Rejections and Acceptance

The Beginning

First Draft 3

The first time I tried to write Dempsey’s Grill it was your typical mess. The idea was there but the story line was off. I could tell there was something missing and I could see the characters were not well written.

But it was a start.

By the time it was complete I knew I had something. It wasn’t because I wrote it, it was because I wrote something I wanted to read.

 

No is not the final answer

Query

At the time I had no idea if others would agree but I knew I had to find out. For the longest time the answers were the same.

NO

I think it was rejection 100 when I stopped counting. Who am I kidding? I counted every one. But no matter how many publishers or agents said no I kept going.

Why?

Because I wrote a book I wanted to read.

 

It could have been you

Had Dempsey’s Grill been written by any of you I would have loved it just the same and that is what has kept me going.

I loved the story and I cared about these people and because of that I owed it to them to tell their story the best I could. No matter how many rejections I received or how many negative comments I read, I knew their voices would someday be heard.

 

A stubborn bunch we are

If any of you are in the same boat remember: All it takes is a belief that you wrote something special and if you feel it all the way to your core someday someone will feel it too.

Belief, confidence and a dash of luck will one day capture someone’s attention. But remember: You create your own luck.

 

All it took was a yes

Yes!!!

In the fall of 2018 that’s exactly what happened to Dempsey and the gang. They got their yes.

To the amazing people at Foundation Books I cannot thank you enough.

All it takes is a yes buried deep in a mountain of no’s. But most of all it takes a belief in your story and a love for your characters. When you have that it is only a matter of time for agents, publishers and most of all readers to see it too.

Thanks for reading my Dempsey’s Grill series everyone.

SPONTANEOUS FRIDAY

Europe Announcement

Europe

On June 24th the gang and I are flying halfway around the world. It will be my first trip to Europe. Am I excited?

Two words: Hell Yes!

For those of you who follow me, you have become well acquainted with my knee situation. It should come as no surprise that I will be wheeling my way across Europe.

Let’s hope my number of crashes and near misses are at a minimal.

I will be shutting down my blog for about three weeks. I plan to be pretty much off grid the entire time. This may be my one and only time to take such a trip so I plan on soaking in as much as possible.

When I return I guarantee lots of pictures and stories. You know me, there is always a story to be told.

While I’m in Europe I’ll be snapping photos, taking videos and hanging out with as many locals as possible. It’ll be fun listening to their stories.

I’m announcing this ten days before I leave. In fact, I have two more blog posts to do.

I’m doing this announcement early for two reasons:

  • To let you know this blog is going on vacation after June 21st.
  • A chance to meet some of you if you happen to live in the countries I’m visiting.

Below are the places I’m traveling too:

Austria – Germany – Liechtenstein – Switzerland – Paris and London.

At the end of this post is my e-mail. Please contact me before June 24th if you live in any of these places. It would be fun if I could say hi to some of you.

On a side note: A huge thanks to my wife’s parents and her sister for house sitting. They will be faced with the challenging task of plant watering and cat feeding.

Unlike my blog at least the house won’t be shut down while we’re gone. Hopefully Flash and the gang behave.

 

bryanjfagan@gmail.com

Dempsey’s Grill – The Final Character

The older Sibling

Hope

The last but certainly not least of my characters is Gibson’s sister, Hope.

When I wrote the first draft Hope was nothing more than a side character. She was supposed to make a quick entrance, a smooth exit and nothing more. But something happened after that first draft.

Hope being Hope took over.

 

Women Rule

Looking back it was the women in Dempsey’s Grill who became the backbone of the story. At first I didn’t see it, but now it’s so easy to see. Gail and Hope are the strongest and the smartest and they willed me to write the best story I could.

On the surface Hope is a highly successful realtor. She succeeds regardless of the economy. She is hands on. She is intimidating and she is a step ahead of the competition.

This was as far as I intended to go, but Hope had other ideas.

 

Taking the pen out of my hand

As she peeled off the layers I saw how damaged Hope was. The only difference between her and the others was Hope’s talent to hide it.

If Hope were writing this instead of me she would confess she is her own worst enemy. She saw the world in a straight line. There was no curve, no grey area. There was simply a right way and a wrong way and she was never wrong.

She was feared and hated and did a wonderful job convincing everyone she didn’t care. But when her little brother came home her co called straight line took a turn.

 

An Unexpected Pleasure

With Gibson back in town Hope was no longer the center of her patents attention. Plus there was another problem: Her marriage.

For years the foundation was cracking and by the time Gibson arrived there was little left to stand on. With two small children, a strained marriage and no end in sight Hope suddenly felt tired and weak.

But something happened when Gibson arrived and that something went by the name of Dempsey.

 

Two opposites make a right

Timing is everything and on a day when her emotions were at their worst a man-child with a boyish grin, bright eyes and a fearless attitude changed her life.

Hope was never the type to relax. A serious and competitive person from day one she found herself smiling and relaxing all due to a man with a silly name and a boyish grin.

When Hope led me into this storyline my immediate reaction was to push away. This was a trio, I argued and all seats were taken.

But Dempsey reached across the page and took her hand into his. I stood back and watched as he taught her how to love and laugh while she taught him to cut his hair.

I listened and I followed and I saw her grow. It didn’t take long for these two characters to fit perfectly on the same page.

By novels end Hope was the best sister a broken down guy could ask for and a pleasant surprise to the story.

Hand Holding 1

 

This concludes my intro to Dempsey’s Grill. I hope you enjoyed it. For me it was fun to go back and revisit these special people.

 

Thanks!!!!!

SPONTANEOUS FRIDAY

Why a Writer Needs a Pet

Morris

Every now and then I kid a fellow writer about her lack of pets. I won’t mention her name….cough, cough….KM….cough, cough….Allan…..

Sorry, it appears I’m on the losing end of a cold. Give me a moment.

Much better. Thanks for your patience.

Anyway, I do believe owning a pet is important to our creativity. It could be a cat, a dog, a hamster or my personal favorite the miniature elephant…..humor me.

Whatever your desire I truly believe our pets tap into our imagination and improve our work.

 

A Minor Inconvenience

Flash 14

Sure, they step on our keyboards, they steal our pens or sleep in our favorite chair. But these little annoyances are worth it.

I don’t know why these favorite creatures of ours make us better. Is it their kindness, their attention seeking or is it something else?

Whatever it is, I’m glad they’re here.

 

A Worthwhile Endless Battle

Flash 13

Every day I fight for my corner of the house and everyday it’s a battle. On one end Flash will lay on my notebook, his brother will play with my shoe string or Sherlock will remind me we’re dangerously low on cat food.

Sherlock and Flash

But for as much as I moan and groan I know my skills would not be as good without them. I’ve often wonder if they know what I’m doing and it’s their way of making me better.

I think they do.

 

Yes, they are worth it

Coz

So if any of you have pets you know what I’m talking about.  They become so much of our writing routine I’m pretty sure our creativity would be lost without them.

For those of you without a pet try to have one in your life. Yes, they can be expensive and a double yes when vet bills are tossed into the mix. But if your budget allows it try to bring one into your home.

I have a feeling your writing world will thank you.

Morris 2

 

 

Happy Friday Everyone!!!

Dempsey’s Grill – A Special Summer

Before I start I wasn’t sure if I wanted to tell you about the next character in my novel or about my wife being blackmailed by a porn site. Decisions, decisions…..

Hmmmmm….lets flip a coin to decide, shall we. Dempsey calls heads.

coin flip

 

Oh…looks like Dempsey wins!!!!!

 Enjoy.

 

That Special Someone

We all have that special someone who captured our heart and never let it go. That person may have come from our past or they may be someone we wake up to every morning.

Whoever they are they are unlike anyone we have ever met. They have a way of making our world brighter, pushing our buttons and challenging us. But most of all they love us in a way no one else can.

May I introduce you to Gail.

Gail 1

 

Growing up, saying goodbye and saying hello again

Gail and Gibson grew up together. For the majority of their first 15 years of life they were rarely apart. She was the type who would pull him out of a mud puddle in the second grand and toss him back in by the fourth.

They rode bikes, climbed trees, held hands and kissed. They were each other’s first love and on the day Gail and her mother moved far away their hearts broke.

When Gibson agrees to Dempsey’s newest adventure it is in a campus bar where he and Gail reunite.

Gail is now 29 years old. Engaged to a long haul trucker. Her life is one long waiting game. Her spare time consists of phone calls, texts and wondering when she’ll see him again.

I was surprised how she took over. She literally took the pen out of my hand and told me to step aside. She was smarter than the boys but most of all she was a realist.

She knew life wasn’t perfect. She also knew she was probably engaged to someone she liked but didn’t love. But sometimes you have to take the good with the bad, she told me.

That held true until Gibson arrived.

 

A wrinkle in her life

When they met for the first time in 14 years it was as if a day had not passed. But as with anyone who holds our heart, Gibson was like no other.

But something had changed.

He was wounded. Someone had hurt him and with that a protective feeling she had not felt in many years returned.

 

A Fork in the Road

With Gibson and Dempsey in her world a youthfulness she thought was lost returned. Life was exciting. It was dangerous but most of all she was happy.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget, isn’t it.

Sure, there was the long-haul trucker and a life she had already planned but for a little while she had both. A tiny window where laughter minus the loneliness won out.

But one night a decision had to be made and in that moment everything changed.

Gail

SPONTANEOUS FRIDAY

How the sense of smell can knock the stuffing out of writer’s block

The other day I was trying to come up with a feel for a scene. I could almost see it. I could almost touch it. But as luck would have it, it slipped through my fingers.

I decided to call it a day and run some errands. One of those errands required a run to the grocery store. The produce aisle, to be exact.

Berries

I remember turning down an aisle surrounded by berries and melons. Suddenly the scene I had given up on came alive.

Now I could see it. I could hold it in my hand. But most of all I was there.

The smell of berries reminded me of my hometown and because of that my mind turned to the direction it needed.

 

So what just happened?

Why did this tiny little experience get me over the hump? The berries had nothing to do with my story, nor did my hometown.

But somewhere in the darkest corner of my mind an emotion was stirred and with it the scene I was looking for came alive.

Unfortunately it doesn’t work every time but when it does I’m on top of the world. Give me the smell of sawdust or raspberries or certain perfumes and you will witness the disintegration of the world’s largest writer’s block.

explosion 1

Yes, it’s messy.

 

A Mind of its Own

But this wonderful mystery plays by its own rules. A sense of humor if you will and in a blink of an eye it will disappear. Sometimes for weeks.

But I don’t mind because it always comes back. Sure, its little game of hide and seek is annoying but I’ll take it. Sometimes a surprise visit is better than no visit at all.

So the next time your story is at a standstill follow your nose. Seek out that smell from yesteryear. It may have nothing to do with the work at hand but it will calm you and take you down the path you need.

workshop

 

Happy Friday Everyone!!!

Dempsey’s Grill – A Look Inside

 

books 7

Side note: Last week I introduced the protagonist of my novel, Gibson Baker. Today I’m introducing to you the man the novel is named after.

Enjoy!!!

 

We all knew this guy

When I created Gibson I knew he would need someone to fall back on. Someone from his childhood or, in this case, his teenage years.

Enter Dempsey.

Dempsey was Gibson’s comfort zone. The type of guy who made things better the longer he was around.

At least for a little while.

 

Black hair – Blue eyes and forever 19

When I first wrote Dempsey I tried to visualize what he looked like. I saw a tall raggedy hair guy who was quite pleased with his appearance but not exactly arrogant. For reasons unknown I saw Tommy Lee of Motley Crue.

Poor Dempsey.

Along with his tall raggedy hair look, Dempsey displayed a trademark boyish grin and a non-stop man-child attitude. When I say man-child I’m leaning heavily on the child.

Dempsey is 29 years old but unlike Gibson he never had a career. He was one of those guys who seemed destined to stay 19 no matter how hard he tried.

He was someone you may have met once or twice in your life. He was always starting over, always convinced the next big thing was right around the corner.

Like some of us who finished our 20’s with little to show, a feeling of dread and fear was rapidly growing inside of him.

We either were him or we knew him.

 

Dempsey’s Last Chance

When Gibson came home Dempsey had just inherited some money. With his 30th birthday within sight he made a decision to take a chance. He would open a restaurant and name it Dempsey’s Grill.

This time there would be no starting over. This was the real deal.

But there was one small problem: He had no clue what he was doing. But sometimes fear makes us do crazy things and sometimes it makes us brave. In Dempsey’s case he had a dash of both.

Dempsey was the kind of guy you’d want on your side when things were at their worst. When he wasn’t chasing a dream or a girl he was listening. In Gibson’s case this was the best friend to have. 

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