Thursday, January 2, 2014

Holiday Happenings (Part 2)


Mekayla, Lindsey, Emia, and Caden hope everyone had a Merry Christmas (or Joyeux Noel as Emia's mom would say), Happy Hanukkah, and had as a great a party on New Year's Eve as Mekayla's family did. Their holiday parties are the stuff of legends in their sleepy little town. Mekayla can't wait to see what the next 12 months and 365 days have in store for her and her friends, and hopes to have lots of exciting adventures to tell you about.



This will be a holiday season Mekayla will likely never forget. It all started going well enough. She loves being able to celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas, and like pretty much every other kid out there, she wanted the must-have toy of the season. You know, the one the adults get into fist fights and maced each other over. She didn't seem to understand why her parents were so worried about her getting it. She knew if she didn't get it for Hanukkah, Santa wouldn't let her down at Christmas. Then she got a really big-and happy-surprise when her mom's side of the family came up from Virginia to surprise the whole family.

But then Mekayla got an unexpected-and not very merry-surprise of her own:


Her loony Aunt Claire and her bratty cousin Morgan showed up from California for the holidays. Morgan is one year older than Mekayla, but she might as well be a 25 year old, because that's what she acts like. Morgan is an actress/singer/beauty queen and Aunt Claire is the ultimate stage mom living in her own universe. Morgan puts down everything about Mekayla's life-her friends, her pets, her house, her career path, and then she complains about her small town and the weather. Worst, Morgan has the "must have toy" that Mekayla wants so badly. And she brags about all the money her family has, meeting Mekayla's favorite stars, and living in Hollywood.

Mekayla calls her "Full Moon Morgan" because everything always goes wrong when Morgan comes to town. In the three weeks that she's there, Mekayla winds up with a broken arm, her beloved Doberman runs away, her daddy's Christmas display for the the big contest doesn't go as planned, Mekayla accidentally breaks Caden's nose, and a minor family feud turns into the ultimate food fight. But like Charlie Brown looking for the real meaning of Christmas, Mekayla winds up getting some more surprises by the time the 25th of December rolls around-and she learns a few things about her cousin that make her realize she may not be so bad after all.

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And a few words from the aspiring author hoping to bring you Mekayla & Company in the near future. I've had so much fun in the two years that I've resurrected the idea for this story and re-worked it to add some of my favorite people, and my own adventures as a kid growing up in a small town. I'm going into the next phase, where I'll hopefully begin submitting to agents and see where I can go from there. With every rejection letter that I potentially get, I will realize that I'm one step closer to moving on to the next step, and that is the agent convincing an editor at a publishing house that my book can sell. But as I've learned, even if an editor loves it, there's still a whole network they have to go through to convince their publishing house they could have the next hit on their hands. Whether my book sells one copy or a million, I will consider it worth it. I'm having fun and my characters have become like my own children to me.

I have to say it's a somewhat terrifying idea to actually begin sending my work out there. Writing, submitting, publishing-it's a much bigger world and more of a process than I ever could have imagined. And like a good percentage of people out there, I'm terrified to let anyone take a peek at what I've written so far. I've shared the general idea for my series and my first book, but having people actually read it? Well, I did let a couple, more for an objective opinion. And I have my critique group, plus RACWI (Rochester Area Children's Writers & Illustrators), and I've attended three conferences, plus tried to take advantage of my membership with the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators). But even in some of those cases, I've just gained helpful insight and information that has helped me move forward, not put any of my writing out there to be scrutinized. The last conference I attended in November was a Meet the Editors event, with two editors allowing the opportunity to submit all or part of a manuscript for consideration, or at the very least a professional critique. I had the chance to sit down one on one with an editor at that event, an editor named Alex Arnold who I had met at a previous conference. She gave me some helpful advice on some things I had been struggling on, but I just needed to hear someone else say.

Much like Mekayla & her friends looking at the year full of blank spaces that are going to be filled up by all kinds of things, I look at my own 2014 with that same attitude. The writing resolutions that I want to stick with are research, receiving as much feedback as possible, reading, staying focused (I have bad ADD that gets me easily distracted), beginning the query and submission process, and of course writing, writing, writing. I have my bulletin board of all things that inspire me for Mekayla & Company, and now I've begun an envision board of what I want out of my life. I take signs for what they are, and I have a good feeling that one day, whether it's this year or in 10 years, my name will be out there in the book stores and online.

2 comments:

  1. Dear Kari,

    I apologise for not being a very ardent reader, but i have been through Mekayla & her friends in bits and parts, if not completely.

    I must say it's a good effort and words put together as a story some of us living in the similar time as yours will connect to :).

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