Scrambling around today, picking up the pieces of my life that have been neglected while I was absorbed in finishing the book. Also catching up on my RSS feeds, dragging myself slowly back to the now. While I was going through them, a new Balls of Steel by my friend Jeanne Veillette Bowerman popped up on the Script Magazine blog. It's called "Your Character, Your Career."

Her article touches on some important points that all new writers need to keep in mind. Namely - it is incumbent upon you to create the very best work possible, then bust your ass to make it even better, and then, and only then, start submitting, recognizing that creative industries are by their very nature subjective. But you do have some control over that subjectivity. Just as you have certain book categories and movie genres you enjoy, so do agents and editors. Find the ones that like the kind of stuff you're writing. Learn everything you can about them. Read the books they represent and/or edit. Make certain that these are the right people for your work. Those are the people to query.

And when you do query - Follow their guidelines. While some rules are meant to be broken, for the most part, these are not. If you respect them, they will respect you.

A very wise writer once told me, "All good books find a home."

I do believe that's true. You can't lose faith after a single rejection. This is art, which means some people will love it, and some will hate it. Your job is to get your work in front of the people who will love it. Then your good book will find a home.

The second important part of Jeanne's article is the Character issue.

This one is even easier. Here's a simple guideline to follow. It is a universal truth.

Be a nice person.

Trust me on this. You will go further, have more longevity and find success quicker if you're kind to the people around you. We're all in this together. Pay it forward. Mind your karma. Work hard, don't gossip, keep your nose clean, meet your deadlines, and be professional, always.

That's the secret handshake to succeeding in the publishing world.

On a totally unrelated subject...............

Nineteen years ago today I met a guy. He was pretty darn cute, with his glasses and silver streaked black hair. He had a great smile, a boisterous laugh, and beautiful denim blue eyes. And a wicked big brain - I could tell how crazy smart he was immediately. Long story short, nineteen years ago tomorrow, that really cute, funny, smart guy kissed me, and I was lost. Or perhaps it would be better to say, I was found.

Sixteen years ago tomorrow, we stood in front of a priest and promised to love one another forever.

We aren't doing too badly on that promise. Nineteen of adventure later, I'm more in love with that man of mine than ever. I'll say one thing. It is never boring.

(Happy Anniversary, darling!)

Since tomorrow is my anniversary, I hope you'll excuse me from posting. We will be celebrating our mutual adoration in a secret location with some good food and good wine. I'll be back on here Monday.

In the meantime - those of you in the path of Hurricane Irene - please, please be safe and take the storm seriously. We're all pulling for you.