Thursday, July 20, 2006

Abandonment Issues

I am so very close to finishing this book that I can almost taste it (it tastes a lot like dark chocolate M&Ms). Just a chapter and a half to go (I think -- you never know). I even know most of what will happen from here on out. If I'm very, very good and don't let myself get too distracted, I can finish this draft today. Then my plan is to catch an early show of Pirates of the Caribbean tomorrow morning and do some shopping at the big mall across town that's recently been totally renovated so that it now includes all the shops I could want, plus a movie theater, under one roof.

Not being too distracted could be a challenge today, though. Although I got to bed kind of late and had a little trouble getting to sleep, I still set my alarm to get up earlier today so I might get to work and finish the book. It was a good thing, because less than fifteen minutes later my agent called, and if I hadn't set an alarm, I'd have still been asleep. She had the bad news that my editor is moving to another publisher. I loooooove my editor. We're on such the same wavelength and seem to have a similar outlook on life. In fact, I've often found when randomly browsing bookstore shelves that a lot of the books I end up buying turn out to have been edited by my editor (and then I figured out I could snag them from her for free -- woo hoo!). So now I don't know what will happen to me. I'm trying not to panic, but the last time I had an editor leave me, the result was an eight-year publishing dry spell. This even comes at at similar time for me, when I'm finishing up a contract and am therefore between "jobs," so to speak. But I have an agent in my corner now, and I'm not writing for any particular "line" that's about to go away, plus I think I've done well enough and have a good enough reputation among people at Random House (I send cookies) that I doubt I'll be a hot potato with all the other editors saying, "No, you take her!"

The best comparison I can think of to this situation is if you have a wonderful boss, someone who totally gets you, who supports your career ambitions and makes sure you get to work on the projects that are best suited for you and who generally creates a pleasant working environment, and then that boss announces that he's leaving the company. You can't help but wonder what will happen next. You could get an even better boss who gives your career a real boost. You could get a jerk. You could get someone who wants to reorganize things to fit his own vision so that your role changes -- and that could be to a new role that's even better for you or it could be to something that makes your life miserable. Most likely, things will more or less stay the same. You'll keep doing your job the way it was set up and only the more emotional and interpersonal aspects will really change. But there's a lot of uncertainty while you wait to find out how things will go.

Unfortunately, that analogy isn't too soothing to me because I had something like that happen in my last job. I had an incredibly cool boss who was so supportive of my writing career. He let me work out a deal where I cut my workload to semi-part time (with a slight pay cut) and telecommuted, and I was able to create my own job where I did the stuff I really wanted to do and was best at. For almost two years, I was happier than I'd ever been in a job. And then he left. His replacement was someone I'd worked with before in another job, someone I knew wasn't entirely ethical or above-board. He was also one of the few people I'd ever had hallway screaming matches with in the workplace. He was hired over my intense objections and warnings, and I was laid off a week later (though he insisted he had nothing to do with that decision). And gee, wouldn't you know, a few years later, after that office nearly tanked, lost most of its clients and a good percentage of its workforce, that guy was caught in an ethical lapse and fired.

So, yeah, it's a good thing I have a fantasy world to escape into today. I think I'll be zapping some evil wizards.

But that wasn't the end of my morning fun. Very soon after I spoke with my agent, my TV went on the blink. The picture shrank from a full screen down to a narrow little line across the middle -- very Outer Limits-looking. That set is about 11 years old, and it gets heavy use, so I guess it was time. It was just bad timing -- that final straw for the morning to add to my abandonment issues. I guess I'll add shopping for a new TV to my list of things to do after I finish the book. I'd been wanting to upgrade eventually, and I think I will go for something nice instead of cheap -- not plasma screen HD nice, but nicer than my little 20-inch screen. It's actually kind of appropriate for me to treat myself to a good TV right now (oops, did I drop a hint?). The only problem with getting a good-sized TV is that I can't carry it or fit it in my car, so I'll have to have it delivered, and finding a time when I'll be home for delivery in their sort of wonky schedule (I've yet to find a place that promises "overnight delivery" that delivers in less than a week or that delivers when they say they will), so I guess I'll be watching Sci Fi Friday on the little dorm room TV in my bedroom. Wouldn't you know, I lose my TV just when I'm finishing a book and have time to watch it.

But enough of my whining. It's time for a fun Out of the Blogosphere book, Susan Grant's Your Planet or Mine (LOVE the title).

Think the grocery store is a great place to meet men?

Hunky interstellar fugitive, aisle 5.

With outrageously false accusations piling up against her famous political family and an ex-fiancé in hot water determined to take her down with him, the last thing Jana Jasper needs is more trouble--especially man trouble. But when she heads to the grocery store for an ice cream fix, not only does the muscled hunk in the frozen foods section ranting about spaceships and invasions look crazy, he looks... familiar.

Cavin of Far Star has never forgotten the girl he met during his weeks spent on that quaint little world, planet Earth, the girl who didn't believe he was real. And now he'll risk his future to save her. All she has to do is take him to her leader. Simple enough plan--although Jana isn't so easily convinced. Hell-bent on charming his way past her defenses, he's determined to stay one step ahead of the galaxy's most feared assassin--and may just capture his favorite Earthling's heart in the process.

Here's what one reviewer said about this book:
"Veers uncomfortably close to our actual plans to invade your pitiful little planet. Pull this book from the shelves immediately or I shall have it vaporized!" -- General Neppal, Supreme Commander of the Coalition fleet

Sue has one of the coolest day jobs of any writer I know. She flies 747s on international routes for United Airlines. For more info, check out her web site. Her blog tells all about her piloting adventures, including the time she had to play "terrorists storm the cockpit door" during a training exercise -- on a day she wore a skirt. Check it out.

Now I'm going to finish a book and maybe whimper a little over the phone to my soon-to-be-ex editor.

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