Reader creations (a.k.a. how you guys make me cry)

Let me get something out of the way: I HATE the word “fan.” I don’t think of anyone as my “fan.” I love readers, friends, bloggers, tweeters, people who enjoy my books … I think you get the idea. I know there’s nothing derogatory about the word “fan,” but it makes me feel kinda weird to think that I have fans, so instead I’d like to call you all friends.

Now that just sounds lame. Hello, friends. What, am I a sixty year old man about to give a reading? Am I Mister Rogers?

Anyway. You guys are amazing, no matter what you want to call yourselves. From the reviews, to the blog posts, to the tweets, to the emails and Facebook messages and whatever else you do … thank you. I read every message. When I write back (and I try to write back to everyone), it’s really me.

But then — BUT THEN — as if your awesomeness wasn’t already making me reel, you send me stuff.

Like this copy of Storm that made the rounds of several bloggers before coming to me. Almost EVERY PAGE has commentary and art and jokes and … it’s simply amazing. I cried when I opened the package. Seriously.

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Or this one, from a young reader? (This has been hanging on my refrigerator for months.)

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Or how about this incredible picture showing all of the characters? I’ve been saving it pressed inside a hardcover book because I want to frame it!

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And it’s not just art!! Check out this fan made YouTube trailer for the books? This blew me away!!

Am I missing anyone? If you’ve posted art/videos/fanfiction anywhere and you’d like me to link it, please let me know.

But from the bottom of my heart, to all of you who take the time to review, to tweet, to email, to Facebook, to text, to call, to send messages by carrier pigeon, whatever:

THANK YOU. You all make this whole journey worthwhile.

How to find a [good] critique partner.

If I were to have a FAQ section for email inquiries, this would be at the top, right above the request for my banking information because I’ve inherited 500,000 USD from a prince in Nigeria.

(I mean seriously. Does anyone fall for this? And why don’t they use the dollar sign?)

I have two main critique partners.*

1) Bobbie. Bobbie has been there since the beginning. Since I thought it was acceptable to query a 130,000 word vampire novel. Since I had no idea how to make every scene move the plot forward one step. Since before I knew about Miss Snark and every other blog out there. Bobbie is one of my closest friends and I tell her everything. I’ve known her for five years, and I’m so frigging lucky, because she’s insanely insightful. I’ll tell her I’m struggling with a scene, and I’ll get back this in depth character critique like:

So you’re unsure of where to go now? How to resolve the moment between Michael and Gabriel? I can see how it’s a pivotal moment and you want to play it right. You can’t have them hug it out or Gabriel won’t need the fire as much as he does now–it’s his escape. If all is well on the home front–or even heading there–he won’t have the need for release. I like that Gabriel’s immediate feeling isn’t anger but a sense of betrayal. He seemed to be feeling, before Hannah showed up, that he and Michael could at least be civil to one another and act like brothers now and then. To come home to this accusation would be painful and more isolating.

I think you need Michael to be suspicious, and I think his character would be. But the fire started before he left the house. Hannah could confirm this. But Michael’s suspicion might at some point make Gabriel question whether Garrett is the arsonist. And even if Michael comes to believe Gabriel didn’t start the fire, he’s still going to suspect something’s going on, and Gabriel’s secrecy is going to bring more tension to their relationship.

I mean, you can’t pay for critique notes like that. Sometimes I feel inadequate when I read her stuff, because I can’t see all the angles like this. I feel like a caveman writing things like, “Um. This guy seems angry.” Seriously, I don’t know why Bobbie puts up with ME.

It didn’t start out that way, of course. I’d posted a chapter on the critique site www.mywriterscircle.com, and she left some good comments, along with the line, “I would read more of this.” So I looked up her profile, sent her an email, and said, “Would you really read more of this? I have half a book.”

She read it, she liked it, she sent me some of her stuff. I read it, I liked it. We clicked right off the bat, and the timing was good. We were both beginners, and we were both at the same stage of the writing process.

A lot of that was LUCK. Kind of like love at first sight.

2) Alison: I’ve known Alison for about a year. She sent me a message on Absolute Write when I had a post up offering beta reads, and because I say yes to just about everyone who asks me to crit a manuscript, I told her to send over the first chapter or so. Then I completely forgot that I accepted, and I felt like a total heel when she emailed me 10 days later to ask if I got her email. (I blame my Blackberry.) But I could tell right away that Alison had some serious writing chops (see my last post about her recent signing with an agent), and I gave her a bunch of constructive criticism and sent it back.

That’s usually a make-or-break point with a critique partner. I’m always honest, and I never sugar-coat anything. I’ve had people get back a critique of twenty pages, and move on. Alison wrote back that it was finally the feedback she’d been looking for, and asked if she could send more. I liked her writing and her style, so I read more. And more. And more. She kept offering to read something of mine, but I was agented at that point, with a book on submission, so I was a lot more careful sending things out. Finally we’d been working together long enough that I trusted her enough to send something her way. (You never know what freak is going to post your book on their blog or something.) Alison’s critiques were awesome! Spot on! She picks up on things that I never would, especially when she guesses where the story is going. I remember in one of the earlier drafts of Elemental, she made the comment, “You have all these water bottles popping up everywhere! I can’t wait to see what you’re planning on doing with them!”

I read that comment and was like, “Uhhh…I’m not doing a damn thing with them. People are thirsty.” But it was a great point, and I took out some of the references. Alison is great at picking up on foreshadowing that might not be intentional, or seeing links between characters that I might not have seen. It’s every bit as insightful as Bobbie, just in a different way.

I owe a lot of my success with Elemental to these ladies.

I know, I know, you’re saying, “Shut the F up about your amazing critique partners, and tell me how to find some of my OWN.”

Reading the above, it seems like I just got lucky and found two great people and POOF, my writing life was easy. Brigid has everything! A book deal! Great critique partners! An amazing agent! An awesome editor!

Yeah, whatever. You want to know how many beta reads I did before landing on two people with whom I really clicked? I just went through my email, searched for “beta,” and counted the individual email addresses.

Eighty-six.

And that doesn’t count beta reads I did directly on message boards like Absolute Write and My Writers Circle. (I do a lot on my lunch hour. Hey, a girl needs to do something while eating.) That doesn’t count people who might have used the words “Crit” or “Critique” instead of “Beta” in their email.

That’s also over the course of five years.

The point? That’s a lot of people. A lot of time. A lot of reading.

Finding a great critique partner is like finding a great husband. (Or wife.) It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to take hard work, and compromise, and a solid base of trust.

Some tips:

1) Don’t be lazy. If you were going to a bar to pick up men (or women), you’d take a shower, wear nice clothes, and try to look your best. Do the same thing when you’re sending your stuff out for critique. Now’s the time to be on your best behavior. Sometimes people would email me and say, “I know it’s full of grammatical errors and misspellings, but I’ll fix that stuff later. I just want to know if the story is worth the time to fix it.” I mean, come on. If you don’t know if it’s worth the time to fix it, why is it worth my time to read it? Don’t send out crap.

2) Be honest. Not just with others, with yourself. Maybe someone is AWESOME at critiquing your stuff. If you hate their writing, you’re not going to want to reciprocate. That’s not fair.

3) Critique a LOT. You know those advice columns where people write in and say, “I’m so depressed, I’ll never find anyone. I hate going out and playing the dating game. There must be another way.” Don’t you want to hit those people? Dating is how you find a life partner. Critiquing a lot of stuff is how you find a critique partner.

Kind of like writing a book, finding a critique partner is something that sounds easy in theory. “I can write a compound sentence! I’m destined to be a great author! Here’s where to send my check!” vs. “I’m a really nice person! My writing is amazing, so I’ll quickly find someone amazing to read it! At 3am! In five minutes!”

Everyone can find a great critique partner. They’re out there. I was, Alison was, Bobbie was.

All you have to do is put yourself out there. You know, with a little lip gloss.

~
* I’m not listing Sarah Maas, who is an awesome critique partner, because we only met because we’re agency sisters, and our relationship doesn’t really apply to this post. I just got lucky with Sarah. Wait. That sounds dirty.

Badass awesome news…about someone else

Okay, so this is a few days late.

But I have to say CONGRATULATIONS to my friend Alison Kemper for signing with Kristin Miller of D4E0 Literary Agency.

Alison is an awesome writer with an awesome book about … well, I’m not going to share her whole story right here on the blog. But it’s awesome in sixteen different shades.

Alison doesn’t have a blog (yet!), but she’s on Twitter, so go say congratulations. Or, leave a comment here on the blog. I’ll make sure she sees them.

(In completely unrelated news, why the hell did someone find my blog by googling, “Adult Store Kemmerer, PA”?)

~

Money talks, and … well, you know how the rest goes

So I was going to do a post about money this morning, but it’s early, and I’m tired, and I figured I’d just spend my thirty minutes before the kid wakes up reading other people’s blogs.

Then I stumbled upon this post by Tahereh Mafi, a very talented young writer who has a book coming out this fall. (Check out her blog, too.)

But Tahereh (can we be on a first name basis in the blogosphere?) talks about money. And since my mind was already on writing and money, I said to myself, “Dude. Respond.”

Here’s the question her reader asked:

I have a problem. I’ve always always always wanted to write, but I don’t think it’s going to pay too well unless I write about vampires or magical kids. So I’m thinking I’ll be something science-y. But I love writing, so I’ll miss out on it if I become something science-y. WHAT SHOULD I DO?!?!

 And here’s the link (same as above) to what Tahereh responds. 

Before anyone thinks I’m going the wrong way with this, I agree with every word Tahereh says in the response. Writing is not for the faint of heart. The media sometimes makes it seem like you can sit in your apartment for a few months, churn out a novel, and someone will hand you a million dollar check. It takes passion, and drive, and love for storytelling. If you want to write, and writing makes you happy, do it.

But here’s what I think Tahereh missed: this questioner can do both.

One of the greatest things about writing is that you don’t need a degree (I don’t have one), you don’t need anyone’s permission, you don’t need an office, you don’t need a coat and tie, and you sure as hell don’t need to do it between 9 and 5. All you need is the desire to write, and the passion to make your writing great.


I’m thirty-three years old. I have the corporate career, and I have a good salary. I have the single family house with the chain-link fence and two cars and two dogs and almost-three kids and every electronic gadget my husband convinces me we need.

I’m also a writer, and I also have a book deal.

So are a lot of people. You can do both.

Here’s the other thing: a book deal is not a guarantee. When the auction was over and I knew I had a deal with Kensington, the first person I talked to (after my family) was my boss. I told him exactly how much money I was getting, and I reassured him that I wasn’t quitting anytime soon. Just because I have money now doesn’t mean it’s going to keep flowing in droves.

Besides, say you land a big advance. Do you know how much of that money is going to taxes? If you make over $379,000 in 2011, 35% of that is going to taxes. That’s after you pay 15% to your agent. (Please note, I am not a tax professional, and this is solely for illustrative purposes.) But that’s 50% of your money, gone before you get to spend a dime. That’s not even taking into account what you have to pay the state! I can guarantee that’s not going to last for the rest of your life. It might last a good long time, don’t get me wrong. But that’s still not a guarantee.

Your book could bomb, and the rest of your contract could be cancelled. The market could change, and people could decide they only want to read books about cyborgs or something. (Or Elementals. Elementals are going to be huge in 2012. Huge, I tell you.) Just like playing poker, you need a lot of skill, but you also need a lot of luck. Some of this publishing game is all about chance.

Here’s my concern for this questioner: what if she forgoes college and that “science-y” career and focuses all her time on writing?

And then, what if she’s no good?

Just like promising athletes, I think an education and the potential for a career is a good thing. Think of it as a fall-back. Have something to do. Just because I don’t have a college degree doesn’t mean I didn’t scrape my way through years of learning the financial industry, and now I have a bunch of licenses that mean the same thing. Just because you love writing doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother starting a career.

There is always time to write. Always.

This doesn’t mean it’s easy. You know that funny graphic of the triangle that represents college, and on each point, there are the following options: Good Grades, Social Life, Plenty of Sleep. Then below it, it says, “Life in College: You Only Get Two.”

Guess what? That doesn’t end when you leave college. Just replace “Good Grades” with “Lucrative Career.”

I say if she likes science, I say get that science degree and write in her dorm room. Or get whatever degree will make her happy and fulfilled and employed. Have something to do so you can make the rent while you’re churning out the next Great American Novel. I completely agree with what Tahereh says about not getting a massive degree with a bazillion dollars in student loans to make your parents’ neighbors happy. That’s silly. (Seth Godin has a great post about wasting money on buying a brand instead of buying a degree.) But don’t sit on your parents’ couch for five years and defend yourself that you’re a writer, damn it, either.

You can do both. All of you. Every writer out there can have a career and a child and a husband (or wife) and a house and still have time to write.

You don’t have to choose.

You can be happy and have it all.

I promise.

~

Clique Clack Boo

So, yeah, I’m going to talk about the YA Mafia.

I don’t usually jump into the middle of these things, because I’m busy, I’m pregnant, and I’m generally late to the party and my hair’s a mess. And most of the time, I don’t have a lot to say that someone else has said better already.

First off, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’ll sum up. There’s a bunch of talk rolling around the blogosphere and Twitter that cover a few different things. First, that there are killer cliques of YA authors who band together to smite aspiring authors. There’s also some talk about book reviewers getting blacklisted by YA authors and agents for things they’ve posted on the internet.

Here are some links, if you want to read what other people have said (or just to get a feel for the story).

Holly Black: YA Mafia and the Ruination of Careers

Justine Larbalestier: YA Mafias & Other Things You Don’t Need to Worry About

YA Highway: Field Trip Friday Special Edition: The YA Mafia

Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier are great writers, and both those blogs are worth reading, for more than just the YA Mafia stuff. I also enjoy the YA Highway blog, so check it out, too, if you’ve got time.

Here’s some irony for you: when I first heard the term “YA Mafia,” I thought it was a new blog or something. Seriously, I thought, that sounds like a cool group name.

A lot of these posts and blogs talk about whether there is such a thing, whether there are YA cliques, whether powerful authors have the ability to blacklist authors, whether YA writers really do band together and talk smack about the little people. A lot of talk. Really.

Here’s my talk: who cares?

Ten years ago, I learned a fantastic piece of advice that has become my mantra. Sure, I learned it from a woman who was addicted to prescription painkillers who later accused me of sleeping with her husband in a stall in a horse barn, but don’t let that take away from the absolute power of her statement:

You can’t change others. You can only change yourself. 

Let me tell you, this is my go-to mantra. If I have a problem with people, I say it to myself. I might actually mutter it through clenched teeth while my fingernails are digging into my palms, but I say it. And it helps.

First off, I learned really early that there will always be cliques. Always. What can you do about it? Nothing. When you’re outside the clique (especially a clique you want to be in), it’s really easy to feel hurt and disgusted and imagine that the people in that group are all mean and hateful and devoting their time toward your personal ruination.

Guess what? They’re probably not.

You know what else? When people fail at something, a lot of times, we want to look for excuses. It’s a hell of a lot easier to say we were blacklisted by a big agent than to think, “Hey, maybe I should take a look at my writing.”

Or to think, “Hey, maybe I failed.”

Here’s the thing: you can’t stop YA writers (or anyone else) from making friends. Sure, I see authors sharing private cover art on Twitter, or talking sorta secretly about inside information, and I immediately get that little gut clench that says, “I wanna know! I wanna be in your circle!”

But then I realize that I have conversations on Twitter all the time with Sarah Maas, and people are probably thinking the same thing about us.

Actually, considering our last Twitter conversation involved Sarah taking my eyeballs and keeping them in a jar on her desk, people are likely thinking we’re disgusting.

ANYWAY. I digress.

There’s also some talk about a book blogger who was forced to take down her blog, because she’d heard that it was going to hurt her potential for finding an agent or selling a novel. I feel badly that she felt the need to do that, but she made the choice to do it. No one forced her to. She couldn’t change the way other people were treating her, so she changed her blog and stopped reviewing books.

Look, people, from a mother, here’s another mantra: Life is full of choices, and sometimes they’re hard.

Sometimes I want to blog about something that happened at work. I’m deathly terrified that I’ll lose my job, so I don’t. (Buy lots of copies of ELEMENTAL in 2012, and maybe I can quit my job. Then I’ll share all the stories you want.) Sometimes I want to blog about my family, but I don’t want to put my husband in a compromising position, so I don’t. (My mother, however, is fair game.)

Sometimes I read a book that sucks, and I don’t talk about it.

The only person who can make or break you is you.

Here’s a little story. I once saw this guy on the news, crying about the fact that he was losing his home and his business. The government was seizing everything he had, and he didn’t know how he was going to provide for his family. A family who was used to high-end cars, a personal maid and butler, a huge mansion of a house. The poor, persecuted man. The big, bad government was after him.

Because he didn’t pay his taxes.

I didn’t feel any pity for that guy. He didn’t pay his taxes! I mean, come on! You can’t complain about someone coming after you, if you do something wrong in the first place.

I hope I’m drawing a parallel here, but just in case: if you openly trash people online, and they turn around and refuse to support you (or even actively bash you in return), well, you can’t really point any fingers, can you? I’m not saying it’s mature, I’m just saying you can’t be surprised when it happens.

Remember: you can’t change others, you can only change yourself.

You can’t stop the YA Mafia (seriously, I love the name. I want to join.) if it even exists. You can’t stop cliques. You can’t stop people from being friends. As my husband likes to say, you make your own stress. If you don’t like seeing authors interact on Twitter, stop following them. No, even better, go make your own friends and talk to them.

I have a three-year-old son, and I’m constantly telling him, “Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing. Worry about what you are doing.” I used to teach riding lessons, and I would say it all the time to those teenagers, too. “But, Miss Brigid!” they would cry. “So-and-so is jumping three feet! Why can’t I jump three feet??” Then they’d make snarky remarks about the other girl. She’s nasty. She abuses her horse. Her parents buy her everything. She thinks she’s so much better than everyone.

Yeah, because being a bitch is going to get you to jump three feet.

Wrong. Riding better is going to get you to jump three feet.

When I sold my book to K Teen, I immediately went to see what other authors had been acquired by my editor for the same line. Did I look at their badass cover art and squish up my mouth and talk smack about them? Hell, no. I sent Erica O’Rourke an email and said, “We need to be friends.”

(And people, you need to put her book on your to-read list ASAP. It sounds insanely hot. One of the love interests is the main character’s bodyguard. I actually might need to break into Erica’s house and steal the page proofs.)

(Don’t tell her I said that. Just in case someone actually, you know, breaks into her house and steals page proofs.)

I know I’m dissolving into rambles. I just hate when people get fired up and get their feelings hurt online. Take a step back. Repeat that first mantra to yourself.

I can’t change others. I can only change myself.

It’s powerful. It helps.

Now go out there and make some friends of your own.

~

P.S. – I’m on twitter and Facebook. I’d love to be your friend. We can talk about extricating eyeballs all day.

Author photos

I need to give Leslie Rhodes Photography a shout-out here on the blog, because she did my author photos, and they came out so well. Leslie is an amazing photographer, and she has a huge portfolio of couples, family portraits, newborn photos, and weddings. You should definitely check out her site at www.leslierhodesphotography.com.

Annnnnnnnd, if you haven’t already seen them, you can check out a few of my author photos, which she featured on her blog! Here’s the link for that: http://www.leslierhodesphotography.com/blog/2011/02/writer-brigid-kemmerer/

Look, I’m pregnant, okay? Don’t judge the bags under my eyes.

~

A whole big heaping pile of OMG.

Okay, if you follow me on Twitter or have friended me on Facebook (*ahem* –>), then you may have already heard I sold my novel to K Teen (the new YA imprint of Kensington Books) this week.

I am over the moon.

Over. The. Moon.

I almost can’t think straight.

First off, the book sold at auction. Let me tell you, if you’re ever trying to sell a novel, let it be at auction. Because that is the absolute most fun I’ve ever had in my whole entire life.

Wait. Sorry, honey.

It’s in the top five, okay?

My editor is Alicia Condon, and we had a conversation the other day, and I feel like I’ve known her my entire life. She’s amazing, and I feel like she gets me. I’m so excited to be working with her.

But really, it didn’t feel real until I saw the listing on Publisher’s Marketplace. If you’ve never heard of it, that’s where book deals are announced. Here’s what mine said:

February 2, 2011
Young Adult

Brigid Kemmerer’s ELEMENTAL, in which a girl becomes entangled with four brothers who control the elements and their battle with those who want them dead, to Alicia Condon at K Teen, in a three-book deal, at auction, by Tamar Rydzinski at the Laura Dail Literary Agency (World English). 

That’s my book. Can you believe it? THAT’S MY BOOK.

This has been so amazing.

But you know what? No one writes a book alone. Sure, I put some words on the page, but there are a lot of people who made them better:

Michael Kemmerer: My best friend, my confidant, my hero, my husband, you are the most amazing person I could ever want to spend my life with. I am so lucky to have you. Now get ready for the house to be an effing mess for six months, because I have a sequel to write.

Tamar Rydzinski: My absolutely fantastic agent. I’m so lucky to have her in my corner. I totally couldn’t have done this without her help. I’ll never forget messing up my partial manuscript way back when I was querying. (She asked for the first 50 pages. I sent 30 double spaced and 20 single spaced. What kind of idiot does that? Especially after reading an agent’s blog THAT VERY MORNING about making careless mistakes? *sheepishly raises hand*) But now, look where it’s gotten me.

Bobbie Goettler: You, lady, have been with me since way, way, way back. You remember when the four brothers were vampires, living in a totally different story. You remember when my first novel was 135,000 words long. You have read every word at least six times (sometimes seven), and you’ve been patient and encouraging and insightful and there’s no WAY this book would be succeeding without you. You helped me through marriage, pregnancy, childbirth, parenting….you’re amazing. You have been my closest friend forever now, and you’ve been so much more than a critique partner. You’ve been a friend, a mother, a sister, and I can’t imagine going through this without you.

Sarah Maas: My agency sister!! (You know how they say brother-from-another-mother? They need one for girls. Sister-from-another-mister? That sounds…sick. But you know where I’m going with this.) I’m so glad we found each other, and I’m so lucky to be going through this whole publication journey with you. You’re an amazing cheerleader, and an awesome friend, and I can’t believe you put up with my bazillion texts. Seriously. A bazillion. You are a rock star.

Alison Kemper Beard: Alison! I can’t believe I lucked out when you sent me the first few pages of your manuscript! And then I forgot to read them, and you had to remind me! (Look people, you might not find true love on the internet, but you can totally find badass friends.) Alison, I’m so lucky we’ve become friends and critique partners, because it’s been so much fun going through this journey with you. I think you and Bobbie deserve a medal for reading my entire MS over the course of one weekend. With critiques! Now go send some more queries!!

There are like sixteen hundred other people who helped me along the way (Nanci, Gordon, Jenny, Tina, Christina, Renee, Kathy, Michelle, Stevie, Kit, Ally, my Twitter friends, my Facebook friends who are sick of my status updates about writing, every single person reading this post … OMG, I’m totally going to forget someone, and you can punch me later…)

My dream is starting to come true, and you’re all a part of it. All of you.

Thank you. So much. 

~

Living the dream*

On Sunday, I got on a train to New York City, and I had lunch with my agent.

I just typed that sentence then stared at it for two minutes. I’m not quite sure it’s sunk in yet.

So think of what it takes to get an agent.

Well, this is what it took me:

In 2006, I started to take my writing seriously. I started posting pages on a site called My Writers Circle, I started finding critique partners (Hi, Bobbie!), I started doing the research you need to do to get your act together and get published.

In the fall of 2007, I had a finished novel. I started to query agents.

I got rejected.

A lot.

I’ll still never forget the one rejection letter that seriously changed my life. It was late 2007, my son wasn’t sleeping through the night yet, so I checked my email at 3am, a still-hormonal mom looking for validation anywhere I could find it.

That email started, “Hey Brigid, there’s no plot here…”

Brutal, yes?

No, it was awesome. It inspired me to put that novel down, to start something new, to get my act together and really write. That was a practice novel. The next one? The real deal.

So in the spring of 2008, I started A Wicked Little Rhythm, a novel about the son of Apollo living in secret, running a music store in downtown Baltimore.

More critique partners, more work. I went to my first book conference, Bouchercon, in the fall of 2008.

I met real writers. I heard them speak. I learned a lot.

I finished A Wicked Little Rhythm in the spring of 2009, and started to query.

In July 2009, I received a full manuscript from Tamar Rydzinski. A week later, she called me, asking for significant revisions, including writing my first sex scene, something I had never done.

I did it.

In October, the awesome Tamar became my agent.

In February 2010, I mentioned to Tamar that I was working on a sequel, and she recommended starting something new.

Thank god she did (See? Awesome agent.) because the first book didn’t sell.

I finished Elemental in October 2010, and after a few rounds of revisions, it went out on submission in November.

It’s out there right now. I’m proud of it. No details; I don’t want to jinx myself.

So when my friend and agency sister Sarah Maas mentioned that she was going to be in New York City for the month of January, I said I should hop on a train and we could all have lunch.

And we did.

And it was awesome. I had such a good time.

(The tri-colored gnocchi with gorgonzola cream sauce was incredible.)

Five years, people. Five years. And I’m still not quite there yet.

I once read a John Grisham interview where, after The Firm became a bestseller, they said, “What’s it like to be an overnight success?”

He said, “For you guys, it’s overnight. For me, it took ten years.”

~

* The title of this post is for you, Alison, because you gave me a much needed reality check while I was sitting on that train. 🙂