A special thanks to the women at Magical Musings for asking me to be their guest today. It was thrilling to look at their site and see HILL COUNTRY HOLDUP posted in a preview blog. Thank you.
It was suggested that I post about receiving “THE Call” and how winning the RWA Golden Heart® felt. Each–at the time–caused me to soar higher than I’ve ever been before in my writing career. Everything you can imagine…well, it’s better. My road to publication this year has been fast & furious. I got The Call on November 12th and my book will hit shelves September 14th. But that’s not the entire journey.
My friend Catherine Spangler (RITA finalist) has constantly reminded me this past year that I worked long and hard for this whirlwind trip. Over ten years of preparation. Some people call me an inspiration, or say that I’ve given them hope. I just call myself…stubborn.
In 1997 my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He died before his 62nd birthday. He worked very hard his entire life–one of the smartest men I’ve ever known, a self-educated man who read encyclopedias. He’d just found a wealth of friends and was happy to start slowing down and having fun. Driving back from one of our visits with my father, my husband told me that “I was a writer. Life is too short and we never know how long we’ll be here.” He didn’t want for me to wait to pursue my dream of publication. We decided together that I’d stay home with our kids, I’d volunteer…I’d write.
So in 1999 I joined RWA, getting involved with local chapters in 2000. I volunteered, I learned, I soaked up everything anyone would let me overhear. And here’s the part of the story most people don’t remember. I was requested and asked for revisions several times. I was close…so close I could… Well, you know. Not once, but several times I’d send revisions before an assistant editor moved on (changed lines, publisher, even fired). I had an agent. I was a 2004 GH finalist.
I didn’t sell.
I received multiple rejections every year. I’d lost several of my critique partners and writer friends. They had almost all stopped writing. I lost heart and couldn’t finish a manuscript. Then I lost my agent. (She couldn’t represent someone who didn’t have anything to submit.)
I took two years off from writing with a good reason. We had a foster daughter and she and my youngest both graduated (’07 & ’08). I deliberately didn’t try to write. I volunteered, stayed active in my local chapters. I’d found a best friend, Amy Atwell, in 2004. She encouraged me, kept prodding me to write something new. I made a friend with Christie Craig who had been trying to publish again for much longer then me. Her encouragement never ceased. And then a revelation–Amy and I knew what was wrong with my finished work See Jane Run.
Many have heard that I claimed 2009 as my year. Well…it was time. MY TIME. I was determined to do everything in my power to sell. I put my revision cap on and wrote a column for my chapter newsletter, documenting what I did each month. From January to December, I never let my doubting mind have control. It was MY YEAR.
A new journey is beginning for me. My “sophomore” book has been written, sold, and scheduled for a February 2011 release. .38 Caliber Cover-Up is my second book for Harlequin Intrigue®. I have a fantastic editor, a wonderful agent who’s interested in my career, and great critique partners. My family’s so excited they’re busting with pride.
And I have the support of everyone in RWA that taught me, nurtured me, and helped me along this long road. Honest truth, cross my heart…I wouldn’t have gotten here if I hadn’t been encouraged along the way. Thank you.