Monday, September 29, 2014


It's just a little prick
You know it’s coming. You know the diagnosis before you hear the words and you know it’s not going to be easy to hear but you know. How could you not? You’ve seen the signs for years now, you just didn’t want to have those fears acknowledged.

You knew it the moment you finally went in for your physical (at the end of the calendar year, as if postponing it to the latter part of the year would make the diagnosis easier to hear). You knew it the moment the blood tests were ordered and you knew it as you watched your sugary blood fill the vials.

Sure, it’s easy to say to yourself that it’s not going to be difficult and it’s probably going to be easier to finally shed some of the weight you’ve added on since starting one of the many “lifestyle” food changes you’ve started and stopped in the past 2 years. You’ve watched countless of celebrities, friends and family members shed the weight after their diagnoses so this is a good thing, right?

You know the answer to the rhetorical question even as you ask it. You know that it matters little how much you “hope” and “wish” and “try” to stop eating the foods that will inevitable cause your demise but you ask it anyway. You ask it because you cling to the hope that one day you’ll actually find the trick that will show on the scale, the clothes you wear, the mirror.

You know that your fight with food is not just of your own doing. It has been a battle since your first pregnancy where you craved hot fudge sundaes and sweet tea. Since you were in college and binged on late-night drive-thru tacos and burgers. Since high school where salads weighed 3 lbs and were laden with everything on the salad bar drenched in thousand island dressing. Since junior high school where greasy pizzas were the lunchroom norm with a large Dr. Pepper and homemade peanut butter bars.

Your fight with food has been a long one. Perhaps not as arduous as others’ but nonetheless tiring. You’ve watched yourself slow down. Sit longer. Eat more. Sleep more. Battle with depression, anger and self-loathing more. You’ve battled it without expectation of success because really, who has truly succeeded at winning a battle against sugar? Yes, there are the success stories and many are friends or friends of friends or those people who friend you on Facebook because they knew you in high school and they’ve succeeded. They’ve lost a kajillion pounds and they’re healthy and running marathons and winning at life while you’re sitting at your desk miserably avoiding the mocha creamer because it has 9g of Carbs and you hate yourself for knowing that so well.

Image courtesy: Lynn County Hospital District
You’re not surprised at the outpouring of support from family and friends who say things like, “You can do it” and “We’re in it with you” when you know that while well-meaning, it’s not any more helpful than the doctor telling you, “you’re a diabetic but I know you can win this fight.” You know they mean well and truly care for your well-being. You know they want the best for you but you don’t see that right now. You see the pantry full of Chef Boyardee cans, pasta and cake boxes, potato chips, soda, chocolate candies and the nutella spread you would gladly eat straight out of the jar in giant soup-spoon portions because it’s chocolate and peanut butter and you have no self-control. You see the sweet brisk tea cans in the fridge next to the water you’re supposed to drink.

Then you remember the way your sister looked after a sugar spike. How scared her children were despite knowing that mom’s sugar spikes from time to time and she’s battled worse but the fight with sugar is harder than the fight with the cancerous cells in her body. You realize that if you have to drink more water, stop eating the white stuff: bread, potatoes, rice and check your blood sugar at dinner with a Metformin chaser, you’re going to avoid scaring your children as well. You may even fit into the clothes you refuse to buy yourself now because really, what’s the point of having clothes that shrink every month.

You start to think about what the physical changes in your body will mean to your love life. What they’ll mean to your marriage. What a healthier body will mean to your children who fight their own sugar battles a lot younger than you. You realize that being a diabetic could affect change in their bodies by eating healthy along with you.

It’s a fight and it’s one you have to face alone despite the support from friends and family because in the end, it’s you, your mouth and that chocolate cake in the fridge you have the face.

You hate that you’re now “that” person who has to decline sweets at a birthday party while acknowledging that you don’t really like cake all that much. You accept that you have to do the things you ask your spouse to do because if you don’t do them, the one that gets hurt is you. You gird your flabby loins in preparation for this sugar battle and you don’t hope you’ll succeed. You go in glucose guns blazing and shoot down all of those poor choices knowing you’ll likely take some hits in the process. Eventually, you’ll get smaller and make for a smaller target.

You do what you have to to survive and if that means pricking your finger once a day, eating less and getting your ass out of your office chair, then you do it. Not because failure’s not an option. Not because you’re going to fight to live another day. You do it because no one can do this for you and if you don’t, next year’s diagnoses will include high blood pressure, enlarged heart, arteriosclerosis or worse.

You’re a diabetic. Suck it up, suck it in and fight!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

11 Things I’ve learned about being an agent in 2014

So, I was looking through my old blog posts for ideas to repurpose or update on my blog for this month and found my 10 Things I’ve learned about being the ePub Agent in 2012. It’s interesting but those 10 things are still important now and I will likely include them when I train our junior staff but I’m learning new things every year and I fall in love with my profession more with each new tidbit I learn.

If I were to write a letter to my 2014 ePub Agent self here’s what I would add (with gifs of course because it's 2014 and gifs just make everything better):

  1. Your instincts are sharper with time and experience. You trust your gut now more than you did in 2012 especially when it comes to market trends and the commerciality of projects.
  2. Authors will continue to need support and uplifting pep talks but understand that insecurities may paralyze some of them. It’s more important to help them out of that fear than it is to get another book from them. The book will eventually come about but not without the author feeling safe in their creative space.
  3. The author’s SOs will thank you for mastering #2.
  4. Contract negotiations continue to be your favorite thing to do because it’s protecting your author’s livelihood as well as your own.
  5. Respect the business but remember that it IS a business and if you’re not working it, you’re not earning money.
  6. Marketing will consume much of your time regardless of author’s platform or distribution because your first marketing step is the pitch and it can’t be weak!
  7. You don’t have time to do everything and it’s ok to delegate work to underlings who you train to one day be as good or better than you. They are your legacy after all.
  8. Don’t walk into a room with a bat unless you’re prepared to deal with the swing. Don’t let your authors walk into a room with a bat either. There’s no bashing in publishing.
  9. Cry in private and smile in public. No one likes a whiner.
  10. Digital unit sales are important but a mass market print run should be the goal for all of your clients so keep track of those units sold and don’t just take the author’s word for it. Read the royalty statements and ask for those units to be included or ask the publisher to provide those.
  11. It’s not an “us vs them” mentality around here. You’re the advocate for the author but you’re not against publishers (small, indie, traditional, digital or otherwise).

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Storify: Curious Queries

Sometimes the work is not ready. Sometimes the work is not right for me. Sometimes, the query is not a query and the work is already published.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Shihanisms with my Dad

I make this kick look pretty
My father's upcoming 64th birthday will include a surprise reunion for his martial arts students. We're expecting 60-75 people in attendance with 10-15 joining us via Skype from their various military locations. Many of my dad's students went on to join the military in the 90s during Desert Storm and were (some still are) part of the Navy Seals, Green Berets or Special Forces.

My dad, as the senior instruction and 10th degree Black Belt, has always been referred to as Shihan in the dojo. He's also a Shuseki Shihan but I won't go into that now. Anyway, we have put together a Facebook Page for his dojo, American Open Karate and asked his students to post their favorite Shihanisms: the phrases he would use to motivate them in his drill sergeant ways and remembering them has been a great blast.

The student becomes the master
So here are a few:

"Don't look at me! I know I'm good-looking!" - usually said while waiting for you to do the kata he's spent the last hour going over.

"Don't cry! Girls don't cry in Karate. They get even!" - self-explanatory.

"You're not having an asthma attack. You're just not breathing hard enough!" - as he's tossing you the inhaler and watching for any signs of oxygen deprivation out of the corner of his eye.

Orange Blossom Classic 1991
And the one all of them remember because it's how he'd calm the little ones before going to their board-breaking ceremonies:
Shihan: What's behind the door?
Student: A dinosaur
Shihan: What color is he?
Student: Pink and purple polka dot.
Shihan: What's he playing?
Student: A piano
Shihan: What's he playing on the piano?
Student: I feel good by James Brown
Shihan: Now, go break that board.