On July 3, 2018, at 7:18 AM, I received the email from Solstice Editor in Chief Kathi Sprayberry offering me a contract for Sweet Heart -- and I was finally able to exhale. I knew when I submitted Sweet Heart for consideration on April 24th that contracts for new books would not be sent out until July, and I spent every second of those two-plus months worrying that Lee's story wouldn't see the light of day. Luckily, I had the launch party and the promotional work for Dear Heart to distract me, but there was an underlying anxiety to those endeavors, which increased exponentially as it got closer and closer to July.
On June 29th, Kathi let the Solstice authors know that she would be sending out new contracts the first week in July. This was an enormous relief because I feared that I'd have to wait until later in the month to find out Sweet Heart's fate, and I didn't know how long I could keep up the pretense that I didn't have a care in the world.
Between the 29th and the 3rd, I drove myself nuts with worry that I had jinxed Sweet Heart's chances for acceptance by completing all of the pre-publication requirements and selecting its cover art, so that everything would be ready to send off if Solstice picked up the new book. I seriously considered deleting it all from my computer so that The Universe wouldn't hold it against me -- that's how crazed I was, but something told me to get a grip, and have faith, so I stopped short of prep-work Armageddon, although I didn't stop worrying.
I spend Monday, July 2nd, glued to my computer and checked my emails every five minutes for something from Solstice. It was a long, unproductive day, and I was exhausted by the time I climbed into bed.. On the 3rd, I started checking at 4 AM, and highly resented the time I needed away from the computer to take a shower. We had scheduled several appointments for that morning, which irritated me to no end, and I would have been miserable if I hadn't seen the email before we left the house. Though the world at large was spared that side of me, I still made us late for our first appointment because I insisted on taking my time to send off a response to Kathi, to let her know that I'd execute the contract later that day.
So -- did I rush us through the rest of the morning so I could get home, read the contract, sign it, and send it off? I did. And did I leave the pork chops I was going to prepare for lunch in the refrigerator and microwave leftovers for Arthur so I could get to work in my study while he ate? You betcha. And did I tell Arthur to leave the dishes in the sink and walk away so I could text Denise and Pat and Jill, post the news on my social media sites, and email my friends who aren't on Facebook? Of course. And did I forego Sam's grooming session, cut short his walk, and decide that the house didn't need to be vacuumed after all so I could spend the afternoon updating my website and ordering new business cards? You know that I did.
And by the end of the day, everything that I could have done, was done, and all I had to do was wait for Solstice to trigger the next step. Mercifully, that won't happen until tomorrow because Solstice was closed the 4th, 5th and 6th for the Fourth of July. I used that time to rethink my promotional strategy since I soon will have two books to tout, and I reread Sweet Heart and basked in the warmth of Lee's tender story.
And that brings me to the thing you probably all want to know: was getting the contract for Sweet Heart as exciting as getting the one for Dear Heart? Absolutely -- because when I queried Dear Heart, I had nothing to lose, but when I queried Sweet Heart, I had skin in the game, and it would have killed me not to be able to bring Lee's story to life. Yes, there was less hoopla, and no, there won't be another launch party, but that couldn't be less important. To me, the most important thing is the story, and Deirdre and Lee's story would not have been complete without Sweet Heart to round it out. And I'm betting that you will think so too, once you read it.