December 29, 2010

Made It Moment: Lala Corriere

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 1:10 pm

Widow’s RowOK, despite the holiday tree posted right here a few days ago, I figure many of you probably got e readers underneath your tree or on one of those eight special nights or as a sign of the Solstice season–or the times!

If you did, I suggest you check out this debut novel by Lala Corriere. One of the nice things about reading digitally is that you can try out a totally new author without making the investment of a trip to the bookstore or library, without paying for shipping, or adding so much as one volume to your otherwise teetering stacks. It’s my hope that such “ease of entry” will pave the way for many talented writers to find audiences, in print and onscreen. Today, I offer you one.

Lala Corriere

I Did it My Way!

Hopefully readers might remember old Blue Eyes, or at least recall his name.

I’m honored that Jenny invited me to share with you my ‘made-it moment’. So let’s jump right in!

Sinatra is a classic that has survived the ages, and aged like a fine cabernet sauvignon. It makes me wonder. Is the publishing industry adapting and growing and keeping its pulse on the changing times, or is it becoming a classic windmill saga?

Sadly, it’s been my experience that the industry was ill prepared to make any paradigm shifts. Their analysis paralysis began long before the country’s economic collapse. I can illustrate this. It took many years for agents and editors to accept email queries, let alone manuscript partials and fulls. Old school or tried and proven?

This is my story, and for me it is my made-it moment. I don’t think it is unlike many other fine authors whose stories deserve to be out there and be read. My recent release, Widow’s Row, was held up on an exclusive submission by two publishing houses for a total of over two years. Imprisoned. I get it. Art is subjective. One house had seven levels of acceptance. Widow’s Row made it to level seven only to be rejected because it didn’t qualify as a mystery. Hmmmm. That first manuscript page where we all write our name, title, our ‘please call me soon’ contact information, also included the genre. Romantic Suspense.

The good news is that this experience allowed me access to an outside review process by several professional non-biased readers. And their responses rocked the ultimate highs and lows on the subjectivity scales. These scales are not exactly those of justice. One critic said she would read anything I wrote. Forever and ever. Another one tersely commented that he couldn’t muddy through my first chapter.

Lesson number one. Exercise that back of yours. You have to toughen it up, and slather gallons of slicked up goo [product of your choice] for the negativity to slide right on off , and bury it six feet under.

I had a chore to do. First, after those two longs years in captivity, I had to make some revisions to my manuscript. Some words/scenes time-stamped my story. Lesson two. This process toward publication might take a while. Avoid anything that dates your story unless you’re writing an historical.

Next up. I had to identify my goal. Ultimately, it was simple. I wanted to be read. This is a scary notion, but I spent many a day and long nights questioning my motives. And ME. On introspection, I finally saw my truth. I have always been one to go it alone. Always. I was president of my own interior design company. I did high-end residential real estate sales. All by my little self. I raised two boys. All by my little self. Where was that person?

I believe I should have taken control of my career a long time ago. I believe no one person or entity will nurture, promote, or advance my writing as much as me. I admit I had a huge problem with the very idea of anything considered vanity press. You know. Even though growing in momentum, there is still a bad image out there. Because there is a lot of crap going up out there. You know it. I know it. But it’s getting awesomely better!

My made it moment? This decision to take charge. I write good stuff. No crap. So I scraped myself off the blades of the old windmill and got with it.

Do I have readers? Yes

Do I have good reviews? Yes. Reviews other than my sister, second cousin, and friend of a friend? Yes. Strangers. New friends I haven’t met.

Do I have a career I am proud of, and am I in control of my future? Yes.

Do I have exponential/viral sales? Yes. More new friends.

Am I jumping on my bed and blanketing myself with one hundred dollar bills? No. Not exactly.

Do I have a few caveats? Yes. One more lesson.

To go it alone, you have to have several outside reviewers that will tell you when your writing sucks. I admit it was with good luck that Sidney Sheldon took me under his wings so long ago. You also have to set your own deadlines, and by gosh, you have to meet them. I was lucky to have some skills and networks available that made my journey glide smoothly. I resisted anyone who might suggest I change my title. No one tried, but still, this was important to me. I also knew exactly what cover art I wanted and I knew how to get it. And I learned how to make my own trailer. And one more final thought, I am prepared to release my second title, CoverBoy, in March. Momentum is a good thing.

While I certainly didn’t help or even foresee the pioneering of this new market, my sales numbers prove I’ve caught the wave. And for one not much into water sports, let me tell you that it’s quite a ride!

Lala Corriere writes suspense with romantic elements. While she enjoys vivid descriptions of the most nefarious of characters, she also insists on including a redeeming social message in her work, bringing readers to experience human conditions in ways with which many may not be familiar. “With a deeper awareness,” Lala says, “comes understanding, be it a small acceptance or a life altering epiphany.”

December 20, 2010

A Very Merry Holiday Break & Happy New Year

Filed under: The Writing Life — jenny @ 9:36 am

To all Suspense Your Disbelief readers,  passers-by, and stragglers!

To the guests who have appeared or written Moments, a giant thank you for helping to make this blog a community of writers, readers, and friends.

In 2011 we will continue the discussion about the future of publishing, learn about great new books, probe into how we all do this thing called writing…and maybe even hear of this blog’s creator breaking in with a book of her own.

I am beyond excited for some of the guests we will have.

But until then, let me offer a small tiding of the season. Whatever your holiday, be it Christmas or Kwanzaa or Solstice or Hanukkah, I think you will appreciate this image.

Some of you may get e readers this year under the tree and I hope you enjoy them and possibly even download a book by an author you discovered here on Suspense Your Disbelief.

But look at the tree, courtesy of Magers & Quinn Booksellers, as seen on today’s issue of Shelf Awareness!

book Christmas tree

December 15, 2010

Guest Post: Mike Nettleton

Filed under: The Writing Life — jenny @ 8:47 am

Well, you all know that *I* think of this blog as something like a family, but it’s a truly rare treat when I get to feature actual members of a family here. Especially when they’re funny. That’s why I’m so pleased to welcome author, radio personality, & dog lover Mike Nettleton today. Mike is mystery author Carolyn Rose’s husband. As you’ll see from the below, he has a knack of his own for putting things into words–given enough motivation, of course.

Sometimes A Great Commotion

Mike Nettleton

We’ve recently welcomed a new member into our household. Max is a 3-year-old male Maltese. We adopted him from a young woman who felt she couldn’t properly mother him and work a full-time job as a hair stylist. So, the little critter has come to live in the kingdom of Bubba, our 10-year-old Schnorkie (that’s a miniature Schnauzer/Yorkie mix.) Here’s a candid shot of Max, taken shortly after his arrival:

The John Belushi memorial samurai topknot has since been hacked off.

Since Max’s owner told us he suffered from “doggie separation anxiety,” we decided to hire a dog trainer to help deal with it and perhaps instill a little discipline among the canine members of the family. Bubba, of course, thought this idea sucked in a major way and couldn’t understand why she’d been dragged into the whole thing. After all, she’d always been perfectly willing to do anything you asked her to do, as long as it corresponded with what she’d planned on doing anyway and as long as there was a treat or two involved in the process.

The techniques the trainer used are actually kind of simple. Other than at their mealtimes, the dogs get fed only when they successfully execute a series of commands. “Sit, Stay, Down,” and the always popular “Come,” earn them a bit of kibble. The results at first were positive in a negative kind of way. Max answered all commands with his “Look at me I’m dancing on my hind legs,” response and Bubba mostly sulked. Who can blame her? After all, she’d gotten dog biscuits in the past for such complex and taxing maneuvers as “being cute” and “walking across the room.” But, despite some initial resistance, both of the dogs are making progress.

This started me thinking—not always a good thing according to my wife, but always interesting.

My writing career has been marked by long periods of non-productivity and a lifelong tendency toward attention span issues. (“Ooh, bright, shiny lights, must go look.”) If I was a dog, I’d spend my days chasing squirrels. Because of this unfortunate affliction, I own the world’s largest collection of first chapters. (Which I someday plan on publishing in a book I’m calling Beginnings Without End.)

Perhaps, I thought, the response-reward technique would work with me. I love frosted animal crackers and have been known to sit and snarf up an entire bag while avoiding writing. Perhaps Carolyn—who is also my sometimes co-author—could dangle them just out of reach while issuing one word commands.

“Simile,” she could insist, firmly, but lovingly. Like Pavlov’s mongrel I’d drool and follow “as” or “like” with something pungent and evocative. Reward: half an animal cookie.

“Paragraph,” she’d command and I’d dutifully type a cluster of coherent sentences. “Good boy,” she’d pat my head and slip an entire sugary bear or hippo into my mouth.

“Second Chapter,” she could instruct and I’d delve into the themes developed in one of my five hundred first chapters and really get rolling. For that, I think she should let me dip my entire hand into the bag and grab a fistful of goodies.

Like the always-eager Max, I stand ready to give it my best shot. But have no fear. If this technique doesn’t work to generate momentum for my writing, I have a secret weapon to guarantee I’ll at least get a treat.

I, too, can dance on my hind legs.

Mike Nettleton grew up in Bandon and Grants Pass, Oregon. A stint at a college station in Ashland led to a multi-state radio odyssey with on-air gigs in Oregon, California, and New Mexico under the air name Mike Phillips. In 1989 he returned to the Northwest and in 1994 joined KEX Radio in Portland. He’ll retire in December after 42 years in radio. His hobbies are golf, pool, Texas hold-em poker, and book collecting.

Mike and his wife, the writer Carolyn J. Rose, have authored a number of mysteries together. Surf to for more information. You can also view a video of their most recent Devil’s Harbor Mystery, Sometimes A Great Commotion

December 9, 2010

Guest Post: Kit Sloane

Filed under: The Writing Life — jenny @ 2:33 pm

Another guest I get to welcome back to Suspense Your Disbelief today! I am so pleased to have Kit Sloane reappear (the reference is an allusion to Kit’s MAGICIANS, the eighth in her delightful Margot & Max series) on Suspense Your Disbelief. You can read Kit’s Moment here. And now, please travel with her backward a little in time.

Kit Sloane -- The Fat Lady Sings

Our Electronic Age: A Writer’s View

With the release of the 8th book in my Margot & Max Mystery series, (and it’s just as thrilling as the first time!) I’ve been looking back—not just since 2000 when my first book came out, but back to the 25-yrs that I’ve been “seriously” writing and working within the “business” of writing and publishing.

Fifteen-years ago, believe it or not, we all used SNAIL MAIL! That’s all there was. And even after the Internet was up and running many, many editors and agents refused to accept “electronic submissions.” (For all I know there still may be some out there refusing to accept anything over the Internet.) Phone calls were frowned on and used as a last resort. These people were BUSY!

Imagine how long everything took to get done. Instead of hours or a day or two, we’re talking weeks and MONTHS. And worse, maybe the letter or, gasp, manuscript, got lost in the mail or was prematurely discarded and we NEVER hear back! You can understand how eagerly we all embraced the ease and efficiency of our computers and all the magic that they can do for us.

Getting a manuscript into print is hard work. It requires different people doing different tasks, working on different computers, usually in different time zones, too. Phone calls are still generally frowned on. My publisher has over a hundred books out there with nearly as many authors who have questions, needs, and wants. I’m just one of them. Her email is filled daily with hundreds of messages from us and the rest of the business—printer, distributor, layout designer, agents, cover artists AND the usual SPAM and personal messages.

Still, email is our single most important key to managing and communicating in this writing business. We must know how to use it most effectively. (Please know that the following suggestions fall under the “do as I say, not as I do” category. These are methods of doing things that I WISH I’d always done.)

What business email CAN do:

It can get things totally accomplished if we’re clear and alert!

My daughter, Annie Sperling, who does my covers, is also a production designer in Hollywood and worked with the Oak Tree designer in NYC who’s in charge of polishing our book backs and spines. When crunch time came (e.g. “let’s get it FINISHED”), she was on location in Bulgaria! And, yes, she and Mick did it all by emails, all the intricate sizing and plugging in of reviews, blurbs, etc. The 9-hour time difference didn’t help, but they got the covers together.

What email CAN’T do:

Remember that infamous saying, the “garbage IN, garbage OUT” comment used when nonsensical things show up on the Internet from us or, hopefully, someone else? Well, believe me, the garbage lives on and it often is US!

First of all, email allows us just ONE chance to tell the recipient what we’re doing/asking/threatening. It’s called “SUBJECT” and this entry has to be succinct and clear or it wanders off the page and no one can read it , anyway.

Think of “SUBJECT” as your red alert to the recipient. Do not do what I often do and simply hit “reply” to practically every message. The “subject” gets way off course and is often totally wrong for whatever message you are sending. Take the time to create a new message with its own “subject.”

Also, if you’re sending on an attachment, don’t rely on your message to automatically say so. Add ATTACH. or INFO IN EMAIL, or whatever sounds clearest to you in the subject line. Recipients look for these clues. They’re easy enough to provide.

So what have I learned at this late date? Assume nothing! When you’re dealing with important matters (and, let’s face it, our books are darned important to us), take the time to state CLEARLY in the SUBJECT area, exactly what you are sending, be it birthday greetings OR the final draft. Number your drafts. Make sure the book in print IS your final draft! (Oh, I could tell you stories about that little mistake!)

Our publishers, et al, get dozens and dozens of emails daily. Make sure that YOUR emails stand out clearly and distinctly. And make certain to check that whatever you send actually gets there and then gets read. If you don’t hear back in timely fashion, RESEND the original email with the exact same heading in the subject portion.

With all these people working diligently to bring out a book, will the finished product be flawless? Probably not. After all we’re human beings who are doing these tasks and we all make mistakes, period. (There’s the friend who learned that the 3rd chapter of her book simply WASN’T there! NO ONE NOTICED except for one lone reader!)

I don’t think I’ve ever seen (or written!) an absolutely PERFECT book. But PERFECT is worth striving for, and, after writing a darned good story, if we utilize it in the best possible ways, our email is the source that will “get it done,” ready for the printer.

A graduate in Art History from Mills College, Oakland, California, Kit Sloane has published short stories and many articles on the art of writing and the writing business. She served as first fiction editor for Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine. She especially enjoys lecturing about the writing world and mentoring new writers. She is a long time member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Mystery Women of the UK and was named one of Mills College’s Literary Women for 2007.

Kit and her professor husband live on a small hilltop horse ranch in Northern California’s sublime wine country.

December 6, 2010

Guest Post: Carolyn J. Rose, Part II

Filed under: The Writing Life — jenny @ 10:43 pm

Welcome back to Carolyn! Her post yesterday on a specter with which nearly all writers wrestle, at least from time to time, led to an absorbing discussion–just the reason I love having this blog. Hope everyone will share their further thoughts and reactions to Carolyn’s second installment. And do check out Carolyn’s fiction for yourself. You’ll be as happy as I am that she sits down at that machine, and gets the stories told.
Consulted To Death

Carolyn J. Rose

After a trip to Southern Oregon and stop at mist-shrouded Humbug Mountain, I encouraged Mike to take the lead on a young adult fantasy. The idea sprang from an incident in his childhood when a group of older kids ran ahead and abandoned him on the mountain. (Having lived with him for 25+ years, I have some insight into why this happened, but that’s another story for another post.)

Abby and Noah, the brother and sister in The Hermit of Humbug Mountain, let us return to our childhoods and “make things come out right” in a fantasy that pitted evil against innocence. (BSP-the Kindle edition is priced at only $2.99 through December.) Writing a fantasy was a complete change of pace from our usual mysteries, and working with settings and characters not of the world we live in powered up the creative sides of our brains. We created the Mushroom Forest, a flaming river, the Darksuckers, and a host of other strange and wonderful creatures in a realm inside that mountain on the Oregon coast. We were so engrossed in the obstacles we created in our fantasy world that we wouldn’t have noticed writers’ block if we got it.

A year later, inspired by a futile search for a computer expert in an Oregon coast community where everyone seemed to work two jobs and keep odd hours, we created what we think of as our “satires in cozy clothing.” Devil’s Harbor is a microcosm of the country and Molly Donovan and the denizens of the quirky town are driven by the emotions and beliefs that drive all of us—with a big dose of vanity, insanity, addiction, and conviction. The chance to poke fun at so many people made writing The Big Grabowski and Sometimes a Great Commotion seem effortless. Like sprinters, we hurdled writers’ blocks without a moment’s hesitation and plunged on.

The story that unfolded in Hemlock Lake had simmered on a back burner in my brain for many years, fueled by memories of growing up in the Catskills. The book had a power all its own and each time I was blocked because of criticism or rejection, I felt it pull me back like a lodestone draws an iron filing. Hemlock Lake took me deeper into character development than I’d ever been before, and forced me to look more closely at the darker side of human nature. To finish it, I had to deny my usual reaction to laugh and walk away. I had to go where the characters took me.

With all of that in mind, I realized that the as-yet-unpublished stories I’ve written have developed from ideas spawned by events and characters in earlier works. The mental excursion back to the Catskills for material for Hemlock Lake gave rise to A Place of Forgetting, a story of love, perceived betrayal, and the consequences of acting on that perception in 1966. The Refuge, a tale of a woman on the run from a killer, sprang from the domestic abuse in the backstory of Camille Chancellor, a character in Hemlock Lake. My real-life “adventures” as a substitute teacher led to the cozy No Substitute for Murder.

Fortified by the knowledge that the backlist is a well of ideas, I reminded myself that the sequel to Hemlock Lake has passed the halfway point; I know how it ends and I see how I’m going to get there. This winter, once I divest myself of two of my three jobs, I hope to be able to write my way to those magical words: THE END.

That’s when I realized that my block wasn’t caused by worrying about the book I’m working on now, but about the next and the one after that. I saw I was being drawn to the dark side of writing, the frightening feeling that the well of ideas will dry up, my creativity will wither, my writing career will crash.

And that’s when I reminded myself that I’m not in this alone. I have friends and fellow writers for support, and I have a fan club of fictional characters—some already in print and some still waiting for the opportunity to meet a reader.

Those characters got me this far. The best thing to do is relax and trust them to stick with me for as many years as I want to write.

If they don’t, well, I’m a mystery writer; I can always kill them off. And, thanks to all the crime-scene shows I watch, I can kill them in a variety of gruesome ways.

So now, having giving myself yet another pep talk, I can get back to my work in progress. But first, just one more short peek at my neighbor’s fence.

Hmmm. He’s coming out of his house. He’s marching up to the fence. He’s pulling something out of his pocket. He’s pointing it at me. He’s—

Uh oh.

Gotta go!

Carolyn J. Rose grew up in New York’s Catskill Mountains, graduated from the University of Arizona, and spent 25 years as a television news writer and producer in Arkansas, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. She has published many mysteries and lives in Vancouver, WA, with her husband, radio personality Mike Phillips, and a motley collection of pets. Her hobbies are reading, gardening, and not cooking.

Surf to for more information. And watch the book trailer for HEMLOCK LAKE at

December 5, 2010

Guest Post: Carolyn J. Rose

Filed under: The Writing Life — jenny @ 11:05 pm

I am so happy to welcome back author Carolyn Rose to Suspense Your Disbelief. You can read Carolyn’s Made It Moment here. Today she begins the first in a two part series about a real life specter every writer will recognize.
Consulted To Death

Carolyn J. Rose

Sometimes, when I’m suffering from blinking cursor syndrome, I let my mind drift and my gaze wander. I stare out the window at the tall wooden fence my neighbor erected (Did he put that up because he thought I was too nosy or does he have something to hide?), to the paintings on the walls (Why did I buy that one, anyway? If I put it out with the trash, would the sanitation workers refuse to take it?), to the knickknacks from my parents’ travels (Is that some kind of a fertility god statue or did the model have too many little blue pills?), to my bookshelf and the novels I’ve written and published (Hmmm. Should I rearrange those by color? Year of publication? Last name of protagonist?).

You might think that I’d find the sight of those nine books encouraging, but until I learned to fight the lure of the dark side, staring at them had just the opposite effect. In fact, seeing what I accomplished blocked me even more.

I’d become mired in doubt and fear, consumed by anxiety. How had I developed those characters? What made me imagine those plot twists? Why does my mind seem so empty now? Why are my recent ideas so bland, so clichéd? Have I lost whatever gift I had? Should I just give up on writing and devote myself to walking the dogs, reading, and searching for the perfect combination of cashews, caramel, and dark chocolate?

Slumped in my office chair—eroding self-esteem triumphs over good posture every time—I would embrace the block and let myself wallow in feelings of loss and despair.

But one day, when I’d floundered deep into Poor Me Swamp, I thought about the characters inside those covers and about what they’d taught me about writing and about life itself.

Paladin, the “hero” of The Hard Karma Shuffle and The Crushed Velvet Miasma (books co-written with my husband, Mike Nettleton), was a whirlwind of manic action and addled thought. That was understandable because he’d spent years following the Grateful Dead and had never gotten over the 60s. Nothing was too outlandish to consider as a plot twist for his stories, no secondary characters were too extreme to be included in his circle of friends. Writing about him was like painting in the style of Jackson Pollock—there was no need to color only inside the lines or even to have lines at all. Freed from every literary restraint, we rushed to the computer every chance we got.

Casey Brandt, the protagonist of Consulted to Death, Driven to Death, and Dated to Death, gave me an outlet to rail about the consultants I felt were homogenizing the television news industry. She allowed me to explore the manic behavior and tight friendships forged under the pressure of daily deadlines and the control that the sales department often seemed to have over news content. And she provided career-change therapy. Through the course of three books, I was able to say goodbye to a 25-year career in television news when I no longer felt the thrill of the hunt for a lead story, when it seemed that I’d seen it all before, when it was already half-past time to move on—to a new career and a new form of fiction.

I’ll tell you more about that, and about how I learned to apply the lessons of where I’d been to where I was going, in tomorrow’s post.

Stay tuned for part two

Carolyn J. Rose grew up in New York’s Catskill Mountains, graduated from the University of Arizona, and spent 25 years as a television news writer and producer in Arkansas, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. She has published many mysteries and lives in Vancouver, WA, with her husband, radio personality Mike Phillips, and a motley collection of pets. Her hobbies are reading, gardening, and not cooking.

Surf to for more information. And watch the book trailer for HEMLOCK LAKE at

December 3, 2010

Tomorrow’s the Day!

Filed under: Kids and Life,The Writing Life — jenny @ 6:59 pm

Get ye to a bookstore on December 4th. Take a son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, cousin, student, or friend. Take your inner child.

And if you go, don’t forget to ask if the bookstore staff if they know it’s Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day. (As if *anyone* could not know ;)

On the website next week there will be a montage of photos, video clips, and bookseller/customer accounts of what the first annual Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day was like. A foundation has indicated that depending on how strong the movement is, it may offer support so that kids who have never been to a bookstore–or bought a book–can do so.

So get out there and participate, then come over to the site and share your memorable moments. Already this holiday has put me in contact with people from Tennessee to Saskatchewan. Today PW posted a link to an article, and Minotaur tweeted the Day.

And none of that would have happened if it weren’t for bloggers and journalists, parents, and of course, booksellers–and readers like you.

Let’s all celebrate together tomorrow.

December 1, 2010

My agent dumped me…now what?

Filed under: Backstory — jenny @ 9:33 pm

So there I was, sitting at my desk at work, my next patient about to come in, on my face a slack-jawed expression of complete and total shock.

My agent didn’t like my new novel.

“So…what do you think I should do?” I asked smally. “Query other agents?”

“I think you should,” she told me. Her tone was far more encouraging than her next words: “I mean, it’s a story. It has a beginning, a middle, an end.”

Even though it hadn’t seemed so at the time, I had gotten my [first] agent quite easily. Eight months, querying in the beginning with a completely unwieldy, unpublishable novel–agents who rejected it did help me whittle and whip it into shape–and I wound up with two offers. Got to choose whom to sign with.

It would not be so easy this next time around.

But I sent my first query–to Jenny Bent, then at Trident Media–without knowing that, and in fact, being sure that the first person to read this piece of brilliance, which my agent, unfathomably, *didn’t get* would make me an offer.

Queries were still snail mailed at this time. My SASE from Jenny came back with a hand-scrawled, Sorry, this is not for me. It was written–oh, the sting–on my own query letter! She couldn’t even spare a piece of paper.

I think I was more shocked by this than when my agent said she didn’t like it.

Now, you might be thinking, Well, she (Jenny–the writer–me) was clearly off her rocker. The novel sucked. That’s why her agent dumped her.

But around this time I did something that would come to be–and still is–a hallmark of my approach to circling around this business.

I Wrote to a Famous Person whose work I loved.

The famous person in question was author Jacquelyn Mitchard, who had just written an article on the subject my novel was about. Along with the letter, I dared to enclose a good chunk of the book.

Then one night, a few weeks later, the telephone rang.

Thank goodness for a relatively new invention–screens on which the caller’s name and number appeared.

I knew who would reply when I said, “Hello?”

It was Jackie. Mitchard.

Jackie was calling to tell me how wonderful my book was. How every word grabbed her. How well-written it was.

Then she said, “It won’t get published, though.”

On the heels of this bomb ensued a rather lovely conversation with a Famous Person.

Jackie explained her reasoning to me, which included her own experience trying to convince her editor to let her write a book on the same, rather controversial subject.

“Drawer it,” she said (or words to that effect). “The time is not now.”

Which might have explained the EIGHTY rejections from agents I was slowly piling up.

But dammit, I wanted this thing published. And I *didn’t* want to write another book. Not now at least.

What was a writer to do?

The one thing I hadn’t yet tried.

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