Ever been curious about the path to publication? Here’s mine (at least so far):

September 2007: Waking up in a very swish room at the Walt Disney World Contemporary Resort, a scene came to me: Elisabeth Hicks, war veteran and detective, at a party with a beautiful woman (who looked a bit like this) who wants her to do a dangerous job. I wrote furiously, for two hours before check out, through the ride to the airport, and into the hour before boarding my plane to head home.

December 2007: I picked up the scene again, and decided I had to know how Hicks got to that party. I started with page one, and wrote my way up to it, then past it as the New Year turned. At the end of January 2008, I’d finished the first draft.

I spent 2008 working closely with an editor in the hopes of getting a contract for another manuscript I’d written. The editor requested major revisions, and I spent most of my time on then, taking breaks here and there to polish the Hicks story.

March 2009: The editor I’d worked with for nearly a year rejected the manuscript. She asked if I had anything else to show her and I sent the revised and newly named Waking Up Dead manuscript.

June 2009: I got a contract offer for Waking Up Dead. I took the contract to a local attorney who is also an agent. She advised me to shop the work around, saying “if you get one offer, you’ll get others”. I attended my first writers’ conference just a week later, and learned enough to write my first query letters.

November 2009: Waking Up Dead got me my agent.

March 2010:  I got the phone call from my agent that two editors were interested in Waking Up Dead. Delighted I set to work on the background materials they requested. Then I waited. And waited some more.

July 2010: Contract negotiations began with one of the editors.

March 2011: The contract was finalized!

August 2011: And now I’m starting on the edits. Opening up a document with a plethora of comments and line edits is enough to make anyone feel lost but I followed some advice from a great author and started with the easy ones. I dealt the grammatical changes in a few days. Now it’s time for the hard work, the ‘brain surgery’ where a scene from day 10 in the story moves to day four, and the tough decisions, like whether or not to add a B-plot or to cut two characters that I loved.

There’s the work, and then there’s the nagging voice of self-doubt. If I change enough little things, do I change the over-all tone of the story? I worry that the voice of my favorite characters is getting mixed up with my editor’s voice. I fret I’m taking too long. I fret I’m not taking long enough. I’ve switched to reading my way through, starting with page one, instead of just going through addressing the comments. I’m hoping that will help.