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How I Got Here (or How Twitter Changed my Life)

Edits are underway. The cover art should begin in approximately 4 weeks. There are book signings to schedule and gift baskets to organize for raffles. These and a hundred other things are all parading through my mind as I prepare for one of the most exciting moments of my life…the birth of my book, “Haunting”.

As I take a much needed break from reviewing edits from my incredibly brilliant editor, Jennifer, I look back at the last few years and remember how I got here.

The year 2009 was rough. But I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and began to do something I hadn’t done in years – write. The first book I wrote was for my oldest daughter’s 15th birthday called “Schuyler and the Saga of the Sages”. At the time, I thought it was a brilliant piece of work. Looking back at it now, I realize it was a great concept with wonderful possibilities…but was horribly written. Why?  I was out of practice. But writing that book gave me the opportunity to clear away the cobwebs in my mind and start all over again. It reminded me the importance of structure, dialogue and character building.

So, in 2010 I came up with the concept of “Haunting”. I didn’t outline it. In fact, I had no idea where the story was going until approximately the 3rd chapter. By then, the characters began to dictate where they wanted to go and how they wanted the story to develop. At that point, I was at their mercy. That may sound strange, but many authors will tell you the same thing. If you force your characters to do something they’re not meant to do, they just won’t cooperate on paper.

In May of 2011, I decided to enter my simple paranormal romance/thriller to Readers Favorite for their 2011 competition. If I’d been asked to put money down on my chances of making it to the top 100, I would have laughed in their face. Then came the email stating I was a finalist in one of the Young Adult categories. First, I questioned the validity of the contest. I mean, come on!  I’d just gone up against numerous other authors, many of whom already had books published…and I was a finalist? After the doubt came excitement. Then, finally, came the anxiety. I was a finalist! I began to daydream of winning and of the advantages it would give me in my search for a literary agent. Around this time, I opened up a Facebook fan account as a way to update all my friends and family on my progress. It was slow going getting people to “like” my page since I think most people thought the writing thing was just a phase.

The day I received the email with the final results was exhilarating. I clicked on the link and scrolled down the page to my category. Not expecting to see my name at all, I froze when I realized that my name was not only listed in the top 6 finalists, but I had been awarded the silver medal.  Second place…I had come in second place! Out of those six who placed in my category, I was the only one who wasn’t previously published. My lowly manuscript beat out numerous other books and authors. I was humbled beyond belief.2011-silver

That is when I began submitting queries to agents and waited for the offers to come rolling in. I received two requests for partials and one request for a full, but no offers of representation. After nearly 11 months, I began to wonder if I’d ever get published. In the meantime, I began to plan out and write the sequel to “Haunting”, tentatively titled “Imprint”.

Deciding it was time to take my future into my own hands, I set up a Twitter account in July 2012…something I swore I would never do. Then, in October of 2012, I was invited by someone with Wandering in the Words Press to submit my manuscript to them…and the rest is history.

Yep.  I got my publishing contract through Twitter.

So, now here I sit with a publishing date and looming deadlines. It’s all work and no play, but that’s okay. A woman my age doesn’t need that much sleep anyway, right? But all this work is going to be worth it in the end. The day I receive that  package in the mail with the first printed copy of “Haunting” and hold it in my hands, the smile on my face will take years to fade.