Crimson Death, the book that would not end.
I wrote this weeks ago, but was so busy actually writing, and living that I forgot to post it.
It’s raining here today. The kind of rain that settles in like a guest before the cozy fire with a cup of hot tea and a good book. It’s that kind of day, but I can’t curl up with someone else’s book yet, because I have my own to finish. Crimson Death is written, but now it’s page proofs which are the last chance to catch any small mistakes. If you find any large ones that would require pages to fix, or even paragraphs, you are out of luck. The book has been to the printers and these are the finished sheets, so small changes like the fact that I keep trying to give Cardinale green eyes to match Damian’s, when she is introduced books ago with blue eyes, that can be caught and changed. You can add, or cut a sentence here and there, but beyond that the book is the book – it’s done. But like so often in publishing, it’s done, but it’s not. Crimson Death is almost set in stone, but here are page proofs to show that the stone can still be polished a bit more.
I have now read and reread this book so many times that I’m having to fight not to change things just to change things, so it will read differently. I’m somewhere between bored with it and terrified that I’ll miss something that will haunt me later. Today is the last day though, tomorrow the page proofs MUST be in New York. My editor, my publisher, the entire long suffering production team, everyone who has touched this book and helped it along are waiting for me to finish this one last pass through the manuscript, which now looks like the final typeset of the book. It’s still loose pages when printed out, but it is now set like it will appear between the covers of the book. The art department has that lovely cover waiting to go around these pages like a lover’s hug to hold it safe, warm, and made to feel pretty. The book is done, but it’s not.
Crimson Death more than any other book in memory has been done, until I realize it’s not done – yet. That first ending that didn’t work at all. That second climatic ending that in retrospect didn’t seem all that climatic. My old editor retired happily, and I’m happy for her, but my new editor and I are still finding our feet. I think I may owe her flowers after the grueling literary slog this book has become on our end. Or maybe we just need to meet at a bar somewhere and have a drink, or three. I don’t normally drink, but on the research trip to Ireland for Crimson Death, I finally learned to appreciate it. So cliche that I had to go to Ireland to learn to drink. This book is leaving me thinking that I might curl up in front of the fire on a rainy day with something a little harder than tea. Maybe some Glendalough whiskey shining amber in a crystal cut glass, while I finally put my feet up and get to read someone else’s book, but not yet.