by special guest blogger Beth Andrews
Please join me in welcoming my friend and Romance Bandita Beth Andrews to our blog today as she shares a bit of her writing journey. Beth's debut release for Harlequin SuperRomance, Not Without Her Family hit the shelves in June and received a four star review from Romantic Times magazine! Beth will also have three more upcoming releases from SuperRomance in the coming months.
Hello Casablanca Authors! I love dropping by your wonderful blog and not just because of your super sexy covers (Although, I have to admit, the covers are a definite lure - they are gorgeous *g*) Thank you so much for having me here today and a special thanks to my fellow Romance Bandit, Aunty Cindy for the invitation.
Although I’ve always loved to read, I didn’t always want to be an author. To be honest, the thought never crossed my mind until I had my first child. I really don’t remember what triggered my desire to write (Hormones? Lack of sleep? The extra 75--yes, 75!!--pounds I gained during that first pregnancy) but once I decided I wanted to put down some of the stories hanging out in my head, nothing could get in my way.
Well, except for that new baby who required an awful lot of time and attention. Okay, to be honest, although I realized I wanted to be an author at the age of 21, it took me 10 years before I actually sat down and wrote my first story.
What did I do during those 10 years? Took care of that first baby, had another one, dabbled in what I like to call the domestic arts, built a house with my husband, had another baby, watched an endless stream of Disney movies and I read. A lot.
And during those 10 years I never lost the desire to write and finally that Someday I’d been waiting for arrived! I had a new computer and, thanks to all day kindergarten, hours to myself each day. I sat down and wrote a book. (An entire book! Yay, me!) I sent my precious story off only to receive what seemed like thousands of form rejections. Ouch. No one told me writing would be so…painful.
Luckily, it was around this time that I discovered RWA. I joined and immediately began absorbing as much information about being a published author as I could. Over the next three years I took online workshops and attended conferences. I pitched to editors and agents and I wrote three more stories. Instead of all form rejections, I got requests for partials and fulls and personal rejections (much easier on ego *g*).
Then, in 2006, I found out I was a double finalist in the Golden Heart! Oh, happy day! This was the beginning of what I like to think of as a turning point in my writing career. I became more dedicated and over the next two years, worked with an editor at one of Harlequin/Silhouette’s lines. I even had stories passed up (twice!) to the senior editor of that line only to be rejected. The first rejection I took in stride, the second one…not so much *g* It was a week before the national conference last year in Dallas and I admit, I pouted when the editor called to tell me they were going to pass on my story. (Then I had French fries and a hot fudge sundae for dinner and felt marginally better *g*)
During the conference, I met with the editor and pitched some new ideas to her. She was very encouraging and we discussed what wasn’t working for the line and how I could strengthen my stories. I promised to send her a partial as soon as I got home.
I have to admit, even though I was once again a GH finalist that year, that was a tough conference for me. By Saturday night, all I wanted was to go home and try and figure out what step to take next for my career. And then, to my shock, I won the Golden Heart!
Yes, that really perked me up.
Back at home, I polished my partial and sent it to the editor. Then I debated. Something wasn’t working. I was obviously missing a key element that this line was looking for in a story. What if I wasn’t meant to write for this particular line? I’d read many Harlequin Superromances and loved them. What if Superromance was where I (and my stories *g*) belonged?
I debated for weeks about whether or not to send a query to Superromance. After all, I had an ‘in’ with an editor already and I loved the line I was targeting just as much as I enjoyed Supers. Plus, this editor had been so supportive and encouraging, I didn’t want to do anything to make her think I didn’t appreciate everything she’d done for me.
But still, I realized I needed to take my writing in a different direction. So, on August 21 (my husband’s birthday) I printed off a query and a partial to Supers and stuck it in a priority mail envelope. As I was getting ready to go to the post office, the phone rang. And rang. Irritated no one else in the house could answer it (and being in the bedroom with the only phone in the house that doesn’t have caller ID) I snatched up the phone and snapped out a “hello”.
It was an editor with Superromance. She’d judged my story in the Golden Heart and wanted to buy it. Freaky, huh? I stood there in total shock, staring at the envelope with my query to them and just couldn’t believe I was getting The Call.
I like to think that while getting The Call that day was unexpected, it also proved Supers was where I was meant to be *g*
What about you? What’s been the most unexpected development in your life or career? Have you set out to do one thing only to suddenly wind up going in a new direction and having things work out even better than you planned?
Beth has generously offered a free copy of Not Without Her Family to one lucky commenter. I'll announce the winner late tonight!