Guest Post: Florence Fois

Guest host day!

Quick recap on guest hosts: Dear Hubby handled the 50th, Lydia Sharp took the 100th, Margo Kelly brought in the 150th, and to celebrate the 175th post on my blog I thought I’d celebrate and have the wonderfully funny Florence Fois over to guest host!

Florence and I met when I was the guest host over at Pimp My Novel. She came to visit my blog that day, subscribed, and has been a regular reader and commentor ever since.

And now, without further ado, here’s Florence…

I am Florence Fois. My blog is Ramblings From The Left. Ramblings is about the characters in my life. That strange mix of personalities who blend together in the stories and in The City where they take place. The City?  The Big Apple herself, of course.

I write humorous women’s fiction in the genres of romance, paranormal and mystery and there is little mystery where all my stories take place.

Thanks for the opportunity to do a guest post on your blog today, Christi. I hope your readers enjoy. 

My journey as a writer …

I have been writing in different ways all of my life. Like so many others, my early stories center around the family; that unit of people in their varied combinations who mold and shape our thinking. I write the memories that linger and leave footprints in the sand. 

Early on a Saturday and not wanting to get too involved with one of my “gals” … I sat back and wondered about the first, second and third time I found myself squirreling away the hours with words.

What if  I had been able to continue writing when I was eighteen, and my only desire was to go to  college and drown in words, mine and others? I never got to college until much later than most of my contemporaries and I was a twenty-nine year old freshman with one infant and one toddler.

What if I had taken the advice of college professors and friends when I was in my thirties? If I had been able to get my first outrageous, stream of consciousness novel published?

Aw, the list of what if goes on and brings me to my third and most recent attempt. This is when I finally decided to dust off the journals, convert the yellow pages and floppy disks to CDs and flash drives and offer several agents the honor of representing me.

In the privacy of “a room of my own,” I began to read some of my earlier stories, the prosaic and boring prose, the over the top hyperboles, the less than stellar language mistakes, repeating myself over and over as though the reader didn’t get it the first or fourth time.

People tell me they “love” my voice and that I can tell a damn good story, laced with humor, poignant panache and brilliant dialogue. However, these are the gifts I was given. The gifts we are given are what we come in with. What we do with them is something else again.

My first critique group began to ask if I was afraid to send a query. Me, afraid?

So, I took the first book, dipped my foot into the waters and sent out ONE query. In two years, I have sent SIX queries. Okay, so I was not all that confident.

Last year another author introduced me to a New York agent, who based solely on the referral, asked for the first 50 pages of a mystery. Wow, a partial!

I was already planning the book cover and the movie deal … until I got the rejection.

The book was not ready and my one chance at “it’s not what you know, but who you know” was blown.

The other six were either dead silence or rejections. Lucky that I am, three of these rejections had comments. Again, I was not ready.

What I have come to know from different writer’s groups, workshops, writer’s blogs, web pages and dozens of reference books, is not just who I am, but how to express who I am.

How to edit myself, search and destroy that which is redundant; rewrite, revise, edit and polish the draft until it is squeaky clean. After great pains and much hard work, I now have a novel that is ready.

Not being a fool and reading Eric on Pimp My Novel each day, I am aware that going cold query may not work. Social networking might get attention. But with thousands of other blogs similar, better and more polished, who am I kidding?

I’ve decided to save for a conference. It’s on my home turf and that is a charm. New York City, The Big Apple, and my hometown is calling this home girl back to the roost.

In the meantime, I will begin sending queries once more. Each rejection that came with “comments” was like a beacon in the dark, guiding me on my journey. Each suggestion, I now know, were the kind thoughts of a professional that knew better what it takes to get into traditional publishing.

I listened and I learned. I also kept writing new material. Yes, I am still unpublished. The big difference today is I am closer to realizing my dream.

My novels are about NYC women on the edge of discovery, danger and fun. I am learning how to write the perfect query and synopsis, the best first sentence, the tightest first twenty-five pages and ultimately the best ready-to-wear manuscript.  

It has been a long journey, traveling in different directions at each crossroad.

One thing I have never forgotten … we never travel further than our heart and that is a journey worth taking.

See you in print.

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32 thoughts on “Guest Post: Florence Fois

  1. I don’t mind being the first. Thanks so much, Christi. It is an amazing part of cyber-space, the friends we make and one day hope to meet in person.

    I hold that thought for us. One of these days, we will both muster the funds, the time and the right place to meet. In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy your daily posts.

    Thank you again and have a great day!

  2. Florence,

    Thank you so much for guest hosting, and providing your “writing story”. It always facinates me how each writer got to where they are, be it published or still on the journey to publication.

    Have a great day!

    Christi

  3. “The gifts we are given are what we come in with. What we do with them is something else again.” Oh, yes!! It’s so important to remember that parable of the talents and consciously work at identifying, developing and using our gifts. Thanks for the prod… I need to get moving. 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing your story! It certainly is a journey of how a writer gets from point A to point B. Every writer’s journey is so unique but that is because our heart song’s sing different tunes.

  5. Great post, Florence! It’s an interesting road, to say the least. I think we so often neglect to see that hardly nobody writes their first story, sends it out, and voila! is published.
    We all have such high hopes and work SO hard. But it is those of us who persist … who press on thru the rejections with their chins held high because we believe in ourselves… that finally see our names and work in print. I love your motivation and dedication to the craft.

    See you both in print! 😉

  6. Carol,

    She says it so perfectly doesn’t she? I too have been inspired by this post to get moving again!

    Thanks,
    Christi

  7. Karen,
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Good to see a new face here for Florence’s hosting day.

    Thanks again,
    Christi

  8. Carol, Karen and PK … thanks so much for your lovely comments. It was so good of you to stop and read my post. Yes, it is true. Each of us travels our own yellow brick road … all trying to get to OZ.

    Christi, what can I say, but thanks again. 🙂 This is an honor.

  9. Christi, thanks for the opportunity to get to better acquainted with Florence.

    You mentioned a conference in NYC, Florence. Would that be RWA® Nationals? If so, I highly encourage you to go. Talk about a wonderful group of writers–talented, fun, and generous. You would learn heaps, make tonz of new friends, and have a blast. I guarantee it. =)

    I wish you well on the submissions.

    • Yes, Keli. That is the one I was talking about. I’d love to be in my hometown and have that experience. I’ve heard so many wonderful stories from the women I meet at my RWA chapters.

      Wouldn’t it be fun it a group of us could all go?

      Thanks for the good wishes. As it is said … “from your lips to God’s ears.”

  10. Nice post. We all are trudging down a similar road. I think it helps a lot to share experiences. People make it sound as if you “should” be getting full manuscripts read after four or five queries, but these days, it can be more like 40. Or 400. Especially if you write for grown-ups. Keep on trudging, Florence! We’re all here with you.

  11. Thanks, Anne. I know I am in wonderful company, especially here with Christi.

    I’ll keep trudging and keep looking to the side to see if any of you are walking next to me for “luck.”

    Good to hear from you today 🙂

  12. As always, Florence, I am wishing you the best of luck in your quest to be published! I really think, unfortunately, that it’s not all about writing a great manuscript. As someone who has defied the odds and just had my debut novel published, it really does comes down to just dumb luck — sending that one good query to that one right person at the right moment in time…. You just have to keep plugging along and hope Lady Luck smiles your way!

  13. Lucie, Anne, and Karen

    Thanks for commenting and I hope to see you here again soon.

    I love how supportive writers all are for each other. Makes it nice to know the journey to publication has wonderful people rooting others on along the way.

    Christi

  14. Florence, I always enjoy your blogs, and now that you’ve introduced me to Christi (great name!), I will be watching for her next blog as well!

  15. Thanks for reading. I’m glad you enjoyed. It is a wonderful sorority of sister writers we have formed here in space.

    Each of the women I have met struggle in their own unique way and to know each of you is a joy 🙂

  16. CL,

    So, I’m guessing your name is Christi? If so, how do you spell it?

    Thanks for stopping by and supporting Florence.

    Christi

  17. Loved this guest post and it lit a fire under my you-know-what, too. I’ve got a novel currently being read with an agent, but I could grow old(er) and die before I hear from her again, and I’ve vowed to send out more queries. But for some reason, its an item on the to-do list that doesn’t get done, maybe because it is such a daunting prospect. At any rate, Florence, the conference is a wonderful idea, its a great way to connect with agents, editors, and other writers.

    • Thanks, Charlotte. Now all I have to do is come up with the money 🙂

      We are all on this precarious journey to self-realization and what we want is not easy.

      Good luck to us all and thanks again for reading my post.

  18. “The gifts we are given are what we come in with. What we do with them is something else again.” At the risk of being a Carol copier, I too enjoyed this quote, and it is so very true. Isn’t it?

    I really enjoyed this post, Florence. And thank you, Christi, for inviting her over. 🙂

  19. Charlotte,

    Oh the dreaded to-do list! Glad to see I’m not the only one that has trouble with daunting tasks.

    Good to see you over here supporting Florence and giving such great advice about conferences.

    Christi

  20. Pingback: Self-Publishing: What Happens Next…

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