sea cows

I ran through the drizzling rain to meet the mailman. He handed me another official-looking envelope from ICM. Inside was the second half of my check from HarperCollins (minus my agent's well-deserved percent) upon completion of the edited manuscript. Last time, it said, "Untitled OCD Novel." It felt strange, looking at the new and improved title next to my name.

Now I'm sipping a tall iced mocha and combing through my work-in-progress. Yesterday I cut about 20,000 words from the bloated rough draft. It's funny how some people get caught up in the word count. For me, it's always a matter of trimming things down.

Good thing the check arrived. I'm on the hunt for a kickass freelance publicist to help me promote my book next year. HarperCollins has its own publicity department, of course. They will set up author visits and signings. But I have to be realistic. At this point, I'm a stranger in a strange land. I need all the help I can get.

"Does it feel real yet?" my guardian angel, Joyce, asked.

"No," I told her. "I still feel like...who me? An author?"

"That feeling never goes away," she said.

Geez. The lady has written so many novels, I've lost count.

I was reading Blake Nelson's blog. (always entertaining with his random observations about the Zenlike vibe of cows or whatever). He talks about spotting people on the subway and how it makes him a little nervous when they're reading his books. I think I can understand. Right now, it feels like I have stage fright or something. I'm a little freaked out.

Manatees (aka "sea cows") are Zenlike too. Here's a picture of Whiskers, an endangered West Indian manatee at Blue Spring State Park. I just adopted this cutie from Save the