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The Awesomeness of Terrible/Wonderful, No-Good/Very-Rad Days

Remember a couple of months ago, how I had the most hectic day ever, yet it was still awesome?

It happened again recently, where my “real life” had me pretty occupied, yet my “literary life” demanded sudden attention.

Here’s the upshot of it, as reported in the Publishers Weekly Children’s Bookshelf:

Catherine Onder at Disney has acquired debut author R.C. Lewis’s Stitching Snow, a sci-fi YA thriller due out in summer 2014. In the book, a royal teen runaway is scraping together a living in a mining settlement on the far side of the universe, until she is discovered and “rescued” against her will. Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary Agency brokered the two-book, six-figure pre-empt.

Mind = boggled … maybe even scrambled Saturday-morning-egg style.

Thanks to friends who’d been through the process before me, I’d been prepared for the long slog of submissions. More months of waiting, more rejections, maybe some close calls where we didn’t quite get through acquisitions. Even when we had whispers of possible good news, my stupendous agent was great about keeping me grounded. Yay, step in the right direction! But nothing’s guaranteed.

I was ready for that, I think. But I was very fortunate things fell into place just as they did. Maybe I just shouldn’t bother having expectations anymore, because nothing ever turns out quite as I expect.

I’m beyond grateful to Jennifer for everything she’s done and continues to do. She pushes me in just the right ways. I also have amazing critique partners. Big group-hug to everyone at AgentQuery Connect. Mindy in particular (Yo, BBC!) has talked me off the ledge more than once. (You know the ledge … the one every writer visits now and then that says, “I Can’t Do This!”)

So, what does this all mean?

It means it’s time to get to work.

*rolls up sleeves*

*dives in*

Speak up:


R.C. and the Terrible/Wonderful, No-Good/Very-Rad Day

Wednesday, May 23rd was the most awesome bad day ever. Emphasis on the “awesome,” seriously. Hang with me, and you’ll see what I mean. First …

The Prologue

Some of you know, I’ve been on the job hunt for a while now. As much as I love my current job, I feel I need to relocate closer to family. In fact, I made confirmed plans to leave … without having landed a new job yet. Leap of faith? Oh, yeah.

Also, if you’ve been around the blog at all the past few months, you know I was involved in a contest called The Writer’s Voice. This meant Monday (the 21st), my entry was up on my coach’s blog, available for any of the eight participating agents to place a vote.

I got five votes, which meant five full requests. I also got some requests from lurking agents and queries I’d sent the week before. Lots of yay!

The Terrible, Wonderful, No-Good, Very-Rad Day

I had a week and a half left of school. Finals to prep for, paperwork to complete, a classroom to pack up. Plus I had preparations for moving (despite having no job) soon after the end of school. Lots of stress.

Wednesday promised to be busy. I had a phone interview for a prospective job during my morning prep time. It went well. Really well. I even had a little time afterwards before my next class, so I got things squared away and glanced at my email.

One of the agents from Monday had already finished reading the full and wanted to know if there was a time for us to talk.

Cue the out-of-body experience.

After a little back-and-forth email, we agreed she’d call at 7:00 that evening. Then I threw myself into getting my physics students ready for their final. Then another job interview (this one on Skype) during lunch. It went well, too. My afternoon prep hour held a mix of “holy crap, am I really talking to an agent tonight?” texting with my critique partner (thanks, Mindy!) and wrangling some sub plans for my 7th period, because I would be on an interview panel for a candidate to replace me at my current school.

6th period went pretty well—always good to have students keeping me busy and distracted. But, the time for the interview comes around, and no sub shows up. I check with the other math teacher, who was also going to the interview. No sub for him either. Some back and forth with the secretary, already late … finally one sub shows up to watch both classes. I knew nothing mathematical would happen, but whatever.

Interview was solid, but a little long because the candidate was technically interviewing for two different positions. It was Wednesday, which at my school meant staying until 5:00. Good thing, because I had plenty to do, like getting my calculus final ready for the next day.

The clock hit five, and I was out the door. Except I passed a classroom where a few teacher-friends were chatting, and they called at me to wait. Vicki wanted to know when we could have a little get-together before I left town (love you, Vicki!). I promised to let them know as soon as I had my schedule worked out, Jill gave me a cupcake (<3), and I was off again. I hit the road just before 5:15, and my afternoon commute takes about an hour. No problem. Five minutes later, wall-to-wall cars. NO!

It was okay, though. A delay of no more than ten minutes due to one of the traffic lights flashing red, creating a four-way stop during rush hour. On I went to the freeway.

Ten minutes later, gridlock.

Gridlock in a town that never has gridlock.

Stop-and-go traffic. A section that normally takes three minutes took twenty. Then it flowed a little more through a section that was being resurfaced.

Math-teacher me couldn’t stop looking at the clock, calculating how many minutes I still had to spare. I’d be okay, just barely.

Once through the construction and back to regular speeds, I forced myself to take calm, relaxing breaths, because I knew I’d have no time for that once I got home. I walked in my door at 6:52. Got settled and situated.

She called. We talked for over an hour. At the end, an offer of representation.

That’s right. AN OFFER!

The Epilogue

Naturally, I asked for a week to notify the other agents with the manuscript. Everyone promised to read quickly. Then there were new requests. I didn’t need new requests! Too many variables! But okay. By end of the week, I’d had a total of eleven requests, one turning into the offer, one bowing out, and one arranging to call the following Tuesday.

Oh, and the first interview I had Wednesday morning? They offered me the job, and I accepted. My relocation is a leap of faith no more.

Tuesday involved no fewer than four phone calls with agents and further offers. Serious quandary. All five offering agents are amazing. Much hashing-it-out-with-Mindy ensued. Finally, I made my decision and accepted one of the offers—from the agent who offered first, it turned out.

So, here’s the important part.

WAIT! You can’t have something important in the epilogue!

Too bad, I’m doing it anyway.

I am now represented by the marvelous Jennifer Laughran of Andrea Brown Literary Agency. But most of you already knew that.

I suspect the real work is about to begin.

Speak up:


Sleep-Deprivation of Minors

I was pondering what gives a writer the feeling of, “Hey, I’m doing all right.”  You could make a big-time best-seller list.  You could get a rave review in a major publication, or a bunch of 5-star reviews on Amazon.  Can’t say I’ve experienced any of those (yet), but still, I’ve thought about it.

My favorite?  Knowing I’m contributing to the sleep-deprivation of minors.

You know that feeling–when you start reading a book and before you know it, it’s three in the morning … then four … then the sun’s coming up.

Well, with a day job and grown-up responsibilities, I can’t indulge in that very often anymore.  Maybe on weekends.  And professionally, I can’t recommend any teenagers do so on a school night.

Still, finding out a 15-year-old started reading my story and couldn’t put it down until six in the morning (during Thanksgiving break, boss!) kind of made my day.

Another one on the self-affirmation list: Having teenagers finish reading it and immediately ask, “Where’s the next one?”

That’s when I think to myself, “It worked.”


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