Monday, December 5, 2011

A (Sort OF) Love Letter To The Editor Of A CLOCKWORK CHRISTMAS—Angela James

Releases December 5th!

Dear Angela,

Well, we made it.  It’s almost release-day for your special project—the steampunk Christmas anthology you and the Carina Press staff entitled A CLOCKWORK CHRISTMAS! 
In case you haven’t already noticed, I’m new to the scene of publishing.  Pfft, who am I kidding?  I’m so new I squeak.  I’ve had two other releases before my novella with you—A CRIME WAVE IN A CORSET—but since they both happened in the last ninety days or so, I’m still learning the ropes. *cough*GinormousUnderstatement*cough*

One of those ropes had to do with Twitter.  I’d been told by one of my editors at Samhain Publishing that I needed to be on Twitter to be a presence online, so I dutifully made up an account on March 1st of this year.  On March 6th, someone retweeted your call for submissions for a holiday Steampunk project, and I immediately had an idea for a story.  I didn’t know anything about you or Carina Press; I just liked the subject.  I didn’t have a long time to get things together, since the deadline was May 15th, but when the characters Cornelia Peabody and Roderick Coddington pushed their way to the fore, I knew the story was going to be all right.  And when I had 15K written in the first week, I REALLY knew it was going to be all right. 

When a story pushes its bossy way out like that, it’s always a fun ride.
I was done with CRIME WAVE IN A CORSET by the time May rolled around.  I even had time to send it off to a beta reader for that all-important feedback.  Twice I read the manuscript aloud, until I felt the character of Cornelia so keenly I actually perfected her faint Irish lilt, and I could see impassioned fire hidden beneath the professorial veneer in Roderick’s vengeful eyes.
But as the deadline inched closer, I weenied out.  I just couldn’t make myself send it to you.
Did you know I teach figure skating?  As part of that job I was also a gold-level judge in ISI.  I’ve sat on countless competition panels, doing the job I had spent a lifetime perfecting, so that in turn, the people I judged could be made better (you see where I’m going with this?).  The thing about judging a group of ten to fifteen skaters is basic mathematics—three will see the podium.  The others won’t.  And someone will know that terrible pain of coming in dead last.  I know this sounds cold, so please don’t misunderstand.  It wasn’t that I hated them, or that it was anything personal, and you can bet in my heart of hearts I wanted everyone to come out a winner.  But in every competition I have ever judged, there are those whose efforts don't deserve to see the podium.   That doesn't mean they'll never see it.  There’s always another day, as they say, and that’s something I find myself reminding my broken-hearted students when they (inevitably) produce a bad performance.  There’s always another competition down the road, another shot at the podium.  As long as you keep entering, keep trying, there is no failure.

My Dirty Birdies! I'm the dork
in the glasses. :)
Eventually I realized how stupid I was being by not hitting the Send button.  On May 13th, my birthday, I gave myself the present of courage and sent off CRIME WAVE IN A CORSET.  I did it with the hope that it would podium, but full of understanding if it didn’t.  After all, as you have been trained to be on a judges’ panel of a different type, it’s your job and your duty to make sure the world you love—the publishing world—gets the best efforts from its creative engine, the writers.  And hey, let's face that really big, ugly fact that no one likes to talk about--no matter how awesome it feels to get that podium spot, I don’t know of any writer who would want a project out there that isn’t worthy of an acceptance, if only because one bad novel can sever a thousand reader relationships. 

So this ends my (sort of) love letter to not just you, Angela, but to all editors who sit in their own kind of judge's seat, filled with the hope of being dazzled, and the determination to say no when they're not.  We writers certainly don’t podium on every attempt, but you remind us—there’s always tomorrow.

Speaking of which… it’s tomorrow.  Happy release day, Angela. :)   Love, Stacy

CRIME WAVE IN A CORSET  is available at:


Carina Press:

Barnes and Noble:



  1. So glad you hit send..loved Crime Wave in a Corset :)

  2. *hugs Kimba* I'm glad I sent it, too! And not just because it happened to hit the proverbial podium. I got to meet you, and my antho sisters, and Angela and her crew... that was the best "send" ever. :)

  3. It's so scary to actually take that chance, isn't it? But fantastic when it pays off. Love the cover for "Crime Wave in a Corset" :).

  4. Congratulations on the new release! Title sounds awesome...Crime Wave in a Corset ????

    And the cover is beautiful!

    All the best!

  5. Love the cover.Fantastic story,I can relate from it.