Heather C: First, I want to thank Ms. Mia Kerick for joining us here at TBG today and sharing with us a bit about some of the tortures of becoming a writer. Also, Mia has a newly released young adult novel that I totally recommend titled The Red Sheet. While the book deals with the heavy topic of bullying, the author still lets her humorous side shine through…you can see a little evidence of that here. Enjoy!
“Please eSign” spells RELIEF!!!
by Mia Kerick
Many people have asked me how it feels to receive an acceptance letter for one of my story submissions. And I should know as I have received, um, let’s see…(counting on fingers—never been good with numbers) nine (including a short story) acceptances from Dreamspinner Press/Harmony Ink Press in the past year and a half.
“Aren’t you so excited, Mia?”
“You must be on Cloud Nine!”
“I’ll bet you’re gonna celebrate!”
“How does it feel, Mia, to receive an acceptance for a story submission?”
Relief. It feels like relief.
Let me explain how I get to the point of experiencing relief rather than joy at a story acceptance…
To start, I write the book. This is the easy part…the fun part. Occasionally I strap a family member into a kitchen chair with bungee cords and make him (or her) listen to certain carefully selected chapters. Yeah, the “strap into a chair” part is necessary as we are a very busy family and no one has time to listen to “Mom’s love stories.”
I gauge his (or her) reactions. I have this part down to a science. I know that an eye roll equals, “that was cute”. When a family member is biting down hard on their bottom lip while I read, I realize that the content is, in some way, over the top. Simple head shaking means B-O-R-I-N-G. But wide eyes is what I’m going for. Wide eyes indicate that despite his desire to run and hide, he is finding what I am reading interesting.
I feel relief…that is, if I can induce a glassy, wide-eyed look.
Self-editing comes next. And let me tell you, I am very hard on myself. If my computer cooperates and I get this step finished without losing large sections of my manuscript…there it is again—RELIEF!!
Any author knows the relief I feel after the synopsis is completed. Indescribable.
Moving on to…
Questioning myself as an author, as a mother, and in general, questioning my reason for existing. This step always comes before I submit a story. And predictably, when I have decided that I am a worthwhile human being, after all, I experience palpable relief.
Submission. The “I’m gonna lose my lunch” feeling. The sweating. The praying. But once I press the send button, there is a measurable degree of relief…
I rethink my story from top to bottom. The voice comes into question… the prologue…the way I started chapter one…the way I ended chapter thirty-two.
Is it sufficiently compelling? Should it have been YA instead of adult?
This part is pure torture because I soon move on to, what will my publishers think if I rewrite and resubmit? Will they think I’m overly compulsive? Will they know for certain I am overly compulsive?
Nonetheless, I have written more than one apologetic letters to my publisher accompanied by rewritten novels. (They have accepted my rewritten work quite graciously.)
But believe me, once I re-submit, the relief I feel is lip-bitingly over the top.
Nothing can bother me now. I have no need for relief anymore. I am made of steel. My nerves—they are strong. They can handle the waiting… and the waiting… the compulsive checking of emails. (The knowing that AT THIS VERY MOMENT my work is being judged….)
Waiting for a response to my submission is a piece of cake, really.
I don’t check my emails 500 times per day. Really, I don’t.
Okay. Maybe I do…
Truth? Waiting for a response to a submission has led me into mild depressions.
And so, when I see this:
Thank you for your submission. We are interested in publishing…
That’s all. Not joy. Not elation.
Check out The Red Sheet. Yes, I endured the above torturous process to bring this story to publication. I will experience relief once again if it sells.
About The Red Sheet
One October morning, high school junior Bryan Dennison wakes up a different person—helpful, generous, and chivalrous—a person whose new admirable qualities he doesn’t recognize. Stranger still is the urge to tie a red sheet around his neck like a cape.
Bryan soon realizes this compulsion to wear a red cape is accompanied by more unusual behavior. He can’t hold back from retrieving kittens from tall trees, helping little old ladies cross busy streets, and defending innocence anywhere he finds it.
Shockingly, at school, he realizes he used to be a bully. He’s attracted to the former victim of his bullying, Scott Beckett, though he has no memory of Scott from before “the change.” Where he’d been lazy in academics, overly aggressive in sports, and socially insecure, he’s a new person. And although he can recall behaving egotistically, he cannot remember his motivations.
Everyone, from his mother to his teachers to his “superjock” former pals, is shocked by his dramatic transformation. However, Scott Beckett is not impressed by Bryan’s newfound virtue. And convincing Scott he’s genuinely changed and improved, hopefully gaining Scott’s trust and maybe even his love, becomes Bryan’s obsession.
With a foreword by C. Kennedy
Book Links: Dreamspinner Ι Goodreads
“Okay, everybody, discussion time is over. Please pass your papers forward—I’m very excited to read about your dreams and to check out what your partners found interesting enough to comment on.” I collected his paper and handed it, together with mine, to the girl in front of me. Meanwhile, Scott chewed on his bottom lip, looking a bit concerned, probably because the edit he had given me consisted of only one hastily scribbled word. And that one word was a word we weren’t even supposed to use at school.
“So what do you say about me and you going to the game, Scott?”
And for the first time since the change had happened, his expression softened. He leaned in toward me, and said softly, “I can’t go, Bryan. I can’t ever go anywhere with you.”
I spoke quietly back to him. “But I said I was sorry—for everything.”
“You keep saying that you can’t remember our friendship, and that all you know of our relationship is from what you dream. Oh, and that you can’t remember what you and your friends did to me that night. But Bryan, maybe you can’t remember, but I just can’t forget—not any of it—because it hurts way too fucking much.”
“I… I just can’t…. I can’t….” I had no idea what I was trying to say.
“What you just can’t do is tell me the truth. You just can’t look me in the eyes, admit to remembering it all, and say you acted like a complete dickhead.”
Miss Libby’s voice sliced through Scott’s accusation. “Class is dismissed. Don’t forget to pick up tonight’s journal topic from off the desk by the door.”
I followed him with my eyes as he got up, grabbed his backpack, and headed toward the door. And although his words had stung, I couldn’t help but feel like we’d somehow taken a step forward. Yeah, Scott had rejected me. And no, he didn’t believe a word I said. But he had spoken to me for the first time in plain words.
In honest words.
As I passed by Miss Libby’s desk, she held up the paper on which I had written about my dream, and pointed to Scott’s nasty single-word edit.
“How are things, Bryan? Are you making any progress in the area you mentioned to me?”
“It’s very slow going, Miss Libby.” I stopped right in front of her desk. “But I’m not gonna give up.”
And that’s when she smiled at me in the way I’d recently started yearning for—like she knew I was putting forth my very best in this effort to make amends. And I really was.
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.
My themes I always write about: Sweetness. Unconventional love, tortured/damaged heroes- only love can save them.
Author Links: Website, Facebook, Amazon Page
At the end of the tour there will be 5 names drawn from the Rafflecopter to win one of the 5 prizes. Mia Kerick is hosting a blog tour-wide giveaway via Rafflecopter. So, click on the link below and enter to win!
Don’t forget to check out Heather C’s review to see what she thought of The Red Sheet!