Tag Archive: publishing


The journey . . .

Another Friday – another blog. This time I asked my friends and fan base over at Facebook what they’d like me to talk about this evening. I got some great ideas but the first post intrigued me. For the others that piped in, I’ll tackle your ideas in subsequent Friday posts.

Anna Walls piped in with this gem:
As a relatively new author, I’m always intrigued with how my peers made that journey. Was it planned? When did you start planning if it was? That sort of thing. What did it feel like to see your own very first book in published form?

Was this planned – no not in the least, at least not the path my life took when I got married almost twenty one years ago. In college, I had dreams of being a writer, producer and director. My major was in Communications with a concentration in radio and television broadcasting. I loved it. I mean LOVED that world. When I got out of school, I went to work at a local television station in the capacity of a film editor. What that meant in the practical world is I reformatted movies to fit into the specific timeslots and took out scenes that were not suitable for broadcast television. I also helped out in the news room at times and on occasion wrote and directed kids news spots. It was a fun job, but it paid a pittance, so when the opportunity came to switch gears into the world of finance.

In all the years I worked and raised a family, writing was always in the back of my mind, but time just wasn’t there. But even during that time, my imagination stored all the ideas away into a “this might be interesting” file cabinet in my head.

The catalyst for change was in the beginning of 2007, my daughter asked the million dollar question.

If you could do anything, what would it be?

That was an easy question to answer. Write a book and get it published. And with that, my husband and kids gave the go ahead. For close to two years I wrote almost non-stop – every evening, every weekend, every vacation and I have eight manuscripts to show for that crazy brain dump. Since then I’ve written dozens of short stories, but my focus has been on refining those manuscripts.

I made the classic rookie mistakes with query letters, from the first batch which was really more like a typical business letter introducing myself and the stack of manuscripts I had written to the naivety of being sucked into those less than reputable publishers – luckily I got wise before I peeled off any cash.

The turn of everything happened when I met Lauren Baratz-Logsted on MySpace and she turned me onto Backspace (www.bksp.org) and the forum there. Talk about eye opening and humbling. I had a lot to learn and the folks there were exceptional at sharing knowledge and pushing me to write better, cleaner, more compelling prose.

That is when I started planning. I set up my own website, my own blog, branched out from MySpace to the other networking sites, and then started refining my pitch. I met the editor of Allegory and volunteered to be an associate editor on the E-zine and landed my first publishing contract myself. So now it’s a balance of branding my name, writing, editing and learning more about the craft. While I’d like to have an agent and get my more mainstream books in the hands of the big markets, I can’t complain.

As for actually holding my first book in my hand, it’s an amazing, surreal, joyous, unbelievable feeling that I can’t begin to describe.

Now all I need to do is find balance between my writing life and my family life. Once I find that, I’ll be golden.

Now that Survival Games is going to see the light of day, I can share some of the more amusing stories relating to explaining the plot to folks like my family and my co-workers.

This was the first book I wrote when my family gave me carte-blanc to go for it and I’ll tell you – after 20 years of not writing, the words sailed out. It took me less than a month to get the story on paper – of course after that it took two and a half years to refine it to what will be published – but the original book spilled out like a levy crumbling under a flood. And when I was done, I looked at what I created and had a ‘holy shit’ moment.

The book is dark and twisted, intense and graphic and I didn’t realize I had that level of darkness in me – and the first draft of this book was much harsher than what will be in print in July – but regardless, I figured I’d better get over the WASP-bred embarrassment of creating something so controversial and steamy.

So I asked my father to read it.

Yes, my father.

Well, I’m sure I shocked the hell out of him but he didn’t say much regarding how he felt about his little girl writing erotica or such a horrific tale. The one thing he did say is that it had a lot of sex – but he amended that by saying the subject matter warranted it and considering the plot line, he thought it was appropriate and not gratuitous. Overall he liked the story.

So after the slightly awkward conversation, he asked if I was done with the second book yet. He wanted to read that too – wanted to know what happened to the characters from the first book and as any writer knows, this is the best feeling in the world.

Ok – so I tested the waters with a co-worker and I’ll tell you, the looks she gave me after she started the book – it was all I could do not to laugh every time I saw her. And then one day she asked a priceless question – she asked if I could teach her to dance because my main character in the book knows how to dance.

I did laugh then, because I have no rhythm what-so-ever. Two left feet and then some. And she thought there was reality based in the book. The only shred of “me” in the book is the fact that my favorite color is described. That’s where reality ends; the rest is just a figment of my imagination and a reflection of my nightmares.

I said, “Oh honey, the book is FICTION – I can’t dance.”

Needless to say she was both embarrassed and relieved.

The next slightly awkward moment was right after I announced to my co-workers that I got a publishing contract. It was one of those not so politically correct moments. Most of my co-workers know I’ve got an unpublished FBI agent series, but most of them didn’t know about the erotica, so well, you can imagine the raised eyebrows.

My boss had announced to a group – did you know JET got a publishing contract? And of course, someone asked what type of book.

“It’s an Erotic Thriller.”

“Oh neurotic thriller? Like something by Woody Allen?”

I laughed and said “No – EROTIC thriller, like something by Jackie Collins.” Bad example – but all it was all I could think of at the moment and while I turned about five shades of red – my co-worker tripled that. To lighten the shocked silence I added. “But I’m the one who’s neurotic.”

So after tackling my parents and my co-workers, I feel confident I’ll be able to speak coherently and not turn sixty shades of red when I participate in a panel called “You write your mother with that pen?” at the Backspace Conference in New York City in May about incorporating sex scenes into your novels.

Anybody else have some fun stories about explaining their novels to friends and family? I’d love to hear them.