Two weeks ago, I sent off to my agent the manuscript of my second Dulcie Schwartz mystery, Grey Matters. Today, I sent her the ms. for Dogs Don't Lie. Now, the waiting begins.
No, I didn't write a book in two weeks. I had written Dogs Don't Lie for fun, starting about a year ago. The basic premise - of a hard-boiled tough gal who just happens to be able to hear what animals are thinking - comes from a short story I wrote for Dead Fall, an anthology of New England crime writers. I'd been reading a lot of noir (Megan Abbott, Linda L. Richards) and thinking about the whole cutesy "animal psychic" thing and, voila, Pru Marlowe and her irascible tabby Wallis were born. If it takes off, I want to call the genre "pet noir," as in "bete noir." Of course, we'll have to see if it takes off.
Once I had drafted Dogs Don't Lie, I got some happy news. My editor at Severn House wanted a sequel to Shades of Grey - and wrote it into the contract. And so in January, I set Dogs Don't Lie aside and threw myself into writing Grey Matters. I wrote it pretty quickly, for me. I'm sure it will need revisions, but I think I turned in a pretty strong mystery, so I have reason to believe she'll like it. And once that was sent off, I could go back to revise Dogs Don't Lie. It was sort of perfect timing – I still loved the book, but enough time had passed so I could see its flaws. Dogs Don't Lie is not under contract to anyone, and so next week my agent will just start sending it out.
Sounds good, right? I actually like being this busy and despite a sense of growing fatigue (and growing disgust with the state of my office), I've been happy these past few months. It's the new part - the waiting - that I can't stand. This part of the process just wrecks me. As soon as I'd sent off DDL, I started worrying that I hadn't hidden a crucial clue well enough. And then that I'd hidden it so well that it wouldn't make sense. Now I've even started worrying that my Severn House editor won't want Grey Matters. Basically, I'm swinging between wild optimism (these are my best works ever... Dogs Don't Lie will be my breakout book) and despair (you can fill in the blanks).
I am tired. I need to clean my office and catch up on my outside assignments. The waiting has begun.