|Crazy as deep-throating a whole cake...with lit candles.|
You guys have NO idea how hard it was to act like everything's been normal the last 2 weeks. Whew!
What am I talking about?
For those of you who missed my announcement on Twitter and Facebook this weekend: I ACCEPTED A THREE-BOOK OFFER FROM SOURCEBOOKS!!!!
How did I get it? Mostly by accident, with a lot of craziness....and a ton of hard work to write the manuscript and get it in its best possible shape.
Oh, and did I mention that I kinda-sorta wrote that book on accident?
I'd lost my career and my mother (that part was the worst) in five month's time and my attempts to query an earlier novel failed miserably. Half mad from grief, I took a gamble with my small inheritance to take a year off, research the industry better, perfect my craft, and write a better, more marketable manuscript.
I replaced my dinosaur computer with a laptop and got the internet. Wow, I learned a ton. The first thing: A writer NEEDS the internet. :) But I had little idea as to what to write.
I tried a brief stint as a financial adviser and though I learned a ton about finance, I was a complete failure at making a career out of it. But... I got THE idea.
My coworkers asked me what I wrote and I explained what paranormal romance was. Then I heard, "Oh, like TWILIGHT?" for the 100th freakin' time. As one who'd cut her teeth on vintage Anne Rice, Maggie Shayne, The Lost Boys, and the Subspecies movies, it kinda irritates me when people think TWILIGHT is the first vampire craze ever. I knew about Bram Stoker, but I was pretty sure the history went further back.
|That's totally what Louis would think. :)|
I took out my "Encyclopedia of the Undead" that my aunt got me in my goth days and found out that the first vampire story in English was written in the REGENCY period by none other than Lord Byron's physician, Dr. John Polidori. In fact, the story evolved from a ghost writing competition with Byron, Percy Shelly, and Mary-freakin'-Shelley. Frankenstein was another story birthed from that fateful night.
Polidori's tale spawned a vampire-craze all over western Europe long before Dracula, The Vampire Chronicles, Twilight, etc.
|And he was CUTE too!|
I adore regency romances! I've read Judith McNaught and Johanna Lindsay like an addict. Virginia Henley and Eloisa James are my heroes. I love rebellious heroines with unconventional dreams. I got to thinking....why was this vampire craze never mentioned in regency novels? Or Mary Shelley's work, for that matter?
I did a little more digging. How far had feminist literature progressed by then? In Georgian times, a famous work was: A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN, by Mary Wollstonecraft. She was none other than MARY SHELLEY'S MOTHER!!! It was too delicious for words.
Imagine a regency heroine idolizing those women and wanting to write horror novels of her own. Then I got to thinking again about vampires. Wouldn't Polidori's story piss them off? Especially one trying to pose as a member of London Society?
As Stephen King would say: POW!!! And it all started with me trying to prove a point to people who probably didn't care.
|Stephen King's my hero, too.|
In a state of giddy delight, I finished the rough draft in less than three months. It was the most FUN I've ever had writing. Even better was that my beta readers had fun reading it.
I polished it up and wrote the query. I got a ton of requests right away, most complimenting the title....which was ALSO an accident. While writing the novel, I had no clue what to call it, so I gave it a joke title. My vampire was a duke, so I called it "BITE ME, YOUR GRACE."
But when I threw it out on Twitter, people loved it so much, even going so far as to say they'd buy it due to the title. So it stuck.
After having fulls with 8 agents, I signed with one. The others passed because the manuscript wasn't awesome enough...which proves I yet again queried too soon. Because the agent I signed with turned out to... Not really be much of one. (I ask that you click on that link so you get that story without me having to make this post longer than it is.)
After that relationship ended, I took another gamble and inquired on the status of my submission with a few publishers and queried a few more. I didn't expect to get far with the inquiries, but figured I'd find a home for BITE ME, YOUR GRACE with a small respectable house. Still, both inquiries led to full requests and the editor of Sourcebooks even emailed me personally when she received it to say she loved the title. Then a smaller house requested the full...and offered a contract within two days.
I was totally stoked. The publisher loved the book, their terms were appealing, their authors were great (in fact, a few were former clients of my ex agent) and I admired their cover art. However, Sourcebooks was still considering the manuscript. Following protocol, I informed the editor of the offer and asked for two weeks for a response. I fully expected her to pass, being so busy. To my surprise, she didn't.
For the next week and a half, my inner voice vacillated between "Hurry up and reject me already!" and "Could they REALLY be considering it?" I doubted it, the reasons outlined in my "no longer have an agent" post. (See, I told you to click that link.)
But after a bunch of crazy emails and exciting phone conversations, Sourcebooks counter-offered with a three book deal. "I just couldn't let that book go," said the almighty DEB WERKSMAN.
|It was like that microphone had been replaced by...um...me.|
And as a gangster-skater hybrid from the 90's would say, "Shit just got real, Yo."
With hard work, a multitude of happy and unhappy accidents, and untold support from friends and family, my dreams have begun to come true.
That's my crazy story. The next post will be on said shit getting real, "yo." :)