Happy birthday to me

I had a good birthday this week, starting at 9:30 in the morning when I hit the send button and The Language of Bees flew cross country and onto my editor’s computer. (This explains my recent e-absence, because 8 hour days spent juggling words leaves little inclination to play with them elsewhere.)

Sending off the manuscript does not, you understand, mean the book is finished. My editor will now go through it with a pencil in her hand, and if she approves of what I’ve done since she saw its very raw first draft back in April, she will pass it on to the copy editor. If she sees some large flaw, or some missed opportunity to ramp the book up a notch, she’ll give it back to me and we’ll wrestle with it a while longer.

Kate is fast, and she loves my stuff, so if work or life don’t get in her way, she’ll finish with it in a few days. In the meantime, I’ll rapidly dive into my vast backlog of unfinished projects, 2008 tax returns, and reader letters to answer, because if she gives it back to me, those things (along with blogs) will all be delayed yet again.

If she likes what she sees, then the copy editor will have at it. I posted a three-part interview here last time around with Madeline Hopkins, Touchstone’s copy editor, beginning here– https://laurierking.com/wp.php/?p=400 –and I imagine the process this time will be much the same.

It’s an odd sensation, giving away the book I’ve worked on for ten months. Up to now, it’s been all mine, although Kate has had a look over my shoulder once. But now, it’s a little like the Brangelina babies, walking out the door and finding everyone staring—the manuscript will go from Kate to a copy editor and maybe other in-house people and to the lady making the map and then quickly on to the UK house that’s interested, during which time my agents and my family will also be reading it, and all of a sudden people will KNOW, they’ll all stare and point and murmur among themselves about the baby that previously lived in the quiet of my own head.

The only thing I can do to distract myself is to work on something else, if not reader letters, then the nonfiction project my daughter and I are doing or the young adult novel I’m playing with. Or reader letters and the 2008 tax return.

And the rest of my birthday? Went just as well, from wandering around the bookstore and the mall while the print shop made a bound copy for the family to read and making useful and delayed purchases to coming home to balloons and silver banners and the kids driving up with dinner. There was even high drama, because the power was out and not expected to go on for hours, and we were low on propane for the grill because I hadn’t taken the tank with me that day—but in the best traditions of fiction, the power went triumphantly on at a key point, and the propane nursed itself, gasping and giving its all, through the skewered meats. So we didn’t have to cook the skewers with the crème brulee torch, I didn’t have to open my presents by camplight, and we could see well enough to put chocolate ice cream onto chocolate cake and not onto the table.

All’s well that ends well, birthday-wise. Now, if the same only applies to The Language of Bees.

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  1. Strawberry Curls on September 20, 2008 at 10:38 am

    How extraordinarily exciting it must be to finish a 10 month project (at least to this point) and send it off as a birthday present to yourself. Congratulations!! The knowledge of the book being this much closer to publication is certainly a gift to your readers, who are eagerly lapping up each tidbit of the process. Thanks for sharing with us.

    BTW my sympathies on the 2008 tax return project. I’m a bookkeeper and my husband is a CPA, we live taxes 365 days a year, well 366 this year, as it was a leap year. –Alice

  2. Pat Floyd on September 20, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    I’m so glad you were able to send off the manuscript before your birthday celebration. I was thinking of the tension that couldn’t help underlying a celebration with the manuscript still on your desk. I also hope Kate says it’s just great, no further changes needed. Congratulations!

  3. RJ_Anderson on September 20, 2008 at 1:34 pm



  4. Carlina on September 20, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    *Pops Champagne bottle, uncorks honey wine, and pulls the soft drinks out of the fridge*

    Congrats to you and good for you on getting it done. Let’s cast the book aside for a moment though. It’s a great feat, and I’m sure it’ll be a great product for LRK fandom consumerism, myself included in that (myself who is anxiously awaiting a snoggle…er snuggle with Holmes and Russell). BUT how are you doing? Well I hope! I hope you’ll be able to found some down time.

    Congrats again and I’m glad your bday had all the dramatic fixin’s!

    My fingers will be crossed on the editing bit…

  5. Dreamdoc on September 21, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Well, Happy Birthday to you! It sounds like a delightful way to spend a special day… didn’t hear a nap in your day though, alas…

  6. Meg Gardiner on September 21, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Many happy returns to you and the baby Bee.

  7. Sara on September 21, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Many happy returns as well, and cannot wait to read the newest addition to the series! 10 months is pretty much standard human incubation period, too, you know. Coincidence?

    Cheers to you and, as Meg says, ‘the baby Bee.’

  8. nkk1969 on September 21, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    (wandering around the bookstore and the mall while the print shop made a bound copy for the family to read )

    Ask me what my dream job is at this moment. Yes, it would be working at the Kinkos near a certain California mall. Did I mention I have a degree in printing production and graphic design?

    I’d have to copy things v…e…r…y slowly and read while the copier was jammed. “I swear, it jammed as it finished the first copy of the last page. What was that? No, I didn’t know it was jammed or I would have taken care of it sooner. Honest.” 😉

    Nikki, who is now thinking about how to become a member of LRK’s family so she can get her greedy hands on a copy of the MS

  9. CindyD on September 21, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Have you heard about Robin McKinley’s new YA novel, CHALICE? I haven’t read it (hope to get a copy soon) but according to her blog bees and honey play a big role.

  10. Chris on September 22, 2008 at 3:55 am

    Many Happy Returns for your birthday…! What a wonderful post – thank you one more for sharing another part of the process.

    And a UK house…?


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