Monday, December 12, 2005


Friday, December 9, 2005

Today, Deidre Knight, my lovely agent (hmm, has it really been six years?) asked me if I'd like to come on down and be the first contestant on her version of reality TV, Publishing Survivor. In trying to grasp this concept, she suggested I keep you filled in about each day in the life of a romance writer waiting for a book to come out. In my case, the 10th...but my first since September 2002. After a soul search, a genre switch and a publisher change, I'm baaaaccck. And for those who follow along, you'll get an up close and probably too personal (not to mention over the top) look at what happens during the countdown to publication for this full-time corporate employee, mother, author and way-stressed-out Gen X insomniac. As you follow along, you can judge for yourself... Will I be Dancing with the Stars or a candidate for the Biggest Loser?

Each day, I'll post my schedule, my thoughts, grouses, grumbles, smiles, giggles, odd thoughts and anything else that comes to mind. I'll catch you up on my progress on the Reward Challenge I set myself on the previous day and tell you what tomorrow's Reward Challenge will be.

What will I win if I successfully complete the Reward Challenge? My sanity? Oops, too late. I probably never had any. Which explains why I wear as many hats as I do each day and juggle more than anyone from Barnum and Bailey ever thought of. So I settled instead on finding small ways to reward myself. For instance, today's challenge was to finish the first Publishing Survivor entry before collapse. It's nearing 10:15 p.m., and I'm semi-awake and confident I'll finish. So I'll be rewarding myself with a manicure tomorrow. My nails naturally grow at a rate that would likely alarm scientists (would that I could get my hair to jump on the bandwagon...).

I was hoping there was an Immunity Challenge in all this. But apparently, I can't get voted off the island. It's my life, my second career, my second stab at publishing. My motto: Never do anything halfway (along with, why cook when there are so many wonderful restaurants around, but I digress...). So, I'm throwing my all into this. I'm game. Are you?

Here's today's Schedule:
5:45 am - I'm awake...why? Oh, because I have another stunning day in Corporate America to attend to. Besides, I couldn't sleep. I just learned a few hours before that my next book, BOUND AND DETERMINED (Berkley Sensation), the one I thought was out in February actually comes out in January. That's a few short weeks away. I'm still panicking after a tossy-turny night.

6:30 am - I'm frantically dashing off emails to everyone I can think of to help me spread the word about the change in my publication date.

8:00 am - I'm at my desk in my cubicle, Diet Coke in hand. No, I don't drink coffee, and yes, I'm actually a real human. If you want to understand the corporate part of my existence, read Dilbert. He's really accurate.

9:00 am - First meeting to discuss project that's so amazingly ridiculous on so many levels, we all laugh our butts off for fifteen minutes before fighting back the tears as we realize it still has to be done.

11:30 am - Finally out of meeting. It's safe to say that, when we left, no one attending was a bright ray of sunshine.

12:00 pm - Lunch. Sort of. Chicken tortilla soup and a few chips at my desk while I read a love scene written by a student from a class I gave in October on Creating Love Scenes with Emotional Punch. Gee, I hope no one comes by to read over my shoulder...

1:00 pm - In the midst of so many meetings, it's easy to forget there's actual work to do. Anyone want to guess what I do by day? Certainly it won't be any sort of shock when I tell you I write for this living, too. If anyone was going to say stripper, mortician or insurance actuary. Buzz--you're all wrong. My extra-fair skin would scare folks if I decided to wear nothing but strategically-placed tassels. Unlike the kid in The Sixth Sense, I don't see dead people. An actuary? Are you kidding me? I got almost no sleep last night. With a job like that, I fear I'd catch up at my desk and get fired.

3:00 pm - Chocolate, anyone? No. Dang it, who invented this damn low carb diet all my co-workers are on? Someone into torture... Ah, and there's a writer friend on the phone asking me if I've heard some gossip about her publisher. Yes, a week ago. I would have shared, but I thought she knew... Oops!

4:00 pm - A call from my editor. Hmm. It's late in NYC. She's very nice. We talk about what's going on with the release of BOUND AND DETERMINED, now that it's just weeks away. Berkley is going to feature me on the Berkley/Jove website. Awesome! But damn cold as I stand outside and talk on my cell phone. Geez, it's a balmy 38 degrees here today. I'm dying. My co-worker originally from Fargo laughs as I whine.

5:00 pm - I'm outta here!

6:30 pm - Yummy dinner with family at restaurant where you can throw peanut shells on the floor. Gratifying to do that when you don't have to clean it up!

7:30 pm - Shopping at local membership club/bulk buying warehouse. More on why later. Somewhere between the Tide and the Charmin I'm thinking, isn't the life of a romance writer so glamorous?

8:00 pm - Call my mom for advice on handling the last part of tomorrow's challenge. She's so good at this stuff - a cross between Martha Stewart and Bree VanDeKamp. My eyes glaze over. This is so not my thing...

8:30 pm - Back home and picking up the house. Am I the only one who notices that there's like a month's worth of mail sitting on the kitchen counter. A little help here... I have work to do!

9:30 pm - Confer with another writer friend who got her backcover copy for her next book. It's good copy, and she's pleased, so smiles all around. We discuss my shifting publication date, and she provides suggestions for getting the word out. Very helpful. We've been buddies for a long time. She pouts about the fact she's having a hard time finding a publicist. I console. She leaves to finish her laundry. See, we aren't such glamorous creatures? Anyone who thought our lives were all about boas and Bon-bons...didn't we have you fooled?

10:00 pm - Sit down to write my first entry for Publishing Survivor. Stare at the screen a requisite ten minutes, wondering what the hell I'm doing. Empty screens and me have a bad history. We go way back... There's got to be a name or something for this particular disorder. Blankophobia? Cursor Blinkitis?

We're closing in on 11. I'll read the emails that have been flying in my inbox as I wrote this, answer the necessary ones (aren't the all, except those asking me if I'd like to have a larger penis or would be willing to use my bank account to help someone whose funds are trapped in an African bank account after a loved one's death), then collapse into bed.

So... for tomorrow's Reward Challenge, I must:
1) Write at least 5 pages on current manuscript
2) Complete tomorrow's Publishing Survivor entry
3) Successfully manage to give a neighborhood dinner party for 16 (hence the reason I was at the bulk warehouse) without tearing my hair out.

What do I get if I succeed? I'll steal an hour to watch either the latest Trading Spaces or read the book tucked beside my bathtub. Ah, heaven.

Tune in tomorrow to see if I can make it!
Shelley Bradley


Blogger Deidre Knight said...

Shelley! So glad you started SURVIVOR!! :) This one is going to be very educational and fun for all to read! Deidre

Monday, December 12, 2005 at 8:38:00 PM EST  
Blogger Robin Caroll said...

Oh goodie! Now I have someone to root on every day! :)

Monday, December 12, 2005 at 10:56:00 PM EST  
Blogger Shelley Bradley said...

Robin, please. Yes! I need all the help I can get!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 12:11:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Cindy Procter-King said...

Fun post, Shelley. Looking forward to reading more!


Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 1:05:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Julie Rowe said...

Shelley, people are still talking about your course "Love Scenes With Emotional Punch". They LOVED it! I'm really excited about reading your publishing journey. Keep your chin up! :-)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 1:43:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shelley - I really enjoyed your post. Wishing you the best with your upcoming book release. And as you add this challenge to what sounds like an already busy, busy life!

Janet Louise Campbell

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 9:31:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Shelley Tougas said...

From another Shelley ... This is a blast to read. Thanks for sharing. Makes me wonder how many published writers have separate day jobs.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 9:47:00 AM EST  
Blogger Diana Peterfreund said...

Most of us... unless we've got rich spouses (or at least spouses with good family health plans) or trust funds!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 10:38:00 AM EST  
Blogger Shelley Bradley said...

Julie, I really enjoyed teaching the class. Their questions made me dig down deep and provide another layer of information I don't think would come out in a straight presentation format. Anytime you all need an instructor, give me a shout. I learn so much as I teach.

Janet, thanks. I'm juggling!

Shelley, Diana is right. When you start publishing the pay isn't stunning and no benefits. I work for a Fortune 10 company, so I have heath and dental, 401K, pension, etc. Besides, I have a terrible addiction to home decorating that isn't cheap!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 1:27:00 PM EST  
Blogger Jaci Burton said...

Oh Shelley this is so damn funny. Of course, funny in an "I'm so commiserating with you" kind of way ;-)

And congrats on having your release date moved up! I'm DYING to read your book!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 2:28:00 PM EST  

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