I promised myself that when I sent Book 5 to my editor I would take a day to clean out my office. Well, yesterday was the day.
This is what it normally looks like.
I'm pretty neat and relatively organized, but that's only because I file everything away. Thirty years as a secretary/administrative assistant creates some habits that are hard to break. As a result, I tend to save and categorize everything -- just in case I might need it. LOL!
I've been writing now for sixteen years, and when I first started I absorbed myself in research of the publishing industry and information on the craft. I spent countless hours on writer web sites and on the pages of well-known literary agents like Nathan Bransford and Chip McGregor. Gradually, as the years passed and the rejections started coming in, I moved from agent web sites to the authors like Joe Konrath, who was breaking new ground as a Kindle author, and Stefanie Bond, who had a wonderful site on the business of writing. There were three-inch binders full of their blog posts. Once I started a blog of my own, I also printed out a copy of each of my posts. I have four large binders of posts from 2007-2008, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2011-2012. In my four-drawer upright file cabinet, there were folders full of inspirational articles from the old book section of Essence, Ebony and O magazines along with expandable folders full of submission letters and rejection letters from publishers and agents. This is my "rejection collection", which I've decided to save as a reminder of the agony I went through before making the decision to self-publish. It might be hard to tell from this photo, but that's and expandable file with at least 500 sheets of paper - a lot of queries and a lot of rejections! I'm keeping this file as a reminder of all the hard work I did trying to convince Big Publishing that I was worthy. SMH...
On top of all that, I used to lead a writer's group at a local Barnes and Noble store for three years, and I kept every handout and article I shared with them. All of my research for the twelve books I've written takes up an entire drawer of the cabinet, but I'm keeping all of that. There are two files of reader e-mails and comments (I was afraid to call it fan mail back then) that I started when I published Have You Seen Her?, the first book. I will keep these forever, because it was confirmation that the editors and agents were WRONG! It blew me away to realize people actually liked what I'd written, and I was building a readership.
Needless to say, it was time to let most of this stuff go, so I bit the bullet and started tossing. Now I have room to save new memories...
In past years, hubby and I have usually assigned our income tax refunds to paying bills. This year I decided to use my half to go gadget shopping! You know, the stuff you don't have the cash for during the year. LOL! Here's what I got...
A laptop bike from Sharper Image. I'm trying to find something that works for me as far as getting some exercise goes. Since I'm on my laptop 8-10 hours a day, and I hate breaking up my work time to go anywhere, I figured this might help. It also has exercise bands made into the big so you can work your arms and chest.
This is an air fryer. I'd never heard of such a thing until my brother-in-law and sister-in-law paid us a visit last week. They have one and swear by it. It fries food crispy without any oil!
An MP3 converter to convert the hundreds of cassette tapes I have in my music collection into digital files. It didn't arrive yet, so I can't say how good it works. :)
A storage bench to go by the front door to hold all of our shoes. I hate wearing shoes in the house, so this provides a convenient place to to sit and take them off as soon as you come in.
I have never had a waffle iron, and we give too much of our money to the Waffle House! Now I can make my own on Saturday morning.
This is the last sneak peek into I Want You Back. The book went to my editor on Tuesday!
* * * * * * * * * * In the morning, Cherilyn got up, showered and
dressed. She was supposed to be away on her honeymoon, and the job wasn’t
expecting her for a week, so she could throw on anything to run to FedEx
Office, but no one would catch her out in sweats and a t-shirt. She put on a
casual linen Capri outfit, sandals and clasped the necklace Nick had given her
around her neck. Being her size, she was a stickler for always looking a neat
and fashionable as possible. Giving her appearance a final check in the mirror,
she rested a hand over the brilliant diamond pendant, which looked stunning
against the white fabric, smiled at her reflection and headed out to handle the
task at hand.
Before she even got to her
destination, her phone pinged with an angry text from Derrick. I know Nick came to see you. Send the ring
Her emotions churned as she
stared at the words on the screen. He had every right to be angry. She’d
handled this whole mess totally wrong. If she had only responded to Nick’s
messages all those months, she could’ve worked it out before she and Derrick
started making wedding plans. They had only been together for three months
before he’d proposed, and he’d been so insistent about getting married right
away. Nick’s rejection had bruised her heart so badly she’d accepted Derrick’s
proposal based more on how much Nick had hurt her than how much she loved
Derrick. If she’d ever really loved him at all. She respected and admired him,
but that wasn’t enough on which to base a marriage. Was it?
There was no need to try to
explain anything to him. She typed, Sending
2 yr office 2day by FedEx. I’m so sorry. C.
A little while later, her phone
rang. “Good morning. Are you okay?” Nick asked in a hoarse voice, sounding as though
he hadn’t slept much last night.
“Good morning. I’m okay. Derrick
just texted me that he wants his ring back, so I’m on my way to overnight it to
him. I need to talk to him about the wedding expenses, since we were counting
on cash gifts to help out with that.” She sighed. “What do you think I should
“I’m supposed to get off at six
tonight. Let’s wait until then to talk about it. I can meet you somewhere to
grab a bite to eat.”
“I don’t want to run into anyone
we know, Nick. Not yet. I’m not ready to face people and their questions.”
“We can go someplace out of the
way. I know lots of those.” He gave a cynical chuckle. “A burger and fries is
about all I can afford anyway.”
“I’m not. Meet me at the Vortex
in Little Five Points at six-thirty. I don’t think you’ll see anybody you know
there, and they have great burgers. If it looks like I’m going to be late, I’ll
call you by six.”
“Cher? I went to sleep last night
thinking what a lucky man I am. I won’t blow it this time.”
“You’d better not. God don’t like
ugly. Goodbye, Nick.”
The sound of his laughter on the
other end made her smile. “Goodbye.”
The stop at FedEx Office didn’t
take much time. She had to sign a special contract declaring a high-value
jewelry item. Before she left the house, she’d looked up the current value of a
three-carat platinum ring. Since she wasn’t sure how much Derrick had paid for
the ring, she declared the value to be fifteen thousand. Cher hesitated before
handing it to the attendant behind the counter then took a deep breath and left
the building with a sense of relief that the whole situation was over. Maybe
now she could get on with her life.
With no idea what she was going
to do with her day, she called Mika. “Hey, girl. What are you doing?”
“I’m working. What do you think?”
“Right,” Cher shook her head. “I’m
sorry. Can you talk for a minute?”
“Sure. How are you?”
“I don’t know.” She brought her
best friend up to speed on Nick’s visit and Derrick’s text. “I just sent the
ring back to him.”
“Ooh, that must’ve hurt. It was a spectacular ring. So, what are you
up to today?”
“Considering I was supposed to be
on Grand Cayman right now, anything I do will be a letdown.”
Mika snickered. “You really
wanted to go to Paris anyway, but you let Derrick talk you into the islands.”
“He loves tropical locations.”
Cher wondered why she was defending a decision that hadn’t thrilled her to
begin with. She had been to the islands so many times with Mika and her girls, so
it held no mystique for her.
“But Nick promised to take you
where you want to go.”
“Who knows if we’ll ever get
“You don’t believe him?”
“I believe he wants to, but Nick is so paranoid about
money. I’m not sure he’ll ever believe he has enough to take a trip to Paris.”
“Right now maybe he doesn’t, but
once he finishes his residency, he’ll be able to travel anywhere he wants.”
“Are you saying we should wait
until then to get married? That’s years
“No, that’s not what I’m saying.
This is probably the first time in his life that he feels underprivileged. I’m
sure his parents gave him money while he was in college. Now he’s employed, has
to pay rent, car insurance, utilities and student loans.”
“I suppose, but he needs a reality
“This is a reality check for him, Cher. Try to be understanding. It’s not
his fault he was born with money.”
“He asked me to meet him for
dinner tonight, and he thinks he can’t afford anything but burgers and fries. I
have no problem eating burgers, but he’s being ridiculous.”
“Looks like you have your work
cut out for you.”
“What are you talking about?”
“It appears that you’ll have to
teach him how to live on a budget. If he’s never had to count his pennies, then
you need to show him.”
“Hmm…” she pondered Mika’s words
for a moment. “I can do that. God knows I was budgeting for years before I got
this job. I guess I’ll be doing it again to help Derrick pay off the credit
cards for wedding expenses. Thanks, girl. I’m going to get some coffee before I
text him about the bills.”
I have nine days to get I Want You Back to my editor. Since my goal is to get the book to market before the end of the month, it was time to start working on promos. With this series I discovered that readers really paid attention to the promos that shared a short excerpt from the story along with a photo. It's relatively easy to do, doesn't take much time, and I actually have fun creating them. These are the promos I created using Powerpoint last week.Unfortunately, you can't click to enlarge here, but they open larger on social media and are easier to read.