I got the news from Vic. She sold her townhouse but the new owner didn’t want the hot tub. (Is this buyer crazy?!) So Vic hired somebody to come chop the hot tub into pieces and haul it away.
My beta readers and I spent a summer of Sundays in that hot tub, reading and critiquing my manuscript in preparation for my first RWA conference. Oh, the times we had.
- Doing shots of American Harvest Vodka to psyche myself up for reading sex scenes out loud. Dia couldn’t believe I was drinking it straight up. “Try it, it’s smooth,” I said. She tried it and choked: “You call that smooth?” “Lightweight,” I said.
- Explaining lines from old blues songs such as “Gimme A Pigfoot And A Bottle of Beer.” “Wait,” said Dia. “Do people actually eat pig’s feet?” “Down South,” said Vic, “you will see that.”
- Listening to the two of them analyze my characters’ motivations as if I weren’t even there. That was the best.
- Watching their faces fall and their bodies sink lower into the frothy water when my protagonist was navigating her black moment and final crisis. “You guys aren’t laughing so much now,” I said. “These are trying times,” said Dia. Vic just shook her head. “Are these characters as real to you as they are to us?” she asked. “You have no idea,” I said.
Then the story came to an end. We all kind of went into shock, feeling as if we had lived a lifetime of laughter and tears and transformation over the course of one short summer. Dia’s husband came to pick her up and got to listen to the tail end of their post mortem. “Wow. You two are living inside this book,” he said.
Now the hot tub is gone, the revisions are done (for now) and I am in full-on query mode. Not nearly as much fun as the actual story creating part, I’m sure you are shocked to hear. The memories from those hot tub reading parties live on in my mind, though, sustaining me through every rejection, and bringing a smile to my face.