Thanksgiving in Two Rivers

When all of you lovely people read Call Me Emily, you will learn about the connection Emily has with her family and her home of Two Rivers.  Her home town calls to her in a spiritual way. Not quite like you would read in a C.S. Lewis novel, but it does call. And, for Emily, when she hears that call she seeks out the balance to her life that she so desperately wants to find.

I, personally, am lucky enough to have many members of my family nearby my town of Auburn California, where I have lived for the past nineteen years. While some of my family live too far away, others I am able to see and visit with more often. These family members graciously joined me, my son and my husband for Thanksgiving. And it was truly a day to give thanks. All of us are healthy, happy and moderately sober. (I joke.)

So while I don’t retreat to my home town and the arms of my mother for comfort like Emily, I do relish in the small things my family does that light up my day. Especially on a day when we can all be together, share a meal, many stories and give thanks.

Enough about me! I know you really want to know about Emily. In the scene that follows from Call Me Emily, Emily returns to her home town for Thanksgiving seeking a little clarity. But, does she find it?

***

We crossed the river and made the last hairpin turn before our house.  Mom’s car was in the driveway.  I was happy to be home. No I was elated to be home. I pulled the car behind hers and jumped out. She came to the front porch and like the Tasmanian Devil, my little brother ran under her arm and down the steps toward us. I stopped and put my arms out to give him a big hug. He ran right past me and tackled Ethan. Well how do you like that?

Mom made up for Hunter overlooking me. She wrapped her arm around me while Ethan followed us into the house carrying our bags.

“Having both of you gone has been…just…” She started to cry.

“Mom, don’t. We’re here now.” I pulled her closer and opened the door. It was much colder than I remembered. I wanted to stand by the fire immediately.

“I know, I know. He’s looking out for you, isn’t he?”

“Yes, of course he is.”

Hunter held Ethan captive in his room, showing him all his new video games I presumed. I got the impression Mom and I had plenty to talk about. She had that look. You know, the one that said I wasn’t aloud to run off any time soon.  As we unpacked, we covered the first few weeks of school. Had I met any friends? What were my classes like? How was my job? And so on. I gave her overall kind of explanations.

“Have you met him yet?” she handed me the last of my things out of my bag.

“Who?” I asked knowing exactly what she meant but not wanting to encourage her.

“The guy,” she responded with a very curious smile. “The new guy.”

“Mom, there’s no guy.” I lied just a little. Although I was interested in Graham I couldn’t deny it was Christian I thought of as soon as we passed the welcome sign. I knew I’d probably think of him when I got home and those thoughts seemed to boil over the second I arrived. It didn’t help that everything here reminded me of him. Simply driving the roads brought back all kinds of memories I’d been trying to bury.  Add the quiet that hung in the air with only the occasional whip of a breeze through the trees and brief animal noises and the rich meadow that accompanied every breath I took, and I was officially thinking about everything that happened between us the summer before.

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And Alas…Pitching Queries

I was talking to a friend last night about how much time has passed since I starting writing this series of books. What’s weird is that it feels like very little time has passed actually. I’ve never once struggled to complete a story or agonized over how to begin a sequel. I’ve been lucky that my ideas come naturally and I manage to round out a book as if it’s simply a fun little game. But when I look back at this time last year I realize I was finishing Call Me Emily. Yes, a year ago. And what I always thought about writing was that an author would finish her book, do some quick edits, and then send it to an agent where she would find herself in a lucrative contract almost immediately. Yeah, it doesn’t work that way.

Although I have spent the last year working on two more books, I have also poured over Call Me Emily numerous times and had friends review it. Finally, after many months it’s ready. (Can we all do a quick celebratory jump-clap combination?) The next step is to write an unbelievably excellent query letter and send the manuscript or part of it to some agents.  Sounds pretty simple right? It’s not.

Each agent has their individual requirements for a query letter as well as how and to what degree the manuscript is presented. Think of it like going on an interview. Only, you have to write a specific resume for each person who interviews you. And you have to bring with you individual portfolios specific to each interviewer. And hope, fingers-crossed, that you got it right. Then, to make it even more difficult, take your pretty-little face out of the equation. So, an interview in-effect, without you there; just your work. And it MUST speak for itself.

I plan to do all of this and hope, again fingers-crossed, that the agents actually respond to me. (Sometimes they don’t.) Luckily for me, I believe that one agent will. He or she will read Call Me Emily and feel the magic I felt when I wrote it. Because, it truly is a great story. And, when I write the query I’ll write more than simply, “it’s a great story,” I swear.

So, come January, after agents return from holiday, I’ll send out queries. Wish me luck!

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