Yet Another Reason Why My Agent Rocks

I strongly, deeply, seriously urge you all to hop over to the BookEnds Literary website and check out this blog post on the need to take vacations.

Jessica wrote and addressed this to writers/agents/editors, but I believe it applies to jessicaeveryone. We all believe we’re too busy for a real break. We all believe we must stay in touch/on top/connected at all times. We all are convinced that work/life/the free world will collapse if we are not in charge.

Not that we’re egocentric, or believe the world revolves around us, or anything like that. Not at all 🙂

I am, admittedly, horrible at this. We have a trip coming up soon and I am already planning how I’ll slip in some work and meet those deadlines and, you know, drive myself and everyone around me totally bonkers with my need to keep producing. Admittedly, there’s something to be said for staying in the story and not losing the rhythm. But always? Every day?

Methinks Jessica hit it on the head.

 

Another Winning Team

Last week’s discussion of my (semi) support of my hometown teams got me thinking about another group of talented professionals – the amazing women who work with me to bring my stories to the world.

jessicaFirst up: my agent, Jessica Faust. We have been together for (pause to count on fingers and toes – realize I can’t count that high, abandon the effort) – we’ve worked together since September of 2002. Do you want to know how dedicated this woman is? An agent’s primary role is to help sell the author’s books: to pair the stories with the editors who will be the best match for that work. Along the way, agents often offer editorial input, alert the author to new opportunities, and provide about ninety thousand pep talks. The kicker: agents don’t make a penny until the book sells. Yep. All that advice and hand-holding and wisdom and support – that huge investment of time and energy – is all offered on faith that the author will someday make enough money for the agent to balance the scales. Jessica hung in for almost ten years, believing in me when I totally lost faith, continuing to bolster and encourage me until my work got to the level it needed to reach for someone to say, “Yes.” She still pushes me and endures my oddities and makes me believe all publishing dreams are possible. And if that’s not enough, she also served as my editor/publisher for Call of the Wilder. I hit the jackpot when Jessica plucked my story out of the slush pile. All authors deserve someone this dedicated on their side.

Piya Campana, Editor Extraordinaire, works with me on my Superromances. And oh, do I make this poor woman work.  piggy piyaFolks, if there is anything real or meaningful in my stories, you can thank Piya. She has the ability to sift through the pages of surface-level story that I send to her, find the kernels of depth and emotional resonance – not to mention something that resembles a cohesive plot – and wave them in front of my face so I can finally, FINALLY see them. And she does all this with humour, grace, and a gentleness that makes the process (almost) a joy. Plus she’s based in Toronto, which means we speak the same language. Someone once asked me why it was so easy to work on revisions with Piya. My response: “Are you kidding? We’re both Canadian. We’re too busy apologizing to each other to have any problems.”

RWA KatherineKatherine Pelz and I have just begun working together on my upcoming stories from Berkley, but I have already benefited from her keen eye and vision. Also her patience 🙂 I’m looking forward to more of her guidance as she leads me through the process with this new publisher. I can’t imagine how an editor can read a submission – often just a few chapters of a work, along with a synopsis of what’s planned for the remainder – and see enough potential in it to commit to publishing it. Katherine has already gone to bat for me and my work, and I can’t wait to see where we go next.

Of course, there are many, many more people who touch each story along the way – senior editors and copy editors and proofreaders and cover artists and salespeople and so many more – but these three ladies are the first line for me. They each play a unique role and bring different perspectives that combine to challenge me to be a better writer. I can never thank them enough,

Piggy Does RWA

Piggy and I had an ah-maz-ing trip to the RWA National Conference last week. Let me share some of the highlights with you.

Tuesday: Packed and ready to roll!

Tuesday: Packed and ready to roll!

Tuesday: On the Greyhound to NYC!

Tuesday: On the Greyhound to NYC!

Wednesday: the line to check in. Piggy, of course, went to the head of the VIP line.

Wednesday: the line to check in. Piggy, of course, went to the head of the VIP line.

Wednesday: Our de-light-ful roomie, Julia Broadbooks, was honored to share with us.

Wednesday: Our de-light-ful roomie, Julia Broadbooks, was honored to share with us.

Wednesday: meeting with our agent, Jessica Faust. Kissy kissy!

Wednesday: meeting with our agent, Jessica Faust. Kissy kissy!

Wednesday: Ready for the Literacy Signing.

Wednesday: Ready for the Literacy Signing. “Would you like moi to sign that for you?”

Thursday: Breakfast with the fans.

Thursday: Breakfast with the fans.

Thursday: the Harlequin Community pajama party, Celebrity Version.

Thursday: the Harlequin Community pajama party, Celebrity Version.

A little business talk at the Berkley Books signing with BookEnds client and all-round delightful author Laura K. Curtis

Friday: A little business talk at the Berkley Books signing with fellow BookEnds client and all-round delightful author Laura K. Curtis. The rosy hue is from our mutual glows of adoration.

Friday: being adored by Harlequin editor Karen Reid at the Superromance Meet and Greet.

Friday: being adored by Harlequin editor Karen Reid at the Superromance Meet and Greet.

Friday: cupcakes at the Harlequin party

Friday: cupcakes at the Harlequin party

Friday: delicious ice cream at the Harlequin party

Friday: delicious ice cream at the Harlequin party

Friday: dancing the night away at the Harlequin party, held in the Starlight Room at the Waldorf Astoria.

Friday: dancing the night away at the Harlequin party, held in the Starlight Room at the Waldorf Astoria.

Saturday: Moi, meeting with our fabulous Harlequin editor Piya Campana

Saturday: Moi, meeting with our fabulous Harlequin editor Piya Campana

There’s one more picture I’d like to share with you, of someone who’s going to play a big part in Piggy’s career over the next while. But you’re going to have to wait a day or two.

Here’s a hint, though. Remember these?