Mercury in retrograde–perhaps not all bad

So I was lying on the couch zonked out after a fun morning of sorting through old papers on the kitchen countertops and doing laundry when the phone rang. Area code 212, according to Caller ID. New York City. Probably a wrong number, but. . . .


It was Kate Duffy’s editorial assistant at Kensington Publishing. She’d been clearing off a stack of papers and had run across the opening of my novel _Little Rituals_; more than a year ago, I won an eBay charity auction to raise money for an author who’d had some medical bills, and I sent in my stuff for a critique of 25 pages or so. This is an older version of _LR_, but not so very unlike the current version, after all. She wanted to know if I still would like the critique.


They’re going to get to it tonight and either mail it to me or e-mail me or call. Isn’t that nice?

Well, I don’t know what she’ll say, but anything would help. Most of the time, people say they love the opening and think it’s laugh-out-loud funny. I’ve made quite a few changes in the past year, shuffling scenes around and doing this or that, but I’m not sure that the “improvements” have made that much difference. If they can tell me what they think, maybe that’ll help.

I guess I should’ve said that I have a newer version that I’d like to send instead of this version, but I didn’t want to press my luck.

[EDIT: I went through my archives and opened the version of the novel that was edited/saved just before the date that I mailed it off. That version was just before I moved the “Patrick does a flyover” scene up front. It’s a little slower-moving, I suppose. But it gives her the voice and the prose style and the general drift, which may be all that matters. Perhaps the Universe knows what It’s doing. She might like that version, or if she does ask for the new version, she’ll see how I can edit things. On the other hand, this could just be another nyah-nyah, so I refuse to get too excited. I’m going to go take a cup of Valerian tea because I don’t have any Valium.]

We’ll see what kind of comments I get.

Of course what you’d WISH for is something like, “I liked this and didn’t see anything in particular except [nit1] and [typo1] that you need to change. Do you have the book finished? Would you send it to me?”

However . . . we all know that the Universe is not that fond of me and that if I mention I’d like that, then an anvil will drop on our heads. Some people have the ability to visualize what they want, and others don’t seem to. I must be doing it on the wrong frequency. Also, one must visualize details exactly: one fellow pictured a new fridge, and the one that arrived on his doorstep was avocado green.

At any rate, if anyone isn’t doing anything at the moment and would be willing to send out some positive vibes . . . I’d appreciate it. I know how many more important things there are for the angels to take care of at the moment, so I don’t want to make this some big deal. There are people in the hospital, people in crisis, people getting fired right now, kids who are getting beaten up by bullies, and all sorts of things that are more important, and I know that. It’s just that maybe there’s an apprentice angel like Clarence who’d like to get a bit of experience, and I thought perhaps . . . y’know, that this would be good practice.

Oh, and Happy National Flag of Canada Day to our Canadian neighbors!


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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