Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday. I spent a good chunk of mine readying this year's submissions to RWA's Golden Heart contest. Since I had nothing new to submit, I decided to enter two books of mine I had completed a few years ago but needed some rework. That way I'd have a reason to revise them with an eye towards submitting them to one of the smaller presses. They are outside-the-box historicals, so until recently I didn't really have a market for them, and frankly, I don't expect much from the GH either. However, it was a good fire-under-the-bottom way to get those rewrites done, so I figured, "why not?"
One of the stories was my first book, and I spent most of my revision time applying all the lessons I have learned about writing since I first wrote it. I managed to bring it down from 123,000 words (!) to about 118,000. Still a lot of words, but I think most of those cuts were deleted "was's" and adverbs. Sheesh. I didn't actually have to do much to the story itself. The other story just needed a better ending, which I hope I gave it. That clocked in at 85,000 words.
I have the benefit of living not too far from RWA's national headquarters, so after checking and rechecking the subs, I packed them up and drove them on over. I have to say, the RWA building wasn't what I expected. Not worse, just not what I expected. It is in a modest, unassuming building in a neighborhood with the same characteristics. What amused me most when I drove up is the RWA sign: in the same building as half-a-dozen dentists and a branch of Prairie View A&M University is "Romance Writers of America." What must those dentists think? :-) The office was an ordinary suite-style office, with pale carpeting and walls and an overworked but very pleasant young lady named Dionne (sp?) standing over the copy machine. I delivered my precious babies to a very large stack--and I mean large, people--of manuscripts in various "urgent mail delivery" style packages. I had the overwhelming desire to stay and help sort through them, but I forced myself to go out the door. I don't know how they keep track and log every manuscript that comes in, but they do, and quite successfully.
Anyway, it's a done deal now, so I have no excuse not to get back to my real life (groan).