Part 2: Not an exact science


Not much has changed in the past twenty years since I’ve graduated high school. Oh, sure, technology is quicker and more readily available, but the drama is still the same. People cheat. Girl fights are way more intense than guy fights. Friends fall out and make new friends. “Glow up” happens to a lucky few. (I usually have to ask my students what some of these terms mean. If you are clueless as well, a “glow up” is the ugly duckling scenario: someone who was considered plain or undesirable as a kid grows into someone stylish and popular.) Some have a fall from grace.

People, high school is still high school!

One of my former students was voted to be on Coming Home Court back when I returned to my teaching gig at the high school level. She was funny, smart, pretty. She was the whole package. The girl, however, could not find an escort to her senior Coming Home Dance. Her go-to date was taking another friend. Her crush denied her point blank.

I had a feeling of deja vu. My junior prom had a similar feeling to it. Now, I know that I wasn’t as pretty, smart, or popular as my student, yet I knew the feeling of being rejected all too well.

Rejection sucks.

It’s something I’ve told so many friends over the course of their dating escapades. Whether you are being rejected or doing the rejecting, being denied something close to your heart just hurts.

My junior prom was the second inspiration to Gretchen’s story. I asked a handful of guys to prom and was promptly rejected each time. Most of them were so sweet, though. I remember how my brother’s childhood best friend was all ready to go with me. He was total eye candy. Older, killer smile, tanned skin…I would have not only had the nicest prom date, but I would have, in my humble opinion, the hottest one, too. Sadly, his sister was graduating from college that day and he would not have made it back in time. Alas, it was not meant to be.

I want to be clear that Gretchen’s story is not even close to mine. Her outcome is completely different. I was set up with my date by a doctor who worked with my mom and had known me from a child. His son lived with the mom down state and when Doc found out I couldn’t get a date (because what else would the nurses and doctors talk about than my sad prom rejections?), he told my mom that his son would be willing to take me.

Pride took over at that point. I told my mom to tell Doc thanks, but no thanks. I’d rather go alone.

Then two things happened. My prom plans which were to have a barbecue with my date and our group of friends, were obliterated when he broke up with me and proceeded to take our group of friends to spend the day with him and not me. The second thing was I got my final rejection from an underclassman, and I decided to suck up my pride, see Doc, and ask if his son was still available for my prom.

He was, and to be honest, it was the best prom experience for me. My date danced with me for all songs (not just the slow songs), grabbed my friends to join us, played games, and even came over for the after prom sleepover. He even bought us pizza!

Going atomic

Did you ever have to make one of those thought webs in school? You know, where you have an idea at the center then you branch out from that idea? Then some of those concepts connected to other concepts in the web? That’s how my love molecules were. When I came up with my love molecules for Gretchen, I wanted them to be a bit more sophisticated than that. So I thought of chemistry equations and how they would be drawn out. Then I had some fun.

Each character that Gretchen encounters on her quest to find a prom date is noted with an “element”. Gretchen is element G, of course. Her ex, Eric is element E. Her art nemesis, Mikah is element Mk.

You get my drift, right?

I actually created my illustrations on Adobe Illustrator. I am not a graphic designer, like my cover artist, Michelle (remember her from my last post? Yes, my friend from camp back in 1996 is my graphic designer!). I am an art teacher with a decent basic understanding of working the program and turning them into a .png file. Go me!

So I took my equations, then added my graphics, and with a few clicks of the mouse, we get this:

One of the many love molecules Gretchen makes in her story.

This is not even the most complicated one! You’ll have to wait until you reach that one in the book itself.

On the bunsen burner

Right now, I have no exact launch date for my novel. If I was traditionally publishing, I may not even have an exact launch date considering all that is going on in the world right now with COVID-19. However, here are the steps I’m waiting on. And if you are thinking of the self-publishing route, know that I looked up a lot of articles, went to conferences, and am still figuring out most of it on my own. These are the details not a lot of people really mention, so I’m putting them here for anyone else interested in self-publishing.

  1. I’ve submitted my LLC document, so I can be a legitimate entity when I collect royalties and complete my taxes. So I’m waiting on that.
  2. Once I have secured my LLC, I’ll be able to get a government business ID. Again, super helpful with taxes and legitimizing this endeavor.
  3. Once I have the business ID, I can get a business checking account. It’ll be a better way to keep track of what I make, withhold quarterly taxes, and make any future purchases for my novel with it.
  4. With all of that, I can finish my kindle direct publishing (kdp) account to upload my manuscript and cover art.
  5. Get my proof copy printed with ISBN designated on it.
  6. Finish a few small changes to my copyright page.
  7. Prep it for eBook capabilities
  8. And within 72 hours, I can launch my novel on Amazon!

As that simmers and gets ready for publishing, stay tuned to more stories! I’ll make sure you have an introduction to my protagonist, as well as one of my favorite characters, Trish.

Until next time!

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