Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Finding My Own Way

For my last birthday (no, I won't tell you which one) my mother got me a TomTom GPS. I sent it back.

I like to find my own way.

I suppose it's in my blood. My father's always been one for the indirect journey. Though able to admit when he's made a wrong turn, thus eschewing the male stereotype, he is yet completely incapable of turning around. As kids, we knew we were in real trouble when he got the map out. Still, he would always insist the route we were on would work itself out in the end. 

Maddeningly, it almost always did. 

Not the road I was on. Darn it.
I was driving to an appointment last week when a traffic report warned of an accident on my route. Immediately I zoned out, mentally coasting along the highways and back roads that would get me around the jam. I knew the area well, having spent many teenage hours weaving through the towns of Morris and Summit counties. OK, my parents weaved because back then, the State of New Jersey wouldn't let me drive until I turned 17. 

It was a lovely day for driving, the sun had remembered to shine, the air was comfortable, and I was on familiar roads dotted by landmarks that sparked warm memories. That was G's old house. Here's where I made M turn thinking I was funny and flirty when really I was an annoying 14-year-old twit. There's the Charlie Brown restaurant where my mother, sister and I watched what seemed to be a never-ending playoff game when the Mets took the pennant in '86. I love those roads. I love gunning it through the curves, coasting down the hills, knowing when and how to get around the inevitable slow, elderly driver. It helps that I remember where the cops like to hide.

Somewhere after crossing Noe Ave but before Long Hill Drive, it occurred to me that this drive was like the long and winding road of a writer's journey. Certainly my own journey as a writer has been far from straight. A hodgepodge of fits and starts followed by intense outpourings of – well, let's face it, utter claptrap. My current WIP is the descendant of a story I wrote my sophomore year of college. I still have steno books filled with the beginnings of another novel that I wrote while working for Sears credit central when I thought I'd fallen into a black hole from which I would never emerge (To quote Bull Durham, working for Sears sucks.) I had drive, I had intention and ambition, but I desperately lacked directions.

And then, I got out the map.

In 2008, I joined RWA and my local chapter, NJRW, and suddenly this wild and crazy desire, this pie in the sky dream, finally began to gel together into something real. This past weekend, as I listened to a panel of experienced editors and agents detail what writers do wrong, I thought of all the things I've done wrong on this journey and the handful of things I've managed to work out right. Joining RWA and NJRW, finding my extraordinary critique partners and a cadre of chapter mates who constantly encourage me, attending workshops and conferences, learning from great writers who've already gone down my rocky road. 

Sure, life and responsibility continue to intervene, throwing detours and speed bumps in my way without even a sympathetic spat of a foreshadowing traffic report. The trick is to journey on, improving craft, making contacts, finding my own special way as I keep working to be better at what I am – a writer.

In the end, the route always works itself out.

Maps? GPS? Tell me how you like to find your way. Two random commenters will get a book from the Mighty Basket of Win.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Mighty Basket of Win

Here it is in all it's glory: The Mighty Basket of Win filled with Harlequin books.

And a close up:

Lots of reading delight to share! So check the next post and see if you're a winner.

And since my bookshelves runneth over, there will be more winners chosen in upcoming weeks. Stay tuned!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Day of Win!

There's snow in them Jersey hills! Yep, more snow is hitting the east coast today and what better day to announce winners of not one but TWO Two Left Shoes commenting contests. Today is also my Unbirthday, the day when, as a kid, I would had a birthday party since, as an August baby, no one was ever around on the actual day to party (sniff. sad.). And it's April Fool's Day. AND it's Friday. Good grief! Good things are all over this day. Let's add to 'em!

Without further ado - The Winners:

The winner from Romantic Suspense Royalty: Roxanne St. Claire who gets his/her very own copy of Edge of Sight is - drumroll please -

Commenter #9 Rachel!

Congratulations Rachel. I hope you spend many exciting hours with the Angelinos!

Everyone had such great comments on Combating Doubt. Thank you for sharing your personal methods of beating the soul killer. I was so inspired, I decided to choose three winners to benefit from my basket of win.

They are:
Commenter #7 Abigail
Commenter #9 Ashley
Commenter #10 Sophie

Congratulations to all the winners!

Please send me your shipping information to kierstenkrumatgmaildotcom tout suite so I might get these prizes in your hot little hands quickly.

Thank you for all your fantastic comments. I so enjoyed reading and responding to them all and hope that you'll revisit Two Left Shoes and share your thoughts again that we might keep these great conversations going.

Disclaimer: Winners are randomly chosen by tried and true scientific method, by which I mean I put numbers in a bowl and had my day-job boss choose. It's her fault if you don't win.