HOW I GOT PUBLISHED… in 5 years or less!Has it only been five years since I almost lost it all, giving new meaning to the “literary pitch?” I’d flown to Albuquerque to collect my very first win in a Romance Writers of America, chapter contest; this one with the Land of Enchantment Romance Authors in New Mexico. The moment I saw the contest posted in the RWA Report—the Rebecca Contest—I had to enter something, since Rebecca is the name of my oldest daughter. It’s a sign, I thought; hopefully a sign of good things to come. Darn if it wasn’t! My third completed manuscript, Matchmaker, Matchmaker, won!
You would think that when given the opportunity to make a pitch to editors at the LERA Conference, I would pitch my winning historical romance, Matchmaker, Matchmaker. Nervous and naive, I sat down with the likes of NAL and Five Star-Gale, and rambled on with another manuscript. I still don’t know what I was thinking . . . but I do know I wasn’t thinking! Russell Davis, the-then-Five Star-editor, actually congratulated me on my contest win at the beginning of my pitch, and I still didn’t get it! When politely asked to submit my manuscript of choice to Five Star-Gale, I snail-mailed my second, completed novel and not my contest win.
Months went by before I got “the call,” saying thank you but . . . no thank you. It’s the answer I expected, being rejected. But wait, the call wasn’t over. Five Star-Gale asked if I had something else I might want to submit. When given this golden opportunity, you bet this time I sent in my contest winner! Some time later I got the call again, saying thank you and let’s talk sale!
That one moment will ever withstand the test of time as “the moment” in my writing life . . . five years and counting.
To date, Joanne’s sales to Five Star include: MATCHMAKER, MATCHMAKER (06), A…MY NAME’S AMELIA (07) also out in Large Print, THE PARLOR HOUSE DAUGHTER (08) also out in Large Print, MEGGIE’S REMAINS (09), & THE QUAKER AND THE CONFEDERATE upcoming series (5/10, 9/10). Joanne’s first sale was reviewed nationally by Booklist, her second by Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly, and her third by Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist. A…MY NAME’S AMELIA garnered a top 4&1/2 star rating from Romantic Times Magazine.
History is always a strong character in Joanne’s books, with her first four stories set in colorful, turbulent Colorado history and her next, a two-book series set in Civil War Virginia. As important as it is for Joanne to convey a strong, credible, historical flavor of the time, it is equally important for Joanne to portray strong, credible heroines and heroes. A strong, determined heroine deserves an equally strong and determined hero. Joanne grew up reading romance, historical and contemporary, falling in love with heroes and heroines from Regency England to the American West, from London’s pubs to Colorado’s ski slopes, loving that moment when the hero and heroine meet and fall in love. That moment to Joanne is the moment when Jane Eyre meets Edward Rochester, when Elizabeth Bennett meets Mr. Darcy … that’s the heart-stopping, passionate moment for Joanne in romance. That moment is what led her to attempt traditional, old-fashioned historical romance.
With her three, Colorado-mountain-raised-children grown and off on their own adventures, Joanne lives part-time in Colorado and California, with her husband and their entourage` of felines and huskies.
Joanne is a member of Colorado Romance Writers, Romance Writers of America, Women Writing the West, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and Los Angeles Romance Authors.
With the help of random.org, I have the winners!:
Raelena- already won
Lyoness2009- already won
Congrats! Please respond to your emails by Wednesday September 2 by midnight EST or I’ll choose replacement winners.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by and entered!
Here are the upcoming releases in September I’m looking forward to:
Serving a five-hundred-year sentence as a Soul Gatherer-one who battles demons for the souls of the dead-Lachlan MacGregor keeps his distance from humans. That is, until the lovely Rachel Lewis knocks on his door, begging for help.
As they struggle to rescue her daughter from the clutches of a powerful demon, Lachlan finds himself increasingly drawn to the artistic single mother. But when Death assigns him an unbearable task, he’s left wondering who will provide more for his soul.
In these hound-eat-hound worlds, anything goes… and everything bites.
Follow paranormal bodyguards Clovache and Batanya into Lucifer’s realm, where they encounter his fearsome four-legged pets, in Charlaine Harris’s The Britlingens Go to Hell. Seek out a traitor in the midst of a guild of non- lethal vampire trackers, one that intends to eradicate the entire species of bloodsuckers, in Nalini Singh’s Angels’ Judgment. Find out why the giant three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hades has left the underworld for the real world-and whose scent he’s following-in Ilona Andrews’s Magic Mourns. Embark on a perilous search for the kidnapped niece of a powerful vampire alongside her blind- and damn sexy-companion and a hellhound in Meljean Brook’s Blind Spot.
Only for those I love would I traipse into the merciless Northlands to risk life, limb, and my exquisite beauty. But do they appreciate it? Do they say, “Gwenvael the Handsome, you are the best among us—the most loved of all dragons?” No! For centuries my family has refused to acknowledge my magnificence as well as my innate humility. Yet for them, and because I am so chivalrous, I will brave the worst this land has to offer.
So here I stand, waiting to broker an alliance with the one the Northlanders call The Beast. A being so fearful, the greatest warriors will only whisper its name. Yet I, Gwenvael, will courageously face down this terrifying woman? It turns out the Beast, a.k.a. Dagmar Reinholdt, is a woman—one with steel-gray eyes and a shocking disregard for my good looks. Beneath her plain robes and prim spectacles lies a sensual creature waiting to be unleashed. Who better than a dragon to thaw out that icy demeanor?
And who better than a beast to finally tame a mighty dragon’s heart?
When Abbey’s best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead?and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen’s funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey’s life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he’s the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again…but also special.
Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen’s betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her—one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.
In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.
The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash’s capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.
Entrancing, empowering, and romantic, Ash is about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.
As the only woman on her homicide squad, Genevieve Delacroix maintains a tough-as-nails attitude that keeps men at arm’s length. She never gives into her secret fantasies…until she meets a mysterious stranger who teaches her how little control she really has over her mind and her body.
Cole Adams arrives in New Orleans believing star investigator Genevieve is his last hope for solving the murder of his younger sister. He just doesn’t expect the hard-assed detective to look like a blond bombshell. Once he breaks through her inhibitions, he soon finds an unexpected obsession: driving Genevieve right to the edge of desire, and beyond…
But when the serial killer who has been terrorizing the streets of the French Quarter sets his sights on Genevieve, the lovers realize they’ve both let down their guard. And losing control could have fatal consequences…
Most sixteen-year-olds have friends. Aden Stone has four human souls living inside him:
One can time-travel.
One can raise the dead.
One can tell the future.
And one can possess another human.
With no other family and a life spent in and out of institutions, Aden and the souls have become friends. But now they’re causing him all kinds of trouble. Like, he’ll blink and suddenly he’s a younger Aden, reliving the past. One wrong move, and he’ll change the future. Or he’ll walk past a total stranger and know how and when she’s going to die.
He’s so over it. All he wants is peace.
And then he meets a girl who quiets the voices. Well, as long as he’s near her. Why? Mary Ann Gray is his total opposite. He’s a loner; she has friends. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks; she tries to make everyone happy. And while he attracts the paranormal, she repels it. For her sake, he should stay away. But it’s too late….
Somehow, they share an inexplicable bond of friendship. A bond about to be tested by a werewolf shape-shifter who wants Mary Ann for his own, and a vampire princess Aden can’t resist.
Two romances, both forbidden. Still, the four will enter a dark underworld of intrigue and danger—but not everyone will come out alive…
Werewolf homicide detective Luna Wilder guards the fine line that separates Nocturne City’s humans from the weres and witches that roam its streets. Now, Luna must thwart a new evil more dangerous than anything she’s ever encountered.
Someone, or something, is setting fire to the homes of the city’s most infamous non-humans, racking up a body count that’s growing by the day. And strange, otherworldly creatures no one has seen before—selkies trolls and harpies—are causing chaos throughout the city. Racing to stop the carnage, Luna turns to sexy federal agent Will Fagin for help. As they work to uncover the source of the bloodshed, Luna’s attraction for Will deepens. But just as she learns Will’s darkest secret, Nocturne City is thrust into total chaos—leaving Luna and Will in a path of destruction they may not be able to stop…or survive.
Poppy Hathaway, who has always longed for a normal, ordinary life, has been abandoned by her true love, Michael Bayning. Caught up in scandal, she has only one way out – to marry Harry Rutledge, a handsome and mysterious hotel owner. But Harry is a man of many secrets, and eventually Poppy faces a heartwrenching question: What does a heroine do when she ends up married to the villain?
For Nikki Donovan, being a teenager can be hell. Literally.
As if trying to fit in at a new school and navigating the social scene isn’t enough stress for her, sixteen-year-old Nikki Donovan just found out that her long-lost father is, in fact, the demon king of the Shadowlands — the world that separates and protects ours from the Underworld. When she is brought there by the mysterious (and surprisingly cute) messenger Michael, she learns that her father is dying, and that he wants her to assume the throne. To complicate matters, a war is brewing between the Shadowlands and the Underworld, her half-demon qualities are manifesting, and her growing feelings for Michael are forbidden. Ruling a kingdom, navigating a secret crush, and still making it home by curfew — what’s a teenage demon princess to do?
The Castle of Dark Dreams is just part of an adult theme park, right? The most decadent attraction in a place where people go to play out their wildest erotic fantasies. Holgarth isn’t really a wacky wizard, and Sparkle Stardust doesn’t actually create cosmic chaos by hooking up completely mismatched couples. And that naked guy chained up in the dungeon? No way he’s a vampire.
Wrong…dead wrong, as botanist Cinn Airmid is about to find out. It’s up to her to save the night feeder’s sanity, but to do that she’ll have to get close to the most dangerously sexy male she’s ever encountered. And one look in Dacian’s haunted black eyes tells her close will take on a whole new meaning with someone who’s had 600 years to practice his technique. Even a girl with a name that conjures up images of forbidden pleasure has a few tricks to learn from…
Ex-Marine Caden MacTavish has shunned his magical heritage all his life, but he will do anything to heal his desperately ill brother, a Doomsday Brethren warrior in mourning for his missing mate. Posing as a photographer, Caden must convince firecracker tabloid reporter Sydney Blair to reveal the source of her recent exposé on a supernatural power clash. Unfortunately, keeping his hands off the sizzling redhead proves as hard as getting them onto the potent and mystical Doomsday Diary he discovers at her bedside. A bloody rebellion led by an evil, power-hungry wizard is imminent. If Sydney divulges the book’s existence, she will jeopardize magickind’s most deeply guarded secrets and become the ruthless wizard’s number one target. Caden has never trusted magic’s cruel and dangerous powers, but he will protect Sydney with his life and magic—even if it means risking his heart.
Awakened from a drugged sleep in a cold cell, the Princess Kiara finds herself a prisoner of the merciless marauders who threaten her father’s planetary kingdom. Miraculously, a rescuer appears, but behind his fearsome mask is the handsome face of a dark avenger whose outlaw touch sets her very soul aflame.
The Broken is a place where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is nothing more than a fairy tale.
The Weird is a realm where blueblood aristocrats rule and the strength of your magic can change your destiny.
Rose Drayton lives on the Edge, the place between both worlds. A perilous existence indeed, made even more so by a flood of magic-hungry creatures bent on absolute destruction.
Today we welcome Barbara Bretton to Bibliophiles ‘R’ Us!
Writers will do just about anything to research a story. Bungee-jump. We’ll climb mountains, swim oceans, talk to dangerous people in dark alleys in the middle of the night, all with the certainty that the Muse will protect us from harm.
And those of us writing paranormals will happily take a walk on the wilder side of reality if given half a chance.
So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that my writer friends and I all said yes when a mutual friend suggested we experience a past-life regression.
Let me set the scene for you: it’s 8:30 on a cloudy Saturday morning in central Long Island. Five writers, clutching bed pillows to their chests, race across the hotel parking lot toward what promised to be a Big Adventure.
I knew exactly what to expect. We’d be greeted by an exotic-looking woman draped in jewel-toned silk and smelling faintly of something heady and alluring. The room would be dimly-lit. Soft New Age music would float through the air from an unseen source. One by one we would be led through the sun-dappled meadows of our minds and introduced to the fabulously exciting lives we’d lived before we ended up in Ballroom B of the Hauppauge Ramada Inn.
And I’d find out I’d been Cinderella, complete with glass slippers, the perfect past life for a newly-minted romance writer.
Except it didn’t quite work out that way.
The medium was a middle-aged matron named Ann who wore a corduroy skirt, sensible shoes, and glasses that hung between her breasts from a grosgrain ribbon. Garish fluorescent lights beamed down on us from the ceiling. Instead of New Age music, Van Halen pounded against the far wall.
After introductions, we were told to lie down on the floor of the conference room and get comfortable. Comfortable? All I wanted to do was make a run for the exit.
“Okay,” said Anne, “now that you’re settled, let’s do a few relaxation exercises.”
Who was she kidding? I wasn’t there to relax. I could relax in the coffee shop later.
But the exercises worked and suddenly I found myself drifting toward sleep. The medium’s voice snapped me back into the moment.
“Now we begin,” she said. “We’ll start at the bottom . . . your feet . . . see your feet the way they were . . . ”
That was more like it. I knew exactly what I was going to see: dainty feet in glass high-heeled slippers. What else? I mean, I knew deep in my heart that there was a beautiful 18th century English heroine with a score of eager suitors lurking deep inside me waiting to get out.
Imagine my surprise when I saw two enormous work boots instead! I was horrified. Work boots? What in the name of romantic fantasy was going on? Whose past life was this anyway?
If Anne knew things were going terribly wrong for me, she never let on. “Now we’ll see your ankles and calves,” she said.
Oh, great. I saw worn and filthy trousers over thick ankles and we all know that no self-respecting heroine ever had thick ankles. What a disaster this was turning out to be. She worked our way up the body and I got more depressed with every part revealed. No dainty ballgown-wearing damsel for me. I was a man. And an ugly one at that! I was a big, rough-hewn, foul-tempered Swedish coal miner.
Believe it or not, things went downhill from there. She told us to age ten years. “Where are you?” she asked. “What are you?”
I was finally getting married. My wife hated me but she had no choice. She was as homely and old as I was. I saw us on our wedding night and I was a rough and uncaring lover who made her cry. I didn’t care. I sat by the fireplace and smoked a pipe. Even my dog didn’t like me.
“Fast forward another twenty years,” Anne instructed and I see myself sitting by the same fireplace, still smoking a pipe. My dog is dead. My wife is dead. I lost a leg in a mining accident. I am bitter, miserable, and alone.
I wanted my money back. Where were my ball gown and slippers and handsome suitors? This wasn’t at all what I signed up for. Believe me when I tell you I didn’t want to be a one-legged Swedish coalminer with a bad attitude.
What I was, however, was a writer with an even worse attitude. I got so caught up in trying to force the experience to meet my expectations that I almost lost the point of it all.
It didn’t matter if I was Cinderella or a coal-miner. The point was the experience itself. How it felt to lie on the ballroom floor of a Ramada Inn. The sound of my friends breathing next to me. Anne’s soft voice. The strange sensation that came over me as I “saw” things I didn’t expect to see, in a way I never thought I’d see them.
And isn’t that the point of getting out there and doing hands-on research? I should have left my preconceptions at home and just let it happen. Don’t make my mistake when you research your own novel. Live in the moment. Soak up the knowledge. Savor the element of surprise when it comes your way. You never know where the unexpected might take you.
Barbara Bretton is the USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of more than 40 books. Her most recent title, Laced With Magic, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. She currently has over ten million copies in print around the world and have been translated into twelve languages in over twenty countries.
Barbara has been featured in articles in The New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Romantic Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Herald News, Home News, Somerset Gazette,among others, and has been interviewed by Independent Network News Television, appeared on the Susan Stamberg Show on NPR, and been featured in an interview with Charles Osgood of WCBS, among others.
Her awards include both Reviewer’s Choice and Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times; Gold and Silver certificates from Affaire de Coeur; the RWA Region 1 Golden Leaf; and several sales awards from Bookrak. Ms. Bretton was included in a recent edition of Contemporary Authors.
Barbara loves to spend as much time as possible in Maine with her husband, walking the rocky beaches and dreaming up plots for upcoming books.
Short week again. I expect not to have really heavy weeks the rest of the year lol.
- Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning. Bought.
- Everlasting by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. Bought.
- Hell on Heels anthology. Bought.
- The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn. Bought.
What did you get?
First, J. Kaye awarded me with the Who Loves You Baby award, so thanks J. Kaye!
This award is designed with one purpose in mind. Pass this on to other bloggers who have awarded you in the past.
Being a new(er) blog, I haven’t been awarded a lot, so this is a short list lol.
And I was also awarded the Bloody Great Blogger award from Trin 😛
The Bloody Great Blogger award is to be given to 5 bloggers who have been supportive and extra special to you in the blogging process. That person who always comments or the one who emails you to let you know about that Freudian slip you missed, the blogger who links to your posts or lifts you up when your blog is down. Thank you bloggers.
My bloggers are:
And I’d like to pass it back to you Trin