Will you keep your fingers crossed for me? I just received what might be the final proof copy of A Spark of Heavenly Fire. If it’s okay, by this time next week, I will be a published author. If it’s not okay, I’m going to shoot myself.
(Just a glancing blow on a toe, perhaps. What? You thought I meant in the head? I need my head . . . where else would I put my hats?)
Seriously, though, this book has been through several proofing sessions in my effort to make it as perfect as possible. I realize perfect does not have degrees — perfect is perfect — but you know what I mean. No matter how good a job one does, there is always, always something that slips by.
Remember that Persian carpet legend and how the carpet makers purposely put a flaw in their carpets because only God is perfect? It sounds arrogant to me, as if they thought they were so perfect that they had to fake imperfection to prove . . . whatever. Still, if you happen to find a flaw in my book, just remember that it’s there on purpose. (Wink, wink.)
Publication has been a long time in coming. Years, in fact. It took a year to write A Spark of Heavenly Fire, another few months to edit, years of querying and rejections — I queried almost two hundred agents and editors. I did find an agent about three years ago, but she was worthless; she sent the book to publishers who did not carry my genre (whatever that might be). When the contract expired, I started querying other agents and editors. Still no takers.
Odd, but through it all, I believed in this book. I have doubts about my other books for some reason, but never about A Spark of Heavenly Fire. It’s spooky thinking that soon I will know if all the rejecters are right, or if I am.
At least my publisher likes the book. He said, “I was told by some other small publishers with whom I had done research that I was going to get mountains of unacceptable crap for every worthy thing I received. So when I got Pat’s manuscript for A Spark of Heavenly Fire, which was like the first submission to Second Wind, I thought, ‘OMG, is this possible?!’ I knew in the first 20 pages that she was the real thing. Then, as we corresponded, I realized where I knew that name: she and I were neck and neck throughout the FCC contest on Gather.com. I remember reading her first chapter of More Deaths Than One and thinking, ‘Oh, man. I hope her second chapter is messed up! I can’t beat this.’ Well, it just goes to show, if you can’t beat ’em, publish ’em!”
So, I’m off to proof the book again. Here’s hoping . . .