*sound of crickets*
Nothing yet from that agent. She seems like a very knowledgeable and high-powered agent, as well as being personable and bright, so of course I’m disappointed. By this time, she has surely taken a gander and decided it isn’t for her. It was really exciting when she was impatient to read the rest of it. I suppose the Universe thought I needed a short-term boost, or just wanted to check my blood pressure medication.
I don’t strictly have to have an agent for _Camille’s Travels._ I could box it up and mail it off to DAW, and then wait a couple of years to hear back from them. They’re the most likely ones to take it, after all. Peter Stampfel liked that first fantasy I wrote, the one that I never actually finished. (grin)
Dennis mentions a salient point in private e-mail: “Do you realize that during most of the 18 years we’ve typed back and forth at each other, you have been at this point, urged to get a manuscript there by a rather strict deadline, only never to hear back from the person who, a weekend ago, was so anxious to have a look at your book?”
I know. *sigh* There’s definitely something wrong with me. Can’t just be with the work, or we could FIND it–has to be an issue of unworthiness in general. I thought I might’ve worked off the crappy karma because things were looking up. There’s still a chance she’ll get back to me at some point, but really, who cares . . . it’s not the end of the world. (brave smile) It doesn’t matter.
I think I must not have learned whatever it is that God is trying to teach here. Patience . . . not caring whether I publish or not . . . being humble . . . something like that. I’m glad that I finally learned whatever was being taught by the series of life-threatening illnesses!!!! Whatever that one was, I learned it!!!! *knocking wood, keeping fingers crossed, tapping ceiling with astral pods*
It’s tough to accept that all my books turn bad somewhere in the middle or near the end. But that has to be what’s happening. Nine out of ten agents queried like the openings of my novels well enough to ask for the full manuscript, even with _Little Rituals_, where the opening seems like a tough sell. I think the opening is the toughest part to get right. As far as I can see, I’m fulfilling the promise of the opening with the books; I don’t have a whiz-bang action opening only to continue from chapter four with a sedate, talky novel. It’s talky from the get-go. (grin) Whatever it is that’s turning them off, it’s a part of me and part of my voice, so it’s not something I’m likely to dump.
You never can tell. Maybe when they first start reading, my narrative drive pulls them along. I’ve been told that before by people in crit groups who say they hate my books, but they say they couldn’t quit reading, like looking at a train wreck. (grin) The first bits seem fascinating and they are pulled along by the unique voice. Then whatever it is that I do that turns them off overwhelms them eventually, as it keeps recurring–whatever it may be, from “making up words” (one not-online beta reader of mine is particularly vehement against this practice, be it creating stuck-together words like MicroSoft and demonball, or making punny new words; she apparently had no access to Shakespeare to prevent him from coining all those new words that are now commonplace, despite her advanced age) to “getting boring with all that thinking” or what-have-you. Maybe the book didn’t do what was on her mental checklist after all.
Interestingly enough, my mother actually did read Camille’s tale. She rode a bumpy path through the first ten pages, stopping to whine and berate me about a few things on EVERY page that were “simply anathema* to common readers like me who aren’t booky types” or whatever, and she thought the opening was slow and should be condensed, but once Camille had been arrested for shoplifting, she said, she got hooked and the book sped through the rest, increasing the speed and tension as it went along. She said there wasn’t any reason to say it is bad after those first pages (other than that it’s “dirty” and has that “nasty stuff that you shouldn’t have to put into books just to get them to sell”), and of course the agent *said* she loved those first pages and was impatient to read the rest. Anyway, though, readers are rooting for you to try to find a reason to keep reading, and agents are trying to find a reason not to. It’s a difference in the audience.
* (Remember, Mama used to be married to a professor and all of his colleagues used to hang around with her. She knows big words like that, but doesn’t like to read them.)
Possibly the wish of mine to “have my mother be proud of me for something” is what all this activity In Real Life is answering. My prayer was heard and taken literally (which is proper), and these events transpired because that was the only way that even God could make my mother read my books with an open mind. (grin) She said she’s proud of the mystery and even of this fantasy, as she feels it will feed the part of the market that likes That Kind of Thing. This, from her, is unusual and high praise. I can’t even fold a towel to suit her! So this may be what all of this is about, not about me actually succeeding. Well, I’ll take what I can get. I’ll have to, won’t I?
I honestly believe that if my books could make it out there into bookstores, they could hold their own and even entertain a certain segment of the population. I suppose it’s enough that I seem to be able to entertain some of the readers of my own LiveJournal.
I wonder whether some of the Next Great Thing novelists haven’t found some way to sell their souls to the Devil in return for breaking into print and staying on top. Some of the books seem singularly unrewarding and not very well crafted. I suppose it’s all subjective. But still, it’s interesting to speculate. Such a deal might serve them well–for a while. In hoodoo, the way to have the Devil teach you to play the guitar is well known (and I use this in another of my books): you go to a deserted street corner at sunrise on five consecutive Sunday mornings and say a certain incantation, then sit there playing. On the sixth Sunday, a man will show up and give you the gift of playing by ear. That’s the legend, anyway. Since I already play by ear, I never tried this one out. I think deals with the Devil are over-rated, because in the end . . . circles of Hell don’t appeal to me.
However, I can well understand why some might resort to it. It’s the only way to explain how that awful song won the Oscar, too. (*GRIN*) Yes, I agree that the other contending songs weren’t so great, either. Crappy choices, IMHO.
And now, to close with a fragment that I’ve had lying around the disk for some time.
* * *
“What do you mean, showing up here dressed like a tramp?” Jerry hissed into my ear. “You embarrassed me this morning. Now you pull this stunt.”
“What do YOU mean?” I looked down at my outfit, a copy of sometihng Britney Spears had worn to a party. I saw it in a tabloid. “This cost a ton of money. Bums wear rags.”
“You know a decent woman wouldn’t wear that.”
“Oh, THAT kind of tramp.” I huffed. “This coming from the guy who spent his college career running around the campus and the town wearing ripped muscle shirts and baggy cutoffs hanging off his butt to pretty much leave nothing to the imagination.”
He looked wounded. “It was okay to go casual back then. But I didn’t expect you to come to a business function dressed like a Mexican whore.”
I bit back a sharp reply. “Whatever. I think I’ll just merge and mingle for a while.” I jerked my arm loose from his grip and stalked towards the milling dance floor.
“Where do you think you’re going?” he stage-whispered, following me. He grabed for my arm again, but I cast the spell GET THE HELL AWAY and he tripped over it, almost landing at the feet of one of the milling security guards. While he apologized, I made my escape.
As an afterthought, I removed the amulet and chucked it into the dirt surrounding a potted ficus tree. “Good luck,” I muttered to the tree as I stalked away.
* * *
This was written after I spent a couple of days studying published “paranormal chick lit.” All the books struck me as being written in this style. I don’t think I could stay interested in this one long enough to finish it, though.