Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Justifying my new book

Yesterday I got a package in the mail: an edited and typeset copy of my March book, A Family Forever. I still haven't warmed up to that title, which was chosen by my editors, but they're wiser about these things than I, so I try hard not to squirm when someone asks the title of my upcoming book. Apparently, category romance readers will snap up a book with a title like A Family Forever even faster than this author snaps up M&Ms. (By the way, I bought a bag of the new "mega" M&Ms last night. They're larger, which is wrong because I always put five in my mouth and suck them, but five is now too big a mouthful and I'm having trouble adapting. Also, the colors are not "rich", as advertised on the bag, but muted shades like teal and mustard and oatmeal; the same colors we decorated our living rooms with in the 80's--remember?)

But back to yesterday's package. "This is your copy of the unjustified page proofs," my editor's assistant wrote in the cover letter.

My brain stumbled over that. Unjustified? Does Emily believe my precious little stack of 286 pages is unjustified? Or is she simply referring to the fact that the right-hand margin is still ragged (and in the printed book will be neatly aligned)? I hope it's the latter, because you wouldn't believe how hard I've worked to justify this story. First my editor declined to buy it. I rewrote it and sent it back to her. Then she bought it and asked me to revise it further. I sighed and complied. Then the copyeditor put her oar in, making comments like, "Poodles don't shed their hair." (Well, lady, the poodle in my book is not purebred, and even poodles lose a hair from time to time, just as we humans do.) Honestly, it's a wonder I have any nerves left.

Giving birth to two children was less painful than producing this little book has been. Although that could be partly due to the fact that I might be just a tad crankier now than I was 23 and 18 years ago. (I am sooo glad my husband doesn't read this blog; he surely would have a comment to make at this point.) But darn it, Emily's using the word "unjustified" in the same paragraph as my book's title was profoundly disturbing. She really ought to watch her language around us sensitive-author types.

Right now some of you must be wondering exactly how many M&Ms I've had this morning, and how many of those "venti"-size Starbucks cups are now sitting empty on my desk. The answers are: (1) six, and (2) none. I'm not under the influence of a sugar fit or a caffeine buzz. If I sound a bit manic it's because I've just lived through a three-day migraine and this morning I'm just so doggone happy to not have a headache that I'm a little giddy.

I'll calm down in another hour or two, and I'll probably even forgive Emily for using that offensive word in connection with my book. But I am not going to buy Mega M&Ms ever again.


David Bridger said...

Sounds just right to me. Congratulations! And have a coffee on me. :)

Robin Bayne said...

Sounds like you were *justfiably* irritated : )

And that's exactly what I called the new M&M colors-- something out of a decorating scheme.

Julana said...

Sorry about your migraine. Do you think it could be cause by chocolate, or caffeine? :-)

Brenda Coulter said...

Thank you, David.

Robin, those new M&Ms are just wrong, that's all.

Julana, caffeine actually helps my migraines. It dilates the blood vessels or something like that. (That's why Excedrin contains cafeine.) But caffeine does cause migraines in some people, so if I thought for a minute that I was in that group, I'd give it up. I can't usually tell the difference between regular and decaf coffee, anyway, because it doesn't work as a stimulant for me unless I drink massive amounts.

Karen said...


I am hoping this new book features the story of Tom and Claire. If not will you be doing a book for them?

Brenda Coulter said...

No, Karen--my upcoming book isn't a sequel to Finding Hope. My current editor didn't want to buy the Tom-and-Claire story, so I've backburnered that for now. Thanks for your interest.