Tuesday, April 12, 2005

How I Got Here, Part 33

First up, an announcement. This evening I'm doing a live chat at www.dancingword.com. It's at 9 p.m. ET, 6 p.m. PT. go to dancingword's home page, click on directory, then click on "Chat Room" and follow the directions in. This is a great opportunity for a little BG heckling.

Second--I tell you, life is getting strange. I swear Arachnidland is out to get me.

A few days ago I think I mentioned taking my husband’s shirts to the cleaners, all wadded up to my chest. Plunked them down on the counter, and out of the pile crawled a spider. So yesterday what happens? I look down—and there’s a spider crawling on my sleeve. Where on earth did it come from? Then today—no kidding. I am in Nordstroms, looking at shoes. Go to pick one up—there’s a good-size black spider on the thing. I draw my hand back in a hurry. Stand there and watch it, thinking, okay, this is really getting weird. Mr. Shoe Speciman here is one of those jumping spiders. I see the thing hop from one shoe to another.

At this point a salesman approached and asked if he could help me.

Mind you, many answers went through my brain. However most of them would have sent the guy in a sloooow back-up, sort of like easing away from a rabid dog. I decided to stick with the safest answer: "I don't need help, no. But you want might to get rid of your little friend here." I pointed to the spider. "By the way, it jumps."

His hand froze mid-air. "It--jumps?"

I repressed a mad "Bwa-ha-ha-ha-hahhhhh" and merely nodded.

Hear ye, hear ye Brandilyn's mantra news flash! "I will never write about snakes. I will never write about snakes . . ."

Okay. Moving on. (Perhaps I should say crawling on.)

Great to hear that those of you on my influencer list for Dead of Night have received your copies. I’m already getting e-mails and calls. Sheesh, people are reading this one in a hurry. Can’t quite find a good place to stop reading, they keep saying. Don’t get me wrong—I love this kind of reaction. But it’s sorta like taking all day to cook a gourmet meal, and then everybody gobbles it up in ten minutes. Know what I mean? Sigh. If only I could write as fast as people read.

All right. Back to NES. (Never-Ending Saga, for anyone brave enough to join us today.)

Now. Dear BGs—have I warped you or something? I ended yesterday with this grand finale—one I’d been waiting ten years for, and one you’d been waiting over seven weeks to hear. I sold Eyes of Elisha—and the publisher now wanted me to write a second book. Hello! You should be dancing on the ceiling for me. Instead y’all are whining, “Well, I don’t know. Maybe the rug’ll be pulled out from under us tomorrow . . .”

Poor things. See what reading too much suspense will do to you? Next thing you know, you’re looking around every corner, wondering what’s going to hit you next.

For those of you still chewing your fingernails—here’s what happened when I heard my agent ask me if I’d like to write this publisher another book. I took about 1/100th of a nanosecond to say, “Sure!”

See how easy selling a book is?

And this is how I ended up with a two-book contract for Zondervan.

There. I said the name. Y’all scardy-cats can rest easy now.

Before much time passed, ye ol’ contract pages spat out of my fax machine. For two books. One—Eyes of Elisha (with protagonist Chelsea Adams). Two—Chelsea Adams series, book 2. This is what you call a “blind” sell. Lemme tell ya, that “blind” cuts both ways. Yeah, the house buys a book blind. And the author sells it blind. It’s all celebration and polishing cabinets at that point. Eye-opening time comes when you sit down to write a book—and you have no clue what you’re going to write. All you know is that the publisher already paid you half of the advance $$ for it, so you’d better come up with something half decent.

But hey, that was down the road. At the time—no worries, guys 'n' gals. Just shout the news to the world and boogie til the sun comes up!

Timeline: Eyes of Elisha would release fall of 2001. That was way cool, because Cast a Road Before Me would be releasing spring of 2001. Two novels coming out in one year!! I had surely died and gone to heaven. And then in the fall of 2002, blind book #2—whatever the heck it turned out to be—would be published.

Ten years. A whole decade, and I’d finally done it. Sold three books. I was on my way. And I still had more books to sell. Color the Sidewalk for Me—if I could ever find a place for it. And Getting Into Character (in proposal form), which was still out at one publishing house in the general market.

Ten years. The daughter who was a newborn when I first sat down to read Eyes of Elisha had now finished fifth grade.

It sure took long enough, but thank You, God, for this wide open door. Thank You, thank You, thank You . . .

Read Part 34


sally apokedak said...

sigh. What a great story.

I just hate to see it end, it was so much fun reading it.


Karen said...

I don't see this as an ending to the story...rather the beginning of a great career!

Tina said...

There, I did a little dancing on the ceiling now that I know it's safe to do so.

It would be great to be able to chat with you tonight. Writing note on my hand...

C.J. Darlington said...

If it helps, I'm trying not to rush TOO much reading Dead of Night. :-) But I'll tell you. There's something about reading Annie find a body in her back yard that's keeping me reading.

This blog sure is a lot of fun, and encouragement.

Kelly said...

*sigh* Ten years encapsulated in 33 blogs. Ten years of tears and kicking cabinets. Is the drama over Brandilyn? Did you refinish your cabinets to remove the shoe marks, and are they are still pristine?

Wait...did you mention something about selling a second book in the series that HADN'T BEEN WRITTEN yet?

I don't know about any of the other BeeGees (sorry, my disco influence!)but that's pretty stinkin' SCARY!!!!!!!

Secondary infertility comes to mind - even though that's a medical condition...the pressure to create a GREAT story. So is this the "new"/continued topic?

Ron Estrada said...

Maybe the spiders are a message from God. You can write a whole series based them. You know, like the "Cat Who" books. Yours would be the "Spider Who" books. "The Spider Who Ran Up My Arm" and "The Spider Who Met the Bottom of my Reeboks."

I'm glad to hear you made it and didn't spend your life hanging out in some published author's blog site. What a sad life that would be...heyyyy wait a minute...

Becky said...

OK, I'm doing some dancing, but there's still that niggling--few editorial changes, not good. Hmmm. Suspense writers know how to plant things ahead of time. Am I following a rabbit trail?

BTW, I like the new blog look with the tag line in the header. Very fitting.

Linda said...

Early this morning (at least I think it was this morning -- neither my husband nor I am entirely sure since that was over 12 hours ago), not too long before I read today's blog, I met up with a big, ole spider outside my downstairs writing room and promptly squashed it.

Pretty scary to think this spider thing can leap through the blogosphere and across several time zones. You can keep them in your neck of the woods, Brandilyn. I don't ever plan on writing about spiders. Ditto for snakes.

Linda said...

BTW, forgot to mention, I can't help feeling we're not out of the woods yet on this publication suspense saga. Then again, maybe that's just my fear of withdrawal. I'm gonna miss my daily fix!

Dineen A. Miller said...

Never say never, Brandilyn. The snakes might hear you!

Your blog is such an encouragment. I feel like it's preparation for my own publishing journey to come. Thank you!