Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Journey's Beginnings or Happy Second First Contract Anniversary

On a hot July morning two years distant I opened my email and read a message, one which changed my life forever.  That email represented lifelong dreams and more than a decade of hard work dedicated toward reaching a goal.  After a few moments of speechless reflection I let out a sound somehow merging a shriek with a rebel yell, loud enough to bring my kids running to see what Mom might be doing.

 When I told them, they joined in making noise too.  The email, from the publisher of Champagne Books, accepted my novel Kinfolk for publication and offered a contract.  I accepted with dazed delight and began wondering just how to reinvent myself as an author, not a writer by publication.  The scheduled date happened to a year in advance and I wondered how I’d occupy the time.

  Although I’d prepared for the possibility for a long time, the reality required some attitude adjustment and a lot of learning.  When I mentioned to a family member I hoped I wouldn’t be the literary equivalent of a ‘one hit wonder’, they assured me I’d have more novels accepted.  I hoped he was right– but I wasn’t sure.

 Since I had time to kill before edits began, I cleaned up a short paranormal romance I’d written and sent it to a brand new publisher, Evernight Publishing.  I enjoyed autumn 2010 with both anticipation and sorrow when my aunt lost her battle with cancer.  In early November, Evernight accepted my manuscript and slated it for fast track publication at the end of the year.

 By the time Kinfolk  appeared, first as an eBook and later in print in July 2011, I already had four other novels out in the world, Wolfe’s Lady, Love Tattoo, Love Never Fails, and Love Scars.  And I had more signed contracts and upcoming publication dates.  By then, I realized I’d reached the first steps of the author career I dreamed about from childhood.

 I love what I do – most days.  Sometimes I feel like the young man in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice who got all the brooms dancing and then didn’t know what to do with them.  Being an author changed my life in so many ways.  One of the first, after spending more than a decade writing novels, I sold all the ones I had in reserve and (gasp) had to write new ones.  I learned all about edits, readers, fans, and so much more.

 Now, just two years after the first novel contract hit my inbox, I signed my twenty-sixth novel contract this month.  I now write for several publishers including Champagne Books, Rebel Ink Press, Astraea Press, Evernight Publishing and now Secret Cravings Publishing.  I’ve gathered stories from around the US and out in the world from people who read my stories.  Since several are set in Neosho, I’ve introduced people to our lovely city who’ve never set foot in town.

 Reviewers and literary people have called my work everything from “Wal-mart chic” to “blue jeans prose”.  I don’t mind the labels.  I’m just glad readers like my stories and enjoy what I call ‘romance that lives and breathes with the power of love.”

 I have at least four more novels coming out this year and so far, two for the first months of 2013.  And of course I’m working on yet another with more ideas for than the future than I have time.
 But I’m still me, the same person I was two years ago, just busier and maybe a little crazier.  Thanks to everyone for coming along for the ride, giving me a place to live and work, and sharing some of the stories.  Best of all, the journey’s far from over!

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