March 2012 archive

And it’s off…

Well, it’s done, it’s gone.

I’ve sent off a first chapter, synopsis, and a few paragraphs of some other book ideas I have.

The last few days have been a crazy blur…what seemed like something so simple, turned into a monumental undertaking.  Wednesday after school, DS came home with a sore throat-so right away I knew Thursday would mean he’d be home from school-after having just been off from school for his 2 week spring break.  Then DH had to go away for work.  Then the washing machine that was supposedly fixed now needs an entire new control panel.  So, long story short, the last 2 nights I’ve been up until 2am working away…

Last night (or early morning) I finally hit send, and emailed it off.

And now I live in fear of my inbox.  I sent a copy to my agent as well, as she hasn’t seen it.  So now I live in fear of two different emails.

This story is such a departure from what I’ve been writing lately.  It has glamour and intrigue and it’s set in France.  I do love the characters, Hayden and Madelyn, and the very different paths they’ve walked in life.  I guess the question though is whether the editor will like them and the premise…

So the self-doubt continues…on two different projects.

And now I have to decide which manuscript to return to…and then I’m taking tonight off!

London Calling!

Today was a big day for me…because I was expecting a call from an editor at Harlequin Romance, a result of the SYTYCW contest.

So of course, the morning was one gigantic, nervous blur.

I woke up at 5:30am because, well, I’m a total nerd and wanted to go over my synopsis and notes a few more times before the phone chat.  Then I got the kids ready, drove DS to school, raced home and basically paced the house.  I contemplated adding a little something from the liquor cabinet into my coffee (but decided against it, since I didn’t think I needed anything to add to my incoherency) and then handed over DD to my husband at about 10:00am.  She said she’d be calling around 10:30am.

Half an hour was too long for someone like myself to be left alone.  I stared at the phone on my desk.  Checked Twitter.  Checked my inbox.  Then I picked up the phone a few times to make sure there was a dial tone.  Then I turned it over to make sure the jack was plugged in.  Then I checked my inbox to make sure she hadn’t emailed to cancel.  Then I double-checked the email I’d sent her, making sure I had given her the correct phone number.  And then I waited.  At 10:36am I decided she’d changed her mind and wasn’t going to call.  Seriously.  I think I may have even shrugged sadly and said “oh well” out loud.

But then at 10:37am the phone rang :-)

She was so easy to speak with and put me at ease right away.  We talked about my contest entry a bit, my voice and then my ideas.  I explained the manuscript that I’d been working on and she said to go ahead and submit a partial to her along with the synopsis.  So I will be editing tonight, and trying to convince myself that I CAN do this…

She truly was so nice and so helpful.  The phone call was the highlight of my day.  Actually, it was one of the best things ever.

So I’m off to work…

SYTYCW-One of the 5 Finalists!

A little over a week ago, while sitting in a coffee shop, and refreshing my inbox for what had to be the tenth time in a matter of thirty minutes, an email actually came in.  And it wasn’t from a friend or spam..no, it was from Harlequin!

It was an email from the Senior Editor of Harlequin Romance, saying that I was one of the 5 finalists from the SYTYCW contest!

They loved my entry!  It really took me a few minutes to process, as I thought that ship had sailed.  SYTYCW wasn’t even on the radar for me anymore.  In fact, I thought the email had something to do with a question I had posted on the Harlequin forums for the Romance fast-track they were working on.  But as I re-read the email, the reality of it dawned on me:  In black and white, on their letterhead, they said that I was one of the 5 finalists and that they liked my voice, they liked my story.

It wasn’t an offer to publish…but they would like to work with me!  I now have an invitation to send them something new.  I will be speaking with or emailing Bryony Green at Harlequin Romance.  I have a few ideas of what I’d like to submit…and I also have a partial that’s almost ready to go that I think would work really well…and the partial that I’m really hoping they like, will take me back to France…

So now, I need to get some coherent thoughts down on paper in preparation for our conversation and polish/revise the partial that I’m hoping will interest them.  Just thinking about a phone conversation already has my stomach in knots!  How many ways can I possibly embarrass myself in a conversation?

Hmm…I guess I’d better get to work before the self-doubt takes over!

 

Girl Power!

I just came back from a hilarious, wonderful breakfast with my BFF.  We laughed a lot, drank coffee, and caught up on all the latest happenings in each others lives…

So this got me to thinking about the power of the girlfriend in books.  I know I love to read about a heroine and her friends.  I love seeing how they interact, I love the conversation (especially if it’s witty and upbeat) and the inevitable insight you get from their time together.  Even though the central romance is what has to be the focus, I really do love reading and writing about the world around the characters.  I know depending on word count for particular lines this isn’t always possible.

I am happy that in the book I just submitted and the one I’m working on now, the cast of secondary characters is very vivid and entertaining.  And the heroine Holly, and her BFF Claire have a long history together.  It’s so much fun to write strong women who have the confidence to laugh at themselves and support each other.  Claire challenges Holly to go after what she really wants (and Holly of course, returns the favour in the next book).

On that note, I guess I’d better get back to my cast of characters…

 

Home Sweet Home

Well, we’re back from our little getaway and as much as it was nice to have a change of scenery, I’m happy to be home.

For some reason, neither of my kids seem to do well with change.  Last week, sleep schedules were completely off, DD woke up a minimum of three times a night and skipped her nap at least twice.  My attempts at writing in the bakery/coffee shop weren’t as successful as I’d hoped and I spent most of my time watching DS charm the locals.  He is so friendly and in typical small-town fashion, everyone stopped to talk to us.  DS was delighted by this, and was quick to offer some of his “artwork” to interested patrons.  And there is now a delightful picture of “Lightning McQueen” hanging in the bakery-only after DS made the owner of the bakery agree that it had to stay on the wall forever.

Now we’re home and back to a somewhat normal routine, though DS still has this week off school.  We have some fun day trips planned and working during the day will be tricky, but I’m counting on my evenings again.  Oh, BTW, my morning routine got scrapped once DS got wind of me waking early and repeatedly woke up to keep me company.  So back to evenings…

By the end of this week, I need to “commit” to the partial I’ve written, as well as the synopsis, and send it off…

Bribery isn’t always wrong…is it?

My plan for getting writing done while away this week is to put DD down for a nap, and then take DS out to the little coffee shop in town.  The coffee shop is also a bakery, which all plays into my plan…

I have purchased a stack of colouring/activity books, a Cars 2 sticker book, new markers, new pencil crayons…all in the hopes that DS can entertain himself for at least one hour while I try and get some writing done.  I have also promised him a yummy treat every day at the coffee shop as well.  We’ll see if he can remain silent for longer than 5 minutes…

Spring Break!

Well, yesterday spring break officially started! DS has the next 2 weeks off school.

And I’m about to give the DH a wonderful gift…silence…for 5 days…

My mom and I are taking the kids for a week to a quaint fishing village on Lake Erie.  My parents have a little place on the lake, and the kids love it, even though it’s not warm enough for the beach (we’re in Canada) the change of pace is wonderful.  It’s a charming town that holds many childhood memories for me, as we’d go there every summer.  Everything is a little more laid back, people are friendlier…and everything seems easier there in a way.

This little trip is also very timely for me since my full was sent off to Harlequin yesterday.  Honestly every time I think about that (which is at least once an hour) my stomach feels like it’s about to eject its contents.  Sometimes I don’t know what’s worse, a really long response where you allow yourself to daydream about ‘the call’ or the really short wait, where you wonder if your manuscript was so horrible that they only needed five minutes to decide it wasn’t good enough.

Hopefully this excursion will help me get my mind off things…especially since the only wireless is at one of the coffee shops in town.

I am bringing my laptop and will be working away on my other manuscript.

No looking back…

All right, so it’s been confirmed, my manuscript is off to Harlequin Special Edition.

There is no looking back.  No second-guessing.  I will not torture myself with doubt.  It’s gone and I know I’ve done the best I could.

This manuscript was one that affected me on so many levels.  I loved it, the characters, the story.  I love the little town, the secondary characters that seem so real to me, and most of all my hero and heroine, Jake and Claire.  They both made me cry-and I’m not a crier.  I hope that’s a good sign.

Claire is the quirky, smart,  heroine I humiliated…and I cringed when I made her relive the pain of her past.  And Jake was the ultimate hero, a guy that seemed rough and indifferent on the outside but who was a complete sweetheart on the inside.  He ends up having to prove to Claire that he is the man that she needs, and he has to prove that to himself as well.  I feel like they are characters that truly changed, that went on a journey together and became stronger people in the end.

So, as much as I loved this book, its fate is not in my hands.

Maybe that’s one of the hardest things about submitting-knowing that once it’s gone, someone else may decide that it’s just not quite good enough.  Ouch!  Ah,the pain of rejection.  Well, I’ll save that thought for another post…or posts.

There is really nothing to do but work on your next manuscript, drink a little (or a lot) of wine, continue to improve your craft, complain to your friends and maybe…dream that one day that “Call” will come…

 

Too Much Baggage?

In an attempt to distract myself from the opening three chapters of this MS (and the fact that no one knows if the 5 finalists for SYTYCW have been contacted-or when they will be contacted) I’ve decided to work on the synopsis.  Again.

As I’m reading I’m struck by the heavy back story and baggage I’ve saddled my hero and heroine with.  I mean, I do love deep trauma and drama, and I love reading about characters that have had to overcome obstacles.  I love seeing the character at the beginning of the book then changing after his/her journey and becoming a stronger person by the end of the book.

But I’m wondering if this is a little much.  Then I started thinking that maybe if I could take away a little of the load-maybe some stuff that happened in the past that isn’t integral to the overall GMC…

I’m clearly having issues with this book.

Or maybe it’s the ongoing, never-ending SYTYCW…maybe it’s messing with my head…yes, that must be it.

Date Night!

It’s been quite a while since the DH and I have gone out by ourselves.  And due to the fact that my parents are ready to skip out of town yet again (they have more of a social life than we do) we decided to get them to come over and babysit tonight.

So then the next issue was “where do we go?”  Since we have no life and rarely go out without kids we both just stared at each other blankly.  DH suggested Harvey’s.  The conversation ended then and there.

Well, then BFF saved the day and sent me a link (she really is a BFF-since we were 9 months old!) to a list of restaurants in the city next to us-all of which are places we haven’t been to.  Of course, the first restaurant that caught my eye was called Jake’s Grill and Oyster House This didn’t appeal to me because I like oysters, but because Jake is the name of the hero in the manuscript I’d just handed in!  Dumb.  Very dumb.

The thought of dressing up sounded overwhelming (there was a time, not that long ago that dressing up actually did appeal to me, but that usually means kids running around me while throwing together something that isn’t yoga pants-and maybe running a brush through my hair.)  But we also thought we needed to go somewhere special since we rarely go out.  So we finally decided on the place BFF recommended.

It was a gorgeous restaurant on the lake.  We felt like civilized people again.  We looked normal, we wore real grown-up clothes, I even had jewellery and makeup on!  We ordered cocktails, appetizers, main course, AND dessert! Everything was lovely.  We were able to eat our food slowly, without having to shovel it into our mouths while chasing kids around.  We did hear a baby in the restaurant and cringed, but that’s okay, it wasn’t our baby.

It was great to have a change of scenery, a change of pace.  It was wonderful to go out and sit across the table and have a real conversation with my husband.  It was a whole night off from writing, but well worth it.  We felt young and in love, and a little like that couple in the picture :)

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