Famous Enough

I need a platform.And while Platform The Secret Agent Monkey seems to have taken over my blog, I doubt he alone is going to make me Famous Enough to get an agent or a book deal. But don't tell The Husband that. I'm still working on convincing him that I need a finger monkey or my dreams will never come true. Until that happens, I need to come up with some other Platform Building plans. Right now I am considering any and all of the following:

*Move to Jersey Shore. Make friends with Snooki. Steal a Bumpit. Make it work with my Mexifro. Say something to piss Snooki off (on camera, of course) and let her beat me up (on camera, of course). When she offers hush money to keep me from suing, I counter offer with a contract with her agent and give her back the Bumpit I stole from her dressing room. It didn't work for me, anyway. Then? Wait for book deal. *Divorce The Husband. Move to Hollywood. Shack up with a Rock Star. Divorce Rock Star after granting exclusive interviews to the paparazzi hiding in my garbage cans. Move back in with The Husband (who was totally in on the plan) and grant more exclusive interviews to the paparazzi I invited over for pizza. Wait for book deal. *Get pregnant with 15 babies at the same time. Force The Husband into a reality show he wants nothing to do with. Make sure to get all the free plastic surgery I can while my 15 minutes is still riding strong and a few more when no one will touch me except for my garbage paparazzi crew. But I draw the line at the reverse claw mullet. My Mexifro already has enough "character." Wait for book deal. *A murder rap. Wait for book deal. *Buttercup's cute enough, me thinks. Talk The Husband into moving to Questionable Parenting-ville so we can join up with the Toddlers and Tiara's circuit. I figure just a few appearances is enough to get my name out there before Buttercup is scarred for life. (side note: this plans is banking on a sizable advance, since I'm gonna need a chunk to spring for the preventative therapy to keep my kid from going all Celebrity Rehab on me when she gets older as payback.) Also? Wait for book deal. *Rob a bank. Get lipo and a boob life. And a tummy tuck. Oh, and cap my baby teeth.  Approach Sports Illustrated and get the cover. Parlay that experience into a television show host gig. Divorce The Husband so I can hook up with an ex-actor-turned-musician who is now only famous in Europe and in the States for being married to me. Wait for book deal. *Buy a time machine with the leftover funds from the bank heist. Become a cute child actor who grows up to be a messed up adult who also happens to be broke now because I spent my millions on too much crack and crystal meth. Clean myself up, find and marry The Husband, have my Buttercup, and hire a ghost writer to pen my story, because being famous once is usually Famous Enough for a memoir to actually happen, even if it's socially acceptable to not even be expected to write it yourself. And? I probably wouldn't have to wait very long for that book deal.

I'm still working out the kinks, of course. The Husband is being all You're crazy and Just Be Patient and You wrote a great book and it's cute, but seriously?

I'm just me. I'm not a name. After I end up on the cover of The National Enquirer?

Oh yeah. That's the ticket.

Platform? Here I come.

Platform-The Secret Agent Monkey

I've been trying to decide for a while now how I will celebrate the day my (currently non-existent) agent calls me with the incredibly fantastical awesome news that I have a book deal. It's much like the fantasy normal people have about how they will spend their fortunes the day they hit it big with the lottery, except the ticket is a publishing house contract with my name on it. I could buy an(other) expensive purse. As in, not in the clearance section at Target. (Not gonna happen.)

I could go celebrate in Vegas...if I brought my mom along with me so we can take turns leaving the hotel room sans pre-schooler. (Boring.)

Or I could just treat myself and my little family to a nice dinner out? (Typical.)

If this ever happens, I want to mark the event with something memorable. So last night I told The Husband I was going to buy a Finger Monkey when The Day arrives.

The conversation went something like this:

The Husband: "Are you insane?"

Me: "That wasn't the topic of the conversation. The Finger Monkey is."

The Husband: "You are insane. Why do you want a Finger Monkey?"

Me: Blink, blink. "Really? Just look at that little face!"

The Husband: (Sighing) How much do those things run?

Me: That's is also not up for discussion at this point. But if I get my dream agent and they get me my dream book deal, then I'm pretty sure the Finger Monkey won't really be an issue."

The Husband: "You're dreaming."

Me: "You're forgetful. We had this conversation when we got engaged. Getting my own monkey is all part of the Master Plan."

The Husband: "What Master Plan?"

Me: "The one where I first get you to say I can get a Finger Monkey after I get a book deal and then I turn it around and convince you that you told me I could get one now and name it Platform."

The Husband: "Platform?"

Me: "Exactly. That way when another agent writes to say the book sounds interesting but thinks I need to build a bigger platform, I kindly email back with a photo of Platform: The Secret Agent Monkey, wrapped around my pointer and explain that I already have a very cute and manageable platform already. Then I ask them where I sign."

Mamavation Monaday: My Un-Famous Reality

But I am relatable. (Shut up, spell check. It's a word, dammit.) I'm overworked. Stretched in more ways than I ever dreamed imaginable.

I? Come last on my to-do list because Motherhood comes first. And that, my friends, includes the dishes and the laundry and the dusting and the mopping and the schlepping around of the Mother of All Diaper Bags because I must at all costs be prepared for The Unknown. Even if we are just going to Walgreens for vitamins and OJ.

It means cooking dinner while packing The Husband's cooler for work while chasing the damned puppy out of the kitchen while saying "uhuh" and "okay, baby" in response to questions and stories you aren't really paying attention to while promising to make it up to her later with some one on one time. Her turf. Her rules. This means I go by Mama Prince and have to wake my sleeping Princess with True Love's First Kiss. Then we giggle and color and I love that she doesn't give a flying shit about staying in the lines.

It means I showered today at 4 p.m. and put a brand new pair of pajamas on (read: yoga pants and an old T-shirt) and never bothered with a bra because who really gives a damn when I knew I wasn't leaving the house?

Nick Jr. is king in my house. If she is awake and in the room, nothing with commercials, sex, violence, swearing (shut up, I save it for the blog) is allowed. Which means that The Husband and I can recite entire episodes of The Backyardigans and know when The Fresh Beat Band has come out with a new song before we know that that something exciting has happened in the Wonderful World of Adults.

What doesn't it mean for me?

Motherood (and my reality) doesn't include nannies or television interviews because of what I do or who I am married to. It doesn't mean record deals or millions of fans across the globe who give a shit about who I am or what Target brand I wore while teaching Buttercup to ride her new new wheeler on training wheels. There are no tabloid covers, no paparazzi hiding out in my garbage cans. No plastic surgeons, no drivers, no live in help of any kind.

Which brings me back to the (slowly shrinking) muffin top I'm still sporting because My Un-Famous Reality  doesn't always allow me the time to attend to, well, me. Not all the time, anyway.

I know. I know...Other Moms do it. I get that. But I'm still trying to figure it all out. My daughter will be four in June and I'm still trying to figure myself out, for crying out loud.

And?

That's my story. That's who I am.

Look in a mirror. If you see a variation of my reflection, you are my target audience. You are who I want to connect with.You are the reason I wrote my book.

I've been querying, trying to get an agent. Not long enough to start crying, but definitely long enough to have received feedback that's making me wonder why I didn't just lie about my reality and call it fiction, because apparently that's where it's at (and yes, I am over-simplifying here) if you aren't already famous. It's called a platform, and they are required for getting a non-fiction book on the book shelves.

That's the part that brings me back to the Me Not Being Famous Thing but still having written a book that seems to require me to be famous for you to ever see it. Agents are telling me they like the project but momoirs are tough to sell. That Moms just won't buy a book buy a Nobody from Nowhere when they can buy a book by Celebrity Mom from Hollywood.

I get it. Publishing is a business. It's about the bottom line. But I don't get how an experience as universal and unifying as motherhood is limited to the Rich and Famous. I want to relate when I read.

I want to see myself and my struggle in those pages.

What about you?

Resolutions and Other Things on my To Do List

I have two blog posts left in 2010 to cement my place in history. As what? I'm not sure. Which means I probably should just accept that this and the next post will probably be cute and mediocre, and the world will be a much happier place. Since it's appropriate to sit here and look back over the past year and cry into my cheerios about everything I didn't accomplish while making a list of big dreams to turn into my own realities Santa apparently doesn't read my blog, it only seems fitting to write up my List of Promises to Myself I Will Probably Break of Resolutions.

In the realm of health and fitness:

*Continue to dream about that Husband-sanctioned affair I plan to have with a plastic surgeon so I can score a Mom Job (read: boob lift, tummy tuck, and lipo) while focusing on the reality that I don't know any plastic surgeons to have an affair with.

*Eat right, work out more, and bitch less. Wait...no. If I do that, I have no blog. Ok...Eat right, work out more, and just bitch. Kind of like Nike...only funnier, right? There, that's better.

*Cancel my gym membership. *Screeching halt* What? Yeah, you read that right. While the rest of the free world joins Jenny, starts counting points, or waits for their dehydrated Nutrisystem scrambled eggs to show up in the mail while simultaneously doing 15 sets of squats on the way to their shiny new gym, Me and My cellulite will be walking into my old gym sometime soon to sign the break up papers. Before you get all What The Hell and What About The Search for a Smaller Ass, Pauline?, remember that I don't have time to waste wishing I had gone and then saying Screw it, Where's My Dairy Queen when I could instead be focusing on what I have readily available to me. (Read: My legs, my shoes, two dogs, a jogging walking stroller, and a kick-ass hilly subdivision. Also? Enough dust on the unused exercise DVDs to start my own bunny farm and a pretty new PS3 and Zumba game to get my Latin-Mama groove on. Bottom line? 2011 is the year of no excuses (ok...I'll make excuses. But I at the very least Resolve to make them amusing.)

In the the realm of Motherhood:

*Try to say "In a minute" less often.

*Forgive myself for when I say "In a minute" too often.

*Lather, rinse, and repeat.

In the realm of Wifedom:

*Try to say "In a Minute" less often.

*Forgive myself when I say "In a Minute" too often.

*Lather, rinse, and repeat.

*P.S. Add "sex" to my To-Do list more often. The Husband is happy when this happens. He gets attention, I get to cross something off of my To-Do list without ruining the moment by thinking about what I could be doing to cross something else off of my never ending list, and it's generally a win-win for everyone involved. (Also see "Try to say "In a minute less often.")

In the realm of writing:

*Because I decided last night that I already met my goal of finding an agent in 2010 (Because I did, dammit. I found 25 of them. *Holds hand up* Stop! My blog post. My semantics war.) I figure I can make 2011 the year an agent finds me. In the bottom of the slush pile. In a hopefully typo-free query.

*Make peace with my Chronic Typosis Disorder and just deal. There's a reason I went into REPORTING and not COPY EDITING. Namely, I didn't get the copy editing job. And? I typo like it's going out of style and I just can't let go. We have a neighbor like that. She never met a can of aqua net and a bang wave she didn't like. If she can look in the mirror and think that looks good, I can hit publish on a blog post or write muff top in a query and still think I am a good person, dammit!

*Keep trying. Keep querying. Keep writing. And? Buy more rejection panties. I'm  a big girl with big dreams and (shut up) I can only bitch if the rejections stop coming in. Because that means I've stopped trying. Which isn't going to happen because I just said it wouldn't so...moving on...

*Start that Super Secret Project with Juliette that doesn't involve zombies or crossbows.

*Buy less shoes so I can bank the unspent cash for a writing conference or two. Ok, fine. Less shoes and less purses. And clothes. Definitely less clothes.

In the realm of All Things Pauline:

*Keep dreaming. In the I can do EEET! kinda way and not that Keep dreaming, asshole kinda way. Because I think I can. Even if they say I can't.

Which reminds me:

*Figure out who THEY actually is. Because dude, it's driving me crazy. And...wait...that's an entirely new blog post...

A Very Query Christmas

I thought I just had to rewrite a song. Then I checked out TBFF Juliette's blog and find a full out blog post prefacing her little zombie-themed holiday ditty and find myself feeling all inadequate. Cuz I got nuthin'.

So instead of embarrassing myself while trying to be witty and typo-free at the same time (which is probably about as likely as real life BFF Mel successfully walking and chewing gum simultaneously) I'll just stick with the basics.

* TBFF Juliette was asked to host a 12 Days of Christmas blogathon.

* TBFF Juliette agreed.

* TBFF sent me an email indicating she now wouldn't be sleeping until next week and proceeded to tell me that because she was in, I was automatically required to participate.

* I considered telling her to bite me (which really? If you know me, you know this is only a phrase I save for my very best friends. Which actually makes it a compliment.)

* I then decided I want to stay on TBFF Juliette's good side seeing as she has The Walking Dead backing her up now. My posse consists of a 4 pound puppy, an 18 pound mutt, and a sarcastic 3 year old. Juliette wins.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me An idea for a brand new book.

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me Two new shiny chapters and an idea for a brand new book

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the fifth day of Christmas My true love gave to me Five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the sixth day of Christmas My true love gave to me six beta readers, five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the seventh day of Christmas My true love gave to me seven likes on Facebook, six beta readers, five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the eighth day of Christmas My true love gave to me eight new rejections, seven likes on Facebook, six beta readers, five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the ninth day of Christmas My true love gave to me nine query rewrites, eight new rejections, seven likes on Facebook, six beta readers, five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the tenth day of Christmas My true love gave to me ten tweets supporting, nine new rejections, eight query rewrites, seven likes on Facebook, six beta readers, five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the eleventh day of Christmas My true love gave to me eleven foursquare updates, ten tweets supporting, nine query rewrites, eight new rejections, seven likes on Facebook, six beta readers, five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the twelfth day of Christmas My true love gave to me twelve agent offers, eleven foursquare updates, ten tweets supporting, nine query rewrites, eight new rejections, seven likes on Facebook, six beta readers, five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

Merry Christmas, ya'll. Now go make Holiday Merriment on Juliette's blog. If you want in on the zombie survival crew, it's a good way to make nice while there's still time.

Mappy Birthmas (to me)

I was born on December 26, 1977. I should also point out that my mother went into labor with me after Christmas Eve dinner on December 24.

And?

I am surprised she is still talking to me.

Seriously. I was in labor for 12 hours and I promise you that I'll be throwing that in Buttercup's face when she gets all teenager-y and hormonal and demands to stay out past curfew because her friend's all have much cooler mothers than she does.

Anyway, I'll be blowing out the candles on my 33rd birthday cake sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free pumpkin mousse this year. Which goes to show how much has changed in the last year.

Other things to celebrate?

*My ass-tau has been reclassified as a J-Lo.

*I finished a book. As in, I wrote a fucking book. Which also means I didn't have time to read one.

*I've made peace with my ego. Bring on the rejections.

*I've been rejected. Many times. Which means I moved way beyond the realm of dreaming and ventured into that of actually doing.

*Years and, okay fine, decades of angst regarding me and my kinky curlies Mama gave me are done and over with. Can you say MEXI-FRO?

*I met The Bloggess,sat next to Kendra on a plane,  hung out at Rudolpho Anaya's house, had lunch with Rick Najera and his lovely wife, and was told that my manuscript didn't suck by the amazing Demetria Martinez.

*And? Twitter brought me TBFF Juliette and @HC_Palmquist and @NL_Gervasio. I know. You guys are welcome for meeting me, too.

*I gave up sugar and gluten and found my waistline. Newscaster says? Parade at 11.

*Did I mention I wrote a book?

*Or that the number of candles I will be blowing out this year doesn't bother me in the least? It'd probably because I adopted a new mantra. Can you say, "I don't give a shit?"

Next year is almost here. A little part of me is always going to be looking back and focusing on what I could have done and where I think I should be by now, but I'm okay with that. Because that little voice is just going to push me to try harder in my new year and the New Year to follow.

Mappy Birthmas to me.

Mamavation Monday: Classified Information

Shhhhh. *Glances about furtively*

I have to be careful with what I say here.

It has recently come to my attention that you are not the only person reading my words. There has been, it seems, a very large leak in security.

For those that are unaware, Pauline's Public Blog Privacy Policy reads something like this:

Strangers, come on in: My innermost thoughts about writing and motherhood are your playground. Point. Laugh. Call me a jackass. Relate to my cellulite and cry with me as we both step on the scale. For you, my life is an open book.

People I Knew Before I Started Blogging: Unless given express permission to even acknowledge the blog exists, stay the hell out of my head. And if you do happen to stop by? You are to pretend you didn't just learn how fat my ass actually is.

Fine Print: Friends made through social media and BFF Mel are included in the Strangers clause of this policy. The Husband, however, is totally not allowed to get all psychic just because he can log onto my blog like the rest of the world. Which might make him believe it's slightly unfair that the people in front and behind him in line at the grocery store might know about my current search for that wagon I am not supposed to have fallen off of--or what I actually weigh--but I'm totally good with this.

Turns out, it's entirely possible that when I post things like this and this that inquiring minds have taken advantage of this free speech and open internet by logging on without my express permission. And? The Husband is currently in major touble.

We were out and about yesterday, as we we are prone to do on his days off before he decides he needs to go to bed at 4 p.m. because he works midnights, and I took a minute to check my blog stats from my Droid X. I am querying right now and the only thing I can do to keep my friends from killing me with the constant verbal obsessing is the self-stalking kind that involves me, my blog, and no one else telling me to shut the hell up. But something was glitchy when I tried logging in and I got an error message.

"What the hell? My blog is down?" Instant panic grabbed at my soul. I have a zillion queries out right now and the last thing I need right now is an agent logging on to see NADA.

"Lemme look on mine," The Husband said as he grabbed his phone out of his pocket. "You might have just entered it wrong."

Sure enough, a quick goggle search brought Aspiring Mama right up onto his screen.

"Operation Google Stalk, huh?" he said, a smile in his voice.

I sped read the post in my head and nodded my approval. "Yeah, you can read that one."

"I can read that one? Whatever..." He reads off the blog post titles on the first page."

Mamavation Monday: Ams and Am Nots

The Stars Say

The Typo queen Strikes Again

On Looking into the Light

I didn't recall one of them mentioning anything I didn't want to hear about at home, except for maybe for last week's Mamavation post with the Dorito mention and all.

"Okay, you can read it all except for last Monday's."

The Husband laughed. "I can, huh? I'll have you know I log on from time to time."

"Without my permission?" My eyes are wide. My voice is shrill. I am imagining his eyes scanning over classified information like this and this. "Are you insane? People who know me aren't supposed to read this! That's like peeking into my diary without permission! I write that shit for strangers!"

The Husband laughed. Loud and hard. And the rational part of me didn't blame him.

"You're joking, right?"

I thought about every pre-natal visit he tagged along on only to turn his back, plug his ears, and whistle a happy tune when it came time for me to step on the scale because he knew that I didn't want my 200 pound , 6-foot hottie to know his formerly curvy wife had ballooned to 245. Or how he knows what I've lost...but not what I weigh.

My life is a need to know basis, people. And I? Like to pretend that people I know...don't actually know about anything going on inside of my head.

But you?

And you?

And you, too....

Come on in. Pull up a chair. Let's talk motherhood. Let's talk evil scales. Let's talk muffin tops and cellulite and assmoflauge and falling off the wagon and temptation and whether or not treadmills should just be re-branded as overpriced closets. Let's get into whether sleep is more important than working out or how exactly you manage to get it all done and make time for yourself versus me looking at the end of the day wondering how exactly I ran out of time for yoga but found the time to coordinate my cute workout gear before attacking the pile of laundry.

But if you said I DO? To ME?

If you know the color scheme at my wedding? Or the song I walked down the aisle to?

We need to talk about you pretending you have no clue what is going on over on this little blog o' mine.

As long as I don't know that you know? It's all good.

Move along, people. There's nothing to see here...

The Stars Say...

My horoscope for Tuesday:

Capricorn Nov 30 2010 Whether you're in search of the perfect job, the ideal friendship, or a wonderful marriage, you cannot attract it if you aren't honest with yourself and with those who are critical to your pursuit. You may be playing a role now, Capricorn. You want to be the person that a potential job, or friend, or marriage partner would need you to be. But you can really only be who you are. If you were to attract someone while you were playing a role, then it would not last. And, even if it did, it would not be fulfilling. Be yourself now, and you will find your heart's desire.

My translation?

So if I want an agent and a book deal, I need to stop pretending I can spell?

Awesome.

Official Announcement:

Dear Publishing World and Future Agent,

I can write. But let's face facts, here. I suck at this spelling business. (Note the spelling of Apocalypse in my comment on Juliette's  #zombiesurvivalcrew post here. What I actually wrote kind of resembles Alpaca Piss. Hey, at least it's entertaining for you.) Once we both admit I only think I have caught my typos (Say it with me now: Post Mama Muff Top!) and you have to deal with everything that made it through, the world will be a happier place.

There...now that we have that out of the way, I'm off to email and blog stalk myself. Which reminds me. I also have no shame.

So! Where do I sign?

Mamavation Monday: Ams and Am Nots

@aspiringmama: Sometimes? Doritos really are the answer.

Let me tell you who I am not.

I am not:

*Perfect

*Able to spell anything corretcly

*Interested in geting over my Tofu Phobia

*Friends with my scale

*In posession of a heaf of hair that actually moves when the wind does.

*An expert in Pubic Relations (Click on the link above for this one to make sense)

*Working out right now. (I know...I know...But my Christmas cards are almot done and the tree is up and it's preeeeeety! And, And, And? I finished and hit send on a zillion queries, mostly typo-free, so I'm busy writing a blog post as I wait for the rejections to start pouring in so I can stare longingly at The Husband's unopened bag of Doritos while I read them because I will physically need some at that point.)

Now for what I am:

*Honest.

*The Typo-queen (Exhibit A? My tweet stream)

*An expert in making the Post Mama Muffin Tops and Cellulite look gooood. And? I know how how to turn a hoodie into Assmoflauge by trying it around your waist and making it look like you did it to coordinate your outfit and not hide the circumference of your badonkatonk.)

*Trying my damndest to not get discouraged by my body's utter lack of interest in anything I AM doing right to try and shed some flab off my ass. (Damned Doritos.)

*Proud owner and curator of the world's first social media approved Mexi-fro.

*Still looking for my point in this post.

Oh right. I wrote a book about trying to lose the weight after the baby blew out the candles on her second birthday cake. But do I have the answers? No. Do I have a rockin' bod to show for my efforts? (Note the lack of photos in this post and assume the worst.) Hell no. Do I plan on going to the gym tomorrow? Nu-uh.

 But do I want to?

Yeah. I do.

Even when life kicks me in the softly padded ass, even when emotions sneak up and make bad things sound good (like that Doritos tweet above), I am still trying. I am still wanting to better myself and provide my daughter with a healthy example. SO i almost always eat right. I don't bitch about my thighs or my muffin top out loud. I tell her she is healthy. I tell her she is strong.

The truth of the matter is that I have health issues that aren't making anything easier. But that isn't saying I want it any less. And while I am in limbo, I am figuring the best thing I can do is look in the mirror and love what I see. Mexi-fro, muffin top, fat ass, and all.

If I can show my baby girl I am happy where I am now while I work on getting where I want to be, then it's all good. And if I never get there? I need to be able to smile and laugh and hug her close when she asks if eating her dinner will make her grow up to be healthy and strong.

Because it's all about her, people. I'm just along for the ride.

The Typo Queen (strikes again)

@aspiringmama: this might be a really funny story later. maybe. when i am dead.

Remember my pubic relations SNAFU?

I just topped it.

I know. I'm just as shocked as you are. I mean, really...sending off a cover letter for a pubLic relations job and unknowingly admitting that I'm an expert on pubes? How in the hell do you top that?

I'll tell you.

I'm in the middle of sorta kinda proving myself wrong. In the past three days I have queried four agents for Baby F(Ph)at. And before that? I sent off a query to another who's name I had already pink puffy hearted on my notebook. I'm not sure how you do it, but my little query method is to go into my Word documents, pull up the last query letter written, copy and paste into a new document, and then personalize accordingly. It's not a genius system, but it is working just fine for me and helps me keep track of where I am at in the process.

Also?

It's proven that typos are much easier to spot after hitting send.

Lemme expound on that.

I have one line in my query which uses the term "post mama muffin top." It's a quick and easy visual for the reader and a phrase I use so often on my blog and in real life I am considering having it tattooed on the actual muffin top which inspired the phrase. Right away the reader knows I am talking about having had a child, gaining weight, and then wondering why cellulite hasn't been reclassified as a substance stronger than crazy glue (read: the shit sticks like nothing else.)

When spelled correctly, "post mama muffin top" works.

When it isn't? When, say, the in on the muffin is somehow dropped in a moment of complete idiocy?

For those of you not keeping up with the program, let me (correctly) spell out my (incorrect) spelling for you.

My query to secret agent person had the phrase: "post mama muff top" in it.

As in "muff." As in my mind automatically went to a really dirty place when I read it 1,000 times after having copied and pasted the last query into a new document.Which led to a momentary breakdown and thoughts of suicide by chocolate and this tweet:

@aspiringmama: damn it. just. damn it. #neverrereadaqueryalreadysent

Also?

@aspiringmama: I should write a new book. #thetypoqueen. Just think of the money a publishing house would save on editing!

All I want for Christmas

Dear Santa, I hope this blog post finds you well.

I am sure you have already received Buttercup's Christmas list. And yes, I am perfectly aware that your sled is only equipped to carry so much,with the gifts for children all around the world thing and all, so I am already trying to explain to her that you probably won't be bringing everything on her list.

Don't worry. The Husband and I have got your back. We went out and bought a few things on your behalf and will sit back happily while she praises the man in the red suit who somehow managed to make breaking into homes not only socially acceptable, but a much anticipated event. Props to you, Santa.

Anyway, you can let the Elves know that the Sing-a-Ma-Jigs, Unicorn Pillow Pet, and Disney Princess Movies are already taken care of. We might even spring for the Dora the Explorer Power Wheel Jeep. But the rest is all you. And we'd appreciate it if you could possibly return the favor by sticking "Love, Mama and Daddy" on a few of the things you happen to drop off. Because really? It's only fair. And? We're now broke.

I've already had a few friends and family ask me what I want for Christmas. I've already got my two front teeth, so that's out. And The Husband and I are already on the lookout for another puppy, so don't worry about poking holes in a box for something cute to breathe out of. But really? My list isn't really that long. I'd like a few books, maybe Stephen King's On Writing. Perhaps the complete Harry Potter series because I have never had a chance to read it. (I know. I know. Shut up.)

I'd also like something sparkly. But don't worry. I'll ask The Husband for that. So you're off the hook again. (See how considerate I am being?)

So what do I want you to leave for me under the Christmas tree? My laptop, opened and logged in to my email account (You got into my house, big guy, so let's not be modest here. We know you've got the skills), with a brandy new and very pretty new message from my dream agent. One that, very clearly, states they love me and my manuscript. A contract would be nice, too. But you can save that for my birthday. It's the day after. I can wait.

Just think! I'm saving you space in your sled again to allow for more Christmas cheer. I'm thinking that should count for some points, yes?

I've been a good girl, Santa. Pinky promise. And? I'm leaving you some cookies on the table. But forget the milk. Since Rudolph's the one doing the actual driving, feel free to help yourself to the liquor cabinet.

Sincerely,

Pauline (a.k.a. Aspiringmama)

On Me and the Speed of Molasses

Good gawd, I'm picky. I was when I was dating and I am probably worse with querying agents for Baby F(Ph)at. Case in point: I got my first boyfriend when I was 16, had three serious boyfriends before The Husband decided he was the Prince this Mexican Princess was looking for and answered my ad, and walked down the aisle at the ripe old age of Are you fucking crazy? You have your whole life ahead of you!!! 24.  Maybe I missed out on some singles fun by declining that Spring Break trip to Mardi Gras with the sorority sisters I wouldn't have paid to be friends with because I was too busy staring at the shiny new engagement ring on my finger prior to becoming Mrs. The Husband, but hell, I was happy where I was ( i had always said I would marry a guy who was half Mexican, taller than me, and spoke more English than Spanish. Guess what I got? Yep...exactly what I ordered). No need to go looking for what I wasn't.

Querying is very much the same for me. I have compared the process of searching for an agent to finding love a few times on the blog, and the comparison is still true for me. And? It explains why I have only queried 10 agents since July.

Namely? I am not a query slut.

(Don't get your panties in a bunch. I am not calling you a query slut. I am merely saying that I am not one. Big difference. Huge difference. Huge!)

Sure, I could have had my letter in the hands of 40 or 50 or more agents by now. Some may argue that I should have. But I respectfully disagree (in my case, anyway). Because when it comes to searching for an agent, I am being just as picky as I was when I was looking for my prince. If I don't get all super excited and start dreaming about how my first name would match his last how insanely awesome it would be to have THIS agent take me on as a client, then I'm not going to bust my ass to perfect the personalization on the query and send the damned thing out. It's hard enough when I want it to work out. I am not going to go that kind of crazy when I only have a name, an email address, and no idea who this person is or if anyone else has ever heard of them. (And yes, I did turn down one agent who refused to give details on her track record. Call me crazy.)

Which takes me to the search itself. I've gone through the requisite books at Barnes & Noble. I've highlighted names in my agent listing books. And? I have twitter-stalked enough agents long enough to know if I am going to continue following and query or unfollow because I'm not getting all googly-eyed at the thought of them calling me if I make myself pretty and send them a note with a box to check yes if they like me. Like my Husband requirements, my agent list is pretty specific. I'm betting she will be a mom, appreciate a properly placed F-bomb, and have an active twitter account or at least know what a tweet actually is when not referring to the sound the birds make in Snow White. Did I mention I was picky?

So maybe my search is moving slow. Okay, slow is an understatement. But that's okay with me.I'm still looking. And I'm not sweating the small stuff. The Husband answered my yahoo ad the day I was clearing out the inbox because I had decided I was going to take a break from the dating scene. The rest is obviously history.

Now...let's see how this agent match search of mine plays out. 'Cuz I could query her...or her...or maybe? Maybe I'll just wait for the next agent that has me doodling their name in hearts on the cover of my notebooks.

URAW seeks IA (See Ad for Translations)

Pretend this is a personals ad. Hell, I got The Husband that way. I think my headline was "Mexican Princess Looking for her Prince." I was bubbly. Cute. Snarky. And ended the ad with "Now give me a reason to call you back." And? He did.

Obviously, I can't be as free with my words when querying an agent because I want to be published and have people laugh when they read my book and not unpublished with a laughable query letter. Granted, I don't have an agent yet, so the query very well may suck. But that isn't the point of today's post.

Today's question of the day, dear readers, is: If finding an agent was like finding an online date (or the old-fashioned newspaper personal), what would your personal ad say?

Let's start with the acronyms.

Thanks to the roommate freak-fest of a movie that was Single White Female all know what SWF means (and I opted to get married right out of college rather than put myself into that kind of craziness. With a man I met online. I know. Let's not talk semantics.)

Ok, so a person seeking person ad would read something like:

SWF duh, with K kids, AL animal lover,  ISO in search of AL animal loving SWM take a wild guess, K ok kids okay, who is DTE down to earth, funny, HWP height weight proportional. I love cheesy movies, nice dinners, and long walks on the beach.

Got all that? Good. Now let's move on to the agent.

First we would have to have the description

I think it would go like this:

Name: Pauline M. Campos

Age: 32

Height: 5'6''

Weight: Shut up

Eyes: Brown

Hair: See Mexi-fro

Now for the actual acronym-filled personal

URAW unrepresented aspiring writer of SMMM snarky mama-minded memoir with plans to create a national movement to make said SMMM a mandatory baby shower gift is ISO in search of IA interested agent who is TF typo-forgiving and KWTI knows what twitter is. SOH sense of humor important. You appreciate the importance of a well-placed FB F-bomb for emphasis. I am waiting for the RA right agent to OMAC offer me a contract. SM sign me and I promise you the LOP lack of platform because I DHARTSIJOABI don't have a reality TV show in Jersey or a Bump-it will become a non-issue as we begin our new journey together.

There. Now to sit back and wait for the flood of responses to come pouring in. Maybe I should go wash my hair and decide what to wear on our first date. Or buy a bump-it.

The Typo Queen

Confession: I once submitted a cover letter for a public relations job. I didn't get the job. My qualifications were great. I would have rocked the job, too. But I am pretty sure that the individual who happened to open the email containing my letter is probably still laughing even though this story took place about 9 years ago. After all, they were looking for someone with experience in public relations. I, however, had stated in the cover letter that I had experience in pubic relations.

Yuck it up, people. Yuck. It. Up.

I remembered this little incident when my dear friend Jeanne was helping my fix a few typos in my current manuscript and realized I wasn't sure which was more embarrassing. I had "they's" where "the's" should have been, dropped hyphens, missing "I's", and a crap-load of other insanely obvious mistakes that got by not only myself, but multiple reads by various trusted writer friends. Every time Jeanne pointed a new one out, I responded with a, "Seriously?" And then I would say something witty like, "This is why I was a reporter and not a copy editor." Because really? I probably would have been a better pubic relations specialist.

I am a self-admitted Typo Queen. My brain works faster than my fingers can type and because I know what I meant to write, I usually miss what actually made it to the page. I can catch Other People's typos easily. But my own? Say it with me, people: Pubic Relations.

The point to this little trip down my typo-ridden memory lane is this: Don't trust your own eyes. Beg, borrow, and bribe multiple people to read your work. (I promised Jeanne a bedazzled pony. She obviously liked the idea.) Then ask more people. Pay for a professional copy edit, if you feel the need and have the funds to spare. But by all means, remember that fresh eyes are a must.

This is something I seem to have forgotten from my days as a city editor at a little paper where we fancy-titled individuals wrote our stories, took our own photos, and laid out the paper every week. The rule was that we couldn't edit our own work and two different pairs of eyes had to sign off on each page before it was cleared to go. The other rule was that all pages had to be edited off screen because it's easier to miss mistakes when they aren't on the printed page.

Tonight's word-fixing session reminded me of all that. Which was nice, because I'd hate for a typo to get in the way of me and my dreams which involve finding an agent and getting a book deal and are in no way related to any career choices that involve anything pubic.

It's show and tell time. What's your favorite typo story?

The 300

Because I enjoy talking to myself, I've decided to commemorate my 300th blog post by having one ego interview the other. It's been months since I have done something like this, and frankly, I've kinda missed me and my witty banter. Let's not focus on the fact that I started the blog in August of 2009 which means I a) have no life b) think sleep is over-rated or c) have no life and instead focus on the fact that I obviously have no life. If this is your first time, let me explain the rules. I am a writer. Which gives me Creative License. Which also allows me to do things like talk to and argue with myself for the sake of my Art and by no means indicates any need for therapy or medication. This Creative License thing also allows me to totally make shit up, but that would be too easy, which is why I write non-fiction. (Side note: my reality is too crazy to make up, anyway.)

Today's scenario: I am a hopeful writer with a completed manuscript in search of an agent and dreaming of book deals, book tours, and being able to afford more shoes after the first royalty check comes in. Wait a minute...

The cast:

*Aspiring Mama: The snarky, cheeky mama writer who happens to eerily match the description of today's scenario.

*Pauline: The cheeky, snarky mama writer who also happens to eerily match the description in today's scenario.

Action!

Aspiring Mama: So, um, what's the point of this again?

Pauline: You are supposed to ask me deep, thought-provoking questions that allow me to showcase my brilliance.

Aspiring Mama: So I'm supposed to answer them for you, too?

Pauline: Let's not confuse the issue here. Or the readers. I think they are already a bit scared.

Aspiring Mama: I know I am. I'm talking to myself. (taking a deep breath) So let's go with something easy. You are celebrating your 300th blog post today. Anything exciting planned?

Pauline: Are you serious? It's a Sunday, The Husband sleeps during the day because he works at night, and I don't have a sitter. So by exciting, if you are referring to this blog post being counted as my only adult interaction during my waking hours and watching Yo, Gabba, Gabba with Buttercup before getting her into bed, waking him up and making his lunch before he leaves for work, then hell yeah. It's a party.

Aspiring Mama: (Clearing throat) Sounds like a great time. (Mutters under breath) Remind me not to ask you how you're doing.So, a lot of blogger peeples like to point out a few favorite blog posts during these occasions. Got any you'd like to highlight for your imaginary fans?

Pauline: Of course! Read up and marvel at my brilliance. (Or snicker quietly and pat me on the head.)

Momma's got a brand new blog

Diva Wants

The Straight. The Proud. The Observant.

What I know

Once Upon a Time

There are more, obviously, but I'm running on empty so let's just move on to the next question, shall we?

Aspiring Mama: Good deal. What else do you have going on? Aside from narrowing down the number of shoes you will purchase when you do make it big and get that book deal.

Pauline: Aside from this enthralling self-conversation, you mean?

Aspiring Mama: Hey, I'm amused.

Pauline: Good, you can comment when no one else does. So what do I have going on? A book I finished. An agent I am searching for. A waist I am busting my ass to find beneath my muffin top. Basically, lots of hurry up and wait with some big dreams and a shit load of effort thrown in for good measure.Oh, and Oprah's couch is out. So I'm hoping Ellen and The View ladies think I am hilarious.

Aspiring Mama: That would be where the Aspiring part of the Mama comes in, I'm guessing.

Pauline: You know me so well. And it only took 300 blog posts.

The Rejection Celebration

"Embrace rejection! Wink at it, laugh, maybe bake a rejection pie. You'll get there. Why not have fun along the way?" --Agent Michelle Humphrey of the Martha Kaplan Agency as quoted in the October edition of Writer's Digest.

I couldn't have read this little piece of genius on a more perfect day. There I was, minding my own business on twitter, checking email, and working on edits when two (that's right, T-W-O) rejections came in, not five minutes apart.

To tell you the truth, the second one didn't even faze me. My eyes were still adjusting to the fact that I had struck out again from the first email.

I blinked, sighed, cursed my writer's ego for having the audacity to think that a perfect stranger would love my words, and then sighed again, straightened my back, puffed out my chest, and said, "Screw it. On to the next."

Because really, there's no where else to go but up if I plan on getting anywhere. But that's easy to say now, of course. When the next response comes floating in, I'll be a bundle of nerves as a gather up the courage to actually open the email, and then holding my breath while I wait for the next batch of courage to be gathered up before I can actually open my eyes. And then...

Well...

It's either a happy dance or a rejection pie. Or maybe rejection shoes? Or perhaps a pair of rejection earrings?

I asked The Husband today what he thought I could treat myself with every rejection I face and overcome; something that would make me smile, laugh, and a little bit giddy. He automatically suggested going out for a drink with a friend and getting whatever girly drink comes in those big ol' take-me-home glasses so I could start my own collection. Then he stopped, looked at me, and said maybe that wasn't such a good idea. After all, I really don't have time to join AA.

"But I can't bake a rejection pie!" I wailed. "I wrote a book about my ass being too big. Baking a pie is really kind of counter-productive, considering I'm only on number 8 of what could be an incredibly long line of doors slammed in my face. Think of the calories!"

"A glass of wine then? One for every rejection?"

I just looked at him. "Really? I'm trying to find something I don't usually do on a regular basis."

"I thought we had ruled out AA meetings," he countered.

"Right...what about shoes? I could buy a pair for every..."

"No." He didn't even let me finish the sentence. And honestly, that hurt.

"I could get a new book for the nook, maybe?"

He laughed. "Like you'll have time to read that many."

I raised an eyebrow. "Seriously?"

"Um, I didn't mean..."

This time I cut him off.  " Whatever. How about a new silver charm for my pandora bracelet? I kinda like that idea."

"That could be a lot of charms..."

"Did you forget to turn your filter on this morning?"

His eyes twinkled and the corners of his lips twitched for just a moment before he regained control and he was able to speak. "I just meant, maybe you can think of something a bit more affordable? You're the one who said this wasn't going to be easy."

And he's right. I am the one that said that. Which means me thinking I can buy a $25 charm for every rejection means I need a job to support that Rejection Celebration habit I'm trying to start.

So I need ideas, peeples. Something fun that won't break the bank. And I'm fully expecting my comments to explode on this post because I know I am not the only person in the world looking for a pick-me-up when I get another no from another agent. Ideas, peeples...Do you celebrate your rejections? What's your guilty pleasure?

*Update: The Husband said ponies are out of the question.

The Platform Conundrum

Dear Future Agent, I have a secret to share. It may shock you.

Then again, probably not.

See...(and this is kind of embarrassing to admit)...but (deep breath) I. Am. Not. Famous.

I'll give you a minute to digest that little piece of information. Because really, the Holy Crap factor was probably enough to knock the wind out of you. You know, while you laughed at me. So I understand if you need to compose yourself.

Right now, dear Future Agent, you are probably asking yourself why you should give a damn about me and my Regular Peeples status. Or not. After all, we haven't been formally introduced yet. Or perhaps we have and I just haven't quite convinced you yet. So in reality, you are probably busy cycling through your inbox while fending off off over-zealous writers with good intentions and big dreams who may have sent you cookies instead of a properly formatted query letter, wishing it was five o'clock so you can get home and pop the cork on a bottle of wine, skip the glass, and stick a bendy straw in there. You know, after you have served the kids dinner. (I'm going out on a limb here and guessing you will be a mom. And if you are doing that bendy straw thing, we are soooo a match made in heaven.)

But back to the me Not Being Famous and why you should care thing. You see, before I find you I have to be told to keep looking by others. "This is a subjective business..." "Other agents opinions may differ..." "What doesn't work for me may be perfect for another agent..." Oh wait. It's been three weeks and two days. Which means I can cross two more off my list. I know my query is solid (maybe). I know my writing has promise (right?). I know I will not be a word-diva when it comes to revisions (which I think is major bonus points, yes?) I could focus on the fact that I just got turned down again or I can remind myself that these two passive rejections are playing their karmic roles in getting me closer to the day I find you. But instead, I think I'll focus on the fact that my (solid) query is missing something. That my (promising) writing isn't even going to come into play for many of the agents who shall come before you because of that pesky little platform thing. And seeing as I don't really have one to stand on, why ask for more if I don't have enough to get me past Go to collect my Monopoly money?

You already know, dear Future Agent, that Non-fiction and Strong Platforms go hand in hand. That there is plenty of rhyme and reason for the current system. I get it, too. But I have to admit that the whole situation kind of has me in a pickle similar to the Gotta Have Credit to Get Credit situation I found myself in when I was young and stupid enough to jump on the first credit card offer that got me a free T-shirt on my college campus; I'm not famous enough to garner the attention of many agents looking for famous enough people to garner the attention of publishers looking for people famous enough to sell books. So they have (and will continue to) take a pass on me. No matter what they may think of my writing or my claims that my old job, this blog, and my twitter addiction could be considered a platform.

And that's okay. It sucks. But it's okay.

Because one day, you will take a chance on me. And I'll do that little happy dance every writer does when their own future finally slows down enough for them to grab hold. And then I can dream bigger and work harder (while trying to remedy that Not Being Famous thing while taking breaks from that working and writing thing, of course.) Until then, I'll continue to nurse my bruised ego, marvel at the fact that the girl who was so unsure of herself has grown into the woman who is sure enough to continue this soul-crushing exercise as long as it takes, and wait.

I may not be famous (enough) yet, but I'm stubborn as hell. Which means I'm not going to let my cute little platform (or lack thereof) get in my way.

Sincerely,

Me

Bat(ter) Up!

The book is done. Queries are out. My house is almost, kinda, sorta clean.So this makes for a perfect time for Buttercup to decide to get sick after a preschool tour and me end up on the couch for three hours last night wondering if I wanted to curl up into a ball and cry because of my own tummy ache, too. Thankfully (or not) I had Billy the Exterminator to keep me company for those three hours...mainly because I didn't feel like getting up to find the remote. This left me with plenty of time to ponder the deeper meaning behind hairspray and mullets, fashion versus practicality in the areas regarding the removal of bees while wearing enough black to guarantee getting stung way more times than anyone would consider a good time, and if Billy has his shit together when it comes to making me question my mascara.

I might be a bit behind the 8-ball here (and I usually am so don't look surprised) to learn that the Mullet Master of Louisiana is running around in his Vexcon truck telling his camera man that bat guano has many beneficial uses in today's society...like the streaking upon of eyelashes by modern women like myself. And I know I'm behind because when I decided I was concerned enough with the absolute maybeness of this statement to get up, turn on my netbook, and do a Google search to find out if I should kick myself or thank myself for even considering anything to be fact when uttered by someone sporting a mullet, I found out that plenty of other eyelash-owning, mascara-wearing Billy the Exterminator viewers of the female persuasion had been concerned enough to do their own investigating. Which put me in some pretty interesting company. (Go ahead...look it up on youtube. I dare you.) Turns out, Billy is full of shit. Kind of. In case you give a damn, guanine is a synthetic derivative of guano (bat doo-doo) made from fish scales, which apparently is the FDA-approved way to go. So if you are a vegan or vegetarian, I'm guessing you don't use the stuff. I, however, thoroughly enjoy the fact that I don't have to hunt my meat to eat it, or scale my fish to make me eyes pretty. I will, however, make sure to have the remote handy the next time I feel sick enough to watch three hours of television in a row.Then again, I got my mind of the queries.

Disclaimer: I got my research info here and here. No actual experts or mullets were contacted in the name of verification.

Reverse Nesting

Something strange happened when I finished writing Baby F(Ph)at. In short, I looked up and realized I suck as a housewife when I'm knee-deep in a manuscript. After a year of getting by with frantic "just throw the extra shit in the closet!" sessions reserved for guests and making sure we had enough clean laundry so no one was wearing anything nasty, I finally saw the house through the eyes of my alter-ego, (Mexican) June Cleaver. And aye...Ward has reasons to question if he's man enough to stick around when I get to writing that next book.

While it's true that I finished the book before I left for BlogHer, it's also true that I was away from home until last week. And after a few days of doing the blissful nothing I demand after 20 days of non-stop family, I blinked...and then it all came into focus.

The dust covered blinds (I wrote my name one one...kinda cool, actually.)

The junk drawer so full of random crap that it wasn't even closing anymore.

The closet. Which we couldn't fit the vacuum into. And that's a problem.

The dust bunnies under the couch (which are now getting their own mail forwarded to my address.)

The linen closets (not just for linen anymore! Holy shit! That's where that other thing I don't need went to...)

Needless to say...I have my work cut out for me.  That's why I started a to-do list with one or two projects to be tackled daily. Like the dusting and the evicting of the dust bunnies. Or the junk drawer and the closet. Or telling The Husband to bite me and to shove it when he tells me I suck as a housewife when I'm writing a book. Or maybe just telling him to fuck off and then laughing because I can't keep a straight face because he is so totally right.

It's been about a week since I started my reverse nesting. That's what I like to call this phase. Moms-to-be nest when a baby is on the way. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Moms who are writers nest after they (I) finish a book and figure out they (I) better haul ass on Operation Clean House before the next project is officially started. (While they (I) are (am) querying.)  Because that's such a relaxing combination.

And when I type Chapter 1? Again?

It's house, hell, and hand basket...all over again.

Bring it.

Until then, I'm gonna whistle while I work and rock this happy homemaker thing.

A Comparison to Young Love

I've got a list of agents to query, a letter almost 100-percent ready to go, a pretty and polished proposal, 27 completed chapters, and that special combination of Ego and Angst us Creative Types are known for making the nerves just a little jumpier with every day that goes by. What if the agents point and laugh when they see my ideas and my words? What if (worse) you point and laugh if when the book is actually published?

I'm sitting here as anxious as I was as I waited for my first date to pick me up, wondering if he'll say I look pretty after all the time I spent on my make-up and the 14 outfit changes I went through before deciding on Just The Right One.

I know it's human nature. Part of the process. And I know it's going to become more pronounced as I get closer to Hitting Send on the email queries and sticking the stamps on the hard copies before slipping them into the mail box.(And I'm pretty close...so it's getting pretty pronounced.)

But then I remind myself to hold on to the moments when Ego beats out Angst and remember that half-smile I saw in the mirror when as I finished getting ready on that date long so long ago...

It doesn't matter when he says...

I already think I look pretty.

And if he doesn't think so, that's okay, too...because he's not the only boy in the world.