My Book About Remodeling and Finishing an Unfinished Home

Love letterI want to write another book, this time about the 9 months of my life that I invested 20 years ago in remodeling and finishing off an unfinished home with my two bare hands. I am feeling compelled, a strong drive, like it’s something I need to write, and I believe people would like to read it. You can give birth in 9 months but instead of working on having a baby, I did nothing else but work on a split-level home. 14 to 18 hours a day. All by myself, then, at age 41, listening to my biological clock tick.

You would think a person would not tackle a project like that without a background in construction or building, but then you would be thinking about somebody else. Not a person like me. There were lots of reasons why I wanted to finish building and remodeling that unfinished home — particularly to show how a woman with no experience nor special talents for power tools could do it. It was immensely pleasurable, horribly painful and incredibly powerful.

‘Twas an amusing and unusual trip. I had no job when I bought the house and was unemployed when I closed escrow, but in the middle I landed a gig that allowed me to qualify for a conventional loan to buy the home. If I had a client who tried to do that, I’d say she was nuts and would refuse to represent her. Three weeks into escrow, I was unexpectedly fired. Yet, the sale closed, and then I focused all of my energy on finishing the lower level and remodeling the upper.

As I pieced together some of the ideas in my proposal, I wondered where I would find an agent to help me find a publisher. My outline included flashbacks to when I used to live high on the hog, selling real estate in Newport Beach, before I lost everything and ended up divorced and penniless in Minnesota. I considered how to offer small glimpses of my future — eventually selling hundreds of homes in Sacramento. Maybe I would talk about my online dating strategy and how well that actually worked out, being in the right place at the right time as one of the very first subscribers to AOL.

Then it dawned on me. Duh. Wait a minute. I already have an agent. I have an agent who negotiated the book deal for The Short Sale Savior. How could I forget I have an agent? I would contact her. Yeah, that was a brilliant idea. I quickly dashed off a letter to my agent, explaining my idea in great detail. Two days went by and she did not respond. While I was in the middle of explaining to a buyer’s agent what I needed to present her offer, my email dinged. Yes, it was from my literary agent. Yes, yes, yes.

My heart leaped a little. I clicked. I read the email 3 times because I could not believe my agent had turned me down. She said publishers do not offer book deals anymore unless the author is a celebrity and has her own platform to promote the book. She wasn’t interested. Well, I guess that means I won’t be working with her. But it doesn’t mean I won’t write it, and it certainly doesn’t mean I won’t find a publisher.

I didn’t get to where I am today by taking no for an answer.

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