Round up the usual suspects

Mercury in retrograde. Mama and best friend had argument with other best friend and all three are fretting and stewing over a STOOOPID miscommunication (they’re all getting so hard of hearing, too.) Garage door (overhead BIG door) broke and fell down when I tried to close it for the night; the big spring at the top went ~POW~ *SPROINGGG*. Will be leaving door in “up” position and all lights on all night. I wanted to run to Kroger and buy one of those life-size witches you put on the front porch for Halloween so if anyone came into the garage it would say, “Hahahahahaha my pretty!!” and scare them away. But there’s nothin’ in there worth stealin’, just rusty garden tools and my old manuscripts that you can’t run fast enough to give away in the first place.

But that’s not ALL the good news.

A published author did something VERY kind on my behalf today. She emailed the editor who supposedly has had my MARFA LIGHTS mystery on her desk since February to see whether she ever saw it and what the status was. I was a bit reluctant to email myself (because sometimes that precipitates a sendback, when that wasn’t what I intended), and it turned out that the editor was her editor! So that was a real mitzvah, and she gets stars in her Heavenly crown. Take THAT, the guy who put up an article saying how he hates to get asked for help by these dumb nooobs! Good deeds are done daily, in quiet, in secret. SO there.

Of course, what I’d hoped was that perhaps the book was sitting forgotten in a stack on the editor’s desk, and could be looked at now. But I needed to know if she had passed on it, too, so I could go back to marketing it. I truly believe that the book has an audience consisting NOT of the empty set. And this publisher is not the ONLY publisher of mysteries.

My judge, the one who sent the book up there with the contest picks (for the Malice Domestic/St. Martin’s contest), had been very encouraging. She said that she thought the book should be seen, and that typically when she sends a book along it is taken seriously, even though it wasn’t right for the contest win. I appreciated her efforts on my behalf, as well.

Alas, the news wasn’t good this morning. The editor wrote, “Tell her thanks for submitting, but we will not be publishing her novel.”

Now, I can’t resist a bit of rejectomancy on that. Isn’t that an unusual way to put it? It’s as if the editor had the impression that I thought all I had to do was mail this book up there and they’d be publishing it. As though it was fairly ridiculous for me to be sitting here like a little creep for all those months thinking she’d be taking it seriously at all. Perhaps that’s just the impression I get. But anyhow, it seems to be prophetic, as this is the fifth time one of my mysteries has been sent up there by a contest judge and hasn’t impressed them. The editors in charge of that line just don’t like my style, and that’s their privilege. I should look elsewhere.

Still, I had expected a more typical, “Sorry, but we’re passing on it,” or “Tell her it isn’t right for our line.” I should have thought it was understood that they wouldn’t be publishing the novel without doing the entire offer/contract dance and so forth. Maybe it doesn’t mean anything, but it’s still odd, I think. I know the judge said she had sent things up there before without anyone taking offense.

Just for the record, I had NOT assumed that anyone would just be publishing the novel as a given. I always try to project a sense of hope, and I believe that to some extent the theory of visualization (“keep believing and saying it’s true and it will be”) can work for some people. But I’m not completely clueless out here on this end of the pixelstream. *sigh* I hope I didn’t come across to them in that way. I’m really glad I didn’t contact or call them directly myself. My self-esteem is already measured on the negative Kelvin scale.

However, I would again like to thank my benefactor, who shall remain anonymous. Doing that for me has freed me from the illusion that the book might be still under consideration! I would never have known for sure. Now I can start over with some kind of marketing plan.

I believe the market for mysteries is still viable. It’s back to the agent query pages for me, because most mystery houses don’t take any unsolicited queries. I still have MIRANDA’S RIGHTS with an agent for consideration. And there’s the Dorchester contest. Naturally, when the family found out about this (my mother overheard when I was telling a friend on the phone), they leaped on it as Yet Another Cosmic Sign that I should forget this foolishness and go back to being a complete machine that exists only to service them, take out the trash, cook food, run errands, and climb on ladders to observe broken overhead door mechanisms (and get moths in my hair). Naturally, they are again Very Disappointed In Me For Not Taking The Hint.

Them’s the breaks. I simply was not cut out for all this housework stuff. Obviously I was intended for a family that could afford servants and a staff. Until the Health Dept. begins lurking outside to peek in the windows, I’m not going to worry overmuch about being in House Beautiful.

It’s funny how we never seem to get the children we expect to get–you know, the ones who are like us and who want what we wanted out of life. I’m sure there’s a Heavenly committee in charge of assigning personalities, and that they get a real kick of some of the mismatches they manage to make!


Mercury, get out of that rut and go forward again!!


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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