Exciting News

I hope you’ll excuse my being a little immodest today because I want to share something exciting with you. I’m going to be a published author! Are you sitting there thinking, “Wha?” like I did when I first found out? Are you dumbfounded like my friend who just stared blankly at me when I told him?

Let me clarify I wrote a short story that will be published, not a novel. I entered it in Buddhapuss Ink’s Mystery Times Ten YA Short Story Competition, which awards nifty prizes (including a Kindle) to the top three winners, and publication in an anthology for the top ten. I didn’t win the Kindle or any of the cash but my top ten placement, out of over 200 entries, is still beyond my expectations.

Back in January, I decided to enter the competition only four or five days before the submission deadline. I was doing a play at the time, which required rehearsals six days a week with a long commute. I also had deadlines on a couple of reviews for a magazine and needed to finish reading the books I was covering. I was exhausted.

But then I heard about this competition, thought, “Oooh, free Kindle!” and decided to go for it. It was a ridiculous decision in many ways—I’d never written short fiction, I’m not versed in YA, I had no idea if I could write in a young person’s voice, and, oh yeah, I was already overwhelmed with other obligations. But here’s the thing: If I start thinking I can’t do something and coming up with a bunch of excuses for not doing it, that’s when I know I have to do it. Otherwise, I’d have to accept I’m a loser before I even try.

So I wrote for four nights straight until three or four in the morning, sometimes falling asleep over my keyboard. Two days before deadline, I junked most of the story and started again from square two. I wanted to stop, wondering why I was abusing myself. But then the sadistic part of my brain called me a wimp so I kept going.

I submitted my story at 5 p.m. on deadline day. Even with sleep deprivation, I felt elated that I managed to finish it and on time to boot. I had beaten down that internal voice calling me a sissy; I could hear the Rocky theme in my head after I hit “send.” I expected nothing else from the experience because I felt I’d already won.

That’s why the news that I scored high enough to get published is astonishing to me. With this kind of luck, I should head straight to the nearby retirement home and challenge everyone to a game of Bingo. I’m deeply thankful to Buddhapuss for hosting the competition and all the judges who found my story not awful. This encourages me to not only continue writing, but to keep taking on challenges that look scary and daunting. Unless it involves stuffing a turkey, which I know I will never master.



  • Reply
    May 3, 2011 at 1:48 am

    CONGRATULATIONS, ELYSE!!! And, no, I am not surprised that you got published. You are a talented writer and it was only a matter of time. Girl, so proud of you! Time for celebrating so open a bottle of bubbly, kick your shoes and do the happy dancel Cuz I am! Seriously..right now..wait……..there! Done and smiling ear-to-ear for you. Hugs and happiness, amiga!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2011 at 5:56 am

    Congratulations, Elyse! I’m looking forward to reading it.

  • Reply
    May 3, 2011 at 6:07 am

    Congrats, Elyse!!!

  • Reply
    Helen Battles Smith
    May 3, 2011 at 6:52 am

    Elyse, What wonderful news! Congratulations! Can’t wait to read your story.

  • Reply
    May 3, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Congratulations! That is AWESOME news! :~)

  • Reply
    Brett Battles
    May 3, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Holy S#!^!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!! This makes me very, very, very happy! It also makes me think you need to be doing more fiction.

  • Reply
    Pop Culture Nerd
    May 3, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Thank you, everyone!! Donna, your comment made ME grin ear to ear.

    Perhaps when the anthology comes out, I’ll do a dramatic reading of the story. Any volunteers to help me act it out? Disclaimer: It’s a murder mystery. Heh heh.

  • Reply
    Shell Sherree
    May 3, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Hooray!!! I’m mentally stringing up “Congratulations Elyse” banners all over town. What a wonderful achievement and so well earned. I’m so happy for you!! {I guess this means you actually will be stuffing a turkey this year.}

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      May 3, 2011 at 8:27 pm

      If you draw me such a banner, I’d string it across my front door! Thank you, thank you, thank you. And, er, no, I will be keeping myself faaaar away from turkeys.

  • Reply
    jenn aka the picky girl
    May 3, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    So so exciting! I cannot wait to read it. Congrats PCN!!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Congratulations! I can’t wait to read it!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Congrats, Elyse! Please let me know when it’s available to read. Looking forward to it…

  • Reply
    Pop Culture Nerd
    May 4, 2011 at 12:11 am

    jenn, Rachel, and HY—I’ve heard it’s coming out in June so the wait isn’t long. But now I’m suddenly nervous that you might not like it because you have really high standards!

  • Reply
    May 4, 2011 at 1:05 am

    This is AWESOME!!! You rock, lady!! I can’t wait to read it….congratulations!!!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      May 4, 2011 at 7:54 pm

      Hi Joy! I think you’re going to have exciting news soon, too. I’m hearing good things about FAMILY ALBUM!!

  • Reply
    May 4, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Sorry for being so late to the party but…

    CONGRATULATIONS!! That’s awesome. Really.

    The news are so fantastic I must congratulate you in spanish too…


    • Reply
      May 4, 2011 at 11:58 am

      By the way… stuffing a turkey IS really hard, so don’t feel bad about it (in my place we never stuff ’em… we inject them with wine :D)

      Anyway… I hope I manage to get a copy of the anthology, so I can read it.

      • Reply
        Pop Culture Nerd
        May 4, 2011 at 7:55 pm

        Muchas gracias, Poncho! Estoy muy contenta. Me gusta su turkey stuffing!

  • Reply
    Hira Hasnain
    May 5, 2011 at 1:14 am

    OMG, I know I’m super LATE…but CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! 🙂 You can be as self-deprecating as you want, but this is a HUGE feat, so REVEL in this moment…you’ve earned it!!!!

    CONGRATULATIONS *confetti in the air*


  • Reply
    May 5, 2011 at 9:45 am

    WOW! WOW! WOW! Can I have an ARC? This is fabulous news, Elyse…so excited for you (and me, just because I know you…)

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