Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Writer's Wednesday: The Pregnant Presents Writer's Call
First off, I have to thank the Pink Hearts ladies for inviting me to blog about my Call! So, thank you!
I have always wanted to write, but I haven’t always known exactly what I wanted to write. I tried a lot of different things, things that usually didn’t go any farther than the first five pages.
Then when I was a teenager school and work and meeting the man of my dreams took precedence over writing, and other than scribbling insane comedy stories for the entertainment of my friends, I did very little in the way of writing.
Then I got married and had my first son and even though I still dreamed of seeing my name on a book cover one day, I certainly wasn’t working toward it.
That changed when I was pregnant with my second son and I picked up my very first Harlequin romance, a Presents by Miranda Lee. That was the beginning of a pretty big obsession for me.
In that year I think I read over three hundred Presents. I couldn’t get enough of them. I loved the glamour, the passion and the seduction. And I knew then that I wanted to write romance. But when I went to Harlequin’s website site and saw the guidelines for submission I was so intimidated at the thought of trying to submit that…I just didn’t try. Because if I wrote something, I should submit it, if I submitted, I might get rejected, and I just couldn’t get past that. Until I saw the announcement for the Instant Seduction contest. A contest seemed a lot less scary and not winning, I thought, would seem a lot less like a rejection.
I sat down to write my chapter and synopsis and after a couple of weeks, with butterflies in my stomach, I entered my chapter into the contest. That step was the confidence boost I needed to start writing a manuscript that I could get ready for submission the traditional way.
By the time the contest results were announced a couple of months later, I had finished a complete manuscript (different from my contest entry). I didn’t get any feedback from the Instant Seduction contest, but it was a huge step for me. It had been a rejection in a way, and it hadn’t killed me. That gave me the boost I needed to submit the manuscript I had completed. So after a lot of obsessive polishing and harassing my husband every five minutes for his opinion, I sent the partial all the way from Oregon to the Richmond office.
In the months that my manuscript waited in the slush pile, Harlequin held the Feel the Heat contest for Modern Heat. I entered that contest as well, and again, got no feedback other than the standard form letter. I was feeling pretty dejected at that point! I wasn’t sure what hope the manuscript I’d sent had with two contests behind me and no personalized feedback to show for it.
But, only a week later I received a letter from the United Kingdom. I had been waiting seven months at that point and, as I opened the letter with (very) shaky hands, I anticipated a rejection. Much to my complete and total shock, it was actually a letter requesting that I revise my partial.
I spent the next month or so working on revisions with the help of my lovely critique group and my patient (and gorgeous!) husband. After much agonizing, I resent the partial with (still) shaking hands.
A couple of months later another letter landed in my mail box. This time a request for the full manuscript. I was (and sort of still am) totally shocked. So much so that I literally couldn’t speak, and as my husband can attest to, that is an unusual turn of events. I imagine he must have thought I was somewhat crazy when I came running into the house waving a letter in the air, unable to string two words together.
I sent the full manuscript and three weeks later, received another revision letter, this time in my inbox. I was so excited that it wasn’t a rejection I set to work right away getting the revisions done, once again with my lovely critique group offering me much cyber support.
About six weeks after returning those revisions I got yet another revision letter. And at this point I’m just feeling eternally grateful for my editor’s patience! After completing those I sent them (yeah, hands still shaking). I had a feeling that this would be it. Three rounds of revisions. It had to be rejection or acceptance.
And then the phone rang at 8:00 am and a woman with a very lovely, sophisticated accent asked to speak to me. And then she offered to buy my book. Of course I said yes.
It’s a dream come true to write for Presents. I’m a true fan of the line and seeing my name on (here in the US) that white cover with the red stripe and the very beautiful people in the circle makes me absolutely giddy. In fact, I foresee being completely giddy for the next few years.
I’m currently working on revisions for my second book and eagerly awaiting the release of His Virgin Acquisition, coming out in the UK in August of 2010!
Congratulations Maisey - both on the contract and the birth of your gorgeous new baby! Truly a December to remember!