In November 2011, I decided to do NaNoWriMo for the first time. I wrote 50,000 words of a book called BEHIND THE SCENES, finished it in December, and sent it to two utterly magnificent people – Christopher Koehler and Arielle Kane – who, with many, many notes, helped me turn it from a draft into a manuscript I actually had faith in.
A year ago, I used this blog to post my entry for The Writer’s Voice contest, hosted by Cupid, Brenda Drake, Krista van Dolzer (who just announced her own book deal!!), and Monica BW. I knew about the contest because I followed Cupid on Twitter, and she was the only judge I knew at the time, and SHE IS A ROCK STAR. I prayed she’d pick me, and lo and behold, she did 🙂
Then I got a vote from an agent, who requested a full the next day, and I prayed that she’d rep me, and lo and behold, she did 🙂
And then it got a tiiiiiiny little bit less neat.
Being on submission is hard, man. You get rejections that completely disagree with each other and you’re like, “WTF do I even do with that????” Or you get rejections that make you say, “Dude, I could fix that in five minutes. GIVE ME THE CHANCE.” But most importantly for this particular story, sometimes really awesome, weird, serendipitous things happen.
11/19/12 – I ask my agent if we can go to Spencer Hill Contemporary, which has just launched, only they haven’t just launched and they aren’t actually taking submissions yet. Whoops.
11/28/12 – I get a little impatient about SHC.
January 2013ish *note: I had no idea until like a week ago, obviously* – Patricia Riley and I become friends on Twitter and she promptly invites my agent to send her things for SHC because she wants BEHIND THE SCENES.
March 2013ish – Patricia asks if I would like to come work at SHC as a copy editor and I say DUH OBVIOUSLY IT IS BASICALLY MY DREAM WHAT AND WHERE DO I SIGN
April 2013 – I add a “Wait… can I still send you things? Like, submit you stuff? Or is that super weird and awkward? YOU CAN TOTALLY SAY NO.”
(She does not say no. In fact, she says yes quite emphatically, after which she makes above January confession. I send her BEHIND THE SCENES BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY.)
Me: “No, but really, you can toooootalllllly say no. No pressure!”
Patricia: “Yes, I know I can say no. I have actually done that a billion times because I do this professionally.” (OK, it wasn’t exactly those words but it should’ve been because I am whiny and dumb.)
Two(?) days later:
Patricia: I NEED TO HAVE THIS IMMEDIATELY.
Dahlia: I ALSO NEED YOU TO HAVE THIS IMMEDIATELY.
Or something like that. But a lot more professional. Really.
What followed was a talk about an imaginary sequel that’s no longer so imaginary, and then more talk about doing yet another book together, because obviously.
Anyway, long story short (hahahahahaha), Andrea is AWESOME. Patricia is AWESOME. I am a very lucky writer. And I’ll be publishing 3 books with Spencer Hill Contemporary, beginning in 2014 🙂
(Pause for musical interlude dedicated to Andrea Somberg and Patricia Riley… NOW)
Of course, I need to mention a few other people who are awesome, because I’d be nothing, nobody, nowhere without:
1) My family, especially my husband, who is the most patient and supportive Godsend on the planet, and also, he bakes. I may write for myself, but that it makes them proud is the best reason on Earth to keep going.
2) My CPs. Have I mentioned how much I love my CPs? I love my CPs. I cannot even tell you how much. There aren’t any words. They make my work better, they support the crap out of me, and they listen to OH MY GOD SO MUCH WHINING. Marieke, Maggie, Gina, Erica, and Valerie, thank you. For everything. Words aren’t actually enough. But Liam’s abs… they are grateful. Endlessly, endlessly grateful. They are flexing with their gratitude.
3) Everyone else who read BtS (especially Melanie, who was my very first Twitter friend beta!) or held my hand during a freakout or endured the sub process with me and everything that goes with it. Extra-special shoutouts to the YA Misfits; Rick Lipman, aka my fellow schmagent, aka the yang to yang my yang, who has made many a day that much more bearable and GIFtastic; the lovely Heidi Schulz, who should’ve punched me in the face at least once but totally never would; my sub buddy and fellow writer of Hollywood YA, Jen Malone; and Dee Romito, for always trying to keep us both on that positive train.
4) Everyone who read MY NAME IS EVERETT, back when I thought it was “The One,” even though it wasn’t, especially Christopher Koehler, Dani Leeds-Kim, Suzanne Hynes, and Rebecca Trachtman-Friedman, who kept me going and helped me learn the art of working your butt off for a manuscript you love.
And to you, lovely person who reads my blog, maybe follows me on Twitter, generally engages in making my day better, my life more fun, and picking me up when I’m down. You, lovely person who may or may not have left comments on this blog before, or helped me out as a Perpetual WIP, or inspired me by working for what you want and getting it, or by not getting it yet but continuing to try.
To everyone who makes the writing community a great place to be, and who delights in others’ successes, and strives to help make other people better, stronger, and happier – thank you.
Now go ahead and buy my book 😉