there, including the Fantasy Epic currently without a home.
I’m also making some Month Goals for myself. November is doing Nano obviously. Hello, 50K words.
December I was thinking of spending typing up a very old historical fiction piece I did during college, called To Galileo, From Prison. I say “typing up” because I wrote this in the bygone days of 1999-2001, back when we had diskettes. Remember those? I have the printed-out copies, but I do not have the files themselves (I will try to key up very old laptop to see if it’s there, once I get home). I tried to pass this off as “serious historical,” but I’ve since realized that I should embrace the girly-ness and call it historical romance. You’ll find an abusive financier husband. You’ll find a dashing Irish spy. You’ll find a not-so-heroic-but-hot highwayman. All within the span of the 17th century. So, you might imagine me at Christmas, sitting with some hot cocoa and dusty print-outs, typing up this thing.
January-March I’m thinking of devoting to the book I want to write with Mom: the serious historical fiction of The Ladies of Baltimore Street, about the women who lived in the town of Gettysburg during the famous historic battle. On the drive up to the cabin, I was arguing to include Jenny Wade. Mom was saying we needed to include Mrs. Shriver and her daughters. And of course we have to have Elizabeth Masser Thorn, the pregnant cemetery caretaker’s wife who walked alongside General Howard’s horse, pointing out the main roads radiating from Gettysburg. This will prepare us for a spring trip up to Gettysburg, where Mom and I can do more intense research.
Finally, as soon as the TV seasons end next year (in May?), I’m going to do another Read All You Can month. In August of 2010, I managed to read 13 sizable novels, which did put a dent in all my ‘to-read’ books cluttering my shelves.
So, while this news was a set back and more than disappointing, I’m trying to keep my chin up. I’ll disappear into the Rosemead Plantation of my YA Southern fiction novel and try not to take myself too seriously. That’s all we writers can do, right?