Thursday, December 1, 2011

All Over Again

A year ago today it was snowing.
It had been frosty and cold for days, and that day, December 1, it began to snow.
I remember how I looked out of the window in the early morning and cursed a bit because it meant I'd have to put on my very comfy and very warm, but also very ugly winter boots to go out.
At that time, I was still working at school, and the Christmas Show we had been rehearsing for was only five days away.
So I dressed, made coffee, stared out of the window some more, admired the neighbors' holiday decorations, listened to the hubby grumble about having to scrape snow from the car, and then I turned on my computer.
There was one important task for me to do that morning, before I set out for school and the cold auditorium for another round of rehearsals: I was going to submit my first book ever to a publisher, for the first time ever.
I knew nothing about submitting.
I had no proper synopsis, no query letter, only a hastily slapped together summary in the "you know, and that's really all that happens" manner, I had no bio other than that I'd been born and was still alive, and my pitch was "I'll do what I have to do, except dance naked on tables". Yes, I really wrote that.
And slapped an unformatted, very lengthy manuscript into an attachment.

I'm kidding you not, that's how it went. I was in a hurry, the publisher had requested the book, and they kept asking for it. So I sent it off. I remember being totally ecstatic for about three hours, and then the panic set in.
The book was too long. I hadn't done my best with the editing. I hadn't found a good ending.

My hubby, patient, loving soul that he is, bore it all, and more of his hair turned silver.

A day before Christmas I fell into depression. And I MEAN depression.
My older son, a medical doctor, came around, took one look at me curled up on the couch, a mound of used tissues on the carpet, and went out to get me a pack of antidepressant.
Totally listless by then, I watched my family put up the Christmas tree. The presents weren't wrapped, there weren't even presents for everyone, and I hadn't done any grocery shopping for the holidays.
And it didn't mean a thing to me.
I wanted that book deal. I wanted that email telling me I had that book deal.
My older son kept telling me, "Why are you making such a fuss? Of course they'll take it!"
Only I didn't really think it was going to be that easy.

I had to wait until the middle of January until I got THAT reply, and a little longer until the contract was finalized, but it really was that easy, in the end.

The reason why I'm writing this now is because last night, exactly a year after submitting "The Distant Shore", I finished writing the sequel, "Under The Same Sun".
And I'm full of gratitude and blissfully happy because I'm allowed to do this, I'm allowed to be a writer. I have the best publisher in the world.

I think writing one book and getting it published is a pretty cool thing. I mean, it's VERY cool.
But finishing a second is way cooler. It's a totally new dimension. It proves you have more in you, writer-wise, than just one burst of creativity. It proves you have a chance of being in it for the long run, have that career as an author.

So I'm sitting here on my couch, my favorite red velvet cushion in my back, my cat beside me on his favorite red fluffy plaid, hubby has made fresh coffee, and I'm opening the "Same Sun" file to start the editing of my brand new novel.

Come on, Santa. Try and top that.