Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Writers' Wednesday :: Jeannie Lin's Call Story

Jeannie Lin joins The Pink Heart Society today to share what it's been like being...

The New Kid on the Playground

I don’t know if every newbie author does this, but right after I knew Butterfly Swords was to be released as a Harlequin Historical, I ran to check out the line. Of course, I’d seen them before on the Harlequin rack and read a few, but now I was hyper-aware.

I’d been told by several more experienced Harlequin authors that the title might change, so I tried to re-imagine what Butterfly Swords might become:

● The Barbarian’s Virgin Princess
● Wandering Swordsman, Imperial Princess
● Tempted by the Western Warrior

I looked over all the covers and tried to imagine what mine would look like. There was the historical ladies in period costume cover: Unlacing the Innocent Miss by Margaret McPhee (November 1, 2010)

The sexy hero cover: Surrender to An Irish Warrior by Michelle Willingham (September 2010)

The classic clinch cover: The Viscount and the Virgin by Annie Burrows (October 2010)

At some point, I felt a little panic. My cover was going to be so different. I know it’s good to stand out, but I wasn’t sure what that would mean. Amanda Berry, my friend and critique partner was filling out her Art Fact Sheet for her Silhouette Special Edition debut, L.A. Cinderella . I realized as we were chatting that there was nothing on the form that fit my story. A memory came to me of my first day of school when Mum sent me off to kindergarten in a pretty little formal dress and all the other kids were wearing jeans.

I felt like the new kid on the playground again, going to school without the right shoes, the right clothes, the right backpack. Would I ever fit in? Would the other kids want to play with me?

And an even bigger fear: would the teachers (editors) know what to do with me?

I needn’t have worried so much. My fellow Historical authors took me in with open arms and guided me through each step of the process, answering all my fumbling questions and soothing my newbie fears. And my editor came back in the first round of revisions asking for more worldbuilding—more of what made Butterfly Swords such a unique read. Harlequin didn’t want to change the direction of the story at all. They wanted to make it clearer, stronger, and bigger.
And then the Butterfly Swords cover! I wanted to hug everyone in the art department, it was so incredibly wonderful.
Several months ago, I found out that Harlequin Historical Undone signed another Asian story: The Samurai's Forbidden Touch by Ashley Radcliff, available October 1. Just like that, I wasn’t the newest kid in school anymore.
Despite all my initial jitters, the first year of “school” has been a wonderful experience. I learned so much, made wonderful friends, and found that there was plenty of room on the playground for not only my unusual story, but plenty of others.

Jeannie Lin writes historical romantic adventures set in Tang Dynasty China. Her short story, The Taming of Mei Lin from Harlequin Historical Undone is available September 1. Her Golden Heart award-winning novel, Butterfly Swords, was released October 1 from Harlequin Historical and received 4-stars from Romantic Times Reviews—“The action never stops, the love story is strong and the historical backdrop is fascinating.”

Join the launch celebration at for giveaways and special features. Visit Jeannie online at:


  1. It is good to have such an amazing group of writers to answer questions and welcome you with open arms. Congratulations on your success

  2. Joanna - Thank you! The entire experience of putting out my first book has been so illuminating and the Hussies are first class. No question is too small.

  3. Jeannie, your cover is absolutely stunning! Congratulations!


  4. It's my favorite cover ever! HH sounds like they were so great to work with. Congrats on getting the call.

  5. @kat & @Amy - I think all the HH covers are amazing. I just looked at the November covers and there's a really artistic look to all of them.

  6. Jeannie - First times are exciting. And you have many more to look forward to. Amazing as it seems, the rest of those "kids at school" are still newbies at something or another. It's all just a wonderful journey with a few landings but no ultimate arrival. Enjoy every step!

  7. Thanks Blythe. It has been a great ride so far. :)