The Pursuit – Part II: I Quit

By: Mia L. Hazlett

I promised I would chronicle the journey to finding an agent and publisher. But a couple of things happened that same week in October when I was so full of hope. I received rejections 53 and 54. These were  from those who responded, not including those I never heard back from again.

So, I did what any person who wasn’t serious about achieving their goals would do, I quit. Yup. I quit submitting my manuscript to agents. I gavequit-your-job_0 up on myself and my manuscript. Not writing, just my manuscript. I figured it was crap and obviously if an agent didn’t want it, then nobody would ever want to read it. I bashed myself for putting in so much time on such a crappy piece of work. I’m really good at the pity party thing.

But new year, new me, blah blah. Kinda like that, but my New Year’s resolution was to invest in myself. This was going to be my selfish year. And I was on Facebook, instead of writing, well trying to write, and up popped a memory. A memory of the day I finished the first draft of my manuscript.

I instantly remembered that day. I remembered how I felt and also how many years that draft represented. I realized how much that manuscript taught me about writing.  How much research I did to craft the perfect story. How it convinced me to take the traditional route to publishing over my previous route. It pushed me to learn how to submit my work to agents, which unfortunately introduced me to my evil nemesis, The Query Letter.

So I shut down the pity party and came across a Writer’s Digest post in my feed – yes, I still hadn’t returned to writing. It was a boot camp, which allowed me to send in my first ten pages to literary agents and get this, they would read them. I had spent a year trying to get my work read and now here was the opportunity. I invested, was assigned an agent, submitted my ten pages, received feedback, made revisions, and resubmitted.

I received positive feedback and a critique on the first submission. It allowed me to look at my manuscript in a totally different light. It allowed me some direction with my rewrite. But it also brought in another aspect that I never considered, the selling aspect. I was so in love with the writing and story, that I never thought about if it could sell.

My advice to you if you are a young writer coming up, invest into your craft. There are resources out there. Find them. If you think it’s too expensive, save for it. This small investment has given me enough courage to face my evil nemesis, The Query Letter. I signed up for another course which allows me to submit a query letter to an agent and you guessed it, they have to respond. Well okay, not respond, but critique. So, I’ll follow up and let you know who won, me or my evil nemesis.

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The Pursuit- Part I: Self vs Traditional Publishing

By: Mia L. Hazlett

I haven’t been here in a while. I finally turned Macy into a novel and finished the manuscript. Woo-hoo, well kinda. Now to find an agent, sell my book to a big publisher, and live off royalties. BAHAHA. Oh how naïve of me.

I’ve decided to chronicle my little journey of getting my book published. It will keep me from giving up, maybe.

My first book, Going Through It, was self-published. I’ll be honest, I’m sure I gave away more than I sold. The thing about self-publishing, you’re instantly published. You create your manuscript, hire an editor, design a cover, and upload. Easy enough. No matter the research you do, prepare to be your own cheerleader and marketer. Like constantly. On every platform. Everywhere!

Old vintage typewriter

When I completed self-publishing my book, I lived in my parents’ basement and had lost everything. I had no platforms, or any idea how to market my book. I won’t bash myself, because I made an incredible accomplishment. I fulfilled my lifetime dream of becoming a published author. The next time I dream, I’ll be more specific and add “successful”.

Now that I’ve finished my second manuscript, I’m going the traditional route- agent and publisher. I’m not saying self-publishing doesn’t produce success, but I’m not interested in publishing.

Beyond the basic tools, entering into the arena of traditional publishing, I come with research. I’ve read, I’ve followed, and I’ve chased every answer to the little questions that pop into my head. I’m better informed to pursue this channel of fulfilling my publishing dream.

I’ve edited my manuscript. I’ve gone through the Beta readers. I’ve been building my social media platforms, and started keeping my blogs current. I say it with ease. It’s not. I’m an executive assistant to a president and board of trustees, 9-5 doesn’t exist in my world. I have a teenager who is about to drive and a middle schooler who doesn’t think I’m cool anymore. My writing takes me into the wee hours of the night.

What have I had to learn? What is a query letter? Had no clue what it was. On every submission page, everyone wants a query letter and sometimes a synopsis. I had to develop both. I found, I could write an entire novel, but a simple letter was crippling. But I researched what a query letter was and how to write it.

At this point in my hunt for an agent, I’ve received 45 rejections. Probably 18 actual rejections and just haven’t heard back from those others. Honestly, it’s hard. I’m questioning myself. I’ve thought about self-publishing. Then I thought about rewriting the entire book. But then I realized, I can’t give up on myself and the years I put into my art.  Obviously I would never reject myself, that’s why self-publishing was so easy. Submitting my work to agents and absorbing the rejection is part of the traditional publishing journey. Stay tuned.

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Macy-The Book-Chapter One

Please enjoy the first chapter of my upcoming book, Macy.  You’ve been following the short story for years, and I’ve fallen in love with her so much, I feel she deserves her own book.  I hope you enjoy.

By:Mia L. Hazlett

Chapter 1

Hate – void of love. Just as passionate as love. Just as consuming. And just as hard to release. So why did I hate this dead woman?  I just did. A lifetime of hate was inexplicable. But, hating this woman for as long as I could remember was normalcy.

I stared at her dead body in the casket and continued to hate her. My head was not bowed in prayer like my mother, who knelt next to me on the hard padded bench. Instead, my eyes absorbed this wretched still woman. As I stared at her, in that same exact moment, I remembered being told, “Pretty gal, you gon waste away all ya time and energy hatin’ her. She don’t even know it. And baby if she did, she wouldn’t care. Wouldn’t care a damn bit.”

At this very moment, I understood what my mother was telling me about wasted time and energy. I never told this woman I hated her. I thought it. Boy had I thought it. Now, as I looked at her pasty dark tar face, it wasn’t her I hated. I hated hate. It was an obsessive, stressful, controlling emotion, which had governed my life. Even though I knelt before her lifeless body, I was still in hate with her. Yet, the peace upon her face told me, she was already in the kingdom of eternal love. Oh how I hated hate.

Beyond this moment of lifelessness and unfulfilled hate, another revelation knocked at my conscience, my hate for her stemmed from her hate for me. We were in hate with each other. Her matriarchal position allowed her limitless torment. All the while, my position remained the weaker because of my birth. I was born being me.

I stood with my mother, but before I walked away from my lifetime bully, I finally bowed my head and hated. It may have been eye to closed-eye, but I was finally able to look down on her. My twenty-two years of loathing the woman I shared a name with, came down to two sentences, From one Macy to another, I’m happy you’re dead. I hope you burn in hell grandmother.

©2015 Mia L. Hazlett

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Monster XX

Monster XX
By: Mia L. Hazlett

I had no recollection of my trip, but I was back at the beginning of my journey. I looked at the familiar dungeon cell. Cleaning measures had been taken. Nothing extensive, but there was a scent of bleach rather than the stench of death.

Hope instantly popped into my head. I pounded on the concrete wall. Instead of the reciprocated response, my door opened. A woman’s form filled the doorway, but I didn’t recognize her. I assumed it was Hope, but I had only seen her emaciated and bloodied. I stood as she stepped inside the doorway. As we embraced, I knew it was her.

The door closed behind us. We slid down the wall with our hands entwined. We communicated with our silence. There is nothing we could say. Our shared captivity and torture was our irreversible bond. Our endurance in this underground hell was our secret.

She put her head on my shoulder and I wept. Since I had come here a year or years ago, there had been no endearing touching. I cried myself to sleep. When I awoke, we were both slumped on the floor. I tried to turn my head, but the painful ache hurt too much. Hope shifted and blinked her eyes open. In the dim light, I finally noticed the walls. They painted them white. The entire room was white. Floor. Ceiling. Walls. All white. There were no more stains of my existence.

I heard keys. The door opened. Maniacal stepped in. He sat down. Hope sat up. He leaned in. We leaned in.

“Two is better than one.”

We leaned back. He leaned back. He stood up. The door opened. I heard keys. The door locked.

Copyright © 2015 Mia L. Hazlett

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In My Head: Part IX

In My Head: Part IX
By: Mia L. Hazlett

“Mommy, why are you home today?” I asked my mom.

“What are you talking about? You know why I’m home. You’re sick,” she said and continued to type on her laptop.

“Thank you Mommy,” I said and began to cry.

“Hey. Hey, hey, hey. What’s going on with you?” she set her computer on the coffee table and came to me on the couch.

I didn’t know why I was crying, but I really loved my mom right now and a bunch of other stuff. She put her arms around me and my head fell into her chest as I wept. I couldn’t stop crying even if I wanted.

I guess it was because I hadn’t seen my dad for a long time now. Christmas was the last time he promised and then failed to see us. It was almost February vacation now. I would never see my dad again.

“Baby talk to me,” my mother smoothed my hair with her hand.

“I know Daddy doesn’t love us and want to see us anymore, but what happens if you don’t love us and want to see us anymore.

She lifted my chin and looked into my eyes, “As long as the good Lord above allows me to breathe, I am going to be with you. There is never going to come a time when I don’t want to see you. Never. Do you hear me?” she kissed my forehead a squeezed me in her arms.

“You’re not mad that you have to stay home with me today?”

“You are my God-given priority. No work. No nothing, will ever be more important than taking care of you when you’re sick. There will be times when I still have to work from home like now, but I’m not mad that I’m here with you now. Plus, I don’t want anyone else taking care of you when you’re sick,” she kissed my forehead.

“I don’t ever want anything to ever happen to you Mommy,” I said.

“God willing, nothing ever will. And baby?”

“Yes Mommy?”

“I know I’m busy, but if you ever want to spend time with me, all you have to do is ask. You don’t have to fake sick.”

My mother grabbed her laptop and walked to her desk. Before she sat down, she turned and winked at me. My mom was never going to get sick of us.

Copyright © 2015 Mia L. Hazlett

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Angie V

Angie V
By: Mia L. Hazlett

“You tellin’ them tonight?” Shayna asks.

“Well my mom already knows, but I have to tell my dad.  I don’t know if she done told him already, but I gotta tell him,” I respond.

“Girl, ain’tchu scared?” she asks.

“Like it ain’t nobody’s business Shay. I’m so scared.  I wouldn’t be sayin’ a damn thing if my mother wasn’t with me.  But she promised she was gonna be there,” I tried to sound confident.

“Whatchu think your father’s gonna say?”

“He gonna kill me.  And after he kills me, he gonna kill Chris,” the thought crosses my mind.

After my mother yelled and cussed at Chris and his mother yesterday, she told me it was time to tell my father.  She’s known for almost a week now and she doesn’t want to have this secret from my him any longer.

The worst part of all this is Chris’s mom.  He blocked me on his phone.  I tried to call his house and his mother told me I was never allowed to call their house again. That didn’t go over well with my mother, hence her run in at pick-up yesterday.

I guess I’m happy that my mother knows.  I’ve gotten my lectures over the past week, but she told me she was going to be here for me and my baby.  Even though I know she’s going to be there for us, she also told me she’s not responsible for my father’s reaction.  That’s all me.

My living room was usually where I would just chill and kick back watchin’ TV.  But not tonight. Tonight I faced my family.  It was like I was in court or somethin’. My father was sitting in his recliner, but he wasn’t reclined. My mother and brother sat on the loveseat.  I expected my parents in here, but not my brother.

“What’s he in here for?” I asked my mom.

“Angela, we are a family.  He is part of the family and he’s gonna be part of this.  What you’ve done is going to impact this entire family.”

“What have you done?” my father asked.

I wanted to talk, but instead I began to cry.  It was hard telling my mom, but my father was different.  I was his princess.  That’s what he’s always called me.  Now I had to tell him I was pregnant.  He was going to know I had sex.  This was the most embarrassing day of my life.

“Daddy, I’m pregnant.”

Copyright © 2015 Mia L. Hazlett

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Monster XIX

Monster XIX
By: Mia L. Hazlett

The box fell apart around me. Blinded by the sudden bright light, I wasn’t able to tell who pushed me off the table, but I was familiar with the feeling of smashing against a floor. Before I could get to my knees, the wind was knocked out of me. There was a duet of laughter as my eyes focused on a blur of both Maniacal and the Doctor.

As the air refilled my lungs I caught sight of one of the boards from my coffin. It wasn’t so much the board as it was the nail sticking out of it. Footsteps neared me and I lunged towards the board. In one sweeping motion, I grabbed the board and swung it around and caught Footsteps in the forearm. The board stayed in his arm as he grabbed my foot. I turned my body and gripped the board and gave it a twist with all my might. He hollered and shot upright as blood poured from his open wound.

I grabbed the board and was quickly on my feet. Before Footsteps had time to recover, I rushed him with the board across his face. I did my best to pull and twist the board, so the impaled nail would do irreparable damage. His howl only encouraged me. Finally, the cries of pain were coming from him and not me.

He lost his balance and fell over the chair behind him. It wasn’t me, but the adrenaline within me, that had me ponce on his chest and beat his already bloodied face with the board. His fist caught me in my jaw, but I still fought him. I had a fistful of his hair and repeatedly slammed his head into the concrete floor. I wasn’t weak. I wasn’t losing. I was winning.

I came out of my daze and there was applause. I sat on Footsteps’ chest and he was motionless. At his head stood Maniacal. He continued to clap his hands. My hands wore the blood of my victim. I tried to stand, but toppled backwards and landed on my ass. The Doctor came over and did that thing with his two fingers on Footsteps’ neck to see if he was alive. He shook his head no, and left the room.

Maniacal came towards me and knelt inches away. “Well done. You’re one of us now.”

I couldn’t be one of them. I couldn’t be. I was a survivalist, not a heartless killer. It was my life or his. But as I sat watching Footsteps’ bloodied body, all a result of my rage, I thought to myself, I am a heartless killer.

Copyright © 2014 Mia L. Hazlett

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Angie IV

Angie IV
By: Mia L. Hazlett

The other day I was at ball and twisted my ankle. I really didn’t think about it until practice last night. I stepped on it wrong or somethin’.

My mother is picking me up today. I have to go to the doctors to get my ankle checked out. Aww damn. I see the car ahead of us by a few, it’s Angie’s mom. I forgot Angie’s final period is over here today. Uh-oh, she’s getting out of her car. She opens the back door and takes her coat off. As she puts it on a hanger, she glances back and then stops. She’s walking towards us.

“Hey isn’t that your friend’s mother? What’s her name? Angela?” my mother rolls her window down as Angie’s mom smiles outside the car.

“Hi,” she offers her hand so my mom can shake it, “I’m Calise, Angela’s mother. We’ve met before.”

“Oh yes, I remember. It was at one of the dances. Right?” my mother asks and shakes her hand.

“Would you mind stepping out of the car so we can have a conversation?” Angie’s mother asks.

“Um,” my mother hesitates, but gets out.

I really can’t hear what they’re sayin’, but I’m pretty sure it’s about me. They keep looking back at me.

“I don’t know what you’re little hoochie daughter is telling you, but my son is a basketball player and doesn’t have time for little girls. You’re mistaken,” my mother shouts and gets back into the car.

“Ask him. He’s right there,” she points at me and gives me a death glare.

“You need to go back to your car. Get away from us,” my mother shouts as the window glides up. I slink down in the seat, hoping no one can see me.

Angie’s mother hits the window with her hand, “Go fuck yourself.” she says before walking to her car.

“Yo mom, that chick is crazy,” I say right before my mother’s hand slaps me across the face.

“Shut up. Just shut up Christopher. Don’t say a word to me. I am so disappointed in you right now.”

Copyright © 2014, Mia L. Hazlett

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Monster XVIII

Monster XVIII
By: Mia L. Hazlett

I wondered what the sound was. Although I had never seen a waterfall, if asked to describe what I was hearing, I would answer, a waterfall. And then, the sound faded. Somehow with the absence of sound, my box brightened. I heard a machine of some sort. Maybe a drill. Maybe my death. But, whatever it was, it brought light.

With silence – no waterfall, no drill, no death – I looked to my right. I was still confined to my wooden space with my three dead survivalists. When I looked through the 3-inch drilled hole, I realized I was not buried. I was in the room where we made Cake Leftovers. I was on top of the same table. I don’t know if water has a smell, but it smelled wet. This entire time I thought they had buried me out in the wilderness, never to be found again. Instead, I was in a box and left to my own psychological torture.

Not knowing where I was, was better than knowing who I was with. I guess being buried in the woods, I would have starved to death. I completely assumed – no eating, no drinking –would lead to my death. Maybe all their hearts had to offer was a quick painful death of my now dead foes. I should have become cake leftovers. Instead, I saw three bodies getting closer. They stood in front of the hole blocking the light.

I waited. There was an eye. I stared at revenge. The eye receded, replaced by the tip of a knife.

“My turn,” I heard Footsteps say. No death for me. Just a terrifying existence.

Copyright © 2014 Mia L. Hazlett

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Angie III

Angie III
By: Mia L. Hazlett

“Shit dawg. Watchu gonna do?” my boy Rese asks as we get ready for basketball practice.

“Rese, I don’t even know. Angie is cool and all, but I don’t want no damn baby with her. And she wants to keep it.
Like I seriously think she thinks we are going to get married and like have this kid,” I say and lace up my Jordans.

“She wants to get married? Yo, dude, you gotta cut her. Get out now and let her and that kid go. Watchu gonna do with a baby anyways? You’re friggin’ sixteen. You gonna be playin’ college ball soon. Don’t call her no more, nuthin’.”

“You think I need you to tell me that? Man I ain’t callin’ no one.”

My phone had like twenty text messages. Luckily she only comes to the high school for two of her classes. She gets high school credit for some classes. Otherwise, she spends all her time in the junior high across the street. My mom and dad don’t know nothin’. They’ll freak. But I’m not sayin’ nothin’. I got a good chance at gettin’ a full scholarship for ball. If this chick thinks I’m givin’ all that up she’s crazy. I ain’t givin’ ball up for no one.

It’s kinda messed up what I’m doin’, but I don’t care. My mother’s father was never around. She always told me if I ever got a girl pregnant, I better stay there for that girl and that child. But my mom is that old school stuff. Don’t nobody get married anymore when they have kids. Even if it gets back to my moms, I’ll just deny it. They won’t be able to prove a damn thing. I mean, I already told Angie I didn’t want no damn kid. If she has it, she’s havin’ it against my will. That’s gotta be breakin’ the law or somethin’. Even if it ain’t, me and Angie are done.
Copyright © 2014 Mia L. Hazlett

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