MaureenMcGowan

GH Nominations

I got a call this morning that my manuscript, SWITCHING SIDES, made the finals in RWA® ‘s Golden Heart® competition.

YAY.

My big lesson for this past year is to always give things a shot. It’s relevant in this case because I almost pulled out of this contest. It’s a contest for unpublished authors and I got my first book contract offer right around the time of the deadline to enter this competition. To be frank, I was hoping I’d be disqualified and get my money back. :)

But after talking to RWA® and telling them about my contract offer, they said I was still eligible to enter as long as the contract wasn’t signed by November 1, 2009. (And in the end, it wasn’t signed until Jan 2010.) Therefore, if I chose not to enter, I’d be forfeiting my already paid entry fee.

So, I decided to roll the dice and pay the shipping costs to get that puppy down to Houston. AND IT PAID OFF!!!

This marks the last time I can enter the Golden Heat®, and I’m a finalist again! (Last time was in 2007) Yippee!!! And with a book that I really love and believe in AND that’s never been shopped!!!
(The last time I finalled in this contest, my book had already made the rounds in NYC, so while the contest final gave it a bit of a second chance, that ship had basically already sailed…. Although I am still hoping that particular ship can find some wind again in the future…)

And in even more exciting news, my critique partner and very good friend Molly O’Keefe is nominated for a RITA®!!!

A good day.

Musings on confidence and killer deadlines

Confidence is such a funny thing. For me, it waxes and wanes with speeds that defy nature and logic.

Today, this hour, this minute, I feel pretty great. Book one in this new series has been cleared by my editor. Yay. And while I’m terrifyingly behind on book 2 (don’t tell my editor. Oops, she sometimes reads this blog…) I feel pretty good about the story and where it’s going. Sure, it won’t be as super polished as I’d like it to be when she gets it in less than 2 weeks, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be a coherent (and damn good) story. And I’m also confident I’ll be able to do that polishing after I get her revision letter, a few days later. (Yes, this timeline is hyper accelerated. I honestly expect to get my revision letter a week, or less, after turning in the ms.) So, confidence high right now.

Just a few days ago — hell, this morning — I’d been so confused about how to solve a few technical details that I wondered if I’d have to scrap the entire book and start over.

I totally let my confidence in my abilities to solve these problems fade and it left me in a panic. Deep breaths. Deep breaths.

I ran into my sister in law this morning by accident, she asked if there was anything she could do to help (grocery runs, cutting off my internet access) and I told her confidence was my biggest barrier to meeting this deadline right now. LOVED her response. She said she believed in me and reminded me she’d been telling me that for nearly four years, ever since I let her read one of my manuscripts. She said if I lacked confidence she took it as a personal insult — me suggesting that she was wrong about my talent. LOL.

Thanks K. And thanks too, to CP’s Molly and Sinead for pulling me down off a yet another ledge this weekend. Not only did they talk me through my plot issues, Molly kept repeating, “It’s going to be okay. It’s going to work out.” In a sincere way that made me believe her.

Good friends and family rock!

Coffee Shop Offices

I’ve read a few articles lately about the “war” between people who use coffee shops as offices and those who think coffee shops should only be used for socializing/drinking coffee. According to the articles, some coffee shop owners have been covering up outlets with tape, to prevent (people like me) from plugging in laptops and staying for hours.

Clearly, since I often use coffee shops as my office, I can’t side with the “social only” folks, especially the ones who want to ban laptops, but I think there’s a balance.

I always try to spend enough money to compensate for how long I sit… It’s not fair to the owner or other customers if you buy a small coffee at 10:00 am and stay all day. I’ve considered asking the owner of my local shop whether me sitting here for 3-4 hours some days pisses him off… But he almost always gives me free coffee when he’s serving, so I assume not.

Second, I try to be considerate of the customers who are here to socialize and don’t expect them to modify their behavior for me. That said, I have been guilty of a sneer or two at really loud talkers. I mean, seriously, some people talk loudly enough to be heard on another planet. But I always carry ear buds, and if a conversation near me is distracting, I plug them into my laptop and turn some music on low to buffer/dull the loud talker.

But another person who uses my local coffee shop as an office is here today… And he’s pissing me off. Why? He’s been on the phone. Constantly. I’ve been here for nearly 3 hours and he was here when I came in. Was on the phone then. Is on the phone now. And buddy, shielding your industrial strength headset with your hand doesn’t keep me from hearing your very loud, very annoying voice beside me.

Maybe that’s where I stand. If someone’s distracting me being social, I assume it’s my problem, not theirs. But if someone else who’s using this public space as an office distracts me, I’m annoyed.

And don’t get me started on the groups of 20 or more mommies who come in together with strollers and expect everyone else to move to accommodate them. At least my current fav office away from home is too small for those stroller groups.