I was an excited, wet-behind-the-ears old broad when I signed my first publishing contract with The Wild Rose Press on November 16, 2011. The contract was for Storm's Interlude, the third book I'd managed to finish. The first two? I'd long since deleted them from my computer. It seems agents, nor editors like stories written in twelve points of view...or with a heroine so bitchy even the dog hated her. Oh, the lessons I've learned along the way, I could write a book about how to write a book.
But The Wild Rose Press was good to me. There's no other way to put it. They took a no-name writer and published her book, one that won several awards, by the way. At their writers' retreat in Asheville in 2012, Rhonda Penders, one of the owners of the press, gave me some wise advice. "Write two 'shorts' for every 'long'." I didn't think much of it at the time. I was all about writing books, not novellas. But I am smart enough to try the opinion of someone who knows more about an industry than I do. So, when Stacy, an editor, laid out her Honky Tonk Hearts series, I wondered if I could write short. I took an online class on "Writing the Sensual Novella."
Still I wondered. Then, one night Win rode into our bedroom on his Harley, took off his helmet and asked me to tell his story. He was a veteran from the War in Iraq, with PTSD, an amputated leg below his knee and some hearing loss. Would romance readers enjoy reading about such a man? Those Violet Eyes, my best seller at TWRP, was born.
I began writing more novellas, enjoying the process and seeing their worth.
Even so, I kept writing novels, especially about my favorite city--Paris. I set a series there. A series that, for some reason, never caught on. And, loving Paris the way I do, it hurt. I promoted them the best way I knew how, yet the sales just didn't happen and thus the reviews. Ten for one and eleven for the other. So the books sank into a quagmire of nothingness.
My agent and I talked. We decided to ask for the rights back for them. Maybe in my spare time, after my paranormal Scottish series for LoveSwept at Random House and my firemen's wild heat series for HarperImpulse are all published, I can rework those three books. Make them shine a little more.
While my novellas remain at Wild Rose Press, my books are in my hands now, no longer for sale. When I hit a rough patch in my current WIP, I'll zip over and read one of those books, correct the errors and breathe some life into it. Or maybe I'll realize they, too, need deleted. It's all a learning process, isn't it?