Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hallelujah!!! Mike has an agent!!!

I can't begin to tell you how thrilled I am to share this news!!! Here are a few highlights in Mike's writing life:

June 17, 1990
1990: We get married, and I tell him that I'll support him "for a year" while he writes his novel. :)

1991: He somehow deletes his first novel (Tally Ho, about hippies in England) off of our computer and I have to consult an IT expert in my office for help in retrieving the files. (Good ole Norton Utilities!)

1992-1996: Mike continues writing...and also begins working as an editor for a friend from Japan who started up a Japanese translation/literary agency. He also works at ServiceMaster cleaning carpets to make some pocket money.

1994: He joins his first writing group, with two other guys in Portland.

Mike with Chris in early 1997
1996: Chris is born suddenly, extremely prematurely at 24 weeks gestation. The last four months of the year are spent in the NICU, constantly, and the only writing that gets done is in our joint journal of our time in the NICU.

1997: He joins a larger monthly writing group, still going strong.

1997-present: Mike is stay-at-home dad and household manager extraordinaire, doing a phenomenal job of raising our three (gulp!) boys, and writing when he gets a chance. In the late 1990s and first decade of the new century, he works on Christopher's Angels, our jointly written account of Chris' time in the NICU (which is still waiting for me to finish!!); a Japanese detective novel; and short stories, among others. I know I'm forgetting some!!

1998: I send him to "The Artist's Way" (a 10-week course in creativity) as a Christmas gift. He gives up TV soon afterward, except for the notable exceptions of tennis tournaments, the Olympics, and occasional PBS specials.

2003 Willamette Writers Awards Banquet (with Kieran!)
 2003: He wins honorable mention for fiction in the Kay Snow Awards sponsored by Willamette Writers.

2005: After writing adult fiction for years, he starts getting interested in children's fiction and begins dabbling. Soon he begins to specialize in middle-grade fiction.

2008: He joins a twice-monthly children's writing group, which really kicks off his focus and determination.

2009: Ever the man with willpower, he starts religiously writing one page a day, every day. He wins third place in the Kay Snow Awards.

2009 award banquet
aka Middle Grade Mafioso
2010: He starts a writing blog, The Year of Writing Dangerously. Immersed in all things Shakespearean, he completes Shakespeare on the Lam, a time travel fantasy/humor novel. Then he begins sending the novel out and receiving rejection, after rejection, after rejection (at least 30 in the next two years).

2011: Noticed online as an active middle grade writer, he coins the term "middle grade mafioso" and starts a blog of that name, which attracts quite a following. He also gets invited to join the team blog, Project Mayhem, for middle grade writers. And he gets asked to be a first panel judge of the Cybils awards in the middle grade category...and proceeds to read (or scan) over a hundred middle grade books in a few months' time! Several agents ask to see the full of Shakespeare, but alas, turn him down. I design business cards and a shirt that says "Middle Grade Mafioso" for his Christmas gifts, confident of his impending success!

All ready with business cards!
2012: The year begins with Mike feeling depressed, saying that his novel is "fatally flawed" when he receives a few more rejections, and his ever-optimistic wife and middle son saying "you just haven't found the right agent!" It got to the point where I had to keep my mouth shut, because I had more confidence in his ability to succeed than he did, and I didn't want him to think I was unsympathetic.

Then...he got offers from THREE agents. It as an excruciatingly difficult decision to make (but as I said to him, "a good pickle to be in") because he is an amiable, and it was hard to say no to any of them. He especially liked one agent who has Multnomah Village and European connections. In the end, he is signing with an experienced agent in New York, who has a lot of confidence in his ability to sell Shakespeare to a publisher, in addition to the two other novels he's working on.

He's on his way, at last!!! And I must admit...I did say "I told you so" at least once. :)

I'm so proud of him!!! We all are. Nick has been going around lamenting that no one wants to buy his books (apparently Grandma and Grandpa turned him down? But not sure if they even knew he was trying to sell them!). Then he told Mike he was trying to sell them for $14. Now he's enlisted Kieran as his agent!


  1. Laurie Coy-InscoreJanuary 11, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    I couldn't be more proud Mike ! I knew it was only a matter of time. God Bless You on your journey :)

  2. What an amazing tale of courage and love for your family! Congratulations, Mike!