Monday, June 23, 2008

Timing, coincidence and providence

I was going to blog about one thing, but then something happened that changed my post all together.

But before I tell you about it, I'll give you some background.

Last weekend ... was it last weekend? ... time flies ... anyway, I was at Printers Row in Chicago, signing with Echelon's authors.

I'm just nominally an Echelon author, since I just have a story in the anthology The Heat of the Moment (and I'm not getting paid for it, since the proceeds are all going to charity - but that's another story)

Anyway, I was hanging out with Sam Morton, Kevin Helmold, Bob Goldsborough, Simone Elkeles ... did I spell that right? ... our own Margot Justes and Morgan Mandel ... and with publisher Karen Syed.

Well, two days of heat and rain and good food and good company came together into one sludgy ball of fun. We had a blast.

So as the festival wrapped up, Karen grabs me in a choke hold and says, "You need to send me a book."

Okay, it wasn't a choke hold but how often does a publisher ask a writer for a book? I mean, I'm sure it happens ... but not to me.

Anyway, I kinda sorta said, "Sure, let me work on it."

So I said I'd send her an old manuscript that was sitting around, but inside I was wondering if I could wrap up my new YA humor/vampire novel "Fang Face" instead.

Cuz I knew that Echelon is building its new YA imprint, Quake.

But I didn't tell her, because I was struggling a bit with my edits.

Here's the next part of the story.

Angela Wilson, who is a writer and a reviewer for Pop Syndicate (she did some awesome reviews of both of my books) - anyway, we were emailing back and forth about something, and I told her my troubles with "Fang Face."

So Angela goes ... "How about I look at it?"

Huh? A professional reviewer offering to drop her own projects and read my not yet published book?

How cool is that?

But I didn't want to waste her time, so I said, "Nah, thanks anyway."

Hah, right. I jumped on her offer like a hungry flea.

I shot her the story, and the next day she already had edited the first fifty pages, and had some very, very good tweaks. She loved the book!

Within the week, she was done, and sent the whole thing back to me.

I was stoked by her optimism and enthusiasm for the book, so grabbed my laptop, her notes, some wine and some Ranch Doritos and sequestered myself on the back porch, with orders for no one to disturb me ... unless they had pistachios and a refill of my wine.

With Angela's notes, it was an effortless wrap. An outsider looking at the story with a fresh perspective was just the shot in the groin, er, arm that I needed.

Karen was expecting an email from me, but thought it was just going to be an old manuscript I dusted off.

Instead, just this past Friday I sent her an email saying, "Surprise, here's my brand new fresh-off-the-presses, muy bodacious YA novel instead."

Boo Ya!

I've been having email problems, so I called her a couple hours later just to make sure she got it - Note to unpublished writers - you aren't supposed to do this.

Anyway, she knows me, so it was okay.

She did receive it and said she was going out of town and would bring it with her.
So I figured on waiting a few weeks, months, whatever, and started planning my next book (the third Adventures of Guy, in case you're wondering).

With no expectations outside of getting fully caffeinated, I got into work today (something you can't take for granted in Chicago), slugged my first couple cups of coffee, and finally got around to checking my voice mail. There was a single message (yeah, I'm not very popular).

It was Karen Syed.

Okay, I'm thinking... she probably just read a few pages and had a question. So I called her back and got her voice mail.


Fine...I'll just have some more coffee and maybe pee out the first two cups (TMI, huh? I don't care. This is my blog.)

To make a long story shorter, she called back, and ....

... get this ... she loved it.

She suggested a minor change that will improve the story ... this impressed me. And then she said she's sending me a contract.


I'm officially a YA author now!

(um... well, after I sign the contract).

Was this interesting? I hope so. It wasn't my norman, er, normal kind of post, but I thought I would share my good news.

The Heat of the Moment
The Adventures of Guy ... written by a guy (probably)
The Next Adventures of Guy ... more wackiness


Deb Larson said...

How exciting!
Congratulations and good luck with
the new genre.

Morgan Mandel said...

Congratulations, Norm,
Many more!!

Margot Justes said...

Yippppeeeeee!!!! Norm-great news.
Wonderful, I am delighted. Margot