Me: Hi, Beth.
She looks up from her own manuscript. There are about fifty pages (and a pen) in her hand and stacks of papers all over the table, but none on the floor. A definite achievement for Beth.
Me: Umm. I have news.
She adjusts the grip on her pages.
Beth: Must not be good, or you’d be talking to Salva first.
Me: Why would you say that?
Beth: Because he’s cares about being first. And he’s stubborn. And can go for days without talking if he’s in a foul mood.
Me: A bit of an exaggeration. Don’t you think?
She’s gives me a doubtful look.
Me: OK, maybe you’re right. So I have news. And maybe you could help me share it with him?
Her pen falls to the table.
Me: The release date for Salvation has been changed. Again.
Her jaw drops.
Me: It’s been moved to January 2013.
The papers fly everywhere.
Me: (lifting my arms to avoid the spray) It’s not my fault! I swear. I submitted on time.
Beth: Anne, we worked our tails off so that you could have that first submission done. A year-and-a-half ago.
Me: Yes, Beth.
Beth: And then we worked straight through last spring for the second submission. Even though that’s our busiest time of year.
Me: I know.
Beth: I missed Senior Prom.
Me: You missed the prom for other reasons.
Beth: This is so unfair.
Me: It isn’t bad news. Your book is going to be the only original story released by Penguin in January.
Beth: Uh huh.
Me: Which means it will get more attention than if it was competing with something else.
Beth: We have Salva. Mr. All-State Quarterback. He can totally handle competition.
Me: Also, this means Salvation will come out when readers still have Christmas gift cards.
Beth: Are you kidding me? If I had a Christmas gift card, I’d spend it the day after Christmas.
Me: That’s because you’d lose the card otherwise.
Beth: (grudgingly) I might.
Me: And the best part . . . (I bend down and start picking up her pages)
Me: Your story will be coming out the month before Valentine’s Day!
Me: Which means Salva will be in a good mood.
Beth: (glaring) As opposed to how he’s going to react to this news.
I hand her back her pages.
Me: An exceptionally good mood.
Beth: How exceptional? Are we talking chocolate?
Me: I think chocolate is a little mundane for Salva.
Me: Flowers in February are kind of expensive.
Me: Shakespeare will definitely be in order.
Beth: (giving a long dreamy sigh) I’ll tell him.