Beware the ides of August

14 Aug

The picture of Galley that's up for a PWD calendar. Photo by Tom Auclair.

What a summer it’s been! I’ve been in Iraq, defusing IEDs.

Um. Okay. Not really.

But I haven’t blogged in so long, I wanted to give an excuse that made it sound like I was doing something extraordinary. The truth is, I was revising THROWN to prepare it for its summer vacation to Agentland. During the better part of July I shunned social engagements (a challenge for me, as I love seeing my friends, especially if it involves dinner and/or wine) as I finished making Joanne Kennedy’s suggested edits and other changes based on what I learned at the Romance Writers of America conference.

As a result, my book is done and ready to go. My yard is a mess—I believe there might be parrots and monkeys living in my flower gardens-cum-rain forests. My dog got shortchanged on his walks. My horse was certain she’d been sold. And my husband…well, it’s good he had scripts to memorize and a heathy love of satellite TV. My thanks to all of them.

I printed out the whole manuscript and sent it to my mother-in-law. Yes she wanted to read it. Yes I told her there was some smut. Yes she still wanted to read it. She is a voracious reader, which apparently trumps any Puritanical tendencies (she is, after all, a native New Englander and a French-Canadian Roman Catholic to boot), since she would never let a little smut get in her way. Plus, I think she likes the thought of her daughter-in-law being an author. (You thought I was going to write “she likes the thought of her daughter-in-law writing smut.” Weren’t you? WEREN’T YOU?)

I have to say, it’s FUN to see the story on paper, actual paper. It feels like it’s SOMETHING. The lady at the UPS store asked how much it was worth, and of course at first I said—sounding like a credit card commercial— “priceless.” But then I told the truth–it’s worth the paper it’s printed on, nothing more, since I have it backed up twenty ways from Tuesday on various devices.

Tomorrow, the ides of August, I will send the beginning of THROWN—along with a query letter and synopsis—to the various agents and publishers I met at the RWA conference who requested it. An exciting and terrifying day! Even Jody, my fantastic hair cutter/stylist/arranger, was nervous for me. I am shoring up my emotions for defeat, for a flurry of polite rejections…but I could, I COULD get published. Only one way to find out.

On another front, back in May I entered THROWN in the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers contest, and the finalists are supposed to hear that they’re finalists in “mid-August.” Seems to me it’s mid-August now. Since I haven’t heard a peep, I’m assuming I didn’t make the cut. So now I’m pinning my hopes on my dog, Galley, whose picture has finaled in a contest to be in a Portuguese Water Dog calendar (and yes, he’s completely naked in the photo).

On still another front, I judged a contest. Well, one entry, since as you know, I was busy writing my own novel. I’ve entered a handful of contests and now know a little about what it’s like to get feedback. As a judge, I had to fill out a score sheet with numerical rankings, 1 – 5, on all kinds of categories. Things like characterization and dialogue. I could also comment on the score sheet or on the manuscript itself. I did both. I tried to be specific and give the writer as much feedback as I could, since I appreciated it when I got lots of feedback from the contests I entered. It was fun, although I felt a pressure to do a good job. It also made me think more about my own writing. Interestingly, I read the synopsis for the entry I was judging first, and I didn’t like it at all. But then I read the entry itself, and although the writer has a much different “voice” than mine, I really liked the writing. I hope she (I assume) finaled.

Well, there you have it. The update. Now I continue to play with the second draft of LOVE IN THE TIME OF COLIC, novel #2. It never ends, this writing business, and thank God for that! (And thank YOU for reading.)


  1. Lisa Fields Says:

    So exciting! Can’t wait to hear all about your query experience.

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