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Weekly Wrap: Some Fabulous News

by Susan Henderson on January 18, 2008

It’s been absolutely killing me not to share this news. But I’m going to have the amazing Lance Reynald do the honors. I am so very happy for him, you have no idea! Here’s Lance…

This week’s wrap seems such a hard one to start. It feels as though it’s such a long one coming, but it really isn’t. Still, I find myself floundering around looking for some point of origin for the crazy fortuitous journey to begin.

It certainly isn’t a secret around the Park that I really love our craft. In all it’s wild and crazy forms. Everything from some of the classics to the craziest and most random of the bloggers. I find inspiration, insight and some spark within most of it.

A few years ago I started tinkering around in Bloggsville. It gave me a place to explore my writing and get some feedback here and there from what I found to be a compassionate and understanding audience. Initially hidden behind a series of quirky screen names and odd profile photos I overcame a certain timid nature and used the medium to find my voice. The worlds of Journalspace, Blogger and a few others I can’t remember and long ago deleted acted as an incubator for the style of writing I find has become recognizable as my own.

Now, a mild digression moment here. When I started all of this wild blogging the literary world didn’t yet understand the medium or what role it might play. All the writerly magazines dismissed it as a waste of time. I even had a few friends that we’re writers tell me not to invest my time and skills into something that wasn’t the actual “ work”. As though they all adhered to this unwritten rule that they were a breed apart from the common blogger; the writing done in the medium something less than their efforts. This view is still a riddle to me. It’s all words and audience somewhere isn’t it?

And then came MySpace.

Now, this is where the naysayers should pay a bit of attention. Back when I still had fewer than 50 friends over at MySpace my roll call included a collective of memoirists, a major imprint, a handful of talented writers, literary organizations and of course, Jenna Jameson.

They all said serious literature would never catch on in Bloggsville.

Hmm? (how serious are we talking.)

In April of 2006 I added my most valuable friend to that MySpace page. A friend that would help me find a novel in the random blogposts. A friend that would offer unwaivering support to an idea, a dream. A friend that would connect me to some of the most talented writers working with the craft today. The friend that would quickly move from a shared love of thunderstorms to having the affectionate nickname of “the wondertwin”.

It was the wondertwin that saw the very first copy of Pop Salvation. She gave me the push to take it from a few insane blogposts that left my readers mute into a novel length debut.

Certainly, there are a few people in my life that made the growth of the novel possible. But, Susan Henderson is the one that I’d credit with actually pushing me to limits of my own potential with this one. She’s the support that resulted in the book’s completion. That support isn’t just about our friendship, it’s about a passion for our craft. A friendship born in Bloggsville, with a steady foundation here on this page you’re visiting.

[USED TO BE A COOL PICTURE OF A POP SALVATION CAMPBELL’S SOUP CAN, BUT IT’S GONE NOW.]
Click here to “friend” Pop Salvation. Cool mock-up courtesy of iamthatguy.

Looks a bit like serious work to me.

Crazy journey for two years work, huh?

Where does it all go from here?

Well…

Working with friendships, taking chances here and there, taking heed some of the conventional wisdom and doing it my way anyway? Admittedly, I am a bit of a workhorse, and not a patient one at that. Susan can vouch for me there. She saw the first copy of Pop in early October and my worries about what it would do followed soon thereafter. We’re always our own worst critics though.

I don’t have the typical story with this one. I can’t tell you the tale of swimming in the slush pile and having a wall of rejection letters. I queried three agents informally via e-mail and sent along the first 40 pages. I didn’t hear back from a single one of them. Doubtful any of them have seen a single word. No contact is certainly no rejection. One thing I learned about my patience over the past few months; no form rejection letter means they haven’t even found the time to look at you.

I relied on friendship and the strength of my work here at the park to get my foot in a door. I’ve learned that there is a certain code, or compassion, among writers.

When we can, we help one another.

I’ve had a lot of help in the past two years.

I asked one of those friend’s what his advice was regarding how to send my little book out into the world. His response to my worries about the conventional wisdom,

“what’s to lose… at worst you’ll get a form letter back.”

Being ever the rule breaker and anarchist at heart, that was just the push I needed to do exactly what I wanted to do. Was that sneaking in the back door or just a bit of luck on the DIY approach I apply to most of my life? Who knows? It worked.

Pop Salvation ended up exactly where I wanted it. The imprint my gut told me would be the best home for it. Getting it there was through hard work, determination and the friendships built right here in the Park.

So, to all of you and especially to the Wondertwin, Thank You. I wouldn’t have done it without such a great bunch of friends and such a lovely playground.

Now, I’m off to bust out some edits and get this beast on the shelf for you kids in a year or so. I can’t wait to see what it all looks like then!

All my best and all my heart.

Follow that dream, you can get it!

xo. LR

*

Thank you to this week’s guest, Monica Drake, and to everyone who linked to LitPark this week: Rachel Fershleiser at Smith Magazine, M.J. Rose, Reading Writing Living, Kimberly M. Wetherell, A.J. Davis, Anthony S. Policastro, Janet Reid at FinePrint Literary Management, the Amici Forever forum, Charles Shaughnessy, Word Junkie, and Simply Wait.

{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura_Benedict January 17, 2008 at 11:44 pm

Congratulations, Lance. Dreams are wonderful things when they step out into the real world!

(Why do I suspect that you’re going to have one kick-ass author’s pic, too?!)

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Heather_Fowler January 18, 2008 at 12:07 am

“I’ve learned that there is a certain code, or compassion, among writers. When we can, we help one another.”

How true is this?! Congrats, Lance! I hope it sells off the shelves and into multiple reprints.

Warmest,
H

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n.l. belardes January 18, 2008 at 12:42 am

Damn cool. – n.l.

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Aimee January 18, 2008 at 1:17 am

congrats! It must be an amazing feeling. I am genuinely happy for you. My first blog was called wordroux. It got its name because of my New Orleans roots. They teach cooking based on one simple fact: it’s all in the roux. The base, the bottom, bottom ingredients; flour, butter, and water. If the roux is good the rest will be too. So my blog, back in 2001, was my wordroux. Anyway, you must have had a great roux. Here’s selling lots of books and writing many more!
Aimee

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terrybain January 18, 2008 at 1:58 am

Okay. I admit it. I peeked early. Congratulations, Mr. R.

And blessings.

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Richard Cooper January 18, 2008 at 2:15 am

Positively enlightening and uplifting and just freaking cool.

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RAC January 18, 2008 at 2:22 am

Positively enlightening and uplifting and just freaking cool.

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Nathalie January 18, 2008 at 2:44 am

And again: congratulations on the achievement!
I, for one, don’t think that blogging is a waste of writing time: it allows reaching out and getting feed back .

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djtuffpuppy January 18, 2008 at 5:27 am

You still need to let me know what to wear to your signings. I know i’ve said this before but, congrats. 🙂

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robinslick January 18, 2008 at 7:18 am

This is the coolest news ever! Congratulations, Lance. I would say “I told you so” but damn, I never did, even though I knew it all along.

The Lit Park success story ratio rate is kind of staggering, Sue, isn’t it? Good job!

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Claire Cameron January 18, 2008 at 7:45 am

The best news. Congratulations sir!

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Kimberly January 18, 2008 at 8:14 am

Allow me to drop one more love note onto the already towering stack of valentines…

Lance may be things like “genius”, “beautiful”, “rascally” and “fun” but he’s also one of the most generous souls out there.

You get what you give, baby, and this karmic goodness has been well placed!

Mwah.

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billie January 18, 2008 at 8:26 am

Congratulations, Lance! I’m so happy to read this today – can’t wait to read your book as well.

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Ric January 18, 2008 at 8:48 am

Kudos! Great news! On the farm, we say, “The cream always rises to the top.”

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SusanHenderson January 18, 2008 at 9:30 am

It is a damn good book, and I’m thrilled it landed in such good hands. I’m so proud of you! xo

For those of you who are so bored that you would watch 8 minutes of my kids speaking poor Mandarin and kicking each other:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RC2UP88JvNA

(P.S. There’s a quick cameo of Roy Kesey’s daughter in the out-takes.)

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Betsy January 18, 2008 at 9:35 am

Right on, Lance! This is just fantastic news and the cover is spectacular.

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josh kilmer-purcell January 18, 2008 at 10:06 am

you’re great lance!!!!! and now even more people will know.

xo

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Aurelio January 18, 2008 at 10:27 am

I’m wearing a big grin as I read this. One of my very first MySpace friends makes good! (Where’s my damned “kudos” button???) I look forward to buying a copy and getting you to sign it for me, buddy.

I share your deep appreciation of Susan – I think we all do.

Susan, you are a rare soul of great worth, beloved by your peers.

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Heather McElhatton January 18, 2008 at 11:54 am

Well done lad! Welcome to the world of being published. Your author’s starter kit is on the way…complete with stolen vicodin perscription, extra strength sleeping pills, monogrammed whiskey shotglass and industrial coffee maker (just put the whiskey in your coffee, it’s quicker.) WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Kyla Elise January 18, 2008 at 12:19 pm

This is the most wonderful news Lance! Congratulations! You deserve all the success in the world. Much love, Kyla

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Erin January 18, 2008 at 1:00 pm

mr. lance,
you’ve inspired me. i am fascinated by people who are living in this phase you just entered- the phase between being a witty, talented guy and a famous, witty, talented guy. let us know when oprah invites you to a taping.
seriously though, what cool news. i’m thrilled this has happened for you. i love it when the good guys win. i’m even happier that this has happened for someone who is one of our “own”. sounds like you’ll be in for a heavy (but rewarding) year. good luck! and don’t forget you have an entire network of support here at the park.
cheers!
erin

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jessicaK January 18, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Dear Lance,

Stupendous news! What a lift to hear this at the end of the week. –And no surprise that you credit Susan as a key support and inspiration. She’s a beautiful, fiery soul. The best part of this? You followed your heart. You believed. You did it your way, the quirky way. It’s so so gratifying and affirming to hear this. Congratulations. Keep dancing and please keep us posted.

Jessica

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Aurelio January 18, 2008 at 1:16 pm

This film is priceless! How in the world did Mr. H get footage on an EMPTY Great Wall? The ending made me hungry.

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lance_reynald January 18, 2008 at 2:11 pm

seems I picked one hell of a morning to sleep in…

Thank you All for the lovely comments.

it’s a good gig, made all the better by the great friends here at Litpark.

again; heartfelt thanks to all of you.

xo. LR

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Carolyn_Burns_Bass January 18, 2008 at 2:14 pm

Lance, I didn’t realize this fantastic news had not yet been announced when I commented on Wednesday. I hope I didn’t ruin the surprise for anyone. I said it then and I’ll say it again, CONGRATULATIONS. I’m encouraged by your journey and happy to read that the road doesn’t have to be littered with rejection slips.

I’ve been doing some writing for a business pub about the power of social media/networking. The collaboration of community here–particularly between you and Susan–exemplifies the power of this medium. Blissings to the both of you.

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Noria January 18, 2008 at 4:17 pm

Yay! I can’t wait to read Pop Salvation — I love everything Warhol.
You’re going to be a superstar!

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Juliet January 18, 2008 at 5:40 pm

I have never in my life valued another person’s writing as I do yours, LR, and having read Pop Salvation, I would be the first to volunteer to stand on a corner with a sandwich board in your honour. Watching you throw your heart, soul, dreams and everything into this book has been more like watching someone wring their heart out on a page. Again, and again and again.
Amazing, and beautiful.

Your support for the blogworld, unconventional methods of connection and sharing is of great value.
As always, Je t’aime, M.Reynald.

Susan, you shine like diamonds. Your first paragraph sounds like a child jumping up and down in excitement.

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robert westfield January 19, 2008 at 1:17 am

CONGRATULATIONS!! I had a feeling…WELCOME! xoxoxo

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:15 pm

Robert!

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:15 pm

You are the sweetest, J.

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:16 pm

It is a fantastic, sexy book, and I’m a picky, picky reader.

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:17 pm

Aww. Thanks, Carolyn.

(And yeah, I am all for that road that’s not littered with rejection slips!)

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:17 pm

xo!

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:19 pm

I get that word “fiery” a lot. Maybe your book is next, eh?!

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:20 pm

I think Lance will wear fame very well.

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:20 pm

Hi Kyla!

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:22 pm

HA! Someone left the vicodin out of my starter kit. I was gypped!

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:23 pm

Aww. What a sweet thing to say.

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:24 pm

And his book has a killer shower scene, too! It made me change the brand of soap I buy.

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:24 pm

Hey, isn’t your new book coming out soon?

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:27 pm

It’s cuz we didn’t go to crazy Badaling. I’ll have to ask Kesey where we were. It was maybe the most awesome day of my life.

The funnier thing is we had a completely empty Tiananmen Square, too!

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:28 pm

What else do you say on the farm, Ric?

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:29 pm

I can’t wait to read it properly, between a pretty cover!

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:30 pm

I agree!

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:30 pm

Claire – long time, no see!

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:31 pm

Lots of good people getting a break, that’s for sure. And lots of good people waiting patiently, or otherwise, for that break. That is also for sure.

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:32 pm

Yes, Lance, will you post your dress code, please?

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:33 pm

Besides the obvious about blogging giving you a community, blogging is a great way to keep you writing at a fast enough pace that you lay off the overthinking and overediting.

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:34 pm

Way freaking cool.

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:35 pm

You owe me mail, t. You need to fill in the blank, and I mean it.

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:36 pm

That is a cool story, Aimee. And now I know a new word.

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:36 pm

Hey, stranger!

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:38 pm

It is a very hot book with Andy Warhol, the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and the aforementioned shower scene. I think it will get a lot of talk.

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SusanHenderson January 19, 2008 at 9:38 pm

Doesn’t he take kick-ass photos?

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jonathanevison January 19, 2008 at 10:38 pm

holy toledo, that’s amazing news! h.p. is one of the best imprints anywhere! is john williams your editor?

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Nathalie January 20, 2008 at 2:24 am

Absolutely. That is one of the reasons I put my NaNo story on a dedicated blog. If I had to keep it personnal, I don’t think it would progress so quickly (but that’s a personnal thing, of course).

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Gail Siegel January 20, 2008 at 3:35 pm

Lance, this is fantastic!

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SusanHenderson January 20, 2008 at 10:59 pm

Isn’t it the most awesome news?

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SusanHenderson January 20, 2008 at 11:00 pm

Want to tell us who your editor is, Wondertwin?

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SusanHenderson January 20, 2008 at 11:01 pm

And I agree about HarperPerennial. Every book of theirs that I’ve read has been superb.

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Kyla Elise January 20, 2008 at 11:31 pm

Hi Susan! How are you? 🙂

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Maria Dahvana Headley January 21, 2008 at 12:49 am

Whoooohoooo! Highly deserved! Sorry to be so slow with my congrats – I’ve been under some great water. (Does that sound porno-ish? It’s not – just working hard, and happy with it.) This is wonderful news, Lance!

xox

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Alexander Chee January 21, 2008 at 1:10 pm

One more congratulations in yet another format!!!

I’m super happy for you. I can’t believe you waited this long to announce. Susan, you must have been dying.

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Dennis Mahagin January 21, 2008 at 8:38 pm

Lance,

Yowsah. 🙂

CONGRATS!

Must be that PDX Mojo!

My Best To U;
& Continued Success,

DM

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Lac January 23, 2008 at 1:14 pm

Congrats Lance! Looking forward to the read, and keep hustling…

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Josie Renwah January 23, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Excellent news Lance.
I’m thrilled for you.
And no place could be better for editing than Portland!
Nice move, buddy – all the way around.

xo

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David_Niall_Wilson January 25, 2008 at 1:12 pm

Very, very cool, Lance. And believe me, it feels just as good every time it happens.

David

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ErikaRae February 10, 2008 at 9:38 am

Heartfelt congratulations, Lance!!!

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