For several years now, I've been working on a mystery about a serial killer. The victims are found in room 319 of different motels in the three counties, Wayne, Oakland and Macomb, that surround the metropolitan Detroit area. On the bathroom mirror at each scene, written in the victim's lipstick is the taunting message "WHY 319?" What is so special about that room or that number?
I can't speak for other writers, but sometimes you get a story that you're working on and you get it close but can sense there is something elusive that is just beyond your fingertips, avoiding your grasp, that you can't seem to get a handle on. This was one of those stories. So I'd work on it when I had the time but couldn't seem to knock a hole in that wall and get it right. At moments like that, I'd put it up on the shelf and move on to something else.
Well, as someone far smarter than I once said "that was then. This is now."
Not only was I able to finally to knock a hole in the wall, I kicked it completely down. Inspiration struck at some point as what came together was a finished project that just sang to me. Enough story twists to make pretzels and more than a few subplots to keep things buzzing. The pacing worked. The conflicts worked. The action worked. Everything clicked. I had a couple of fellow writers, Travis and Cory, give it a read and got some great feedback. Part one of the goal was accomplished.
Part two was the daunting part. Finding a publisher who was interested.
After a couple of query letters went nowhere, I found somebody new. Black Rose Writing sounded like just the place for my intrepid tale. They responded to my query in a timely fashion and asked for my manuscript. I sent it along and tried not to think about. Life goes on. The day jobs were still there. Time skipped along.
Until last week. That's when I got the note from the publisher, singing the praises of my story and offering a contract. For a guy with two left feet and little sense of rhythm, there was no happy dance. But there was a defiant "Yes!" with a fist thrown in the air. Fortunately, no one was around to witness this display.
So the first two parts of the goal are accomplished. The book is scheduled to be released in September. To see one's efforts in print is always a jolt that will never grow old. Now there is work to be done. Another review for edits, plans for promotions and all that jazz. I sense the next six months will fly. And that's okay with me. I can't wait to get my hands on this one.
Time to set another goal.