Opportunity of a Lifetime

Do you ever have those moments when you know things are happening in your life for a reason?  Events line up, like a planetary alignment just for you, and you know it’s not an accident?  This is one of those times.

Only a few of you know that I have been in the running for selection at a publisher based out of St. Louis (no names shall be divulged just yet).  My journey began back in November 2011 when a random comment by a fellow writer spurred me to submit Forbidden to this publisher.  To my discredit, I failed to send in everything they had asked for.  By the time I realized this fact, I knew my chances of ever being contacted had migrated with the geese.  Or so I thought.

A couple months back, I received an email that changed my life.  It was a request to submit the missing information.  As luck (or fate) would have it, I had JUST submitted Forbidden into the Amazon Novel Competition and was unable to present anything.  But the door did not slam shut on my fingers.  I was given another shot…not just with presenting my original novel, Defiance Rising, but was also able to propose the intial chapter of a YA dystopian book I’ve been writing, Ignite.

For those of you who are not in the industry…this is unheard of.  And let me tell you why.  Most agencies or publishers want to deal with completed manuscripts, not ideas and partials.  Their desks overflow with a flood of queries throughout the year and don’t have time to walk step by step with potentials.  That’s what they do with selected authors.

So for me, this was a huge blessing.  With the help of my dear friend and fellow YA author, Danielle Bannister, we started shredding my two chapters.  She was brutal, I won’t lie, but I love her for it!  Her NUMEROUS comments helped me to become a better writer- to expand beyond the limits I didn’t even realize I had set for myself.  If not for her, Ignite might still just be an idea swirling around in my crowded brain.  THANKS DANIELLE!

Speed through several days and I find out that I have made it through their first round of cuts.  Who did the snoopy dance?  Oh yeah, this girl!  I never dreamed I would make it that far. Well, ok I have dreamed, it but I never thought it could be possible!

Then I found myself drowning in the second round.  I had no idea when I would hear the results.  My nails have certainly seen better days.

So, after much deliberation, I decided to contact the publisher and was told there would be a delay.  Now, to many of you, this might sound like a bad thing, but for me, it only increased my desire to work with this publisher.

It is rare to find a person/partnership that is willing to set aside everything to promote a new author.  In the responding email, I was kindly told that I could feel free to contact another agent/publisher while I was waiting to hear from them.  That they understood that being unable to give me a date or even a general time frame as to when I would hear my results was delaying me from seeking representation elsewhere.

Did I jump at the chance to jump ship?  HECK NO!  This publisher just proved to me what they had claimed all along.  Their authors are most important to them.  They invest their time, money and a whole heck of a lot of effort to help their authors become a success.  I wasn’t upset by the delay, I was thrilled!

Flash forward to this past Monday.  As you know, from my lovely pics of the beach, my family and I spent all of last week in the Dominican Republic.  It was an amazing vacation, like it always is.  A very relaxing trip.  Come Monday morning, bright and early, I decided to hop onto my computer for the first time in a week.  Felt really weird, to be honest.  I checked my email first and my heart stopped.  

I finally had the email I was waiting for…and a second on top.  The publisher had requested more chapters from Ignite.  No problem.  I had a couple that I had worked on since speaking to them last, but they needed a SERIOUS overhaul.  The second email is what threw me into a tizzy:  they wanted to read the full manuscript for Defiance Rising, which I was in the process of rewriting.  AAAHHH!!

Needless to say, this week has been very stressful.  We agreed on a synopsis for Defiance Rising (never done one of those before) and a submission of the chapters for Ignite.  8,000 words in a day and a half, less sleep than I care to count, more caffeine than should be humanly possible and I’m pretty sure my son forgot what I look like, but it was all worth it.

Thanks to my wonderful husband, the suitcases did get unpacked, the housework has been done and my son didn’t have to dig through the refrigerator for himself.   Now…all I can do is wait and see if I made it into the final round.

The amazing thing about this journey, is that no matter what answer they come back with, I am extremely grateful just for the opportunity.  Sure, I desperately want them to pick me.  I know they will go to the ends of the earth to help me grow and become successful as a writer.  But it’s more than that.  It’s the journey, the things I have learned along the way.

I know that this string of events didn’t just happen.  Someone has a plan for me.

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