I didn't realize it had been over seven months since my last note (31 August) where I said I was off to finish my book.
A lot has happened since then. Perhaps the biggest was my decision to go to a novel-writing workshop taught by Dave Wolverton, (aka Dave Farland) a NYT Best-Selling author of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Wolverton's approach is to produce art that is going to yield the highest return on investment, with the idea that if your first novel is a best-seller, your art will reach a wider audience.
So even though I have a prospective agent for Elvira's story, I'm putting that aside for now to write the story of Margaret of Scotland (working title "Pearl of Alba").
For those of you interested in writing, I highly recommend the Wolverton workshop. First, it is something you can just do - the only "audition" is having enough faith in yourself to pay the tuition ($400 for a week workshop), travel to St. George, and put your novel (5-page synopsis and the first 25 pages of the novel in manuscript format) in for critique. Wolverton's perspective is that it is much more about determination and professionalism than raw "writing talent." He's taught dozens of authors who are now established novelists (besides being a best-selling novelist himself), so he's got a proven record of mentoring success. It was a particularly informative and supportive experience.
Wolverton (author of 50+ novels, many best sellers) told us about the year he won the "Writers of the Future" Grand Prize. That same year a convention held a "Writer with No Future" contest. The winner was one Kevin Anderson, a man who had accumulated more rejections by weight than any other contestant (some 750 rejection slips). The prize was a toilet seat, with "Writer with No Future" painted around the rim. Kevin mounted that toilet seat on his wall and kept writing. Anderson is now the author of over ninety published novels, 43 of which have appeared on national or international bestseller lists, with 20 million books in print in thirty languages.
So if any of you are facing your own "toilet seat" of discouragement, take courage. As for me, it's back to writing.