Friday, September 17, 2010

Different day, same story

Hey all!

Thanks to everyone who has participated in the giveaway thus far. I'm getting really excited about this!

Fall is officially in the air. The ninety degree temps today notwithstanding, it's been rather crisp. There's a special feel in the air when fall comes. I can't describe it, but I think my fellow fall lovers know what I'm talking about. And I have it on good authority (probably because I've called about twenty times to check) that THE ultimate hallmark fall has arrived is on its way.

That's right...pumpkin muffins from Einstein's Bagels.

Other than my obsession with all things autumn, and ticking down the days until its arrival, it's been work as usual here. Pulling out my hair trying to plug in holes, stressing over my impending deadline, and wondering why God couldn't have called me to be an accountant instead (probably because I STINK at numbers...really, it's pathetic).

But truly, I love this job. And I thank God everyday He's given me the ability to do what I love.

That's all here. Hope everyone has a fantastic preifall weekend!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


My favorite period to write in (and the period of my first 2 books) is Regency England. And I'm fascinated by the culture, the clothes, the manners, well everything of the period. I also like to browse regency-esque things in my non-existent spare time =)

I stumbled across this today:

It's a former Regency-era residence that has been made into a . . . wait for it . . .

Best Western?!?

Nothing against that particular motel chain, but it seems an awfully sad conversion to me.


What happens after THE CALL?

When I was first starting out looking into the publishing industry, one of the things that I was most curious about was the process. If I ever received that fabled "call," I wanted to know what to expect, what was going to happen next.

I don't like surprises. (Ask my family. I routinely open Christmas gifts in October and use nefarious means to figure out what everyone else is getting me. I can't stand the unknown. And I like shoot me).

So I'm going to share all my experiences, the good, the bad, and the ugly so that other aspiring writers out there can have a little bit of insight for their own journeys. [Although I have to add that no one's experiences are the same. Publishing houses and their processes vary widely.]

So what happens after the call?

Later that afternoon, I called my editor back (if you'll recall, I could barely breathe much less hold a rational conversation at the time of the actual call). We discussed the terms of the purchase--how much the advance would be and the fact that I would receive half upon signing the contract and half once my requested edits were through.

A couple of hours later, I got an email outlining what changes my editor wanted to the manuscript. Earlier on the phone, she'd asked how long it would take me to complete. Wanting to be both easy to work with and impressive, I said I could have them done in a week. She laughed and said that wasn't necessary. Instead, she gave me a month (and considering the fact that I had over 5,000 words that needed to be cut from the manuscript, it was a good thing she didn't take me up on my idiotic offer).

So I got to work.

During this time, I also corresponded back and forth on what the final title was going to be. My editor and the senior editor from the line had come up with one and wanted me to suggest a few different ones. I did, but mine all stank. I'm not a title-person. So we went with the editors' suggestion.

I also had to do an Art Facts File. That was pretty fun. I surfed the internet, looking for pictures of good looking men to represent my hero, found a picture of a pretty girl to be the heroine, and "ooh"ed and "aww"ed over beautiful estates in England. I compiled all these pictures into a document and then made suggestions for "scenes" that could be depicted on the cover of the book. That, along with my author bio (to be used for purposes of drawing up the contract) had to be turned in fairly quickly. I think it took me 2 days.

Okay, I've bored everyone enough for one post. I'm hoping some find it interesting and helpful to their own lives.

I'll try to be funnier and generally much more entertaining in my next post.

Although, I can't make any promises.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Good Saturday morning to you all

Ahh, it looks like it's going to be my favorite kind of day: a bit breezy, overcast, and a SATURDAY!

Perfect writing weather.

Which is good for me, I suppose, as the first draft of the sequel to The Blackmailed Bride MUST be done by today. It has to be in New York by the end of this month, and I still have to edit and fix before it's ready.

I'm pretty excited to be done with this one because I've got another exciting project just waiting for me. More details on that to come.

For now, I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Friday, September 10, 2010

My Writing Journey: THE CALL

For those who are interested in what happens once you're contracted to publish a book, I'm going to do my best to compose a series of posts about my particular experiences.

And of course, the first, and most memorable, would be . . .


(The following is reposted from Just for this Season)

Every writer dreams about the moment they get the phone call offering to buy the manuscript. If you’re like me, (on days when I allowed myself to optimistically dream) I practiced what I would say when the moment came. How unflappable and cool I would be. I’d think about it to the point of polishing my acceptance speech, ready to dazzle the editor with my calm and lack of I-just-sold-my-first-book hysteria.

Which is exactly how it played out in real life.

With a few, minor exceptions.

I was at work. The phone rang. I recognized the area code as being the same as the publishing house’s. I calmly answered the phone. Accepted their offer. And resumed work without so much as one ruffled feather.

Right. The first part’s true, up to the point where I realized it was New York calling. Then, I immediately started crying. A lot. So much so that my coworker was looking at me like I’d just gotten word my dog had died.

I managed to garble through my tears that I thought (
didn’t know for sure, because I still hadn’t answered the phone) my editor was calling. I then explained that editors rarely call unless they are offering to buy. I’m not entirely sure, but I think she might have started crying then too.

At some point, I started thinking I was hyperventilating. My work buddy was trying to get me to answer the phone, but I was too busy making “I can’t breathe” motions.

I finally caught my breath.

The editor had left a message.

Editor on my voicemail: “Hey Mandy, this is
xxxxx at Steeple Hill, just wanted to call and tell you I have some good news. Call me back.”

I hung up. And cried some more.

At this point, I’d managed to draw quite a bit of attention, and my coworkers started coming up to make sure I
wasn’t having some kind of psychotic episode (although why they’d imagine that of me, I’m not sure). Once they realized what was going on, everyone yelled at me to call her back. My boss ran to the bathroom and then shoved a bunch of tissues at me so I could “dry up and call!”

I did. And I had several witnesses who had front row seats to how incredibly dumb I can be on the phone. And I do mean incredibly dumb. I basically had to tell the editor I was freaking out too badly to have a coherent conversation with her. To my editor’s credit, this request
didn’t seem to surprise her. She was very gracious and understanding. Or perhaps she could already tell from our previous correspondence that I’m—at times—an idiot.

Afterwards, I was so excited, flustered, in shock, etc., I had to leave for the day.

So, it’s safe to say, nothing I’d planned for “the call,” went the way I’d rehearsed. The moment that defined my writing career (because I’m fairly sure nothing will ever be as exciting as that first call) is encapsulated by tears, laughing, and near hyperventilation . . . all common signs of a nervous breakdown.

But that’s okay. I don’t want my journey to be ordinary, or even calm and collected. I want it to be interesting, inspiring, and uplifting. And maybe just a little tear-jerking.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Welcome back...your dreams were your ticket out

Okay, let's try this again, shall we?

From now on, I'm going to make an effort to post regularly. Really I will. Or at least I'll mean to, have super-sincere intentions to do so, and then will never follow through.

It's kind of a toss-up.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have a post up about where in the process everything is. For the few of you who read this and actually care about that kind of thing (not the people I've begged and pleaded with to hit the "follow" button =).

Until then, expect randomness. Because anyone who knows me knows that's what I'm best at.