Things to look forward to

This year is shaping up to be totally awesome.  Lots of cool stuff has already happened, and there's a lot more to look forward to.

First up, Steve and I are going to Las Vegas for a few days at the end of the March.  We just booked the hotel.  Actually, we booked two hotels, because right after we put our deposit down for New York New York, I got an offer in the mail for a great rate and free third night at the Wynn.  What a weird coincidence!  So of course we canceled the first hotel and booked a room at the fancy-shmancy place.  Thanks to the promotion, the cost for three nights at the Wynn is only a little bit more than New York New York, and it also includes two free tickets to Le Reve, a $50 dining credit, and a $25 credit for slots.  Woo hoo! Bring on the contortionists, video poker, and complimentary pina coladas!  And, we've also got tickets to see Jersey Boys.

This is what I love about going to Vegas.  There's always something new and exciting to do.

Then in May, Steve and I are planning a trip to Portland, Oregon.  He's gotta go for a work thing (what else is new, he's in Oregon every month), but I'll be tagging along this time because a girlfriend of mine will be there and I miss her.  And, I love Portland.  And, I can go to Powell's.

What is it about the thought of going to Powell's that makes me giddy?   I liken it to the way kids must feel about going to see Santa at the mall (not me, I hate Santa... but that's a blog post for another day.  And another blog).  I'm going to stock up on a lot of books.  A LOT of books. I need to, if I'm going to make my goal of reading fifty-two novels this year.  So far I've read seven, which is slightly behind schedule, but not bad at all.

My goal for 2010 is to rediscover the passion I had for books before I started writing.  Yep, you read that right.  There's nothing like writing a book to kill your mojo for books. (I wonder if this is how porn stars feel.  Or gynecologists.)  Because now I can't help but nitpick.  I can't help but edit as I go.  I can't help but question the author's choices.  And it's damned annoying.  Who the hell do I think I am?

But slowly, I'm getting my reading mojo back. I've read some really good books lately and that helps.  I'm reading more widely and that helps.  And I'm carving out more time to read and that definitely helps.  So keep your book recommendations coming.  If you've read something recently and you loved it, I want to know.  If you've read something and you hated it, I want to know.

Russell Peters is performing at the Paramount in Seattle in June, and I just bought tickets this morning.  We were actually supposed to see him in Vegas, which was the whole reason for the Vegas trip, but he cancelled.  Dude's making a movie.  No matter, we still get to see him.  And we still get to go to Vegas.

I'm signed up for ThrillerFest in NYC again this July.  No better place to light your creative fires than to be around other writers, both published and aspiring-to-be-published. I went last summer and had the time time of my life meeting so many of my favorite authors (check the Thrillerfest tags in the cloud to the right if you want to read about my time at the conference).

This time around, I'm looking forward to relaxing and enjoying the panel discussions.  No workshopping.  And, thank God, no pitching my manuscript to agents, which I probably would have had to do if hadn't signed with someone by then (the thought of an in-person pitch makes me want to barf).  I really hope I get to meet my agent.  And don't forget the shopping!  And eating!  And more shows!  There's so much we didn't get to do in New York last time.  If anyone's familiar with NYC, send me some suggestions on where to go and what to see.

Then we're planning a big road trip back to Toronto in August. Steve's car was leased in Canada in 2006 and it's due back at the dealership this summer.  We'll drive it there and fly back to Seattle.  We don't have the dates firmed up yet, but we expect to be home for about a week (not including the 3 days it takes to drive back) somewhere in the first half of August, so clear your calendars because I'm going to want to spend time with all of you.

So, what are you looking forward to this year?

The Hunger Games

It's been awhile since I've read a book straight through in a few hours.  What can I say, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins was unputdownable (no, I don't think that's really a word... but it should be).  So I'm tired today because I didn't expect to be up all night reading.  This novel is classified as young adult (YA) fiction but I totally forgot about that after a page or two.

The hook (I'm paraphrasing):  In post-apocalyptic North America, kids from the ages of 12 to 18 are chosen by lottery to represent their districts in the Hunger Games.  While the whole world watches, these kids must fight to the death in an arena where the Gamemakers have total control.  The winner is the last one standing.

It's like Shirley Jackson's classic short story The Lottery meets Stephen King's The Running Man... but with teenagers!

Highly, highly recommend this.

ETA:  I just ordered the second book in the series, Catching Fire.  It can't get here soon enough.

If you build it, they will come

It's Wednesday, also known as Hump Day for you folks who work Monday to Friday.

I work Monday to Friday (mostly) but it's not quite the same when you work from home.

It's better.   :)

It's been a few days since I've blogged, and I'm probably losing readers every time I miss a weekday of blogging.  Needless to say, I've been swamped.  But in a good way.

Revisions are going really well.  It's hard to explain, but it took me a few days to really see the changes that needed to be made.  Even though I had a pretty detailed list of revision suggestions in front of me courtesy of my agent, I didn't fully get what she was saying until I dove in.  But once I started rewriting, the pieces fell into place.  When I'm finished (hopefully by the end of next week), I will have a very different last half of the book than I did before.  And yes, it will be stronger.

Steve and I painted my new office over the weekend.  I'm moving into the bonus room, which is sort of like a fourth bedroom, except that the builder didn't install a closet.  It also has an opening so you can see part of the room when you're standing below.  Here's a before pic (sort of – it's an empty room so I never bothered to photograph it last year):


See the room with the elliptical archway on the second floor?  That's the bonus room.  (The term "bonus room" is strange to me.  We don't say that in Canada.  We might have called it a loft or a den or something.  Because really, what's bonus about it?  It's part of the original design of the house.  It's not like it's added on later.)

Anyway, I chose a very fresh and vibrant paint color.  I have a new and much larger desk picked out, which I'll hopefully be able to order next month.  I'm excited to have an office with an actual door – not so much for privacy, but to keep out small furry friends who like to visit me twenty times a day when I'm writing.  But I'm even more excited to fill an empty room (I hate having empty rooms).  Over the next couple of months, I'm planning to install floor-to-ceiling shelves, curtains, and maybe even a chair or small loveseat which I'll cannibalize from somewhere else in the house.

I really feel like I'm carving out my path in life.  I'm no longer sitting on my ass, waiting and hoping for something good to happen (and believe me, I did that for years).  Committing to writing every day was the first step.  Writing a novel, and then writing another one, was the next step.  Taking courses and workshops and joining writers' groups were the steps after that.  Finding an agent was pivotal step after that.

And now, in the midst of revising my agented book, I'm creating a beautiful space to write.  It's an important part of this journey, because it puts into physical form my commitment to do this crazy thing and chase this crazy dream.

If you build it, they will come.

Well, I'm building.  Bet your ass.

If I ever decide to write a romance novel...

I will definitely put Steve on the cover.





Many thanks to Romance Novel Yourself for exactly 20 minutes of stress-relieving fun!


Year of the Tiger

According to Chinese astrology, 2010 is the Year of the Tiger.

I'm a Tiger.

I'm also a Leo.  And a cat person.   (No surprise there.)

I've been trolling the internet to find a decent horoscope for tigers this year, but most of what I find seems to have been written by high school students with no concept of grammar or punctuation.   Since I don't like posting things on my blog that are purposely grammar-deficient (this doesn't include my typos, which are mistakes, or the liberties I sometimes take with my own conversational writing style), here's one of the more reasonably understandable predictions I came across for 2010:


THE TIGER

For their own year, the Tigers will face a surprisingly average year with little ups and downs.  While everything will be at your advantage this year, you will find it terribly difficult to find the encouragement and willpower to perform at your very best.  Find the encouragement within yourself or you might be faced with plenty of disappointments. 2010 will provide a healthy backdrop for you, for those suffering digestive problems; you will most likely find that situations for you will improve.

What the hell?!  You would think that the Year of the Tiger would be great for tigers.   It's only fair, right?  It only comes around once every 12 years, and this should be our year to shine. At the very least, we tigers deserve to have amazing things happen during our year.  This horoscope doesn't scream "Amazing!" to me.  If anything, it whispers "Psst... boring."

And I refuse for this year to be average.  Hmph.  Now I'm all irritated.

Anyway, just for fun I've posted the predictions for all the animals below.  What animal are you?  Leave me a comment and let me know, so I can commiserate with you if your prediction sucks, too.

If you're not sure what animal you are, figure it out here:


KUNG HEI FAT CHOI!

(I got that from Mandarin Buffet's website, so if it's wrong, blame them!  Ha!  God, I miss Mandarin.)

The Rat

For those born in the Year of the Rat, year 2010 promises to be an average year for you, while you may suffer from melancholy from time to time, the positioning of the planets in 2010 will benefit the rats and they will most definitely be more self-confident, and be more innovative than before.  Excellent news for the lonely rats, year 2010 promises a great love life for you.  You will definitely find a lover within the year, and for the ones that are blissfully married, the year will be filled with romantic joy.  Time to rejoice in the warmth of love, rats!


The Ox

You should be aware of some conflicts that might happen in the coming year, particularly with the dragons and horses.  To avoid these conflicts, remember to keep an open mind and to not judge others without any basis.  This year is a good year for you to learn a new language, so, if you have always wanted to pick up a new language before traveling, 2010 would definitely be the best year.  Career-wise, those born in the year of the Ox should be aware that in 2010, your working attitude will be slightly lackadaisical and without much buoyed enthusiasm, put in effort to change the attitude.


The Rabbit

Unfortunately for the Rabbits, 2010 will possibly be a bad year for those who were born in the year of the Rabbit.  You will have to work hard to achieve some good in terms of your career, health and love life.  Rabbits should look towards philosophy and religion to find some good in the upcoming year.  Be prudent, thrifty and stay on the lookout for signs of a business scam, your finances could prove to be a problem this upcoming year.


The Dragon

For those born in the year of the Dragon, it is time for you to apply into some form of school or undertake some courses!  Studying in the upcoming year will bring you a considerable amount of success.  While you might find yourself getting into some minor conflicts, it is essential for you to stay positive.  Your ability to stay positive will lead to a happier and more successful year ahead.  It might also be a rocky year ahead for you if you are in a relationship, remember, stay positive and lend a listening ear and you will stay happy.


The Snake

Those born in the year of the Snake are known to be very stubborn.  Keep your stubbornness in check; learn to control it and you will find many successes coming towards you in the upcoming year.  While it is important to have dreams, try to keep a level-headed mind for the upcoming year or you might end up straying away from reality.  Once you’ve kept a level-headed mind, you will find yourself in favorable opportunities in your career, make sure you grab them!


The Horse

Good news for the horses! Year 2010 might be one of the smoothest years for you.  You will find bonds between your friends and relatives being built fairly easily.  Keep a clear head when making decisions for you will find that plenty of decisions may sound familiar to one another but with very different outcomes.  You may also tend to overfeed yourself in the upcoming year so be sure to keep on a healthy diet and exercise regularly.


The Goat

Those born in the year of the Goat will find plenty of wealth opportunities coming their way in 2010.  You may end up passing up on a lot of them and making several bad decisions early on in the trimester but it is crucial for you to stay positive and not be disheartened by your losses for more opportunities will be coming for you later in the year.  Stay on your feet, be in the company of your loved ones and develop more personal relationships and you will find that the upcoming year might just be your best year yet.


The Monkey

It is essential for the monkey to not be overly emotional in 2010.  You will find that not everything will go your way initially.  While you might lose some close friends, you have to maintain mental stability to save the broken pieces of the relationship.  However, 2010 will provide business opportunities for you.  It is the year for you to take risks.  Take the risks and you will be rewarded tremendously.  Do not rest on your laurels and expect things to happen!


The Rooster

2010 will be a year of competition for those born in the year of the Rooster.  In your career, you will face plenty of competition to get up onto a higher rung of the ladder in your company.  If you are unattached, you will find competition for someone that you are interested in.  Make well-thought out decisions and do not make rash decision.  Adopt a positive and hardworking attitude and 2010 might just be a good year for you.


The Dog

There will be ups and downs for the dog in the year 2010.  In your career, your lack of respect towards authority might prove to be a downfall for you.  Your quest for independence will lead to you having some problems in your love life as well.  It is ultimately crucial for you to tone down your brash attitude to find some good in the upcoming year or 2010 will prove to be a year of loneliness for you.  Stay friendly!


The Pig

Known to be sentimental creatures, you have to learn to put off your sentimental ways to find some unexpected successes in your line of work and your love life for 2010.  The alignment of the stars will bring you utmost luck for the coming year so expect some monetary windfall coming your way.  It is important for you to stay away from carbonated drinks in the upcoming year for you will be vulnerable and open to intestinal and digestive problems.  However, besides that, 2010 might prove to be a healthy year ahead for you.

For your amusement

Ahahahahaha!

I just downloaded Natural Voices, a free software program that reads text back to you.  I thought it might be a fun editing tool since I often read my stuff out loud to hear how it flows.

Not anymore.  It is WAY MORE FUN having the "natural voice" read it!

You can try it without downloading here:  Natural Voices

Scroll to the bottom right of the page and enter the text you'd like read back to you.  Hit play.

Ahahahahahaha!

You're welcome.

It just takes one yes

I'm almost at the point where I feel I should stop talking about querying and rejections.   It's time to focus on the positive, yes?  With Query Hell behind me, it's time to retire the spreadsheet and move forward in this process.  There's lots to be done and I really believe it will get harder from here on out (but in a good and more challenging way).

But I wouldn't be me if I didn't pause and reflect before moving on, so please indulge me with one more post.  Then I swear I'll get back to the craft of writing about writing.

Out of all the rejections I received (which, now that I'm blessed with the gift of hindsight, really weren't that many considering I'd only been querying for three and a half months), only two were personally written.  All the rest were form.  Which is not a bad thing – agents do this to save time, which is precious – but anything not form can't help but stand out.

Because personal rejections force you to think.  Hard.

I received this one in November, which was the best compliment and most painful rejection all at the same time:

Dear Jennifer:

I requested a reader's report on CREEP and there is good news and bad news.

I hope you find this helpful:

I found the writing to be flawless and the hook firmly set.  What's missing is likable characters.  It took me awhile, because it was so well written, but I ultimately realized I didn't care what happened to anyone in the story.  If the protagonist has a redeeming quality, the author should have established it early on.

Based on this I must wish you well with another agent, someone who upon reading your [manuscript] ultimately doesn't agree with this assessment.

Best,

Mr. Agent

Ultimately I didn't agree with this agent's feedback.  But his rejection made me think very, very hard about whether or not I thought he had a valid point.  I eventually concluded that I'd rather have a protagonist who's interesting rather than likable, and while risky, that's what felt right to me and right for the story.

What his comments did do was inspire me to go through the manuscript one more time (which I said I wouldn't do once I started sending it out) and GET RID OF all the extra stuff I'd added into my earlier drafts in my attempts to make the protagonist more likable.  Because in doing so, I had dropped the tension in chapters two and three that I had worked so hard to create in chapter one.

And it was this new, unpadded, and somewhat unapologetic version that landed on Victoria's desk.  And she likes it!  As do I!  So thanks, Mr. Agent, for indirectly forcing me to stand up for the characters that felt right to me.

And then another personal rejection came in just five days ago, the very morning I received The Call.  It gets my vote for the nicest and most potentially helpful rejection ever (actual names redacted, of course):

Hi Jennifer,

You absolutely must try Really Great Agent at Really Great Agency with this one, agent@reallygreatagency.com.  Your writing's great and I think it could be really perfect for her (she's actively looking for thrillers with great female protags, and I've been pulling back from thrillers).  If you're going to get in touch I'll give her a heads up so she keeps an eye out.

Thanks for thinking of me!

Super Nice Agent

What a great way to reject someone!  She didn't have to take the time to refer me to another agent as she'd already spent time reading the query and sample I'd sent her.  But she did.  And had I not already received an offer, I would have been excited to see where this one ended up.

I have never before responded to a rejection, but I thought this one deserved something. Here's what I wrote back (sent on Monday):

Hi Super Nice Agent,

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your kind referral to Really Great Agent.   Fortunately, it won't be necessary as I've just signed with an agent at Levine Greenberg.

This query business is tough and your email really stood out.  I appreciate the time you took to let me know someone else might be interested.   Thank you for that!

Best regards,
Jennifer

And she responded!

Huge congrats Jennifer--fingers crossed for your sale!

How nice, right?  I thought so!

The moral to this story?

Agents are people, too.

They are nice people.  Normal people.  With opinions that vary widely.  It was easy for me to forget this, and much easier to think of agents as fish in a big sea that I had to land or hook or reel in (yes, these are all terms we writers use in our pursuit of an agent).  They do read what you send them, and when they write back saying it's not for them, it really isn't for them.  You don't want someone representing your book who isn't wholly passionate about it, do you?  It doesn't mean that somebody else won't love it.  I got better at understanding this as time went on, but the first few rejections really did sting.  No way around that.

But over time, it got better.   And in the end, it was all worth it.  And now, when I scroll through the rejections I received, I wonder, what was I so emotional about?  Everybody was nice!  Nobody told me I sucked.  Nobody told me to stop writing.  In fact, just about everybody recommended I try again elsewhere.

It just didn't feel that way at the time.

And in the end, it doesn't matter how many rejections you get.  It just takes one yes.

The Call

So here's how it happened... and this is a long post, so you might want to go get a coffee before settling in.  I don't tell good stories quickly! ;)

I queried Victoria via email in the wee hours of the morning on January 15th (I was up very, very late).  She responded a few hours later with a request for a full.  You might recall this post.  A very good day it was, indeed.  That full request was from Victoria!

(I need to interject here to say that this was the second time I'd queried her.  The first time was back in November, but I never received a response.  I'm pretty sure Levine Greenberg's server ate it.  Normally I would never re-query an agent – and up till this point I hadn't even considered querying someone twice, because a non-response normally means NO – but I felt compelled to re-query Victoria.  I'm glad I trusted my instincts!)

But I digress.  Where was I... oh yes.  The full request.

As awesome as it was to get a full request, I couldn't allow myself to get too happy about it, because I'd sent the query out naked (meaning no excerpt pasted in) and knew it was Victoria's policy to always request a full right off the bat.  All I knew at this point was that she liked my query.  But there was no way to know whether she'd like my work, and that's all that matters.  For all I knew she would read the first ten pages, hate my writing, and delete the entire thing.

But hey, this was a chance to get my entire novel in front of an agent for the first time. This was not the time to second guess myself.  Immediately I emailed her back, attaching my manuscript as she requested.  I happily logged it all into my spreadsheet.

A few days later, I sent out more queries.  Got more partial requests.  Got more rejections along with them, but that was all right, because all told, things were going fine.  Since I'd had a good run with requests with my last two query batches, I figured I could relax for a while.  Certainly, it would be months before I heard back from anyone.  Things work slowly in publishing.

I was in a great mood.

The great mood didn't last.

The weekend of January 23rd, I got two manuscript rejections.  Back to back.  And just like that, my optimism was gone.  Rejections based on your actual work are so much worse than query rejections!  It means something about your work – the writing, the story, the characters – didn’t resonate with those agents.  And that is beyond disappointing.

Remember, as hard as we work on our queries, they're just marketing tools.  Their only purpose is to get an agent's attention.  It's your work that matters.  And when an agent decides they don't like your work, it hurts like hell.

But okay.   I had to suck it up.   I still had several submissions out.   Including the one with Victoria.

I shook the rejections off and moved on.  I started writing Beautiful Disaster.  And for the first time since this whole process began, I totally forgot about querying.  I completely lost myself in my new WIP... which, by the way, is the BEST and ONLY way to survive Query Hell. (I wish I'd listened to my writer friends when they tried to tell me this months ago.)

Fast forward to the morning of Thursday, February 4th.

I woke up early and in a good mood, eager to get going on another installment of the new WIP.  First drafts are the most fun and most inspiring!  Then I checked my email, as I always do first thing in the morning.

Saw an email from Victoria in my inbox.

My heart SANK.

Of course it was a rejection.  Of course it was.  It had to be.  She'd only had my full for two weeks.  No agent reads an entire manuscript that fast.  Obviously she'd read the first few chapters and hated it.  If she even got that far.

A rejection on a full.  Oh man, this was sooooo gonna hurt.

It took me a full minute to bring myself to open the email.  And this is what it said:

Jennifer - I just wanted you to know that I'm in the middle of the manuscript, and enjoying it a lot.  I'll be back to you by next week.

I stared at the email in disbelief.

OMG!  It's not a rejection!

OMG!  She likes it!

OMG!  She's made it to the halfway point!   Halfway!   That's like, page 190!

OMG!  What does it mean?

I was so tortured by this one-sentence email that I nearly gave myself an aneurysm analyzing it to death.

She wouldn't bother to tell me she likes it if she was only going to reject it in the end, right?  Because that would be cruel beyond words.  Nobody's that mean.

But she's only read half of it!  What if she hates the ending?  Will she give me the chance to revise and resubmit?

OMG, is the last half of the book as strong as the first half?  I've been so focused on the first half... what if the last half sucks?

She's reading it.  She's enjoying it.  Holy moly.

Poor Steve.  I made him analyze this email with me for an hour over dinner that night.  But he's a lovely, understanding man, and instead of telling to me just shut up about it and wait and see what she says, he listened patiently and even participated in my debate with myself over the deeper meaning behind this One-Sentence Email.

I went to bed that night knowing there was a very long weekend – and week – ahead of me.  Would she email me on Wednesday?  Would she email me on Friday?  What if she forgot?  Got sidetracked?  Decided she hated it?

What if she didn’t get back to me at all?

Oh the torture.

I woke up on Friday morning determined to get back to work as usual.  After all, I was still basking in the glow of the Inspired First Draft of the New Work in Progress.  Somehow, between hitting my quota for the new book and paying some bills, I managed to put the One-Sentence Email out of my mind and was piddling around on Facebook.

At 1 pm, the phone rang.

I looked at the call display.

212 area code.  That's Manhattan.

Victoria's name flashing on the little screen.

She was calling me.   From New York.  She was actually calling.

I stopped breathing.  Shaking, I managed to pick up the phone without dropping it.

"HELLO?!"

Yes.  All in caps.  Because my voice was that shrill.

She introduced herself.  Raspy voice.  New York accent.  Apologized for not letting me know in advance that she'd be calling.  I asked, very shrilly, how she was doing.  She said she was doing great.  Was loving my book.  Would like to represent it.  Did I have a few minutes to talk?

"Of course I do!" I shrieked at her.  I shooed poor Steve away, who'd been creeping up the stairs towards me with wide eyes.  I couldn't do this with him looking at me.  I tried to breathe.  I wanted to sound normal and professional and creative, not insane and shrilly and out of breath.

I was on the phone with a New York literary agent.  I needed to get it together.

I needed to stop shouting at her.

We had a thirty-minute conversation.  She told me what she liked about the book and was very complimentary.  Then she asked how flexible I was about making changes to make it more marketable.

I assured her I was very flexible.  Hell, I could be Mary Lou Retton if that's what she wanted!

She ran through a list of the things she thought I could work on.  I made notes in handwriting I can barely decipher now.  Yes, some of the changes seemed alarming at first because it's hard not to feel married to the story the way I wrote it.  But I will do whatever it takes to get it sold.  I am no prima donna.

I asked her a few questions about the submission process, and the contract she was going to send, and maybe one or two other things.  I can't remember exactly.  She answered everything succinctly and satisfactorily.

Then she asked me what I do for a living.

I said, "Well... this."  I launched into a rambly explanation of how we'd moved from Toronto to the Northwest and how I thought it was time to give this writing thing a shot.  I said, "I have no plan B. I write full-time."

She said, "It shows.  You're talented.  Your book's very good.  I really think I can sell it."

Compliments!   Praise!  From a literary agent!  OMG OMG OMG!

Somehow the conversation ended.  The contract arrived via email an hour later, and Steve and I read it over together.

The contract is fine.

I have an agent.

I'm going to Hollywood!

Well, not really, as I'm too old to audition for American Idol, but if I had auditioned (and if I could sing), Hollywood would be the stage that I'm at.

I don't know how coherent this blog post will be as I'm writing it on Friday, February 5th at 2:45pm PST (obviously I've waited to post this), about two hours after receiving The Call.

Yes, The Call. Capital T and capital C.  Otherwise known as the telephone conversation in which the agent you are dreaming about offers to represent you.

I HAVE AN AGENT!!!

I HAVE AN AGENT!!!

I HAVE AN AGENT!!!

For those of you who have been following the blog, you know exactly what this means (and therefore understand why I'm shouting at you through the computer screen using capital letters and several exclamation marks).

For those of you who are new to the blog, it means a literary agent has signed me, and she will now represent me regarding the negotiation and sale of my novel.

Otherwise known as Creep.

Never in a million years did I actually think this would happen.  I wanted it to, of course, and I hoped and I prayed and I dreamed, as all novelists do.

But I didn't really think it would.  And so soon!  I was honestly prepared to send out 150 more queries.  I have a spreadsheet where I've highlighted the next two batches of agents to contact.

I really didn't think it would happen so soon.

I am represented by the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency in New York City.   My agent's name is Victoria Skurnick.

Did I seriously just write that?

It's hard to explain what this means to me.  I know I have still have a long road ahead.   The agent has already given me a long list of suggested changes to make... and she's only read half the book!  There are a lot of revisions in my future.

And of course, there lies the possibility that the book won't sell.  It happens.  I have to be realistic about that.

But for now, can I just be happy?  Can I just enjoy it?

Check tomorrow's blog post, where I'll tell you exactly how it all went down.

I HAVE AN AGENT!

Bipolar

When it comes to writing, I think I'm bipolar.

The worst time is when I'm in between projects.  Ask Steve.  I'm bitchy, melodramatic, tired all the time, and basically no fun to be around.

The best time is when I'm working on something new.  Ask Steve.  I'm smiley, energetic, and a whole lot of fun to be around.

There is no in between.

The first draft of my new book is racing along merrily, and right now I could not be happier.  Everything around me is full of color and life.  Not even the constant noise from the construction crews building new houses on our street can aggravate me (and three weeks ago, I was ready to take their salsa-blaring, bass-thumping ghetto blasters and shove them up their asses.  I like salsa, but not so much at seven in the morning).

I'm going to enjoy the good mood while it lasts.  When I hit the mid-book slump, these posts won't be so pretty.  Fair warning.

Have a great weekend!

I'm not smoking anything...

... but I am totally high right now.

I had a kick-ass writing session this morning (for the new WIP) and the structure of the book is beginning to take shape.  I'll probably know around 10,000 words whether this really will be a viable novel, but I'm feeling pretty damn good about it so far.

That tingly feeling only strikes me once a year, and I am tingling.  All over.

What is it about the writer's high?

This has been an awesome day.  And it's only noon.