Hurricanes and Sorries: A Waiting Game

Ane here. I’m pleased to introduce you to Normandie Fischer, a friend and fellow writer. I met Normandie a few years ago and loved her heart for helping writers.

Hurricanes and Sorries: A Waiting Game, by Normandie Fischer

Our neck of the woods acts like a hurricane magnet. I think
it’s the sticky-out part of Cape Lookout that does it, hooking that swirling
wind to drag it toward land. Those of us in this area of North Carolina have to
spend days preparing and then weeks—or months—recovering. Between hurricanes
and lightning strikes, our beloved ketch, Sea Venture, has been stuck on land
since July 2014, which means she’s un-sailed, mired in the soon-we-hope mode,
waiting, waiting, while we long to get on the water and sail again.
Sea Venture in the water, the Sea of Cortez, Mexico
Sometimes our writing life feels like that, doesn’t it?
Our germ of a story has grown to full-length status, and
we’ve sent it to friends, to critique partners, to contests. We’ve rewritten
it, tweaked it, and now, surely, we’re ready to submit it to the judgment of
the gatekeepers, the literary agents and the acquisitions editors.
We start with a few. Then, we try again. And again. And all
this time, the silence seems to grow so loud we can barely write another word,
a silence interspersed with “Sorry, but not for me” emails that trickle in, one
rejection at a time. Maybe we have writer friends who tell us we’re wonderful, that
we should just hang in there, it will happen. And maybe we sit in our writing
cave and hear only the silence, read only the rejections.
Our words are mired in the un-sailed, soon-we-hope mode.
Add in the cries from the other camp, many of whom have
achieved success: “Who cares about gatekeepers? We don’t need them any longer,”
as the push comes to head out on our own and self-publish.
Dreaming of the day (Unsplash.com)

I don’t know about you, but I’m grateful for the years of
waiting. Yes, I look at writers half my age who are selling and publishing, and
I feel a pang or two. But I know a truth about my own work: it’s better for the
wait. It’s honed, edited, crisper in some places, more lyrical in others.
If you’re in the waiting mode, have you asked yourself why you’re stuck? (As, I did, again and
again.) Is it because your work needs to move to the next level? Or are you
mired on land, unable to launch, because there’s something yet to be completed in you?
Solomon said that whatever our hands find to do, we’re to do
with all our might (Eccl. 9:10). Couple that with the word from Ephesians 13:6:
“…having done all, … stand.”
So, we write with all our might. We edit with all our might
(and with the might of experts, perhaps). And then, having done our all (sometimes over years, as in my
case), we stand. And we trust that if things aren’t working out the way we
wanted, the waiting has a purpose—a different one for each of us, but a purpose
that will improve both our writing and that thing in us that needs to learn
patience.
My first manuscript won accolades (and an award), but no
sales. Twenty-four years after I first wrote it, it’s out there, published—and
it’s a better, stronger book because of the intervening years during which I
wrote and had published four other books. (One of those four was a work for
hire that actually helped hone my suspense-writing skills.) Maybe my time in the
trenches is unique to me. In those silent, seemingly unproductive years, I
acquired and left two agents. I took a job as acquisitions and developmental
editor for a small publishing house. I sailed and traveled—but most of all, I
wrote and rewrote and read and learned.
What about you? Are you in the waiting mode—or were you
before your words finally became a book? I’d love to hear your stories.
Normandie studied sculpture in Italy before receiving her BA, summa cum
laude with special honors in English. Known for her women’s fiction—Becalmed
(2013), Sailing out of Darkness (2013), and Heavy Weather
(2015)—she ventured into the realm of romantic suspense with the release of Two
from Isaac’s House
. In early 2016, a novella, From Fire into
Fire, 
will continue the Isaac House saga. Normandie and her husband
spent a number of years on board their 50-foot ketch, Sea Venture, sailing in
the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. They now live in coastal North Carolina, where she
takes care of her aging mother.
Normandie’s Website
Facebook
Amazon

Facebook Launch Parties ~ by Normandie Fischer

Sailor and
baby-boomer author Normandie Fischer wrote stories while cruising Pacific
Mexico. She’s a former sculptor and editor with Southern roots,
whose plans to sail the world came to an abrupt halt when her mother developed
dementia and needed care at home near the small port town of Beaufort, NC. Becalmed is her debut novel, to be
followed by Sailing Out of Darkness.

On Facebook Launch Parties: A Pressure Release Valve

Before Becalmed
released, my publicist and I went back and forth on the value of a Facebook
launch party. Half the writers we polled loved their experience; half hated it.
I don’t know
about you, but the idea of chest-beating, begging, or any of the other things
the marketing folk say we’ve got to do to sell our books just about sends me
over the edge. I’m the sort who’d rather sit at the back of the gathering and
watch what’s going on around me. I like chatting one on one; I don’t like being
the object of attention.
What’s more
attention-grabbing than the obvious me-me of a Facebook launch party? We beg
folk to drop by, comment, speak to us, please, and, oh, don’t
forget! We Have Prizes! Free Books!
That begs the
next question: Just why should anyone care about our words? I mean, if someone
already wants my story, it’s probably because we’re buds. But for the rest of
the not-yet-known public? The folk who may have seen my face or read my name,
but to whom I’m nobody? Why should they be interested in this particular book
out of all the others published? (At least until the reviews come in and word
of mouth acts as its supposed to.)
You can see how
this whole thing gets to me, an introvert who loves people, but only in small
doses. Who welcomes friendships, but wants them to be meaningful. Who is happy
to discover that folk like her story, but doesn’t want to be the one pressing
it on them, thank you very much.
So. I decided to
diffuse attention on Facebook by sharing the launch party with other writers.
As soon as I found six enthusiastic women’s fiction authors whose work I admire
and with whom I’d developed a relationship—mostly online—my burden lifted. I
could spend my energy promoting their stories on my launch and, in doing so,
relax about my own. Their involvement guaranteed attendance, if only for the
time each of them had the helm. Because they brought different personalities to
the discussion, it remained lively for the entire day.
We found snatches
of humor, especially when the author on board from noon to two had trouble
logging in. The hilarity grew as one of her friends promised to stand by the
water cooler to keep watch, another promised to check the halls, and I tried to
help her figure out the log-in issue. We eventually got her there, but the
humanness of the incident and the jokes that surrounded it added to fun. And
you know what, the gal at the water cooler won the drawing for our missing
author’s book (along with an e-book of Becalmed.)
My 85-year-old
mama drew names from a hat of those who’d commented during each period, and a
winner went home with a paperback from that author and an e-book from me. After
my two hours, the winner took home both an e-book and a signed paperback of Becalmed.
I have no way of
knowing if I gained new readers in the process, but I do know that I had fun
and got to know a few other writers—and their fans—just a little bit better.
Pressure off, fun on.
And isn’t that
how we’re supposed to work as believers? Lifting up others and not worrying
about the results in terms of us? I figure if we’ve got the Big Guy on
our team, we can do whatever it is our hand finds to do—and do it with all our
might—and then trust Him with the outcome. Certainly He’ll guide us to the path
in this marketing thing that will bring the greatest glory where it belongs.
Which is certainly not on us.
A plug here for Silver Seas PR, whose creativity I glommed onto when I hired them to hold my hand through this morass of media.
Please feel free
to grab your own copy of Becalmed in either softcover or e-book at Amazon. Or order it
through your favorite indie bookstore.
Becalmed
With her days chock full –
designing jewelry for the shop she co-owns with her best friend, sailing her
sharpie, and hanging out with girlfriends – Tadie Longworth barely notices
she’s morphing into the town’s maiden aunt. When Will, a widower with a perky
daughter named Jilly, limps into town in a sailboat badly in need of engine
repairs, Tadie welcomes the chance to help. Her shop becomes Jilly’s haven
while Will hunts boat parts, and Tadie even takes the two of them sailing. It’s
the kind of thing she lives for, and it’s a welcome distraction from the fact
that her ex-boyfriend Alex, aka The Jerk of Jerks, is back in town. With his
northern bride. Oh, and he’s hitting on Tadie, too.
Those entanglements are more
than enough, thank you very much, so it’s almost a relief when a hurricane
blows into town: at least the weather can match Tadie’s mood. When Will and
Jilly take shelter in her home, though, Tadie finds herself battling her attraction
to Will. Even worse, the feeling is mutual, tempting them all with what-ifs
that petrify Will, who has sworn never to fall in love again. Mired in
misunderstanding, he takes advantage of the clear skies and hauls Jilly out of
there and back to his broken boat so fast, Tadie’s head spins.
With the man she might have
loved gone, and the man she wishes gone showing up on her doorstep, Tadie finds
herself like a sailboat with no wind; becalmed, she has to fight her way back
against the currents to the shores of the life, and the man, she wants to have.
If you’re in the
vicinity, of the Chesapeake Bay, I’d love ot have you come aboard:
Sea Venture, a Hudson Force 50 ketch, set sail July 2013 to begin
Normandie’s book tour. Her schedule includes:
August
1 Arrive at the head of the Chesapeake Bay. Find places to anchor in and around
Georgetown, MD, Chesapeake City, MD, and C & D Canal.
Aug.
28 Arrive in NYC.
Sep.
30: Leave NYC for trip south.
Oct.
15: Arrive Baltimore, MD.
Oct.
20: Arrive Annapolis, MD.
Various stops along the Western
Shore of Chesapeake Bay.
Nov 1: Arrive Portsmouth, VA. Back through the ICW to Beaufort, NC.