Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Yikes—I’ve been orphaned! Let me explain: I had what I felt was a great agent—with a New York agency no less, but she left the industry after birthing two babies back-to-back, and she did so without telling me, so now I’m thinking maybe she wasn’t so great or maybe I’m not so hot, depending on what time of day it is I’m thinking it. In the morning I tell myself, “Hey, no problem! You’ve given a workshop titled The Art of the Query: Getting An Agent When Others Don’t at least five times to critical acclaim for petey’s sake—piece of cake.”
By nightfall, and two more rejection letters later that slice of cake is getting hard to swallow. I get my good friend and Dixie Diva touring comrade Karin Gillespie of Bet Your Bottom Dollar, A Dollar Short, and Dollar Daze fame to read my query. “This is great!” she says. So what gives on this agent thing? I have two books out in hard cover (Cold Rock River and Roseflower Creek), both in their second printing, a three book series sold to Cumberland House (The Dwayne Series), Divorcing Dwayne debuting April 2008, with Dear Dwayne and Dating Dwayne to follow, and I tour with the Dixie Divas, four nationally published book-writing belles with a passion for promotion serving up helpings of down-home humor and warmth. (It says so in our press kit.) And I’ve just completed The Heavenly Heart, inspired by an actual FOX News Network program: After a fatal accident, sixteen-year-old Lorelei Goodroe follows the lives of five people who receive her organs, including that of her father, who gets her heart. Lorelei’s untimely demise has left her in turmoil. She finds she is unable to move on without first letting go—and letting go is the last thing on her agenda. Sounds good to me. Anyone else think so?

Hollywood finds the subject matter appealing and is developing a one-hour drama featuring organ donors and recipients with enough weekly pathos to bring a tear to even the most hardened eyeball. And the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) is launching a national campaign on the need for organ donation (eighty thousand Americans will die this year before finding a match), so the subject is timely and rife with radio and television publicity possibilities.

My good friend, bestselling author Barbara LeBey (Remarried with Children: Ten Secrets for Successfully Blending and Extending Your Family, and Family Estrangements: How They Begin, How to Mend Them, How to Cope with Them), thinks so and recommends me to her agent. I send her my query along with copies of my books and a couple of chapters of The Heavenly Heart. She calls me immediately! Boy, am I flying, let me tell you. “This is great stuff,” she says. I’m on the ceiling. “But I only do non-fiction,” she adds. I crash land on my hard wood floor.

Luckily, she thinks enough of my work to recommend me to a colleague who does represent fiction. I send her my query along with copies of my books and the complete manuscript of The Heavenly Heart. I’m now waiting (and watching the calendar and swallowing my nails whole), to hear from her. I once bumped into the former president of a major New York publishing house at a book festival and mentioned to him I’d recently been orphaned. He said, “That’s worse than losing your mother!” I’m not going there.

But speaking of mothers, when I commiserate with mine she says, “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, honey.” Right—until you lose. I’ll let you know. In the meantime, if anyone likes my work and has an agent scouting for new talent, let me know. I have a large section of my will made out to you.

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