Now is the time to live your most awesome life

Hiking

Me and my mom on an awesome hiking trip – How I would spend every summer if I didn’t have to “work”

I’ve always loved those “Are you living the right life?” quizzes. Questions like,

  • “What would you do if you only had one year to live?”
  • “What would you pursue if you never had to work again?”

And, probably most important for me,

  • “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

Answering these questions are all kinds of fun. I’m a hard-boiled planner, whether for five years into my future or five minutes down to the grocery store. Planning is even more fun than doing because it has yet to be hampered by anything going wrong.

When I was researching the San Juan Island Stories, my research trip was almost delayed by a funeral.

An aunt had come home for the final stages of terminal cancer. She was a luminous personality, a delicious cook, and an advocate for international justice. She was also only 45 years old. Why? No, seriously. Why??? SHE WAS A LUMINOUS PERSONALITY. Her diagnosis felt infuriatingly unfair.

See me? I'm that speck at the top with both arms raised!

See me? I’m that speck at the top with both arms raised!

But whenever my aunt (or anyone else) would take the time to ask about my writing, I always hedged. Not because I wasn’t working hard. But because my head was so filled up with the big goals and the perfect over-arching plans that I hadn’t figured out how to celebrate any of the little steps that make up the majority of any journey. They didn’t feel important. My aunt couldn’t encourage me because I couldn’t say, “Oh yeah, I’m writing this and this and heading here for a research trip,” even though that was exactly what I was doing. I always coughed and said, “Oh, ha ha, I’m working on it. So, what have you been up to lately?”

Setting goals is important. Working towards being an awesome author who tells life-affirming stories that celebrate true love is a great over-arching plan. But now I feel sorry that my own fears of inadequacy meant I couldn’t just say, “I’m writing this and this and heading here for a research trip. How about you? Shall we share a cup of tea to cheer ourselves on?”

So let me ask you:

  • “What would you do if you only had one year to live?”
  • “What would you pursue if you never had to work again?”
  • “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

Are you already doing those things? You are awesome. Rock on.

************UPDATE**************

I am giving away a 4-pack of the San Juan Island Stories FOR FREE at the 12 Days of Christmas Facebook event on Saturday. Join free and win swag from 70 other authors, including bags and bookmarks and tiaras and more, starting tomorrow. You do not need to actually celebrate Christmas, but you do need to have a Facebook account. The holidays are starting early! See you there!

Advertisements

Swear to You Excerpt

Swear to YouIf you have subscribed to my newsletter, you got to read the first part of this excerpt in September. Here is the full excerpt for Swear to You, San Juan Island Stories #4, releasing November 15, 2013!

Sera flew over the handlebars, somersaulted over her exploded bicycle tire, and landed flat on her sweaty back on the dirty sidewalk.

Her old bicycle crashed into her apartment building flower pots.

Even though the Aurora highway growled three blocks to her left and a year-round school was releasing excited elementary students to her right, the air dropped weirdly quiet, like a mountain silence after a shotgun blast. Not that she’d ever been to any mountains. Puffy white clouds bloomed into giraffe and llama shapes against the brilliant July sky. She wished she could follow them right over the horizon into a better life.

A little boy stared down at her. “Mom, is she homeless?”

His mother shushed him and hurried past

Sera groaned and rolled upright. Her shins ached and she quickly realized why: The knee of her last good pair of Dockers flapped along a jagged rip.

Funny how her old black fishnets and slutty tutus had stood up to the most violent mosh pits, but nice, conservative Dockers couldn’t handle even one little argument with the pavement.

She swore. Out loud. In way that rhymed with, “Duck duck duck duck Duck duck DUCK.”

Across the narrow one-lane street, a mother clapped her hands over her daughter’s ears and glared at Sera. “You’re in front of a school.”

She did not yell, “They have to get used to it sometime!” like her dad had once done at a wide-eyed Daisy Scout troop after he dropped the groceries in the King’s Market parking lot.

Instead, she bit back the pain and groaned to her feet. “I’m sorry.”

“You should be ashamed.” The woman slammed her door and drove off.

In her sixty-thousand-dollar Audi with limitless air conditioning.

Breaking into tears was not what a good girl would do, so Sera didn’t do it. Instead, she limped the useless bike into the apartment complex. She’d have to get another pair of khakis before tomorrow’s opening shift at Starbucks and her all-day shift at Kohl’s, and if she kept spending her money on stupid clothes, she would never pay back her student loans or save up for a trip around the world or finally climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Also, her shins hurt.

And so did her feet, and so did her palms, and so did her heart.

She passed a stoned wino who seemed to be laughing at a blank wall. Even he was having fun. Clean living was not supposed to be this hard.

Around the corner of her building, on her front mat, a strange man saw her and scrambled to his feet. “Seraphina?”

She stopped.

Her whole chest lifted, skip-a-dee-doo-dah. It was him. On her own front mat, like a thank you from God for her efforts, a church-boy treat to remind her why she was trying so hard to change. A smile rushed her face, unstoppable. She limped forward. “Seriously? Graham?”

He smiled back. So easy and kind. “You remember me.”

“Well yeah. You are…” He was filling out a road-worn Harley Davidson shirt and greasy jeans rather than the girlishly slender polo shirts and white golf visors of their shared past. His polite face was obscured by dangerous shades and his church-boy cut had grown into a tangled ponytail bisecting his wide shoulder blades. The Graham before her was a man in every sense of the meaning. “…really different, actually.”

He removed a glasses case from his pocket and exchanged the shades for wire frames that made him look like the gray-eyed philosophy professor from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. “You look exactly the same.”

She ran a hand through her natural, mousy-brown hair. God, it was good to hear that library voice again, but man were the words depressing. “Really? Exactly the same?”

Well, the last time she saw him at his cousin Pez’s graduation party, she had already been making an effort to change herself. Maybe she had been more successful than she had realized.

Then the memory of what she had done there, at the graduation party, somersaulted her into the past. Pow-zot, she had confessed her eternal undying love to Graham, and he had thrown her right out of his life. Now, five years later, he was here on her doorstep. Her chest shifted. Pressured. Like she wanted to laugh, or sneeze, or cry.

She locked her dumb bike to the leaky drain spout. “So, uh, what are you doing here?”

He glanced over his shoulder. “I heard this is where you live.”

She got out her phone. Pez had just been talking about his prodigal cousin. Right after reunion officer Allison had called for Graham’s current address, Pez had gotten all sentimental, calling Sera up over and over to relive their glorious senior year. And every time they hung up on the memories they both shared, the memories she kept in secret pounded against her brain like a headache.

All the ways that she had chased Graham.

All those embarrassingly obvious hints he had ignored.

All those leading questions he had sidestepped to the very final, inescapable, in-her-painted-punk-face rejection.

Perfectly understandable now why her hands started trembling. What an appalling memory. “But how—”

Her phone slipped from her numb fingers and hit the ground, breaking into three pieces.

“Oh shi—”

She snapped her teeth shut. Gah, she could bite off her tongue. Another dollar in Pez’s swear jar. And in front of Graham, of all people.

He dropped to his knees at the same time that she leaned over and she got the familiar, clean scent of him. White bread and fresh laundry. Plus a new smokiness, like incense. Sandalwood?

“Don’t worry.” She grabbed the battery. “This happens all the—”

His hands closed around hers.

Big.

Bigger than she remembered from high school.

She swallowed. “—time. I need a new phone. I, uh, dropped it down a men’s toilet and it hasn’t worked right since.”

His eyebrows rose, but he did not ask her why she was in the men’s restroom.

Well, her old self wouldn’t have needed a reason. God, she hated her old self. “I was cleaning it. For my job.”

His deep gray eyes traveled across her nervous smile.

Sera clicked her teeth together. “What?”

He released her hands. “Nice rings.”

“You like them?” She sat cross-legged on the cement and rubber-banded the phone battery between its front and back halves, then splayed her fingers to display her last pieces of personal adornment. “The turquoise is Sagittarius, the ankh is because someday I will visit the pyramids, the butterflies are from my friend who went to Indonesia, and the snake symbolizes transformation.”

He actually seemed interested.

She jerked her thumb at the apartment. “I’ve got more inside. This is what I’m allowed at work. Well, at both my works.”

His brows dropped slightly. “But not your tongue piercing?”

She covered her mouth. See, some things were different. She stood and let herself inside. “It’s allowed but I took it out.”

He hesitated on the threshold. “Why?”

“Nobody could see it anyway.” She crossed worn beige carpeting to the kitchen and plugged in her hot water kettle. She needed to vacuum and dust but it could be worse. It could still be purple pentagrams on black ceilings and silver Pop Tart wrappers overflowing her stinking waste basket. “I really have changed.”

He eyed the thriving spider plants in orange striped macramé. “Not completely.”

“I made those macramé planters, you know. I can actually—oh, that’s going to fall.”

The chair he had pulled out to sit on was stacked with her various night courses, used astronomy textbooks, the manicure UV kit, a half-completed application for her bartender’s license, and readings she had to memorize for the internet priest exam. Graham set the whole stack on the floor and sat, stretching out and crossing his feet at the ankle.

Feet encased in steel-toed black boots.

Which was weird again. He used to wear loafers made of patent leather, with a real penny in the center.

She tapped coffee crystals into two mugs and poured boiled water gently for its ideal bloom. Or, about as ideal as you could get with Folgers instant. “So did you finish seminary? Or, actually, what are you doing here again?”

“Allison asked about you.” He accepted the hand-painted Craft Corner mug. “You RSVP’d.”

“I thought I might get the night off, but…” But thank god her manager had called her in. She shrugged. “High school so was long ago.”

He swallowed the bitter coffee in one scalding gulp. “Are you still singing?”

Oh, here it came. The second reason she dreaded attending the reunion. She blew across the steam. “Karaoke.”

“What about theater?”

“I tried out for a community play once but I didn’t get a part.”

He screwed his mouth to the side. “What are you doing now?”

“Allison asked the same thing.” Everyone who saw her patchwork transcripts asked the same thing. Some people had a career map. Others had a Rorschach ink blot. “Trying not to suck, I guess.”

He snorted like she’d made a crude joke. About sucking.

“That’s not an innuendo.” She opened her tiny fridge. “Have you eaten? I’ve got…uh…I’ve been meaning to grocery shop.”

He rose. “What do you need?”

What a helpful young man. A genuine Eagle Scout.

Five minutes later she was clinging to that genuine Eagle Scout’s broad, leather-clad back while the wind whipped her breath away. His three hundred-pound black and red beast roared like hell and throbbed like heaven. After they returned, while she was trying to figure out how to uncork the wine he’d bought with nothing but a dull butter knife, he whipped up an omelet with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and window-sill basil.

Graham ate his meal in about five gigantic bites and then rotated a silver bracelet while he told her about his life. He was a high school physics teacher in Boise now, and he bought the Harley to visit all fifty states instead of paying off his student loans. “I’ve gotten as far east as Indiana, as far south as Arizona.”

Her fork clinked against her plate. “Hawaii will be tricky.”

He laughed.

She dropped her silverware.

He handed the lost fork to her. His fingers lingered on the stem, brushing hers.

An electric shock jumped straight to her chest.

She jerked back, flinging the fork into the kitchen, and, after she found and washed it, carried their plates to the sink. “You know, you never actually told me what you’re doing here.”

“Working.” He took the dishtowel from its rack and, as she washed, he dried, finding the plates’ proper locations through simple four-cabinet elimination. “A guy is looking to fix up his bike. After that, I’ll head to Yosemite. A buddy will put me up if I help him replace a roof.”

She imagined the freedom of hopping on a Harley and disappearing over the horizon. What would the clouds look like over Yosemite? How would the Rockies sound when she flew up their winding roads and hugged Graham’s body to her own, pressing herself tight against him?

His shoulder bumped hers.

She dropped the last rinsed dish with a clack and and practically ran to her tiny dining table, fumbling to play her book-keeping cassettes. Gain contingency and sole proprietorship floated from the little stereo like a noise wall between them. “And then? After Yosemite?”

“Depends on what comes up.” He leaned against the counter and cleared his throat. “I heard you might have a couch.”

The tape player screeched.

She slammed the stop button and pressed her palms against the wobbly table. “Don’t you have other friends?”

“They’re not around.”

She crossed her arms. “How long are we talking here?”

“A week.” He licked his lips. “Maybe two.”

No. Oh no. No. “It’s not that I don’t want to help you out. I can’t even afford to fix my blowout right now, to say nothing of—”

“I’ll fix your tire. I’ll take you to work.”

She met his gray eyes for one long moment. Her legs shivered with the thrum of the Harley.

He stood with his feet apart, filling her kitchen with his distilled presence. “I’ll make you dinner.”

The taste of fresh warmed basil lingered on her tongue. She hadn’t even known the plant growing in her windowsill was edible.

But she would never let him get close to her again.

She sat and scooted in her chair. “One week.”

He started to smile. “Or maybe two.”

Oh, his smile. His unforgettable smile. She needed to touch him. Needed it, like air or potato chips or water.

“One. And that’s it. I mean it.” Sera put on her headphones and hit the play button.

She had given up chasing after Graham with wide-spread arms. He had told her that she wasn’t the kind of girl he would ever be interested in. It didn’t matter that she was different now. He thought she was the same. Well, she would show him that she was different.

No way was she going to fall in love with him again.

~~~ Read the rest on November 15! ~~~

Chance of Happiness Poll

Chance of HappinessThey say hindsight is 20/20, but my vision is pretty bad no matter which direction I’m looking, and Mia shares my unfortunate myopia in Chance of Happiness. She achieved all of her academic and professional goals with hard work and precise determination, then realized that her true desire lay in a boy she’d left behind.

In college, “everyone” did a semester abroad, and I duly applied to several different courses in countries that I had only a passing interest in, such as Australia and Italy. And then I was rejected from every one! It was a horrifying shock and a public embarrassment to be the one person who couldn’t get accepted to a study abroad program despite being an A student and very studious. But after my last failure, and all the doors slammed closed at my college, I threw open the windows and discovered the neighboring university’s course in Greece.

That trip changed my life forever.

Sometimes, you have to fail horribly to ultimately succeed!

How about you?

Share details in the comments!

Artful Dodger Poll

Artful DodgerKat in Artful Dodger decides on a somewhat unusual method of claiming ownership over herself: full-body tribal tattoos. Knowing that she had them, and that no one else knew, gave her the willpower to keep struggling through great poverty, powerlessness, and degradation until she could finally claim the respect and lifestyle she most desired.

I don’t have any tattoos (yet) and I’ve also been very blessed in my life. But every once in a while, a stressful presentation or terrifying public performance will make me want to curl up into my most comfortable hoodie and crawl under my desk. My secret for regaining my confidence?

New underwear.

Pretty, pristine, first-time underwear that feels unfamiliar on my body and reminds me that yes, I am wearing something secret that no one else knows about. Knowing that I have a secret helps me through the nerves and gives me a boost that lasts all day — from my morning cup of tea to my evening jammies and fuzzy socks!

How about you?

Share details in the comments!

Swear to You Poll

Why Did I Have To Write The San Juan Island Stories?

Fatty Patty coverWhy did I have to write “Fatty Patty”?

I did not attend my five-year high school reunion. I had just graduated magna cum laude from Lewis & Clark College and was finishing up a year of Literacy*AmeriCorps, starting a job at the Fort Vancouver Regional Library, and interviewing for the JET Programme to teach English in Japan.

And yet, I was ashamed.

I was ashamed of what I hadn’t accomplished and the success I hadn’t achieved.

High school is such a constant pressure cooker. A teacher’s whim during grading determines your entire future; who you talk to outside the cafeteria determines your social rank; your worst mistake bolts you to an identity that is practically impossible to break out of . . .

. . . until graduation, when suddenly the walls crumble, the social sphere expands to take in the entire 6 billion of all humanity, and your future is whatever you make it at that moment.

And then after five years, for one single afternoon or evening you voluntarily walk back into the pressure cooker just to see how everyone “turned out.”

I saw these in Cambodia -- then I worked at Blockbuster Video

I saw these in Cambodia — then I worked at Blockbuster Video (CC-BY 2.0 Wendy Clark – let me know if you use this pic because I’m proud of having taken it.)

I struggled hard to get a job after college. Teaching English-as-a-Second-Language was fulfilling but nobody needs a college degree to volunteer a year in the “domestic Peace Corps.” When my five-year reunion rolled around, I did not have an impressive corporate job, a sleek new car, or shiny whitened teeth. I had nothing to prove I was different, that I had “made it” in the real world. My ten-year reunion was almost the same. Watching Romy And Michele’s High School Reunion was not hilarious. That movie outright terrified me.

Yet what if I had had an impressive corporate job, a sleek new car, and shiny whitened teeth? What if I had fulfilled my classmates’ every desire? What if I had flaunted my outward success?

What if no one even noticed I had changed?

In Pepper, I got the chance to explore those “what ifs.”

And I got to do it against the enchanting backdrop of the San Juan Islands.

So, how about you? Did you go to your high school reunion? Why or why not?

Fatty Patty Poll

I did not attend my five-year or my ten-year high school reunions, and those of you who subscribe to my newsletter know why. I’ll probably talk about it more in a later post because it’s a shame that I still struggle with, a shame shared by every dreamer who keeps their gaze focused at the starry sky. I loved that Pepper grew her wings and managed to hold onto them through the adversity of facing down her cruel former classmates. Someday, that’ll be me too.

So, how about you? Did you attend your high school reunion? What happened or didn’t? Please share in the comments!

 

P.S. Even though I didn’t attend my reunion, I did work in my small town nine years later and I ran into an old crush. Something extremely unexpected happened, and I will tell you about that later!

Excerpts – Fatty Patty

Fatty Patty by Wendy Clark

Fatty Patty” is the cruel nickname that followed Pepper to high school graduation. Five years later, she’s back at her reunion to prove it hasn’t defined her. In her slim Kate Spades, she’ll show them all — her underachieving classmates and especially the boy who broke her heart.

But Pepper’s not the only one who’s changed in five years. She’s not the only one who has regrets about the things that were, and especially weren’t, said.

And she’s not the only one who plans to use this chance to rewrite history…

Fatty Patty is a new short story available now.

EXCERPT

If living fabulously was the best revenge, Pepper McKay could be its poster-girl. She was no longer the fat klutz who couldn’t walk a mile in PE. She was no longer the sad blob who overheard the other girls whisper about body odor—which she never had—and sweat stains, which were unavoidable in the humid coastal classrooms. She was no longer the victim of the unknown bully who kicked her wobbly seat at the start of assembly. The plastic had given way with a sickening crack, and everyone had watched her fall. Her four-inch Kate Spade Licorice heels, size-five Ella Moss strapless mini, and Sixth Sense chocolate Burberry satchel all proclaimed that refined adulthood had arrived. Five years too late, maybe, but sophistication had arrived, in her life and at the sultry Bellingham, Washington marina. She was thin now. Thin like a Thin Mint. And tonight, everyone would finally know it.

Pepper waved her boarding pass before the attentive, muscular dock hand, curved her lips in a confident smile coated with Yves Saint Laurent iced plum Sheer Candy, and strutted up the gangplank onto the Island Spiriter, a hundred-foot cruise ship decorated in the purple and gold of Friday Harbor High School. Welcome, class of the Millennium, the sign at the top step proclaimed. She mentally capitalized the “C” of “class” as she continued onto the deck, to the table manned by the reunion officer.

Time had not been universally fabulous. Allison Payne, who had once lit up the stage as Rizzo of Grease and taken the over-excited athletics department to the state championships in Cross-Country, licked a swelled finger and squinted up at Pepper. “Who are you with? I don’t—” Her jowls flattened. “Oh my god. Patty?”

The name hit her like curse, burning a hot flush onto her cheeks. She cleared her throat. “It’s Pepper.”

Allison’s lips dropped further and her neck rolls gobbled up her silver “Mother” necklace. She grabbed Pepper’s nametag and a thick black Sharpie. “I wondered! When did you change your name?”

Pepper gripped her satchel and struggled to maintain her iced smile.

In high school the woman had been one of them, the blade-slim girls who sprawled in patches across the sunlit cafeteria, waving flirty fingers at the hottest boys, pushing ugly people like her to the cold retreat of study rooms.

She coughed. “Actually, it’s always been Pepper.”

Allison uncapped the Sharpie. “Nobody will recognize you unless I fix this.”

Dread uncoiled in Pepper’s stomach.

The Sharpie touched the laminate.

Pepper snatched her tag away, black ink drawing a long, wobbly line across the top. She tried to wipe it off, smudging her fingers. The line smeared like the grease of an old food stain.

Allison reached for her nametag. “But no one will know—”

“I want to be myself now. Thanks.” Pepper pinned the badge above her left breast. A smudge was still better than what was about to be written. Her heart beat, hard and regular, in her chest and she shifted her handbag higher on her shoulder.

The waning sun seared her pale shoulders. Pale slim shoulders.

She tucked her salon-relaxed walnut hair behind her silver-pierced ears. “Is Julian here?”

“He’s already inside.” Allison leaned forward. “You won’t recognize him. He’s changed so much. It’s huge.”

No way. “He’s fat?”

Allison’s brows knit. “Huh? No, he’s turned into … well, you’ll see.” And then her brows lifted, as though she had solved a problem. She heaved herself to her feet, crossed the deck to the main cabin, and threw open the doors.

The other members of their class stood in cliques—the same ones as in high school, it seemed—an odd mix of optometrists, seafood vendors, and hair dressers milling around under long swathes of purple and gold decorations. She knew from their Facebook profiles, the ones who had let a few months go by and then suddenly had the guts to friend her. She had friended them back, sure, but never posted a self-portrait. Let them think she was the same, let them settle into the routine of their lives, let them post their own fattening photos as they gave up intramurals and exercise to settle into grad school, marriage, children. Things she didn’t have. Things they probably thought she never would.

Her stomach twinged again. She tightened her Pilates-toned abdominals. This was not Homecoming. She was no longer the only one stepping into a dim music-filled room without a friend or a date.

And even if she were, that wasn’t why she was here. She wasn’t here for herself.

She was here for revenge.

Read the rest!

The terror of the mass email

girl blowing leaves purple hue

I am sure this photo belongs to Pink Sherbet, the best photographer ever, and it perfectly captures how I felt putting out these two emails. Sending this out into the world…hope it goes okay…

So it turns out that sending a mass email, like announcing to all of your coworkers that you’ve started a side business selling Mary Kay or that you’ve just been talked into a questionable Time Share, is terrifying.

What if people are inconvenienced? What if they think you’re an idiot? Or annoying, and delusional, and a complete poser?

But despite all this, and Mass Email #1 locking up my computer for 2+ hours, and Hotmail requiring me to reset my password because it thought I had been hacked, I sent a second mass email.

I really did not want to send it. I wrote it and it sat on my hard drive for an extra week while I got up the mental courage. I’ve always been one of those people strongly dissuaded by negative feedback, even if it’s just a shaken head and a frown. In this case, even the electronic shaken head was enough to give me stomach pains. It’s a wonder I’ve ever been published!

But it turns out my sense of responsibility is stronger than my desire to be a good girl. Which means that I will always be a law-abiding citizen unless I make an ill-advised promise. And since I promised I was going to send a second mass email…

This second mass email locked up my computer for another 2 hours and Hotmail required me to change my password AGAIN. And just when I’d remembered the new one, too.

Congratulations!

This is the last mass email I will ever send impersonally to all my contacts. First, because I have to learn how to use mail merge and hand-select the addresses – three times—and it is brain-numbing, finger-cramping, tedious work that has to be done in absolute silence so I don’t screw up and accidentally email one of my ex-boyfriends. (Yes, I keep those, and no, I don’t particularly want them to get an email from me. Legal reasons.) Second, because I would rather spend my time publishing stories, crafting the newsletter that so many of you have already subscribed to, and reconnecting on Facebook. (Which is so awesome! I was scared to send out that first email. I’ve been down the rabbit hole for several years, plugging away at the keyboard in social-life silence, and what if, in the meantime, you decided you didn’t want to know me anymore? I am so grateful to get back in touch!)

I just wanted to tell you that the first newsletter has already gone out.

If you haven’t signed up due to newsletter fatigue, I completely understand. I recently unsubscribed from several productivity blogs because – ha! – stressing about when I would have time to read them made me less productive.

(I can be confident this time because I’ve already deleted the 122 expired emails plus the one guy I don’t even know who asked to be ‘unsubscribed’. There is no subscription here. How did you get in my personal contacts??? You are so deleted.)

Anyway, I am publishing 4 stories in a row + an extra in the print anthology – and that’s all I know about so far. There will be future promotions, comment-and-win bonuses, and buy-one-get-one-frees. You are not one of the people who has to wait for me to hold a raffle to get a free book. You get whatever I have, whenever I have it, just for reading this email. And you get it free.

That’s it!

If you forgot to subscribe at my website before, I’ll still send you the first newsletter until mid-end July, when the second one will go out. And then the one after that. And after that again. You get how that goes.

<Mass email #2: Done! Mail merge and I are done forever. FOREVER.>

See you on the Internet!

Wendy Lynn Clark

…find yourself in a good story…

wendylynnclark.com

P.S. Here is the first mass email in case you didn’t get it. I seriously had to select the addresses 3 times. I have no idea who got lost in the Microsoft tsunami.

The email that started it all…

Wendy Lynn Clark

Me from finaling in the PNWA Literary Award – Romance Category in 2007. All the Romance Category authors looked like Glamour Shots and all of the other categories looked like whatever-I-had-on-my-hard-drive shots

So months ago (at this point) when I had written a story and decided to take the plunge with self-publishing, I decided at the same time to update my address book and send a mass email like I used to do in 1998, when there was no Facebook or MySpace or Blogger or even LiveJournal.

I’ve had my same email address since 1996, which seems like a lifetime but is in fact barely a teenager who may secretly still be playing with Barbies.

Anyway, if you try to send a mass email now, you can’t. No, you literally can’t. I had to learn how to do a Mail Merge from Word, which was actually a heck of an experience, and my 21-year-old self is extremely jealous because “Do you know how to do a Mail Merge in Word 2003?” was always the one question I did not, in fact, know how to do and yet I always put down on resumes for office positions that I did know how to do it, when in fact, I was lying. They could also tell I was lying, and I never got a single job that tested my not knowing how to do Mail Merge. Now I really do know. It is as clunky as trying to do your dishes in a washing machine, but I know how to do it. Ha.

Sending this email to 200+ people locked up my home computer for over 2 hours and caused Hotmail to require me to reset my password because I had clearly been hacked.

Hello!

This is a mass email. I have sent it to everyone in my entire address book, including my mom. (Hi, Mom!) I have been saving contacts since 1996, the year that I got email. Congratulations! At one point, you became my contact.

You know how sometimes you read about a tiny business started ten years ago by an old acquaintance and now they’re famous and spend half the year in a Florida mansion and the other half saving snow leopards out of a yurt in Mongolia? Or the person who became an Elvis impersonator, or joined a cult, or started a cult? And you think, hey, wait, I remember that person. How come I didn’t hear about it ten years ago when s/he won the Powerball/designed a quantum computer chip/began an infomercial empire?

This is that email.

I am about to start a publishing adventure.

And I would like to invite you to join me.

Here’s a brief reminder of how you may know me: My name is Wendy Clark. I’m 34 this year. We attended Enumclaw High School together, or maybe Lewis & Clark College, or maybe Clark College, or I met you in AmeriCorps, or in the JET Programme, or at the University of Brighton. Was it via the Pacific Northwest Writers Association? The King County Library System? When I used to write book reviews, or trade online critiques, or published that other story?

You are receiving this email because at one time, we knew each other in Real Life. We may still know each other in Real Life. (Hi to everyone who’s last name begins with Clark!)  For some time now, I have been writing, and starting in July you will begin to see these stories appear on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. They are romantic short stories. Later there will be anthologies and longer romantic novels as well as young adult and science fiction.

If you would like to be added to a newsletter updating you on my writing adventures, please go to my website and click the “SIGN UP” link on the top right sidebar of every page.

You can also connect with me on Facebook or LinkedIn. On Facebook, I have an author page as well as a personal page. The personal page is where I post updates about my fitness goals, cat population, and hot tub status. You are receiving this email because we know each other, so you’re welcome to friend both. LinkedIn is library-related at the moment because that is where I have spent my day-job hours up to now.

If you would prefer to keep our current level of contact, whatever that is, it is totally fine with me. You do not need to reply to this email. I will send one more announcement next week, and then I will never send another mass email like this, ever again. I hate spam, even if it’s breaded and fried. Also let me know if this email has expired and gone to a new person and you literally have no idea who I am. I will delete it from my contacts and you won’t even have to ignore announcement #2.

I look forward to sharing my adventures with you!

Wendy Lynn Clark

Find Yourself In A Good Story

wendylynnclark.com

P.S. Seriously tell me if you don’t want to receive mass announcement #2. Sending a mass email is way harder than it used to be. I actually had to look at every address individually and I’m still not sure how I know everybody!