My Novel Sold To St. Martin’s Griffin! : ) Part One.
January 25, 2012

What’s been saved in my work inbox for 14 months, 8 weeks, 4 days:
This one, I wrote to myself. (A writer can dream, winks.)
Dear Emily,
 We’ve received FIVE offers from editors at amazing NYC publishing houses!
 
They love your novel and we’re looking at a significant deal, a multi-book contract and Oprah wants the novel for her book club.
 
Good work! More information to follow,
 
Agent Extraordinaire
I came across this quote below, and although I’m spiritual, not religious, I found it beautiful — both reassuring and strengthening. At times it feels like divine intervention alone is how one gets published. Maybe it is. I did do an awful lot of petitioning of my dead friend and dead grandmothers. Sometimes all we want to know is that we’re on the right path.
Hope is a golden cord connecting you to heaven.  This cord helps you hold your head up high, even when multiple trials are buffeting you.  I never leave your side, and I never let go of your hand.  But without the cord of hope, your head may slump and your feet may shuffle as you journey uphill with Me. Hope lifts your perspective from your weary feet to the glorious view you can see from the high road.  You are reminded that the road we’re traveling together is ultimately a highway to heaven.  When you consider this radiant destination, the roughness or smoothess of the road ahead becomes much less significant.  I am training you to hold in your heart a dual focus: My continual Presence and the hope of heaven. 
 
Romans 12:12; Thessalonians 5:8; Hebrews 6:18-19.
The next is just plain-old lovely.
“Be who God meant you to be,
and you will set the world on fire.”
 
St. Catherine of Sienna
I’ve been trying and trying to write this post, to no avail. I’m not one of those writers who (beforehand) imagines writing a post like this. Truth be told, I find myself feeling quite shy about it. How shy? As shy as reading your diary to a crowd. Yeah, that shy. Welcome to my head. Watch your step.
Agent Bob Diforio’s blurb stays in my inbox, also, because after years and years of rejection, I keep reading it as a reality check. To make sure this is real.

Christmas came early for debut literary YA novelist Emily Murdoch. In a spirited submission  creating buzz among dozens of editors, publishers and publicity people who quickly read her extraordinary novel, THE PATRON SAINT OF BEANS, it was Jennifer Weis of St. Martin’s who carried the day for North American Rights;  sold by Bob Diforio and Mandy Hubbard of D4EO Literary Agency.

Emily was inspired to write the novel after reading about a mother who kidnapped her son and fled to Brazil. In “Beans”, violin prodigy Carey Blackburn and her mute little sister, Jenessa, have spent their entire lives in a broken-down camper deep in the forest of a national park, forced to cope with their drug-addicted mother only sporadically on hand, until they are rescued by a father they don’t know and learn the truth about their early childhood. As they adjust to the real world of school, malls and other children – especially boys – Carey is weighed down by a dark secret that threatens the only good luck she’s ever known.

A brilliant YA novel with adult cross-over appeal, editors found the work both moving and magical.

I didn’t realize that even praise can take some getting used to. Which is how I came to realize what was holding me back from writing this post: the entanglement of personal and public feelings.
Once I agreed to publish, my book became itself — a separate entity increasingly out  of my control.
Let’s look back. I was one of those people admonished as a child for being too sensitive — as if sensitivity were a negative thing. (Sensitive child in your midst? You may just have an artist on your hands. Celebrate that fact, that sensitivity. A child could do worse than to possess a deeply feeling heart.)
I’m also one of those people who keeps my feelings close to the vest. And what I feel about selling The Patron Saint Of Beans to St. Martin’s Griffin is a feeling so personal, profound, and public all at the same time, that it remains gestational in its development. For all intensive purposes, it’s a baby novel. I’m a baby author. All the words are new.
But what I can articulate is that however many years I’m lucky to live, this will remain one of the most amazingly awesome moments of my life.
On to the story.

The two weeks preceding December 19th, 2011 (the date of my sale) were an amazing whirlwind of hope, praise, editor reads and offers, telephone conferences with editors and pinch-me-hard moments.

I was subbed to both adult and young adult editors. I had offers from both adult and young adult editors. At one point, when I thought we’d settled on a publisher/editor and my agents informed the other editors, they said no!

They wouldn’t take no for an answer!

And so more offers came in. A pre-empt came and went. Choices, choices, choices, from no, no, no’s. I felt like a character in a novel whose obstacles had been removed. Reality was so surreal, such a rocket ride, such a blessed, lucky, thank-you-Universe kind of moment, I couldn’t believe it was happening to me.

When I was seven-years-old and in the midst of reading every single book in the elementary school library, I used to imagine my books on the school library shelves, not in the bookstores. Books to transport eager, earnest children into parallel worlds of dark and light. Books poking like crocuses through the snow, opening curious hearts and minds to worlds where underdogs prevailed, where obstacles existed for good reason: to grow a person deeper, stronger, taller. Pages. Places where anything was — IS — possible.

What an amazing thing to be a part of.

If you’d like to add my novel on Goodreads, or friend me, please go here: Goodreads

I believe the good things happen to us so we can pay it forward. A portion of the proceeds of “Beans” will benefit Taylor Hendrix’s Christmas Project.

Sixteen-year-old Taylor, battling osteosarcoma, gathers gifts in backpacks each Christmas to brighten the spirits of cancer teens in hospital over the holidays. For more information, see my previous post: Taylor’s Christmas Project.

Part Two to follow …

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Taylor’s Christmas Project.
November 19, 2011

Taylor Hendrix, with the wild burros of Red Rock.

I kindly need your help:

There’s a lovely sixteen-year-old, Taylor Hendrix, diagnosed with osteosarcoma five years ago. She’s relapsed three times since, and spent the last two Thanksgiving/Christmas’ either in the hospital for low counts, chemo, or both.

Every year she organizes a holiday project wherein she packs backpacks with fun stuff and useful items for teens in the hospital over Christmas.

So, I got to thinking, after reading a few industry blog posts about what to do with ARCs. Wouldn’t it be cool if ARCs could be donated for Taylor’s Christmas Project? Published authors who could part with a copy of their books or an ARC could even sign the inside with a hopeful message. And ARCs could get a second life that way, signed or not.

It’s pretty much perfect because reading may be all these kids can manage when they’re on chemo and nauseated. As it turns out, there are always gifts for the younger children, but the teens can get lost in the shuffle — these very teens us YA writers write for.

You can read more details about the project, here: (Thanks, Tina!)  

Tina Moss, Writer: Taylor’s Christmas Project

Taylor’s mom, Tammy Hendrix, updates Taylor’s journal, here:

 CaringBridge / Taylor Hendrix

You can read Taylor’s early history, here. At the time, she was in remission:

Taylor: My Story

And, for donation questions:  “All inquiries regarding shirts or help with Taylor’s Christmas Project can be sent to my email at thendrix1964@hotmail.com or by calling my cell phone at 256-335-1593.”

Donations for Taylor’s project can be sent to:

Taylor Hendrix
Christmas Project
1511 Hermitage Drive
Florence, Al 35630
 
Or you can donate through paypal: thendrix1964@hotmail.com to Tammy Hendrix, directly. Tammy helps her daughter with the project each year.

Big thanks to everyone who gets involved. I’ve been following Taylor’s story since just before last Christmas, especially moved by Taylor’s huge heart even in the midst of her own struggles.

Contributions aren’t limited to books or ARCs — you could send a deck of cards, board games, toiletries, nail polish, etc. You could pick up an extra stocking stuffer and donate it to Taylor’s project. Ask yourself: if I had a beloved teen in the hospital over the Christmas holidays, what could I stuff in their backpack to lift their spirits or make life easier?

Even a  tweet on Twitter would help spread the word: 

Taylor’s Christmas Project: http://wp.me/ph3Ax-Uc Help 16 yr old Taylor with gifts/donations 4 teens in-hospital at Xmas. PLS RT!

*Thank you.*

Emily Murdoch

Dare To Suck. That’s right, Writers.
April 22, 2011

It’s Friday, I’m happily pounding the keys as I work on revisions (very exciting!) and a light beer is beckoning, not to mention ranch chores, so let me make this short and sweet.

Dare to suck. Doooo it.

Daring to suck means you’re thinking, writing, practicing, evolving. There’re no edits, no rewrites, no revisions, no polishing — no words — if you don’t first dare to suck.

And you just might find, as you read your words back, that they’re not so bad, after all.

Good writing, everyone.

Six Agent Offers!
October 24, 2010

SQUEE!!!!

After writing three YA novels, navigating a close call with my previous manuscript, and spending four months on Query Road for my present work, hollyrusken@yahoo.com, I received an offer of representation on Thursday — and another on Saturday!

As if that isn’t heady enough, three more agents are making their decisions by Monday, and I eagerly await agent-phone-call-number-three Monday afternoon.

To say my head is spinning would be the understatement of the century!

After years of drought, the floodgates have opened. I feel so many emotions — relieved, excited!, thankful, validated, and the list goes on and on. The champagne, chillin’ in the fridge for ten months, has been cracked …

One word -- YUM!

… the roses sniffed …

From my husband, my staunchest supporter.

… and happy dancing has commenced all over the house, even if it causes the terriers to bark at their crazy, face-hurts-from-grinning-so-hard human being.

I wish I could adequately convey the feeling of a lifetime of hope and dreams mixed with years of hard, hard work culminating in the representation I’ve been dreaming of!

I will, when I can. But more so, I want to reiterate to my fellow travelers that the dream is POSSIBLE, DOABLE, REACHABLE if you continue to work hard, believe in yourself, and most of all, SHINE!

To my writing community, my beta readers, my supportive writing friends, my old friends who believed in me from the start — YOU ROCK!

I wouldn’t be here without you. For that, I thank you with all my heart.

Nailed to the wall by the phone for 8 months. There are more questions on the back, also.

I have until the 30th to make my decision, so I’ll be back to announce the news.

Until then, honking at you from the Happy Writer rest stop on Query Road, still grinning like a fool and pinching myself!    

By popular demand: the B side!

 (No saguaros were harmed in the taking of this photograph : )

Agent Interest In My Novel, Brave New Girl!
October 25, 2009

I can’t say more for now, as other agents still have my manuscript, but I’m ecstatic!

It’s been a long, winding, twisty-turny road of continuous writing, hard work, perseverance and hope that’s brought me to this day.

Big thank you’s to my friends and fellow writers for your support, encouragement and belief in me and my words.

More information will be forthcoming in the future.