Monday, July 27, 2009

Treasure Island!

A shaft of sunlight stabbed into Pam’s hut, blinding her with its intensity. A Macaw screeched in her ear. Eyes still closed, Pam slapped at the heinous bird. “Go away. I wanna sleep.”

But the screeching continued. Suddenly something—or someone— grabbed Pam’s hammock and flipped it. Pam landed in a painful heap on the sandy bottom of her hut. “Hey!”

“Get up!” Audra screeched in her ear. “There are boxes and crates scattered all over the beach. Come on. The supply boat must have hit the reef!
Wide awake now, Pam raced after Audra. Sandra and Tina were already pawing at the bounty, whooping with joy. Pam gaped at the treasure that had landed on Unpubbed Island...

First they found a crate of conference brochures sent from those recently liberated from Unpubbed Island. There was an ACFW brochure for the upcoming conference in September, a host of several smaller conferences, and a report on the RWA convention from Missy (with pictures!). The four friends oohed and awed over the contents of the crate, dreaming and telling tales of conferences past, and conferences to come. They gazed at the distant horizon, longing for the day when their ship would come in, and they’d sail away to the conference of their dreams where they could meet with agents, editors, best friends, attend workshops, and sip on something other than coconut juice. …

Suddenly, Tina jumped to her feet and pointed toward the surf. “Look!”

Another crate rode a wave toward shore. Sandra and Tina dove into the ocean and rescued the forlorn-looking box. The Seekers gathered around, anxious to see what this crate held….
They dug into the box, taking turns reading the posts from Seekerville, laughing at Mary’s antics, drooling over Ruthy’s description of delicacies only dreamed of on Unpubbed Island—and not just the food variety, but the appetizers like contract tidbits, tips, and advice on how to survive the ride from the island to the mainland. Then there was a list of contest updates with instructions on how to time the tide just right, so that the carefully corked bottles would make it to the mainland and land perfectly at the right coordinator’s address. Julie even remembered to include stout whiskey bottles with tight-fitting corks!

Almost dizzy with the bounty before them, nobody noticed Audra slip away, but when she hollered from a long way down the beach, Sandra, Tina, and Pam sprinted through the sand toward her to see what treasure she’d found….

A waterproof crate full of editor and agent guidelines sat at their feet. Audra slipped each precious piece of parchment from the box, and read them out loud, her voice tinged with awe. Their pubbed Seeker friends had scoured the mainland and by hook and crook (psst: publisher and agent websites) managed to find out exactly what it took to get off Unpubbed Island. The four friends (yes, it took all four) reverently carried the crate to a safe spot to the interior of the island, dug a hole and buried it, then Pam made a very detailed map just in case they forgot where they put it. But of course they didn’t forget: they dug it up every night and memorized the guidelines.

The sun set, but Tina, Audra, Sandra, and Pam could not stop scouring the beach for more flotsam from the wrecked supply boat. They dared not risk letting some precious treasure be swept out to sea….

Sandra opened a box of critiques from critique partners on the mainland. She doled out the crits: One for Pam, one for Tina, Audra, and herself. Each one received feedback from somebody who cared enough to take the time to read their work and offer ideas to make it better. They sat in the sand, reading by moonlight, absorbing each little tidbit that would help them improve their manuscript. And deep in the bottom of the box, under a false bottom, Tina found a packet of secret letters (Tina always checks for false bottoms, just so you know) from our friends who have left Unpubbed Island. Tips and hints on what to do, what not to do, and what to expect when we get to the Mainland. These we treasure as much as the guidelines from the editors and agents.

Pam woke with a start, the precious pages Glynna had critted clutched to her chest. Like beached whales, her friends lay scattered across the sand, having fallen into an exhausted sleep when they could no longer read. The sun arched over the horizon, flooding the beach with the light of a new day. A shaft of gold ricocheted off a humongous crate to her left. “Get up!!! There’s more!”

It took almost an hour to pry the lid off the crate, and their excitement grew with each passing moment. Finally, the lid popped free, and they found pages and pages printed from blogs by agents and editors. What a bounty! They knew they had a gold-mine here! Mary had sent the entire inventory from Edit Café, and even though Steve Laube’s blog was new, they were thrilled to be able to get in on the ground floor of his thoughts about the industry. Then there was Rachelle Gardner’s blog, and Camy and Cara had partnered to send all the blog posts from Books and Such, and the box was just gigantic. The friends did not get to any other crates that day. They spent the entire day riffling through the blog posts and still didn’t get to the bottom of the box! (Psst: Review the Links in Seekerville for more!)

Sated from the bounty that had come their way, Audra, Pam, Sandra, and Tina lay on the beach, watching the sun set, not saying a word, each lost in the whirlwind of thoughts careening around in their heads, each filing away the wealth of information they’d gathered from the wrecked supply boat.

Next time the boat might make it through the dangerous reef, and maybe even have room to take someone back to the mainland. It didn’t matter who, because they all knew that the treasure would come, no matter how long they stayed on the island.


Debra E Marvin said...

I have my own treasure chests. Books and binders. The Binders hold a lot of print outs of workshops, online articles and things like printed off Seekerville blog posts!

You four must be getting tired of sand in your clothes, though.

But there's a lot of people cheering you all on. Many who are farther behind hoping to get to where you are right now.
Thanks for the laughs and tears and encouragement that comes from Unpub Island.

Cara Slaughter said...

Good morning, Pam! I just had my latte and I hope Ruthy brings something great for breakfast.

The last four will soon be off Unpubbed Island one by one, although four at a time would be better still. It'll happen. At least you're in a beautiful place with sand and warm turquoise water and cool breezes. Be glad it's not Siberia.

Pam Hillman said...

Good morning Debra! Sounds like you're on the right track. I'm notorious for keeping everything. The other day I deleted some interviews of editors and agents that were 10 years old!

They were so old in fact that I no longer have the application to open them!

Talk about musty old documents!

I'm trying to think what kind of food we need this morning while we dig through our treasure chests...

Guess what!

I just found a crate of gourmet coffees, apple danish, and cheese blitzes courtesy of Ruthy.

That should tide us over until lunch while we dig into the rest of the treasure chests!

Come on, Debra, I see a nice big crate down the beach. See? It's lodged against that piece of driftwood.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Be glad it's not Siberia?????

Um, yeah, CARA-BEAR.....

Although Tina would look in Russian gear... :)

All right, it could be worse to be the LAST FOUR SEEKERS on Unpubbed Island, but that's probably faint comfort right now.


I'm reading an uncontracted Seeker's book that MUST SELL. MUST SELL. MUST SELL.

Oh my stars I was captivated, clutched and captured on page one and can't put the thing down. Funny, poignant, and...


Pammers, this post was so good! So fun!!!

And worth the sand in your britches to find such treasures, girls!!! (Good job on the name dropping, by the way. Well done, my friend.)

So, Island Food today.

Tropical rice pudding. This is a magnificent blend of an old fashioned dessert (not baked) with pineapple, coconut and mango creating an enticing blend of tropical flavors.

Sprinkled with nutmeg and fresh coconut. To die for.

Then banana nut muffins. Macadamia nut cookies. Fresh eggs from island birds (don't ask) and sweet island sausage I made from wild boars I speared my last week on the island.

Seasoned just so and packed in well-washed casings. Did you know we have sage on the Island??? :)

And coffee from the mainland because the island blend of roasted coconut and pecan shells is total schlock. Yuck.

I also sent a full crate of 8 O'Clock Coffee, the taste-test winner, and you girls should find a crate of bottled water so you don't have to use Mary's evaporation apparatus any more.

Good job on that, though, Mare!!! I love how you used banana skins for tubing. Positively brilliant. It's amazing what ear wax can hold together!!!


Jump in, and let's chat about ways to get published, get noticed. Plan your work and work your plan.

Get to it.


Pam Hillman said...


Cara, you've got to be kidding. Brrr!

Okay, if I've got to be stranded, Unpubbed Island is the place to be.

Give me a hand with this crate. I'm dying to see what's in it!

Pam Hillman said...

Ruthy, I found the crate of coffee!

Thanks a bunch. You'll never know how much this means to us.

Those rosted pecan hulls were beginning to give me a headache, and Tina got this wild look in her eyes every time she had more than 2 cups...

Ann said...

After a week of kids and dairy cattle at the county fair, time on a desert island sounds great.

Quite a supply washed ashore.

Good stuff there.

My treasure chest should probably contain fishing tackle for the kids so I can get some writing time!

Pam Hillman said...

Well, treasure hunters, I'm off to the other side of the island. A note in one of the crates said there'd been another shipwreck, and we might find some goodies.

The beach is kinda rocky there, so I'm not sure how much might have survived, but it never hurts to check.

I'll be back in a few hours.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Very cute post, Pam!

Me, I'm always trying to figure out how to get away from trials, so lately I'm thinking, there must be more to life than trying to get published. Thinking of walking right off the beach of Unpubbed Island, into the water, and just swimming as far as I can and see where I get to.

Sing the song with me, the one Dory sings in Finding Nemo: "Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming..."

The tropical heat and sun beating down on my head is getting to me, apparently.

Mary Connealy said...

Pam! It read like a well-written book. That was fun and beautiful.


...... Like Beached Whales???


Mary Connealy said...

Cara is isn't Ruthy's job to bring breakfast. It's whoever gets here first, isn't that right? Debra? Where's breakfast?

Or does Debra just start the coffee?????

It just SEEMS like Ruthy's job because she always does it, and does it so well!!!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mare, you're right, Deb's shirking.

Shame, Deb!


Pam, glad you found the coffee. And that wild look in Tina's eye???

Blame Barista Jack, honey lamb.

Hey, Mare, that whole beached whale thing? I ignored it. I mean, SHEESH. PAMMERS.

I figured I'd let Audra, Tina and Sandra whale on her.

Get it????

"Whale" on her?



Your post has me in a daisy dither. You know. The one girls do with the insipid flower, plucking petals...

"He loves me.

He loves me not.

He loves me....

He loves me not..."

So lame.


Yours reads:


Don't quit.


Don't quit..."

Total funk. Remember always that perseverance wins out over talent ALWAYS...

Talent gets you noticed.

Perseverance gets you sold.

I'm doing my own daisy dither her for you...

"Smack her...

Give her a hug.

Smack her...

Give he a hug...

Oops... Smacking wins!!!!!!


We allow 24 hours of funk and/or whining, complaining, ranting, raving.

Then we kick serious butt.

Cowgirl rule: Get back on the horse that threw you.

I got faith in you, girlfriend.


(Right now I see/sense 14 Seekers gagging because I'm NEVER that nice to them. Especially in public.)

Rose said...


Great posts and links. I haven't check Steve's blog out yet, but I'm going to today.


Mary Connealy said...

Smack her wins and you think the Seekers are upset because you're NEVER THAT NICE TO US.

Okay, grinning like a donkey eating sawbriars. People are looking at me weird.


Melanie Dickerson said...

Actually, Ruthy's right. I do need a smack upside the head today. But you have to admit, she's being really nice about it. :-)

Mary is too sweet to smack me, though, and that's one reason I love her so much!

Erica Vetsch said...

um...beached whales? LOL Naw, more like mermaids maybe.

Wonderful post today. Unpubbed Island is soon to be deserted island.

Myra Johnson said...

Hilarious, Pam! I could just picture you and Sandra and Audra and Tina hauling those treasure chests along the shore. And I TOTALLY agree with Cara--we want y'all off that island four at a time!

Beached whales. Oh my. You couldn't imagine yourselves as gorgeous long-haired mermaids???

Pepper Basham said...

Oh Melanie,
Isn't it bears who smack each other because they love each other? ;-)
It is frustrating to get critiques and rejections, especially when you spend so much time, energy, and passion with something - but perspective is the key.

My four year old was playing a game once. He kept failing at it, but after each 'fall' he'd say - "I'm a winner. I'm a winner."

What we need to keep reminding ourselves is that if God has given us a gift and the passion(joy) behind that gift, then He'll provide whatever we need in the meantime. There are plenty of days when I think "What am I doing? My life is like a roller coaster in a tornado - do I actually want to spend time writing (sending - getting rejected) too?" Truth be told - I can't STOP...and I bet you can't either. So....

We have this wonderful opportunity to learn from those who have sailed off before us and gain encouragement from their stories. You're a winner! You're a winner!

If, like Eric Liddel, when you write you "feel God's pleasure" - then you're doing exactly what you ought to be many other people in the world can say that? :-)

Sorry for the novel. I'm supposed to be working ;-) but I had an ADD moment.

Julie Lessman said...

PAMMY!!! How fun was this!!! I felt like I was swept away into the world of Robinson Crusoe. Very cute post, my friend.

Except for ... "Julie even remembered to include stout whiskey bottles with tight-fitting corks!"??? Are you kidding?? I never touch the hard stuff, kiddo. Uh, now maybe wine bottles ... :)

And, Ruthy, I LOVE the Cowgirl rule: Get back on the horse that threw you. Amen to that.


Edna said...

WOW that would be something to find, are you haveing a contest for the a free book? please look at my blog and leave me a comment please


Missy Tippens said...

Pammy, what a cute, fun post!!

Pepper, I love your son's attitude while playing the game. thanks for sharing!


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Melanie, mark the day. I'm in a rare good mood. Sweet. Empathetic. It has something to do with the promise of a banana split tonight.

Who cares if the jeans don't zip?


Edna, that would be a great find wouldn't it? I love finding treasure. We're digging around the edge of our 150 yr. old farmhouse (translate: One of my older daycare kids is digging, I'm supervising with a laptop at hand... And his mother pays me. Sweet.) and we've found a cool metal top to something, a dog bone (very old, but not dinosaur era) and a random metal pole imbedded under the bay window...


No clue.

But I love a treasure hunt.

Hey, I brought fresh berries. It's blueberry season here and these are wonderful.

And Pep, I LOVE that story of your little guy. And a child shall lead them...



Tina M. Russo said...

OMG this is awesome. Pammy you make Unpubbed Island and the last four not quite so lonesome. Thank you, buddy.

Sheila Deeth said...

I'm wandering through my own Monday morning treasure check - and it's Monday afternoon... But thanks for being part of the treasure.

Pam Hillman said...

Melanie, I've been stranded in a life raft all day, but finally got back to the island!

lol - I can't tell you how many times I've thought of wading into the ocean off the coast of Unpubbed island, and just swimming, swimming, swimming...

Pam Hillman said...

I apologize for the beached whales line.

It was late.

Hopefully this will save me from being fishbait.

Pretty please?

Pam Hillman said...

After a long day searching the shores of Unpubbed Island,

the four remaining Seekers; gorgeous, slender mermaids all,

retire to their huts one by one, to dream of treasures still hidden,

only to be discovered
with the breaking of the dawn.

Glynna Kaye said...

The Seekers are so lucky that we get to read each other's manuscripts even before they're published!! I just finished one that is sooooooo good! Kept me up WAY past my bedtime last night because I couldn't put it down. (You know who you are . . . )

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Pamster, It was fun opening all those crates. Thanks for sharing our experience and reminiscing. So fun.

And I'm so glad Ruthy is off the island so we don't have any more of those smacks.

Although I do like the food she brings.

Audra Harders said...

LOL, Pam! Sorry I missed all the fun yesterday!

Straight from Gilligan's Island, my friend. Used to love the way boxes would wash up on shore...

Brilliant booty you included in all our crates : )

LOL! Thanks for the giggles I'll carry with me all through TUESDAY!

mareva said...

Ladies, thanks for the giggles, and out and out laughs!!! Those of us who are slogging in a field of half-finished WIPS salute you!!!!


Pam Hillman said...

Sandra, with Ruthy off the island, the smacks aren't quite as prolific, but we STILL get our delish food....

at least when she remembers to pack our NY Cheesecake in that dry ice stuff!

Pam Hillman said...

You know, Audra, we haven't opened all the crates yet...

what if...

what if...

oh, be still my heart...

we find a book contract in one of them?

Keep looking, girls!!!