Monday, July 31, 2006

Sappy Stuff

First of all a huge thank you to all of you who have sent their congratulations here and on the various loops I'm on. It makes a girl all warm and fuzzy inside!

The vacation break was needed and I'm seeing the results already. I didn't touch a lick of work when I was home and am now recharged and ready to go. I got home Saturday night and yesterday put together my bio, dedication etc. for my editor and also critiqued four chapters. :-) As well as doing some thinking about the proposals I have to put together this week. I desperately needed to refill the well and get excited not only about sales but about WRITING again. My family (especially my very sweet husband) has put up with a lot from me but hopefully now the prospect of actual BOOKS will help!

I'm going to cut and paste my posts from my party thread on E-harlequin. They say as well as anything how I feel about the writer friends I've made along the way.

Ok - here we go....

Just before I left for holidays, Maddie let me know that she loved the revisions and that she'd passed it up for a final decision. I was exhausted at this point. I took work home (vacation) but didn't touch it. I checked my e-mail on the 17th, but there was nothing so I didn't check it again until the 21. Lo and behold there were two rather excited e-mails from Maddie asking me to call her as she had news. I think I knew at this point but you know you have to hear it for real for it TO be real. Of course figuring the time difference it's afternoon in the UK on a Friday and I'm at my in-laws and panicking about calling the UK on their phone and/or missing her and having to wait AGAIN.

She answered, told me to hang up as she'd call back when she had a conference room. She called, and said, I have great news, we want to buy your book.

I don't remember what I said. I know I sounded excited but I was quite rational when all is said and done. She gave me the new title - Hired By The Cowboy, and the release date of May 07, as well as some other details of the contract. My Mod X is going by the wayside as they want me to focus on the Romance line and I'm really very happy with that! I think what blew me away most is her talking about building a career. Also she said that she'd done a few line edits and so I have no other revisions to do, just that first set. Anyway then she told me to go party and when I hung up I *might* have whooped in a very ladylike way of course and also may have jumped up and down with great decorum. We bought champagne and celebrated with my in-laws that night. My FIL insists that when I'm on Oprah I have to buy him a convertible. LOL.

It's hard to take accolades when I really feel that a lot of this book was a group effort. It would never have happened without some very key people that I respect and care about very much.

A few of you may know that this book started over 2 years ago, with a different setting and different hero. It was the first manuscript that Michelle Styles ever critiqued for me and after I got that back, I cried and considered quitting. But I didn't, and she's been a rock, a voice of reason and a real guiding force for the last 2 years. Her critiques while writing this ms were dead on.

And I probably wouldn't have thought of rewriting what was once titled "The Reluctant Husband" if a very good friend of mine, Michele in Fredericton, NB hadn't told me how much she loved it. I knew there were parts of the premise that really worked, but the setting of Southampton and my shipping hero just did not. So I took the basic idea, moved it to a beef ranch in Alberta, complete with hunky, strong, loyal cowboy hero. And a whole new book was born before my eyes.

Next up - Trish Wylie. Trish read a first chapter contest entry of mine last summer and asked if I wanted a critique of it. I wasn't about to say no - she writes for the line I was targeting! That manuscript was ultimately rejected - with feedback - and went on to sell at another publisher, as well as another novel that was rejected, again with feedback. It's no coincidence that every book I've written since teaming up with her, as well as Michelle, has sold somewhere. It's been a privelege and a joy to be her cp.

What really should strike everyone on these boards is the unequivocal generosity of the harlequin writers. When I started, writers like Karen Templeton, Kate Walker, Valerie Parv, editors such as Kate Paice and Leslie Wainger didn't hesitate to take the time to answer a newbie question or offer encouragement. You only have to spend a few minutes reading subcare posts to know how supportive this group is, devoid of petty jealousy or cattiness.

Another special author to me is Liz Fielding, who's doing a little RITA celebrating of her own today.

Liz also had a quick look at a partial for me over a year ago and offered some advice and lovely comments. She's been a class act, a voice of experience and support. Her generosity is a beautiful thing. Thank you Liz, for being who you are. You, along with great friends like Trish, Michelle, Julie C, for that matter, all the wonderful people on these boards, make me want to be a better writer. Here's hoping I can live up to your expectations and support.

This just in - e-mail from my editor. My bio etc. are "perfect". What a relief!


  1. Anonymous11:51 a.m.

    Thanks for the acknowledgment Donna. You know I love you and your books! Congratulations my friend, you so deserve it!


  2. Congrats Donna! It's so true, when you think about it so many people can be involved in the writing process. So nice of you to acknowledge them!

    Congrats again - such exciting news!

  3. Sorry to be jumping in so late but...

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! Oh, I'm so enormously thrilled for you, hun. I'd come through the screen and hug you if I could. Can't wait to be able to buy it and put it on my shelf! :-)

  4. Jude D5:01 p.m.

    Donna - reading your story is a real 'heartening experience' for us wannabes in need of a tonic. Sounds like you sooo deserve the success and going for a career you love is what it's all about. Enjoy and revel in it.

    Jude xx
    PS - as someone who's presently rewriting Rd stuff that had feedback I could kiss you right now! Smooooch.

  5. Anonymous10:34 a.m.

    Congrats again,Donna you certainly worked hard and stuck with your writing--no mean feat!

    After you got a couple of published authors as your CPs did your writing change in any major way? (Before then, I remember you saying on e-harlequin that for 5 years you'd kept narrowly missing publication.) What piece of advice gave you the lightbulb moment when you knew what you were doing wrong?
    Was it the crit from Michelle that made you want to quit or a combination of other things?


  6. Anonymous10:38 a.m.

    That last bit came out wrong! I meant: was it the crit from Michelle (the one you mentioned made you cry and think about quitting) that made you realise what you needed to do to get published? Or was it a combination of things you learned as you exchanged crits with Trish and Michelle?


  7. Congratulations, Donna! I'm so happy for you! And with no more revisions...YAY!!!!

  8. Wow Janet, you can ask some tough questions! I'm going to blog about this, OK?