Oh my freaking, gosh. That’s the clean version. Have you ever had a project you just wanted to get done so you can move onto the next thing, only to have it interrupted over and over again? That’s where I’m at with Fighting for Fall. I finished the hand edits a week ago, fully planning to have it ready for beta readers by May 26. I’m less than halfway through entering my red marks into the computer. And this week, the fleas hit…this is not a metaphor…real jumpy, itchy, nasty fleas.
I don’t have fleas, but my damn dogs do (did). Macy was laying in my bed Thursday morning, when I spotted something running around on her tummy. There were two somethings. I darted in with my fingers and captured one. Before I could get it close enough to get a good look at it, the darn thing jumped. It was then I knew, fleas were among us. I nabbed the second one, which was quite a bit bigger, and called the vet, keeping a firm grip on the little bugger. The receptionist told me to tape it to a piece of paper and bring it in for confirmation. I relived my fourth grade insect project as I located the Scotch tape and a white piece of paper—a step up, I think, from the cardboard and stick pins. You’ve probably noticed by now bugs don’t make me squeamish. The parasitic ones are gross, but in my mind, squealing and running from them doesn’t accomplish anything. My daughter got head lice a couple years ago. After three weeks of picking nits, all my willies are gone.
Anyway, after a shower, I loaded up the dogs and the display flea and drove to Moscow, a twenty minute one way trip. I presented my flea term paper, and the receptionist took it back for a doctor to look at. I heard the exclamations clear from the front of the building. “Oh yes, that’s a flea. He’s a nice big one!” Big sigh on my part.
So, I bought the Frontline and the environmental spray. The dogs and I drove back home and got to work. Well, I got to work. They just stared at me as I mumbled to myself, running the vacuum cleaner over every soft surface, stuffing load after load of bedding into the washer. No matter how hard I worked, it seemed there was another blanket to wash, another piece of furniture to vacuum, another corner to spray. And the constant worry that I’d miss a spot and the bugs would gather and multiply there with the express intent to undo all the hard work I’d just put in.
And that’s where I’m at with this manuscript. Chasing fleas. Tracking down red marks, making the changes in the computer and finding new problems along the way. Seems like for every one I fix there are two more waiting. It feels endless, but necessary.
I finished my deep cleaning yesterday with a whoosh of relief and a great sense of accomplishment. I could sit on the couch without stressing about picking up a larvae or an egg and transporting it somewhere else, perpetuating the flea life cycle. When I get to the end of this editing phase, I’m going to have the same feeling of ease. I will have created the best story I can in this moment for you guys. I can turn it over to you without worry of plot holes and one star reviews. I’ll be confident you will get a flea free experience.
Okay, this has been a fun little diversion, but I must get back to picking literary fleas. If any of you are interested in receiving an Advance Review Copy of Fighting for Fall later this summer, please let me know in the comments below or shoot me an email: email@example.com. I’ll be distributing those a couple of weeks before the release date so folks have a chance to read and review the book, helping others to find it.