liar liar

My computer dinged with an incoming Match message.

We should talk, wrote a person whose handle suggested British heritage.

This could be interesting, I said to myself. DaveTheBrit had not previously caught my eye, but I gave him points for being bold. I’m freaking tired of twenty-message exchanges about the weather and what music I like.

Me: Why, so you can woo me with your British accent?

DaveTheBrit: Exactly.

Me: What are we going to talk about?

DaveTheBrit: We’re going to talk about how you’re coming over tonight for dinner and Netflix.

[I pause here to reassure readers I’d never venture to a stranger’s place for a first or even fifth date. I have no desire to have my dating life fictionalized on Law and Order.]

But my heart skipped a beat. He was thinking beyond I can’t wait for spring or I heard the Civil Wars broke up. I held my response, not feeling the need to state the obvious but not wanting his cyber flirting to end. I decided to play coy.

Me: I lived in London for a year… I’m immune to your British charm.

Tick tock. Tick tock. Refresh screen. Tick tock.

DaveTheBrit: Well, I’ve lived in the U.S. for twenty years. I really sound more Australian now. Maybe that’ll do something for you.

Yeah, it did something for me. It made me think he was a big fat liar. Now I’m imagining a different scenario than what dinner and a movie inspired. I’m imagining DaveTheFakeBrit having beers with a buddy and mentioning he wasn’t getting much attention on Match.

BeerBuddy: Dude, you should totally say you’re British. Chicks dig a British accent.

DaveTheFakeBrit: You’re a genius!

Fast forward to the other night.

DaveTheFakeBrit (in panicked text to BeerBuddy): Dammit! Winked at hot chick. She lived in U.K., gonna know my accent is fake!

BeerBuddy: Shit! Say U R Australian! U sound more like the Crocodile Hunter anyway.

DaveTheFakeBritFakeAussie: Right.

His last words of our short-lived exchange suggested he’d leave me breathless; instead I’m stunned. Maybe he’s really British but decided I was boring. Maybe he’s American and knew he was nabbed. The crazy thing about online dating is you have no idea what’s real versus what’s fiction.

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on signing an agent

The publishing odds are stacked against an aspiring debut author. In the cutthroat industry that converts stories to books, even having an established name (not to mention talent) doesn’t guarantee your work is going to make it to e-readers and bedside table stacks across America and beyond. But I couldn’t let myself dwell on the negative while writing my first novel. In the world of fiction writing (which differs from non-fiction) you write the book first, pitch second. So as I poured my heart and soul into completing my work, the farthest thing from my mind was failure.

My mentor later warned me: “You’ll probably get over 100 rejections. But don’t let it get you down. The right literary agent will love your story enough to take a chance on you.” Her words didn’t lessen the impact of the first rejection or even the tenth. I’ll spare you the final number of agents who sent their regrets. I’m sorry, I’m not the agent for this work. Most wish you luck. Some don’t respond at all. One stapled a mimeographed slip of paper to my original query letter. Suffice it to say, I began writing a second novel as a form of therapy.

Then I got a nibble. A request for the first three chapters. A few days later, the same agent asked for the full manuscript. It had been months since anyone had asked for the full. A flicker of hope fluttered in my stomach for three weeks. She ultimately rejected the story, though it wasn’t despair she left me with, but hope. She complimented my storytelling ability and even my novel. She had read in my blog (yes, agents read the blogs of prospective authors) that I was writing a second novel and offered to read it when I was done if I didn’t yet have representation. I nicknamed her Nice Agent, short for the nice agent who thoughtfully rejected me. Then in late January, I took her up on her kind offer.

Fast forwarding through the details, I’m thrilled to announce that the last agent to reject my first book, the first agent I pitched on book two, offered me representation on that second book. Barbara Collins Rosenberg of The Rosenberg Group is officially my literary agent. (Cue applause and champagne.)

There’s nothing more validating than a professional who believes in your work. I recognize we have an uphill battle ahead of us; having an agent doesn’t guarantee publication, but I trust in Barbara, her instincts and connections. I know she’ll be thoughtful about which publishers she takes my story to, and she already has a great hook in mind. I’m fueled by her enthusiasm for my career as a novelist. Here’s how she laid it out: the second book gets published first, the sequel gets published second, and the first book I wrote (with a tiny facelift) gets published third, while I work on my seminal fourth novel.

I’m a jumble of feelings right now: overwhelmed, giddy, relieved, scared. But mostly, I feel gratitude for Barbara. My agent. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of saying those two words.

behind door number three…

Remember that old TV show The Dating Game? I watched this precursor to The Bachelor/ette in syndication a few times back in the dark ages when we had four TV stations and my brother and I argued incessantly over who was going to get up to manually change the channel. (My children often wonder at these medieval times and how we ever survived. But I digress.)

Match reminds me a little of that old show. You never know who you’re going to find behind that cyber wink. Dearest reader, you’ve shared my shock over my ninety-four percent match with ZipperRipper and laughed at my near miss with WegmansLover. Now I’d like to introduce you to Friday’s gem:

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This eligible bachelor joins a handful of other profile pics so absurd I’ve put their screenshots in my personal Match Hall of Fame. And joining the rapidly expanding class of guys who need help choosing their online dating handle is UnrstrctdFreeAgnt, ClickHereToDate and FiftyShadesOfJoe. How about the dude who listed his desired age range in a woman as eighteen to fifty, only slightly worse than the guy who indicated his preference as thirty to fifty. I mean, come on… It’s very different to date an eighteen-year old than it is to date a thirty-year old than it is to date a fifty-year old. Maybe the errant verb here is to date. As my friend Shannon joked: Have a heartbeat? Have breasts? IM immediately! 

This is why I’m single. Not that I consider being single such a bad thing. I have a wonderful network of friends who share my passions. I have the Weekend Warriors to help with household projects beyond my abilities. And I get to do whatever I want without comparing schedules, arguing about budget or getting passive aggressively angry when the trash doesn’t get taken out. I know, I know (or at least I think I remember) there are wonderful aspects to being in a meaningful relationship. I committed to opening myself to the prospects of a romantic connection, but that doesn’t mean I’m willing to settle for a man who is less than exceptional.