Three Things That Happened On My Blogging Vacation

Hi everyone! It’s been a while and I do apologize. I’ve missed you.

My schedule has been crazy during the last few months. Not the fun, busy, exhilarating crazy, but the crazy that’s just crazy.

I don’t wish to relive any of that, so here are three other things that happened during my self-imposed absence.

I Wrote

C'mon brain. Time ta pay the rent.
C’mon brain. Time ta pay the rent.

This should go without saying, but in the days leading up to my departure from Heylookawriterfellow, I wasn’t writing all that much or all that well. In fact, I would describe most of my output during that time as “Meh-sterpieces.”

See? Even my puns were terrible.

Once I closed the blog down, I devoted more time to my writing. Much of it was still kind of “meh,” but I was producing more “meh” than before, which is a big step in the right direction.

My writing did peek above that “meh” baseline, however, when I began to rework Harold’s Hat, a story I originally wrote for a Susanna Leonard Hill contest. Thanks to my online pals Cathy Mealey and Lauri Meyers, who both thoughtfully critiqued my rewrites, I now have a new, submit-able something. So woo!

I Began an Agent Search

This has become a front burner issue for me. Despite the success of Sarah Gives Thanks, I’ve hit a bit of a wall in getting someone interested what would be my sophomore effort. Considering that so many children’s book publishing houses are closed off to the unagented, it seems like the only logical way to go. So I’m looking.

And if you’re an agent… Well, by golly, stop by and say howdy, why don’cha! I’ve made scones!

I Discovered That I Am Allergic to Bunnies

Living proof that life isn't fair.
An adorable Belgian hare — and living proof that life isn’t fair.

This has nothing to do with my career, I know, but it made quite an impression on me.

As some of you know, Lucy the Rat passed away shortly after I returned from my trip to DisneyWorld. Though I am not exactly in the market for a new fuzzy companion, I do sometimes visit my local (independently owned) pet store and ask to cuddle the merchandise.

On one such trip, I fell in love with a ginormous Belgian hare. As I held him in my arms and gave him little skritches behind his ears, I began to identify myself as A Bunny Person. Five minutes after saying goodbye to the fine fellow, however, my eyes watered, my nose stuffed up, and my throat tightened.

I was soon in a state of ranting denial.

“I can’t be allergic to bunnies!” I ranted to myself. “I am A Bunny Person! Maybe I breathed in a little pollen! Maybe a cat happened by! That must’ve been it! Some awful, bunny-hating cat must be responsible!”

But something in the back of my mind wasn’t buying it.

So on my next visit to the store, I made a beeline for the bunnies. I needed to make sure.

The Belgian hare was gone by that time (he was too wonderful to stay unsold for very long), so I cuddled a couple of other bunnies who were on hand. And the symptoms returned with a vengeance.

Remember that scene in The Empire Strikes Back when Luke Skywalker learns that Darth Vader is his dad? Remember when he tries to deny it but he just can’t because he knows it’s true? Remember how horror stricken and devastated he was? Remember how Luke would rather plummet a million stories rather than think about that terrible fact for another second?

Well, it was nothing like that. But it really did bum me out.

Anyway, long story short, I’m back to blogging.

So! What’s new with you?

71 Replies to “Three Things That Happened On My Blogging Vacation”

  1. Yay for the writing! I love Harold’s Hat! Good luck with the agent hunt! And I’m sorry you’re a Bunny Person who can’t have bunnies 😦 Maybe you could get a dog and tie some bunny ears on … So glad you’re back! 🙂

  2. Welcome back! We had bunny issues too! My dog found a rabbit head and brought that home as a gift (so sweet! really!!) and my son was more than eager to deal with disposal for a small fee ($20, including tax and service fees–have to appreciate his entrepreneurial skills), and our neighbor found a pet hare too! (Must have escaped from home because clearly not a wild rabbit. Took two secs. to catch him). So lots of bunny news. On the writing front, lots of rewrites. And fingers and toes crossed hoping for good news. Stay tuned. 🙂

    1. Did your dog “find” that head, or did he “separate” said head from a “formerly attached bunny body”? Cause if it is the latter, that’s not all that sweet.

      Come to think of it, I’d be horrified either way.

      1. She dug it up in the backyard. She’s a English Cocker Spaniel, with an overbite. Not quite the attack spaniel. It was beyond gross.

  3. If you’re not a member of Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 group, join in January and you will have the opportunity to submit to an agent monthly. I’ve gotten some great feedback! You couldn’t find two better critique partners.

  4. Welcome back! So sad to hear about Lucy, I guess I missed that post. Too bad about the bunnies, too.

    I’ve heard so many cautions about selecting an agent that I am quite interested in following your progress as you investigate this avenue. Sometimes writers can be the best advisers when venturing into new territory. I wish you much success in acquiring an agent that will thrust your writing talents into the stratosphere.

    Over the past two weeks, largely thanks to your encouraging words, I have gotten off the comfy couch of “thinking about writing” to actually doing it. I also have taken up some great tutorials on You Tube that (I hope) have made me a better writer. And, just a few minutes ago, I sent in my first submission to a writing contest. Now that I have a few more tools in my tool belt, I am working on a rewrite of something I wrote many moons ago and for the first time, I see myself becoming an active writer.

    1. You have no idea how happy I am to hear that you are writing, Mrs. P! Good luck to you.

      And if you ever get discouraged do read my post about my first 114 rejections (I am told it buoys even the lowest spirits).

  5. Sooo great to have you back to our blogging world, Mike! We missed you. Well, at least I did. You have a voice like no other (or is it, none other?) and know how to make even a rat interesting (something I think is no easy feat). And now, you’ve made a bunny interesting (even though you must now be bunny-free). Here’s to lots of masterpieces (and even some meh-sterpieces) because I have found many times that a mehsterpiece can turn into a masterpiece as fast as the twitch of a rabbit’s nose.

    1. I missed you, too, Pam, and look forward to getting back to reading your blog.

      But I must disagree with you regarding rats. They are very easy to make interesting as they are all wily, ornery, resourceful and exasperating. It would be more difficult to make one dull.

      On an entirely unrelated note, how’s that paperback of yours coming along?

      1. It’s actually almost done! Now, if I didn’t have to work and attend to family and write a blog, and blah blah blah, I’d be promoting the heck out of it right now. I’m figuring I’ll have it in plenty of time for you to order 20 for holiday gifts….

  6. Hi! Glad you’re back to blogging and that you’ve been able to get some writing done, even if you do only consider it to be ‘meh’. I’m sure your ‘meh’ is better than you think! 🙂

    Sorry to hear your allergies prevent you from being the bunny person you would like to be. I wonder if their fur or dander is so similar to the ‘dreaded’ (according to you) cat and that’s why you are so adversely affected? You might have to get another rodent, since Lucy did not bother you like cats & bunnies.

    Good luck finding an agent! 🙂

    1. Rodents and I get along very well, allergy-wise. In my life I have had gerbils, rats, a guinea pig and was a foster parent to my cousin’s crabby-ass hamster.

      And, of course, goats and I are fine, too, thank goodness. Someday I shall own a trio of Nigerian dwarves.

  7. Aw…so sorry to “hare” about the bunny allergies. Guinea pig?

    I will suggest Twitter as an avenue into some of the agents that you may be considering. Although it feels weirdly like techno-lurking, there’s a plethora of good information out there for those adept at reading between the lines, 140 characters at a time. Best of luck!

    1. My dear guinea pig, Piggy, was the perfect pet companion. After she passed, I decided to never get another — for I knew the latter pig would be unfairly compared to my widdle furry sweetie.

      And thanks again for your H.H. wisdom, my friend.

  8. Thumbs up on getting so much done during your hiatus. Finding agents is tough these days. Next week I’m off to a SCBWI conf and hope my manuscript consult will be greeted with shouts of “Gracious, where have you been hiding all this talent!” Then again a smiley face on the notes would be appreciated as well.
    I hear you about lovable guinea pigs–we aren’t up to replacing ours either.

  9. I missed the news about Lucy! So sorry. So now you feel about bunnies, the way we feel about cats. And I am reminded that my son never drew a hat for you. Oh, how the balls get dropped in every direction. Sorry about that. Good luck with the agent search. I’d recommend Julie’s blog, too.

    Glad to have you back in the blogosphere!

  10. Mehsterpiece is an awesome word and so is haresterpiece. There has to be a story there! It is really exciting to do a challenge and grow a picture book from it, bravo!

  11. Good luck with the agent search.
    Congrats on writing.
    Boo on bunny allergies!
    New with me … like everyone else … staying busy. I have been writing a lot during my blogging break. It’s been nice.

      1. I’d try sending allergy medicine along with a letter explaining you are awesome, and that allergies are only seasonal. (Maybe not all, but it would be a good way to sell it)

  12. HOOOORRRRAAAAYYYY!!! Welcome back Mike my friend! I missed you:-) Love ‘meh-sterpeices’ – made me LOL…and I’ve certainly written a few in my time…oh the power in changing just two small letters… Blessings on the agent hunt, and I’m so happy for you that life is manageable and flowing well enough again, meaning we are treated to the pleasure of your company! Have a great week:-) Love, Harula xxxxx

  13. I’m so sorry about Lucy. I’m just glad I was able to party with her while you were in Disney. She was one crazy rat.
    If you’re allergic to rabbits, that probably means guinea pigs are out, too. Which basically leaves you with hairless cats. Or a hermit crab. Or when you’re ready, maybe a new rat.
    Write on!

    1. Lucy did know how to party, that’s for sure.

      But I am very much a guinea pig person. Once upon a time my Piggy and I had a very strong bond (and there was nary a sniffle between us). I am also not allergic to other rodents, dogs, or (thank goodness) goats.

      I’m not allergic to hermit crabs, either, but, well, yecch!

  14. انا لله وانا اليه راجعون That was for Lucy, may she gnaw happily in her heavenly abode. So happy to see you back. I can send you a 100% certified Canadian raccoon. He will be polite and talk about the weather. He will also take less space than the moose.

  15. Welcome back! Sadly, I had to go on hiatus while you were away. This summer has been… interesting. Brutal. But I’m very relieved my cat’s kidney failure was caught before it was fatal >_<.

    I'm sorry you're allergic to bunnies. I am allergic to random bunnies (haven't narrowed down a type yet, I just react… randomly. Or not at all), so I understand your frustration. Bunnies are very cuddly.

    Good job on actually writing! Sometimes that's the hardest thing to actually accomplish in a day.

    And on the agent search, if you're looking for databases to scour, I recommend QueryTracker and AgentQuery. Those are the two most extensive listings for agents that I have found so far.

  16. I didn’t know about Lucy. I’m so sorry. Even my cats are sorry. And they’re not sorry about anything usually. I think your newly discovered allergy to bunnies means that you have no choice but to get a goat.

    1. Thank you, Madame, and do thank your cats on my behalf. Despite my allergies and my aversion to their predatory instincts, your cats are clearly good people. I do hope to meet them one day (from a relatively safe distance).

      A goat is definitely on my Christmas list, but first I will need to get a house with a yard big enough to keep one (or three).

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