Monday, July 15, 2013

I got the EMAIL!

I dreamt of becoming a published author since I was a child but life put up obstacles, some unavoidable, some self created.  In 2006 when we moved for my husband’s new job, I decided to take steps to make my dream a reality.  I committed to writing daily and I joined an online community of writers. 

That community kept me going through the at times painful process of improving my skills, health issues, rejections, revision requests and more rejections.  I’ve no doubt that without my fellow writer’s encouragement and support I would not have this news to share.  

In September 2012, I entered the SYTYCW contest.  In November, I learned I didn’t final and received a rejection for a different manuscript.  I took the feedback from the rejection and started to revise my contest entry, intending to submit it in the best possible form.  The next week I unexpectedly got a request for the full manuscript.  I was over the moon. 

Some family issues demanded my attention.  I requested time from the lovely requesting editor who graciously told me to take as much time as I needed.  In March 2013 when I was ready to submit, I learned that editor had moved on.  I submitted the story anyway and it was rejected, a form rejection which stung badly.  

I pressed on and submitted my work to a number of publishers.  Then I received a life-changing piece of advice - track down the editor that had seen the potential in my story (Thank you Bronwyn!).  I discovered Charlotte Ledger had joined Harper Impulse and sent her my story.  I obsessively checked my email and in the following weeks, I received a number of ‘we like your voice but your story doesn't fit our line’ rejections from other publishers.

One very long Friday I spent hours on the road and at the hospital for pituitary testing.  (I’m fine but you can follow this link if you're curious.)  By the time I got home, I was tired and cranky and not in the mood to read another rejection so, I avoided checking my email until I was almost ready for bed.   

My mouth fell open when I saw Charlotte had sent me an email that morning.  I stared at it for several minutes before I managed to click open.  She remembered me.  She liked my story.  She wanted to- OH.  My.  She wanted to call me.  Editors don’t call to reject you.  They call for...  OH.  My. 

I must have made some strangled sound by that time because my husband inquired if I was okay.  I couldn't talk.  I turned my laptop, pointed at the email. 

He read it.  “Isn’t that good?”  

“Ah...  YAH!”
“Well then reply to her.”

I stared at him, mute, awhile then finally turned my laptop back.  I spent several nerve-racking moments composing an email I hoped wouldn't sound ridiculous.  When finished I took a deep breath and clicked send.  It was then I noticed Charlotte’s second email.  (Note to self always check all messages before responding to one.) 

As I read this one, I couldn’t make a sound.  I reached out, tugged on my husband’s arm to get his attention, nodded to the screen.  Charlotte wanted to buy my manuscript!  Harper Impulse offered me a contract!

She offered the official CALL but with her in the UK and me in the USA, emails work best for me, and those left me so twitterpated that I couldn't have talked had we worked out the time difference.

I was asked to keep this quiet until they officially announced me.  It was so hard after the first shock passed not to shout it to the world.  However today it’s official, here's my announcement , and I’m so relieved that I’m finally able to share this with everyone!

Harper Impulse contracted me for two books plus a novella in Men of Fir Mountain series, and the first book, The Outlaw of Cedar Ridgeexcerpt here will be released August 15!  I can see listed on Amazon already for preorder.  OH. MY.  I keep closing the browser, opening a new tab and then searching Amazon again to see if it comes up againg.  I’m having a hard time believing it’s really happening. 

Everyone who helped, critiqued, supported and encouraged me toward achieving my dream I cannot say thank you enough.

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