One week ago today . . .

One week ago today, Wednesday, January 16, 2013, I turned my final Queen Sugar manuscript in to my editors, Pam and Beena.  I meant to write a post that same day but I got swept up with a thousand little chores that afternoon, and didn’t have a chance.  No matter.  The moment is as fresh in my mind today as it was last week. I feel as much joy and relief now as I did the moment I sent it off.

In this picture, you can see what my desk looked like (well, okay, I organized it a little), as well as the three most recent copies of the manuscript: the version I sold (with all the post-its) which I worked with for the last seven months, the almost-finished version (fewer post-its) I printed out in mid-December, and the final, final, final (clean) version I sent back to my editors.  Oh yes, and the cupcake I bought to celebrate . . .

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Right before I emailed the manuscript I called my Louisiana pals. They’ve been wonderful friends–the very best–as I’ve said repeatedly on this blog, and have gone beyond the beyonds to help me give birth to this book. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the moment than to have them all on the phone. .

As delicious as that moment was, I was caught off guard in the moments that followed as I realized I didn’t have a big project to work on any more. I’d grown accustomed to waking up every morning and getting to the desk. I enjoy working. I like feeling productive, like I’m moving forward.  I love waking up every morning and writing.  To suddenly not have a big meaty project to dive into felt strange.  They asked what I was going to do now that the book was in. I told him I felt adrift.

So, I cleaned my office . . .

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And then there was this, which is going to sound strange, I know, but Charley, Ralph Angel, Hollywood and Miss Honey, Denton, Alison and Remy, had all become real people to me.  They were (are) like family.  Suddenly, my office felt empty. Thank goodness, Nicole was coming for a visit the next day;  I had a ton of stuff to do. I was grateful for the distraction.

So, now, here I am a week later.  Nicole is on her way back to LA.  I some paid work to do, but really, the calendar is wide open.  I have an idea for the next book.  I guess it’s time to get to work. Hallelujah!

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