Tuesday, December 13, 2011

News and Signs

Wow. It’s been a while since any of us have posted. Sorry about that. All of us have been busy writing and revising and, in one case, illustrating. (Don’t look at me; my mom may be an artist but I can’t even draw a stick figure.) Lots of great news is just around the corner!

Here’s some more news I’m happy to share: I have an agent! I’m thrilled to announce that I’m now represented by Marie Lamba at the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency. Marie is an experienced writer who’s just made the move into agenting. I am her first client and I’m very honored and humbled she chose me. It’s a unique situation but one that makes me very happy. I feel like we are both starting on this journey together; she’s putting her faith in me and I’m putting my faith in her.

I know some people like to hear stories about THE CALL. So I thought I’d share mine.

First some background. About a week or so ago, I was approached by an editor I’ve worked with before about doing a non-fiction book. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it. I’m in the middle of a new project (a YA) but everyone I approached for advice, told me to take it, do it. It’s writing. It’s money. It’s a BOOK.

I enjoy doing non-fiction (and would like to do some more eventually) and it made no sense for me not to take the project. But my gut kept telling me “No.” I didn’t understand it and I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I was at a crossroad: go back to doing non-fiction or stay on this new path I’ve chosen. Which, frankly, was beginning to feel like a dead end. Three years. Two novels. Numerous “close calls” but no agent or book contract. It all takes a huge, mental and emotional toll. Especially since I'd left paying gigs to do it.

So, last Thursday, I woke up and asked the Universe for a sign. I do that a lot. I’m sure the Universe answers but I don’t always see them clearly so I got greedy and also asked for a “big” sign. Preferably something written in neon.

While procrastinating (yes, I procrastinate, shocking, I know) I visited a favorite blog, YA Highway. This post was up. It’s about protecting your writing sanity. Scroll down to the bottom. See that note that says “Don’t Do Things You Don’t Want to Do” ? I read that and went, Hmmm. Maybe that’s my sign!

Just to try a decision on, I started to compose a note to the editor. You know, to test out how it felt to turn down the project. I opened a file, got, oh about three sentences into it, when the phone rang.

Yep. It was Marie! (But you could see that coming, right? LOL )

I spoke with her for about an hour, hoping that I sounded half-way coherent and intelligent and trying to remember all the things you’re supposed to ask an agent about. By the time, we said goodbye, I felt really confident she was a good match.

There were still two other agents who had my full. I contacted both. One got back to me right away, wishing me luck. But I hadn’t heard from the other one. Then, the next day, as I was driving my daughter home from school, I caught myself hoping that second agent would hurry up and turn me down too so I could make things official. I realized that if that’s what I was thinking, then I’d already made a decision. I called Marie as soon as I got home and accepted her offer.

So... I’m sticking on this new path I’ve chosen. I may go back to non-fiction someday but, for now, this is where I want to be. And now I have a traveling companion to help share the load. Or - more accurately - another traveling companion because I wouldn’t be where I am today without my amazing, kind, talented, funny, wicked smart critique group! Thank you, Debbie, Andrea, Christy, Kate and Susan. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

Let’s hear it for neon signs! :-)