So I just read this blog by a (I assume) recognized expert on blogging, and as it turns out, as a pre-published writer, I’m apparently blogging about THE MOST BORING TOPIC IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSE: My journey to becoming a published author. That’s what this person said, that if you’re a writer, DON’T write about submitting manuscripts, pitching agents, etc., because NOBODY WANTS TO HEAR ABOUT IT and IT’S BEEN DONE TO DEATH.

What I’m SUPPOSED to write about is my passion(s). This blog expert then addressed the natural next comment, “But writing IS my passion!” She said, what ABOUT writing are you passionate about? And then she gave some examples, none of which applied to me.

Well, hapless blog reader, I’ve got news for you: I’m going to keep writing about my pre-pubbed journey and you can skip over the dull bits if you like. But I’ll work on injecting other stuff too, my other passions that find their way into my stories.

To catch you up on my journey, I did NOT final in the Alaska Romance Writers “Break-up” Contest. Instead I got some helpful comments from one of the judges who thought my hero (Grady) goes a little over the top when he and Amanda break up. I’m going to pay attention, but also consider that no one else—including my most fearless/thorough readers, Joanne and James—thought this. It might be a case of reading a scene that takes place 3/4 of the way through and not knowing the character very well. Still, I was shocked and stunned. I didn’t FINAL? Was there some kind of MISTAKE? Did you even READ my brilliance? That’s what happens when, in the first two contests you’ve ever entered in your life, you final in one (I ended up third in the Cleveland Rocks Contest) and win the other. Oh and I got my winnings from the Yellow Rose Romance Writers’ Winter Rose Contest, including fifty smackers (which technically means I’ve gotten PAID for my fiction!), a certificate, a little gold rose pin and a silver rose charm on a chain. Will I wear these at the RWA National Conference? You bet your bootie I will.

I also finally picked out a profile picture for the website, after procrastinating for weeks. You’d think someone as vain as me would have done this quickly, but I think some Catholic guilt reared up and made me not want to look at the pictures. Now Eric Weber is working his magic, retouching and fixing color and whatever else he does to make me look fabulicious.

On a related note, the stupendously talented Jean Ditslear whipped up some business cards for me to take to New York tomorrow. They incorporate my website design and one of the profile pictures, and they look great. If you’re an author and need a website and/or business cards, you would do well to check out Redwall Communications. I was debating about putting my picture on a business card—to me it reeks of “Realtor!!!” But the whole point of handing out your business card at a conference is for people to remember you and contact you again, so what better way to jog a memory than a photo? Also, last year at the RWA conference in Orlando, I wrote descriptions of people on the backs of their business cards so I’d remember who they were. I’ve eliminated that task for those who end up with my business card in their suitcase.

As I sit here on my front porch on a dazzling Colorado morning, I cannot WAIT to go to New York tomorrow. I even asked Jody, my hair guy at Luxe, if he had any tips for me to style my hair in Manhattan humidity. Happily, he did, so maybe I won’t look like a drowned rat for the entirety of my stay. Velcro rollers are the key. Who knew? I got my locks cut and colored yesterday, then scampered off to Target to buy some.

Here’s WHY I can’t wait. Well, some of the reasons, I can’t list them all. • I get to stay with Lori Schulweis (“Schully” for you “Live with Regis and Kelly” fans); • I get to see a whole slew of friends from college, including Marci, Melissa, and Gail Fortune and Allie “Alyse” Pleiter (agent and author, respectively) • I’ll actually PERSONALLY KNOW a bunch of authors signing their books at the “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing, where all proceeds go to literacy charities • Susan Elizabeth Phillips! • Other famous/bestselling authors I really like, including Jayne Ann Krentz, Jennifer Crusie (who didn’t go to last year’s conference because she can’t fly), and Meg Cabot (a hoot) • I will attend the Grand Central Publishing cocktail reception • I get to meet a fellow finalist in the Yellow Rose contest, who is a most hilarious tweeter, Megan Coakley • I can play tour guide to hapless Denver writers who will have to hear things like, “And this is where I met Cotton Guy, a terrible blind date” (that would be the Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel) • I will pitch agent Scott Eagan from Greyhaus and Harlequin editor Glenda Howard (NERVOUS! But I’ve been rehearsing) • I’LL BE IN NEW YORK!!

I’ll sign off now. Might go to the airport today instead of tomorrow morning. I’m THAT excited. (Although sad to leave Tom. Thanks for watering the flowers, sweetie.) And thanks to you, blog reader, for your support!

  • Two Saturdays ago I went to the Indian Peaks Golf Club for a one-day writers’ conference given by the Colorado Romance Writers and did my first pitch to Kristin Sevick, editor at Tor/Macmillan. (See previous post for all the gory details.) Kristin, bless her heart, asked for a query letter, synopsis and the first three chapters of THROWN.


    I knew Kristin would be busy at the Book Expo, a humungous book convention in New York, all last week, so I didn’t bother sending it to her then. (Plus I wanted to read the first three chapters a coupla dozen times and refine them.) I sent it yesterday, the whole shootin’ match. I have to admit, my heart was thudding as I clicked SEND. I wanted to open a bottle of champagne or something, but there was none nearby (besides, I always want to open a bottle of champagne).

    Do I believe, deep down, in my heart of hearts, that Ms. Sevick will be asking for a “full” (the rest of my manuscript)? No. Before you kind-hearted people out there tsk tsk me for not having enough confidence in my writing, it’s not about that. It’s about the fact that were I to list the top 20 publishers most likely to publish my book, Macmillan wouldn’t be in the neighborhood; they may not even make the top 50. Then again, maybe she’ll love my words, maybe she’ll adore Grady and Amanda as much as I do.

    As I’m learning, this whole business of finding an agent and getting published is a lot like dating. The agent has to love your story, because he or she will have to read it at least four times, which is the equivalent of liking someone so much, you can overlook the inevitable morning breath. There has to be chemistry. There has to be that je ne sais quoi. And, as with dating, you can’t predict when lightning will strike.

    That said, you can bet I’ve looked up the agents and editors of my favorite authors, the ones whose writing is similar to mine. Keeping with the dating analogy, this is like learning which actors my favorite supermodels are dating, so I can flirt with those actors and try to get them interested in me. Some are too big and don’t accept unsolicited queries, but my best bet, Susan Elizabeth Phillips‘ agent, DOES. (Can you say “prepared to actively stalk him at the RWA conference?”)

    But back to Ms. Sevick. As I said before, she was a delight. If I still lived in New York, I would want to be her friend. Now that she has my query et al, I wait for her response. If she likes what she sees in the first three chapters, she may ask for a full. Which would be totally cool and awesome, as my friend James would say.

    In the meantime, I’ve been revising away, incorporating Joanne Kennedy’s suggestions. I may enter the Heart of the Rockies contest, sponsored by the Colorado Romance Writers, just to support our local RWA chapter. I managed to resist entering TWO contests with May 31st deadlines. So if you were concerned I was becoming a contest junkie, you can rest easy.

    That’s the update on my writing extravaganza. Thank you, as always, for reading.