Pull up a chair and I’ll tell you a story.
There was once a young girl who knew she was meant to write romance novels. She penned her first young adult book at 12. Graduated to adult stories in her early twenties. Completed a proper business degree in college but still wrote in her free time because she never gave up the dream. Penned her first “real” adult novel and sent it out to Harlequin to await the great news.
One year later, she got a “good” rejection. Really good.
She was confused so she sent it to an agent. Waited six months. Got another “great” rejection letter.
Then sent it to a third place. Then fourth. Then fifth. Over the next year, she was rejected again and again. But she kept writing and just kept believing. She did smart things like join RWA, and get into a critique group, and learn the business.
Finally, she made her first sale to a mid level publisher who loved her voice. She waited two years for publication but finally was able to clutch her first book in her hand and gaze at her first cover. Heart of Steel. My powerful alpha male, Logan Grant. My free flowing yoga arts teacher, Chandler Santell. Most editors had problems with my hero because he was so dominant. I love my alpha males and he wouldn’t be tamed, though I tried.
The first published book for an author is unbelievable. Nothing can describe it. I felt like I had joined a secret club. Then I learned it didn’t mean things would get easy. The happiness of the first time is wonderful, but you still have to write another book. Then another. And another…
And they have to be good. No, they have to be better.
As I grew into a writer, I took many different turns. I hit dry spells and hot spells and spells in between. When I finally began to sell more consistently, I received a letter that my publisher had closed and my rights had reverted back to me for Heart of Steel. I then got the opportunity to re-publish with another company in digital format. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to edit, polish and see my very first book in electronic form on Kindle, Nook and Sony.
When I read back over the book, I realized I had grown so much as a writer and wanted to make a lot of changes. But something happened as I began to edit. My voice had changed and grown. This was my younger self – raw, passionate, and a bit unpolished. If I edited to the way I wanted, I would have changed the entire feel of the book.
And I didn’t want to do that.
Heart of Steel needs to be read as is. So, I went back and added some technology for Logan to do his job properly. I also gave them a cell phone. (Insert laugh out loud right here).
My new updated version comes out in early October. I will be hopping around doing some guest blogs and leaving some excerpts, excited for a new audience.
What have I learned? There is hidden treasure in everything. Old books, ideas, stories, memories. Some need to be honored and cherished exactly the way they were. Others can be tweaked or polished a bit. And still others need to be re-gutted in order to make a whole new memory.
Hidden treasure can be both exciting and overwhelming. I remember this as I go through my life as a mother, as a writer, as a person. There are no wrong choices. Just the individual choices of our heart.
Heart of Steel was one of my treasures. I will always remember that girl behind the desk, before marriage or children or the drudge of reality affected her. She was fresh and hopeful and oh, so very passionate about her dreams.
And that is one treasure I will always cherish.
Ohhhh! Can’t wait to read it! I remember reading the excerpt on your website back before we met! I am all about the alpha male!
I agree sometimes when you go back and review/change something, you can change the way you felt about it. I thought about cleaning up some of my old blog posts, but I think it is a way to show my growth.
Thanks for sharing your experiences. 🙂
Jen, I remember Heart of Steel and I’ll be glad to have an ecopy on my kindle. I’ve definitely wantched you grow as a writer and maybe prodded sometimes.
Thanks, Wendy, I am very excited for you to read it. He’s really sexy!
HI Opti Mom – I know what you mean about change and new starts. So glad you popped on by!
HI Janet, You have known my writing from the very first day I attended HVRWA. That is another reason you are so special to me – you have seen me grow and change as a writer and I love it. Thanks so much for all of your support!