After the fabulous announcement of my signing with Reuts, I thought I’d share a bit of how I got here.
About ten and a half years ago, I came up with this crazy idea to write a book. The story had been in my head FOREVER, and suddenly it all came together.
In the summer of 2004, I began to write. The completed first draft of The Darkness of Magic, book 1 in what would be a 4 book series, sat before me in the winter of 2005. WOW! I wrote a book.
Now, the world of publishing was a mystery. So naïve little me, sent out letters (I can’t even call them queries, because… ug, they weren’t) to publishers. It pretty much went like this (and I am not proud, but we all start somewhere):
Hi! My name is Kathy and I wrote a book. Would you be interested in publishing it…
Good heavens. I never got rejections, cause I’m pretty sure those lovely words went straight in a trash can as the people reading them doubled over in laughter.
Past-Kathy had not a clue! But, I liked this writing thing so that same year I wrote book 2 of that series The Beast.
As I continued typing away, I bought books and took classes on how to get published.
I WAS DOING IT ALL WRONG!
What I learned:
1. First time authors were less likely to sign with a series. (I know that’s all changed now!)
2. Query letters are IMPORTANT! And there are rules to querying. Cue me feeling like an idiot.
3. You need publishing credits to be noticed by publishers. What? I have to be published to get published?
Okay. No problem.
I set aside my series and had an idea for a stand alone book. I finished my first draft of Doors in February of 2006. YES, THIS IS THE BOOK REUTS JUST SIGNED AS MY DEBUT. I wrote it nine years ago. Nine!
I also delved into short stories. I looked into the Writer’s Digest short story competition and magazines that pubbed shorts.
My short story Cinda (which has now been completely torn apart and is called Voices) received an honorable mention in the 75th annual Writer’s Digest competition. I was thrilled! Their letter said the fact that I placed spoke of my writing talent. Holy WOW! Maybe I could do this writer thing.
Later that year I wrote Everlife, a YA fantasy that still lurks in my computer until I figure out exactly how to deal with it. It might want to be MG… don’t know. A magically enchanted forest with a dark heart and a grumpy talking leaf. *shrug*
With two stand alone books and not quite sure how to do this query thing, I went back to my series and wrote the third one… The Heart of Darkness, which I finished in 2007. That year I entered the Writer’s Digest competition again and won another honorable mention with Xan and Zeke.
Through all this, I constantly revised. Alone. Looking back, I had no idea what I was doing. I just wanted to write.
In 2008, I wrote Faerie Wind, YA fantasy. Faeries. Evil little buggers that cause problems. I began to really delve into what it would take to be published. I read everything I could find. Yet I was still doing it alone.
But a breakthrough! My short story Marked was accepted for publication by Leading Edge Magazine! There it was in print, heck a beautiful color illustration for my story adorned the cover. I died. Seriously.
In 2009, I wrote Fate’s Mistake, YA magical realism. That one is waiting its turn for serious revisions – Doors had last year, Faerie had the year before (and collected all sorts of rejections!).
Also in 2009, I had a short story pop into my head and I gave the Writer’s Digest competition one last shot. I wanted a top ten, people. I wanted my name in the magazine. And A Ring of Mushrooms placed ninth. The tears that day!
Sometime after this I took a writing class, just to see what I could learn. During the class, a woman approached me and told me about a writers’ critique group to join, if I was interested.
A writers’ group? Light bulb moment! Doing this alone wasn’t going to cut it. I had done okay, but I needed other people, who knew more than I did… pretty much everyone.
And I stepped out of my solitary existence.
Over the last four years, I have worked hard on polishing different manuscripts and learning all I can about the writing and publishing world. I have built great relationships on Twitter and become a solid part of my writers’ group. I have found a great love of short stories, entering contests and subbing them here and there, and even ventured away from fantasy to horror.
Don’t you love evolving? Changing? Growing? Learning? This is life, my dears. A marvelous ride. If we’re lucky it never has a destination, just beautiful spots to visit along the way.
And next? The sequel to Doors (The Children of the Travelers, a possible title) swirls in my mind. Turns out the story needed more than one book. Who knew?