I mailed in two revised picture books and one "oldie but goodie" to a publishing house today. Fingers crossed!!!
I reworked two stories from the Witty series in a very random moment of inspiration. It came about because I was composing my query letter to the publisher and realized that the Witty series is actually called Witty the Wonder Dog.
(I know this may sound silly, but I feel more like a vessel when I write than a creator. As such, I often spend my time waiting, listening, observing, and then recording my characters' stories, rather than crafting them myself. So, when the words Witty the Wonder Dog flew out of my fingers onto the computer screen, I knew that I had struck the right note with Witty. His character opened up to me suddenly and more completely than it had in the past.)
When I typed that new title I realized that all FIVE stories I had written, re-written, and 'put to bed' no longer worked. I needed to start over.
But, when inspiration hits, it hits. I wrote two new stories from scratch and have fun ideas for more in the works. I like this version of my beloved dog stories MUCH more. The first round was way too blah, not commercial or engaging enough. These are better, thank God.
Witty's Story - the Brief Version
For those of you who are interested, Witty was my dog during my single, young adult days. I inherited him from his previous owners when they could no longer fit him and their growing family in their apartment. One of my roommates heard me say, "I think I'd like a dog," and the next thing I knew she was driving me to Witty's apartment after having found him in our local paper. I thought we were all adopting him - all five of the girls I lived with at the time. It was only on the way there that they explained they were just 'helping' me - an honor I don't remember asking for. : )
Anyway, we all went into the tiny apartment to meet Dr. Wittgenstein (his full name). I sat cross-legged on the floor because there weren't enough chairs. Witty wasted no time. He crossed right over to me and curled up in my lap. Before that, he had been cowering shyly in a corner.
So, I like to say that Witty chose me before I even thought about choosing him. Once he was in my lap, there was no turning back. And he went everywhere with me - including all the way to Los Angeles and back - until he passed away from cancer in 2005. I still miss him.