Two wonderful writing-related things happened this week.

First, on Wednesday, I received the typeset pages for Flirting with Forty before they’re bound into galleys and arcs, and then printed and published properly, for the bookstores. These pages have the title on every page, and the font that’s used in the actual final edition. It has the dedication page, and the acknowledgements and really everything that the final book will have.

And I’m thrilled. Absolutely quietly over the moon excited, the same way I was excited when I got the first pass pages for Frog Prince. These pages look and feel like a real book and my writing suddenly seems professional…polished. Each chapter heading has a little wave beneath the chapter number and it all looks so good. I feel so good about it. I’m really proud and pleased with this book, the same way I was with Frog Prince.

The second wonderful writing thing that happened this week was just yesterday afternoon, around 3:45 pm.

I realized I could start my new book in a different place, with a different character, and it’d work. I could see it, I could feel it, and it wasn’t just cognitively right. It was emotionally right. I grabbed my Alphasmart (as I still had one hour and fifteen minutes before my sitter had to go home), dashed to the Tully’s down the street, and wrote furiously for an hour. I came home with 7 pages, a new opening for chapter one and a full, tight, juicy, yet poignant plot.

I have a book. Yesterday was another light bulb moment when the whole book finally arrives and lays itself out for me, becoming clear. And I don’t know why I didn’t see it before. But I see it now, and I feel it now, and I’ve found someone–someones–to explore, and follow, and develop. I’ve characters that aren’t paper dolls, but real women with real lives and real hopes, real hurts and dreams. I’ve been talking about this story for so long that everyone must be thinking, ‘and it’s not done yet?’ No, it’s not done, it’s barely started, and it’s not contracted, but I don’t even care about that now, because whether or not Warner buys this book, I’m going to write it. I have to. It’s that real.

Now it’s just a matter of writing another 343 pages and I’ll be done.

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