How February Was the Month My Life Changed

When I was younger, my dad would take my sisters and I to this arcade. It was our favorite because there were Go Karts and games and – my favorite – drag racing.

It terrified me, and, at first, my dad wasn’t sure if I would be up for it. It’s drag racing. The cars are secured to a track, but you’re still going from like 0 to 100 in a matter of seconds. The best/worst part? You control the speed.

I say this is the best and worst part because sure, I could slow down. But it was a race. I wanted to win.

You know that feeling on a roller coaster when you go in to free fall? It turns out drag racing at that speed feels like the same thing (and I HATE that feeling. I was that 12 yr-old that got to the front of the line at Splash Mountain at Disneyland and walked right across the boat like ‘see y’all on the other side’ and my parents would hold up the whole line trying to get me to do it and it would be a huge scene where I was in tears like NO F**KING WAY GUYS and the other tourists were encouraging me and staring this mini-movement to Get Katie on The Ride and then I’d hold firm then they’d go without me and I’d sit in awkward silence next to the big stupid bear statue as kids half my age waltzed on to the boat with zero issue). Anyway. Drag Racing.

I’d climb in the car where my feet barely reached the petals. Some guy would come by and secure my seat belt. I’d look over at my dad like ha ha you’re goin’ down while trying to not pee the car, which I believe would mar my win, slightly.

And there was this light. It’s what I remember best. It was the most amazing, terrifying thing.

It was like

RED

YELLOW

YELLOW

…..

GREEN

and then I’d punch it as hard as I could, and my stomach would be left at the starting line and I’d want to throw up.

Then, there was a button on the wheel. It gave you that extra little oomph – that extra push. You were supposed to use it when you got halfway down the tracks. The car would lurch forward like a rocket launcher. I was always afraid to push it. The first couple times, I didn’t. Then, I did. I even think I won, once.

That feeling of pushing the button has been on my mind a lot, lately. I guess ’cause my entire life just changed.

For a long time, it felt like I was sitting at the starting line. This time last year, I was

unemployed

stalled out with writing

watching Big Hero 6 with Aryn on a daily basis while wearing pajamas AND

living with my parents.

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Then, things picked up. I got a job. We bought a condo. I left my literary agency and started a job at the city. Movement, but not necessarily the jump I wanted. I wanted to move.

Warp speed. Full throttle.

In January, I started freelancing and kept querying my latest novel. It was good, but, as any querying writer will tell you, torturous. It was a time of empty inboxes and a lot of writing.

Then, February happened.

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I was sitting at home on one of my days off from the city when I got an email. It was from a lovely agent. She loved Haunt and wanted to talk.

Now, I didn’t know what to do. I said ‘yes’, of course, and then I just stood in my living room. I cranked up Gabrille Aplin’s ‘Alive’ because it seemed like the song you’d want playing in the movie when a character had a breakthrough.

We had the call, and she offered representation. I was floored, and so excited.

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Then I had to go to work, which is weird. I walked in with this stupid grin on my face. All I wanted to do was shout the good news to everyone but I knew I couldn’t. I made photo copies and phone calls and was like HOW IS LIFE STILL BEING ALL CHILL RIGHT NOW?

I let all the other agents know, and gave a deadline. Within minutes, emails began rolling in – both step asides and full requests. I ended up getting a couple more requests for phone calls.

One of those requests was from Brianne Johnson from Writers House. (As in Writers House).

She said that my query actually wasn’t in her inbox — could I send it again?

So I sent her the query. Later that day at work I looked through my email and realized

I. HAD. SENT. HER. THE. WRONG. QUERY.

IT. WAS. ADDRESSED. TO. SOMEONE. ELSE.

WHAT?!

lnwmhwm

and then like… welp. That’s done. I had a good run.

Then…. then she requested the full.

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She told me she would be on vacation, but would be getting back to the states ON the deadline I’d given the agents.

I sent it and then tried to put it out of my mind. I mean, come on. Writers House?

I realized I needed to start writing seriously in 2012, right around the time I found out I was pregnant with Aryn. I’d written a novel, but, like all first drafts, it was complete shit a little rough.

I started rewriting. And when I lost motivation, I would go to the Writers House website. They represent Stephanie Meyer, John Green, Laurie Halse Anderson, Alexandra Bracken, Neil Gaiman, and so many others. They are the creme de la creme. I even printed out a picture of their webpage and put it in front of my writing binder to keep my eyes on my goal.

Ross would wake up before me, print out their home page, and tape it to the mirror before he went to work with “WRITE” written next to it in dry erase marker. That was almost four years ago.

I just never imagined they would ever request the full. I figured I was blessed enough to get that far.

Then?

Then I woke up to an email from Bri. I’ve learned to read the last sentences of my emails first, so I don’t get my hopes up only to get let down by a “however” or “unfortunately” in the second paragraph. But this didn’t look like one of those emails. It was long, and she…

she liked it?

she liked it.

she wanted to represent it.

WHAT.

My head was spinning. I don’t even know what I did with myself after that. I probably cried. I don’t know. I should ask Ross. We scheduled a call for a couple hours after she landed back in the states later that week.

We talked, I fell in love. You know. The usual.

tumblr_mdt3mf5tbe1rfq6cdo6_500(expect an abundance of Daryl Dixon gifs, ladies and gents. My newfound love for him is deep and abiding)

 

 

 

I had six other offers of representation on the table at that point. From AMAZING agencies and incredibly kind, kick-ass agents. But I knew, as I talked to Bri and heard her vision for not only my book, but entire career, that she was the one.

I told her at the end of the call that I wanted to sign with her.

She sent the contract the next day, and I took an awkward selfie signing it because no one else was home to do it.

The end.

JUST KIDDING. Because this whole thing is a blog post revolving around a metaphor about the button on the side of the steering wheel, remember? There has to be a little oomph in here, somewhere.

I also, in the midst of all this, realized that I had too much freelancing on my plate to keep up with the city job. I’d just signed with an awesome client for a screenplay that would take a lot of time. So, I did what seemed crazy —

I quit the city job.

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I gave my two weeks notice and almost threw up. But there’s another reason for that because, in the midst of all THAT —

I found out that I’m pregnant with our second child.

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(YES THE ZOMBIE DREAMS ARE BACK BUT THIS TIME I KICK ASS IN THEM SO THAT’S FINE). I took a test early in the morning and it came back negative. I was kind of bummed and went to watch Harry Potter with Aryn. When I decided to shower I realized I’d left the test on the edge of the bathtub and it was POSITIVE.

I was like

ROSS! COME HERE OMGOMGOMGOMG

Ross: What?

Me: *holds test up to his face which is kind of gross when you think about it*

Ross: THAT means yes?!

Me: YES! OBVIOUSLY!

Ross: I’ve been literally seeing that all morning and thought nothing of it.

Me: *glare* *hug* *glare*

So. Needless to say, this has been a life-changing month.

What even just happened?

I wanted things to move. For so long I was like… I’m in the car. I’m buckled up. The light is yellow. Come on.

And now things are moving, and my stomach is still at the starting line. I’m still scared as hell and might throw up, but I wouldn’t change a damn thing. This is incredible.

Actually, now that I think about it, that sick feeling could very well be the morning sickness. Let me get back to you on that.

Til then — I’ll just punch the gas, be thankful, and take this win.

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