Have you ever had a day when your life just changed—but you didn't realize how much until later?
It was January, and I was tired. I'd been really hopeful that my story, In Her Sights, would be my first sale. But it had been in a publisher's hands for almost six months. It felt too long (not that I haven't gotten a rejection after 18 months, but you know when you get that 'feeling'). Besides, my heroine was a sniper. Not typical. A risky, strong, powerful heroine. I'd even rewritten the book to strengthen the hero so he would be a match for my heroine. I loved the book. I had a bad feeling.
Flash back to November 2010. I had only waited four months at the time. But, I decided to go ahead and enter the Romance Writers of America®'s Golden Heart® contest. (Okay,…actually, I hadn't planned on entering. I mean, isn't five Golden Hearts enough for anyone? My best friend, fellow writer and Golden Heart Finalist, Claire Cavanaugh, cajoled me into sending them off.) I entered In Her Sights AND my latest completed manuscript, Stolen Lullaby. Both risky books. What was I thinking? Except, I really loved the stories. Danger, intensity and a poignant family drama. Heart-pounding suspense and heart-wrenching family drama. That's what I love to write. It's what I hope I deliver.
Now, back to January. First came the toughest day I'd had in a long time. I received a rejection letter on In Her Sights. I was devastated. I cried. I railed. I ate chocolate. That being said—my upset lasted all of a day. Truly, rejection wasn't an uncommon occurrence. Over the years I've received more than I can count…but this was…I had really hoped… Let's just say it was a real bummer! I had a hard time falling asleep that night, but the next morning I got up at 5:15 am and kept on writing. I had a new book to finish.
Still, in my heart, I loved my heroine, Jazz, A SWAT Team Sniper. Weeks went by. I kept writing. My literary agent, Jill Marsal from Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, asked me if I would be interested in submitting In Her Sights to Amazon for a new romance line they were starting. I said 'yes'. I wanted my sniper heroine, Jazz, to have a home. She deserved her story.
Then, in late February, 2011 (almost exactly one year ago) I was at work in my office. Jill called me and asked me if I was sitting down. Amazon's Montlake Romance wanted In Her Sights. Luckily, I WAS sitting down because my knees shook, my breath caught and I screeched. Several people ran down the hall to my office, hoping nothing was wrong. Montlake hadn't been announced yet, though. I couldn't TELL anyone!
Still, I didn't stop smiling all day! And bit my tongue for several months. Until the end of May to be exact. So, what do you do when you've sold, but you haven't sold a book? You keep on writing.
Remember those Golden Heart® entries? Well, In March, 2011 I finalled with both In Her Sights and Stolen Lullaby. Now I had Seven Golden Heart finals. Was this amazing or embarrassing…or a little of both? I can't deny my excitement though. I knew my books were going to be judged by editors. Sometimes Golden Heart finalists receive requests for the completed manuscript from editors. That had never happened to me…but maybe this time.
And I kept writing on my new book, Unwilling Witness.
Toward the end of May, 2011 I received a phone call from my agent, once again asking me if I was sitting down? You guessed it. During the Golden Heart judging process, my manuscript, Stolen Lullaby, had garnered some attention. The editors were sending the proposal up the chain at Harlequin Intrigue. My heart stopped. I screeched. I screamed. My office mates came down to see if I was okay. I was more than okay. The very next day, Jill called with an offer on Stolen Lullaby. The following day, my amazing editor, Allison Lyons called me.
I never did learn who the Golden Heart finalist judge was, but I owe her a huge thanks. For believing in a risky book. And I owe so much to the amazing editors at Harlequin Intrigue for their faith and belief in me.
And remember that book I kept working on? Well, I sent in the proposal in June, 2011. And in August got a 2-book offer. Four books sold between February, 2011 and August 2011.
And it hasn't ended. In Her Sights came out in November, received a very nice Publisher's Weekly review as well as 4.5 stars from RT Book Reviews. Finding Her Son (aka Stolen Lullaby) comes out next month and received 4.5 stars from RT Book Reviews as well. "Perini keeps the tension taut, the romance irresistible and the mystery...deep." The next two books come out in July and October of this year. (Cowboy in the Crossfire, July 2012 and Christmas Conspiracy (October 2012).
And just this month (less than one year after that first call, I agreed to continue the story of the Montgomery brothers from In Her Sights as Montgomery Justice in a three-book deal with Montlake Romance.
Seven Golden Hearts. Seven Sales. One year. Yeah…it's been a dream come true. I know I keep repeating myself, but I can't help it. I'm giddy still.
I just have to say to everyone out there, keep growing and learning, dare to follow your dreams and be persistent and focused in your pursuit. You can grasp the rainbow, too.
Do you have an example of a way in which you persisted or do you know of someone who inspires you? I'd love to hear any stories. Comment and earn a chance to win an autographed copy of Finding Her So
I love to hear from readers. You can catch me, read excerpts, read reviews, sign up for my quarterly newsletter or mailing list, and even request trading cards or a Kindlegraph on my website at www.robinperini.com. I'm also on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.
You can learn more about Robin and her books on www.robinperini.com. Finding Her Son is available wherever good books and ebooks are sold.