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Congratulations to The Wild Rose Press!

I have to give a HUGE whoop & holler to my publisher, The Wild Rose Press.

There is a group that many of us writers know about. It’s called Predators and Editors – and is a wealth of information (of the “warts & all” variety) for anyone who is looking for an agent, publisher, and/or editor. And this week, it was announced that The Wild Rose Press WON a coveted P&E award as BEST PUBLISHER!!!

Let’s face it. Our books are our babies. We spend every waking moment thinking about them, planning for them, figuring out the traits of our characters, naming them (something that was described in detail last week on www.mamawriters.com) – and when it comes time to let them leave the nest & fly, this is one of the first places a new writer should look.

When I was looking for All or Nothing‘s home – I searched P&E looking for agents. Then I went through (okay, scoured) the Writer’s Market, Publisher’s Lunch, etc. in search of an agent. I had a few nibbles, but to be quite frank, the story was rough and needed some polish. It then sat on my desk, as I needed to find my hook. I wrote and rewrote the first few chapters again and again. Worked with the Temecula Writer’s Group (HUGS) until it sparkled. But the agent route had left me cold. I joined Query Tracker. I put together some lists and almost started searching for an agent, again. Found one close, but I didn’t have the proper initials in my name…(her current criteria for finding new authors?!)

But, at my “day job” I kept seeing new listings for titles of the same genre as All or Nothing. From, you guessed it! SO, I researched them on P&E and what did I find? “Predators & Editors is hearing good things about this publisher.” Hmm. Go straight to a publisher? So, I read their submissions criteria, wrote a fantastic (writer’s group approved) query letter, followed their guidelines to the LETTER, and submitted.

Within a week, they’d notified me my query was being sent to the Senior Editor of the Inspirational Romance line. Within a day or two, the Senior Editor requested the full MS. Within another week, I heard from my editor. If I was willing to roll up my sleeves and go to work, they were willing to send me a contract. WHAT!? A contract? Just like that? Suspicious and excited, I checked the circles. Searched message loops. Nothing I heard was negative, only positive. Could it be true?

I took the biggest leap of faith of my writing life, and agreed. I had a contract. All or Nothing had a home. I had an editor. My writer’s group cheered me on! And suddenly, I felt like I could do anything. My editor gave me some pointers, and I went back to work. All of her guidance was gentle, leading, and encouraging. My screw ups became our projects. And my words suddenly gleamed with her polish. My fledgling story soon had the beautiful cover you can see, by Kimberlee Mendoza, with my name emblazoned on the cover. All writers know this in itself is a dream come true.

Creative fervor had me entering one of their contests, and thus, By Another Name was born – a winner in The Easter Lilies contest. Now – I’m working on two other submissions requests. Could I seek homes for these titles elsewhere? perhaps. But I tell you what I know about The Wild Rose Press. Rhonda and RJ care. When someone says something negative about them, she rolls up her sleeves to defend her editors, her cover artists, and her authors. They are family – spread out in a virtual office across the globe. Saying I’m glad to be planted in this garden is a given. I’ve learned more about writing in the past year than I ever have before.

Congragulations, The Wild Rose Press authors, as well as Rhonda & RJ! You deserve this, and all the accolades that go along with it.

Writing in Haste…

Haste Makes Waste… an interesting thought for the day, really. Today we’re told that haste makes waste in publishing, so be careful what you write when writing quickly. Isn’t that the truth? And here I am, hastily blogging about that subject.

I’ve recently switched WIPs away from contemporary – which was fun (my promotional short story Tessa Takes a Chance will be available soon from Wild Rose Press – YAY! 🙂 — so, I’m back to re-writing a White Rose Historical – set in the golden era of Hollywood. It was one that was tabled and reviewed by Harlequin ages ago – but never made the final cut due to (looking back on it now) some hasty writing that was long on dialog and short on research and historic detail. *How mortifying to admit to this! but I was young. What can I say?*

What I love about writing historicals – is that you must research a subject, know it, practically live it before you can etch one word – rather than just streaming it all down off the top of your head. Granted, we are living in contemporary times – but I digress.

When researching All or Nothing – I made a home for myself in the reference room at Fort Lowell Museum. Now, I have my favorite online research sites I haunt on a regular basis; there’s nothing like hesitating mid-sentence to wonder: What sort of underclothes would my heroine be wearing? What does her hat look like? Her hair style? how would she voice that particular thought? The deeper I research, the more in tune with her I become, and the better able I am to weave her plights, and share in her victories!

I remember Jude Deveraux once saying that she was always most interested in underclothes and where people went to the bathroom. Think about it. What’s more intimate than that? I’ve also read that with regards to setting – the worst thing a writer can EVER do is to jar their reader out of the universe you are creating. Setting is such an important part of that universe. As is avoidance of all anachronisms.

So, perhaps the internet allows historical writers to conduct our research a little more hastily – however, it also enables us to get the details spot-on as we don’t have to stop writing, get in the car, drive to the library, get sidetracked by the new releases, etc. and so on.

Finally, this begs the question: Where do you, as readers, find yourselves most intrigued when diving into a historical? What gets you flipping pages? What do you want to know about – regardless of the time period you are reading? Do you want to know how they cook? sew? gossip? shop? how much things cost?

Please comment – I’d love to know your thoughts

Another Thursday…

Perhaps it’s just another Thursday night – but I got to thinking… This has been an insane week, life wise. Everything has had to fall to the back of my list to take care of my kids. Whenever it didn’t, all heck broke loose. I think I had the fortune -can’t say misfortune here- of praying for patience not too long ago. There’s a line in Evan Almighty, where God tells Evan – “If you pray for patience, I’ll give you more opportunities to be patient…” And, oh, I got them in spades this week.

I’ve also had the opportunity to finish a book, plot three new stories, read some amazing shorts from my fellow authors at www.thewildrosepress.com, and what’s more, I have a clearer idea on where I need to be in the world.

I also got word from my editor that she’s working on my MS – so, prepare! the trimming of the darlings is bound to be coming soon…

Okay, back to it. Rachel & Ellie need to go to bed. Story time…which now involves each of them telling me one thing to tell a story about. Last night had to be about a bunny rabbit and a jewel. Yikes. Try coming up with that one off the top of your head!

Goodnight!

What a week.

I found out on Wednesday night that I had tonsilitis. What adult gets tonsilitis? Me, apparently. At least it explains my ping-ponging fever, and why I could no longer swallow. Perry was sick last week, me this week, I’m praying the girls stay healthy.

I’m 50 pages from being done with my first pass at revisions – then it’s off to the next phase – the Editorial phase – of which I’ve never been on this side of the coin. Scary! exciting! I’m so ready. Reading all of these authors – these women on the Wild Rose Press message board – I can’t wait to say that my book is on the market.

I’m also toying with several ideas on stories for the White Rose Line. So, we’ll see what happens next. For today, I need to go play with Ellie. Rachel and Perry are doing the Dino Dad Day at school. Ellie needs some mommy time. If I can work in edge wise around Grandma. Ha!

Coffee and comments

Listening to: Flight 26
Drinking coffee.
Going through e-mail.
A stack of edits waiting to be entered.
Another week about to begin.

This week, I’ll be spending more time at my work work – and less time dealing with new contract stuff, working with marketing at TWRP, etc. The contract is signed and on its way back.

We spent the weekend in Carlsbad, enjoying the sun, surf, and sand. Perry built the most amazing sand castle I’ve ever seen. Every kid on our part of the beach came by to help out. I have the most amazing husband in the world. It’s nice to have him back after he was so sick last week.

The girls are sleeping. I’m going to work a bit on All or Nothing – just wanted to keep honest, as blogging every day is part of my New Years Resolution. Or I should say, new LIFE resoultion. It helps my brain stay flexible. The ideas are coming like water. I’m very impressed with the group of writers at TWRP and need to be able to keep up!

~Ashley

Overwhelmed, and ready to work…

SO, now the real work starts. All or Nothing – a historical romance, set in the American west – the story of RuthAnne Newcomb and Bowen Shepherd – the patriarchs of the Shepherd clan – whose story I hope to continue writing.

BUT, here goes. I’m the mother of two little girls. Rachel’s 4, and Elizabeth is 2. They are my world. The girls, and my sweet husband – who took us all to Disneyland on Friday to celebrate All or Nothing’s recent success. 🙂 Sounds corny, but yeah. I got my first book contract, and I went to Disneyland!

At any rate – I also work full time for a large corporation and spend most of my days attempting to be a professional person. If they could only see me in my home office. We joke about my going to work in my bunny slippers and robe. Some days, it isn’t far from the truth. NOW, Rachel goes to Preschool, so I have to get my butt out the door – wearing clothes and makeup and having actual conversations wiht real adults. It’s kind of exciting for all of us. Let alone, that she’s learning sweet little songs like “Where is Jesus?” and making friends that I’ve never met. I’m loving it, and hanging on a little tighter to Ellie all the while. Their childhood is not something I want to rush. Four years already, and I feel like life is on fastforward.

Still, in the past year, I’ve refound my ability to write. Something I lost except in fits and starts since the kids came. Last year, I wrote a shortstory that won an award. I completed www.NanoWriMo.org, and I finished All or Nothing. It’s been in revisions every since. And now, after some divine inspiration, stepping out on trust, and the support of my phenomenal writer’s group – TWRP has put their trust in its success.

Here’s to the future. Here’s to a budding career as an author. Here is to RuthAnne and Bowen. For all of her strong will and his hard headedness – they found each other. A story wove around them, and the bandit they worked to capture. And here we are. As my mentor Nancy Taylor Rosenberg said, “Writing is re-writing.” and you know what? It’s okay by me.

Tomorrow, the contract goes in the mail. I continue to attack the dreaded POV and weather report issues that I’m sure plague my story. I continue plotting WIP #2 “The God Quotient” and WIP #3 “Mammoth Secrets” – we’ll see which one takes off first. And, another day goes on. I am so blessed to have a hubby that is behind me, even if all of this process mystifies him to no end, and two little girls who hang on me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have never been more nervous or excited all at once.

I’m in the Garden!

Well, it finally happened today. I think I’m having an out of body experience. I’m really doing it. I’m getting published. I am an author. I did it. I have an editor who believes in me, my ability, and everything I’ve read and researched about them is wonderful. My editor gets back to me, she is giving me great advice, I have my notes and I’m off to start the next revision.

She sent the contract…and all of the paperwork… and I didn’t get one of those knife-in-the-heart moments, when the rug gets pulled from your feet and you realize they want money from you. Not a moment’s hesitation while reading the contract, wondering, are these people for real? It is just good business. An excellent plan. Talk of cover art, edits, galleys, and production.

I’m doing the happy dance! All or Nothing is going to be published… BREATHE.

Thank you, Wild Rose Press for believing in this book!

Now, the real work starts. Once again – I’m thrilled to do it. I have reams of papers to read and fill out, and edits to begin.