Once upon a time a young writer started querying her finished novel to publishers and agents. She finished two more novels, and queried those projects too. Although she got many full requests and very helpful feedback, all the rewrites in the world didn’t what she she so wanted—someone who loved her stories as much as she did. Someone who would help her make it shine bright and deliver it to the world's readers. And then one day, her dream came true!
Okay so she wasn’t all that young, but the rest of the story is totally true! ;-)
The person who loved my book as much as I did is fabulous editor Cat Clyne. She picked me out of the slush pile and saw something in my immortal Vikings that made her want to shape my story into a proper novel. The book had been rejected 47 times by then. I had rewritten it several times using the feedback I’d gotten from some of those rejections, but that input was very limited compared to what Cat sent me. She included a broad overview of how to shape the story better and a detailed list of how to focus the plot and sharpen the characters. Do this, she said, and send it to me again. I immediately set to work. Fast forward a few months and a Golden Heart nomination and Sourcebooks offered me a three book contract. (If you want the details of those months, I blogged about it on my site a while back and included animated gifs. J)
That summer at the Romance Writers of America’s national conference, I met Cat for the first time, some of the rest of the Sourcebooks team, and a bunch of their authors. Even though the ink on my contract was only a month dry, everyone was super welcoming and wonderfully helpful. After the Sourcebooks author dinner, we traveled back to the hotel in horse drawn pumpkins. No really, we did! I’m not making this up! That whole conference, I felt like Cinderella and the pumpkins on wheels just confirmed that I was finally invited to dance at the ball.
Yesterday my debut novel, VIKING WARRIOR RISING, became a finalist in both the Best First Book and the Paranormal RITA categories. The romance community did what it always does, celebrated the triumphs of the finalists and shared in the joy by supplying endless congratulations and much love. The Sourcebooks authors and publishing team was no different. There are five Sourcebooks finalists this year, spanning five categories: Romantic Suspense, Historical Long, Historical Short, Paranormal, and Best First Book. And the whole company and its authors went nuts on social media. I’m still trying to catch my breath.
So thank you all you romance lovers: other authors, publishing professionals, and all the readers. Thank you for loving my immortal Vikings and Valkyries as much as I do. No words can describe how humbled and grateful I am for this honor.