Like a lot of writers, my journey to becoming published has been a loooooong one. I began like a lot of authors, making up stories as a kid and eventually transitioning to fan-fiction before I knew what fan-fiction was. My first full length story was one based on the Star Wars universe and no, no one has ever read it and no one ever will (yes I still have it). I was a prolific fan-fic author and sometimes I would get feedback emails about a particular story that asked if I was a “real” writer. These emails would always make me feel giddy, but I never really thought about pursuing it as a career until one evening a friend told me about a contest a romance magazine was doing for short, erotic stories. I believe my first reaction was NO WAY. I was quite comfortable writing pretty sweet post Civil War western themed stories. Don’t get me wrong, I read them … but I didn’t think I could write those kinds of books.
My friend, Raye, convinced me to enter by saying “if you do it, then I will too” which was a big deal because if I wasn’t sure about my ability to do it, she certainly was out of her comfort zone. So one night I sat at my computer and began my entry for Romantic Times Magazine’s Borderlla Competition. I remember sitting at my computer and blushing at what I was writing, but the more I wrote the easier it got. After a few weeks, I sent it off never expecting I’d hear anything about it, but I had taken my first step towards becoming a “real” writer. Soon after that, I took an online romance writing class, I began reading about the craft and familiarizing myself with the business of it as well. I decided if I was going to pursue it, I needed to make sure I had a good idea about how to do it. Writing is a business and the worse thing I could have done, was be uninformed about how that business worked.
I also began to come up with ideas for stories, not really erotic per se, but definitely spicier. I started reading Harlequin Blaze books and eventually moved on to authors like Bertrice Small, Nicole Jordan, Robin Schone and Susan Johnson. My fan-fic took a decidedly steamier turn as well.
Then I got the email that changed everything. I was a finalist in the Bordella competition. To say I was shocked was an understatement. As a result I went to my very first Romantic Times Convention and met some amazing people (a lot of which are very good friends today).
That was eight years ago (AHH!!!) and even though nothing ever really came of that first short story, I was hit with the bug and continued to pursue the dream of becoming published one day.
About four years ago I was helping another friend with a project. She asked me to come up with some blurbs for the backs of books that she would then do mock covers for. One of those stories was a paranormal that I called Dark Moon Rising.
With the encouragement of my circle of friends, I decided to take that blurb and write a book. Once more I found myself out of my element, I was writing steamy contemporaries and here was a paranormal about werewolves. The first thing I wanted to do was find a different version of werewolves than the ones I think most people are familiar with. In researching I found there was a legend in Italy about men who became wolves in order to do battle with witches. I took that legend and sort of spun it and made it my own. Dark Moon Rising would be the book I put “out there” to be published.
It took two years to come up with my world and actually write and edit the book. Then in October 2009 I did more research (I love research, I really do), looking at agents and publishers and what they were searching for. I joined RWA and found information on the reputable companies out there; I searched websites and read blogs. Over 100 rejections later I was thinking this was never going to happen, the publishers were starting to move in another direction, they were saturated with paranormal stories thanks to Twilght and I wasn’t different enough.
By March 2010, I was ready to put DMR on the back burner to concentrate on my contemporary stories, but my friends told me to take a chance on e-publishing which I hadn’t really considered. With the advent of the Kindle and Nook, e-books are becoming more mainstreamed. So I took the plunge and sent Dark moon Rising to a few e-publishers who were highly recommended. In late April, I sent it off again and waited for my rejections (I’m a glass half empty person when it comes to things like this LOL).
In July, I got the call. My book had found a home at Liquid Silver and I think I stared at that email for close to a half hour before I got off the couch and ran around my apartment with my cat chasing me. The first call I made was to my mom who confessed that she thought my writing was mostly a hobby, but I could hear the pride in her voice as she told my dad their daughter was going to be published. As I spoke to her, I texted the women who supported me through it all and pushed me to continue when I was ready to give up, I think they were even more excited than I was.
My debut was published in November 2010 with a small dedication to those women who are the sisters I never had.
I have had an amazing time in the last 6 months since it’s come out. I’ve had a trailer made by COS Productions, attended my first RT convention as a published author (which was a thrill for me) and had my first signing. I’ve received my first piece of fan mail from a total stranger (another thrill) and my brother even met someone on a plane who was reading my book on her kindle (He played the “my sister wrote that” card LOL). It’s been a whirlwind adventure.
In the next few months I hope to finish the sequel to Dark Moon Rising, tentatively titled Beneath the Blood Moon, and have that published as well. I’ll also be revisiting those contemporary stories. But mostly I think I’ll be enjoying everything that comes with this first book. It’s not often you get to do something you love and share it with the world. I’m lucky enough to be able to say I do.