Monthly Archives: February 2015

Look what the cat dragged in

Ok, look what I found lurking in the dark corner of my harddrive – a first chapter of a dating chicklit book I never finished. Ok, never wrote – all I have is a couple of chapters. Who wants to read another dating book, anyway?

This is not a true story. Ok, it is loosely based on some of the terrible experiences I’ve had dating a few years back. Thankfully it’s all behind me now, so I can just laugh at it…hope you do too.

Prince Charming

“How could she do this…this…to me?” Matt slurred. The late hour and an unknown number of long island ice teas were taking their toll. “She was everything to me!”

“I am sure it was for the best,” I said once again.

Matt looked at me for a moment. I thought he was about to disagree, but instead he just hiccupped.


Great. As if the night could not get any worse.

“Well,” I said, “I really, really do need to go now. It was very nice…”

“All I ever wanted was to love her…eek…to come home to her……to…aaahh!”

With that, Matt dissolved into a stream of hiccups and sobs. It was hard to imagine that this caricature was a well groomed businessman just a few hours ago. He slumped over the table, knocking over an empty glass and the check tray that has been quite suggestively brought by the waiter about half an hour ago. It was time to go.

“C’mon Matt, let’s get you a taxi, you’ve got to get some sleep,” I tried to pull him up by the elbow, but succeeded only in dragging him down to the floor.

He kneeled in a heap next to his chair, still sobbing. I bent down to try one more time to pick him up, when he suddenly threw up all over my shoes. Brand new, soft as butter, suede boots that I wore for the first time. I felt fury and nausea all at the same time. It was late on a school night, my date and my shoes were ruined, and I obviously had to pay the tab for both of us. I was done playing either the nice girl or the psychologist.

I marched over to the bar, where an icy cold waiter was cleaning up for the night.

“Excuse me” I said with forced calm, “could you please call two taxis, for me and my friend here?”

Ice Man gave me his most demeaning, sub-zero look as if to say “I am not here to clean up your mess, hun”. Then he looked over at where Matt was still worshipping his chair and must have realized that getting us both out of the joint was in his best interest.

“With pleasure” he said through clenched teeth, picked up the phone and punched in a number with a little too much force. I smiled my fakest smile and walked back to the table. Behind me, I could hear Ice Man trying to convince someone on the other end to deliver two cars to “Laika” as a special favour to him.

Matt was doing a little better. While I was gone, he managed to get himself back to the seat and was wiping his face and hands with the edge of the tablecloth. Oh well, at least the night was about to be over. My whole body ached from the sheer effort of the last hour. I could not wait to go home, take a long hot shower, climb into bed, and forget, forget this night all together.

“How are you feeling?” I asked, wondering why I still bothered.

“Much better, thanks” he sounded a little sobered up, and quite a bit ashamed. “Thank you for listening to me…you are very sweet”. He was looking down at the ruined tablecloth.

“Glad to help.” Instead of telling him that I was actually boiling with rage, I picked up the check from the floor, pulled a couple of bills from my purse, and put them under an empty glass.

“You really are…I mean it…” he looked up at me with his wet puppy eyes. Thankfully, Ice Man was suddenly beside us. Apparently, someone did owe him a favor, because two taxis were already outside, in less time that it would have taken the cops to respond. Very impressive.

“Thank you,” I said, realizing that it was the first truthful statement of the night.

“My pleasure,” Ice Man said, while grimacing to indicate otherwise.

Matt managed to get up on his own and put his arm around my shoulders. The torture was not yet over – apparently he expected me to drag him out into the street. It did not bother me as much as it should have, probably because our every step brought me closer to the shower. Outside, I gratefully sucked in a full breath of fresh air. After five hours in a smoky bar with an emotionally unstable drunk man, the sudden surge of oxygen made me lightheaded.

It must have had a similar effect on Matt. He slowly turned and brought his face close to mine, as if he suddenly saw me for the first time.

“You are a sweet girl,” he slurred again. The stench of vomit made me gag.

“Yeah, that’s just great…” Thankfully, the driver of the first cab came around and opened the door for us. I staggered two more steps, pushing Matt closer to the cab.

“Sweet…so sweet,” he kept muttering.

“Well, good night then,” I said.

Mentally I was already home, so it took me by surprise that instead of peacefully sinking into the back seat, Matt lunged at me. He grasped my head with both hands and attempted to swallow half of my face in presumably a goodnight kiss. I tried to scream in horror and protest, but he mistook my muffled squeals for groans of passion and thrust his tongue so far into my mouth, that for a moment I thought I was going to choke. Finally, I was able to shove him away and he hit the side of a cab.

“I love you, Nasty,” he seemed unfazed. “You are the best thing that ever happened to me”. He tried to reach for me, but lost his balance and fell back against the cab.

“It’s Nastia! Anastasia, you drunken idiot!” I screamed, finally losing it and shaking all over with anger and humiliation. “You are the worst date I’ve ever had!” I shoved him, hard, turned around and stormed to my cab.

“Carlisle and Burke, please” I said to my driver.

“Don’t you want me to follow your boyfriend?” the driver said, laughing. He must have witnessed the whole catastrophe.

“He is not my boyfriend!” I screamed. “Just drive, or I swear to God, I will lose it up in here so bad, they will never find your body!”

“Whatever, I am just trying to help,” the cabby looked offended, but drove off. Good. I was done being nice for the night.

I fell back against the filthy cushions and closed my eyes. My head was pounding and the only thought still running through it was, “How did I get myself into this mess?”


Filed under General thoughts

One door closes

Well, what can you do – the agent’s assistant (the one that thought my novel is funny) emailed to let me know that the actual agent passed on the manuscript. He was nice enough to copy the response, which was: “It’s definitely funny, but I don’t really know the market for spoof-y novels like this, so I don’t think it’s for me. However, feel free to evaluate with our other agents in mind if you’re really keen on it.”

Thankfully he appears to be really keen on it, as he has already forwarded it to another agent in the same company. I guess that means another few weeks of waiting, which is getting easier to bear, maybe because I’m getting mentally ready to self-publish. In my case, the ignorance of not knowing the market truly is bliss. I just can’t help but think “If it’s funny, they will come”.

Time will tell.

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It can happen to you

It has not happened to me…yet. But something wonderful happened to my fiancé today. He had not one, but two dreams come true, in the space of about an hour. And that’s in addition to being engaged to me.

His first dream was about five years in the making. For some inexplicable reason, Josh has been trying to trade his safe corporate job for a career as a firefighter in the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. It’s dangerous, stressful and physically demanding, but at least it pays little.

I can sort of understand – in Australia firefighters are true heroes, what with the constantly raging bush fires. Then there’s a big red truck, sirens, suspenders and the sex symbol status. No wonder thousands of men compete for just a handful of jobs each year. The wannabies have to pass a barrage of physical, mental and psychological tests, one of which is endless waiting.

Josh has been waiting, patiently and not so patiently, since 2009. That’s like, a really long time. You can imagine his shock of getting a phone call just a few days ago, requiring him to take one last beep test. They must do this on purpose, to check just how badly one wants to be a firefighter. Who else would be willing to stay in peak physical fitness at all times and be available on moments’ notice?

Josh did, for five years. No wonder he passed the test, a gruelling 9.6, this morning.

Now imagine his shock at getting a missed phonecall while running the above mentioned beep test. Not that a missed call is all that surprising, but this one turned out to be from a recruiter, with an offer for an amazing new job, a big step up in his “regular” IT career. He’s been working on this goal for over a year. Fate must be a sadist with a sense of humour.

I’m not sure if he will choose the quiet joy of the desk job or the heroics of firefighting and getting adrenaline highs. But I am sure that he will never forget today, and neither will I.

Fairytales can come true – it can happen to you.

If you try really hard.

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Wait better

Why does it have to be so hard? Why does it never stop? I’ve already waited for months for a response to a query letter and now I have to wait for an unknown length of time for an agent to read my manuscript.

To think about it, even if my dream comes true and the agent signs me on, there will be only more waiting to come. Waiting for a publisher to respond to query, waiting for them to review the manuscript, waiting for a decision. Even the ultimate dream of publishing will be all about waiting, waiting, waiting…

I am terrible at waiting. Which is silly, because how hard could it be? All you have to do is watch hours of TV and eat Cheetos. Trouble is, I don’t do either. So instead, I go through my days as if under a spell, constantly daydreaming about “what if?” Sometimes it’s good, sort of a barely contained giggle of “OMG, here it comes!” Other times it’s more like a monotonous drone of an air conditioner in the doctor’s office, while you wait to be stabbed with a needle.

I hate it. I love it. I’m basically addicted to it. Considering that I ain’t got no skills on how to deal with the addiction, I turned to Google for advice on how to get over it. Google suggested that I distract myself with something else. Here are some ideas of things to do while waiting for the agent’s response:

1. Go to movies. Except to that Interstellar flick. You’ve been warned.
2. Have sex. Again and again, if that’s what it takes.
3. Take a nap.
4. Call your mother and get into an argument about something. The topics are endless, like for example, why you are getting married so soon.
5. Clean scale insects off a massive house plant. Trust me, going back to aimless waiting will be a joy.
6. Miss a Coles delivery because you were having sex and get into a huge fight with the customer rep over the cancellation fee.
7. Draft a lengthy email to Coles complaining about the customer rep. Have a lengthy discussion with your partner about the reasons it was not your fault. Read the Coles customer agreement. The whole thing. Rejoice at having found a loophole and craft another lengthy email.
8. Eat strawberries in bed (any fruit will do).
9. Read a book. Hey, this is actually good advice! All decent writers swear by this whole reading thing.
10. Start writing your next book. Now, this is the best advice yet. I’m gonna go take some of it myself.

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Filed under Shizzle, Inc.

Got a nibble!

It finally happened! After four months and about 60 applications, one agent has requested a full manuscript!

A few days ago, I woke up in the morning and, as usual, reached for my phone. Before the shower or the coffee, or even being able to fully open my eyes, I had to check the email. I’ve been doing this for months. That’s the trouble with the time difference between Australia and the US – the American agents work while I sleep. It is also a blessing, as I would otherwise check the email every few minutes, and not every half-hour, like normal people.

Amongst the junk mail enticing me to attend one-day-only secret sales for super special customers, there was one from an actual person. I did not recognize the name, but the word “QUERY” in the subject line told me it was another rejection letter. I opened it, expecting a standard form.

It started as they all do. “Dear…we have received…read with interest…” Then, in the second paragraph, my groggy brain registered a few words I have not seen before, at least not in this context.

“I laughed out loud.”

Jolted into an upright position by a shot of adrenaline, I read the email over and over. Granted, it was from an agent’s assistant, but he thought the small sample I sent was funny and he wanted to read the first three chapters. I sent the chapters.

He replied the next day with more “laughed out loud” and even “told my colleague”. He asked to see the full manuscript.

This is where preparation meets opportunity. Except in my case, because despite hoping for it, I was utterly unprepared for the request. The manuscript was finished a year ago, but every attempt at editing it started from Chapter 1. The polish sort of wore off the closer one got to the ending.

I did what I had to do – called in sick and edited nearly 80 thousand words in one day. By the end of the day I truly was sick and looked a bit like the walking dead. Any sane person would probably take a few days to get ready, but that’s not how I roll.

I sent it in and, after biting my nails for two days, followed up with only a slightly desperate “hope the attachment made it through the anti-spam!” message. The assistant replied instantly, informing me that while he thought the humor dropped off a bit in Chapter 4, he still liked the manuscript well enough to forward it to the “proper” agent.

So now it’s just fingers crossed…more applications…and maybe working on that whole “preparation” thing.

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