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Agents Update: Time to Recharge

The month of December was a huge surge for me in my quest to find an agent. I was agent mad. Researching, writing query letters, running back and forth to the post office, sending emails, doing more research.

And then I found myself at the end of the wave. I had a few stragglers to send out, but by early January my first big push to find agent came to a close. There’s still something like 15 or 20 agents I’m still waiting to hear back from, but my initial list is wrapped up.

During thiThe month of December was a huge surge for me in my quest to find an agent. I was agent mad. Researching, writing query letters, running back and forth to the post office, sending emails, doing more research.

And then I found myself at the end of the wave. I had a few stragglers to send out, but by early January my first big push to find agent came to a close. There’s still something like 15 or 20 agents I’m still waiting to hear back from, but my initial list is wrapped up.

During this down time–agent search-wise–over the last few weeks, I’ve been putting most of my FINDERS KEEPERS energy into building this Web site. And now that the site is almost done–not quite, but soon–I’ll be gearing back up again for my next big push to land an agent.

By my count I’ve sent out about 35 query letters so far. I want to send out at least another 25 by the end of February. If so, I will have surpassed my original target, which was to send out 50 letters by April 1. But still, I’ve got work to do.

And that’s the thing about the publishing process–there’s always more to do. Especially now, in the early days, it’s especially tough because I need to put so much time and energy into getting published that I don’t have the time to do the thing I love most–write! Eventually I’ll have an agent, and at least that part of the process will be complete. But then there’s getting published, and then the next book and on and on and on …

Which I can’t wait for.

But since I haven’t had as much time to write lately–meaning, I haven’t started my next book yet–I’m getting a real bang out of blogging and adding entries to the message boards. It keeps me writing … and involved. I’ve also been tinkering around with some short stories I wrote a few years ago, but they need work, and I’m not sure I’ve got the steam to tackle them right now.

But as soon as I get that next batch of agents query letters out, I’ll let you know, and hopefully I’ll have big news sooner rather than later. Until then, I’ll be blogging away.

Building the Finders Keepers Web site

I have to admit that when I first started with the FINDERS KEEPERS web site–heck, before I started, when it was just a concept–I really didn’t want to do it. Actually, it’s not so much that I didn’t [i]want[/i] to do it, I had no idea [i]how [/i]to do it, what the process would be like, or what I was supposed to do once the site was finished.

Just thinking about coming up with this site–and then maintaining it–made me, I’m ashamed to say, a bit of whiner. Not so much out loud, just intI have to admit that when I first started with the FINDERS KEEPERS web site–heck, before I started, when it was just a concept–I really didn’t want to do it. Actually, it’s not so much that I didn’t [i]want[/i] to do it, I had no idea [i]how [/i]to do it, what the process would be like, or what I was supposed to do once the site was finished.

Just thinking about coming up with this site–and then maintaining it–made me, I’m ashamed to say, a bit of whiner. Not so much out loud, just internally. It seemed daunting and required more effort than I wanted to invest. I wanted this whole getting published thing to be easy.

Yeah right.

But then a funny thing happened. As soon as I started to design the site with Ron (the site’s webmaster), and it started coming together, I got into it. I got inspired. And since then I’ve been tweaking the site almost daily, probably driving Ron crazy with a million little changes that I think will make the site more friendly. (There’s still a few more little things to get to … d’oh!)

Now I look forward to maintaining this site. The idea of blogging regularly–heck, at all–kinda freaked me out in the early days, and now I can’t stop myself. (I guess that’s what happens when you love to hear the sound of your own voice; or read your own words).

But more importantly for me, I like the idea that this site is a vehicle–a place–to communicate with you guys. That there’s a forum here to connect us all, wherever we are. That’s what this is about for me. It’s a place to have a community, so that, even though we might be in different parts of the country–or the world–we can still be a part of each other’s lives, having a few laughs.

Pretty cool.

I hope you like all the message board options and new content on here. I’ll do my best to keep things interesting, and you’ll certainly be the first to know once FINDERS KEEPERS is published.

Once I sober up after what will be a major celebration!

American Idiot

Even after like two years, I’m still totally hooked on Green Day’s AMERICAN IDIOT. If a better album has been released in the last half dozen years, I haven’t heard it. I was never a Green Day fan before, but I am now. I had no idea they had such a masterpiece in them. Wow.

AMERICAN IDIOT is one for the ages.Even after like two years, I’m still totally hooked on Green Day’s AMERICAN IDIOT. If a better album has been released in the last half dozen years, I haven’t heard it. I was never a Green Day fan before, but I am now. I had no idea they had such a masterpiece in them. Wow.

AMERICAN IDIOT is one for the ages.

Becoming a YES person

During one section of FINDERS KEEPERS, the main character, Jason Medley, realizes during his backpacking trip through Europe that he has been a serious NO person his entire life, and is finally struggling to become a YES person. A NO person, at least in my eyes, is someone with an instinct to say NO to new ideas, to possibilities?and then refrains from experiencing them. A YES person is the opposite.

Much like Jason, up until at least my mid-20s, I was mostly a NO person. Regardless of the During one section of FINDERS KEEPERS, the main character, Jason Medley, realizes during his backpacking trip through Europe that he has been a serious NO person his entire life, and is finally struggling to become a YES person. A NO person, at least in my eyes, is someone with an instinct to say NO to new ideas, to possibilities?and then refrains from experiencing them. A YES person is the opposite.

Much like Jason, up until at least my mid-20s, I was mostly a NO person. Regardless of the reasons, I had extreme tendencies to be negative, pessimistic and defeatist. I also complained. A lot. Much of that had to do with the fact that I had no faith in the cosmos. I had no belief?or very little confidence?that if I did my best and kept an open mind, good things would start to happen.

Here?s one of my favorite examples:

When I was college, around 1991, my fraternity (again, no judging) held a car wash, with most of the money set to go to a local charity. So about a dozen of us set up near the student parking lot, and had buckets and rags and sponges, and put up a few banners for $3 per car. (Maybe it was $5; who remembers?).

After about an hour, we made something like $6. And there I was, bitching and kvetching up a storm. ?This sucks,? ?we?re screwed,? ?we?re never gonna make any money,? ?what a waste.? These were just some of the many phrases?many NO phrases?that I spouted off, one after the other after the other. Finally (and thankfully), someone told me to stick a cork in it.

I did.

And you know what? The cars finally started coming. We made money. All in all, we had a very successful car wash. Is it coincidence that business picked up almost immediately after I shut my trap and stopped complaining? Who knows? But the irony sure isn?t lost on me.

This was almost 15 years ago, when I was still a world-class NO person, in serious NO mode. Today, I consider myself to be a very solid YES person, with my share of NO tendencies I haven’t conquered yet.

I feel like I?ve done fairly OK since those heavy NO days, but the change didn?t happen overnight. I had to work at. I still have to work at it, although being a YES person is much more instinctive for me now?and a lot more fun. If anything, I spend a decent amount of time trying to help today?s NO people become future YES people. Sometimes a NO person just needs a little YES encouragement.

So the next time you find yourself bitching up a storm just because the car wash of your life isn?t going quite as well as you hoped … be patient, have faith and have fun. Say YES.

You just never know what?s waiting for you.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/01/25 09:38

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/02/15 16:47

My Top 10 TV

[b]Russ’s Top 10 TV[/b]:

I?m into making top 10 lists as much as the next dork, I mean, err ? guy. And being the moderate TV junkie that I am, here are my current top 10 favorite TV shows (as of January 2007):

[b]10. House:[/b] He?s just the biggest bastard on TV, maybe ever. And I love him for it.

[b] 9. Grey?s Anatomy:[/b] It?s just fun and juicy and nice to look at. Giddy up!

[b] 8. Rescue Me:[/b] Probably the funniest show on TV; it?s also one of the most intense. It so[b]Russ’s Top 10 TV[/b]:

I?m into making top 10 lists as much as the next dork, I mean, err ? guy. And being the moderate TV junkie that I am, here are my current top 10 favorite TV shows (as of January 2007):

[b]10. House:[/b] He?s just the biggest bastard on TV, maybe ever. And I love him for it.

[b] 9. Grey?s Anatomy:[/b] It?s just fun and juicy and nice to look at. Giddy up!

[b] 8. Rescue Me:[/b] Probably the funniest show on TV; it?s also one of the most intense. It sometimes stretches the limits of believability, but week in and week out I just can?t turn away.

[b] 7. The Sopranos[/b]: Could make a return to the top three with a bounce-back final season. The last arc was a little slow; I need to watch it again to see what I think, but I?ll bet BIG money that the final 9 episodes are amazing.

[b] 6. The Wire:[/b] If you like gritty crime shows and you?re not watching The Wire, then what the heck are you watching? Seasons 1 and 4 in particular might be two of the best seasons of any show ever.

[b] 5. Lost:[/b] A little bumpy at the beginning of Season 3 so far, but I?m psyched to see what happens next on that whacked out island!

[b] 4. Scrubs:[/b] I hear it?s now probably coming back for a final season next year, Season 7. I hope so. It?s become another of my all-time faves. The musical episode last week was inspired brilliance.

[b] 3. Entourage:[/b] If there?s another show on anywhere that?s consistently more fun and rewatchable than Entourage, let me know, because I haven?t seen it.

[b] 2. Battlestar Galactica[/b]: So insanely intense. Wowser. It?s so good I can barely stand it. If ever a show had no right to be this good, BSG is it. But it is. It so frakin? is.

[b] 1. The Office:[/b] The Office has now become one of my all time favorite comedies. It is so outrageously hilarious I squirm during virtually every episode. And yet there?s an odd, yet affecting warmth to it, which is the show?s ultimate genius. Sooooooo goooood.

Honorable Mentions:

[b]24[/b]: I was into the first two seasons, and then I lost interest, as the show can suffer from the brilliance of its own gimmick. Sometimes it?s just too much to stick with episode after episode, year after year. But I came back with Season 5, which was amazing. And now I?m into Season 6. If it holds up, 24 might make it back into my top 10.

[b]CSI[/b]: I keep thinking they?ll finally run out of cool forensic-type mystery thingies to keep me coming back, and I keep being wrong.

[b]Family Guy[/b]: Good, raunchy cartoon humor. Freakin? sweet.

[b]Heroes[/b]: I really like Heroes; don?t quite love it. But I?m in.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/01/25 08:52

Motorcycle Mania – Eastern Rider

I’m not a motorcycle rider myself, but my good friend–and the FINDERS KEEPERS web master–Ron, most certainly is. So if you live in the NYC region and are looking for some good motorcycle rides, check out Ron’s motorcycle Web site, www.easternrider.com.

There he includes dozens of day trips, with maps and detours. There’s also a link to his site on the LINKS page of this Web site.

Check it out!

[b]EASTERN RIDER[/b]I’m not a motorcycle rider myself, but my good friend–and the FINDERS KEEPERS web master–Ron, most certainly is. So if you live in the NYC region and are looking for some good motorcycle rides, check out Ron’s motorcycle Web site, www.easternrider.com.

There he includes dozens of day trips, with maps and detours. There’s also a link to his site on the LINKS page of this Web site.

Check it out!

[b]EASTERN RIDER[/b]

The Art of Selfishness

In THE ART OF SELFISHNESS, author David Seabury talks, fundamentally, about the difference between what we?ll call [i]productive selfishness[/i] and [i]destructive selfishness[/i]. And after reading his book, and talking about with some folks about it, I believe that understanding those differences?and then acting accordingly?can have a remarkable positive impact on ours lives.

[i]Productive Selfishness[/i]: Let?s say a friend asks you to help him move. He?s a pretty good friend, and you rIn THE ART OF SELFISHNESS, author David Seabury talks, fundamentally, about the difference between what we?ll call [i]productive selfishness[/i] and [i]destructive selfishness[/i]. And after reading his book, and talking about with some folks about it, I believe that understanding those differences?and then acting accordingly?can have a remarkable positive impact on ours lives.

[i]Productive Selfishness[/i]: Let?s say a friend asks you to help him move. He?s a pretty good friend, and you really want to help him out?you?re not necessarily excited about moving furniture, but you figure it?s the kind of thing your friend would do for you if the situations were reversed.

But truth is, you?re physically tired from a long couple of weeks at work. You?ve been feeling pretty run down lately and it?s been getting worse, and you just need a weekend to yourself to recuperate. You also feel that if you exert yourself now, you may take a legitimate turn for the worse. So you tell your friend that you won?t be able to him move.

And then he guilts you. ?Come on, dude. Help me out. You know I?d totally help you. It?ll only take a few hours. Otherwise I?ll be at this all day by myself or it?ll cost me a fortune to hire movers.?

So what should you do? The answer is, it depends. But I think Seabury would argue that while you might feel on some level that helping your friend is a good thing to do–that you’re being a good friend–if it compromises your well-being or your values to a degree that would be more harmful to you than it would be helpful to your friend, then you should say no, even if your friend gives you grief about it. This is an example of [i]productive selfishness.[/i]

Of course, every situation is different; there’s no one size fits all. We need to consider all factors and then make the best decision we can.

But I think that we have been conditioned over the generations to often let guilt dictate our actions, and to worry about what [i]other [/i]people will think about us. Far too often we put what other people want ahead of what’s best for us. We compromise our values, thinking that we’re doing so for a good reason. And sometimes making a sacrifice is the right thing to do. It can be difficult to know what the best decision is. But I think it’s extremely important that we understand–and legitimately believe–that saying no is an absolutely acceptable option. Knowing [i]when[/i] to say no is the tricky part.

It’s something I’ve struggled with for many, many years, especially when I was younger. I’ve gotten a better handle on it now, but it’s still a tough one for me. I’m working on it.

[i]Destructive Selfishness:[/b] Here?s a true story. When I was in college my fraternity (don?t judge) had a spaghetti lunch one weekend. We held it at my apartment. Basically, we just made mounds of pasta and had a meal together. To accompany our pasta, we also bought a couple of bags of garlic bread that you heat up in the broiler. Naturally, everybody wanted a piece, and there was only so much to go around.

One guy who, we?ll call Fred, was first in line in the kitchen (sort of no surprise there). So I served him up a plate of spaghetti, and put a piece of garlic bread on his plate. And then he grabbed another one. When I told him that it was only one to a customer, he got aggressive with me. I told him to put one piece back. We argued. Finally, he walked away with only piece.

Had there been far more bread than people, I wouldn?t have cared that he took another piece of bread. But he knew there was only enough bread for each person to get one piece. He [i]knew[/i] that, and tried to take a second piece anyway.

Nothing good came from Fred?s selfishness here. Had he taken two pieces, then someone else wouldn?t have gotten any. And even though he ultimately put the second piece back, his selfishness, and then his subsequent attempts to justify his selfishness, added stress to what was supposed to be a fun day, and also demonstrated that he was far more interested in what he wanted than in being equitable.

This is [i]destructive selfishness[/i]. Fred thought only of himself?and acted accordingly?in a way that was harmful to others, and, really, to himself.

Just something to think about.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/01/23 08:47

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/01/23 16:53

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/01/23 20:39

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/01/31 06:17

My Top Five Favorite Books

In no particular order, these are my top five favorite books of all time. I’m not necessarily saying they’re the best of all time, just my top five favorites:

* THE SIRENS OF TITAN:

Kurt Vonnegut

* FAHRENHEIT 451:

Ray Bradbury

* THE CATHER IN THE RYE:

J.D. Salinger

* LAMB

Christopher Moore

* THE STAND

Stephen King

What’s on your top five list?In no particular order, these are my top five favorite books of all time. I’m not necessarily saying they’re the best of all time, just my top five favorites:

* THE SIRENS OF TITAN:

Kurt Vonnegut

* FAHRENHEIT 451:

Ray Bradbury

* THE CATHER IN THE RYE:

J.D. Salinger

* LAMB

Christopher Moore

* THE STAND

Stephen King

What’s on your top five list?

The Sirens of Titan

About 15 years ago, back in college, two guys I knew–they were brothers–were on my case for years about reading THE SIRENS OF TITAN by Kurt Vonnegut. I kept saying I’d read it, and they kept hounding me about it. Well, I finally relented … and they were right. I’ve since read THE SIRENS OF TITAN about a half dozen times, and recommend it to everybody who will listen.

If you’re looking for a book that challenges conventional thinking about God, the Universe and the meaning of living a About 15 years ago, back in college, two guys I knew–they were brothers–were on my case for years about reading THE SIRENS OF TITAN by Kurt Vonnegut. I kept saying I’d read it, and they kept hounding me about it. Well, I finally relented … and they were right. I’ve since read THE SIRENS OF TITAN about a half dozen times, and recommend it to everybody who will listen.

If you’re looking for a book that challenges conventional thinking about God, the Universe and the meaning of living a worthy life, this is the book for you. It’s a little bit sci-fi, but in a broad sense, and really gets you thinking about how all the pieces of the cosmos might fit together. And once it’s got you convinced about what’s what, it turns you on your head. It’s a quick, fascinating read that you will never forget.

THE SIRENS OF TITAN may not get the critical acclaim of SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE, but it’s every bit as good, if not better.

THE SIRENS OF TITAN is a must read, and in my top five books of all time.

Battlestar Galactica – Holy Frak!

Maybe it’s jsut me, but Battlestar Galactica is incredible! Excuse my decent into dorkville, but it’s AWESOME!!! In a million years I never would have thought BSG would be this good. Holy crap! I can’t remember the last time I got so hooked on a show that I’m almost twitching the whole week just waiting for the next episode.

Okay …. breathe … breathe ………………… breathe …

If you’re not watching Battlestar Galactica, start now or throw out your TV.Maybe it’s jsut me, but Battlestar Galactica is incredible! Excuse my decent into dorkville, but it’s AWESOME!!! In a million years I never would have thought BSG would be this good. Holy crap! I can’t remember the last time I got so hooked on a show that I’m almost twitching the whole week just waiting for the next episode.

Okay …. breathe … breathe ………………… breathe …

If you’re not watching Battlestar Galactica, start now or throw out your TV.

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