Friday, April 20, 2018

You Did What?

You want mistakes? How much time do you have? Don't worry. I won't list them all, if only as some kind of balm for my mortally wounded pride.

My first four books will never see the light of day. Each for very good reason. But the first one - oh the first one was SPECIAL. 

I wrote an entire 100k words of a contemporary romance aimed at Harlequin. It was called GROWING LOVE. It starred an American floral designer with a best friend who hauled her across the Atlantic to the UK to design said bestie's wedding - aaaaaand just maybe because bestie was setting up the heroine with her temperamental, rock star brother. I wrote this thing and I loved everything about it. Everything. I sent it off to a specific editor at Harlequin full of expectation.

Ah, the innocence of youth. 

I'd love to tell you I got a phone call or a glowing letter in response, but we all know what I actually got were crickets. Tiny, timid ones. Well. Then came my very first RWA conference and the editor I'd queried was going to be there. So I made sure to get an appointment with her. It was a group appointment, naturally. Thus, with sweaty palms and shaky voice, I described the book to her and mentioned that I'd sent it already. She promised to look for it when she got back to work.

Not only did she look for my packet, she wrote out a detailed rejection letter explaining why she couldn't buy the book. 


I'd written 100k words and there wasn't a single, solitary shred of conflict. None. Neither internal nor external. It was 100k words predicated on snark. Shush. It was glorious snark. I admit I crept back to my local RWA chapter and had to ask what internal conflict was, cause I had no clue. Some days, I think I still don't. Regardless. Pretty big mistake. Pretty big learning opportunity that led me to dive into local chapter meetings where people like Stella Cameron would come to explain the difference between internal and external conflict and why a romance had to have both and why externals always wrap before internals in the romance market. 

I *still* take writing classes. Probably always will, because there are nuances to story telling that I pick up from every single class I take. And there are still mistakes. Hopefully all new ones that we can talk about in the years ahead. 

Actual photo of the author working on her current WIP.


  1. Still sounds like an interesting book. I’m a fan of snark. Ever thought about going back and repurposing it?

    1. I am SO afraid. :D But now that you mention it - it could be stupidly funny to make her a florist in space. "Watch out! The Kortellon flowers are gorgeous, but they bite!"

  2. Some books really make it. Some don't. Making it, i.e., selling like crazy, is not, to me, proof that the book is any good and vice versa, not making it doesn't mean the book was bad. I was taught to know and be able to articulate why I liked or didn't like something. I would like to read your 100K word book!