Posted by Lorraine (L.L.) Bartlett

Tree Today is January 22nd and my Christmas tree is still up.

There, I've confessed. They say confession is supposed to be good for the soul, but this confession just makes me feel inadequate.

Believe me, I've never still had the tree up this late in the season. (Or am I just early for Christmas 2008?) My excuse? Being in deadline hell. Okay, my fellow Writers Plot pals Doranna Durgin and Leann Sweeney are in the very same hell, but with a week to go, I'm not certain if I'll make my word count. Maybe it doesn't even matter. I need to talk to my editor. I think the book is DONE. God knows I've been living, breathing and practically eating the thing (I've included recipes--and boy am I sick of testing sausage and cheese muffins) for the last six months.

This is the second time I've had to write to a deadline. I thought the first time was hard, but this was a LOT worse. Of course, the holidays showing up toward the end of it didn't help. And my Dad was hospitalized right before Christmas. Didn't get a lot of writing done that week, either.

I lie awake at night wondering what Tricia and Angelica can do next? I've got another book to write by November 1st, you see, and so far I only have a vague idea of what that book should be about because the phantom of promotion (you remember promotion--Sheila wrote about it yesterday) for the first book looms. (And then another in June.)

Okay, I admit it: I'm ready to tear my hair out in big hanks.

I've neglected my house, my family, even my laundry. Luckily, my family has been quite understanding. (The cats don't care, just as long as the food gets delivered about the same time every day.)

I'm in the process of reading the book for the third time in three weeks. The first time I loved it. Then I rewrote it to make it better. The second time I still loved it. Then I rewrote it to make it even better. The third'm a little bored. I mean, I've never read any book three times in three weeks. (Although I must say, I still laugh at the right places. That has to count for something, right?) I think it's as good or better than the first one. Even better, so do most of my first readers.

I'll be very proud when I see it sitting on bookshelves, but right now I'm looking forward to putting it in an envelope and shipping it off to my publisher.

I know I'll feel different four or five months down the line when I read the copy edit, and then see the galley. When I get the cover, it will suddenly become something completely different: it will feel like a REAL book.

I can't wait!

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