In 2008, I was listening to a song that inspired me to write a novel. Writing wasn’t new to me, I had been writing since I was 14 years old, but writing a full novel and then attempting to publish it was a foreign concept to me at that point. eReaders were gaining popularity, and although I had my eye on a fat publishing contract with a Big 5 publisher (just the thought of that hubris now makes me laugh till I cry), I figured I wouldn’t turn my nose up at a digital publisher. I wrote Eternity in a frenzy, and without even bothering to write a second draft, I shipped it out to 7 publishers and two agents. I had a healthy attitude about it, I knew I wasn’t going to get acceptance letters from all of them, but I had my bet on Harlequin, at least.
Not surprisingly, I didn’t hear back from the majority. I got a rejection letter from Harlequin and I got an email from Red Rose Publishing. It was not a rejection, it was a revision request. It stated that if I made certain revisions in the next 60 days, then I can resubmit directly to them. So I did. And they excepted Eternity for publication. I was ecstatic! It was a small boutique publisher that did mostly eBooks, but if your book sold enough, it would go to print. I was also told that they didn’t do any promotion, that I had to do it all. Er, what? I didn’t have the foggiest notion how to promote myself. I had *just* finally opened a Facebook page, since I had been using MySpace to keep in touch with friends. How did I go about selling myself or my book? It didn’t matter, I’d figure it out (still haven’t, 11 years later).
RRP had a small editorial department that concentrated mostly on copyedits, even though they called them line edits. At the time, I didn’t really know the difference, I just thought, Hey if my only issue is my love of the comma and run-on sentences (that hasn’t changed, either), then I AM A FANTASTIC WRITER! I think I ended up with 3 drafts of Eternity before it went to publication, and that was probably because I was throwing artistic hissy fits when some editor would come back and tell me I needed to cut something (the only line editing that was done). Ok, I’m being melodramatic. I don’t throw hissy fits. I’m unfailingly polite, but stubborn. I just honestly thought that I knew better for my story than they did. I learned NOTHING from this process…because I was mule-headed stubborn and thought I was the best romance writer since Nora Roberts.
Which brings me to today’s blog post. I, Teresa Federici, AM NOT the best romance writer since Nora Roberts, or any other well-known romance writer. Ten years out from publication, I’ve only sold 200 copies of Eternity. 52 copies of its follow up, Magick. 78 copies of Choices. It’s not to say they are bad books, it’s just that they aren’t the best they can be. The picture at the top of this blog, if you haven’t already read it, is a rejection letter from Entangled Publishing. Not a super-well-known house, but gaining a steady reputation. Jennifer L. Armentrout is one of their well-known authors, a writer whose work I admire greatly. In that letter, the editor lays out Eternity’s flaws, succinctly and beautifully (I can say that now). I submitted it to them two years ago, but didn’t bother to read the reply once I saw the “Decline” status on Submittable. I didn’t bother because I was wearing a mantle built of such sayings as “Their loss” and “There’s always another publisher”. No, there isn’t. Not unless I change the way I think, write, and edit.
The editor also gave me a wonderful compliment, that I am a strong writer and they were excited about the fresh take of the story. I accept that compliment with humble thanks. I read that rejection letter finally, today actually, and I’ve been pondering on it for hours. Although I love my books, I can see now that they are far from perfect. I did the books, the people who bought the books, and my gift of writing a grave disservice. I need to take not only the words of that rejection letter to heart, but the meaning as well. I’m a strong writer that needs to learn more, pay attention more, seek advice and USE it.
I also need to seek professional help. No, not a therapist, although that’s debatable. I’m talking about freelance editors. I admit it, I’m cheap. I’m a struggling author working a day job that pays my bills, but not much more. I don’t really have the budget to pay an independent editor to edit my books. I was relying on friends. I love my friends who did this for me, but it wasn’t what the books needed. I need to set aside money in order to pay for professional editing services, which will help two-fold: polishing the books to shine, and teach me what I’m doing wrong. I need to understand that the money is an investment in me, in my books, and most importantly, to the readers who DO buy the books so that they get their money’s worth!
Here’s the new cover for Magick! Let me know what you think!
It’s been too long, I know. I apologize for it, but Magick hit a few roadblocks. Regardless, I’m expecting to finish it tonight and get it to the editor! I’ll be entering it into the Kindle Scout promo before it get’s published. I wanted to give you a little taste in the meantime 🙂 Enjoy!
I oriented myself in the room. I was back in the same place I had been the last time I visited, and had a clear view of the two of them talking. Although instead of Charles being chained up, this time there was a man and woman chained. From the blood soaking their bodies, I had a feeling they were dinner. My stomach did a slow roll, even disembodied as I was.
“Is she ready? Do you think she’ll be able to handle it?” Charles asked Padraigan.
Padraigan leveled a look at Charles, a smirk playing about his generous mouth.
“Do you doubt my training? My powers of persuasion?” He may have worn a smirk, but his voice was ice.
I watched Charles duck his head, a submissive gesture if there ever was one. I guess if I was a sadistic vampire’s lackey, I’d be submissive too. Well, no. Not really. I probably would have already been eliminated.
“Forgive me, I meant no disrespect. It’s just a…delicate situation, considering what happened the last time she went up against one of their group.”
They had to be talking about Gemma. None of us had been visited by a female vampire other than Gemma, so they must be planning a return engagement. That’s ok. I relished the thought of beating down that bitch.
Padraigan paced the room like a tiger, all sinewy grace and caged ferocity. I could feel his rage simmering below the surface, driving his movements. He really was an impressive man. Too bad he was a psychopathic douche bag.
“She’ll do what’s being asked of her, regardless of what happened the last time she dealt with one of them. Very soon, they’ll all be dead, and I can go back to enjoying my life without that troublemaker working to destroy our lineage.” Padraigan snarled as he walked over to the woman. He bent down to look in her eyes.
“My poppet, you understand my needs, don’t you?” He asked the terrified woman, his voice almost a croon. She looked up at him with frightened eyes, tears having cut tracks through the blood on her face.
“Please, just let me go, I won’t tell anyone, I promise.” She begged, her voice hoarse, from screaming I guessed. My heart went out to her. Once I got back, I’d try my damndest to get her out of this hell hole.
Padraigan frowned at her, displeased with her response, and casually reached out and sliced her cheek open with his thumbnail. He straightened and licked her blood off his thumb as the women started crying hysterically.
“Where did all this romance go that surrounded vampires since Stoker painted such a pretty picture of us? You would think she’d be grateful.” He cast another disdainful glance at the woman and then turned his attention back to Charles.
“Once they’re gone Sir, I’ll become one of you, yes? Like we agreed?” Charles asked eagerly, casting his own glance at the man chained against the wall opposite the woman.
“Yes, yes, of course. Although Charles, it does seem that you’re doubting me again and I can’t have that.” A flash of lightening hit Charles in the upper arm and Charles was flung back against the wall by the force. I flinched as well, as he landed dangerously close to where I was observing. Being a sorcerer, he might have been able to feel my presence if he had gone through me.
“I’m sorry Sir, I’m sorry, I don’t doubt you!” Charles threw his hands up as Padraigan moved closer to him. Padraigan crouched down in front of him, his head cocked to the side. It made him look like a viper ready to strike.
“It’s getting very tedious listening to your mewling. You are practically worthless to me, yet I keep you around. Remember that Charles, the next time you decide to voice your inner doubts. Only my good graces keep you alive.” His voice was low but venomous, and I felt a tinge of fear for the first time since I arrived in the room. This creature was pure evil. If I believed in the Devil, I would say he was the physical embodiment of Satan.
I watched as he straightened up, so I shifted slightly out of the way. I still didn’t know if my first visit to him was just a connected dream or true astral projection but he knew then that I was there. However, he didn’t sense me the last time I was in this room, so I felt relatively safe, if cautious.
Safety is often an illusion we trick ourselves into.
Padraigan’s head swiveled in my direction, and I became still. He couldn’t be looking at me. No way.
“Well, well. An eavesdropper.”
Oh shit. Oh shit. He knew I was there.
Sent off three chapters today, so that’s exciting 🙂 I admit, this one is going slowly, probably because it’s a transition book. I’ve never written a transition story before, so I haven’t *quite* gotten down the nuances and the flow of it. Plus, I want to make sure that it’s the best that I can write, and not just put out sub-standard fair, which the last manuscript WAS.
I just wanted to drop a line, give ya’ll updates, let you know that I’m still plugging away at Magick! Oh, there is so much more I know I wanted to say, but I totally forgot what it was. Something wise and motivational, but for the life of me, I can’t recall it. Oh, the vagaries of getting older!
So, I had my vampire, but I needed his mate. What kind of woman would attract a vampire? Quirky ingenue? Brunette bombshell? Nah, not my girl. I wanted a brainy, independent loner who was absorbed by her career. A woman who had no need for male companionship. A woman consumed by finding an answer.
Gareth was already working on XP in my mind, so I thought to myself that this was the best way to bring them together. Through research. But why was Anna searching so hard for a cure for XP? Because her mother had XP and died from it. And then other tragic things happened. I don’t want to give it all away…
Anna is young, she’s self-sufficient, but she is essentially a hermit. She has no friends, by her own choice, she doesn’t have long-lasting relationships, and she never opens herself up to experiences. She loves the lab, loves the research, and loves the act of discovery, although she has no desire for the spotlight.
She’s pretty much isolated herself, so the thing that breaks her out of that shell had to be pretty amazing. Especially since she wasn’t looking to move out of her comfort zone. To me, only love and instant attraction can burst that bubble!
I hope you enjoy Gareth and Anna’s story, because they are wonderful people to get to know! More on the rest of the trilogy later…
Buy Eternity by following the link below!