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What Dave Says, What Tracey Says, And What We Really Mean

  • June 22, 2011

The other day I made an appointment with a facial plastic surgeon. I’d already visited him once for Botox, but I decided it was time to try a little Juvederm* because my friend Amy has a theory that women age one of two ways: you’re either a wrinkler or a sinker. Wrinklers have crow’s feet and horizontal lines across their foreheads. Maybe some laugh lines and other various creases. Sinkers, on the other hand, aren’t very wrinkly but they lose volume in their faces which causes grooves, furrows, and other undesirable divets.

I’m a sinker. I’m not very wrinkly, but I have a few areas where there is a noticeable loss of volume occurring, specifically above my upper lip.

I called the facial plastic surgeon’s office and the woman I spoke to made me want to jump in my car and drive there immediately. She had tried Juvederm and she loved it.

I knew Dave would probably not understand my desire to have gel injected into the area above my upper lip (the same way he didn’t understand my need to have diluted botulism shot into the furrows between my eyebrows). This is akin to the confusion I experience when a man tries to tell me how much better/clearer/superior a television program is when viewed in HD (sometimes, just to mess with my dad, I say, “You’re right, that one IS clearer!” except I point to the non-HD channel).

So this is what I said to Dave: I want to try Juvederm but I’m going to wait until my contract job ends because if something goes terribly wrong I’ll be super embarrassed if I have to show up at work with a giant trout-pout. What do you think?

This is what Dave said: If it’s really important to you then go ahead and do it.

This is what Dave really meant: Egads! How much is it going to cost to keep my wife from morphing into some kind of freaky, troll-like creature? Jesus, by the time she’s fifty her face will be a giant clusterfuck of poison and drywall spackle.

Me: So you’re cool with this?

Dave: Sure.

Not long after this discussion, the T.V. in our family room stopped working. It’s six years old and apparently the lamp inside burned out. Dave started lobbying for a new T.V. right away. “It’s been six years, Tracey. Those lamps don’t last forever.” I agreed that they probably don’t and then suggested something really crazy: “Why don’t you take it in and have it repaired,” I said. Dave said fine, he’d take it in. Unfortunately, not only were the lamps burned out, the color wheel was too. Repair estimate: $400. Dave mentioned that he could get a brand new T.V., comparable or even better to what we had, for $489. We could still repair the old one, but other things might go wrong soon and then we’d have to put more money into it. Since I was really only half paying attention by this time, I said, “Fine. Whatever. Just don’t make me come with you to buy it because that shit bores me silly.”

A few days later, Dave went on a recon mission to Best Buy and American to compare prices. He cornered me when he came home.

This is what he said: So they have these smart T.V.’s now and you can get streaming netflix, and check your Facebook on the T.V., and pull up websites, and all kinds of things! Wouldn’t you love to check your Facebook on the T.V.? You said the other day you wouldn’t mind signing up for netflix. And they’re only $1200!

This is what I said: Wow, the smart T.V. can do all that? That is amazing. And you’re telling me we can have netflix, like streaming right on the T.V.? Technology sure has come a long way!

What I really meant: I will never check my Facebook on the T.V. because my laptop is right over there. And Jesus Jones, I couldn’t care less if we owned any T.V.’s at all**. I rarely watch network television, especially in the summer, and if we didn’t own a T.V. I’d never have to be subjected to the crap you like to watch (namely Hitler documentaries on the History Channel, old James Bond movies on obscure cable channels, and the constant, insipid dipshittery of Tosh.O and Jackass). And this will be one more electronic item that I don’t know how to work. It’s bad enough that Matthew had to label the components in the basement because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to turn on the Wii or play a CD.

Dave: So you’re cool with the smart T.V., right?

Me: Sure.

So that’s how it works in our household. Everyone gets what they want, harmony is maintained, and we operate on a strict tit-for-tat basis.

I’m just afraid of what Dave will ask for if I ever get those new boobs I’ve always wanted.

*Did I like Juvederm? Eh, it’s okay. I was very conservative with it so you can’t tell I got it which probably means I’m the biggest dumbshit to ever walk the planet.

**Except I’d want to watch Shark Week because that show totally rocks even though they need some new clips because I’ve seen that one chick get her leg bitten off by that Great White Shark like hundreds of times. It’s still awesome, I still think that *maybe* her friends will pull her into the boat in time, and she deserves a medal for bravery because she’s completely zen about the whole thing.

Fiction Friday!

  • June 17, 2011

Happy Friday everyone!

I hope you’re all enjoying the summer so far. Here in Iowa, we’re still waiting for it to arrive, but I’m confident it will make its appearance one of these days. Our 40-degree shifts in temperature, and the incessant rain is making everyone a bit cranky but the roller coaster weather doesn’t bother me too much because I am unemployed (by choice) and I’m loving being at home with the offspring for the summer (never mind that I promptly shipped my talkative eight-year-old daughter off to acting camp for the week). I do plan to return to my contract recruiting position in the fall, but in the meantime I’ve got 8 weeks left to catch up on sleep and work on my tan (and I’m grateful that I’m able to do that).

I have been (slowly) querying my manuscript. I have sent approximately 14 queries, which is a pretty low number, and have not received any nibbles. Basically, no agents have requested the manuscript yet so either my query letter isn’t working, or my premise is not something agents are interested in. I have a feeling it’s the latter. I did have one agent give me feedback on my first chapter/synopsis (this was via a contest win) and while it was very helpful, and she told me she didn’t necessarily feel this way, she said that editors would probably have a knee-jerk reaction to the premise (she didn’t say they would drop my query letter and run screaming from the room, but I can read between the lines).

I won’t lie; this makes me sad, especially because those who have read it (I think I’m up to 17 readers at this point) have been overwhelmingly positive with their feedback, and have told me how much they loved the story and that they were still thinking about the characters days later). However, my premise IS unique in that it doesn’t fall neatly into one genre. Those of you who have read it know what I mean. It’s part women’s fiction, part romance, and part adventure. I sat down and wrote the book I wanted to write, and I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out, but I do need to acknowledge that I have not written something that is in line with what’s selling right now. And probably won’t ever be.

Lest you think I’ve written some porn-y, shocking book, the title is On the Island and it’s a desert island book. Think Castaway with two people. Or Lord of the Flies without the killing and savage behavior. I love desert island books, and I’m a big fan of Lost and Survivor (not to mention The Blue Lagoon), so that’s what I wrote. I put my main characters in a lot of survival situations in On the Island and they were exciting to research and write. It’s set in the Maldives which was a place I knew nothing about. Looking back on it now, this book was so research-heavy that I’m not sure I ever want to do that again. I also know how to build a fire without matches so if you ever want to go extreme-camping, I’m your girl.

One of the hardest things has been receiving form rejections on the same day I receive feedback from someone who has actually read the manuscript. I was reading a rejection letter and at the same time I received a text from someone that said, “I loved your book, I couldn’t put it down, and it made me laugh and cry.” I texted back and said, “Well that’s wonderful because I just received a rejection letter in my inbox.” I’m not taking the rejections personally (okay maybe a little). I know that agents reject because they don’t think they can sell the manuscript or they don’t love the premise. But I won’t lie: form rejections will take the wind out of your sails and your confidence will plummet.

I’m at the point where I’m leaning toward self-publishing via Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program. I could also publish to Smashwords and my book would be available to Nook users as well. For those that don’t have e-readers, they can download the Kindle and Nook applications to their desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone. My book will probably be priced at $2.99. I would rather go this route then let the manuscript languish on my hard drive forever. I have contracted with a free-lance editor, to make sure the book is as polished as it can be, and I’m also researching book covers because you do have to provide your own if you self-publish and it can’t look like something a demented six-year-old designed and then drew with crayons. I’m connecting with a lot of self-published authors right now, via Twitter and blogs, and their excitement is contagious. There are definite benefits to self-publishing such as complete control over content and distribution, and also the freedom to write what I want. The only deadlines I’ll have are the ones I self-impose.

I’m also really, really immersed in my second novel, Covet. I would love to have it polished and ready to publish by this time next year. Will I query it first? Probably. The premise is definitely more mainstream and this book is solidly in the women’s fiction genre so that may help. Or I may decide to self-publish that one too. I have no idea at this point, I just know that I’m falling in love with another story and the characters have taken up permanent residence in my head and that is why I write (incidentally, Covet is NOT the book I mentioned in my Shiny New Ideas post. It’s an idea that came to me shortly after and it knocked the other idea right out of the running). It explores a similar theme found in On the Island and that’s good for building a readership (which is totally putting the cart before the horse, I know, but I’m pretty sure I’ll continue writing books so I might as well work toward author branding while I’m at it).

One last thing, if you are one of my blog readers, and I know you via real life or Facebook, Twitter, etc., and you’d like to read the manuscript, I’d be happy to send it to you. I am hoping that those who have read it would be willing to post a link to the Amazon listing if/when I do self-publish (sort of like a virtual book launch) which probably won’t be until mid-August. If you are interested, please e-mail me at [email protected].

In the meantime, enjoy your summer!

I hope your weather is better than ours.

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