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June 26, 2003: The Damsel in This Dress

June 21, 2003:
The first day of summer seems like an appropriate time to make a new journal entry, don't you think? It's been a while, but then, not much has happened lately on the publishing front, besides which I've been a little side-tracked what with one daughter graduating from high school and the other moving up into junior high.

Pardon me, but I just have to take up a little space here to mention how wonderful my kids are. They're both so smart and funny and beautiful and sweet (okay, this comes and goes depending on hormones). The bottom line is, I'm very lucky to have them. I know they get their smarts from their father - he's brilliant, and since a child's intelligence is basically the median between the two parents' IQs, well, do the math and there you have it). But I'd like to think they've gotten a few things from me - things such as determination and persistence. More than being their mom, as a woman, it's been my goal to demonstrate to them that they can achieve whatever they set their minds to regardless of Glass Ceilings and Men's Only clubs, and the Good Ol' Boy Network. Oh, those barriers still exist all right, but hopefully my daughters will have an easier time of it than we had back in the day.

As for The Manuscript Formerly Known As Uppity Woman, it seems my book may finally have a title: The Damsel In This Dress. Anyway, that's how my editor referred to it in her latest communication with me. I'd sent her a note asking, "What's next?" and here's pretty much what she said ---

She'll be line editing the manuscript, then it goes to copyediting. From there, it takes a copyeditor a couple of weeks to do their thing, then the manuscript will come back to me with queries. Anything my editor and I didn't catch, the copyeditor will, as he/she will be reading it with a fresh eye (or two). I'll have two weeks to go through it again to answer the queries or make any last minute changes before returning it to E.. Then, the manuscript goes to the compositor and about six weeks later, we'll receive the first pass pages (sometimes they're called galley pages). This will be my last chance to make any changes, though it's preferred if any changes made at that time are minor. After that, I hand it in and it's at that point they produce bound galleys.

When this is all done, I should receive the second half of the advance (and with one college-bound daughter, and another who needs a new wardrobe for junior high, this will certainly come in handy).

As for covers and back cover copy, there will be a cover conference about eleven months prior to publication (the pub date is still set at August 2004 as far as I know), so E. will be asking me for cover art suggestions probably sometime this September. She then gets a sketch of the cover which she mails to me, and then we wait for the illustrator to do his/her thing, and a few weeks later, I'll receive a color copy of it. It = the cover of my book. The cover of my book. Wow. That is too cool to even fathom. I am verklempt. I wish my mom were still alive. I think she'd be pretty proud of me. That never goes away, does it, wanting your parents to be proud of you? Naw, it never goes away.

Okay, so now you know just as much about the publishing process as I do. I'm finding all this fascinating and hope I get to do it many, many times over the next couple of decades. And I hope you get to do it, too. And in case I haven't said it in a while - Hey, Keep Writing.

On that topic, I'd like to recommend a book I've been reading called Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life by Natalie Goldberg. I've also read her Writing Down the Bones: Freeing The Writer Within. Both are excellent, motivating and inspiring. They both deal with the basic philosophy of writing (which is to write from deeply within yourself, tell the truth, and keep writing, no matter what).

In July, my husband and I are going to New York, to the National RWA conference. It'll be my first National and my first trip to NYC. I'll get to meet Pam, my agent, in person for the very first time, which I am very much looking forward to. I'll also have a chance to meet my editor (which I am also really looking forward to), take a tour of the Avon/HarperCollins offices, and attend a dinner hosted by Avon. Even if my book comes out and it sinks like a rock, I'll still have all this, and will be eternally grateful for the new things I've learned, people I've met, contributions I hope I've been able to make. If you attend National and see me there, please stop and say hello.

In October, I'll be giving a workshop at the Emerald City Writer's Conference in Bellevue, Washington. I'm calling it, Things I've Learned On My Glacial Rise To The Bottom Of The Top. If you have a chance to attend this terrific conference, again, if you see me, please stop and say hello.

The last detail I still need to work out is my website. We've been so busy it's still not up yet, but it will be SOON. This is something I'm really excited about because I'll be able to post the first chapter of the book, and then a picture of the cover. Wowee-zowee! Am I ever looking forward to that.

Well, that's pretty much it for now. I'm working on the synopsis and first three chapters of Murder Hunt and E. did tell me she wants to take a look at it as soon as it's ready. This is also very exciting because that would be Book #2 for me with Avon, and of course, that would be awesome (as my daughter Katie would say, only she would include jumping up and down and clapping which I am far, far too mature to do ).

Thanks for sticking with me through this. I hope it's been helpful to you so far. I've really enjoyed sharing my experiences with you and sincerely hope they've either entertained or encouraged you to (let's say it together now) keep writing.

Oh, and a side note to Kathy in Gulf Breeze, Florida - Stacey's telling the truth; I am her cousin Mike's wife .

Have a wonderful summer!

-- Marianne


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