PD Martin's Blog

July 10, 2012

Rediscovering an old love

Filed under: Murderati blogs — Tags: , — PD Martin @ 4:31 am

photoFor my Wildcard Tuesday at Murderati, I wanted to look at rediscovering old loves—not lovers (!), that’s an entirely different sort of blog :)

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the past week, as I prepared to go skiing for the first time in over 12 years. Maybe longer, actually. I thought it had been 10-12 years but if I do the maths it’s probably more like 14 years. That’s a long time. Particularly given I used to LOVE skiing.

So, what stopped me from pursuing my love? I’m afraid it’s plain and simple – money. In fact, if I had money, I’d definitely ski every season, probably several times a season. I’m not sure what skiing is like in other parts of the world, but here in Australia it’s an extremely expensive pursuit. A day lift pass at Mt Buller is $108, then there’s ski rental, clothing, accommodation, etc. etc. Not really in the budget of most authors.

This trip was actually spurred on by my daughter and my dad. Grace has wanted to ski for a couple of years (since she was 3), and Dad was going up (also for the first time in 10+ years) with his new wife and step daughter. They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse; they’d pay for all of Grace’s expenses, including ski school. And so, we planned our two-night, three-day trip.

It was Grace’s second time ever seeing snow and her first time skiing. I hoped she would love it, but we took it easy, booking her in for the afternoon session on the first day. I warned her that falling was part of skiing and not to worry about it! But she’s not very fond of falling, so I was worried it would completely put her off.

It felt a little weird leaving her in the ski school. While Grace does go to school now, she’s never been to day care or a holiday program – the benefits of working from home. However, once she was settled I hit the slopes. I had two hours of skiing time to myself.  After only two green (easy) runs, I felt ready and confident enough to hit the blue (intermediate) slopes. I should say, I was never an advanced skier, mostly because I would only get up for a couple of days a season. That money thing again. So I was always a blue run girl, rather than a black (advanced) skier.

Anyway, it was definitely a case of rediscovering an old love.  We were blessed with the weather … blue skies and sunshine. I only had two hours that first day, but I made the most of it up on the top of the mountain before heading back to pick up Grace. Then Grace went on her first ever chairlift with me, and I took her down a long (easy) run. I was glad that the skiing process had come back to me enough that I felt confident taking her down with me. And she LOVED it. It also gave her the incentive to learn to ski, because she wants to go down the mountain fast like Mummy.

GraceSkiingThe next day she was keen for an all-day lesson (9-3.30). I dropped in on her a few times and got some great video of her learning to snow plough. In the afternoon it was up the chairlift with her again for a hot chocolate with my dad, then up a little higher on the mountain. This was when this pic was taken.

So, I’ve rediscovered an old love. I’m not sure when I’ll be up again (comes back to the lottery/best seller solution) but I hope it won’t take me another 14 years.

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July 6, 2012

Back on the rollercoaster

Filed under: Getting published,Murderati blogs,Writing — Tags: , , , — PD Martin @ 4:20 am

RollerCoasterAnd so, the rollercoaster begins…again. This week I finally finished my mainstream drama/fiction project. Hooray! It’s been a long time in the making, mostly because I had to come off it several times last year to take paid freelance jobs (ghost writing, corporate stuff, etc.) and this year I’ve been focusing on my ebook strategy. However, I launched myself into the re-write in mid-May and now it’s done. It’s a wonderful feeling to be finished the novel and to be happy with it (for the most part).

The bad news is, I’m on the rollercoaster again. Sigh. I really don’t know if I’m mentally prepared for the lows as well as the highs. Sigh. You see, while I’m committed to the ebook path for some of my books (some genres), I feel that I’d like to give traditional publishing a go with my mainstream drama. Which means finding an agent. <Insert a million sighs>

Yup, THAT rollercoaster. Picking a shortlist of agents based on their recent sales and the authors they represent, then querying one to three at a time. And that’s a whole other thing—so many agents don’t like or insist on not being part of multiple submissions. But if you do one agent at a time, it could take you a year or more to get through your top 10! Of course, any author hopes that their first or maybe second pick will leap at the opportunity to represent them. But it’s getting harder and harder, even for authors with a publishing record (like me) to get an agent to take the plunge. I’m in a time warp, back in 1998-2004, when I was an aspiring author, looking for an agent or publisher. Looking for my first break. And in some ways, it feels like I’m back at square one.  Sigh.

This week I start querying, and I’m both excited and petrified. I know I need to tighten the query letter and synopsis, so that’s my next focus. Although the timing truly sucks. This week and next week is school holidays in Victoria, Australia so I’m a full-time mum for the next two weeks. Not that I can complain—I’m also going skiing. In fact, when this post goes live I’ll be at Mt Buller, skiing for the first time in 10 years. And it will be my daughter’s first time ever. Exciting!!! Can’t wait. Although it does also mean I might not be able to respond to comments until the weekend (or perhaps I’ll be very brief from my Smartphone). Anyway…

Being an author truly is a rollercoaster—or more accurately several rollercoasters, sometimes happening simultaneously.

First, there’s the creative process itself, the creative rollercoaster. One minute you think that sentence, paragraph, chapter or book is brilliant; the next, you think it’s crap. And those highs and lows just seem to be part of the creative process. I’m still really on this rollercoaster for Cross Roads and Dead Ends (working title). I said above that I’m happy with it (for the most part), but like many authors I question whether you can ever be truly 100% happy with a book. I could edit and tweak for eternity, I think.

Then there’s the agent rollercoaster. The rollercoaster I’m currently on. Once you get an agent, there’s the publisher rollercoaster. Will your agent’s first round of publishers be interested? Will they all be so interested that it goes to auction (best-case scenario) or will they all pass (obviously worst-case scenario)?

Then there’s the rollercoaster once your book is published, the marketplace rollercoaster. Will the reviewers like it? Will the readers like it? And even if both reviewers and readers rave about it, will it actually make a dent in terms of sales? The making-a-living-as-an-author rollercoaster. See? Lots of rollercoasters!

Ultimately, my aim as an author is to take my readers on a rollercoaster, but with very different highs and lows. In the case of Cross Roads and Dead Ends, I want my readers to experience the characters’ pain, their loss, and feel that sense of resonance. I want to take my readers to soaring heights, but also sometimes the depth of despair. But that means I have to go on all the other rollercoasters first.  So here I go. Ready for the adrenaline high and the possible motion sickness.

Deep breath…

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