Once I had an editor, I set about writing a second book in the series, to give her even more to sell. Unfortunately, none of the publishers she contacted were willing to buy. Over the next few years, she tried to sell that second book, and at least two others I wrote, without success.
In the fall of 2002, I finally came to the decision that I needed a new agent. I was lazy, though, so I kept putting it off. That November I went to the Miami Book Fair International, and saw an announcement for a discussion of a book of stories about gay men in the south. I don't think of Miami as part of the south-- though we are indeed south of the Mason Dixon line, I think of us more as the capital of the Caribbean. So I wasn't planning to attend.
I was actually on my way to hear my friend, classmate and now colleague Vicki Hendricks read when I passed that discussion. I forced myself to walk in the door-- after all, you never know what you'll discover if you force yourself to go to events in your area.
The speaker was Jay Quinn, who had edited the book for the publishing house where he worked, Haworth Books. (Are you seeing where this is going yet?) During the question and answer period, I asked how he felt about gay mysteries. He said he felt there was a strong market for them, and that he was soon going to hire a sub-editor to concentrate on gay genre books-- mystery, horror, romance, etc.
I went up to him afterwards and asked if I could send him Mahu. He asked me to wait until the sub-editor was in place, and gave me his card. I followed up with him a couple of times, until in April 2003 he announced the editor had been hired and gave me his name and address.
I sent Greg Herren the book a few days later, and waited for his response. And waited. And waited. By September I'd pretty much given up; then I got a letter announcing Haworth wanted to publish Mahu.