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PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
This was a good week. A REALLY good week. On Tuesday, I got a telephone call from my agent. Now, I know how she works; when it’s not good news, she’ll shoot me a PM or an email. Like the message I’d gotten from her three weeks earlier, when a manuscript that had been revised and resubmitted to a publisher that requested both, passed on it. I talked about this in an earlier blog post, how I was waiting to hear back. Well, I heard. And it’s one of those moments when you really start to question what you’re doing with your time. It was a low point, I’ll confess.
I didn’t like the rewrite as much as the original manuscript, but I’d tailored it to this specific publisher, working from a list of things that troubled them. In their opinion there were too many extraneous characters, as a romance it needed to be more targeted to the actions and reactions of the two main characters. The two men, David and Jackson, needed more ‘agency’, a term I’ll confess I’d never heard before. I could sort of see their point, I guess. There were lots of other characters in the book. The problem was I really LIKED the extraneous characters. I liked David’s mom nudging them together, I liked her sass and her feeling that Jackson would be just what her son needed after getting out of a disastrous relationship. I liked their friends, a smart ass to a man. Couples don’t exist in a vacuum. There are people around them. I was advised that if the extra characters didn’t create conflict it was better to cut them back or out. That actually hurt a little, like they wanted me to take away part of what made them… themselves. I know that sounds weird; they only exist in my head, after all. But we’ve already discussed that, haven’t we? My head is a busy place. David’s mom and the guys they hung out with were these men’s families and friends, and I thought they were important to the development of the story, and to how David and Jackson ended up together.
Anyway, back to the phone call from my agent. After the first publisher passed on the rewrite, we had a conversation about the manuscript. We both agreed we liked the original better and so that was what she submitted to Dreamspinner Press. On Tuesday, she heard back from them and called me with the news. They were offering a contract for David and Jackson’s story. And not only that, they’re optioning the next two books in the series. Because you see, all of those friends and family in the book? Are in all three books. Tentatively, we’re referring to it as the ‘Blue Collar Series’, because one of the men in each of the three couples is either a handyman or a plumber or a house painter. They join together, along with their partners, to form their own company. As Delta Renovation and Design takes off and begins to grow, it becomes obvious that even though they have enough business to keep them all working, someone isn’t happy about it. The mysteries, and the three different love stories, play out over all three books. My guys have found a home at Dreamspinner, giving me a chance to give life to all of the stories of these funny, kind, complicated men, and I couldn’t be more delighted.
So, sometimes as a writer everything goes the way you hope it will the first time out of the gate. Sometimes, a publisher will ask you to revise and resubmit your book. Sometimes, even when you do that and you cater your book to their expectations, they still don’t take it. (I have to admit, the next time someone asks me to make major changes in a manuscript I don’t fully support, I’m going to think long and hard before I do it.) And sometimes? It’s just a matter of the manuscript finding the right home. Sometimes, like it or not, you just have to wait.
Patience is a virtue, or so I’ve been told all my life. I sure wish I was better at it!!
Since I’ve talked about this book twice now, I thought it only fair to finally share an excerpt!
By the time David pulled back into his driveway, the sun was slanting low over the trees and the streetlights had come on. It was nearly seven, and he was tired and irritated after spending the day dealing with a manufacturer who was holding up a large installation in Boise. Six months into the project, the furniture supplier suddenly decided he didn’t like the terms of his contract. Add in an infuriating phone call from someone claiming to be Trevor’s lawyer, threatening legal action if he didn’t make the upcoming mortgage payment on the condo and it made for a Friday from hell.
He stared at the lopsided garage door, lips pursed. The idea of walking into the cold, dark house held no appeal whatsoever. Glowering at his front porch David shoved his hand into his pocket and pulled out the business card. ‘Jackson Henry’. It brought to mind a burly straight guy with a beard wearing a flannel shirt over a dirty wife beater, low slung levi’s and a tool belt. And a healthy butt crack when he bent over. David grimaced. He’d been called too picky more than once in his life and he supposed he could concede the point, but he liked his men lean and clean shaven with at least a passing acquaintance with style. Like Trevor, his mind provided unhelpfully. It was one of the things that had drawn David to him in the beginning, the way Trevor was always so beautifully put together. But he needed someone to fix his water heater, he reminded himself, not a date.
Flicking the card against the steering wheel as he stared thoughtfully at the listing garage door, he grabbed his cellphone out of the holder on the dash and punched in the phone number before he could talk himself out of it. It rang four times and David was about to hang up when it was answered abruptly.
David blinked. The voice was deep and smooth and sent a little fissure of pleasure down David’s spine. It startled him.
“Uhm, hi,” he managed. And then he wasn’t sure what to say. Silence lengthened awkwardly.
“Hi,” the guy said finally. “And as fascinating as this is, I’m kind of in the middle of something. Who is this?”
Heat filled David’s face. If he had sounded like a jerk he probably would have hung up. But actually, he sounded… amused.
“My name is David Snyder,” David said, finally managing to pull himself together. “I was given your business card by my mother.” He grimaced.
“Who’s your Mom?”
David heard the sound of rustling coming through the phone, as if Henry had gone back to work on something.
“Beverley Snyder. She lives on sixteenth on the south side.”
“Oh sure, Mrs. Snyder. Nice lady. What can I do for you?”
“I bought a house in the same neighborhood, and I’m discovering that what people say about old houses is true.”
“Lots of little things,” Jackson said, his tone knowing.
“Well, and some big ones, I’m afraid.” David swallowed, forcing himself to push forward. “I was wondering if you might have some time to stop by and take a look at the issues?”
“One second.” He heard more rustling sounds then the voice returned, slightly out of breath. “Does tomorrow morning work for you?”
He couldn’t imagine starting another week with no lights and a cold shower. “Absolutely,” David said instantly. “What time is good for you?”
A soft chuckle came through the line, and gooseflesh broke out over his shoulders. David couldn’t remember every having such a visceral reaction to a voice. God, if the man matched that sexy laughter… NO. He couldn’t think that way. There was no way this guy was gay. Besides, his last choice had been such a disaster he needed to stay single for a while. A long while. Maybe forever.
“How about nine?” Jackson Henry said, pulling David’s focus back to his phone. “I usually start about seven, but it’s Saturday and I could use an extra couple of hours sleep.”
David gave him the address to the house and hung up hoping his mother knew what she was talking about. After the week he’d had he just wanted something, anything to go right. He put the card back in his pocket, retrieved his messenger bag and got out of the car. His stomach gurgled loudly as he walked up onto his porch, and he wished he’d stopped at a damned drive thru on the way home.
God, he hoped this guy could fix stuff.
Below are the David and Jackson who live in my head. Not bad company!
About Diana CoplandDiana Copland began writing in the seventh grade, when she shamelessly combined elements of Jane Eyre and Dark Shadowsto produce an overwrought Gothic tale that earned her an A- in creative writing, thanks entirely to the generosity of her teacher. She wrote for pure enjoyment for the next three decades before discovering LiveJournal and a wonderful group of supportive fanfiction writers, who after gifting her with a “”Best New Author”” Award encouraged her to try her hand at original gay fiction.
Born and raised in southern California, Diana moved to the Pacific Northwest after losing a beloved spouse to AIDS in 1995. She lives in eastern Washington with four obnoxious cats, near her two wonderful adult children.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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