Danielle Haas

A little bit sweet, A little bit sexy, A whole lot of fun


January 2017

Life is really funny sometimes. A few weeks ago I was feeling a little discouraged about where this writing thing was heading. I still enjoyed sitting down and creating my stories, and polishing my manuscripts. But would anything ever happen with it? I tried to tell myself to be patience, that I’m so new to this whole thing and it could take a lot longer than the nine months I’d been trying to get an agent/published for this to go anywhere. Even though what I was telling myself was completely logical, I still found myself doubting that I’d ever find a good fit for my first manuscript. Then something happened. My husband couldn’t find a copy of our marriage certificate, so I dug through a ton of paperwork to find what he needed. In the process, I found my career passport that I put together my senior year of high school. It had my diploma, a ridiculously inadequate resume, and a letter from my principle. The other piece of this passport was a letter I wrote detailing my plans for the future. In it I talked about attending Bowling Green State University, discussed what I planned to major in, and what career I would like to have. It was a trip looking back at this after so long.

The amazing thing to me was the last paragraph in this letter. “No matter what I decide to do, I am hoping that writing will be my main focus. I hope that I will be able to make a living off of it, while it remains something I enjoy doing.” Here’s the funny part, nothing else in this letter happened the way I planned. I didn’t major in creative writing, I didn’t study business, and I most certainly did not become a 6th grade English teacher. (What was I thinking?!) Instead, I changed my major countless times, studied political science and international studies, and I ended up with a meaningful job working with woman with developmental disabilities. But here I sit, close to 14 years later, and I still enjoy writing and hope to make it a career. This gave me the motivation to push forward and keep trying. Because if nothing else, I love what I do.

I decided to start focusing on getting my second manuscript out there. I checked over my agent list, polished up my query letter, and started submitting. My first manuscript could possibly still be published, but I’d given up the hopes that an agent would be interested in it . And then something amazing happened. I received a request for a full manuscript from  an agency I had queried in November. She wanted to read my first manuscript, start to finish. I sent it over immediately, and then proceeded to check my email twenty times a day for the next week. Last Thursday was one of those days I picked up my phone to check my email, and tears sprang to my eyes when I saw what was sitting in my inbox. An email from Ella Marie Shupe from Belcastro Agency asking to speak with me about the possibility of representation. WHAT?! I laughed, I cried, I jumped up and down. In short, I was the talk of the children’s museum that day and managed to embarrass the hell out of my daughter.

I had my phone call with Ella Marie early this week, and am beyond excited about her now being my agent. She understood my writing, and had ideas to take it from good to amazing. Her personality was lovely, and I have no doubt that we will work very well together. I can’t wait to get to work and see where this leads me. And even better, I can now sit here with my career passport from Paulding High School, and know that I did exactly what I set out to do so long ago. It just took a little voice from the past to push me along a little bit and remind me why I choose to sit down at my computer day in and day out. Because I love it, and the stories this crazy mind of mine makes up. I’m so lucky that I have found what I love to do in this life, and I know that no matter what the future holds, I was always enjoy my writing.

The Terrific Two’s

Last week was a very big week at our house. The biggest occasion being the celebration of Spud’s second birthday. It’s crazy to think that he’s a full-blown toddler now. I can no longer claim I have a baby in the house, even though I will still call him my baby boy. (Probably well into adulthood!) My littlest munchkin is full of love and happiness and pure orneriness. I’m not exaggerating when I say that everyone who meets him falls for his charm. Hell, in Mexico the kid learned how to flirt with the resort staff in Spanish. If that didn’t terrify me for his future, I’d be pretty impressed.  But of course, since he is the second child, I can’t help but think about how different his turning two was with Tootsie’s.

When Tootsie turned two my first thought was, “Thank God, no more diapers!” In my mind, her turning two meant she needed to be potty trained. The girl was brilliant, she could vocalize all her wants and needs, and there was no reason why she wouldn’t be able to conquer the use of the big girl potty with ease. No surprise here, I found out that I was an idiot. My daughter might be smart, but she’s also stubborn as hell. She had no desire to stop using a diaper, and nothing I did was going to change that. It was one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. I tried everything I could think of to bribe, I said bribe and I say it proudly, to get this kid on the toilet. Do you want to know what worked? Bringing home baby brother when she was two years and 8 months old. She wanted attention, so she decided to go on the potty. From that day on, she never wore another diaper. She knew when she was ready, and nothing I could do would get her there any faster.

With Spud, the thought of potty training does not fill me with excitement or an overwhelming desire to get the process started. I’m dreading it. It was only two short years ago that I went through this with Tootsie, and it sucked. Really bad. Now Spud has gone once or twice on the potty, mainly because he wants to be like his big sister. I ask him every now and then if he wants to use the big boy potty, and more often than not he refuses. I’m okay with this. The time will come when he decides to stop pooping his pants, and I’m sure no one (besides who we tell) will even know at what age this happens for him. Of course, I might have to push him out of his comfort zone a little to get the result I want, but hey, we all need that from time to time.

The celebration of Spuds second birthday happened the same week that I completed my second manuscript. I’m not talking finished the first draft and it still needs some tweaking. I have poured over this MS with my CP and have tightened and revised until I’ve polished it into something I absolutely love. I am so excited about this MS, and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for Meg and Dylan. However, I once again am comparing my second (literary) baby to my first. After my first MS was finished I couldn’t wait to get it out there to every agent and editor I could find. I was going to be one of those success stories who sends out her first MS and it’s an instant hit with everyone who reads it and agents are fighting over who gets to sign me. (Okay, you can all stop laughing at me now haha)

It’s no secret this is not what happened. Instead, I spent hours researching who to query and how to query. I wrote and rewrote my query letter and synopsis, and I received rejection after rejection after rejection. I’m not going to lie, I cried a lot. It was devastating to put out this MS that I loved so much and to not have anyone else love it too. Of course, I’ve learned over time that some emails that seemed like rejections were blessings in disguise, and I still have a chance to get this first MS that I love published. But, the process has been hard and long and a pain in the ass.

So now I sit here looking at yet another MS that I love. The research has been completed and the query and synopsis are ready to go. It’s time, once again, to send it out to the world. And just like with potty training my little Spud Muffin, it’s not a process I’m excited about starting. I know it’s something I have to do, but I kind of want to sit here with this shiny new MS a little while longer and tell myself the lies I’m not naïve enough to believe anymore. Even if just for another few days. I also know that just like with Spud, there’s only so much I can do to make this process successful. I’ve done my part, and now it’s up to someone else to pick up the second part of this act. Until then, I guess I’ll pick up where I left off with MS number 3 and wait for two small miracles to happen.

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