Fifteen minutes after take off, the “ding” sounded and passengers were told they could use their portable, electronic devices. Ear buds securely in place, I changed the music to tibetan singing bowls and pulled out my lap top to work on my WIP–an edited book on the intersections of complicated grief, attachment and art therapy (it may sound like a digression from the five unpublished romance novels I have written, but you would be surprised).

I had just opened Word, when the steady hum of the engines suddenly silenced. We hit turbulence. I closed my lap top, closed my eyes, and focused on the singing bowls ringing between my ears. I just so happened to be listening to a recording intended to open the root chakra, the energy center associated with feelings of security.

The captain made an announcement over the intercom, “Ladies and gentleman, you might have noticed that we have lost one of our engines. We are going to turn around and make an emergency landing at JFK. Please be sure to remain calm, and follow the flight attendant’s instructions.”

I was not anxious or worried. If we lost another engine between here and there, I felt like I had done enough, at only 34. I loved without holding back. I forgave where forgiveness was warranted. I had a spirited child, and he had a good father, who would take care of him. I had contributed ten years to a helping profession. I had honored my creativity in my personal pursuits. And I had written five and a half books ( if unpublished). If I died now, I would not have lived “such a promising” life, but a life made up of fulfilled, infinitesimal promises. In fact, 34 years could be considered generous, from that perspective.

The plane landed. We disembarked with no issue. (Outside of the snarling complaints of most of the passengers.)

I took a seat in the waiting area and prepared myself for a 6-hour delay. I would miss most of the romance writing conference I was attending in Chicago, but still make it in time to give my presentation on character development, tomorrow. (And live long enough to raise my child.) It seemed a ripe moment for posting a Facebook update: “#ThatMomentWhen…The engine dies and we make an emergency landing. Figures, considering this weekend’s theme is romance.”

A notification for my email popped up on my screen. I opened the message.

Dear Briana,

Thank you for submitting this proposal to JKP – I was really pleased to receive it. Your book will fill a clear gap in the market and the structure you have put together is extremely strong. It will be an important addition to art therapy literature and I’m delighted to offer you a contract to publish with us.


An immense pressure exploded inside me, when I read this. I laughed, softly and quietly. Tears leaked a little down my face. I had been trying so hard to get published in the world of romantic fiction, but the first non-fiction I should ever write (and edit) garnered a contract before I had completed the first draft.

I recalled a blog post I had written on rejection. To quote myself:

 Try again. I made the commitment to myself that for every rejection I received, I would send out three more queries. This only multiplied the rejection exponentially. So, I am taking this tip as a suggestion to write something new, about what I know. 

Nine months later, that endeavor has paid off.

#ThatMomentWhen…the plane finally lands.



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