The Next Chapter

I realize it’s been quite a while since I posted anything here, fiction or otherwise. This summer got away from me. The past seven weeks or so have been a blur, and it is taking conscious effort to not beat myself up for failing to follow my own advice about scheduling posts in advance. All I can do now is get back on the horse and work to do better.

On Friday, July 13th, I received an email I’d been eagerly awaiting – a response to the proposal and partial manuscript I submitted to Carina Press back in May. When I made the decision to enter #CarinaPitch, it was to get some experience with writing Twitter pitches. I told myself it was a good idea to start practicing now. I told myself even though I’d likely get my first rejection if my pitch was chosen, it would be worth it just for the feedback promised to every manuscript submitted through the pitch party. I never expected to actually see a like from an editor,  but come the next day, there it was.

Cue hurricane of excitement and fear.

Preparing my synopsis, query letter and a chunk of my book to send off was one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done. I agonized over every decision I made, read the same advice articles time and again, and nearly gave up more than once. Thankfully, the two wonderful men I have in my life wouldn’t let me do that. I got my submission in with just a few hours to go until the midnight deadline and promptly threw myself into renaissance faire season.

I don’t know what I would have done without that distraction. Come the last two weeks of season, which also happened to be the last two weeks before the last day responses to pitch submissions would be going out, I was no longer able to ignore it. I found myself checking my emails more frequently. Refreshing the Submittable page for my book. Searching Twitter to see who else was still waiting. By the 12th, distracting myself became nearly impossible.

I was sitting in my tent in the campground provided for those of us who work the renaissance faire, trying to focus on getting ready for bed since it was half past eleven. I knew the editor I’d sent mine to would be sending out responses that night, so it could be morning by the time I saw anything. I told myself I could check one last time before bed. Thankfully, a friend with more signal than I have there was letting me use their wifi hotspot. I swiped to refresh the page, and there it was – a response.

Adrenaline hit me like a freight train. My hands were shaking so bad I almost dropped my phone. Too scared to read it word for word, I braced myself for the inevitable rejection and scanned for any signs of a positive response. There, in the second sentence, were the words I hadn’t dared hope to see – “We’d like to request a full if you have it.”

I didn’t even make it to the feedback from the editor, not until I’d found the Hus-bot up by the shower house. I had to hand him my phone to read the email as I was too excited to manage coherent words. It felt like a fantastic dream. Even now I’m not sure it feels real, but that doesn’t stop me from kicking my writing into high gear.

Some of the feedback I received has given me more hope for this getting published than I’ve ever had. I know a request for a full is no guarantee of an offer of publication, but there is considerable hope for a positive outcome. All I can do is bludgeon my self-doubt, pour my heart onto the page and polish it to the highest quality possible. And so, the next chapter of my writing career begins!