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Hello Fellow Residents of Cyberspace,

I thought I would kick off my new blog with an introduction to why I’m here. I recently completed my very first novel, a Christian YA Fantasy Adventure, and I am now treading the chaotic waters of the publishing world.

It has quickly come to my attention that the publishing industry is changing at an extraordinary rate in conjunction with the evolution of technological endeavours. Now please do not misunderstand me, I am all for expanding knowledge and innovation, but I personally believe certain things should remain sacred. In my opinion the printing of books should remain forever unblemished.

I may be shooting myself in the foot here considering my desire to break into the evolving publishing industry, but I hope you will allow me a moment or two on my soapbox. In a world in which we are inundated with technology from the moment our eyes flash open in the morning to the sound of our customized ringtone resounding the alarm from our smart phones, innovation is inescapable. We drink our coffee from our fully automated, programmable, single serving coffee appliances that produce lattes tasty enough to rival Starbucks.  We go for our morning run on our state-of-the-art electric treadmill hosting high-tech climate controlled consoles that give us the experience of running on trails around the world without ever leaving the comfort of our homes. We flood our ears with the hottest music at ever-increasing volumes through our next generation iPod. We watch Fox & Friends in high def on our 50 inch flat screens to catch up on world news. And that’s all before 9 am.

Well I have decided to draw the line in the sand with these new e-readers. I understand the benefits and for a generation that demands instant gratification I can see the draw. But for me a world without libraries is not a world  that I want to be apart of, though I fear that in time such institutions will be all but obsolete. For car enthusiasts there is nothing like that new car smell – the smell of oiled leather that a new interior exudes. Or the smooth feel of the shiny, freshly waxed metal under a gently sliding hand. For me, it’s the smell of a freshly printed page…nothing can compare with that new book smell. And the feel of the crisp pages between my fingers as I curl up in a comfy chair or soak in a hot bath with a glass of wine. Ah, that’s the ticket for me! Unfortunately, it seems that  I am rather archaic in my thinking. Like it or not, solely electronic books are the direction the publishing industry is headed for.

That being said, I have begun my quest to find a literary agent – a very tedious and at times disheartening task. I discovered very quickly that without referrals or a previously published work, agents are less than eager to take a look at my work. A single word keeps resurfacing and serves as the very reason for me initiating this blog – “Platform.” Without it I have little to no hope of being taken seriously in this competitive market. I mean what chance does the manuscript of an unknown writer from a small town in Florida really have of making it to the desk of an A-list agent in New York and from there to a top publisher?

Let me be clear, I do not blame the agents…I fully understand their position. With the help of email, their offices are flooded with innumerable unsolicited queries and it is just not realistic to assume that they have the staff to wade through all the slush. So I’m learning that establishing a platform  is just one of those necessary evils in life if publication is your dream. And in my case it is.

My mom, another aspiring children’s author, said to me the other day that she feels like Kathleen Kelly, owner of the independent book store in You’ve Got Mail, and I tend to agree with her. The little independent bookstore up against the mega chain store. We believe in our message and what we stand for but we’re being drowned out by the new flashy industry – where you’re nobody unless you know somebody. At the end of the day, I believe that I have something worthwhile to say and until I discover otherwise I will continue to work towards publication. This is my first step. It’s a small one but it may just be the one that gets the ball rolling. I do offer a warning however, candid prose is not really my forte. I use my characters and poetry to distance myself from the realities of my emotions. So please bear with me as I attempt to traverse these unfamiliar waters.

Next week I’ll offer a glimpse into how I became who I am today and why I  feel called to the written word.

Until Next Week,

May You Live Each Moment As If It’s Your Last,

Mandy

Weekly Reflections: (Disclaimer: The great depths of my sorrow can only be justly compared to the impressive heights of my joy. If you stay tuned in long enough you’ll begin to see the silver ray of hope in even the darkest of my reflections.)

What I Need To Say

I’d tell you this in person, or a least by telephone,

But every time I try a fearful quiver shakes my bones.

The simple task of writing proves my only steadfast way,

Of clearly, once for all, expressing what I need to say.

At once, upon conception, writing opens every door,

To all those secret things I wasn’t free to say before.

My scrawl and scribble grant the way to wade through life’s debris.

This trail of ink allows some rectitude and sets me free.

As long as things remain still buried down and left unsaid,

The truth remains in slumber deep and might as well be dead.

When pen and ink with paper dance to form the words I write,

It brings to light my only way of putting up a fight.

My flowing script and steady hand display my final stand,

And put my life’s decisions squarely back with my hands.

Composing written word allows me time and space to vent,

Protecting just enough to keep from ending up well spent.

When once I formulate my thoughts I can at last unwind.

I swiftly fill the page with countless words and clear my mind.

I hope it doesn’t scare you, inky letters formed by hand.

In point of fact, they line by line, ensure I will withstand.

I want to make it crystal clear and change the way you think,

Though pained it doesn’t mean I’ve reached the edge about to sink.

Recording thoughts to paper gets my worries off my chest,

So when the day is done, I know I’ll be my very best.

I deal with strong emotion, keeping crushing pain at bay,

So life’s about much more than just the motions day-to-day.

I know that sometimes friends observe the words I write are dark,

I promise deep within exists a never-ceasing spark.

These lines I write are real, illuminating all I feel.

Before my very eyes some hidden truths these words reveal.

As pen and paper meet, their gentle touch provides the key,

To all those things I know I never otherwise would see.

It serves as true as window’s glass to open wide my soul.

These rhythmic lines and soothing words do brim with secrets full.

Through gentle stokes and looping curls, by hand the letters form,

And one by one these letters calm the inner raging storm.

When once I dare to take this step and write my feelings down,

I know at last I’m free and not a moment longer bound.

Remember all I’ve said before and please don’t get upset.

Do see the hope behind the pain and never, ever fret.

I hope and pray you read my words and fully understand,

My heart’s revealed in writing, growing stronger through my hand.

Expressing thoughts in quiet contemplation serves my way,

Of making all the fear and pain and endless tears okay.

When life is hard and days are long, it’s here I meet my Lord.

It’s here my heart will change its tune and strike a peaceful chord.

As ink with paper blends, I leave the painful past behind.

With burden gone, my Jesus near, my heart with his does bind.

So please do not for even just a single second think,

When pain and grief are all you see when first you read my ink,

That trials prove too great and life has gone and won the fray.

I’ll rise again on solid ground to face another day.

Verse Of The Week:

A longing fulfilled is a tree of life – Proverbs 13:12

What I’m Reading:

Eldest – Book Two In the Inheritance Cycle – By Christopher Paolini

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