Friday, June 18, 2010

Permission Impossible

So. For nearly a month, I’ve sat on some great news. I’ve celebrated in secret. Bit my tongue. Defied near-death limits of squee retention. And yet, despite the personal joy, and the congrats from a select few, what I really couldn’t wait to do was announce my news to the world.

Because I’d just gotten my first big book deal.
Yes, my moment was here.
The world was my oyster.

So, the second I got permission, I sat down to write my squee blog. A page later, I stopped. Deleted. Started again. But the words kept sounding the same:

Me, me, me! La, la, la! I’m so awesome! Yes, I am!

Egads, right? I mean, I’m no awesome writer, just word-hack made good. A stubborn girl who didn’t know when to quit. And this too-cool-for-school kid who appeared on the page just wasn’t me.

Shaken, I soldiered on, but so it went for several weeks. Write. Delete. Write. Delete. Write. Delete. Until I got so fed up that I turned to Lynne.

“This is hard, and I don’t like it. Can you write my squee blog post and pretend you are me?” I said.
“No, you have to write it yourself, dork!”
“Okay, an embroidered, cheetah-print Snuggie, if you just write it for me.”
“What? Is this a blog post bribe?”
“I can't believe how desperate you are to avoid this. But you realize it shows at the bottom of the post who the author of the post is, right?”

Yes, well, I hate you, and you’re not my friend any more. (Lynne, okay, maybe my brain thought this for a nanosecond, but it’s not true. You’re still my friend and I totally love you. XOXOXO, Mon)

Anyway, since Lynne was dead to me, I was able to forget about the evil post until my agent, Jo called. “So, when are you going to, celebrate?” she said. Queen of Subtlety, that girl.
“Ugh. I can’t write about my real-life self. It’s all me, me, me, and I sound like a dork.” (I am, actually, a dork, but the irony of this was lost on me at the time.)
“But you have such a funny, natural voice,” she said.
“Look, Monica, why don’t you try writing it like a story?”
“Sure, Jo. Neat,” I said, ready to dismiss the idea.

But, as is the way with Jo’s suggestions, it turned out to be a great one. I mean, what was my story? And why was an itty bitty blog post proving so difficult to write?

Several brownies and a few long walks later, I came to a conclusion. The post felt terrible to write because it was dishonest. The ‘me thing’ was a lie. I mean, maybe I typed the words, but it was my friends who read and loved them first. And my hub who supported my unwaveringly. And Jo, who saw the glimmer of potential in little ol’ me.

Truth is, it takes a village to raise a writer.
And maybe all I needed was the proper acknowledgement.

So. To my village—a million, trillion thanks. I owe every bit of my success to you. I love you all to the moon and back!!!

Now, without further ado, the deal:

I’m thrilled to announce that Jo sold me in a four-book, work-for-hire series to Penguin. Due out in summer 2012, this series will follow 7th grade, French Horn player, Holly, as she joins her middle school band and endures all of the drama that comes with being a “band nerd.” Light, fun and funny, with an ensemble cast of very strong, unique characters, the series shows a group of completely different people brought together by a shared love for something. A bit like Glee, for the middle school crowd.

Yeah, pretty dang awesome, if I do say so myself.


  1. Oh! That's wonderful! Good for you. I like your storyline. My daughter was a band-geek from grammar school through high school, and yes, there was tons of drama. Congratulations!

  2. Yay! Awesome. Huge Congratulations, and I can hardly wait to read them!! I am SOOO excited for you, Monica. Thanks for bringing us along on this journey with you, and I am so glad you are blogging about it. See? It wasn't so hard, was it? Just be yourself, all over the page. That's what writers do!! :-)

  3. Great to toot your own horn, Monica, French or not!

  4. CONGRATULATIONS, MONICA!!!! I'm so happy for you, and so excited to read it!

    Loved this blog post too - Sometimes, it's harder to share good news than bad news, because it can feel like bragging. :-P

  5. I had tears rolling down my face reading your first hilarious chapters at critique group -- band geeks everywhere will LOVE this series. Brag away, Monica, you're first chair in my book!

  6. Wait, does this mean I don't get the cheetah-print Snuggie?

  7. Yaaaaaay!! I'm in CO, and barely have internet, and I sign on for, like, 10 minutes, and it happens to be the 10 minutes you tweet about this. WOOOOOOOT!

    And FINALLY.


  8. Congratulations, Monica! It sounds like a terrific series!

  9. Congratulations and, ah hem, nice name for the main character. *cough cough* It will sell millions with a name like that. :-)

  10. Dang awesome, indeed Monica! Congratulations!

  11. Denise--Thank you so much! I hope it's as fun on paper as it is in my head.

    Linda--Yay!! Thanks for always being so congratulatory and supportive. I'm so glad I met you!! But hee hee no, it was that hard. Totally agonizing. Blrgh!!

    Doris--LOL, thanks!!

    Shelby--Thanks so so much! Glad the blog post hit a chord w/ you!

  12. Miriam--Your support and feedback means everything to me. It makes me all fuzzy inside when you tell me I can make you LOL. Yay!! LOVE YOU!!!

    Jo--hee hee, thanks.

  13. Ruth--Thank you! Yes, I hope kiddos really connect with it.

    Holly--hahahaha, thanks! Pure coincidence, of course, LOL.

  14. Glee for the Middle School crowd?!?! Dude, I am SO THERE! Congratulations!!!!