Sunday, March 2, 2014

Writing is a journey. Caution: grammatical errors rampant. Comes with the territory.

Sometimes you find yourself wanting to be somebody new and be somewhere else than where you are. I found myself in this predicament when I was put on bed rest with my last baby. I was very large and grounded to the couch. I began to write about time travel as means to escape my boredom. Oh, it was an ugly baby…the manuscript, not my son (he’s quite cute). Since then I’ve learned being a writer has its ups and downs. I think it’s a natural part of the process of growing as a writer. My writing has grown leaps and bounds since I started with my first ugly baby manuscript DRIFT. My creative writer professor kindly suggested that I take a grammar and punctuation class because I’m horrible at it. Ouch. I’m strong with creativity and weak sauce with mechanics, but I’ll have to wait a year and a half before my schedule opens up enough to allow room for such a class. Yuck.

Even though Drift is that it hasn’t seen the light of day for a while, I’ve had a few flecks of brilliance for its revamp. The characters seem to whisper from the confines of my laptop to finish their story. The good thing about Drift is that it may have some major tweaking ahead but it did do something for me…

It opened a door into the writer’s world.

I went to an American Night Writer’s Association conference in February to pitch Drift. My pitch session was with Chris Shoebinger from Shadow Mountain Publishing. He seemed intrigued with the idea but asked that I take the time traveling piece out of it and turn it into a purely historical proper romance and send him the query letter and first few chapters. I left the pitch session shaking.

On one hand, I was excited he wanted to actually sample it. On the other hand, I knew I had a ton of work ahead of me.

Later that night, at the Red Lobster, I was sitting next to my fabulous author friend Jennifer Griffith (check out her books… they are fantastic. I aspire to have the sort of voice she has in her writing). She told me to write about what I know. I sat there and thought about it. I knew cotton and some ranching. The first basic outline of my book started to form there. I knew that night that I would start all over with a completely new manuscript. I started it in February and finished it to be submitted it to Shadow Mountain in April. I got as far as making it to the proper romance editor’s desk but they sent a very nice rejection letter stating that they had something like it already in the works and that I should defnintly shop it around. All that hard work they requested and manuscript was ultimately rejected because they had one similar to it in the works.

Darn it.

As bummed as I was, I knew I had something. It flowed out pretty easily for the first third of the book and it felt right. I put too much work into it to let it fail.

I began shopping around for publishers that accept clean romances. My spreadsheet listed all the publishers I sent my query letters to. I got one response back from a publisher going out of business. Others said they would take anywhere from three to six months to get back to me.


Then along came Vinspire Publishing and asked for the full manuscript. To tell you that I was pumped would be an understatement. I thought my manuscript would be lost in self-published la-la-land. Vinspire read it and recommended that I change and improve a few things before it could be recommended to the chief editor. Most of the time you get stuck inside the writing and it is hard to look objectively at your own writing and see what it lacks. I couldn’t see the flaws. I jumped on the chance make the manuscript stronger and got to work. About that same time Harlequin Heart Warming began looking into the manuscript too.

This whole time I’m going to school and applying for the nursing program for the spring semester. I told myself I really didn’t have an excuse to stay home and write for a living because I hadn’t been published yet. So I kept on trucking with my schoolwork.

December came and on a Thursday during Christmas break I got my contract offer from Vinspire. The next day I got my acceptance letter into the nursing program.

Oh, shoot.

I’ve got two really great things I worked hard for that I don’t want to bomb. I’m going to have to do both and be fantastic. No pressure or anything.

The good part is that school makes good research development for one of my other novels I started about a RN from a trailer park in Alabama and that moves to Beverly Hills. I can’t give you too much more information other than it has comedy, romance, ageing starlets, and mobsters running amuck in it’s pages.

And somewhere during summer break my Fountain of Youth romance will be polished enough to query to publishers. My intuition tells me this story if done right could be a huge deal for me. One of these manuscripts just has to be a best seller…

But for now I will stress about electrolytes, wounds, and catheter placement. I’ll probably loose some much-needed sleep because my three year old still gets up like a newborn some nights, and one the other two boys will probably find mischief and create either an injury or a mess. But that’s okay because for the briefest moment, I’ll wish I were somebody else and somewhere else and steal a few moments to write.


  1. Whoa! To say you're busy would be a huge understatement, huh? Good luck with your journey--uh, on your journeys. I know you'll do great!

  2. Wow Jennifer! I had no idea! You are amazing in multiple ways! Go You


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