Monday, September 28, 2009

First Rejection

Several months later I received a rejection letter from Harlequin. Okay, they didn't want the book and wouldn't tell me why. I understand. Well, not really, but I decided to keep writing. Until several years later, I realized that I needed to go back to college. Things were changing in the business world world and within the company I worked for.

I knew it would be almost impossible for me to work full time, go to college at night and write. At the time, work and college were the most important things in my life. But I still squeezed in time to write romance, maybe not as much as I wanted but I still read romances and I was learning, even if I didn't realize it, at the time.

Finally getting most of my major requirements out of the way, I found a creative writing class at the college. I decided to join the class so I could learn more. The class furthered my education and the instructor was a wonderful woman, her own requirement in the class was you had to write one poem during the first month of class, otherwise you could write anything you wanted.

I'll admit poetry was not my strong suit, but I learned. Then I started writing short romantic stories. I learned about story structure and other fiction writing tools. I took the creative writing class for my last three years in college, six semesters in all.

After graduating college with a degree in Office Information Systems (computer software), I was working in a job I wasn't thrilled with and left very little time for anything else. A friend had told me about Romance Writers of America, but the only chapter in my area met on Saturday's and the job I held I had to work on Saturday's.

I kept reading and writing, mostly short stories, not full novels and not with the eye to being published at the time. Then I got a call, a job I'd been looking for had an opening and did I want to go check it out.

Continuing the journey next Monday

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Start of the Journey

I didn't suddenly get up one day and decide I wanted to write, nor was I a writer from the time I was a kid. I was a mid to late bloomer as some may call it.

In high school I enjoyed film-lit class (one of the few) it allowed me to see movies I'd never normally watch, but also I had to write reports on the film. I didn't like the writing part so much, but I learned.

It wasn't until the year after I graduated high school that I discovered reading for pleasure. I was visiting my sister, babysitting her kids, and there was nothing on TV but a political convention. I started scanning my sister's bookshelves, not much there, but there were a couple of Harlequin romance books.

I picked on up, it sounded interesting, sat down and started to read. My discover of romance started. Luckily for me, I was driving back from my sister's home and stopped to visit my cousin, who happened to own a used book store.

Jackpot. I filled up three boxes of books, all sorts of book. Harlequin, Historical and Science Fiction. I quickly discovered I really liked romance books, science fiction had a little too much science in it (at that time it did.)

Soon I'd devoured all the books I'd brought home with me and I found, at that time, the chain stores didn't carry Harlequin books but only the Historical's. And the romance sections were very small. Since I was working, I found a small drug store, which carried romances on those old metal round racks.

I knew every month what day I could go and pick up Harlequin Romance and Harlequin Presents books. In the mean time, I found a couple of used bookstores where I could get older Harlequin books, and Historicals.

After reading for a couple of years and being lucky enough to go to a luncheon put on by Harlequin in my hometown, I decided to put pen to paper.

At the time I started writing, word processers were just starting to come out, and there were no computers. I wrote my first book long hand, and then typed it up using an old electric typewriter. Even now I hate to think of how many typos were in that first manuscript.

I finished it up, and shipped it off to Harlequin in London. I was already working full time so I wasn't worried about quitting my day job, but it was a dream.