Probably, you had to be there, but this is my life:
Sunday night, my mom calls me for something, and about five minutes in, she reveals she’s looking at the ACM award red carpet fashions. Coincidentally, so was I. On the same site. And for the next (cough) hour and forty minutes (cough), we clicked through slideshow after slideshow looking at the various outfits. (and yes, I’ll admit that I am guilty of being armchair judgmental. I know I’d never measure up to their glamour, but hey, I don’t have a stylist.)
“Ooooh look at those shoes!”
“Hey, the 1970s called, they want their beach cover-up back.”
“Holy moly, that slit is right up to her hooha!”
“Oh he looks like Elvis! He’s so hot!”
“Wait…they didn’t even dress up.” (it was a power couple) “What…were they headed to McDonalds and remembered they had this thing and decided to stop by?”
“Oh my gosh, that dress is gorgeous.”
Do you do this? The funny thing was, almost the exact thing would come out of my mom's mouth as mine. I guess it’s times like that you find out just how much like your parent you are, LOL!
You know how else I’m like my mom? Writing. My entire life my mom was always writing. She’s an amazing writer and when I was growing up, I wanted to be just like her. I wanted to be a writer, too.
Probably, that’s what led me to write three novels while I was in high school. Back then we called them teen-ween novels. Today, they have so much better names—Young Adult (or YA). I’m sure they were absolutely awful. Still, I always knew I’d be a writer. For years, after high school, I jotted story after story (though I never really finished anything for many years.) I had dreams, man. Back then, the options for publication were so limited. They were tighter. Harder. Definitely not as sexy as that sounds, LOL.
In 1999, I finally started “writing toward publication,” as they called it back then—
Wait, how did this turn into the story of my journey to publication?
Anyhow, I wrote several stories with the plan to sell them to Harlequin. Oh such plans. Oh such waiting! I waited months and months (and months and months and months) only to get a two paragraph rejection from them—more than once. With the title of my book spelled wrong on the last one. After 13 months.
In fact, I racked up plenty of rejections before my first story was published by an online publisher, Ellora’s Cave. Wait, back up. That book actually wasn’t my first thing published. I had a humorous story about my children and their sex toy discovery published in a parenting magazine. Yes, I capitalized on my humiliating moment—and got paid for it. It was a confidence booster. That same year, True Story magazine published one of my stories. Not to disillusion anyone…but you know those are pretty much fiction, right? Then the big publishing break. OMG! A book publisher wanted my BOOK! And my next one! And the next and next and next. It took NINE years to get there, then BOOM!
Okay, the rest is history as they say. The sordid stories of publisher anguish are out there—things about what happens when they go from great to crooks, what happens when they close (with or without notice). I’ve never written about it, and I’m not going into that. But it’s public knowledge with a Google search.
What I will say: I’m still grateful. Despite everything, the thing is, if that first book hadn’t been published, if I hadn’t worked with other publishers, too, I wouldn’t have learned the things I did. Not about writing, publishing, editing or cover art. I would have lost confidence, and I certainly would have quit. Sure, I’d still be putting words in notebooks and doing nothing with them. I probably wouldn’t even know about indie publishing via Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iTunes (as well as others), because I would have been too far out of the loop.
What was that first book? It was Wedding Jitters (not currently available, but it will be again soon). And the second book, well friends, that was On Your Knees.
You might not know that original version though. Maybe, you came to the game after the rerelease. The original was a short novella. The new one is a super novel.
These were by no means the first books I wrote. Before Wedding Jitters, I wrote three contemporary suspense books and four full-length historical novels set in the middle ages. The medieval period (and history in general), that’s my bag, baby! I groove on history, but that’s something for another day. This blog is getting long.