Stephany Evans called me into her office one day this spring. She said "I think this one is just right for you."
I thought she had a juicy crime novel. Or a biography of a contemporary artist, or even perhaps a novel about cowgirls. But no. No indeed. It was a book of curses. And hexes. And maledictions. Stephany just grinned.
What the heck I said. This looks kind of fun. I stowed it in my satchel o'stuff and headed out to meet an editor. I decided to use my time efficiently so I started reading. Well, I was supposed to get off at West 4th since I was having lunch with a Perigee editor. When I stopped laughing long enough I realized I was somewhere south of my destination; I'd overshot by two or three stops.
I clambered out of the subway, hailed a cab and got to lunch.
When I got back to the office I rang up the author. Wrong phone number on the proposal.
I emailed her. Bounced back as incorrect.
I seriously wondered if the proposal wasn't just about curses, it WAS cursed. Fortunately the author included her address and I realized the area code had transposed numbers. I phoned again.
We hit it off instantly. She's hilarious. I snookered her into signing.
Last week I sold the book after a small riot of interest from every desperate revenge seeking editor in town. Here's the announcement on Publishers Marketplace:
NON-FICTION: POP CULTURE
Dawn Rae Downton's THE LITTLE BOOK OF CURSES AND MALEDICTIONS FOR EVERYDAY USE, the modern day guide to exacting stylish revenge using spells, incantations, hexes, imprecations, and execrations for the worst messes (and people) in your life, to Ann Treistman at Skyhorse, in a nice deal, for publication in October 2009, by Janet Reid at FinePrint Literary Management (world English).
It will surprise none of you to know that I lobbied HARD for this book to be called The Agent's Tool Kit For Dealing With Recalcitrant Authors, Queriers and Editors...but cooler heads prevailed.