I started 2010 with a new motto. It fit my snarky mood. Here’s my new mantra:
Because that’s how I felt at the start of 2010. I needed to ratchet-up my writing career. Same old, same old wasn’t working.
I’d spent 2008 and part of 2009 watching a young adult novel that I loved get kicked in the shins, abused, and generally rejected over and over by probably every editor in New York City. It was brutal. I heard everything from the familiar, “Love the voice, but it’s just not right for me…” to “Thanks, but no thanks.” I learned the hard way that young adult novels without words like boarding school, vampire, werewolf, fairy, or zombie weren’t exactly popular among editors.
Unfortunately, I don’t do normal. While I love a good werewolf or vampire story as much as the next person, it’s not what my heart desires to write.
During 2009, in order to maintain what little sanity I had left, I decided to tackle something new. I wrote a historical romance novel, my first. But it had to have all of the things I loved: Native American characters, epic themes, suspense, a strong heroine and, of course, a love story. CAPTIVE SPIRIT was born. And I had so much fun writing it. Writing the book literally saved me. In fact the research that I did for the novel at the Phoenix Heard Museum was almost as fun as writing the story because I learned so much about the Hohokam Indians, but that is another topic all together.
Then in November of 2009, I began to see tweets and news articles for a brand-new Harlequin digital imprint called Carina Press. I loved their motto, “Where no great story goes untold.” Angela James is the Carina Press Executive Editor and I began to follow her tweets. Who knew Twitter could be so useful?
Most of all, I also liked how Carina was not afraid to shake up the traditional publishing model. They seemed less about trends and more about good writing and stories. I was, to say the least, intrigued. And at the start of 2010, I was determined to shake up everything about my writing career, including where to submit.
So sometime after New Year’s, one of Angela’s tweets flashed across my laptop. “Send us your historicals!” she tweeted. “Our editors are hungry for historicals!”
Humph, I thought. Why not send CAPTIVE SPIRIT?
I quickly polished up my query, the dreaded synopsis, and my manuscript and sent it off into cyberspace to Angela with a single, hopeful, heartfelt keystroke.
By mid-March, I got “The Call.”
I had been having coffee with my girlfriends at Starbucks and hadn’t heard my cell phone ring. Angela left a message on my voicemail telling me that the Carina Press acquisitions team loved CAPTIVE SPIRIT and wanted to publish it.
PUBLISH?! Say what?!!
When I first played her voicemail, I seriously got dizzy, mostly because I began to hyperventilate. I had never heard the words “loved” and “publish” in the same sentence, not unless they preceded that horrible, ugly, troll of a word “but.” I must have replayed Angela’s message twelve times.
Now five months later, I am one of the Carina Press launch authors. CAPTIVE SPIRIT was published on June 28, and I couldn’t be happier working with such a hip group. Best of all, I’m writing again and loving it more than ever, all because of one single, important change.
I know that sometimes it can feel like you’re trying to plug a leak in the ocean, but what changes have you made that have nudged your writing careers in the right direction?
Liz Fichera lives in the American Southwest by way of Chicago. She likes to write stories about ordinary people who do extraordinary things, oftentimes against the backdrop of Native American legends. Her debut historical romance novel CAPTIVE SPIRIT is available from Carina Press and wherever digital books are sold. Please visit her web site at http://www.lizfichera.com/ where she keeps cool stuff like a first chapter excerpt, book trailer, and more of her favorite quotations.