Praying to the Gastro God


What the fuck is wrong with me? The birds aren’t even singing and the sun hasn’t peek over the horizon. But I’m up on this dark, early, chilly morning pulling off my night clothes and stepping in the shower. I washed from head to toe and lotion from toe to head. I put on make-up!! Yes make-up, I sure hope I don’t rub my eyes and end up looking like a raccoon.


I love new clothes. Well not as much as I did when I was a hundred pound lighter. I don’t shop in stores, only on-line at fat lady apparel shops. No time to order, try on and send back, so I ordered everything the same size. Extra, Extra, Extra big! The shirt to wore under the jacket was a little too big. The pants were snug around the hips but too long. Now that I lost two inches off my height pants never fit right. I’ll tried and get away with it. It was suppose to rain, I’m so glad it didn’t and the bottom of my pants weren’t destroyed. I will get them hemmed for the next affair. I should have worn my spandex. The blouse I had on was long enough to cover my unsightly ass and the twenty month pregnant belly.



I’m going to be out all day. I need something to eat. What can I eat that won’t mess up my stomach. I ate two pieces of Hawaiian Bread with butter. I popped it in the microwave for a few seconds. I washed my pills down with water. I took 4 mg of medrol (prednisone) I started on 8 mg the night before.

I said a prayer to the gastro God. Please don’t give me uncontrollable diarrhea. I never know what will bring on that debilitating stomach monster.

I started taking the Metamucil regularly for the past five nights in hopes of keeping the digestive system behaving on the day of the conference.


At 6 am my Access-A-Ride arrives on time. There’s a customer inside that’s dropped off first. The driver has another pick up. That pick up is canceled. I’m going to be early. There’s a Starbucks right next to the building the conference is in. My stomach is bubbling so I use the bathroom. I drink a small cup of decaf and eat a quarter of a bagel. For some reason I look at my watch and I see 9 am. I throw away what’s left of the coffee, put the rest of the bagel in my pocketbook, and go into the building.

Security gives me a pass and upstairs I go. It was 8 O’clock. I’m not calling myself stupid but what else could I call myself. I had to go back downstairs when the event planner arrived and register and get my gift bag.

When I get back upstairs I offer to help with the book store set up but they refuse my help.

One lady asks, “did you bring your manuscript?”

I said, “yes and I hope I get to leave it. Its heavy and I don’t want to carry it back home.”

“I’m sure they’ll love it.” the lady says.

I smile and to take a seat, second row, right in the middle in front of the screen.


The host was a charming guy. He made everyone feel comfortable. The guest speaker was a Penguin Book (TarcherPerigee) Author Tama Kieves. Great speaker, inspiring and she shared her success in become a published author. I purchased an autograph copy of her Inspired Unstoppable – Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work.

After Tamma a publishing panel shares the process of selecting authors. The process of reading a query, synopsis, and manuscript, what things excite them and what turns them off. They are very demanding but they remind us they are there to help us. They were informative and helpful.


My stomach was bubbling and I had to keep from farting. I was afraid that the fart would be loud or worst be more than a fart. Eventually I went to the rest room I took care of business. I took an Imodium D. When I got back to my seat my stomach was still doing flips. It must have been my nerves.

We went to lunch. I didn’t have anyone to go to lunch with but I’m a big girls and I went and had some steroid comforting food, an almond croissant and fruit. I wanted a salad but my stomach felt that fiber might be risky. After I ate I used the bathroom again and tried to rid myself of the debilitating stomach monster. I couldn’t shake that urge to fart.

There was another author Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D I couldn’t get two books so I’ll get his another day. He was also an inspiring speaker who shared his success of becoming a publishing author.

The next panel was about publishing, formatting, and marketing. They shared with us how to pitch our manuscript. We were asked to break up in groups and pitch to each other. I learned that I wasn’t the only one who wanted to tell my whole story. We helped each other and everyone got a chance to pitch in our group.

The host who is the vice president of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. wanted us to come back to order and no one was adhering to his yells. I asked him if he wanted me to whistle. He shrugged his shoulder. I whistle loud and clear and the room quiet down. He was impressed.
The VP had different people get up and say their pitch in 30 seconds. I didn’t try. We were then kicked out the room so they could set it up for the pitch meetings.




Did you skip everything to read down here? When we all arrived we were given a time and the name of the person we were going to pitch to. My time slot was six o’clock. I went to the bathroom yet again. I am so happy I didn’t have an accident. I just have an hour to hold on.

They had a cocktail hour with wine, cheese, fruit, nuts, and chocolate. A very nice set up. I mingled with my friend from the Meet-up Writing Club I go to. I’m not good on party politeness with strangers. I held my end of the conversations. I heard some interesting story pitches. My friend did his pitch. They weren’t interested and he was down. I tried to encourage him to keep working at it and it will one day work out. I invited him to join word press. I know you wonderful people will read his fun and interesting writing.

The VP came over to me and told me my whistle was terrific. So I will be known as the lady who whistled to bring order to the conference.


Six O’clock and I meet the woman who holds the fate of my baby, Hidden Temptation in her hand. Forget that synopsis that I tinkered with for weeks. I started telling her about Hidden Temptation like I tell all my friends. When I tell family and friends I see their eyes light up and I see them smile and I hear, that sounds good. I want to read it.
Could I expect the same from a professional? Someone who reads manuscripts for a living?

Was she smiling politely, this cute, red hair, light blue eyes, or were they green, my nerves. Those eyes were twinkling whatever color they were. The smile was real. She asked if there was sex in my manuscript. Yes graphic, I told her I was reluctant but then Shades of Grey came out and I added the graphic sex. She said they are still looking for books like Shades of Grey. I didn’t tell her I thought the writing in Shades of Grey sucks and mine is better. She asked if there was a lot of violence. I explained that the abuse the father did to the mother is back story. I forgot about the sisters beating Odette’s first boyfriend. I told her the only violent part was the part is . . . oh I don’t want to spoil it. She asked if there was going to be another book. Yes!!!

Moving on she asked if I had my manuscript with me!!!!! YES, YES, YES, YES!!!

I pulled Hidden Temptation out of my bag and presented to Penguin Group (Tracher) Romance Editor! I wish I could do back flips and somersaults!!!! I am floating.



Access-A-Ride didn’t show up until 7:30, 30 minutes late to take my exhausted ass home. I was in pain. I could hardly walk. My legs were like balloons, my back was screaming. My hands were swollen. Only thing in my favor, my stomach wasn’t twisting and turning any more. So it must have been nerves.


When I got in I took two oxycodones and a Larazapam and couldn’t sleep. I don’t know if it was the pain or excitement. After dreaming of being a part of a publishing house for many years and feeling it might finally come true is worth lupus punishing me for over doing it yesterday.
Now I just wait.


I Don’t Want to be Influenced

When I started writing Hidden Temptation I wouldn’t read any novels. I didn’t want to be influenced or accidentally plagiarize. I was and still am an avid reader. I thought I was doing the right thing. I still watched TV and movies. I couldn’t be influenced by them right. Yea I’m sure I could have been. At the time, I didn’t think so.


I wrote the first draft of a novel titled Ruination. I wrote that while I was working a nine to five job. I would come home from work lock myself in the attic and pound on my word processor until two or three o’clock in the morning. Then I would wake up at seven, I got the kids up for school, dropped them off then went to work, where I was able to steal a few naps. Shh!! I would come home and do it all over again. I was free to work on my novel non-stop. My ex, took care of the kids and house. I wasn’t neglecting my kids, well maybe a little.


Ruination was about a Post-apocalyptic world. The earth was destroyed by world war three and people were looting, hoarding food, and trying to get everything back in order. I never went back to edit. I have a copy maybe someday. However I believed I was influenced by Stephen King’s, The Stand. At the time, the movie had just aired on TV. I read the original book when it first came out and I read the extended version when that came out. I was a fan of Stephen King and I especially liked The Stand. The story was embedded in my head. Ruination was an original story but I’m not sure. I kind of filled in the parts that King overlooked. Maybe it was nothing like The Stand but I thought it was.


That was why I wouldn’t read anything when I started writing Hidden Temptation. Later I thought since I was writing a love story I’ll just avoid reading love stories. No problem there. I’m not really a love story kind of reader anymore. So why did I write a love story?  I read enough love stories in my lifetime and experienced a few love affairs of my own over the years. Write what you know!


I realize as I edited Hidden Temptation I was wrong. Reading books while writing may have helped me with my writing skills. I say that because I took a screenwriting class some years ago. The instructor gave us a movie assignment to watch. In the following class, we would evaluate the movie. In doing so we learned what worked and what didn’t. We were learning from watching, we learned what worked and what didn’t. The only influence I had was learning to avoid the mistakes and perfecting what was ingenious about the movies we watched.



To this day, I still watch the movie critically. When I read books I evaluate what I read. I still enjoy movies and books I read I just do so with a different eye.


As a result, I wrote two screenplays. One I sent to The Library of Congress to be copyright, I don’t have a copy. The second one was good but I got frustrated and tossed it in the garbage. I did that because the movie Click came out and it was about a remote control that transported Adam Sandler in time. My screenplay was about time travel but it had a different concept. The only thing that mimicked Click was the remote control, my screenplay used a beeper.  It was the 90’s we used beepers, car phones, as they were called back then, were for the rich.  I wanted my idea to be original. It was except for the remote/ beeper thing. Young and dumb.  However, I won’t share particulars because I might write the story again. I think the idea I had would be relevant today.


Do you avoid reading when you’re working on a writing project?

Do you think reading helps you become a better writer?