I've been dreaming about making this post since we started this blog...since before that actually. And frankly, now that it's time, I'm not sure where to start :-) I know, sacrilege for a writer. The beginning is so important. So maybe I'll start at the end and work my way back.
Tuesday night we had just finished dinner and DH had taken the girls outside for a walk. I was looking at the paperwork that came with our new cat, enjoying the peace and quiet I hadn't gotten all day... a fairly mundane existence - until my cell phone rang. From there the rest of the night is a bit of a blur. I distinctly remember Brenda Chin saying she was going to buy my book for the Blaze line (although I'll admit that later in the night I allowed doubt to creep in and checked my caller ID to ensure I hadn't hallucinated the whole thing). I'm pretty sure I yelled directly in her ear (sorry, Brenda!) and most definitely made a complete idiot of myself (because there is no telling WHAT I said). I made numerous phone calls despite the fact that almost NO ONE would answer their phone. Not PC, PM, SP, my mother, my sister... I riled the girls, the dog and both the cats up so much that no one settled down until after ten o'clock. Needless to say, I got very little sleep. Not that I'm complaining! :-)
Everyone I've shared the news with over the last few days has asked for details on my journey to this point so, I'm going to share them here. This book began in August 2005 with an editor appointment at a Southern Magic meeting. I had written a query letter detailing the book I wanted to pitch but I never got that far. It turned out that Brenda had recently purchased a similar book and couldn't look at it. She asked if I had anything else to pitch. Thank God I did! It was just a bare bones idea that I had thrown a pitch together for right before Reno. I literally had nothing more than what was on those few note cards. But she liked the concept and after discussing a few things she asked for the partial.
I went home and furiously wrote the first chapter and submitted it to the Blaze contest. While I was waiting on the results, I finished the partial and submitted it as well. The end of October I received a phone call saying I'd placed 2nd in the contest with Curing Dr. Desire.
The next March I received another phone call from Brenda (while I was on vacation) requesting a few changes to the partial but with the go ahead to complete and submit the full. Over the next year I worked through two sets of major revisions which required me to completely rewrite half of the book. No small task.
But I'll tell you, I learned more about writing during those months than I had in the years before. There is no doubt in my mind that this book is leaps and bounds above where is started because of Brenda's input and her willingness to let me work through the issues to get the story just right.
I've heard it over and over again, perseverance is the key to this business. And it is. I don't doubt that luck also plays a small role. But I'll tell you, even more than those two things, I think finding someone who believes in you as a writer is the lynch pin to success. Surrounding yourself with people who not only tell you what you've done right, but also point out what you've done wrong and help you find a way to fix it...that's what's important.
I've been lucky to find those people in my life. And now I owe them a huge thank you!
Brenda, of course :-) Thank you so much for not giving up on me, Chris or Karyn.
The Playfriends for brainstorming, Rumors, teeter-totters and being there for late night calls and panicked email sessions.
The Mavens for setting such a wonderful example to live by. I want to be all three of you when I grow up!
Rhonda Nelson for that last puzzle piece :-)
Lori Borrill and Leeanne Kennedy for reading...and reading...and reading again.
and Shelley Visconte for the invaluable information.
There's no way I'd be living my dream (or writing this post) without y'all. Thank you!
*fans eyes* World Peace
Now who has the teeter-totters?
P.S. Yesterday's winners in the Treasure Hunt are Stacy Schooler and LeeAnn Pelkey. Please email Michelle with your snail mail particulars to claim your prize. Congrats!
P.P.S. Tuesday's winners from Maven LJ's guest blog are cheriej and Lady Vampire. Please email Problem Child with your snail mail address to claim your prize.