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Swan Song

A woman greeted her husband at the door after he got home from playing golf with his buddies.
“How did your golf game go today, honey?” she asked.
“It was terrible,” he answered. “Steve died at the ninth hole.”
“Oh, no. You that must have been so hard for you.”
“It was,” he confirmed. “The next nine holes were hit the ball, drag Steve. Hit the ball, drag Steve.”

I hope you got a little laugh out of that. We can all use a laugh from time and time. You see, I've been the recipient of bad news.

Twenty-six days ago, I got the news that The Treasure Hunter's Lady was coming out as an e-book. Thursday I got an e-mail saying that the publishing house had closed its doors before it ever got a book out there.

Contract signed. Cover designed. Edits in progress. Release date announced.
I can't decide what's worse, the dissolution of a dream or that I told everyone I know. Or if all rolled into one, the whole thing is one of the worst experiences of my life. Not the worst, by any means, but ranking pretty high up there on the chart.

Here I have half-edited manuscript with no home. And I have an announcement coming out in my alumni newsletter. Well, color my face red.

I quit NaNoWriMo because I was editing. It was off somehow anyway, but I've completely lost my stride now. I know authors who have dozens of rejections. I have a few myself, of course, but this is a thousand times worse. It might seem weird, but I compare the creation of The Treasure Hunter's Lady to watching a caterpillar turn into a butterfly. It marinated in its cocoon, metamorphosing from a novella into a full-blown novel. It emerged with a set of colorful wings and got set to taste flight. Now a bird has snatched my novel/butterfly from the pretty rosebush where it fluttered its new wings for the first time and crushed it into gooey bug guts and unrecognizable bits of trash.

And I start to question what I'm doing. Something like this should light a fire under my ass, make me more determined than ever to get a novel out into the world. But maybe God doesn't want that for me. Maybe I'm fighting for a chapter that isn't in my story.

It feels like someone I was close to has died. The sleeplessness, the jarring reminders that I won't see this thing when I expected to see it. The restlessness which makes me think I should be doing something, but then when I start to, I wonder why I'm bothering. The urge to be alone because I hate faking happiness, but when I'm alone all I want is a distraction. The saying 'once bitten, twice shy' comes to mind. This is the last thing I ever want to go through again. Remember how I hate November? I lost my dad, I lost my grandma and now I've lost my book. I hate November.

Life's knocked me on my ass a couple of times before. I might have to lay there for a while, wallowing in my sadness while I search any kind of light, but sooner or later I'll pick myself up and go on. You can knock me down, but I'm too stubborn to stay there forever. As Jean Kerr says, “Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn't permanent.”


  1. Aw, Becky, I'm so sorry to hear this. What a crock of crap. DON'T GIVE UP! Yes, I just yelled at you. You are talented and some other publisher or agent will realize that. Go ahead and wallow for a while. I would do the same thing. Then when you're done with that, start sending out queries again. Remember, we all have faith in you and your talent. And don't be embarrassed either. It's nothing you had any control over. Hang in there, and I better see you Saturday!

  2. We'll see. I'm not exactly in the holiday spirit, but then I hate holiday anyway.

  3. Ok, I'm trying to understand what the bad news is... why don't you self-publish it on Amazon? It would take you a couple of days instead of up to 18 months, and you'd get a higher percentage. I would assume that would be a good reason to be happy, not sad.

  4. Because it wasn't going to take 18 months and the percentage wasn't that bad. The only work I had to do at all was editing.

    To publish on Amazon, not only would I have to edit, I'd have to market, make a new cover and format it myself. All of which I have no idea of how to do beyond editing.

  5. Well... publish it with a lousy cover and with no marketing until you know how to do those (or until you hire someone to do it for you). What do you have to lose? If it only sells 10 copies in a year, it's 10 copies you wouldn't have sold if you kept it in a drawer.

    I wish *I* had a novel ready to publish...

  6. Last comment, I promise (I'll close this page afterwards :P) - read this from Dean Wesley Smith:

    Wish you best luck with your novel!

  7. Dang it!!!! I just read your post. That sucks so bad. But you know what, if one house wanted it, there will be another. It's obviously publishworthy! And yes I just made that word up. See what writers can do! You are like a superhero. Put your cape back on, pull up your big girl tights and try try again!


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