Monday, April 04, 2005

How I Got Here, Part 27

Happy Monday.

First, let me get something off my chest. “AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!” Which stands for—“I finished the rewrite from Hades!”

Clear throat. Adjust clothes. Thank you. I feel much better.

As I told my editor: if I ever get the bright idea again to merge two very different series in one book—shoot me.

Y’all, I appreciated the comments from Friday. Greetings and a special thank you to those who left notes for the first time. Ron—please don’t feel frustrated. That’s the last thing I’d want to make an aspiring author feel. Hang with me. The valleys ain’t over, but we’ll get there yet.

Some day.

What I am doing today—madly scrambling to figure out what in the world I’m writing for my next series. Which I have scheduled to start tomorrow. Hm. Anybody got a plot or two lurking in the corner?

One last musing, and I shall return to my never-ending, publish-or-die saga. On Friday, as I struggled to finish my rewrite of Web of Lies, I took my husband’s shirts to the cleaners. Carried the wad in, plunked ’em down on the counter. Started counting ’em. Whatdya think crawled right out at me. Yup. A hefty-sized gray spider.

I tell ya, they’re comin’ for me.

Okay. Back to story.

We left off Friday with C.E. carting a very interestingly formatted copy of Eyes of Elisha home on the airplane. Three editors now had this manuscript. Meanwhile Cast a Road Before Me was in line for production and would come out the following spring. And Color the Sidewalk for Me was an expected easy sell to the same house that bought Road. It was my second time at Mount Hermon, editors were beginning to know me, and—hey, life was good.

So what happened as 2000 progressed?

First, Editor C.E. gets back to my agent, Jane. After all the airplane hand-carrying--the house can’t publish Eyes of Elisha. The story is rather envelope-pushing, has visions in it, and, well, you know, they just don’t really wanna go there. Plus I have this vague recollection that C.E. said something about not liking my ending.

Told you editors don’t know everything.

Well. No problem. We’ve still got two more editors with the manuscript. I do realize Eyes of Elisha isn’t for everyone. For example, I wouldn’t even try to send it to Editor A—the one who said Cast a Road Before Me wasn’t Christian enough. This edgy book, with visions and murder—at that house? No way.

We wait for word from Editors B & C.

Guess what! Editor B at major house loves Eyes of Elisha. B wants it in the worst way. Tells my agent the manuscript will be taken to pub board. “Pub board” is one of the terms used to mean the committee that decides whether the house buys a book or not. It includes both the editorial side and the marketing/bean counter sides. The editor brings a book and says, hey this is great, let’s do it! Then the marketing people try to think of all the reasons why it won’t sell, and the bean counters try to think of all the reasons it’ll cost too much money. If everybody agrees the book is worth it, the house will buy the book.

That’s the plan, anyway.

Editor B’s taking me to pub board! I skyrocket in excitement. I’m finally close to selling this novel! The first one I ever wrote! The one I started writing ten years ago.

We wait. Unfortunately, pub boards meet only once a month or so, and sometimes a project can’t be fitted in the meeting and gets bumped to the next one.

We wait some more. Breathe, Brandilyn, breathe. I count the days. I snatch up the phone each time it rings. I simply will not survive this waiting . . .

Editor B finally contacts Jane. Jane calls me. And sends my heart to my toes. Sorry, no go. B fought hard at pub board. Saw this novel as a beginning to a series. But the house didn’t wanna go there. Too dicey, this subject of visions and murder. Nope. Ain’t gonna do it.

I am utterly despondent. And am beginning to see a frightening pattern.
God—You did have plans for this book, didn’t You?

One more editor left—Editor C.

Editor C contacts Jane. “I love Eyes of Elisha. I want it, want it, want it! I’m taking it to pub board.”

Oh. Whoopdeedo.

Another waiting game. This time a more cautious one on my part. Days . . . weeks . . . a month. I swear, this will be the death of me yet.

Finally Editor C contacts Jane, my agent. Jane calls to tell me the verdict. I’m shaking. Go ahead, tell me the bad news . . .

“They’ve taken it to pub board,” she says. “They said yes. They’re gonna publish this book!”

Aaaaahhhh! My suspense novel is gonna be published! The one God redeemed! Thank You, thank You, Lord! I do Snoopy dances and polish the cabinets. I am ecstatic. I float like that cartoon canine eating his doggy biscuits. I will not come down to earth. Now I will not have one book come out next year—I will have two!

I am in this ethereal state for a couple weeks.

And then I get a call from my agent.

Read Part 28


Suzan Robertson said...

Sheesh, I hate spiders. My dog got bit by a brown recluse spider a few years ago, and survived. And I got stung by a black scorpion that wandered in our bed when we lived up in the mountains. Just reading about them is making me look around for creepy crawlies!!!! Gee thanks.......:-)

C.J. Darlington said...

Congratulations on finishing the rewrite from Hades! Must be a great feeling. And even though it sounds incredibly difficult ... bet you stretched yourself in ways that would never have happened had you NOT melded the two series together. And I bet you grew from that too, which is a great thing for a writer. You'll look back on it someday (okay, maybe in ten years!) and be thankful you bit the bullet and didn't get stuck in a rut.

Looking forward to hearing some of your new ideas for another series. What if you incorporated the flying thing even more into a story? Are you thinking another aspect of forensics, or something totally different? How about a female cop?

By the way, I really enjoy the fact that your books contain little romance. I'm not a big romance fan (no offense to anyone here who is), but that's one of the many things I really like about your books.

Karen said...

I just finished catching up on the blogs I missed. Between grandkids and trying to finish a first draft, I get a little behind on my reading. You talked about spiritual warfare and reminded me of Perriti's books. I wonder how "edgy" the pub houses considered him when he started the rounds? I remember editors at a Write to Publish conference giving each other a hard time about rejecting him.

Jennifer Tiszai said...

I've really enjoyed reading about your journey. It's encouraging to me, not just as a writer, but also as a Christian. It seems that a lot of the time we hear the message that if we obey God we will be blessed. And that makes it difficult for those of us who obey God and find that things just seem to get worse and worse. I suppose that's why Romans 8:28 is in the Bible. :)

My husband and I have been on a rollercoaster ride the past two years after taking a step of faith and sometimes it just gets flat-out discouraging. I thought about your blog all this weekend and how it's encouraged me. I guess it's the power of storytelling that makes it more encouraging to see Romans 8:28 playing out in someone's life, rather than just reading the verse.

Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

Ron Estrada said...

And I thought auto executives moved slow (You're all lucky you're not still driving Model T's).

Ideas you say? I've been fascinated with demon posession. Some say it doesn't happen anymore. I wrote a short story when I was a kid about a killer who was posessed by the same demon as Jack the Ripper, Son of Sam, and a few other criminal classics. I think it was actually done in a Star Trek episode (they stole my idea before I had it). But demons and Christian suspense make a fine combo, don't you think?

I do have a technical question. If I'm writing my first book in this genre, how much forensic and police knowledge do I need? I've gotten some from books, but the real life stuff is hard to come by on a busy schedule. Can I get by on clever narrative and great suspense? (Don't know where I'm gettin' those either, but thought I'd ask)

Becky said...

Plot ideas. Don't know what your thoughts are about your protag. How about a redeemed murderer. Well, not "murderer" in the typical sense. Maybe a Moses--someone who steps in to help someone else and ends up killing (since you do killers so well! I'm half way through Dead of Night and LOVING it). Maybe society even lauds this person as a hero but he/she knows the murder of his/her heart. Then in the following books, this person could work with--I don't know, parolees, victims of violent crimes, prisoners. Not sure what would give the best plot options.

And spiders. You know, I'm just getting brave enough to read your suspense stories. Now you come up with a HORROR story. Hahah.

Lynette Sowell said...

MY copy of Dead of Night is now on its way to me. :) But Brandilyn, I had no idea EYES had been to a board and rejected more than once. Even after revisions. I'm all ears about what happened next with EYES. :-}

Jen said...

You just had to throw that last sentence in there, huh? Every time I think "If I could just get an editor to look at my stuff" it becomes "If I could just get to the pub board stage." Now you're hinting that you still had to change stuff? Well...thank you for being so honest. I LOVE the fact that everyone has to work hard in this business and no one gets a free pass. Even if I make it to the Pub Board stage (lord willing) and even when someone says they'll pub my book (and the creek don't rise) hope is in the LORD, not in "men."

Thanks for grounding me in reality. Otherwise I'd hit this stage and turn into a total basketcase. It helps that I've already a "cereal" killer or curdled milk. Enough with the bad puns/metaphors. I'm off to some much needed sleep.