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 The Wishing Handbook: 
More Than 500 Ways to Make Your Wishes Come True 

Writers, in particular, always like my tale about getting this book published. When I first had the idea, my husband, Bill, thought it was a dumb idea - in fact, the dumbest idea he'd ever heard. But the concept of researching folklore to find the ways people all over the world have made wishes lodged itself into some brain cell of mine and wouldn't let go. 

I did enough research to realize no one had ever pulled together so many different "takes" on wishing. Most folklore books had short lists. I asked friends and lots of strangers about their local customs and began to gather a sizable store. I knew I'd want to add a solid foreword to explain the phenomenon and psychology of wishing. I'd also want to include verses about wishing, proverbs, quotations, and customs of taboos. 

I suggested the concept of the book and some examples to an editor at Running Press, where they kept the manuscript a whole year, asking me to be patient as they considered it. At the end of the year, they informed me they'd decided not to publish it and "we regret to inform you that we've lost the manuscript." I decided it was doomed (my wishing to see it be published notwithstanding).  Then I met an agent who thought his colleague would be interested - well - I got the manuscript back from a stranger in New Jersey to whom it had been sent, with a note saying they'd turned down his manuscript, too, along with mine, which he was returning.  Yes, doomed.  I stuck it in a file. 

A year later, I got a phone call from an editor at Running Press.  They'd found my manuscript and loved it!  Within two weeks I had two contracts: one for a mini-book, and one for a journal. I gave them a year's hold on the entire manuscript. During that year, I was contacted by a California poster company who wanted to make a poster from some of the entries in the mini-book.  As I'd kept the copyright, the material was mine. All I had to do was sign the contract and I got a nice check and ten copies of the poster.  Neat. 

After the year was up for Running Press's hold and right to publish the entire manuscript, they decided the others had done well and they'd publish the entire manuscript of  The Wishing Handbook

cover: Wishing Handbook
Four projects from one dumb idea. 
So - now, Bill wants to know if I have any other dumb ideas.

EXCERPTS:  The Wishing Handbook

 

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