Phew! It’s been such a hectic week! The boys were at West Point for hockey camp, but we’re home now, and my parents are visiting! There’s more to come on this, but for now…
We’re talking about writing.
My awesome agent, Jamie Bodnar Drowley, has my 2nd novel, Full Measures, officially on submission!!!!
Oh yeah, this is a huge deal, especially to me. Why? Because it’s my 2nd book. When I wrote my first, Aeolian, I kind of doubted that I could finish it. It seemed like such a monumental task. But once Aeolian was repped, and then on sub (Jamie is a rockstar), I knew it was time to stop thinking about a 2nd book, and actually write it.
But this one feels different, because I have these… expectations. Sure, Jamie signed Aeolian, but now I’m her client, and the last thing I want to do is hand her a book she DOESN’T like, and seeing that Jamie is a fabulous eiditorial agent, I’m kind of scared of:
Yeah. No pressure. So, I decide I’m going to take the plunge, and start a New Adult, totally unrelated to Aeolian. I happen to love the genre of New Adult. Why? Because it’s about that age where you’re between 18 and 25 or so, when you’re trying out your adult legs, sometimes making bad decisions in pursuit of what you know have to be the right goals, right? Basically, you’re out there with others your age, and everyone is trying to just figure this whole “adult” thing out. When a lot of people hear New Adult, they think the main characters are like:
But really, they’re more like:
Right. There are some awesome New Adult novels out there, popping up like the gorgeous flowers of genre Spring this is. But there can also be a stigma with it:
Yeah. Well, as many different “New Adults” out there, rocking through college, or out on their own learning what fun bills and jobs can be, there are just as many different kinds of New Adult books.
So I start Full Measures a couple months before Jason leaves, and I’m plugging along all “pantser” style. When I write, I know where we start and where we end, but the middle is always a beautiful mystery to me. Well, at least this is what I tell myself. Really, I’m just a horrible plotter, and when I attempt outlining, it ends up looking something like this:
And with any book I write, about 3/4 the way through, I take a look at this discombobulated mess of chapters and think:
Let’s face it. Insecurity is kind of like an author’s default emotion.
But thank God for amazing critique partners who assure you:
But still, those little doubts are there… what if I only had one book in me? What if this one isn’t as good as Aeolian? What if I can’t even manage to finish the thing?
The weeks before and after Jason deploys, I’m pretty useless on this manuscript (MS), because it has a heavy military theme, and I’m in a kind of dark place when he leaves
Once I pull out of my funk, I head back to the manuscript and slam that baby out.
But you know what happens then? After I do an initial read-through, and get over my insecurity (Yeah, right), it’s ready to show my awesome group of CP’s.
So I sit. And wait. And get back the first reviews from my CP’s. And wait… wait… They love it, so now I’m all:
Of course there are some suggestions, of which I fight off like:
And some, I seriously consider like:
So I take these suggestions, mull them over for a day, and head to the editing cave. The editing cave, well, when I’m there, sucked into my novel, and the dishes are piling up, and the dog hair is consuming the carpet, and the laundry probably contains that pre-schooler who is suspiciously quiet, well, it’s like this kind of happens to my house:
And when people randomly stop by or call, I’m like:
And my non-writer friends, when they realize I haven’t seen the world outside the edit cave for a couple weeks are all:
…unless you consider coffee a drug. But I digress. During this time, when my computer is on 18 hours a day, and the only fresh air I’m getting is from my scentsy warmer, sometimes only my CP’s understand why I feel like throwing my kids a bag of potato chips for dinner or letting them dig through the frig, and when I finally think about feeding myself it’s like:
True story: That .gif is from a friend of mine’s restaurant. Kid you not. Gotta love Colorado Bears. At least he has good taste in food.
But anyway, in the edit cave, well…
But then, I reach the last page of the edit, the last epiphany, the last “Damn, I need to change that,” moment, and it’s like:
But it’s done. D-O-N-E!!!! So I send it off to Jamie, and go to bed, because I’m so sleep-deprived that I feel like a drunken toddler.
But here’s the hard part: The waiting. Do you remember me saying that our default emotion is insecurity? Well, waiting for your agent to read your new manuscript feels kind of like:
Why? Because I feel like saying to her awesomeness:
And deep down, most of us writers, what we really need? Validation. We’re all basically like… “Come on! Pet me!”
Until we hear:
So I see the email from Jamie, and before I click?
Open it. She… she… she thinks it’s awesome!!! Oh My YAY!
A couple changes, some typos and she’s ready for SUB!!!!
No, really. Aeolian took me a year to write and about 10 months of editing before Jamie signed me. Full Measures? 4 months of writing, and 3 weeks of beta/edits.
So I’m in PA, visiting Jason’s grandparents before I pick up the Bigs from West Point Hockey camp, and I get the email that Full Measures is officially on submission!!!
So I tell Jason’s grandparents, who immediately want to know what the book is about. I give them the general blurbiness (because authors like to make up our own words), and when his grandmother says, “oooh,” I realize… I never want her to read it. Why? Because it’s New Adult… with like… a few steamy scenes… and she’s like… my grandmother. As much as she loves me, and my writing, I know if she reads through any of that, she’ll be all:
So then it happens. I’m saying goodbye to Jason’s aunt, and my email dings.
Full Measures has a full request from a major publisher!!!
I mean, seriously? Like 2 hours? A full request from a big dog that fast? REALLY? I mean, I totally want to high-five Jamie like:
And be like, “Well-pitched, rock star… well-pitched!” Truthfully, in this one… I’m probably Spock, nowhere near cool enough to pull off Kirk.
I’m jumping around, so excited (as I’m pumping gas), and a few fellow patrons are looking at me like:
But you know what?
But then, my parade got… well, rained on.
This twinge of utter pain goes through me that Jason isn’t here. I can’t jump up onto him and laugh, giggle, and generally be stupid-happy. In fact, with my parents in London, and Jason gone… there’s like… No one to call and get excited with.
But let’s be honest. I knew this would happen when he left. I knew I would work my tail off, finish a book or two, and that good things would happen while he was gone. I told myself I wouldn’t be sad that he wasn’t here. Yeah, I lied. I know it’s silly, but it doesn’t mean that it sucks any less.
Okay, big girl panties on, no letting the army screw with my happy moment. So I do the next best thing, and sent him off a text message (God Bless the international cell phones of Afghanistan).
Then I watched my Bigs play hockey on West Point Ice:
Aidan playing for the white team
Aaron rocking it for the black and gold!
But you see, then technology blessed us. Jason logged onto Skype, and was able to watch the whole game. I may have looked a little crazy with my phone against the glass, but I totally honey-badgered it. And the best? Aidan snagged a view mid-game, but it was at the end of the game, when I motioned for Aaron to skate over, and he looked up to see….
Yeah, dude. Your dad made it in the only way he could. The smile on both of their faces was so priceless that I teared right up. Sure, he may have missed my moment, but he made it for theirs, and in this crazy, hectic little life we lead, it’s the kids that matter. He misses so much lately, so many amazing things that I can’t share fully over a phone call or an IM, but this moment, he got to experience right with his boys.
So, Full Measures is on Sub (and you’ll get a whole blog post dedicated to that book, I promise!), I have my Bigs home, happy, tired, and generally awesome, but the icing on the cake? My parents flew in on the last leg of their vacation. We met up on the drive from the airport, in the middle-of-nowhere NY, and I got to share my news. I got my hugs, my squeals, my parents.
So yeah, today, my cup runneth over.
And it’s awesome.