“CKR” Diary Post No. 31
Friday, March 14, 2008
Since embarking on the adventure that this project has become, so many strange, seemingly pre-destined incidents have occurred that I’ve stopped being surprised when they happen. So, when Scott brought another one to my attention yesterday, I didn’t bat an eye. Still, I have to admit, this one’s probably the most improbable, and possibly the most beneficial. But, before I reveal the latest, let me put them all in perspective…
You might remember it was a short string of coincidences that drove me to write the book in the first place when, two years ago, Scott and I spent 4 days in February inadvertently "chasing" Kid Rock around Florida, from Hollywood to Daytona. At around that same time, our new neighbors were settling in. We first met the young, newly-wed couple the weekend Hurricane Wilma hit in October ’05—which just happened to be the first weekend they moved furniture and stuff into the house. It was cool to learn "the media" was moving in next door (he produces the local news for CBS, she co-anchors the local news for NBC), but it wasn’t until I was deep into the book that I realized the importance of the connection.
In only a few short months, I had the story on paper. To start pre-promoting it, I began writing a Diary (yup, this one), which I first published on FreeWebSpace.com. Shortly thereafter, Scott suggested I check out MySpace. That was June ’06. I was so impressed with the forum, I stopped posting Diary entries to FreeWebSpace and starting using MySpace, instead. Readership, as you can guess, improved immediately.
One of my first MyFriends was Emily, a huge Kid Rock fan who also happens to be a graphics designer employed by a newspaper I’d barely heard of (which comes into play later). When the time comes to design the book cover, there’s no doubt in my mind as to who’ll get the job. Along with making new "friends," I also developed the idea of adding a MySpace element to the book that’s since become an integral part of the story. In fact, the plot doesn’t work without it. And I really like the plot.
Despite my optimism, however, a few people in my writers’ group were "uncomfortable" with the book. Okay, they hated it. The fact that I was overly confident about it (make that cocky) didn’t help. Scott started to worry they were bringing me down, but I wouldn’t consider voluntarily leaving the group. Come to find out, I didn’t have to—they kicked me out. As one of only two published novelists in the group, I never imagined that scenario would happen. In the end, rather than discouraging me, it made me more determined than ever to finish CKR.
And then I got sick.
Being new to MySpace, I had very little material to offer readers at the time. But it was hard to write blogs AND work on the book. When I got sick, though, I found it nearly impossible to concentrate for long stretches, so the only thing I COULD work on was the blog. The momentum I built in those few months got the ball rolling and, aside from the occasional hiatus, it’s been rolling strong ever since.
On New Year’s Eve, I told my buddy Chris about the book I was writing. I’d completely forgotten he edited a regional nightlife magazine, so I was taken by surprise when he said CLOSER had just interviewed Kid Rock for an article. Before the night was over, I’d agreed to start writing a column for them, and whatever doubts I’d had about contacting Kid Rock for permission and possible collaboration faded.
In February ’07, my first novel went into editing. Once it was released in March, I contacted an old friend to tell him the good news. I hadn’t spoken to Tom in maybe six years, but one of the organizations I worked with during the few months I temped for him as a legal secretary had inspired the villain in IMMORTAL BONDS (a 500-year-old Maltese knight), so I thought I’d pass along the good news. He was ecstatic.
We met for lunch and, among other things, talked politics, which was bound to happen, since Tom has been an active member of the Republican Party for years (don’t hold that against him, though—next to my husband, he’s one of the most free-thinking and broad-minded Republicans I’ve ever met). He told me, after all the years he’d supported his Party, he’d finally been quoted in a high-profile newspaper. Unfortunately, the quote had to do with his disappointment in their offering of Presidential candidates, but at least his name was out there. More interesting to me was the name of the newspaper: it was the same one Emily works for.
Shortly thereafter, Tom took a copy of IB with him to a dinner he attended in New York with the president of the New York Literary Society (or something like that). In April ’07, he took another copy with him on a pilgrimage with the Knights of Malta, from Rome to Lourdes, France. In May, he and his wife attended the book launch, as did our new neighbors (the ones who work for CBS and NBC). In June (I think), Tom agreed to represent me as my literary agent for CKR. Right now, he’s chomping at the bit for me to finish the film treatment, so he can start shopping for rights (did I mention he was also an entertainment attorney?), but, back in June, his first order of business was sending a FedEx package for me to Kid Rock’s manager. Included in that package was a books-on-tape-type recording of one of the chapters, digitally recorded and edited by my friend, Josh, who happens to be a musician in the band CashCrop (now Villain Right Here), of which this other guy named Chris is also a member…
…stay with me here…
Fast-forward to October ’07, when Scott and I went to see Kid Rock in concert (again) at the Jackie Gleason Theatre in Miami’s South Beach. The opening act was a karaoke contest, hosted by some radio station. By far, this one guy stood out and really rocked the house. His name was Chris. Before the contest was over, I’d gotten a text message from Amy, Josh’s "other half," and learned Josh was at the concert with another band member—one we hadn’t met yet. Neither were Kid Rock fans. They’d won the concert tickets when Chris advanced to the final round of the karaoke contest (yup, that Chris). While backstage, and as a perk for winning the contest, they passed a CashCrop demo to Kid Rock. Personally. I’m sure Bob would find it interesting to know a member of CashCrop had recorded the CKR chapter mailed to him a few months earlier.
What are the odds?
I said I’d stop saying that after we got slammed with something like seven hurricanes in a single season AND took two direct hits, both from Cat 2 storms, on the same night of the week, at nearly the same time, only three weeks apart. But come on. A four-day chain of events that prompted me to stop working on what I should have been working on in favor of writing a book I didn’t want to write? The media moving in next door? My old "boss" mentioning the name of the employer of my new MyFriend? The timing and results of the karaoke contest? I’m sure there have been more coincidences that I’ve forgotten, because at times they seem to come at me in rapid fire. And I won’t even BEGIN describing the parallels that have accidentally developed between the story and my personal life. That has the makings of a good novel on its own. And keep in mind I’ve only been working on this project for two years, and about half that time has been spent not being able to get anywhere near it.
If everything happens for a reason, think something "cosmic" might be afoot here? Then add this: Scott joined MySpace about a month ago. Just yesterday, he told me about how he got an unprompted message last weekend from a guy who said hello simply because they share the same name. They bantered back and forth, disclosing a little about themselves, and, over the course of a couple days, the other Scott mentioned, among other things, that he owns a video production company in Nashville, has worked with Alan Jackson for years (Jackson keeps a boat near here in Jupiter), and produced a video for Tim McGraw...
I shouldn’t have to explain how this "little connection" might help, and why it would never have been as effective had my Scott initiated the conversation.
Can you understand now why I’ve so often referred to this endeavor as a "ride"? Even I don’t know what’s going to happen next. But, at every step along the way, I’ve been given a sign that I’m on the right track. I can’t help but feel encouraged.
Hopefully I won’t fuck it up.
As always, I can’t thank you enough for your support and friendship—AND for sharing this ride with me. This was a long post, too, so, if you got all the way here, thank you that much more. You rock; don’t let anybody tell you different. :)
(to be continued...)