Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Always Behave Professionally, You Never Know Who's Watching

Last night, I had what some could view as a life-changing experience. A celebrity reached out to me, and I got to talk to him on the phone. Here's how events played out:

I went to the chiropractor for an adjustment. Hubby was there for his appointment, too. As I was sitting beside him, checking my email, I pulled up a message and scoffed. Hubby looked over. "Check this out," I said. It was an email allegedly from this celebrity's personal assistant, asking me to contact his manager at my earliest convenience. No reason was given, just an email and a phone number. "Do you think this is some kind of scam?" I asked hubby. "Should I reply back?" Hubby said, "Sure. Just don't click on any links." He's a computer guy, so he's pretty cautious about opening emails from unknown sources.

So, I replied back with a short email that said I had been asked to contact him but wasn't sure why. Off I went about my business. I got my adjustment, grabbed a snack at home, watched my recorded The Young and the Restless, then went to meet my friend and critique partner to discuss self-publishing and my latest WIP.

After returning home and eating dinner, I checked my email. There was a message from this celebrity's rep, thanking me for replying so quickly and asking me to call him on his personal mobile.

I was watching MasterChef at the time. I was not calling until MasterChef was over. I was busy, you see. Uh-huh. Well, keep reading.

My curiosity began to get the better of me. Maybe this was legit. Maybe this really was this celebrity's rep. So, I started doing some internet searches for his name during the commercials. Hmm. Yep, there was this guy's name, associated with the celebrity in question. And, oh look, there's the rep's email address linked to one of the celebrity's YouTube videos. Okay, this was looking more and more like the real deal.

MasterChef ended, and while I was now getting excited, I forced myself to stay cool as I dialed the number. Yep, this could still be all a big fat hoax. Not likely, but my wary inner voice was hovering nearby to keep me on my toes.

The rep answered, and I said, "Hi, this is Donya Lynne?" As if I didn't know who I was, right? Yes, by now I was pretty sure this was for real. "Donya Lynne! Pleasure to finally meet you!" the rep said. We proceeded to have a pleasant, upbeat conversation, and then he said, "Hey, I've got [celebrity] right here. Hold on and I'll put him on so he can talk to you." At least, I think that's what he said. I was a little flumbergasted that Mr. Celebrity was right there, and that, yes, I was about to oh-so-(not)-casually chat with him.

Don't ask me what was said between me and Mr. Celebrity. I know the gist of it, but my brain was starting to misfire right about this time, so perfect recollection of what was actually said now eludes me. Mr. Celebrity was really cool, very appreciative, and said a lot of nice things. I just can't remember them. I really need to work on my memory. For real.

I then hung up the phone and proceeded to laugh for about two minutes. Hubby, having heard my entire side of the conversation (and knowing I had, in fact, talked to Mr. Celebrity) calls from the next room, "Are you having a bit of a fangirl moment, honey?"

Really? Do you have to ask?

But, in hindsight, it wasn't so much as a fangirl moment as it was the realization that good things come to those who do good deeds and refuse to let fear hold their tongue. You see, a little over two years ago, I contacted Mr. Celebrity and asked him to appear on my book cover. "That's ballsy," you might say, but my way of thinking is "Never be afraid to ask. The worst they can say is no, and the best they can say is yes. You have everything to win and nothing to lose by simply asking." We emailed back and forth a few times but couldn't make the cover happen. I was on a shoestring budget at the time and didn't have the resources to pay for the rights to use one of his pics. But he was gracious, and so was I. Not able to make it work, I bowed out of the discussions with a sincere "thank you for at least considering" and went on my way.

Afterward, I could have gotten angry. I could've become defensive and immature. I could have behaved badly and lashed out that I couldn't make this endeavor work and had been told, in essence, no. I've seen others take "no" personally and do worse for lesser reasons. In fact, I've seen some do worse for lesser reasons and being told no in the last few days.

I always preach that authors need to be careful what they put on their platform, because this is their professional reputation they're building and showing the world. Don't post profanity-laden messages all over social media. Don't troll. Don't bash anyone—ANYONE—in the business. Not other authors, not publishers, not editors, not agents, not cover artists, not cover models, not potential cover models...NO ONE! Don't post controversial subject matter such as politics, religion, or your own personal opinions about touchy subjects (I learned this one the hard way and refuse to walk that path again). Don't go on and on about your health problems (the occasional post is okay, but posting about your health issues every day is a drag for your readers, and they don't want to hear it). Your author platform—your brand—is about you, as an author. Be social and be professional, but keep your posts relevant to your author persona, not everything else going on in the world, your life, and your head.

Why?

Well, because this celebrity is going through a re-branding right now, and, in my case, if I hadn't maintained my professionalism and my own brand awareness, I doubt he would have reached out to me. Furthermore, if I hadn't reached out in the first place over two years ago, he might not have reached out to me now. By sucking down my fear and "going for it," I put my name in his head, and by maintaining my professionalism, I indirectly earned the right to speak to him on the phone last night.

I won't divulge the nature of our conversation, but for those who pay attention, you'll be able to figure it out over the next few months. Maybe. But even if you don't, that's not the important thing here. The lesson to learn is to be fearless and professional...and to never take "no" personally. All the rest falls into place with time.

Peace out and happy writing
-D

Saturday, April 26, 2014

How a Godzilla Dream Became a Romance Couple

"Hey, baby, wanna make out?"
Maybe it's because I'm a huge Godzilla fan and am getting psyched over the new Godzilla moving about to come out, but I dreamed about, yes, Godzilla last night. And not just about Godzilla, but about being a prisoner in a weird Chinese prison (I know Godzilla came from Tokyo, but in dreams you've just gotta go with it). The warden was very cruel and wouldn't let me take my cat figurines and trinkets when was released (again, you've just gotta go with what a dream gives you). So, I'm released from prison, and all these news reports come in about these two (not ONE, mind you) bizarre, mutating creatures that have been sighted, growing at an accelerated rate. There was TV footage and everything. I knew it was Godzilla and was both scared and excited all at once. But I had to leave. So, I go in search of my valet-parked beige Honda (uh-huh, go with it) so I can get outta Dodge before the big bad monster destroys Beijing. Apparently, dream Godzilla lives underground and causes intense seismic disruption, because vast land destruction began to occur, swallowing up buildings and people and cars...including my beige Honda. Then I woke up.

What's my takeaway from this dream? That I have two story characters, one male and one female, where the male is trying to rescue the female from her captors and utter destruction taking place all around her, but she is a feisty bugger and wants nothing of being the damsel in distress. As she proclaims she doesn't need his help and darts for her own vehicle to flee, a series of explosions wipes out her attackers...AND her vehicle. Seems the hero got carried away with the pyrotechnics. Anyhoo, she spins on him, knowing this was his doing. "Just great! Now how am I supposed to get out of here, Einstein?" He grins with self-satisfaction. "Looks like you're coming with me, after all." And so their relationship begins.

All this from a beige Honda Godzilla dream. LOL. And I don't even own a beige Honda.

But this just goes to show that story inspiration can come from anywhere. You just have to open your eyes, mind, ears, and heart. Oh, and having an emotional love affair with a movie monster doesn't hurt.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Changes

Change is good.

For a while now, I've been looking at redoing my blog and incorporating it into my website. Over the weekend, I did begin talking to a web developer about this reconstruct. In the next few months, I'm hoping to have a brand new website with my blog incorporated within. As soon as I have more information, I'll let you know.