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The Pursuit – Part II: I Quit

By: Mia L. Hazlett
2/20/2018

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
10/2/2017

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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Dawn

By: Mia L. Hazlett
1/13/14

Talk about beautiful. His behind was spectacular. Eleven years my junior, but we have been a perfect match over these past eight months. The sex was the best I’d ever had in my life and pretty much the only thing that existed between us. I don’t think we had ever been out of his house together, maybe once or twice to dinner. No hand holding or romantic stuff. None of that. Just close the doors and we’re off!

Dean was wonderful. I really thought after eight months, our passion would change for each other, but it was just like our first time. The best part with our little arrangement, he had no problem with my marriage. There was no pressure from him to leave my husband. He understood I had a four-year-old daughter and an image I had to maintain. My cell phone and his bed were our relationship and that was good enough for the both of us.

Dean wasn’t replacing my husband, he couldn’t. I loved my husband and would never break his heart with my affair. There was really no explanation that could answer the question, why? My husband had given me everything I could possibly want. We had a beautiful home in an upscale neighborhood. He supported me, not only financially, but whole-heartedly when I went back and got my MBA. Although my paycheck would contribute, he really wouldn’t allow me to pay for much. I filled my gas tank and paid my credit cards, but he provided for our household. He was a dream.

For the past eight months I had been living not only a dream life, but a fantasy. I had an amazing husband who loved and provided for our family. And for my own little secret, I had my twenty-eight-year-old lover that made my toes curl. I knew it couldn’t last. I sat in my meeting today with only two hours of sleep under my belt, because last night I realized my two worlds were about to come crashing together. Well, really my three worlds, I should say. My girlfriends knew nothing about Dean.

Last night I was robbed of my dreams. Sleep, finally replaced exhaustion. I was pregnant, almost three months to be exact. I had this perfect life and now I was pregnant with a child who could be my husband’s or lover’s. It didn’t seem right that I refused to get an abortion because it was un-Christian, but somehow faced the reality that as a married woman, I didn’t know who I conceived this child with.

© 2013 Mia L. Hazlett

All Rights Reserved. Excerpt from Conundrum- March 2014 release date.

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Maria

By: Mia L. Hazlett
1/13/14
I needed to clear my head. The gym wasn’t doing it for me. Somehow, the elliptical machine did little to change the past. A 25-year-old past was sneaking up on me and I couldn’t turn to anyone and tell them. My girlfriends could never know and my family would flip out if they knew their secret was back. They had worked so hard to protect our family image.

The letter went through my head again and again. How could I make this all go away? I’ve always been raised knowing my family was “above the law”, so to speak. We didn’t have to operate under the “rules” “normal” people do. I’m not quite sure who we were, but my mother had always made it clear we were better than everyone else.

Why? I had no answer to that question. It’s a lonely world when you’re raised to believe you are better than all of your classmates. My friends were my parents’ friends’ children. I was still amazed when I went to weddings and some failed to compare to the grandiose birthday parties I went to and grew up with. Last year was the best birthday in the world. My girlfriends took me to this little fish place on the Cape and we sipped on cheap wine and ate fried food until our hearts were content. I also believe my feet were dressed in cheap flip- flops to complement my cut-off jeans and tank top. There were no tiaras, gowns, councilmen, or mayors. Nope. It was me, my friends, and a bar full of strangers. It was the best birthday of my life.

What did I have to show these women who gave me my first real birthday? A family secret I’d never shared with them. They were like my sisters and how could I now tell them the daughter I had at fifteen, who I never met, just found me?

© 2013 Mia L. Hazlett
All Rights Reserved. Excerpt from Conundrum- March 2014 release date.

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Monster XII

By: Mia L. Hazlett
1/10/14

Fear was stifling. It was one thing to fear for yourself, but another when someone else’s life depended on yours. I didn’t know who Hope was, but since we had stayed together over the past week, our commonality became this torturous hell pit. They no longer hurt either one of us. Dr. Guy came in and re-broke her leg and made a makeshift cast. For some reason I assumed he was a doctor because he set her leg on a board and tied it in place with rags, and administered some sort of pain killer with a needle. This was everything our captors had done, less setting the leg, but I guess since he didn’t appear to possess the torture gene, he was a doctor to me.

My strength was restored, but they had overlooked one detail that now postponed our scheduled rendezvous, my sight. There was a dim glow that always illuminated the darkest corners. For whatever period of time I had been here, my eyes had adjusted. But going outside in the sunlight, where they had taken me the past two days, caused debilitating migraines.

Over the past week, the light was constant in Hell. The wattage was increased daily. Today there was no headache. I was surprised how light lessened my fear. In my mind we were in some tragic lost dungeon, and although the light didn’t change our circumstances, I could now see who was coming. Our torturers were simply men. I did my best to wipe away old blood stains. I wasn’t sure my reasoning. It wasn’t to make this home, nor could I ever erase this experience from my mind, but it just made the present tolerable.

My eyes opened to Maniacal and Footsteps standing over me. Hope had her mouth taped and Dr. Guy’s hands were between her thighs. Her eyes spoke the pain her muffled screams could not relay. Maniacal looked down, “It’s time. Follow us.” For the first time in the light, my fear returned, but looking at Hope, I followed.
©2014 Mia L. Hazlett

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BFF: IX

By: Mia L. Hazlett
4/13/13

“Could you please just answer my question?  Do you believe in God?  Better yet, are you a Christian?”  Her avoidance was beginning to irritate me. A simple yes or no is all I needed to hear and we could move on.

“Honestly Mrs. Devins that is a very personal question which is irrelevant to our discussion.  I would really like to stay on track about your treatment,” the doctor shifted uncomfortably in her seat.

It amazed me she found my questions personal.  Over the past three weeks, we had shared the most intimate conversations about every aspect of not only my medical history, but of every woman in my family.  Every private detail about the current state of my body was spelled out in the little labeled manila folder she kept glancing at before she would ask me very “personal” questions.

She just didn’t get it.  I needed to be reassured that she didn’t think she was God.  I needed her to know that I wasn’t leaving my life in her hands, but I was praying to God to deliver an optimal outcome.  God was a huge part of my life and now I was supposed to put Him on the back burner to make sure she felt comfortable.  She looked at this as “treatment”, I perceived this “discussion” as my life.  My cancer treatment would alter my life forever.

I wasn’t requesting her to go through this treatment with me.  I’m not some religious zealot that was going to deny medical treatment and rely completely on prayer.  I just needed to know that through however long this treatment was going to take, she would respect my prayers to take precedent over medicine when I needed it to.

The point is, I’m scared.  I don’t know the outcome of all of this and neither does she. If it’s God’s will to take me home, I have to accept it somehow.  These are the conversations I’ve been having with Him since I was diagnosed.  Anger creeps in every now and again, but for the most part, I must remain faithful that He is in control.  So as irrelevant as she may find my simple question, she needs to understand she’s not in control.  She can squirm and shift all she wants in that chair, but I’m not leaving here without a yes or no.

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