So I suppose it’s past time I made another entry on this blog of mine. It feels strange to pour your thoughts out onto a screen and think, or at the very least HOPE, that someone else will be reading them. I have had diaries in the past, containing all the usual teenage angst, and guarded them with all the ferocity of Cerberus guarding the entrance to the underworld (in my mind there was a strong resemblance between Hades and the turbulent emotions of a teenage girl so I thought that analogy fitted rather well). This time however my thoughts are supposed to pour out in a format that I actually EXPECT others to read!
Since I wrote my ‘starting over’ posts I have been doing a lot. I began working with my lovely editor Val L Hughes (hope it’s okay to put your name in here Val! ) and got my first book ready to send off. Yeah, wasn’t quite that simple. The first drafts of my first four stories were written at a furious pace. A lot of ‘f’s’ in that sentence, I said a lot of other ‘f’ words while doing the writing too… anyway….
My first story was started with a sentence I could not get out of my head, so I sat down at the computer and started writing. It turned out to be an M/M story, my first. I had previously written sci-fi and the change surprised me a little. Those characters will go their own way; I am just here to write about it! With the way the first story just came to me I felt inspired like never before and wrote and wrote and wrote.
A few months later and I had the first drafts of four stories in the same series and ideas for at least four more. Along the way I knew the time had come to really try and make a go of my writing so I had made a FB profile under my pen name, and this blog, and started to reach out and make friends. I mentioned a little of this in my ‘starting over’ posts but I cannot stress enough how much it helped to make those friends. Watching the success of others, books coming out, snippets of stories they posted, it all gave me a boost. But one of the things that really helped the most was the personal friends I began to make, some of whom were in the same situation I was. People who gave me so much encouragement to just keep going! One friend and I swapped stories and we commented on each other’s work (thank you M 🙂 ) and another friend who invited me to a writers evening she had arranged (thank you S 🙂 ) and others.
Once I had finished the second draft of book one, and gone back and forth with my editor until it was as good as I could possibly get it at that point, I looked around and picked my first publisher. I read their submission guidelines about 80 times while preparing the book to be sent off, making sure the format was correct, being very careful to include all the information they were asking for in that first submission email (and in the right way too, attachments, body of the email, email heading, etc, etc) and nearly had heart failure the moment I clicked send. I don’t think I have ever had that much adrenaline running through my system. Ever.
I honestly expected them to turn the book down ‘thank you for submitting your book **** **** to us, but at this point…’ blah blah blah… and I knew that the submission guidelines said 2-4 weeks before I would hear back, but I began to stalk my email obsessively anyway, never letting my phone out of my sight (I had a smart phone and it tells me when I get a new email). I KNEW they were going to turn my book down (who gets their first book accepted the first time they send it off??) and I wanted them to get on with it so I could go pick another publisher to send it off to for my next rejection. Then I got the email ‘we would like to publish your book’ … WHAT??? EXCUSE ME??? Could you repeat that please???!! I bounced around the house like a pinball for a couple of hours drinking tea (like I needed any caffeine) and repeating ‘omg, they want my book! Omg they want my book. OMG THEY WANT MY BOOK!!’ like an idiot, with a massive grin on my face I just could not get rid of (not that I wanted to). The window cleaners came that day, I think I must have actually been glowing I was so damn happy, and yes I told them. Sorry to everyone I know in my personal life, I told the window cleaners first! They were right there! The next day, once I had calmed down a little, I read through the sample contract they gave me the link to and I accepted their offer to publish.
I was getting my first book published and I couldn’t tell anyone! Not until the contracts were signed! Yeah okay I told a couple of people but I managed to hold back from shouting from the rooftops until the contract had been sent, signed and returned.
I kept busy with the other books in the meantime and am currently working on the first set of edits from my editor on book two, she has book three. I am also working on the second draft of book four, the first draft of book five and my ideas for other books in the series now run up to book 10 (with lots more possible with the characters who keep shouldering their way in and saying hi to me). I also am working on the first draft of a book which will be the first in a separate trilogy. My head feels like it’s going to explode, but it feels good too. Not only is the contract all signed now, but I have had the cover questionnaire and filled that out and sent it back too. Now I am back to stalking my email obsessively while I await the content/line edits on book one from the publisher’s editors.
I saw a thing on FB the other day ‘I am a writer, therefore I am not sane’, sorry, not a clue who said it originally or even if it is a proper quote, but it soooo fits right now! I am feeling more than usually scatter-brained at the moment and have masses to do but I could not be happier.