Well, Janet Reid announced the winner of the Liz Norris Pay It Forward Debut Novel Contest today, and it wasn't me. But I could have told you that days ago. In fact, I had the winner picked since the day before I announced my finalist status. She was finalist #3, and was revealed the day before I was. When I read her entry, I basically knew I didn't have a chance to win. Congrats to Cassie Marshall on winning, and getting to go to New York for the Backspace conference! My personal seething jealousy aside, I'm confident her novel, "The Stars Fell Sideways" will be on bookstore shelves in the very near future!
So, what am I doing now that I don't have to pack and plan for a trip to New York? Querying. When I took a break to revise my first novel back in early March, I stopped querying. I resumed for a few days around the time I entered the Liz Norris contest, but stopped again when I was (miraculously!) chosen a finalist. I figured, what the heck, I've got a 1 in 9 shot of winning now, so I'll wait and polish that query again before I head back into the land of writer torture (a.k.a. querying agents).
I spent the entire day today dusting off my agent research, finalizing my query, and compiling emails to half a dozen agents. Knock on wood one of them works! It really is a time drag, but I needed a day off from my WIP. I'm entering the Great Boggy Middle of the novel now, and it's perilous trying to navigate my way through those treacherous swamps. False plot lines threaten to lure me off the trail, while here and there I see a glimmer of light through the trees and hope to dog I'm still walking in the right direction.
The Helper Monkey is about a third of the way through Devil May Care, and so far he likes it even better than Dragon Hunter. And I planned to change the name of Dragon Hunter to Running Down the Dragon, but since I'm claiming "Finalist" status in the Liz Norris contest on my queries, I thought it best to hold on to the original title for a while. At least until an agent requests more material. At that point, I think I will let them know I changed the working title. Just in case any of them ask Janet Reid about my entry in her contest, it would be bad if they used the new title, and Janet told them she never heard of it, and I must be some crackpot. :) So, for now, sticking with the old title, even though I've lost all my love for it.
Thanks again, everyone. Especially Janet Reid, Liz Norris, and everyone involved in the contest. It was a fantastic trip, and I'm grateful to have been introduced to so many wonderful people along the way, even if we're only friends online for now. Someday we'll all be published, and meet regularly at events and conferences, and have yet another great story to tell.
The Progress-o-Meter is kind of stuck lately, but here it is, anyway. I plan to write some tonight. Hopefully. We'll see. Still recovering from the craziness.