Reporting in from the new office…

new-office

Good morning…from my new office! Yes, it’s still in my house, but (for those of you who followed my 365 day journey around the sun) it is no longer the Blue Room, or even the dining room table. It’s a well-lit, dual-aspect, cozy bedroom off the dining room. It still needs work, as you can see, but I have French doors out to the rest of the house and a little jewel-box of a bathroom all to myself…not to mention a flat-screen tv, Playstation, sofa bed with quilts, and my faithful feline assistants. But, I assure you, writing will still get done…

Actually, I must get some writing done! I’ve been feeling quite lost as an artist…even though I’ve been working through the Artist’s Way and expressing my creativity through cooking and cross-stitching and decorating for autumn. But I haven’t been writing and I can tell my soul needs it. I even had a visit from a black widow spider, crawling across the living room floor to where I sat doing bills one evening with all the lights on! I think the message was clear…”embrace your female power, create, weave…or else!” I thanked her for her message and quickly relocated her outside. I’m worried if I don’t get writing soon she’ll visit me again.

I am pleased to report that Pitch Madness day went very well. I had multiple small publishing houses express interest, as well as one very reputable agent. I thanked the publishing houses, explaining that I would first like to seek agent-representation. As for the agent, well unfortunately (in one sense) the book is already out to one of her colleagues for consideration, and the agency has a strict no-submitting-to-multiple-agents policy. I emailed her and was honored to receive a response informing me that if her colleague didn’t express interest, she’d like to see the manuscript next. Of those first eight submissions of SHADOW OF A WOMAN to agents that went out in July, I’m still waiting to hear back – or not hear back, as the case may be – from four by the end of October. In the meantime, I have put submissions on hold, and am revisiting the manuscript. Not for major revisions to the plot, but to clean up the language even further, and increase tension where possible. A good manuscript goes through seven to eight drafts…this would put me at six, I think. And I’ve been blessed with the most unlikely of editors – my husband! He’s not read the book before, and is very good with language, so as we read it together, he’s helping to point out where I have too much description, what needs better description, and what just doesn’t make sense.

But I still need to get writing. I’ve been considering participating in NaNoWriMo this year. For those of you not familiar with this crazy writing event, it’s where writers across the world commit to writing 50,000 words in one month. And November of all months!…with Thanksgiving and family and holidays to negotiate. But it’s a wonderful way to force a first draft out. I’ve calculated that to make the quota I would need to write six pages a day, every day. What’s prevented me from making the commitment is that I just can’t decide which project I’d work on. Logic tells me that I should start the next Penzey Brighton mystery. But I also have another series I’d like to start. And then there’s my epic, historical fantasy, that will require tons of delicious research and total abandon. How to choose?!

And that’s the report from my new office. Apologies for the length. That’s what comes from being away too long. But I’m thinking that now that I’ve got an office back, I’ll be able to report in more often in style and comfort!

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Let the pitches begin!…

It’s Pitch Madness…a.k.a. #PitMad…day!

A frantic, exciting, nail-biting twelve-hour window when aspiring writers with polished novels awaiting glossy covers & prominent shelf spots pitch to agents and publishers on Twitter.

I have my three pitches ready…wish me luck!

Woosh! The curtains open…

I’m here! I’m here! *waving from the front windows*

I know, it’s been too long! I’ve just been in a little funk. The kind of funk where you eat too many donuts and drink too much coffee, abandon exercise altogether, and can’t properly get started on a writing project even when your sanity depends on it. (All you writers out there, is there such a thing as post-first-submissions-blues…?) And I *moved* into this beautiful new virtual space, had an *open house*, then proceeded to close all the curtains and wander around aimlessly! (All you bloggers out there, is it possible to have bloggers’ block…?)

But I’m back! And I can report the following good news—I have joined Mystery Writers of America, I am signed up for a Sisters-in-Crime writers conference in San Francisco next month, I will be guest lecturing again this fall, and I’m working diligently through Julia Cameron’s “The Artist Way.” Not only that, but school has started, so the college is buzzing with contagious energy, and the first leaves have started to fall, marking the approach of my favorite season. And even though I’ve been in a funk, I haven’t been completely idle. I’ve been working on getting my new home office set-up, completed two cross-stitch projects, traveled to Washington State to visit family, and started translating my grandmother’s cookbook with my father.

“How are the submissions going?” you ask.

In the month and a half since I sent out my first eight submissions, I’ve had two rejections, two non-responses, and am still waiting to hear back from four agents who note longer response times. I’ll admit there was a crisis of faith when I wasn’t instantly offered a deal…honestly, who doesn’t fantasize it’ll happen with the first response?!…but I have regrouped, read all those articles about famous authors being rejected dozens of times before acceptance to soothe my ego, and am actually excited about the next batch of submissions I’m preparing now.

“And how are you getting out of this funk?” you ask next.

Posting this is certainly a step in the right direction! Another must, is getting up early in the mornings to write and exercise, like I did this morning. I have learned that if I don’t, I’m a complete mess the rest of the day. And finally, just reminding myself that I am a writer, showing up to the life I want, and leaving the rest to God and the universe.