If you think getting accepted by a publishing company is tough, try adopting a rescue dog sometime.
Don't get me wrong: I understand that shelters and adoption organizations have to be very careful about the families to which they give animals that need homes. I'm not complaining about any questionnaire, reference call (my best friend called up and said, "You want to be a beagle parent?") or adoption donation. I'm not. But it is an interesting process, and one that I recommend anyone who likes having a pet around the house should give a go.
So here's the latest addition to our household: We're calling him Toby (partly after everyone's favorite character in The West Wing and partly because of the bloodhound Sherlock Holmes would sometimes employ in his investigations), but his name used to be Bagel. We felt having a dog with an edible name might give off the wrong message in our house (that's a joke).
He's a 2-year-old (we think) beagle who came from a "kill shelter" in one of the Carolinas to a more hospitable one in Pennsylvania, where he spent about a month with a foster family before we came along and drove him to New Jersey following a tearful farewell.
Toby's a little skittish, but that's understandable considering all the tumult in his life. We're expecting that after a while in one place, he'll relax a little more. He's already part of the family. I'll keep you updated.
Meanwhile, back in the publishing business, I went to Maine a few weeks ago for a long weekend, and because it was Maine, I had dinner with the wonderful Julia Spencer-Fleming (and we talked about publishing, IRS!), her equally adorable husband Ross and their extremely interesting (I mean that in the most complimentary possible way) children. And that made me think:
If I'd been going to Michigan, I would have looked in on Robin Agnew. Had we decided to vacation in Virginia, perhaps we'd have had dinner with Ellery Adams/Jennifer Stanley/JB Stanley. Or perhaps Meredith Cole would be home.
Were we lucky enough to be vacationing in England, I would have gotten in touch with Lynne. Upstate New York? Maybe Toni L P Kelner would have been available. We were going to get in touch with Rosemary Harris on the way to Maine, but time didn't allow it.
I know my friend Leann Sweeney lives in some Carolina or another these days. I could certainly get in touch if I were in that area. Going to Massachusetts? I definitely would hope Hank Philippi Ryan could find some time.
If our dream vacation to Australia ever becomes plausible, I'll look up my pal Fiona Marsden, who says she's my biggest fan. In two years when we take our trip to Hawaii, I won't be able to go without looking up my good friend Cynthia Chow. I'm leaving some people and places out, but I think you get the idea.
The point is: Nobody should get into the whole "author" thing expecting to become unspeakably wealthy and remarkably famous. But if you measure wealth by the fine people you meet along the way, there are few better, more enriching professions.