What a month it's been. Some random samplings of what's being happening:
This past spring, I finished a large project for a new client. Payment for that work was due at the beginning of June. As of this writing, I have yet to receive a penny. I spent a great deal of time and energy in June and July nagging the client for information and payment, networking with other freelancers in the same situation, and even consulting a lawyer about my legal options. It's been an emotionally draining experience and financially stressful. The client insists we will all get paid in full eventually, but I'm not planning on it. They haven't kept their word so far. Why would I believe them now? (And no, I will not be working for this client ever again.)
UPDATE (8/18): Miracle of miracles! I actually received a partial payment today from the Deadbeat Client. I've never rushed a check to the bank so fast in my life. Any bets on whether it bounces?
In addition to participating in Authoress' July Secret Agent Contest, I took a query-writing class and wrote the query for my novel. I admit I did a little dance when the agent teaching the class commented that my query was "very strong." Thank you, LitReactor and Sarah LaPolla!
Then I tweaked the query based on Sarah's feedback, proofread and fixed up The Novel, and submitted it for this year's Pitch Wars competition. In this first round, entrants compete for a mentor--a published or about-to-be-published author who will guide them through revisions and polishing in preparation for Round 2 of the contest, in which entrants compete for the attention of literary agents.
Mentors will announce their selections on September 3rd. In the meantime, I am a bundle of nerves. Every time a mentor I submitted to posts a comment in Twitter, I wonder, "Is that my entry she's talking about?" And of course I answer yes every time, even though I have absolutely no idea. If this is what querying literary agents directly is going to be like, I'm going to need lots of chocolate to get through it.
I also discovered that I may have been inadvertently poisoning my dog. I discovered that the treats I've been feeding Benji for the last year have an ingredient called propylene glycol, which is related to antifreeze and has been connected to health problems, including kidney failure. (Benji was diagnosed with kidney failure last September.) I have no proof that Benji's kidney failure is connected to the treats I gave him, but I'm sure giving him the treats haven't helped his condition. (I'm also a bit miffed that when the vet was asking me about possible causes, she never mentioned propylene glycol as a possibility, but that's just one of many reasons my next dog will be seeing a different vet.) So, poor Benji had to go treatless for one night after I threw out the treats I had in the pantry. I have since been on a quest to find treats that don't have propylene glycol. Sad to say, they are few and far between.
Benji's also declined a bit in the last couple of weeks. He's eating markedly less (about half of what he had been eating previously) and his activity interest has decreased as well. I'm not sure which is cause and which is effect, but either way, they are signs of declining health.
A Heartbreaking Goodbye
A few weeks ago, the shelter where I volunteer took in a yellow lab named Buddy. This is Buddy:
He's a lovable lug who came in with a host of medical problems. At 8 years old, he'd never seen a vet in his life. He had an ear infection, a urinary tract infection, and a back leg that could not support his weight. Despite the pain and discomfort that he had be in, his tail always wagged and he was always up for a cuddle. He won the hearts of everyone who met him. We treated his ear infection and UTI. We had him neutered. But his back leg never seemed to get better. Last week, the vet confirmed the worst possible diagnosis: cancer. It had spread too far to be treatable, so on Friday, Buddy was put to sleep.
I was in the grocery store when I got the news that Buddy had passed. I stood in the salsa aisle and cried. Buddy had wagged his tail until the end.