It’s not our fault. Not all of it, anyway. Our current story isn’t yet available because, if you must know, we’re waiting to hear from the last of our beta readers before finalizing the manuscript. Taking our e-file as she went on vacation, J. said she’d review our words as she relaxed by the resort’s pool. We’re visualizing her with a Long Island Iced Tea in one hand, the manuscript in the other, as she ponders over the struggles of a mail order bride and the bride’s assortment of oh-so-sexy husbands.
As I write this, I’m looking out the office window. There’s snow on the ground and the white and increasingly-crunchy stuff has lingered there for well over a week. The temperature just won’t rise enough to send it away.
Yes, I’m feeling a little jealous. And I don’t even drink Long Island Iced Teas.
(The photo that accompanies this post? I don't really know what it is. Some kind of cocktail, certainly, but not an iced tea, per the Good Witch, Long Island or otherwise. Bing Images said I could use it, though, so here it is.)
Between the Good Witch and the wonderful volunteers who have offered to assist us, our manuscript will have benefited from the feedback of five different beta readers before publication. If you’re not an author you may not know this, but finding five readers for a genre novella is like winning the writer’s Powerball. Usually, I have to send out four or five blind requests (considered “blind”, because I don’t personally know the person I’m approaching and they don’t know me) in order to get a single acceptance. This time, I struck gold with almost everyone I contacted. I honestly don’t know why I was so lucky. At one point, I even thought we’d have six readers for the story, an all-time record for one of our tales, but one of the volunteers went away and I never heard from her again.
Glynn worried the reader decided to go missing rather than tell us she didn’t like the novella. We’ve both been in this game too long to fall for those ancient anxieties, but -- it’s cold, Glynn was feeling a little housebound, I believed he subconsciously wanted to worry over something. (Me, the only thing I’m worried about is whether my honey believed me when I said we shouldn’t exchange Valentine’s Day presents. As if there was any chance that was true.) So I reminded him that it was more likely that A. had accepted one too many beta requests (it happens all the time with me, so why wouldn’t it happen with her?) and she just didn’t know how to tell us. No big deal.
That, or she’d been eaten by wolves. I pitched it to him this way: Engrossed in our story, A. wandered into the woods as the sun was setting. She never realized she was being stalked. Too late, she heard the growling….
I told Glynn, in those circumstances, it was perfectly understandable that no one had returned our emails. After all, it might be years before the authorities find her bleached, white bones and the tattered remains of our manuscript.
Somehow, he found comfort with the wolf theory.
Since Valentine’s Day is looming, let me close with a quote from one of Glynn’s favorite writers. It’s something he shared with me about this time last year: “If you haven’t realized by this time that I love you, and always shall love you, and have never loved anybody else, and never shall love anybody else, you’re a fathead.” – P. G. Wodehouse