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No Oven? No Problem!

November 27, 2009

Wow, as I sit here the day after Thanksgiving, all I can think is WOW. Yesterday started innocently enough – got up, forced my husband to vote for me in the Dorchester fan favorite contest read over the other responses that trickled in…did some math… realized I was losing… and formulated a plan.

I went through my yahoo address book and emailed over 200 people I’ve spoken/written to in the last year and asked them to vote. My hope was over the holiday weekend maybe some of them would check their emails and out of boredom or feelings of good will toward their fellow man would feel like voting for me.

So far so good. I haven’t received any hate mail from them telling me to eff off so I think I didn’t go overboard by asking. I’m sure the other writers in the contest will be doing the same thing today, so perhaps my lead in first place is short lived, but I can enjoy it will it lasts.
In the end I’m grateful so many people are cheering me on. Maybe all the good karma will help.
One other bit of good news that came out of no where. A real live COO of the largest US e-book publisher saw my first seven chapters on authonomy.com and asked if it was still available or was I committed to Dorchester. This is exciting on so many levels – first that they liked my book enough to reach out to me for a possible acquisition. Second, that they also do print books in addition to selling 70,000 ebooks per month. Third, she only found out about the Dorchester contest by going to my website and seeing the news about the contest posted there – meaning her interest is real and she checked me out first!
Since I’m not committed to Dorchester and might very well lose in the contest even after all this hard work I told her that I was grateful of her interest and would gladly send my full MS to her. We’ll see how that goes, I’ll keep you posted.
My journey to find an agent hasn’t proved fruitful yet so I’m going to keep sending out queries. That plan to have an agent represent me BEFORE I submitted to the big houses backfired. I had hoped they could get my book read faster by an editor (and that was also the reason for the contests and such) than having it sit on the slush piles and wait for notice, but that seems like the route I may still have to go.
Once I get my full MS back from my final beta readers (a group who has only read the first few chapters) I’ll send the whole MS out to Dorchester, this new ebook contact as well as three other NY publishers that requested it months ago at the convention. Then I’ll finish the second book, help my writing buddy polish her MS with a great big cattle prod to her backside ;-), and try to put the whole waiting game out of my mind. Drives me insane, but it’s the nature of the beast when dealing with these big places apparently.
Obviously this is weighing down my mind immensely. I had named this blog entry about the oven so I could write about yesterday, but here I am filling space about the contest. I don’t want to put my hopes on this contest, but I have. Dorchester is an amazing company with a great reputation – but so are the other four parties interested. The others aren’t judging my work so openly with a week by week public elimination – good God, who the hell thought that was a good idea?
I know I’ll survive the failure. I just wish it wasn’t so public. All those people who turned out to support me, all those emails and phone calls to beg support, the blatant boderline rudeness to my guests insisting they vote before attending our dinner party – yikes. Yeah, I’ve been pretty shameless. It will be worth it if I win, but oh-so-humbling if I don’t.
On to the light-hearted fun of my week –
Have you ever attempted a Thanksgiving with no oven and no dish washer? Well, let me tell you, it can turn out okay if you plan it right.
Here we are, in the south Jersey pinelands. In an area a lot of retired people call home but not an area I’d care to retire to. My mother-in-law is recovering from a broken hip, she’s in a wheel chair and her one bedroom place is not equipped to handle a wheelchair with it’s narrow hallways and such. We got the ball rolling months ago to get her into a two bedroom home but decided to wait until this place sells first. I’ll stop there on that topic, the less said on that debacle the better.
When she first got home from the hospital on Sunday her sister went to heat something in the oven, but didn’t know my mother in law stored plastic stuff in there and things proceeded to melt all over the inside of the brand new oven. Mom finds a recipe for cooking a turkey breast in a crock pot, so we’re good. Crock pot isn’t big enough. Did no one think to check this before?
Pete’s sister runs out to Walmart and gets a huge 6 qt one and we’re good to go. With no oven and me planning the rest of the meal on the stovetop, I had to get creative. I bought a small package of corn bread muffins and southern biscuits to heat in the toaster oven, fresh green beans and carrots on the stove, frozen lima beans and corn also on the stove and made gravy on the stove from the crock pot drippings.
Next came heating all the pre-made mashed potatoes from Bob Evans (don’t laugh, they’re good) and the store-made stuffing in the microwave. With careful juggling of appliances, my sister in law setting the table and taking care of the bird and prepping veggies and things we did it. We got a passably good meal on the table while it was still hot.
To appease my dish-washing husband we ate off of Chinet plates. Nothing was overcooked, the bird was moist and we all stuffed ourselves. Store bought pumpkin pie, gluten-free cheesecake and apple crisp rounded out dessert. Could have been a lot worse and overall I’m happy to report the entire meal was more than edible, it was good.
Would I be happy to repeat the experience in an 85-degree-plus heated cramped space again? Have my make-up feel like it was running down my face and sweat beading on my nose while I eat? No, not really.
The company was good and we ate well, but I’m glad it’s over. Today is cooking leftovers and trying to stay out of one another’s way. With rain and bad weather all week the kids and dogs are going stir crazy. I’m really grateful Pete’s sister was able to come down and stay (her kids are our grown nephews in the Army), it will enable us to go home early tomorrow. Hur-ray!!
I’m stressed to the max on this contest. I don’t think I’ll enter something like this ever again. I know my writing is worthy – and so are the others I’m competing against – but all of this comes down to what a publisher is looking for at this particular time and I’m so afraid that V V isn’t it for Dorchester. What was I thinking entering a romance contest with no actual boy meets girl scenario? Shoot me now please and put me out of my misery.
Wait – let me have more cheesecake first. I might as well go fat and happy 😉
C.J.
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 27, 2009 10:43 pm

    Awwww crud! The contest ended Friday? I thought I had until Sunday to vote! Nooooooooo!!!!!!

  2. November 29, 2009 11:56 am

    No – you have time – it ends Monday the 30th!! Of course I got my begging started early ;-)How was your holiday?

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