Tag Archives: The Call

My 2016 Writing Life In Review, One Email Quote at a Time

2016 may have sucked for humanity, but it was pretty awesome for my writing career. As the year draws to a close, just for fun, here’s a look back on my 2016 writing life through email quotes!

I always am fascinated at anything writers, editors, or agents post about submission and publishing timeline stuff, because the timing in publishing always seems so shrouded in mystery. So for your entertainment, here’s one actual quote per month from a writing/publishing-related email I sent in 2016, tracking the evolution of THE TETHERED MAGE in its journey toward publication.

Actual email quotes are in blue, commentary in black. Enjoy!


OK, here it is with the changes! I took all your advice. 🙂 All changes accepted, all comments deleted, ready to go.


In January, I put the then-final touches on what was at the time a YA historical fantasy called A FALCONER OF VENICE and sent it off to my awesome agent, Naomi Davis. Uh, a lot has changed since then. Though Naomi is still awesome. (And still my agent.)


Now I gotta get back to working on this WIP, but it’s hard to type with so many fingers crossed… 😉

In February, the book then known as FALCONER went out on sub to a small, select handful of editors. (Repeat after me, kids going on sub: “And now, we wait.”)


It’s good to have news, even bad news—silence is unnerving! Thanks for sending along the feedback, too. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the remaining fulls & pitches.

In March, I got my first rejection for FALCONER. See, it really does happen to everyone!


You know what’s really awesome when you’re a writer waiting for an email? Dozens of notification emails about someone updating a work thing.

This one is actually a tweet, because in April, I got no news of any kind on FALCONER and pretty much just sat there gnawing my fingernails and freaking out. And also working on my new WIP, which is a thing you should always do when on sub.


Everyone I know seems to be in the same boat of publishing being just plain slow these days, so I’m not freaking out (honest), but I’ve basically managed to get myself superstitious that if I send you an email something will magically happen, so, uh, here’s the email. (Hangs head in embarrassment)

In May, as you can see, the waiting of being on sub got to me, and I snapped and sent my (wonderfully communicative, to be clear) agent an OH GOD I KNOW THERE’S STILL NO NEWS BUT THE SILENCE IS KILLING ME PLEASE SAY SOMETHING ANYTHING JUST SO I KNOW I’M NOT ALONE HERE IN THE DARK email, as you can see. I, uh, don’t necessarily recommend doing this. And she was being great about keeping me updated and everything. I just snapped. She was very nice about it.

Also, I lied. I was totally freaking out.


(June was the month I got my book deal, so I give you several different email excerpts, because I can’t pick just one!)

I am certainly around this evening! And totally can make it until then without dying of suspense. 😉

This was about setting up a call with my agent when I knew she’d been talking to an editor who had my book.

I was lying. I actually died. But then I got The Call and it brought me back to life.

I’m still bouncing off the walls! My daughters think it’s hilarious. They have also reminded me that years ago I promised them if I ever got a book contract we’d go out for fondue, so that is definitely happening very soon. 🙂

We did. It was delicious.

Woo hoo!!!!! Still waiting to wake up from this amazing dream… 🙂 🙂 🙂

Six months later, STILL waiting. This is a hell of a long dream.



In July, I signed my contract. This quote was my gut reaction to the section in my contract about following the house style guide. (Not sent to my editor, of course! Just joking with my agent. Well, mostly joking. I have strong feelings about the Oxford comma.)


In other news, the revision is coming along great! I’ve got some good momentum going and am trucking along.

In August, I was busting my butt adding 50K words to my book and making it adult rather than YA, and original universe rather than alt history, among other structural revisions. “Trucking along” is want-to-seem-professional-ese for “OH GOD I’M WORKING SO HARD MY SOUL IS BLEEDING.”


SO DELIRIOUSLY HAPPY to finally be able to tell everyone about this!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!

In September, my book got its final title, THE TETHERED MAGE, and we announced it publicly. Oh, and I turned in that first huge round of revisions.


Thank you so much for all the fantastic feedback! This is all incredibly useful. I’m excited to get going on the edits!

In October, my awesome editor, Lindsey Hall, got back to me alarmingly quickly with feedback on said enormous and soul-breaking round of edits, and I plunged straight into Round Two. NO REST FOR THE WRITER.



In November, they sent me an early look at a cover concept. The quote above is my reaction! I loved it and I still love it and it made everything seem like maybe it was all real. I also turned in my second round of edits.


EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s incredibly exciting! WOW!!!

In December, I learned that Orbit would publish my book in the UK as well as the US. I also got feedback on that second round of edits and am now working away on the third, which is nice and small and manageable, comparatively speaking.

You will notice a trend toward more and more exclamation points and capital letters as the year wears on. Clearly, by release day, I will be reduced to nothing but exclamation points, and all my emails and tweets will just be “!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Gotta say, I look forward to it.

The Best Birthday Present Ever

So I have to share my call story with you guys, because it was strange and wonderful and funny and involved bees. HUNDREDS OF ANGRY BEES. I am not making this up.

It all started on my birthday.

My awesome agent Naomi Davis called me, which basically gave me a heart attack right there, because usually we communicate by email so I knew SOMETHING was up. The conversation went a bit like this:

Naomi: So I just got a call from an editor who really likes your book and—


There was no offer yet; the editor had called to ask some questions like would I be okay with making the book Adult instead of YA (YES FINE IT WAS ON THE LINE ANYWAY TOTALLY COOL) and making it longer (SURE YES ABSOLUTELY I CAN DO THAT) and maybe a series (!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOLY CRAP HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

And so Naomi and I were cautiously squeeing on the phone together, because clearly SOMETHING was going on, here. I was like OMG BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER (Okay, except maybe my first puppy, she was pretty amazing) and basically running around the house bumping into walls with excitement.

And then the waiting.

I kept my phone so close to me it’s a wonder I didn’t absorb it into my body through osmosis. We went out for my birthday dinner to my favorite local restaurant, and I just kept my phone there in line of sight because I MUST NOT MISS ANY CALLS. My brother called to wish me a happy birthday, and it was all I could do to not greet him with “You’re not my agent!”

The next morning, I wanted desperately to check in with Naomi, but I knew she’d have called me if there was any news. So I did what anyone would do: I came up with a completely fabricated excuse to send her an email asking about some minor detail of our phone call, and included a line about OMG THE WAITING IS KILLING ME EEEEEEEEEEEEE.

Naomi sent me back a short email containing the following fateful lines:

“Actually, I heard from the editor today. Are you around this evening for a followup phone call? I have to do a little bit of beekeeping this afternoon otherwise I’d call sooner.”




Cue complete panic.

Here’s an actual exchange I had with my husband:



When I finally talked to my agent that night, she explained that she couldn’t call me earlier because she was splitting a hive, a process that apparently involves being surrounded by thousands of angry bees and sounds both delicate and badass.

But more to the point, she told me I had been offered an amazing book deal for a trilogy with Orbit, which is such an amazing publisher I just want to draw little hearts around their name every time I type it. (Can you imagine the little hearts for me? Good!)

I’m pretty sure there was swearing and squealing and a lot of incoherent noises. My kids were listening, and they knew this was the Big Call I’d been waiting for, and they were asking me if my book was going to be published, but I was listening to Naomi tell me the details, so I scrawled out the word TRILOGY on a scrap of paper and handed it to them. They thought it was hilarious watching me bounce up and down babbling like a loon about how happy I was for the rest of the night (and, oh, for the next several weeks).

And thus ends the story of the angry bees, the Best Birthday Present, and my dream come true.

May all your life’s fairy tales have as happy an ending!