The following weekend I flew to Dallas, Texas, to spend a few days with dear friends, the Cansons, in Mesquite before going to Arlington for the Catholic Marketing Network tradeshow and the Catholic Writers’ Guild Conference. I attended this conference last year in Pennsylvania, and looked forward to being here again. I’m like Heidi coming out of the mountains to gawk and gaze. We don’t have any of these beautiful Catholic things in the mountains. I love to look .....
I hadn’t planned to pitch any manuscript to publishers at this conference because at the time I registered for the conference I didn’t have a free manuscript to pitch. I’d submitted all my finished work, and was waiting for responses. I’d also been frustrated with how few Catholic publishers want fiction, which my next two were. But about ten days before the conference, Waiting With Elmer came home to me. I heard two slots opened, one was a free time for me and it was with a publisher that just started looking for YA fiction. I jumped at the opportunity. I spent the evening shivering in my air conditioned hotel room with fingers so cold I could hardly type, trying to figure out how to turn the AC off and developing a pitch for a manuscript I hadn’t seen for four months. (I always wondered how Texans could stand the summer heat, now I know!)
I didn’t feel particularly nervous about it. I prayed, of course, but after I pray and give it back to God, I cease worrying. When my name was called I stepped calmly into the room to meet Michael Marshall of Faith Catholic Publishing. The timer said “go,” I read my two paragraph-three sentence pitch, finishing with time to spare. We shared maybe three sentences of Q & A. Mr. Marshall asked me to submit the work. I was overjoyed.
At the end of the week I flew home to Dave and Buddy who by now had adjusted so well, the silly dog was riding in the front seat. I rode in the back! I unpacked, prayed and began to work on the submission process. In two days it was prepared. The first two chapters and all the other items on the lengthy list were traveling on angel’s wings through cyberspace to the publisher in Lansing, Michigan. I spent the rest of the week picking, polishing and rewriting the ending, hoping he’d ask for the rest. Some time off to play with Buddy at the dog park, wash and iron my clothes, pack my reenactment clothes and it was time to get ready for the next weekend.
The post script to this story: Mr. Marshall “loved the story” and asked for the complete manuscript. I was so excited, I was sure Waiting With Elmer would find a home. Months later, they passed. I was disappointed. Last month, 2013, Faith Publishing closed their book department. If they’d held my book, I’d have been up a creek with no paddle in a matter of months. Now, I’m so glad they didn’t take it. I’ve been reminded again that God’s plan is not on our calendar. Waiting With Elmer is still looking for a publisher.