The lights are on…

- by Charlotte Hubbard

Ordinarily, early in the month I have a new book out, I do promo posts encouraging folks to grab it off the shelves–but Things Are Different Now. LAW OF ATTRACTION got caught in that limbo of Dorchester’s September releases…supposedly coming out in digital format now and in print format next summer. As it was to be the first of a really cool series, that saddens me. Already I have readers asking “What’s the hold-up? Why can’t I get your new book?” And I don’t have an answer.

But isn’t that a gorgeous cover? And didn’t my new website turn out beautifully, based on the coastal Oregon locale and the quirky, fascinating series characters?

I could whine about hopes and dreams once more doing a slow swirl around the porcelain bowl of publishing before finally going down–because this has happened to me more than once in my 20+ years as a novelist. But in keeping with that LAW OF ATTRACTION theme– “what goes around comes around” and you get back what you send out into the Universe–I will instead go with an attitude of gratitude here. Please feel free to chime in if things have taken an unexpected turn for the better in your writing life! And if you choose to commiserate, or to vent about your own circumstances, that’s OK, too. As for me and my house, well–we’ve been in lots worse situations, so we’re happy to be where we are!

First, I’m extremely grateful that when my editor, Alicia Condon, suddenly left Dorchester first of this year, to fill the gap Kate Duffy left at Kensington, she still loved my writing: LAW OF ATTRACTION came from one of those wonderful New York lunch conversations where she and I and my agent were euphoric about this series and its potential! Then we hit some snags and stalls…the poor book got orphaned while it was in the editorial phase, BUT THEN, I wrote a proposal for a new Amish series this summer and in a miraculously short time–10 days–Alicia bought it. The first book of that series is drafted now–and I’ve been paid for it!–so I’m in a good place! I love what I’m writing, I’ve enjoyed the challenge of taking on the entirely new mindset/culture of the Amish, and I still adore working with Alicia.

Along this same line, I’m so delighted that my agent, Evan Marshall, heard Alicia say she was looking for someone to write a new Amish series–and my name sprang to his lips! Good man, Evan: his positive attitude about moving forward, and about how to deal with this Dorchester situation, has helped me stay centered. I can whine to him about how much I paid for ads and bookmarks and a website revamp for this star-crossed book, and he listens–and then hears another editor at another house saying she’s looking for an author to write an Amish series, and again my name sprang forth!

Rather than jinx the situation, I will simply say that I’m really excited to be brainstorming with another long-esteemed editor at a different publishing house, and that if all goes as we hope, I’ll be going to contract for an open-ended Amish series that will be lighter while still honoring the beliefs and lifestyle of the Old Order Amish, and it will feature a delightful maiden aunt anchor character.

Along this same subject line, I’m totally jazzed about an upcoming personal tour of homes, shops, etc. in Jamesport, Missouri–the largest settlement of Old Order Amish west of the Mississippi–in just a couple of weeks. This is the sort of on-site sensory experience I need to really ground these books in day-to-details and language cadence and other information you just can’t get from print research.

And now, I’m really happy that I’ve been able to look at my current situation in a brighter light. All the spiritual cues and astrology have pointed to a time when I have to clear out what I’ve done in the past to make room for new things in my future–we all do! As a part of this process, my alter ego/pseudonym got turned down on her last proposals so Melissa will be on hiatus…except last week her editor invited her to write an erotic novella for a 2011 Christmas anthology!

It all works out. Deep down, I always knew it would! Like E.L. Doctorow said, “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

Same could be said for navigating a writing career. I don’t know what awaits me farther down the road, but I know I’m moving forward. Hope you’ve got your lights on and you’re making the trip, too!

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