"Between The Sheets" is coming. I’ll be including deleted material and additional material, things like excerpts from my actual proposals, emails where I quizzed my friends, asking them to name their fears and contents of their handbags. Here’s a quick excerpt from my book proposal for Straight Up and Dirty:

Each chapter chronicles the exploits of a pre-30 divorcee.  Dating changes drastically once your winged arm has a thick stack of red flags under it.  It’s no longer, “is he Jewish, wealthy, and good looking?”  Now it’s, “is he a momma’s boy, workaholic, or people-pleaser?”  Suddenly your list of musts and mustn’ts is rearranged, and the emphasis becomes what you don’t want.  So, now you’re more cautious (read: gun-shy).  “Well you aren’t marrying his parents, now are you?” is a pill you’ll hide under your tongue and spit out later.  You’ve learned not to swallow advice from anyone who has never had a nightmare-in-law.  But the “never-beens” in your life don’t know from any of this; they’re still looking for little boys to control.  And that’s why I’m here, to hopefully help them steer clear of the same pitfalls I plummeted into.  I try to clue them in every step of the way, as though they’re dwarfs, with reminders and tales of caution on how this Snow White finds and makes her own happiness in the face of poisoned apples, mirror obsessed witches, and a prince who didn’t know the first thing about honor.

It’s actually really strange, writing an overview of your book because it still needs to be in your voice, yet, you need to step outside yourself and figure out why anyone would want to read (and buy) your story. The best thing, though, about proposals are that they’re merely suggestions. You start with a plan, outlining where you hope to go, and then it all gets rewritten, and only part of it turns out to be what you’d  originally planned. They’re basically like the shitty analogy about life being like a train, how you should enjoy the journey and forget about the destination because you may never get there.

It’s the same with the guy on bended knee, proposing marriage to a woman he loves, not really sure he’ll still love her in 30 years and 30 pounds, but he’s sure enough about who he is as a person, so he signs up and never looks back. I’ve come to believe (even if I need to remind myself of this from time to time) that all the stuff you hope never happens, eventually just might. So you can worry about it, or just kinda trust that in the end, after the suffering and the pain, after the loss, that really, you will have joy in your life and can, without a doubt, live the life you’d imagined at the start, even if the details and paragraphs of your life’s plot are rearranged, you walk away with the same spirit, your fists in the air, taking shit from no one.



  1. I'm currently working on mine. The thing is, I'm afraid my story is too morose. Too, well, depressing. A tale of infertility and strife, that closely mirrors my own life. It's the easiest thing to write though. I guess it's true what they say- you write what you know.

  2. Thanks for posting this. You've inspired me to have more fun with my pitches. Mine are way too formal…"I envision a 265-page non-fictional account of a female twenty-something's rebound from a troubling and dysfunctional marriage..blah, blah, blah." No more of that. I need fairy tales; some magic mirrors, evil in-laws and poisoned apples!

  3. What a fantastic idea! I so could have used this four years ago. I married a good guy but I still have to read this. Even though I am at a different stage in my life now I'm sure there will be some things in there I can relate too.

  4. UGH! Don't post my other comment. I wrote 'too' not 'relate to'.

    Christ I need more sleep. Looking forward to reading this it should be juicy.

  5. I don't understand! Am I missing something? What is Between the Sheets? The annoying amazon links that are scattered through your text links to some book by someone other than you.

    FROM SK: I know! I promise to be rid of them soon! I'm working on it. "Between the Sheets" is going to be an installment of posts/entries (whatever the hell you call them) pertaining to what goes on between the sheets of my books. Deleted scenes that never made it into the book, cuts, and behind the scenes stuff. I'm working on the newsletter now.

  6. I love this. When you first posted you would have a Between The Sheets section I was intrigued. How an author makes choices is as interesting as the book itself.

  7. Stephanie, thanks for this! When you submitted the proposal, did you include chapters? a manuscript? what else?

    FROM SK: I included 2 sample chapters (chapters 1 and 9), an overview, a marketing plan, and chapter summaries… oh, wait until you see those!!! The second half of my proposal, once I was writing it.. well, you'll see. I have to give you something to look forward to, besides, I'm working on nixing the amazon links and packing for my trip to Dallas tomorrow. Speaking at the Texas Library Association, in front of 300 people!

  8. I love this post – especially the last paragraph. Very well-written and I couldn't agree more.

  9. Sometimes reading the rough stuff and then the shine makes it all more real. Your writing has helped me a lot in making my decisions. Thank you. I consider you my friend.

  10. Once I took my dating blindfold off, and went into each first date armed with a list of criteria, things improved for me. It was a mercenary—but effective—approach.

    On my first date with the man who is now my husband, I had a pointed, but very fun conversation sprinkled with all sorts of stealth questions from the criteria list. In about an hour and a half, I'd crossed the Big Five Non-Negotiables off the list.

    Of course, he was doing the same thing to me, with his "List of 20 Questions."

  11. A list kinda kills romance. But then again, I'm still a naive 25 year old, I may think differently in 10 years :/

  12. There were eleven commas in that last sentence.

    Just sayin'.

    I'll be at TLA, but I think I'll have to miss you as I'll be schilling for the publisher I work for, but I'll look for you, commas and all, to see if I can come to your reading, and it will be fun, and stuff, and I can hear your voice finally. [Can't do it; only got to seven commas. Seven awkward, awkward commas.]

    At any rate, sorry for giving you shit, and good luck at your reading. I'll be sending thoughts from, well, the same convention. Maybe they'll get to you faster!

  13. I read this post a few days ago and I keep coming back to it. It's the line about never beens "looking for little boys to control". Is that common for a first time serious relationship? I'm recently out of an engagement (a true fence sitter on the divorcee vs. never been spectrum) and I think that not a small part of what when wrong was that I really thought I could change him – I thought my sheer force of will (ok, and cunning manipulative skills) would carry the day. And I… was I almost there? I'm really interested to hear you elaborate on this concept – on the first time marriage or serious relationship really being about the woman wanting the upper hand. And where do you go from there once you realize that that just ain't gonna work. Thanks Stephanie – your perspective on these issues is always greatly appreciated.

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