November Theme: Choosing No = Book sale!

Stephanie J. Blake

In September, my small high school class celebrated our 25th class reunion. We were all very close, and I wanted to attend so badly, but the RMC-SCBWI conference was scheduled for the same weekend.

My writing career had stalled. I wanted to make some new connections. I had to make a choice! There would be other reunions, sure. And other conferences while we're at it. but something told me that this conference was important and after looking through the editors and agents who were schedule to attend, I chose to go to the conference.

I was determined to get the most out of it. I paid extra for a novel critique and for the novel intensive. A few weeks after registering for the conference, I wavered. I had doubts about the manuscript I was working on for the critique. I almost talked myself out of canceling.

The morning of the conference, I printed out the first page of a novel for the Novel First Pages session. At the last minute, I decided to enter a silly picture book manuscript in the Picture Book First Pages session instead.

How could I know that this small choice would change my future?

Fast forward to the afternoon First Pages session. I was nervous even though I was anonymous. The reader picked my page, and I cringed as she read it. The agent and the editor on the panel loved it! The audience laughed in all the right places.

I got a FEELING.

I got the editor from the First Pages session later for my novel critique. We had a nice talk about my novel and at the end of the 20 minutes, I mentioned the first pages critique. She requested the manuscript on the spot.

On November 11, she made me an offer!

MY ROTTEN FRIEND will come out with Albert Whitman & Co. some time in 2015. The amazing editor who discovered it is Kelly Barrales-Saylor.


  1. YAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!! Loved MARBLE QUEEN, and I can't wait to read MRF!

  2. Stephanie, Same as Holly said AND, isn't it wonderful when we to listen to the "right" voices in our writing heads?

  3. How WONDERFUL! Congratulations, Stephanie!

  4. Wonderful news,Stephanie. Congrats! I love that it all began with an intuition.

  5. I love this story! Congratulations, Stephanie!


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