In case you're one of the few people on the planet that I haven't told, and trust me, I'm pretty sure I've shouted it from the mountain tops, I sold my first book this month!
Now, this wasn't my first book. Nope, it was actually my ninth. I've been writing seriously for about 15 years. Over that time I've tried my hand at many romantic sub genres. At first it was American Historical...the market fell out from under me. Then contemporary, then contemporary small town, (not much market at the time for those). Then romantic suspense...oh, wait the market went really dark, plot-wise.
Hmmm, what was a girl to do? I'd always had good lusty sexy scenes. So when my CP Jo Davis started writing erotica, I thought...okay, why not give that a try? Here's where I ran into a problem. I wanted to write an erotica where the sex was integral to the plot. One would not exist without the other. Geesh, exactly how was I going to do that?
As I am want to do in the middle of the night, I picked up a pad of paper and a pen and let my creative forces free write, with a focus on how intense sex could not only be a major part of the plot, but also propel the story forward.
Well first I needed a character. A heroine in need of saving, whether she knows it or not. Next a hero to come save her. Wait. This is an erotica....I can have TWO heroes. Oh boy!! I'm suddenly liking this very much! Okay, so what kind of heroes do I like? Tall, dark, strong, cowboys....no....wait...Lawmen. (Have we discussed how TOMBSTONE is one of my all time favorite movies? Tom Selleck and Sam Elliott in THE SHADOWRIDERS made me drool? How I adored all the bad guys in THE LONG RIDERS? How much I loved the romance and the gunfights in OPEN RANGE?) And hey...a western historical erotic romance? Well, that's taking a unique twist to a genre.
So now I have my cast of characters, my time period, and a spark of a plot. I flesh it out, (pardon the pun), and send the idea to Jo with a "what do you think of this story idea?" e-mail. Her return e-mail was very enthusiastic. I decided I'd give it a try, but if the story didn't hold together, I would put it aside as an experiment gone wrong.
But here's the thing. I fell in love. Yep, with all three characters. I wanted the men...uh...yeah, I wanted the men to capture the bad guy. I wanted the heroine to get justice. I wanted the bad guys to get what they deserved. So, the book kept growing, building, until I couldn't stop. Nope. Had to finish it.
Okay, now I needed some feedback and a title. So after some brainstorming, I came up with a title I loved, The Surrender Of Lacy Morgan. It had so many connotations that fit this story I just had to go with it. Next, I entered Miss Lacy, as she has become affectionately known in the Lair, in a writing contest or two. Dang, if she didn't win both erotica categories! Yippee!! Those contests also garnered her a request for the full manuscript by one big NY publisher and a request for the partial from another--alas, sadly neither panned out.
So here comes my middle of the night what-the-hell moment. I e-mailed a query off to Ellora's Cave. I immediately got a standard auto reply that they'd received my query and it was in the queue to be read and that I'd hear something in 1-3 months. Okay, cool.
Two days later, on Thursday, I get another e-mail that looked like a repeat auto reply, until I reread it. This was from a pre-reader who liked what I'd submitted and put in the queue for the acquiring editors to read. I would hear something in 1-6 months. Okay, even cooler!
The next Monday I receive a very enthusiastic e-mail from an editor who loved what I'd sent and requested me to send the entire manuscript by e-mail for her to read. And she'd be getting back to me in....1-6 months. Okay, super cool!
A month went by.
Now I was getting worried. Things had been going by so fast, then poof. Did this bode well for Miss Lacy? Was it an ominous warning off the port bow?
Then the week before Memorial Day...two months from when the process started, I see another e-mail from the editor in my inbox. OH NO....poor Lacy is about to be rejected. Because if the editor wanted the story she'd call, right? Isn't that what everyone says?
So, with hands over my eyes, I click open... It's NOT a rejection, HALLELUJAH!, but an apology for taking so long, and a question re: was the story still available?
Well, yes it was! After a deep, calming breath, I replied as professionally as possible, that yes it was and I'd look forward to hearing her thoughts after she had a chance to read it. (Even if it took 1-6 months.)
A week later, I get another e-mail. She loved the book! The editor not only loved the story, she loved the idea of the other brothers in the book having their own stories, too! But she didn't think she could buy it as is, because, "There was too much story" in it. Would I be willing to revise and resubmit, so that the really good sex in the book be more of the focus?
Here's where some people make a mistake. They say, "No. Take it as it is or not at all."
Okay....cut to the chase, after a week or so of e-mails about how I was proceeding, did she have any suggestions, etc. I got another e-mail.
Jillian Bell, the editor with the most excellent judgement and taste, wanted to contract the book for Ellora's Cave! I still hadn't completed the revisions, but I seriously think the professional effort I was making to comply let her know she could work with me and that I meant business when it came to getting my book published.
Okay...I only read the first paragraph of that e-mail, then went calmly into the living room, stepped in front of the baseball game on TV and did my version of the happy dance! Hubby lifted one brow and said..."Uh...I take it you have good news?" "Duh! Yes! They want to buy a book!"
Then after much hugging I made him read the e-mail to be sure I wasn't seeing things. This is where I learned I'd have to change one character's name. Okay...no problem! Hawke became Dakota. Yippee!!!
Next came phone calls to my CP's Sandy Blair and Jo Davis, and of course our Bandita Joanie. Then e-mails to my Texas girls, the Foxes and then the Bandit Loop! Oh yeah, and then my Mom! And after three glasses of champagne from one of the bottles I'd been saving for this occasion, I called my boss, who is my beta reader! Oh yeah, and the girls at work!
Honestly, you know when it really hit me? The next night on my way to work. I started grinning from ear to ear, doing the happy dance in the car at all the stop lights. Yep! I had received the contract by e-mail that day, read it and was going to sign it.
So, the call, wasn't really a call....but
I am a contracted, soon to be published author!
So, tell me what's the best party you ever threw! What was the occassion? Did people cram in and leave the place a disaster? (Uhm...let's make sure Sven and the boys have a reason to complain tomorrow!) Oh....and how do you feel about Western romances...both the regular and erotic variety?