As I said, it was a thrill. Or, rather, I was thrilled. That was before the first slew of emails and rampant postal abuse.
Now, I'm as big a publisher-whore as the next writer, so at first I was twittering at all the communication I was getting. He wrote to me at odd hours in the morning - 5 a.m. on a Sunday, midnight on a Friday night. He'd write that I didn't need to answer him, but he just had been thinking -- and he'd dash off a comment on my characters. Why did so-and-so need to say that to his mother? If her family was so wealthy, why did she have an after school job?
No need to answer, he'd say.
At first, I tried to answer all of the questions -- seriously. I pondered them all, and then I started worrying. Did he like my story, as it was, at all? Why did he contact me?
You know how you're supposed to send a SASE to publishers and agents during the query process? Since my person initially replied via email, the two envelopes I'd sent them I thought would be unused. Oh, no. Never one to waste trees, these envelopes have returned to me, full of my pages (out of order), filled with the scrawl of red pen. On every page.
For a finale? He sent, in one of my postage envelopes, a page of somebody else's story, to represent to me what a properly formatted page should be.
People don't waste their time on minutiae without a reason. This I promise myself faithfully, as I sit here with a stomach ache from pounding down two boxes of sugar-free Mentos and all the fingernails from both hands. He's got to be seriously planning to extend a contract to me. Or else I've got to find him and exterminate him in his sleep. I have never been so stressed out -- aside from PMS, I don't think I've ever been this ill-tempered for so extended a time in my life.
An hour ago, I finished the manuscript revisions. Tomorrow I'll print The Beast again, and wrap it lovingly in white paper, and mail it with reverent hands to the east coast. And yes, I'll add the requisite postage filled envelope so it can be returned. Again.
Cross your fingers.