I’m a panda: the novel is under contract!

Last Friday I announced on Facebook that I had a contract for my Death Valley novel called The Juliet. Today that contract is signed, sealed,  and delivered, which means that I have formally joined Pandamoon Publishing‘s ever growing roster of authors. This has been a rapidly developing negotiation/agreement that at points felt like fate. The publisher loves the book, and I’m thrilled by the prospect of a truly collaborative relationship.

It has been 50 days since Erin Fitzgerald–who is not my lit agent because I don’t pay her; she’s more like my spirit guide–coached/coaxed me to do #pitmad. I wrote three pitches that were ignored, then wrote one more after some wine: The Maltese Falcon meets The Hope Diamond in Death Valley during the great wildflower bloom of 2005. . That one gets a fave by Pandamoon.The process would have gone even quicker had I not frittered September away. I didn’t send the submission until Oct 1.

At least five people close to me said something along the lines of “This is going to happen.” Dean, Erin, Deb, Art, Danny–y’all are witches.

Fidelity and the short story that comes from/turns into a novel

Question: When you write a short story that spawns a novel or when you extract material from a long project to create a short story, how concerned are you about consistency between them?

In my own practice, I make a regular habit of developing short work and submitting it for publication from whatever novel project I’m working on, both to buoy my spirits and to test the general concepts/characters. I rarely take into consideration how the short work diverges from–or outright contradicts–the long work.

I imagine I need to think more about the dependencies between the forms if they are operating with the same concepts, although the only time it was an issue that I was aware of was when Barrelhouse hosted an event to support my novel but were also selling issues of the mag with a story of mine in it. They cautioned purchasers not to read the story before the book because the story gave away the ending.

You can’t put a price on Victory

My 6 yr old gosh daughter is headed toward her own little “Araby” moment this weekend; she’s piling up her quarters and dollars so she can spend money at a small town fall festival, and I admit I’ve been whispering in her ear about it. She’s already announced to her folks that what she might buy is none of their business, and btw, don’t they owe her money for chores? She was supposed to sweep the porch for $4 (I can only assume that was the total cash on hand), but later when her mother accidentally said $5, the GD corrected her: “No, it’s 4,” and we all chuckled at her negotiating skills. In hindsight, considering the little girl’s death grip on her autonomy, maybe it wasn’t a misstep. Maybe it was worth the dollar to be right.

Some of my best friends write commercial fiction

Been having some very positive interactions with a new press that has put out several pop-genre titles, and their sweetness during a week that was filled with bad literary news makes me fantasize about changing the scenery.  Even if nothing comes of this (sorry to be so cryptic), I need to remember that I’m looking for a publisher who loves the book, and that all other considerations are secondary.

The Dialect ick

So I’m aware that this marks me as a lazy, poor teacher, but I just hate that class in every fiction workshop where someone shares a story that includes a non-transparent cultural dialect (to my mostly white middle class and white middle class by proximity students), and the whole session becomes bogged down in obsessive discussion that does little more than expose everyone’s barely concealed racism. The less is more lecture is powerless when students finally find an opportunity to talk about race and class via the only science they think they understand–linguistics. But also, the less is more lecture feels disingenuous and oppressive at its core. What is accuracy, and why does it feel like too much? [ooh. discussion topic for class? back-pocket that one.]

Ah, the dark and awful excitement that spills forth . . . especially when privilege tries to establish credibility. “well, I spent five years in Georgia” or “I’m a youth mentor in DC.”  It’s like watching a kid touch her hair with a Wizzer top going full speed. You want to say, “don’t do that,” but you know they can’t help it. Of course, I teach in Virginia, so there’s that as well.

ps-we also had the “An alcoholic wouldn’t drink Jack and Crown Royal” discussion. Oh jeez.