Status Update – January 2020

Well, it happened. One of the three agents considering representing my manuscript passed on it this week. I got the email at work, which I think contributed to the initial numbness I felt. Driving home, sure, I cried—it’s devastating news, after all. Except, I didn’t ever feel devastated. Deeply disappointed? Absolutely. A little heart broken? Maybe… But alongside the sad feelings remained this certainty that this isn’t the end of the road. Rather than fear this is an indictment on my story—on my entire craft—I knew, in the marrow of my bones, I’m far from finished.

I love Solvi and her world. I’m excited to see how her story ends. But Blood and Water is not my opus. It’s not the be all, end all, and if it isn’t the first to be published, that doesn’t mean it will never be—nor does it mean nothing I write will be.

The feedback from this agent was so encouraging, especially the second time I read the rejection email. They praised my prose and narrative style, and called my writing impressive. It’s just the timing that’s off, a market that’s already saturated with similar stories. They even expressed interest in reading anything else I might have in a different genre.

I’ve already committed 2020 to Solvi and Ib, to finishing their story before moving on to a new project. There are still two agents considering my full manuscript (and four agents yet to respond to my initial query). But I also know this is only the beginning. It’s still my day to be brilliant!

They Said it’s All Been Done, But They Haven’t Seen the Best of Me

If my life is a song, right now it’s “High Hopes” by Panic! at the Disco on repeat.

I alluded to the epic high I’ve been riding this week in an Instagram post the other day, but let me just tell you all about it. As you already know, last week an agent reached out asking to read my first three chapters. At that point, my success-total was: 1 agent with my first 50 pages, 1 agent with my full manuscript, and now 1 agent with my first 3 chapters.

Last weekend, that same agency reached back out asking for more. After reading three chapters, they wanted to read the whole thing. Cue squeals and happy-dancing around my kitchen until my husband gently reminded me we *do* have neighbors. New total: 1 agent with 50 pages, 2 agents with the full MS.

Then, earlier this week, that last agent responded, complimenting my writing, and asked. for. the. full. thing.

I’m trying to maintain a grasp on my sanity by reminding myself this is no guarantee of representation. They could all read it and decide it’s not so great, or needs too much work, or doesn’t fit the market, or any number of things. Only one of them gave me a timeline for when I might hear back, and it was 6 months because they’re so swamped, so I could be biting my nails until the summer or later.

But, damn, I’m feeling good right now. I’ve created something enticing enough that people asked for more–people whose job it is to read piles and piles of books. I know this feeling will fade as the year continues and the waiting game begins, but I hope I don’t lose the pride I have in myself for getting this far.

Query Update – January 2020

As of now, my full manuscript is still with an agent, and TWO other agents have my partial story. That’s right, my first response of the new year was a request rather than rejection, which is a lovely way to start 2020! I don’t have a timeframe for when I’ll hear back—if I’ve learned anything, it’s that agents are swamped with queries and clients plus other jobs to pay the bills, so patience is key (and pretending to forget your manuscript is pending is essential for maintaining sanity).

So, deep breath, Blood and Water is still kicking out there, and I’m working on her sequel so at the very least I’ll have a completed story someday, published or not. Crossed fingers, earnest prayers, and positive vibes are still and always most welcome!

Magic

I felt it when my block broke this week. Normally, I don’t realize I’ve made it through a bout of writer’s block until I’m well on the other side, elbow-deep in fresh words. This time, though, I can pinpoint the moment it happened.

My husband and I were eating dinner at what is fast becoming our favorite local bar. I sipped an excellent Old Fashioned and listened to him recount the mundane horrors of his work day. The bartender poured a frothy, butter-yellow drink into a cocktail coupe, a tea candle’s flickering light reflecting off the glass, and a tingle started behind my ears and sizzled into the bones of my right hand. Every cell in my body became alert, like a dog recognizing a certain car door slamming closed.

No burst of inspiration or lightbulb idea followed. Words did not flood my mind.

But a whisper of a promise hovered over me in the steam from the hand-cut French fries: I will write again. My story is ready for me, and I, for it.

I wrote 2,000 words the following day.