Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Heart Amtrak

by Amy Platon

Well, the family and I just came home from one of the best little vacations we’ve been on in a while. We boarded Amtrak and took the night train to Raleigh NC to visit some friends. Half our neighborhood came with us totaling 15 people (six kids). It was a nice little group. The round trip ticket cost the four of us $230.

I’ve never taken a train to travel but I have always wanted to. I am so glad we did it. We boarded at 6pm and arrived at our destination at 9am the next morning. No sleeper car just camping in the extra-big, better-than-first-class recliners for us.

Before the sunset we got to see all the little towns along the track from Orlando to Georgia. The nifty iphone app. Google Maps kept us all tracked so we knew the name of each town we rode through. There is an App for that!

Quick Stop: the Amtrak employees are like Disney-nice! They were super accommodating and helpful beyond expectations.

Sleeping for most of the fifteen-hour ride was the way to go with the little ones. It’s like cruising - wake up at your destination. There wasn’t even enough time for a single, “Are we there yet?”

I also especially liked the fact that we could stand as much as we wanted throughout the trip. We packed a cooler full of food and a few beers, pillows and blankets and had a great time chatting and switching seats as often as we wanted.

If you are considering a summer trip, I highly recommend Amtrak. It was unexpectedly fun. We will be doing it much more often.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cracked Jacket

You know those books I've been telling you about. The ones I've written and am searching endlessly for an agent to represent. Well I've decided to post the cover letter I've written for suggestions if anyone has any. Also, I have linked a sample chapter of the book for you to read as well if you are interested. And of course, by all means, if you know anyone who might be interested in representing me, please pass this along. Thank you for all the continued support. I look forward to your comments. Have a great holiday weekend.

Sincerely,
Amy

_____________________________________________

Newly Updated June 20th.

Dear Mr. McVeigh,

I am generally hesitant in sending my work to male agents, but when I read that you are someone who believes that we have entered a time of trying new ways, I just had to query.

So, I will have to ask that you imagine that you are a thirty something mother (of at least two) who has just dropped her children off at the local bookstore for reading hour. It’s just the thirty minutes of complimentary quiet time you need to get you through your long summer days. As you are browsing the shelves for an interesting book, your eyes land on CRACKED, by Amy Platon. You open the book to read the jacket…

The question is not if, but when. Just how long can Jill Buchanan withstand the chaos that is her life, before she cracks?

Jill Buchanan is a woman with dreams, drowning in an ocean of problems. She is served a heavy helping of reality, in the form of fast food humiliation as her debit card is declined for a mere $4.19 purchase. It is as if she wakes up in her cozy suburban life to find that her kids are spoiled rotten. Her neighbors are plotting against her. Her husband’s checked out, and now her check card’s declined. However, this reality is the draft notice for a battle she wants no part of.

Jill has no choice but to trade in her Coach-bag existence for an apron. Choking down inferiority like a shot of warm house tequila, she takes a job bartending at Mickey McAllister’s. She’s working hard nights, and long days as an at-home mom to her out of control boys. Pushed to her limits, Jill tells her neighbor how she really feels about her. But her newfound strength becomes shaken as she discovers the woman, later, lying in a self-inflicted pool of blood. It’s an event that brings Jill closer to her husband with every detail.

But Jill has a plan that just might pull their family out of the debt that is burying them alive. And just as things begin to look up, Jill answers a call that changes everything about who she thought she was.

You can trust this author to tell a good story, because she is just like you. You’re even familiar with this book because you’ve read about it in cyber blogging halls, a place where you hang out when the kids are sleeping or when they are accidentally entertained by the newly emptied laundry basket.

And what do you do next? You flip to the first page and begin learning about the life of Jill Buchanan, and how similar she is to you. You bond with her immediately, as she whisks you away in the flurry that is her life. And before you know it, you’re fifteen pages deep, waiting in line, and deciding on a new bookmark before the clerk calls, “Next please.”

Mark, those fifteen pages, or if you would prefer, the completed manuscript is yours to read at anytime.

Please visit my Web site for examples of published work at www.ScribbleInkCafe.com. But above all, thank you for taking the time to read this query. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Take Care,
Amy Platon


And here's a new one:

I’m Jill Buchanan. I’m the one this book is all about. And yeah, I guess I’m a pretty good mom. Ok well, I’m not totally proud of the chapter where my neighbor Tess and I run into each other in the grocery store. No. Not one of my finest moments. But, we all have those moments. Moms, I mean. We can’t always be perfect.

Let’s face it. Tess isn’t perfect either. The cop even said, women who cut the vein in their leg as a form of suicide, do it there, in case they live. Wrist slits are just too visible. She knew she was going to live.

But she had a lot going on in her life. It wasn’t just over what I said.

And she’s not the only one with things happening. We’re all overwhelmed. This crappy economy is no help either. My husband Mike and I have had our share of trouble. Real estate ain’t exactly payin’ the bills anymore.

But I’m not like Tess. I knew what I had to do. And I did it. I got a job. That’s right. I traded my Coach bag poshy existence for an apron. And you know what? Bartending - it’s like riding a bike. No, scratch that. It’s more like The Perfect Storm. You know, when the guys get to that great fishing spot and they are catching all that fish? It’s like that. But it’s hard work. Great when I was fresh out of college, but not something I can do ‘till retirement.

Menu-less restaurant.

What do you think? I know. It’s a hard sell. After all, I did just call this economy crappy. Even Mike is skeptical. But I think it can work.

Or at least I did, until I got the call that had me collapsed on my kitchen floor. I would never do that to my children. But even though I’m a mom, I’m still a daughter. And if my own mother couldn’t trust me, let’s be honest, how could I trust myself?

I can assure you, her death will haunt me for the rest of my life. It stripped me of what little hope I had left.

And about my life, if you’re interested in reading more, then contact Amy Platon at AdPlaton1@Hotmail.com. She’s the one who created me for the book CRACKED and for the world of Women’s Fiction.

Take Care,
Jill


Here is a sample chapter from the completed book. Please explore this site for additional examples of my published work. But above all, thank you for taking the time to read this query. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bad Mood Mud

by Amy Platon

I was out on Sunday running errands and I had the unfortunate pleasure of dealing with several (as in more than three) bitter customer service personnel. So, what’s the first thing I do? I blame myself. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m not coming across the right way. I am cringing even now as I type that. Because as memory does, it adds a tone of outcome to the dialogue, so I hear, nah nah nah. Nah neeh nah nah. Blah.

Without going into too much specific detail, I got nicer and nicer (on purpose) with each incident. I was even cheery. So then, I say to my daughter, “I know what will cheer us up (by us I mean me). We’ll go to the pet store!”

“Yeah!” She was totally on board with that one. So we pulled into the store that does pet rescue adoptions on the weekends. It’s the same store we rescued our dog from, about eight months earlier. We went in and had a good time looking at all the cute puppies, cats and bunnies. We even picked up a few toys for our dog. I did feel better. All better, in fact.

So, we sauntered over to the adoption desk to spread the cheer. “I just wanted to tell you, we adopted a dog from you all about eight months ago and…” Before I could even finish, the woman (who I adopted from) looked up over her sandwich to ask, “Do you still have it?” Her voice came down hard on the “have” you know what I mean? There was no room for misinterpretation. “Well yes. In fact, he’s great!” She looked back at her food, “Great, you need another one then.”

My eyes pushed themselves up into my head, and frankly I don’t blame them a bit. We had had enough! “I was just letting you know that we are very happy.” My mistake lady, I thought you cared about the dogs you placed.

But here’s the part I wish I said. People like you, in your pissy mood, can shove it. I get to say that, because I too am in customer service. So don’t tell me I don’t understand. I do understand. I get it that you’re having a bad day, but when you snap at me, this is what I see. I see you playing in your little mud puddle and you’ve just splashed me with your nasty little comment. I see you as an out of control child that isn’t behaving.

I grabbed my daughter’s hand, “Ewe! Honey, let’s go.” Because how am I supposed to raise a respectful little girl when people like that are over here getting us all dirty?

Grow up! Clean yourself off. Have a little respect. And if you can’t, then go take a break. Go get laid, something. You need some maintenance.

Huhhh, sorry for yelling. I just had to get that off my chest! I have to work tonight and I can’t harbor that, or I won’t make any money! There. All better.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Award Bucket



Hi Lily,

Not that you need a button for this, but I just wanted you to have a sign from Scribble Ink Cafe. So here is your NICE award. You so deserve it. Best of luck in all you do!

Blog on sister!

Amy

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Beautiful Gift


by Amy Platon

Well it was a great weekend, yay for Mother’s Day. I used to think it was a Hallmark Holiday, but I have a new appreciation for it. My son came home with a beautiful handmade card from school. It had a poem and his hand prints. The best part of the card was how he answered the questions about me. Apparently I have “bage” hair, I’m about 40 years old and I weigh 90 lbs, and my favorite activity is ice skating. Hmm, I’m a native Floridian, and we still live here. We did do some ice skating over Christmas, but “favorite” activity? And for the record, I’m nowhere near 40. At least I think. I’d have to do the math for that one and it’s too early in the morning for all that. I am, however, 90 lbs. (Man, I can’t even say that with a straight face.)

Anyhoo, all this had me thinking, why are all those mistakes so darn cute? And ladies of the mommy sisterhood, I think I’ve got it. And let me start by first saying, I hate the pressure of the idea that requires me to “mold” my child, because that is so inaccurate. Guide, yes. But mold? The truth is that our children have as much right to walk on this earth as the rest of us do. And not necessarily in my footsteps. It is not their responsibility, or ours as parents, to force them to “fit” in with us. Their life is their adventure, and at the most we are observers. (Lucky us!)

So, what about sex, drugs and smoking, right? Well, I lead by example. So when my kids point out that someone is smoking, I say, “Yes, she is smoking. Does mommy smoke?” No. “Do you smoke?” No. “So that person is smoking, but we don’t smoke. Is that right?” Right. And because we have relatives that smoke, I usually remind my children at that time that smoking is addictive just like drugs are very addictive and once someone starts it’s very hard to quit. It’s easier to never start drugs or smoking for that reason. The lesson is that some people do things that we don’t.

So when my daughter came in from playing with her friend who is a boy, to tell me that they were pretending to have boyfriends, I said “Oh, ok.” She turned to me to say, “He’s going to have a boyfriend too. That’s weird right?” I said, “Well, no. Sometimes it happens.” The message isn’t for her to go out and have a same sex relationship, but that she knows:
1. I’m an accepting person.
And
2. What one person does is not what all people do.

The big lesson is that she doesn’t have to fear differences. So when we see other same sex couples out in public, she isn't going to feel confused, scared, or sick over it. It's like sweeping the path.

At the end of the day, the only thing we mothers are responsible for in the growth of our children is to help them find who they really are. To let them grow from the inside out, not the outside in. You know, keep the road clean.

And so, about the card, while being a 90 lb ice skater with beige hair is gift enough, the real gift is why those little mistakes are so beautiful. It's because they are a glimpse of the person my child really is. A glimpse of him just being him and not trying to be the person he is expected to be. Humm, what a beautiful day.

I've listed the lovely blog carnivals I'm participating in at the top right of my scroll bar. Do take a look for more stories from other bloggers there.

More Stories Like This One:
Tales from the Sidelines
Finding My Stride
Swimming In Circles
Still Learning

Monday, May 4, 2009

Updates of a Writer in Progress


by Amy Platon

Ok, I am feeling especially happy today. And not to cast a shadow on the Roll Awards, but this just couldn’t wait!

No, I haven’t sold my book…..YET! I don’t even have an interested agent….YET! (But you can read my latest query letter here if you're interested.)

But I just received an email that I’ve won an Honorable Mention the April Poetry Contest over at Wordhustler. I’m totally stoked! Read the poem I entered, Wind and Winter, if you're into poetry. I promise it won't make you cringe. I hate it when poetry does that to me!

As far as updates, I have an article coming out in a local paper called the Nona View and it is a funny take on our local Senior Center. I had to get a lot of info in, at least I tried to make it light hearted, you know, a good entertaining read. You can read it here. So yippee for the progress of a writer!

I just got another reader response for my book and it looks like 100% of the readers think it would sell in a minute. Which is fabulous news because they have all been within my target market. WoooHoo! If you want to read an excerpt of CRACKED, then please do. Give me your comments too!

AND hubby and I got the bead board up at our bar area from the kitchen renovation we’ve started thanks to Layla Palmer’s photo consultation. I debated weather or not to post “in progress” pictures but I chose the Oprah route and decided to hold off for a completed reveal! I don’t want any bored readers. However I will say, it looks amazing and I am in complete love with my husband for dedicating his Saturday to doing it. If you’re reading honey….MUAH!

Thanks for all of your support. I love you, my readers, for making my dreams come true just by being here!

Final Roll Award

by Amy Platon

Well hello again, this week I’m coming to you from inside the stall of my first place winner of the Roll Awards. Please erase that image from your mind, this is not your regular stall, there are lots of seating options here, how do you know I’m actually sitting on the toilet seat?

I know what you must be thinking. How could she have found an even better bathroom than Ikea or McDonalds? And to tell you the truth folks, it wasn’t easy. This next winner is also a huge chain.

I’d like to present this Golden Roll Award to (boy it really echoes in here) Kohl’s Department Store.

And you’re never gonna believe what they have thought of for us, ladies. First, the doors are a beautiful opaque frosted glass with thick dark wood trim for an open yet private experience.

Once you enter the oversized space, you are greeted with bright lighting, and subtle colors (my favorites). There are two toilets, one for mom, and one for the kiddos. It’s positioned at kid height with a flowery shaped seat for encouragement. These potties are not auto flush, which happens to frighten my four year-old, so we were totally happy with that.

Also there’s a huge bonus. They have a toddler seat built into the wall. For those who don’t know, it’s to strap your toddler in, so they are not crawling on the floor while mom is busy. Why aren’t those standard in all family stalls? Kohl’s also has a clean changing table station with liners, not just an empty spot where liners once were.

Speaking of liners, the tampon dispenser machine was placed next to the mommy potty, which I think is brilliant because you can reach it during a surprise attack.

The sink has a smooth marble top and a handle free paper towel dispenser. Clap, clap!

The bathroom d├ęcor was minimal, but when it comes to public restrooms, function is what matters most! The only thing that could be improved with this bathroom is to add a step stool for children to wash their hands. Otherwise this experience was just about perfect! If you find yourself in a new Kohl’s store, do take a moment to visit the restroom. It’s just lovely!

Alright someone’s knocking, gotta go…..I’ll just leave the award here next to the sink.

Other Roll Awards:
Roll Awards: Part 2
Roll Awards: Part 3