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Thursday, February 01, 2007

How It All Began

I'm trying really hard not to talk about the weather here. Y'all have no idea how many times this week that I've deleted a paragraph or two on just this subject. But I hope you'll forgive me if I tell you that this is a "Why the hell do I live in Minnesota" week and that it's only going to be worse this weekend. I plan to hole up in my house and not go anywhere once I get home on Friday.

One of my engineers just got back from Hawaii. I was so jealous. Kind of. It's an 8 hour plane ride from Minneapolis and I have a problem sitting for that long. After about 4 hours, I was like, okay, we can land any time now. Of course, we were barely off the coast of California by then. :-) Yes, I have a small patience problem.

I've been to Hawaii twice. I didn't remember the first trip taking so long and the second trip wasn't even half as much fun, but it's the trip that will be indelibly printed on my memory forever. Not because it rained almost every day. Not because I finally was able to go on a whale watching trip when I was on Maui. Not because the cruise sucked so badly. But because of what happened when I got back.

This was my last real vacation. The last vacation that didn't involve writing in any way. I didn't even bring my laptop with me, and although I did use the ship's computer room it was to visit the boards where my friends were and I never checked email. After all, everyone who'd send me a note, knew I was gone. It was January 2002.

December 2001. I received a letter that I'd won the Southern Heat Contest and that I should send my full manuscript to the final editor judge at Dorchester. I had literally just finished my revisions to this book--Ravyn's Flight--like the week before. It was very close. So I talked to the editorial assistant and she suggested I wait until after the holidays to send it since no one would be there between Christmas and New Year's. I mailed RF on December 31. And about 10 days later, I left for Hawaii.

You know how it is when you're rushing out on vacation. I forgot to leave an away message on my voice mail. I did remember while I was in Hawaii and I could have called and done it remotely, but I thought, why bother? I don't get phone calls in my job and I hardly ever get phone calls, so there's no point in it. I didn't give it another thought. Dorchester was notoriously slow for reading stuff sent to them, so I didn't expect the editor to call for months, so no need to worry on that score.

I was in Hawaii for nearly 2 weeks. I boarded the plane in Honolulu with a slight cough just starting, and by the time I landed in Minneapolis, I was full-blown sick. It was my good friend bronchitis. I was jet-lagged, I was feeling lousy and I went to bed when I got home. I didn't check email until late that afternoon.

There were literally hundreds of notes. Hundreds. And on dial up, it took over an hour for them to download. Among them was an email from the editor who had my manuscript. She wanted me to call her. It was well after 5pm in NYC and I'd have to wait until the next day. If I hadn't been so sick, I probably would have had a heart attack. :-)

A friend and I talked most of the evening over IM. She kept telling me that I'd sold. I kept telling her that it was too soon. Probably something was wrong with the mss and they needed a new copy. When I called the next day, I found out my friend was right.

Another published author congratulated me and added: Let the madness begin. I had no clue what was was talking about. Then.