Fairy Dust and Waltzing AlligatorsI am standing on the other side looking back. I got The Call the day before yesterday. An editor wanted to buy my manuscript, WALTZING WITH ALLIGATORS. Up until the last minute, the rejections were rolling in, like winter waves on the ocean, relentless and crushing. Everything and nothing has changed. I'm still the same writer I was. The manuscript is still the same story I conceived during a particularly nasty bout of the flu a few years ago while I trapped in bed. But someone sprinkled fairy dust over New York. This time an editor read my story and connected to my vision.
It all started on a Thursday. An agent asked for an exclusive after reading a query I had sent out on Monday of that week. Two days later, on a rainy Sunday morning, I shuffled to my computer with my morning tea. The house was still asleep. A rejection from an agent was sitting on a pile of manuscripts boring holes in my back as I turned on my computer. I'd abandoned it there two days earlier, not having the heart to open the darn thing. Finally, I knew the moment had come. I would have to read the bad news. I told myself to stop being a wimp. Get it over with and move on.
Rejections are definitely rainy day material. Sure enough, it was from an agent who loved my voice, but just didn't see my work as right for the current romance market. How many times had I been down that road? I have boxes of returned manuscripts with such sentiments attached.
I've recently decided to trim the U.S. Postal Service's budget by no longer paying for return postage. Recycling, that's the ticket. Someplace far, far away. No more thuds echoing on the front porch for me. Lately, I've noticed our mail carrier drops the manuscripts, rings the bell, and runs. By the time I get the dog settled down and open the door, she's back in her truck and halfway down the block. Maybe she's a writer too and hates to be the bearer of bad news.
I dropped the latest disappointment in a pile with the rest and returned to my laptop to check my email. It was pouring outside, perfect weather for my gloomy mood as I log on to my Gmail account. Hold the phone! There's an email from the editor who had requested my manuscript at a conference two weeks ago. She'd run back to the office on a Sunday to get the rest of my story. She's reading it. And she likes it--—on a Sunday. Holy Smokes!
I once received an email rejection from an agent on a Sunday morning. I emailed back and told him he was working way too hard and he should take some time off and relax a bit. But this was different, this was good news, and from an editor, no less. She said she was going to finish it and email me the next day. Talk about sweating bullets. So much was riding on the end of the book, which has a tricky climax with a whopping cast of nine characters on stage in the same scene. If I worked in a circus, I would be a contortionist. My plots have subplots, lots of them. Even the subplots have their own subplots. I am the queen of story knots. I can't seem to help myself.
Monday morning brought another email, then a phone call, then more waiting while other editors read the manuscript. The agent's copy was yet to be delivered. More reading in New York. More bullets whizzing past. I was about to blow a gasket on the opposite side of continent come Thursday morning, I hope to tell you. I had finally coaxed my story angels into concentrating on my work-in-progress when the phone rang. It was The Call, not just a looksee. I'd passed muster. They wanted my book. Amazing. Do I believe in magic, serendipity, and fairy dust? You betcha! A big thank you to my story angels! You know who you are.