I returned to college to finish my education degree after the birth of my first child, and in one of my educational technology classes, we explored this thing call the Internet using something known as a search engine. I discovered those stories my friend and I had written as adolescents had a name – fanfiction. And oh, yeah, there was a ton of X-Files and Law & Order fanfic out there, complete with mailing lists to share said stories. So while I wrote literary analysis essays and summaries of educational research, I also wrote stories based on favorite television shows. My husband and I had another child, and I started teaching, and once more the writing fell to the side.
In 2002, I was teaching at an excellent high school with an incredible media center. There was a whole shelf of Sandra Brown novels, which reminded me a lot of the Silhouette Intimate Moments and Harlequin Intrigue novels I’d devoured as a young wife and mother. I started thinking I really could maybe write a romantic suspense novel.
So I did.
And I joined the message boards at Harlequin’s website. I joined mailing lists and discovered tons of other aspiring writers. On those boards and lists, I hung out with Stephanie Tyler, Larissa Ione, Sharon Cullen, Lynne Connolly, Allison Brennan, Maya Banks . . . and a ton of other talented writers. I’d finished that first novel and gone on to work on another and another. I started the agent search (way too early) and queried Harlequin/Silhouette with every book I wrote targeted to their lines. I collected quite the impressive array of rejection letters.
Then, in 2006, in a contest by the just-published-with-Samhain Maya Banks, I won a free book download. I downloaded one of Maya’s early books, and in conversations with her, she convinced me to query Samhain, only a few months old, with one of my manuscripts.
And a few weeks later, on the way out to grab Chinese for supper, I received a contract offer via email. I’d sold What Mattered Most, which became my first published work in 2007. I went on to write and publish ten more novels with Samhain between 2007 and 2009. I was exceptionally blessed to work with the insightful and talented editor Anne Scott, and I credit her with much of my growth as a writer.
Then I waited six years to write again. Stay tuned Thursday for my journey back to publication.