Saturday, April 6, 2013

The future is bright...

Sorry for the long time without word. It just took me a while to be able to come to terms with my rejection from Avon. It was, without a doubt, a very awful moment. I took some time, did some soul searching about what I should do next, and then made a plan. I'm going to remain cryptic for now, because I have a lot of work to do.

This might be my last post on this blog. I'm working on a website, and will bring these posts over there. You'll see then how things are looking up.

Suffice it to say that I'm energized, excited, and hopeful that you'll all get to read my 10 day wonder child in the not so distant future!

Stay tuned for the website friends. And thanks for reading.

Monday, February 25, 2013

First lines...

I suppose I should have a better reason for blogging tonight other than I just downloaded the Blogger app for my iPad and wanted to check it out. I mean, I'm writing with the idea that someone out there will read this post, so I should come prepared with message in hand. Alas, I am not that well prepared.

Truth is, Reg and Rowan are sleeping, and I'm up drinking a cup of tea and having some toast from the last of the bread Reg made. (Sorry love... there may be no bread left for you tomorrow morning!) At the moment I have several choices. I could play some random mindless iPad game. I could work on a video project for work that I committed to doing today (despite being on mat leave, I just needed a little project). I could be working on an outline for my next book. Or I could blog. This seemed easiest, so here I am. Oh, and the random picture of my cup of tea is just so I can play with adding photos through this app. I should note I normally drink tea from a cup, not a mug, but it's my Nan's mug and I'm missing her tonight, hence the mug.

So to steer this post into some sort of writerly direction, I was just on youtube and found a video of Avon staff reading the first lines of various books... including Gone With the Wind! Here's the link if you want to watch:

Anyway, that got me to thinking about how important the first line of anything you write is. When we are out book shopping and have too many books picked out, we often choose which ones make it home with us by reading the first line. Best first line novels get bought.

When I was writing "Heart's Ease" (that's the working title of the novel I submitted... still not sure if I like it so it may change if I get the chance) Reg wasn't sold on the opening line. I trust his judgement on so many things that now I'm wondering why I didn't go back and change it. If the book is rejected, I'm sure it will be for lots more reasons that the first line, but now I'm wondering if my judgement was off. Ugh. Just another reason to toss and turn while waiting.

Here's the first line: The one thing no one ever tells you about royalty, either of the Hollywood or Aristocratic variety, is that they all leave a hell of a lot of mess behind them.


Oh. And as for this new app? Not bad as far as the writing side goes. Now let's see how it looks when I hit publish!

Friday, February 22, 2013

On the cusp of knowing

Forgot to mention this. Last week when I posted about the angst of waiting to hear for a reply, I also tweeted it. (You can follow me on twitter.... @vickibarbour). Anyhow, in my tweet I mentioned @Avonromance and lo and behold, their wonderful Director of Publicity Pam Jaffe replied to me. She said she'd see what she can find out. And sure enough, she did. As of last Monday (Feb. 11) they were reviewing submissions from December 1. Well, I submitted December 10. So I'm not sure how long it takes to get through them, but that's the latest. Now with week 10 drawing to a close I'm checking my email even more desperately. I've tried working on other books in the potential series, but my mind keeps wandering back to wondering. Let me tell you, folks, this waiting is excruciating stuff. I have a feeling in my gut that I'm going to hear something next week. Whether it's good news or bad remains to be seen, but it's certain to be in the next couple of weeks. All that waiting, and now I'm getting terrified to hear anything. What's with the human psyche? Anyhow, I suspect the next post will hold the answer.

Monday, February 11, 2013

What's it all about?

I just realized that while I've told you all about how I wrote a novel in 10 days, I didn't tell you what it was about. So here it is. A little sneak peek for you. This is the synopsis that I sent along with the manuscript. It's kind of like the blurb you'd find at the back of a novel. 

What do you think?


Thriving business? Check.
Sexual exploits with a rockstar? Check.
Complete independence. Check.

Elsie Walsh had it all. Or so she thought. Until Scottish hunk Campbell Scott showed up on the doorstep of her bed and breakfast. He’s making it pretty hard for her to stand by her one rule: No sleeping with the guests.She’s denied some of the world’s hottest actors, musicians, and even royals... but how can she keep Cam out of her bed, when he’s invaded her head and her heart?

Campbell Scott went to the wilds of Newfoundland with one thing on his mind: sketch some birds, and then get back to his playboy lifestyle in London. But one look at his sexy hostess and there’s a whole lot more in the air than sea birds. Rejection isn’t part of his vocabulary, and Cam sets out to not only convince Elsie that he belongs in her bed, but by her side at the Heart’s Ease Inn. 

Toss in a heartbroken rocker, meddling aunt, and a romantic romp in one of the most remote places in North America and you have a love story that’s brimming with banter, and simmering with sensuality. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Will history prevail?

Nine weeks ago I submitted the novel (See the picture of Rowan helping push send?)

Nine weeks ago I was told, "Thank you for your submission to Avon Impulse. You can expect to hear back from us within eight to twelve weeks, however, due to the amount of submissions we receive, we are unable to respond personally to each query. Thank you again for your interest in Avon Impulse." 

Eight to 12 weeks. Two to three months. 

I told myself I wasn't going to start checking my email like a person with a very bad case of OCD. 

I wasn't going to stay awake at night thinking of all the ways I would prepare for the inevitable rejection that's bound to come. 

And yet, here I am. Counting weeks, and addicted to checking my email, and lying awake at night while my six month old sleeps peacefully through the night. I'm a new mother. I should be sleeping when he sleeps. 

But it's hard. Writing something and then putting it out there for others to read, to judge, to determine its worth is nerve-wracking. 

Little known fact. 11 years ago I wrote a novel and sent it away to Harlequin. Yup. And I waited. And waited. And waited. Those were the days when you printed off your manuscript, stuffed it into a huge brown envelope, and sent it off with a bunch of stamps. I sent it in March. I got the rejection in September. Six months of waiting. When that big envelope came back with all the pages.... which in all honestly looked at if they hadn't been touched... and a little one page letter that basically said, "Nice story but not enough sex", well I wasn't surprised. It was a contemporary romance. I prefer historicals. And it was light on the sex. And I'd written it quickly. I wasn't shocked. And not even overly disappointed. 

You would think I'd have learned a thing or two. After all, I'm a thesis away from a masters in History. I know to look to the past. And yet, here I am repeating myself. Because what have I done ? Written another contemporary romance in a very short period of time that has a little bit more sex than that first one... but not much. 

So perhaps what I should do, instead of obsessively checking my email, is get back to work on the regency that this blog was created to document. If I'm going to be keeping myself awake at night, might as well do something productive with the brain. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Novel submitted!

Sorry I dropped off the blogosphere for a while. A nasty cold had my brain turned to mush so any writing time was devoted entirely to the novel.

If you don't know already, I did manage to get the 50,000 words in on time for the National Novel Writing Month event! See the pic! It was a hard slog that last day because I felt awful. Still, I did it. Then I put the book away and didn't look at it again until Thursday.

Today was the deadline to submit it to Avon so I spent my weekend editing, and today wrote the synopsis and query letter. The hardest part of the whole submission process was selecting the best scene (of a thousand words or less). Thanks to my friend Anne, hubby, and sister for helping narrow down the choices and helping me pick one.

Hitting submit submission was harder than I thought. All those doubts about if it's a good book, if Avon will want it, if... if.... if....

Finally, my husband brought the baby over and Rowan was the one who submitted mommy's novel. I took a picture which I'll post when I manage to pull it off the camera. '

So now I have an 8-12 week wait before I'll hear anything back. Lots of time to start brainstorming future books for the series that I pitched them based on this book. Not sure if I'll start writing anything until I hear back, but at least I'll start getting some ideas on paper just in case.

I also have to think about contingency plans if Avon rejects this. Things like, should I shop it around to other publishers or should I just go back to work on my regency and try and get that done. Now that I know I can finish if I put my mind to it, it seems a shame not to finish it.

Anyway, that's it. I celebrated with a lovely glass of 12 year old Macallan scotch. Because whether it gets published or not, I did something I didn't think possible. I wrote a novel in 11 days.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

10,000 word home stretch

Well, it's crunch time. Less than 48 hours till submission time. And while I once was the type of writer who could stay up into the wee hours of the morning writing, having a wee babe at home makes that impossible if I plan to be a functioning mom at all.

Rowan is enroute to his Nan's house - my mother-in-law - for the day and now the parental guilt is settling in. Since last Tuesday I've been pawning him off on anyone willing to take him for a few hours so I can get in some writing. Now I've shipped him out for the day. With just 10,000 words or so left, I should be in the jubilant almost there stage. Instead I'm worrying about my baby. If this project works and I'm lucky enough to get published, I'll need days to write much more often, and that makes me sad because I miss having him around, even in his fussy stages.

Time to suck it up. I'm doing this for him, really. So that we can see if Mommy can make it as a writer. If I manage to convince the folks at Avon that I'm the kind of writer that can appeal to their audiences, it would mean a world of difference for us. Not that I'll get rich doing it. That only happens to the mega-stars. I don't even know if my favourite romance authors are really rich. But if I could manage to at least make what I make as my salary now, I could stay at home, spending much more time with Rowan that I could if I had to go back to work full-time. So that's why I'm doing it. I might feel like a bad mommy this morning, but if it pays off, then in the end, won't I be a better mom?

Ahhhhhh. Life.

Anyway, the book is coming along fantastically. I'm basicially writing the lead up to the ending now. I'd love to get all 10 thousand written today, but I'll have to get into some kind of wild groove for that to happen. Instead, I'll aim for 7000 words. That will leave 3000 tomorrow, which I should be able to do with Rowan at home, and once daddy gets home from work.

I'm off to physio now, and then it's nose to the grind. I can't believe how close I'm getting to actually accomplishing this!