Taylor’s Christmas Project.
November 19, 2011

Taylor Hendrix, with the wild burros of Red Rock.

I kindly need your help:

There’s a lovely sixteen-year-old, Taylor Hendrix, diagnosed with osteosarcoma five years ago. She’s relapsed three times since, and spent the last two Thanksgiving/Christmas’ either in the hospital for low counts, chemo, or both.

Every year she organizes a holiday project wherein she packs backpacks with fun stuff and useful items for teens in the hospital over Christmas.

So, I got to thinking, after reading a few industry blog posts about what to do with ARCs. Wouldn’t it be cool if ARCs could be donated for Taylor’s Christmas Project? Published authors who could part with a copy of their books or an ARC could even sign the inside with a hopeful message. And ARCs could get a second life that way, signed or not.

It’s pretty much perfect because reading may be all these kids can manage when they’re on chemo and nauseated. As it turns out, there are always gifts for the younger children, but the teens can get lost in the shuffle — these very teens us YA writers write for.

You can read more details about the project, here: (Thanks, Tina!)  

Tina Moss, Writer: Taylor’s Christmas Project

Taylor’s mom, Tammy Hendrix, updates Taylor’s journal, here:

 CaringBridge / Taylor Hendrix

You can read Taylor’s early history, here. At the time, she was in remission:

Taylor: My Story

And, for donation questions:  “All inquiries regarding shirts or help with Taylor’s Christmas Project can be sent to my email at thendrix1964@hotmail.com or by calling my cell phone at 256-335-1593.”

Donations for Taylor’s project can be sent to:

Taylor Hendrix
Christmas Project
1511 Hermitage Drive
Florence, Al 35630
 
Or you can donate through paypal: thendrix1964@hotmail.com to Tammy Hendrix, directly. Tammy helps her daughter with the project each year.

Big thanks to everyone who gets involved. I’ve been following Taylor’s story since just before last Christmas, especially moved by Taylor’s huge heart even in the midst of her own struggles.

Contributions aren’t limited to books or ARCs — you could send a deck of cards, board games, toiletries, nail polish, etc. You could pick up an extra stocking stuffer and donate it to Taylor’s project. Ask yourself: if I had a beloved teen in the hospital over the Christmas holidays, what could I stuff in their backpack to lift their spirits or make life easier?

Even a  tweet on Twitter would help spread the word: 

Taylor’s Christmas Project: http://wp.me/ph3Ax-Uc Help 16 yr old Taylor with gifts/donations 4 teens in-hospital at Xmas. PLS RT!

*Thank you.*

Emily Murdoch

Query Road.
August 21, 2008

They say that I won’t last too long on Broadway

I’ll catch a Greyhound bus for home, they all say

But they’re dead wrong, I know they are

‘Cause I can play this here guitar

And I won’t quit till I’m a star on Broadway.

“On Broadway”

 Interestingly enough, I’ve been thinking lately about how the query process is much like a cross-country road trip. You start out all excited for new adventures and new scenery, with a “gas tank” overflowing with hopes and dreams, and a vehicle called the internet.

Like any other road trip, there will be stops (self-doubt) and starts (new agencies to query), wrong turns (form rejections), and wonderful sights (personalized rejections, requests for pages, partials and fulls).

Continuing on-course, the final destination (agent representation, your book sold, publication) is just around the bend. You may not see it from where you sit, pounding on the keys and obsessively checking email, but it’s out there waiting for your arrival, with cake and champagne and helium balloons and maybe, if you’re lucky, a small, grinning monkey that does cartwheels and handstands.

Of course, as you’re querying, there are things you can do to make the process more enjoyable.

1) Wear diamonds. Yes, I’m not kidding. As you watch your fingers readying the next email query, it’s a lot prettier when you’re wearing diamonds that catch the light and throw rainbows onto the walls. In this case, more IS better, with diamond anniversary bands throwing the most light to guide you down Query Road.

2) Query in your pajamas — heck, do it in a t-shirt and undies while sitting in bed. Thumb your nose at authority and professional protocol, but in a way that won’t impact your query letters or your chances.

3) Each time you hit send on a query letter, get up on your bed and jump up and down, like you did as a kid. Memorize how it feels to be launched into the air, and imagine your book doing the same. But a word of caution: remove all purring cats and snoring dogs, first.   

Of course, even on Query Road, your vehicle can overheat. Sometimes it’s one mile forward and two miles doubling back. At times the road will be closed, or you’ll encounter a dead end. That’s okay. It’ll make for great stories, later.

I keep all this wisdom in mind today, especially after the request for pages I wrote about last week turned into a form rejection this week, along with two more form rejections — one yesterday, and one this morning. 

I’m still standing tall, or, um, sitting. I’ve got my diamonds on, the gas tank remains full of dreams, and it’s full speed ahead.

If you find yourself rejected and dejected as you make your way down Query Road, pull over into the nearest Rest Stop (named after your favorite writer, of course) and give yourself permission to feel it; set a time limit, get a slurpee and a soft pretzel, kick the tire a few times, and then settle yourself back behind the wheel. 

Take a deep breath, and repeat after me: There are amazing and exciting things just around the bend. There are amazing and exciting things just around the bend. There are amazing and exciting things just around the bend … 

Because that’s what the published authors tell themselves.