Thursday, June 3, 2010

Challenging Your Editor or Agent - Guest Blogger Virna De Paul

by Tawny

One of the things I love most about the romance community are the incredible friends I've made. It's like this win-win situation. Great books, great people, great fun. (is that win-win-win?) So it's with a huge smile that I'm welcoming an awesome author and great friend, Virna DePaul, to the Lair today. I met Virna through one of my local RWA chapters and through the years we've not only hung out together, our kids have become super-tight friends (ahhh, the joys of Pokemon) and most recently, Virna invited me to collaborate on a non-fiction writing book with her. I won't mention the time we slept together. Cuz, you know, I'm shy and stuff.

I was beyond ecstatic when Virna received a two-book offer for her debut paranormal suspense series, The Otherkin. Her first book, CHOSEN BY BLOOD, will be out in April of 2011. And I'm thrilled to have her here with us today - so please, join me in doing a little happy dancing boogy to welcome Virna to the Lair!


First, I want to thank Tawny and all the Bandits for having me here today. I know the Romance Bandits are a tight group with a loyal following and I’m so honored to be a guest. Second, I want to ask you a question--did the title of this blog post make you a little uncomfortable? If so, why? Is it because “to challenge” means “to take exception to; call into question; dispute”. Or is it because the word was being applied to an agent and editor? Luckily, this post isn’t really about challenging an agent or editor, it’s about speaking up when you need to and knowing the difference.

Making waves. Rocking the boat. Disturbing the status quo. Being the squeaky wheel.

However you want to describe making a fuss, I generally avoid it.

I like civility. Courtesy. Fair negotiation and open mindedness.

Which is why I didn’t make a very good trial lawyer. I did fine when it came to making persuasive legal arguments, but as soon as things got “ugly” and opponents began to hit below the belt, I floundered. I didn’t expect it or see the need for it (I still don’t!), and I didn’t know how to respond to it. Truthfully, what others often saw as professional calm and enviable composure was actually stunned silence or quiet confusion. Thankfully, I was a much better appellate prosecutor. Even better, I love writing romance so much more than practicing law.

In my personal life, I can be more tolerant of my desire for peace. I like to nurture people and make them feel comfortable, plus I’m generally easy going. Where to eat or what time to be somewhere or how long to wait for something doesn’t usually matter to me so long as I’m in the company of people I like.

There are, however, several things I care deeply about, and when it comes to those things, my “easy going-ness” tends to fly out the window. Ironically, it’s during these times that the idea of being confrontational becomes even less attractive to me. First, because I’ve usually established a precedent—wouldn’t making demands seem a bit out of character now? Second, since I now truly care about the outcome, I fear that instead of just making waves, I’ll lose control and make a tsunami.

So what do I do? Usually, I’ll suffer in silence for as long as I can. Sometimes, if I wait too long, I’ll blow (and believe me, that’s not a pretty sight). Otherwise, I’ll finally get sick of suffering and I’ll do what I should have done in the beginning. I’ll problem solve and do the difficult thing in as respectful a way as possible.

With respect to my budding writing career, I’ve been fortunate to work or interact with wonderful, professional agents and editors. However, there have been a handful of uncomfortable moments over the years when I’ve had to decide whether to speak up for what I wanted or let things remain the way they stood. Each time, “speaking up” seemed tantamount to “challenging” a publishing professional. And because the other person was experienced and knowledgeable, and because I desperately wanted to be published and didn’t want to somehow ruin my chances, I had an even harder time speaking my mind.

Who was I to challenge (i.e., contradict, oppose, question) them?

Well, the answer was (and is) this: I was the person whose career was in question.

I was the writer of the book that the agent was submitting or the editor was interested in.

Moreover, I was the person who didn’t generally make demands, and that told me that my desire to make one now was something I needed to listen to.

Finally, I was the person who liked civility, so what made me think I couldn’t express myself in a civil way?

Whether it was nudging someone who hadn’t done what they’d said they were going to do, or expressing an opinion that was the opposite of someone else’s, or coming up with an alternative to something someone else had suggested, I had to accept that yes, expressing myself could be viewed as challenging another person…or it could not.

Instead, it could be viewed as being invested enough to care, observant enough to respond, and respectful enough to share. It all depended, of course, on the delivery.

Huh. What a concept.

I force myself to view it this way, even if my first instinct is to cringe away from speaking up. Because I don’t want to suffer in silence. I don’t want to blow. And I don’t want to let other people direct my journey with only myself to blame if I don’t like where I end up.

Now, when I’m feeling like I want to say something to my agent or editor but am afraid of “making trouble,” I: 1) sleep on it; 2) talk to friends; 3) write out my concerns and what I want to say; 4) sleep on it again; and 5) if I still feel I need to be heard, I communicate my concerns. I think if a person strives to be honest and respectful, most of the time she’ll get those things right back.

Be selective. Speak up when it’s important. Know you won’t always get your way. Trust that your agent and editor want your book to be the best it can be. Keeping this in mind will insure that when you do speak up, it’s warranted.

The good thing is, the more times I speak up for myself, the easier it becomes. But still, I know when to stand back and let others take the lead, and thankfully, I work with people who know how to do it and listen to my concerns. To me, that’s the biggest sign that I’m where I should be.

Is it hard for you to speak up? Does it matter if you’re in a personal or professional setting? How do you respond when something’s bothering you? Do you ruminate or respond right away?

To celebrate my sale, my appearance today, and my new craft book (co-authored by none o
ther than Bandit Tawny) I’m offering a prize to one commenter.

1 red Heart Truth tee with swirl glimmer heart on front (M or L, winner's choice)
1 box of Pink Marc de Champagne Truffles
1 Red Poppy 2be Journal
1 2010 Photo Album Calendar (that you customize with your photos)


Also, sign up for my mailing list at www.virnadepaul for a cha
nce to win weekly prizes, including a Savvy Author membership and a $20 Amazon gift card! Thanks so much for your support!

Virna De Paul was an English Lit major who practiced law as a criminal prosecutor for over ten years. In March of 2009, Virna was challenged by her agent to write a “big series” that would increase her chances of selling. As a long-time reader of sexy paranormals, Virna decided to try adding a paranormal element to her suspense novels. What she came up with resulted in her first sale. In November of 2009, she was offered a contract by Berkley Publishing for the first two books in a paranormal romantic suspense series. The series, which features a unique special ops team whose members include a werebeast, a wraith, a mage, and a vampire and the human female he's forbidden to love, launches in April of 2011. In the first book, Chosen By Blood, the team must recover an antidote needed to save the vampire race.

Virna conducts monthly “craft chats” at www.savvyauthors.com. She will be presenting her workshop, “Five Ingredients For Crafting A Big Book, High Concept, Same But Different Story,” at the RWA National Conference in Orlando this year. Finally, she and Blaze author Tawny Weber have a new craft book, “Love Writing: A Guide To Writing And Getting Published Without Losing Your Perspective, Passion, Or Sanity.” www.lovewritingbook.com

85 comments:

Helen said...

Is he coming to my place

Have Fun
Helen

barb said...

Congratulations Helen
Looks like I will have to come up the road for a cuppa and see the GR

Barbara

Helen said...

Yes Barbara you will LOL for those that don't know Barb is my BFF who lives a couple of houses away from me and makes the best cups of tea and designs and sews beautiful items that are so crafty. I am sure the GR is going to love to get to finally meet you after all you have heard so much about him.

Hi Virna and thanks Tawny for inviting Virna today great post and for me I really don't like conflict in my life I will sit back and not say anything till it really gets the better of me. But in saying that conflict in a book I am reading is great it makes the book work and I know that there will be a HEA to look forward to.

Virna the story line sounds fantastic and I look forward to reading Chosen By Blood when it is released next April

Have Fun
Helen

Jane said...

Welcome Virna,
Congrats on the book deal. I'm definitely one of those who does not like to rock the boat. I have a hard time speaking up even if I know I was right about something. I'm more vocal than I used to be and I do find myself speaking up more.

Congrats on the GR, Helen.

Tawny said...

Woot, Helen :-) I hope you have a lot of plans for keeping the rooster out of trouble today!

Tawny said...

Oh wow, Barb, that's so cool that you can hang out with Helen so easily! Which means you can supervise the rooster day, right? Or better yet, get video of an naughtiness *g*

Tawny said...

YAY! Helen, you lured your BFF into the Lair :-D I adore crafing, and crafty people are always so fun to hang out with.

I hear you on conflict being important in a book. I'd like to say my characters are mouthier thank I am, but that'd probably be a lie.

And Helen, you're goign to love Chosen by Blood. Virna's an awesome writer *g*

Tawny said...

Jane :-) It's hard sometimes, isn't it? I used to have trouble speaking up - I remember being terrified to confront my boss about a raise that was overdue. My chin was shaking, my knees were wobbly. Ack, hated that feeling.

Its tough speaking up!

barb said...

Congratulation Virna.... I don't like conflict ... I like a quiet life so I can either read or do the crafy things while also having a cuppa ...there are sometimes when you have to say something but I hate that. I will check on the rooster we might even have to take him to my daughters to meet some friends......

Barbara

Craig said...

Oooooh, the GR shared between friends. That's awesome, Helen and Barb. Helen, thank you for your kind words about Chosen By Blood. I definitely throw a lot of conflict at my characters before they get their HEA so I think you'll like it! ;)

Jane and Barb, sounds like we're like most of the world's population in that we hate personal conflict but we can step up when we really have to. Thanks so much for the congrats!

Barb, crafting can be so calming and peaceful -- I love it even if my impatience sometimes gets the better of me. Glad it brings you so much joy!

Virna De Paul said...

Oops--I was in my hubby's Google acct. Virna

Susan Sey said...

Good morning, Virna & Tawny!

What a great topic, you guys. I, too, am a cooperative, collaborative soul. Conflict makes me sick to my stomach & I abhor having to confront somebody. Throw in an authority figure & I'm liable to pass out before I get the words out.

That said, however, I've learned a lot about delivery. ANd you're right, Virna. Having the guts to speak up, the brain power to organize my arguments rationally & the emotional self-control to speak from logic rather than hurt feelings actually fosters respect rather than resentment in the confrontee. Who knew?

That doesn't make it any easier to screw up the courage to act, though.

*sigh*

I love the sound of your series, btw! My TBR pile is so terribly high...so what's another few books? :-)

Laney4 said...

I can't imagine holding back my comments and then sleeping on it TWICE before communicating my concerns. I find that when I'm concerned about something like that, it wrecks my sleeping patterns until I "solve" the problem satisfactorily, so I try to, I guess for this example, communicate my concerns BEFORE hitting the sack.

I too don't want to rock the boat and hope things turn out okay without my intervention, but it doesn't always work out that way. The older I get, I find that more and more people turn to me to speak up so they won't have to do it, but I usually toss the ball back in their court and tell THEM to speak up (too). Doesn't always work but it's worth a try.

I DO appreciate the part about writing out the concerns and what I want to say, and I've done this a good number of times (and will continue to do so). Writing things down organizes my thoughts more effectively.

Thanks for a thought-provoking blog, Ladies! And thanks, Tawny, for mentioning that part about sleeping together, LOL!

Joan said...

Good morning Virna...thanks for joining us!

Great topic.

I tend toward being a very confident person but also do not favor confrontation....unless I feel someone I love or care about is being threatened. Then yes...I speak up.

I can share a professional experience early in my writing effort.

It was the last time RWA was in NYC. I did not decide until I got there to try to pitch my mss. to a publishing professional.

I was a true newbie and in fairness to this particular professional , I had no clue what she represented and all. I wanted the "experience"...which wasn't fair to either of us.

However, I waited outside for my appt. amidst trembling, tearful, deer in the headlight looking authors. I felt so bad for them....and it upped my nervousness by several degrees.

So, I go in for this 10 min. pitch. I began...she interuppted me 2 sentences into it with a question...not related to the story...

I continue. She interuppted me again...

I took a deep breath.

I tried again...remember, this was like a 5 sentence blurb pitch.

She. Interuppted. Me. Again.

She started talking about her trip to Italy.

I listened for a few minutes then with several minutes still to go and with a break in the travelogue, I smiled, stood up, offered my hand and thanked her for her time and left.

I was angry. NOT because she had no interest in my mss. but for her level of rudeness that...if applied to all those poor ladies I'd waited with...would have CRUSHED them. Crushed!

It was uncalled for and the only way I could work it off was to grab my friend and stalk to an Irish pub.....where I calmed myself with...fish and chips :-)

Joan said...

Forgive the typos......

Virna De Paul said...

Tawny, you so rock! I'm so glad to be your friend and grateful that our kids gave us an excuse to get to know each other better. You inspire me personally and professionally! Thanks again for having me here today!

Louisa Cornell said...

Maybe with Helen AND Barb in charge the GR will have met his match. He has no trouble at all with conflict. He CAUSES most of it! Good luck, girls!

Great topic Tawny and Virna!

While I have no trouble at all speaking up for myself in every other aspect of my life, in my writing life I am just learning to speak my mind. And, yes, it is very much because I feel like such a newbie and I feel that my agent and others are far more experienced than I am. I have to learn to follow my instincts when it comes to my writing and I think it will be easier and the books I write will be much better.

At work I am the expert and they are constantly sending managers into my area who had no experience whatsoever in the management of a bakery. And, of course, each one is determined to do things their way, to revamp everything to make themselves look good. In those situations I tend to assess the person and then decide what tact to take. Some don't respond to explanation or the idea that I, after five years of doing this every day, am the expert. Those that don't get my passive aggressive routine. I do things EXACTLY as they say I must. It ends up being a monumental failure and when THEIR boss asks why I say "Well, that is how I was told to do it by so-and-so." VBEG Said failure is laid solidly at the arrogant assistant manager's doorstep and their boss usually says "She's been doing this for five years. I sent you over here to learn from her, not to change her routine. Leave her alone." I do love it when that happens.

Virna De Paul said...

Joan, thank you for sharing that story! I've been so nervous before pitch appointments, the idea of having to deal with someone so rude floors me. Good for you for being persistent but ultimately leaving with grace!

Laney, I tend to have sleeping problems anyway, so when I say sleep on it, I'm doing more ruminating than sleeping. :) I love that you're willing to put yourself out there for people but also encourage them to take action, too.

Susan, it's a wonderful vice, isn't it? Adding to the TBR pile, I mean. Thanks for you support! Delivery is so important and I'm still working on trying to get it right. My problem is I tend to be WAY TOO deferential and beat around the bush. Being respectful but assertive is a fine art.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Good mornin, Tawny and Virna! What an inciteful post.

Speaking up for me is a mixed bag. In my personal life I will let people take advantage of me, (kids and hubby) up to a point. Now that my kids are grown I try not to give my opinion unless it's asked for, but sometimes they need a "mom-voice" discussion. This falls under the invisible "mom book of required lectures" I told y'all about one day.

In my professional nursing life my job is complicated. It's my job to speak in the patient's behalf, but sometimes it's my job to tell the patient when they've crossed the line or when they really need to listen. (You'd be surprised how people who've never had a baby think they know more than someone with over 30 years experience.)

It's my job to do what the doctor's ask, as long as it's within the normal paramaters of the OB community. But sometimes I have to step in and get the docs to do what's necessary. This is where experience and a major gut instinct have earned the reputation that most docs depend on, especially at night.

I also do a lot of teaching with the staff. Discuss problems, potential problems and when to get the docs into the hospital and why. Knowing when to offer the advice is crucial here, too.

These are all the reasons my boss hired me. It's what I love and hate about my job.

As far as my professional writing career goes, I haven't yet had the opportunity to challenge an agent or editor, but I sure would like one! :)

Suzanne Welsh said...

whoops, meant insightful, not to incite! hehehe

Virna De Paul said...

Louisa,

It's so tough knowing when to trust the experts versus trust yourself. At the bakery, you ARE the expert, so I like the fact that you try to guide people but ultimately let them fall on their own sword or not. It's also hard not to feel a little satisfaction when we're validated, but the flip side is we get full responsibility when we mess up, too. I'm okay with that, I think! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with this and congrats on pursuing your writing dream!

traveler said...

Welcome Virna. Congratulations and best wishes of the book deal. Lovely news. Conflict is something I prefer to avoid unless absolutely confronted by an immoveable force and object.

Virna De Paul said...

Suzanne, Wow, managing new, new moms, hospital staff, and doctors--talk about having to deal with conflict with a soft touch! I remember how anxious I was when each of my three kids were born and how much I appreciated the nurses who took the time to be both kind and informative. I've never thought of a nurse as being an advocate for a patient, per se, but of course that's true! And yes, I'm happy to let friends and loved ones take "advantage" of me so long as I know (or hope) they'll give their own brand of TLC when I need it. Regarding the writing bz, it'll be there waiting for you when you're ready and you'll handle it with grace, I'm sure! Thanks for posting!

Virna De Paul said...

Traveler,

Thank you! Darn those immoveable objects. May they be few and far between! :)

susanhatler said...

I definitely prefer smooth sailing as opposed to conflict for the sake of conflict. That said, I'm usually willing to speak up and be confrontational when there's hope of it being productive. I absolutely LOVED reading Chosen By Blood and can't wait to see the book cover design! Why can't your books come out NOW?

Virna De Paul said...

Hope's such a compelling thing, isn't it, Susan? Thanks for stopping by and, of course, for loving the book, silver haired vamp and all! As to why my books can't be out right now, right back atcha!! I'm so stoked to hang out with you at the Lori Foster event this weekend!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

HI Virna! Welcome to the Lair!! Woot!! What a cool concept for a series, and how totally fantastic that you and Ms. Tawny are collaborating. Love that. ;>

Hey Helen! His Chookness is back in Oz, with you. Oh, my. Grins.

Virna, I used to dislike confrontation too, but as you mentioned for yourself, I was burned so many times by NOT speaking up, that I just made myself get over it. Now I know that my Bandita sisters would do a double take about the "not speaking up" bit - I'm always heard in a group, I think. Snork. But it really didn't used to be that way.

Aren't you glad you know me now? Huh? Huh?

That said, I love the alternate meaning of challenge and embrace it. I love a good challenge - get something done by an impossible deadline, sew a Halloween costume in one day, that kind of thing. Grins. I think of it like a dare and I have a hard time resisting a dare...

Now Tawny, don't go getting any ideas!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Suz, I'm not so sure about that Freudian slip. You LIKE to incite...but then again, you're insightful too. Hmmm. Guess we'll let you get away with it this time...

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Joan said: It was uncalled for and the only way I could work it off was to grab my friend and stalk to an Irish pub.....where I calmed myself with...fish and chips :-)

Love me some fish and chips! And such a lovely way to settle the nerves...Irish Pub. :>

Gardens of the Heart said...

Virna,
Great blog. I have no trouble speaking up if I am the expert, as some have said, or if defending my kids or husband, and I'll bet you are the same. Where it gets dicey for me is speaking up when I am not the expert, or just learning. Learning trust other people's advice when I'm not sure is hard. That is the hardest part of the writing journey.
What I think you are saying is that we have to listen to our inner gut as much as other people's advice, and then act the best we can.
And just stay in the game, keep plugging along and never give up.
Thanks for these great words. And a "Hi" to the awesome Tawny too...

MsHellion said...

Love this blog. Very much feel like I was reading something I had to write about, about my experiences.

I hate speaking up on my own behalf. Speaking up on OTHER'S behalf is different and no problem. I hate coming off as a whiner, when my problems aren't as "big" as other people's. Usually I stew about it, talk about it with friends, do the writing thing, try to come to peace with it--and if I can't, then I'll talk about it. But that's such a last resort I'll usually try to do the "ignore it until it goes away" until I'm blue in the face.

I hate conflict or dealing with it...which is so ironic since I write books that demand conflict and resolution.

Virginia said...

Congrat Helen on the rooster! Have fun with him!

Congrats on your book deal! I like quiet times myself so I can read with no conflict! The only crafting I do is a little quilting and haven't done that for a while! With me its mostly reading!

Linda Henderson said...

I have always had a problem in speaking up for myself, whether it be at work or home. However, I've never had a problem standing up or speaking out for my kids and grandkids. I've always made them my priority. I guess I've just never expected that much for myself, but I want the best for them.

Nancy said...

Helen, congrats on the rooster! I hope you and Barb have fun with him.

Virna, welcome! Congratulations on your upcoming series. It sounds great.

I think women in general have a hard time pushing. The asssertive instinct clashes with the social peacemaker training. But there are times when you have to go with your gut, and I agree with you that people who don't always complain often receive a more open hearing, with more weight given to their arguments.

Virna De Paul said...

Oh Jeanne! That's hope for me then. Maybe someday people will be surprised if anyone applied not words "not speaking up to me." And I do love a challenge, too, so that doubles my chances, right?

Gardens, yes, when I'm confident in what I'm doing or am "supposed to be the expert" as with parenting, I'm much more willing to speak up. Keep plugging along is a great motto.

MsHellions, the great thing about writing stories is we can free with our words and not worry about ramifications (at least initially! :)) After all, we can always revise. Having that downtime to think and compose myself does help me when it comes to conflict.

Sandra said...

Virna...great blog! I can so relate to "suffering in silence". I don't like to make waves either, but when I do blow...yeah, look out. lol.

p.s., it was great seeing you in Sac recently :-)

Sandy

Virna De Paul said...

Virginia, reading is the BEST hobby. I've dabbled at quilting and it's pretty fun, too!

Linda, your family is lucky to have you. I DO remember an unfortunate incident at Sea World where a woman was rude to my kids because they were "crowding" her at the Dolphin pool and she wasn't very nice telling them that...

Hi Nancy, yes, it still amazes me how gender plays a role from the very beginning. Watching my boys grow and how the girls at their school act in comparison--Wow!

Thanks for the congrats and for stopping by, everyone!

Jill James said...

Virna, you are so busy. Novels and a writing book. You go, girl. I hate speaking up, but after years of being a doormat I decided it was now or never. I still hate it, but I'll do it if I have to.

Virna De Paul said...

Sandy,

It was great seeing you, too! Yeah, I've had those moments when I'm "speaking my mind" while at the same time watching the expression of amazement (i.e., horror) on the other person's face. If I can't handle something calmly, I always end up feeling worse. Thanks for posting!

Virna De Paul said...

Jill, life is so busy in general, right? NO DOORMATS for us. And look at what you've accomplished as a result. You're an empowered, strong woman/writer who just made her own first sale recently!! Woo-hoo!! You still grinning??

Harlow said...

Virna, you crack me up! I could hear you saying everything you wrote. I'm glad you always speak up and get confrontational with your critiquing! As far as challenging agents and editors, my take is, if we care enough about ourselves, it's only natural that we stand up for ourselves. at the end of the day no one else is going to do it. and you know me, i'm not bashful. that said i don't care for conflict either unless its between my characters.

Virna De Paul said...

Harlow, that's so funny! A little birdie who's reading Enemy Lover (and thinks it's fab) said it's totally YOU-which is a obviously a compliment. Yes, I can be honest and forthright, especially with critiquing, because I want to do my very best, but also becz I trust you. Trust is crucial. It's always a good day when I can say, I do care about myself, and I'm going to prove it to. Thanks for stopping by!

Jill James said...

Of course I am still grinning. I don't ever want to stop.

catslady said...

I can't confront people if there is a problem. But I have no problem giving my opinion on any subject. In fact, I thoroughly enjoy a good discussion on any topic.

Virna De Paul said...

catslady, there's a definite difference! I agree, a discussion where people are passionate but respectful can be so fun, even if no one ends up changing their positions in the end!

Tawny said...

Hey Barb :-)

I envy you your quiet life. That's one of my fantasies *g* You're right, though. Sometimes you DO have to say something.

Tawny said...

Susan :-D I can't imagine you passing out!

I think the sleeping on it and constructing a viable communcation plan before confrontation is so smart -both if you hate confrontation, but also if you don't have an issue with it. I have a bad habit of mouthing off with my first reaction to something. Which means I'm usually emotional.

Tawny said...

LOL Laney, I didn't know if anyone caught that ;-)

I hear you on the trouble sleeping if upset or worried about something. I'd always rather deal with things asap. One thing that's helped me a lot is to talk it through. I usually dump all my stress and worries and confrontational issues on Beth, who as we all know is the soul of calm and reason *g* She usually talks me down and helps me see past the first-blush emotional reaction to what really needs dealt with.

Tawny said...

OMG JoanieT!!! Talk about unprofessional - holy cow! Like you, I can just imagine how hard that kind of thing would be for many people pitching. There's nothing like the waiting area for pitching at National. The nerves, ack!!

Tawny said...

Awww, Virna :-D

Thank you and right back atchya!!!

Tawny said...

Louisa, I think you nailed it - when we feel strong and confident in what we're talking about, the confrontations are easier because we're not just coming an emotional reaction or an opinion, but from knowledge and fact.

LOL on the passive aggressive power! Smart bosses know a good thing!

Tawny said...

Suz, if I were ever to have another baby (maybe in a different lifetime) I'd want you there for me!

and I can't wait until you get you chance to challenge editors and agents :-) It's coming soon, I know it!

Tawny said...

Conflict is something I prefer to avoid unless absolutely confronted by an immovable force and object.

LOL Traveler... well put!

Tawny said...

Hi Susan :-) Welcome to the Lair. I'm with you -I wish Virna's book was on the shelf RIGHT NOW so we could all enjoy it!!

Tawny said...

Hmm... Dares, huh?

*evil grin* Jeanne, we'll be talking soon...

While I ponder the possibilities, I'll toss out my agreement. I do tend to be vocal, both generally and in confrontations. But it wasn't always easy. A lot of that came with confidence and security. Its hard to be confrontational when you don't feel secure.

Tawny said...

Sharon, hi right back :-D

And oh yeah, baby on the difficulty in listening to others' advice. Its so hard to do, especially if it conflicts with what we want for ourselves or the way we think something should be done.

Maureen said...

Congratulations on your book deal Virna. I find that it is best to speak up initially when something is bothering me, otherwise I will analyze it to death and then end up not addressing it at all.

Tawny said...

Ms. Hellion, don't you love how we put our characters into the exact situations that we'd hate the most *g*

Tawny said...

Virginia, I wish I could quilt. I'm a horrific sewer thought, so have given up on the concept. I admire them a lot, though.

Tawny said...

Linda, your kids and grandkids are lucky to have you there to speak up for them. There's nothing more comforting than an advocate :)

You deserve the best, too!!

Tawny said...

Nancy, I think you're right. We're raised to be the nurturers, the mediators. And similar to what Linda said, we might be able to get confrontational for someone we love, but its hard to make ourselves uncomfortable for ourselves *g*

Tawny said...

Jill, go you! No more doormat ;-) And congrats, again, on your sale!! So excited for you.

Tawny said...

Helloooo Harlow :-D

I think some people are blessed with the inane skill to stand up and handle confrontations in a way that doesn't make them seem confrontational. You would be one of those someones :-)

Tawny said...

Catslady, I'm a fan of discussions, too :-) I'm curious, do you ever hesitate to offer an opinion if you know it won't be popular and might lead to confrontation? If I'm with a group I'm comfortable with, I have no problem with that. But in some larger groups, or groups that are known for getting a little pushy, I sometimes find myself only offering my opinion to myself *g* Its just easier that way.

limecello said...

Hi Virna,

Wow - what a post! Very thought provoking and I really enjoyed it. I definitely understand you in that I'm much more a moot court girl than mock trial. I could never be a litigator. Contracts here I come! (Kidding, I hope.)
ANYWAY. Ugh. Speaking up. I'm so non confrontational. But I'm also honest - can't lie about things and pretend to agree with what I don't. I have a really tough time though, but have had to speak up at times when push comes to shove. I'm better about doing that with or for people, rather than myself though.
I definitely over think. Annnd haha on that maudlin comment... blargh.

Congratulations on your upcoming books! I'll definitely keep an eye out for them :D

Leni said...

I find it more difficult to speak up in public situations when I am not in agreement with the majority. In the moment, I process things as they are happening and try to look at them from all angles. After doing that I feel confident in what I have to say and do so. If I am given more time to process things I take the same approach. Your post helped me connect with keeping things balanced. Thanks

lenikaye@yahoo.com

Pat Cochran said...

Hello to all,

I've been a Minister of the Word
(scripture reader)in our parish
since 1975. When I began, my voice
was so quivery quakey that the
children & some of the adults were
sure I was crying! I had no train-
ing whatsoever but after a year &
instruction I did improve. I'm very
good now until you put me in front of a group without my Lectionary! Then I'm back to where I was 35 years ago!

Pat Cochran

Christine Wells said...

Wow, Virna, it is so great to meet you. Welcome to the lair! Knowing Tawny as I do, I know you must be a very special person. Congratulations on all your success!

I love the sound of your series and I love the advice you've given here. As a former lawyer, I identify with the need to avoid nasty confrontation. Which is why I chose corporate law!LOL Mostly, it was very civilized.

I'm looking forward to reading your and Tawny's work. And boy, don't I wish I was eligible for that prize!

Tawny said...

Hey Maureen :-)

I hear you on the over analyzing. I'm in a situation right now that my instinct is to confront, but I know it'll only create problems for someone else. So instead I obsess and analyze it to pieces. And then probably won't address it at all *g*

Virna De Paul said...

Maureen--Yes, sometimes I'll slip into avoidance if I don't speak up immediately. That's why I laughed when I found the pic of the ostrich! :) Thanks for stopping by

Limecello--ahhh, the wonderful days of moot court. :) I was the Outstanding Oral Advocate one year, and the Board's Chair as a 3L. The next year, I was at the DAs office wondering what the heck had happened! ;) Thanks for reminding me good attorneys come with all kinds of strengths.

Virna De Paul said...

Leni, I'm so happy to hear you got something from the post. Thanks for taking the time to post.

Pat, what an amazing accomplishment! Very cool that you overcame your fear to inspire others.

Christine, thanks for your support and congrats! I always LOVE to find another former attorney now writer. We did it!! Yay!!!

Tawny said...

Lime, you're ruining my image of your lawyering career! I always saw you doing the big bad litigator thing :-D

Tawny said...

Leni, coming out against the majority is always difficult. You have such a smart way of handling it - by stepping back, considering, then saying your piece.

Tawny said...

:-D Pat, the only way I *can* do public speaking is without a script. I can do notes, I can do an outline and bullet points, but once I have to memorize and script something, I'm toast.

It sounds like you've really mastered the public speaking, though! WTG.

Tawny said...

Madame, I can't imagine you being anything BUT civilized ;-) Thats why I love sitting next to you at the literacy signing, you always make me want to behave.

limecello said...

Virna - you're very welcome! Sounds like you did exceedingly well in everything you did! I'm definitely impressed. (And jealous!)

Tawny... hah. :X Sorry. I don't think you'd think that if you saw me. (Or even if Donna showed you that pic of me hiding behind the GR? :P) I once had to volunteer at a political rally for a class in college. They put me on security duty O_o was pretty much my reaction. I was dumbfounded. (But it was ok because to get in you still had to get past the secret service :P)

Tawny said...

*g* Lime, I thought you were keeping your secret identity safe when you were hiding behind that rooster.

I have to admit, I never did imagine you as being in security ;-) but, hey, nothing like having secret service backup *ggg*

flchen1 said...

A very belated hello to Virna--congrats on your books!

As for me, I tend to be conflict averse in general, but I tend also not to be afraid to speak up as a mom when it comes to what's right in my eyes :) I'm OK with correcting other people's kids on the playground if what they're doing is hurting someone else and their own parents turn a blind eye.

In some other situations, I'd likely clam up though! Silence isn't always a good thing though!

Christine Wells said...

Yes, Virna, we did it!!

Tawny, are you telling me I'm a good influence on you? Perish the thought!

Hey, do we get to sit next to each other this year? Must go check.

Tawny said...

Fedora, kids are lucky to have people like you who are willing to step in and speak out. I hate it when people just ignore meanness, especially on the playground.

Tawny said...

;-) Christine, you're such a great lady, you'd be a good influence on anyone. But hey, if you want to be a bad influence, I'm always game.

I checked but the lit signing list isn't up yet... I sure hope we're next to each other :-D

Laurie said...

Enemy Lover sounds fabulous. I'm definitely going to check it out!!

I took a speech class in HS because I was so shy speaking in front of people. It was very painful for me. I would sweat! I did get over saying UM every other sentence. I'm still not comfortable speaking in front of a large audience.

Nowadays, I stand up for myself. I'm able to speak up & out about things that are important to me. I'm on 2 board of directors. I've gotten over my shyness around people.

I've been to small claims court a couple of times as we've had a few tenants not pay their rent. A prosecutor for 10 years... I admire you!

Best of luck with your writing career!!

Dinah said...

You know, you can find San Francisco criminal attorney here

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