I placed my manuscript in the hands of a trusted editor late this fall, expecting to get it back in a few weeks. She was only working with the first fifty pages (that's all I could afford), so I figured it wouldn't be too long and that I would just take a little time off from writing while I waited.
Then a sad thing happened. My editor's father-in-law died suddenly and quite unexpectedly. I know her and her children well enough to know they are the very definition of a tight-knit family. So, with my knowledge and permission (though she hardly needed it), she has been concentrating on dealing with this family crisis instead of editing my book. She could pass the task off to one of her underlings, but I would rather wait on her than work with someone with whom I have no relationship. So I wait.
I hope to hear from her any day now, but I decided this week that my down time needed to be over. I just couldn't not write anymore. (I know that's a double-negative, but sometimes you just have to live on the wild side.) By down time, I don't mean time without any writing at all. I make my living as a teacher and am working toward renewing my National Board certification, which requires a decent amount of writing, though I'm sure the NBPTS would prefer it be nonfiction. So I have been writing--but writing in response to an assignment, not writing what I choose to write. What I want to write. What, I find more and more, I need to write.
So I have started working again on my new book. It has the same duo of main characters, but with a different supporting cast and a whole new adventure. I had started it before I began working with my editor and was sending out what I now see were pointless queries for my first book. I found I missed Harry and Dee. He is, in many ways, the best part of me, or the best part of what I wish I were. He's not perfect but he's a sight closer than I am. It's terrible to say, but he makes me laugh. I hope someday that people who buy my book will report the same thing.