I finished the first draft of my novel and served on jury duty.

It has been a while since I posted anything to my blog. I assure everyone, this is due to the fact that I’ve been keeping busy, and not at all because I’m lazy. Promise.

A few weeks ago, the great county of Champaign in Illinois selected me to serve on jury duty. I was ordered to report during the week leading up to my self-imposed deadline for completing the first draft of my novel. Which kind of ticked me off. I needed that time, dammit. And the courthouse doesn’t allow electronic devices (they use the word “ban” when referring to laptops, tablets, and cell phones, as in “these devices are BANNED.” This did not, however, apply to people who work in the courthouse, who had their faces buried in their phones just like regular folk. Even the goddamn courtroom officer). So while I was forced to do a lot of waiting around, there was no chance of getting any work done.

The trial was of the criminal variety, the defendant charged with DUI. Which seemed a bit odd. You’re either drunk or not, right? Can’t they test for that? Why am I here and not at home finishing my book? Why did you plead “not guilty?”

Turns out the case was a bit odd. The defendant was apparently travelling with two others, and the car went off the road due to a bit of ice and snow. When the cops showed up, all three were outside the car, and the cop didn’t do a very good job of figuring out who was actually driving. He just arrested and charged the one who owned the car, who said, later, that she wasn’t driving. The other two said she was, but they were also drunk and had more to lose with a DUI conviction (neither had licenses, one had priors).

In the end, there wasn’t enough evidence to convict. The defendant walked. The trial lasted four hours. A quick word about my fellow jurors: they were a mildly diverse (mostly white) bunch of dummies. Okay, that’s not fair. Some of them were dummies. The rest were just mildly diverse.

My jury duty, in total, lasted two days, with selection and then the trial. Which only put me behind one day in my writing. Yes, I missed my deadline, but only by a day (technically about twelve hours). I was pretty proud of myself.

But the real work lies ahead. So far, I’ve managed to put together a website for myself and book a few conferences so I can shop my book around to agents. This, I’m told, is how it’s done. The first conference is in July, so that’s my next deadline. The book will be finished by July 7th. Edited, proofread, polished, and ready for the presses. Or the Kindles.

Finishing the book is the easy part. For me, the idea of selling my work to people is absolutely fucking terrifying. The thought of actually standing in front of someone and pitching my book is causing me to lose sleep, even now. It has to be done, though. And I’ll do it, dammit.

I’ll keep everyone informed. Best place to stay on top of what I’m up to is my website, where I’ll be posting the conferences I’ll be attending and any other news I might have. And I’ll continue to blog about my experiences.

Wish me luck.

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