Receiving a manuscript from my editor is a Christmas-morning event. The build-up takes weeks—months if you count writing. I joyfully anticipate the day. And have no idea what the file will contain in the way of criticisms or compliments.
Yesterday was one of those days.
Book 3 (name omitted to protect my creativity) is safely home, barely scratched, and admirably refined. The next weeks will be full of fly fishing, hiking, concerts, farmers markets — and polishing my protagonist’s indomitable spirit in the face of war.
Grace’s trademark humor made the editor laugh again, although she’s in a heap of trouble this time. Her insights merited special comments — confirming that I’m expressing those emotions that unite us as humans — in the edit field. Her voice is stronger than ever.
To put this in perspective, the first edit of When Camels Fly was adorned by a comment column that drooped off the right side of the screen. It was simply epic. And ugly. Overwhelmingly awful. I opened the file (proudly displayed to the left) and laughed because it was so bad. Could be I’m getting the hang of this writing thing.
This third book also is receiving high marks from my beta reader extraordinaire, although I’m afraid she’ll blame me for any weight gain. “Have consumed almost an entire bag of Skinny Pop in the first two chapters (eat when nervous or intrigued), so by my personal measure, you have a winner!”
It’s such a privilege to write these novels, such a delight to be surrounded by so many talented professionals (agent, readers, editors, scientists). But the biggest joy is to hear from readers traveling this road with me. Women who say that they want to be Grace, or share her story with daughters and granddaughters. Men who call the work a first-rate work of suspense, or applaud my accurate use of weaponry — both cutting edge and archaic.
So to celebrate the healthy return of book 3, here’s a snippet of a scene that occurs early in the story. It’s the first of several I’ll share in the coming weeks, and you’ll just never believe where archaeologist Grace Madison goes from here.
Beyond the hyacinth, a watery spring sun dropped halfway behind the Royal Standard flying above Buckingham Palace. It tells the world that the Queen is at home. Billowing and snapping like a yellow scarf in the pale evening light, it did not lift my dark mood.