Thanks to Delilah for having me as guest on her blog today. In thinking about what to write, I came up with what I hope will be something worthwhile to all new and hopeful writers-to-be.
It is difficult not to want to talk about my very first book to be published. However, I’ll take this space I was so kindly offered to make some comments on this wild ride that has been writing and getting published as a contemporary romance author. Many years ago, over thirty to be exact, I had the brilliant idea that I could write a romance novel. I sat down and did just that. Boxed it up and mailed it off to Harlequin. I really didn’t have to wait long for a reply….about four weeks. I saw the envelope in the mailbox and ripped it open thinking it had to be great news…they wanted my book and there would be a huge check inside. Wrong.
The letter was a nice form letter thanking me but NO THANKS. I was crushed. I took my copy of the manuscript and literally boxed it and threw it under the bed in the guest room. I never saw it again. Long story short, I gave up on my dream of writing. Fast forward thirty plus years and I am more mature and have done a TON of research on the romance genre. With a gentle push (more like a hard shove) from a dear friend, I once more wrote another manuscript and this time…I submitted to a few agents. One agent picked it up and worked with me for a few months before finally offering representation. That is when my real ‘schooling’ began in the world of publishing. After almost three years, I have two manuscripts sold and about to be published. That is the easy version. It wasn’t an easy process and it was at best frustrating and worst…a nightmare. Much the same as giving birth for the first time.
What have I learned after all this? First and foremost…WRITE WHAT YOU LOVE TO READ. Too often authors get in trouble and bring on a ton of frustration when we forget that simple fact. If you can’t love what you wrote…no one else can be expected to do so. Second, and of equal import…TRUST YOUR INSTINCT. Let me explain it this way. When I first jumped into publishing, I put my writing and myself one hundred per cent in the hands of others…because they knew so much more than I did. Well…I now know the value of listening to that little voice inside me. When I listened to others, I found myself in deals I didn’t really like, and writing in sub-genres because that is what someone else liked and wanted me to do…etc. When I started saying hold on…and listening to what I knew and felt to be right…I was much happier and I SOLD. That is not to say that I don’t value the opinions and experiences of others in the publishing world…I do. There is still a lot for me to learn. I just listen to everyone now….myself included…and make the best decision possible.
Best advice to someone who wants to become a writer? Learn all you can about the genre you want to publish. Write only what you love to read. Trust in yourself and your instincts. Don’t give up on your dream!
J.D. Sterling, country music’s sexy superstar, has come home again. He has achieved his wildest dreams and did what he set out to do when he shook the dirt of the small Texas town from his boot heels a dozen years before. Now, he’s returned for the final piece of the puzzle to completing his life….the girl who holds his heart. Mandy.
Amanda Lawson has grown up. From sheer heartbreak to struggling to survive to becoming a shrewd businesswoman, she has taught herself to never look back. She survived once before the wild, green-eyed cowboy with only a guitar to his name and a pocketful of dreams. He took her heart and so much more when he left her behind with his hollow vows.
Mandy was his muse…J.D. was her dream. Despite tragedy, can they find their way home to each other again?
Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers. Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most. She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and owning a wedding planning business (ah, romance!).
Debra’s real pride and joys, however, are her son, an aspiring film actor, and a daughter with aspirations to join the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (more story ideas!) When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure. She read her first romance…Janet Dailey’s Fiesta San Antonio, over thirty years ago and became hooked on the genre. Writing contemporary western romances, is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles…and sighs… to all who believe in happily-ever-after’s.
The Seymour Agency represents Debra and she is soon to have two contemporary romances published by Spencer Hill/Tulip Romance and Astraea Press. Debra invites you to visit her website at www.debraholtbooks.com. She loves to hear from other aspiring authors or readers via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on twitter @debraholtbooks and like her author page on facebook.