Thursday, June 14, 2007

Right now, it's all about the book...

The Silver Compass is on, and has been scheduled for publication 9 months from now on April 1, 2008. I'm flying to New York on Monday to see my agent, editor and publisher, and while I'm there, I'll be delivering the manuscript, and that means it's all about the book right now.

I feel for my family. I really do.
If I could pull a Paris Hilton and find a tiny jail cell to work from,
I would. The idea of building a treehouse-like structure in my back yard has been discussed (equipped with heat, power and a bed for when I get tired). I'm not sure the neighbors would like it, but all that peace and quiet; can you imagine?!

I went to bed at 2:00 a.m. this morning, then got up at 6:30
to make breakfast and lunches before sending my kids off to school -- other than the odd day here and there, this is the pattern I've been following for eight weeks. I'm behind on email, laundry, groceries, and I won't even try describing what my house looks like. My cats suddenly look thinner, my kids have taken to tip-toeing past my desk, and the dog has written me off given how he howls at the window when strangers stroll by walking their pets.

My husband phoned at 7 o'clock this morning to make sure I was up. "How's the writing going?" he asked. A fair enough question (and one best asked over the phone, by the way). We rarely see each other these days. ie., when I fly to New York next week, he'll be flying to Florida and my mom (thank you, God!) will be coming to watch our boys.

Off I went on a mini-rant: "My eyes are burning, my back is aching, and even our coffee pot won't cooperate, because it doesn't make it fast enough!"

Pause. "Have you turned it on?" he said.

Slow, deep breath. I'd forgotten to press the button.

"Still," I complained, pressing the button. "Nothing's going right. I have a character that needs to get nuked out of six or seven chapters because he belonged to an older version of the story, then I printed five chapters last night and - POOF - this morning they're missing! How do five chapters go missing?!

Another long pause. "I saw them in the fridge."

Ever been so stressed all you wanna do is a long slow face plant into your mattress and sleep for days?!

P.S. Yes, the iron dragonfly you see in the photo (known to bring good luck & fortune) is the same one Pat at ORION has.
I gave her one months ago and also have three on order for Jacquelyn Mitchard, Susan Wiggs and Linda Holeman (author friends who have been supportive of my career). When I'm writing like this, my dragonfly never leaves the top page of my manuscript, sort of like how I never leave the house!!


kyla-dale said...


It's been months since I got to be the first post here or anywhere else so w-h-o-o-o-p!

Where do you get those big dragonflies from? I want one too!
Nice news about Silver Compass. I had not idea it was coming out so soon. Can't wait to read it:>)

Robin L. said...

(((hugs))) If it makes you feel any better, I've found my keys in the freezer and made coffee both without grounds, and without water. I don't reccommend either!

You'll get through it, though, and have an amazing ms and then wonder how you did it!

(and feeding the pets is totally overrated - can't the cat go catch a mouse?!)

Kim Stagliano said...

Note to self: Turn on coffeepot. Feed children. Buy dragonfly which MUST be a lucky insect!

The cover is beautiful.

Heidi the Hick said...

I've given myself these deadlines that I refuse to let up on. I have to do it because I'm lazy and easily distracted.

I wonder sometimes what it would be like to have an ACTUAL deadline, that other people have set. Right now I think that'd be a good problem to have...but I could change my tune someday!

Larramie said...

Lovely talisman, Holly, that's something every writer needs. Although you've been through the grinder, you have SURVIVED and get to enjoy a long, relaxing plane ride to NYC.

Hope everything goes well for you there, enjoy and travel safe. Just let the Silver Compass be your guide!

Kanani said...

This is very inspiring and reassuring.
I just finished up a 30 week workshop at UCLA --for people on their final draft.

I just finished re-editing scenes 1 - 30, and have 25 more to go.

My house looks like shit.
My hair looks like hell.
*Well, yours doesn't --okay?*
But I'm awfully glad to know that this is all very normal.
But the nice thing about all of this hard work for the past nine months has been that I made some really good friends, and we're able to help out Pat with her book.

wordman17 said...

** te-he-he-he **
I once threw 1/2 of my manuscript in the garbage and then dumped cereal and milk on top 10 mins later. But what make it shittier yet was that my printer cartridge had died and I couldn't reprint it again until I made a trip to Office Depot. It's the mind under stress, it can't help itself for splintering a little now and then :>)

Anonymous said...

"In the fridge!"

(tears streaming down cheeks)
Snortle chort
hee hee hee

I'm not laughing at you...I found my flash drive in the bathoom cabinet last week.


John Elder Robison said...

I've lost things too, but I don't drink coffee and I'm too logical for dragonflies.

My next book is moving slower with all the stuff that's going on.

See you next week. And I took all those photos. I'll take pictures of all of you, too, if you want.


ORION said...

pictures? did someone say pictures?
I will bring my camera.
We are preparing for our excellent adventure!
Ya hoo!

Melissa Marsh said...

Hahahaha...putting the pages in the fridge! I love it!

Yet another eye-opening post about what it really means to write on deadline. Enjoy your trip to New York City!

Trish Ryan said...

Awww...I love your dragonfly! And hang in there with the writing. Remember: things tend to get done, and laundry can always wait!

Kind of funny that your pages landed in the fridge :)

Dawn said...

Somehow it helps to read about others trying to juggle too many balls in the air. Makes my own life seem easier to manage. You've got more balls in the air than I have, Holly, that's for sure! And you're coping. (You can live with grotty hair and the kids will always find food somewhere in the kitchen. And they'll spill enough for the dog!) So if you can manage then I can too.