Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Guest Blogger - Jessica Conant-Park

Ah, the life of an author… Pouring creative energy in manuscripts, never out of plot points, confident in our abilities to engage the reader, lucrative contract after contract line up… Ha! Hardly. For most of us, being a writer is a lot tougher. Especially these days, when book deals are getting harder and harder to come by. I’ve spent the past few years writing the Gourmet Girl series, safely tucked away in the security of a three-book and then a two-book deal. But now I’m in foreign territory that I not so affectionately call, “The Hideous Wait.” I’ve finished out my Gourmet Girl books and have written a YA book that my lovely agent has sent off to ten publishers. How exciting, right? Um, no. Terrifying, nerve-wracking, nauseating (on some days), and miserable. There is simply nothing fun about waiting for rejection.

Yes, I know, I shouldn’t assume the book won’t get picked up. It’s a good book, too, if I do un-modestly say so myself, and I hope beyond hope that it gets published. But it’s easier to have lofty visions of publishers throwing cash at you before the book reaches editors. Believe me, I was oozing confidence a month ago. I’ve only heard back from three publishers so far: two incredibly supportive rejections that were actually rather confidence boosting, and one more typical of the business that was, frankly, rude and insulting. Often par for the course with rejection letters, so you have to learn not to take it personally. I emailed my agent and asked if she was worried yet. Her response? “Nope.” Good, then I’ll worry when she does. Okay, mostly.

So what am I doing while I wait? I mean, besides checking my email eight thousand times a day? Glaring at the phone? Tapping my feet anxiously and constantly? Trying to plot out a sequel but failing because I’m afraid I’ll jinx myself by thinking there could be a second? I’ll tell you what I’ve done: I’ve picked a distracting obsession and stuck with it. Is the obsession something literary and professional? Well... not exactly. But it is fun. And it goes by the name of Rick Springfield.

Yup, folks, that’s right. 80s rock idol Rick Springfield is much more fun to focus on than my book concerns. And Facebook only makes it easier to share my fun. I have always been a RS fan, but when I discovered that there is a Rick Springfield cruise in November… well, it threw me over the edge. I mean, an actual cruise with the man himself! And special guest Richard Marx! Fortunately, I’m not alone in my lunacy. My BFF (also named Jessica) has her own life stresses to deal with and was only happy to hop aboard my delusion train. Private concerts? Swimming with a bathing suit clad Rick in the ocean? Sipping cocktails on the lido deck with a shirtless singer? Absolutely. We’ll make this happen. J2 (as she’s now known) and I post back and forth, strategizing on how to get ourselves on this cruise for free. Here are a few of our posts:

JCP: Beyond thrilled: Am now following Rick Springfield on Twitter. Must figure out how to use this move to advance plan...

JCP: Appears Rick is not a compulsive updater like some of us. Heartbroken.

JCP: Great. Have just received taunting email from with exciting cruise details. Bastards

JCP: Still reeling. The ENTIRE WCD album during the cruise concert. Misery. Envy. Desperation.

JCP: Just remembered lovely literary agent is on FB and is probably thinking FB should be used to promote writing career rather than 80s idol. Current insanity is temporary, but will likely be replaced with other non-author related material. Don't fire me.

JCP: Um, just got caught rockin' out at stoplight to "Affair of the Heat." Forgot sunroof was open. Torn between humiliation and pride.

JCP: Have fantasy about winning lottery and purchasing extravagant beachfront property in order to host rock star related events. Must invest in scratch tickets.

JCP: Am now being accused of mental instability by neighbors.

JCP: Just did third interview with the Hippo Press and treated as expert on all things to do with publishing. (Interviewer apparently unaware of mental illness accusations regarding Rick obsession.)

JCP: Disappointed in contributions thus far to cover costs of attending Rick Springfield cruise. Odds of reaching financial goal are looking weak. You know where to reach me.

JCP: Searching online for tawdry Rick Springfield t-shirt as compensation for despair about unlikelihood of attending cruise.

JCP: Okay, new book idea: Will put together book comprised solely of FB updates. Will TOTALLY be able to work Rick into the title. And will just be matter of cutting and pasting into MS. Pubs will love it. Hm... Must mull over appropriately enticing title...

JCP: Possible book title: "Facebooking Rick Springfield." Hm... sounds too pornographic and does not capture spirit of novel. At least not yet.

Um, yeah… this is just the tip of the iceberg, folks. But, hey, my pal and I are having a blast, and have found a (relatively) harmless way to plow through stress. And we’ve developed quite a following on Facebook, so if you need to escape for a bit, “friend” me and join in the mayhem. We even have entertaining photographs of our poolside meetings to discuss the cruise strategy… And one of these days I’ll get back to writing books.

Jessica Conant-Park


  1. LOL. You are absolutely delightful. Thank you for the big smile I'm wearing right now. Keep your spirits up, I have faith.

  2. What a great guest blog I needed this today. Thanks Jessica for not only the blog but the pictures of Bruce. LOL

  3. I can't get Jessie's Girl out of my head today! LOL

  4. Jessica Conant-ParkJune 17, 2009 at 8:23 PM

    Thanks for letting me gab about my idol, LOL!


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