November 27, 2004: Looking Back…Looking Ahead

July 2004
I know. I know. I’ve already given you an entry for July of 2004. But I have something fun I forgot to mention.

Every July, The Republic of Pemberley, the website I help run, holds its annual meeting. This year, I noticed a group of attendees holding mysterious meetings in various places around the retreat center on Cape Cod at which we stayed. I thought it was kind of odd, but we’re a very relaxed crowd, so I didn’t spend a lot of time wondering about it. On Saturday evening, we gathered to indulge in some Regency gambling (a few tables of Speculation and Comet). Before the card playing began, the mysterious group assembled in the doorway and serenaded me with their own rendition of Regency Writer, sung to the tune of the Beatles’ Paperback Writer. I was surprised, tickled and touched. And I laughed until I cried.

Soon after I returned from Cape Cod, my friend Linda (the person who had, in May, convinced me to overnight my manuscript to Kensington, presented me with a sheet of specially created thirty-two cent stamps with my book cover on them. What newly-minted writer could ask for more? And what person could want for better friends?

October 2004
The lovely and wonderfully talented Liz Carlyle agreed to read Once Upon a Sofa and provide a cover quote. I can’t thank her enough for taking time out of a deadline crunch to read and respond. By the beginning of October, she had sent me several that I sent along to my editor. We agreed that “sparkles with wit and snaps with tension” would look very well indeed on my cover. And, incidentally, it also looks pretty great on my web site.

I received copy edits for Once Upon a Sofa this month. In general, I thought they were good. I am, admittedly, comma-impaired, and the copy editor had picked up my problem omissions and additions. She had also made some suggestions for changes in the text. Some of her suggestions were appropriate and reasonable. Some were not. My editor had taken the time to go through the manuscript and add post-it notes to these pages with her thoughts on the suggestions and her recommendations on how I should handle them. She also sent an overview on dealing with copy edits that was a godsend for a novice writer. I was able to go through the manuscript twice within the week allotted and felt comfortable returning it with my responses.

I sent another version of the synopsis of my second book to my editor this month, along with some suggested titles. I think I might as well give up even trying to come up with titles. That is never going to be my strong suit. In fact, my two favorite titles for book two were Every Duke Has His Day and Let Sleeping Dukes Lie. My editor countered with Just Say Yes, which works just fine for the book and which I was able to work quite nicely into the last chapter.

November 2004
I finished my revisions on Just Say Yes and sent it off to my critique partner and first readers. They turned it back to me quickly and I made some more revisions based on their comments. I’m pretty happy with this manuscript. It’s much lighter than Once Upon a Sofa and was lots of fun to write. Although it’s not due until February, I’m going to give it one more read and send it to New York. My editor indicated she’d be happy to have it. This is probably no surprise.

As it turns out, Just Say Yes was finished not a moment too soon. After eighteen months of unemployment, I began a full-time consulting job on November 15. I need the time to get into the swing of the new job and to remember how I was able to balance work and writing. I dare say it will all come back to me soon.

What’s next? Your guess is as good as mine. Come back to find out.


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