I'm just sitting here looking at the cover of my debut novel, Knight of Runes, scheduled for release, November 14 by Carina Press. Okay, so you may think I'm sitting and staring at it because he's a really hot guy. Only for a little while. I have one in residence, hot to me that is. The picture of Lord Arik may not be real but I realized that my novel is.
I started this project March, 2009 with an innocent excitement to help a friend write her book. It quickly escalated into creating a series of romance novels. We each had stories in our head and made plans to connect them. After a few months of hard work and several tens of thousands words on each of our stories, we found that our idea of tying them together wouldn't work. The stories would work well independently so we decided to critique each other's stories and finish our books individually.
Her life was filled with a beautiful daughter getting ready for high school graduation, college tours, New York marathon training, and a job that took her all over the country (and sometimes the world). My situation is very different. My three extraordinary children are independent and on their own. I use my treadmill as an extension of my closet, and my job is an ninety minute commute to New York City.
I had the time and I had the story so, I went full out. I researched the renaissance, manor life, herbs, poisons, karate moves, survival training, field medical procedures, druids, magic, warding, myths, and knights. Then I wrote, and wrote, and wrote. By August, I had 105,000 words and a completed story. Now what? I looked for a support group and found Romance Writers of America. I spent the next fourteen months learning about craft, research, publishing, and career building. I pitched to agents and editors and kept on polishing my manuscript, my pitch, and my synopsis.
In October, 2010, I participated in an online pitch sponsored by Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal (FFnP), an online RWA special interest chapter. Carina Press requested my full manuscript. I gave it one more polish after taking Eliza Knight's, Edit Your Book in a Month, and sent it off January 2011. February 3rd, I got a call from Carina Press. They wanted to publish my story.
After making her repeat her name, I must have heard it wrong, it sounded like she said Angela James, it finally sunk in. This was THE CALL. All that practicing in the shower going over and over what I would say, how sophisticated I would sound and the brilliant questions I would ask, must have floated down the drain. I sounded anything but coherent and witty.
For days I thought, Angela must be mistaken or she must be calling everyone that pitched. So many agents and editors told me that time travel romance wouldn't sell. I was certain Carina Press would change their minds. When the contract came I had to admit that it was real.
My family, day job colleagues, and friends (writers and non-writers), all celebrated with me as the project moved into its next phase, ready for production. With my editor, Denise Nielsen, we've worked through the edits, cover fact sheet, and back cover blurb.
So, I sat and looked at the cover and realized that all that hard work, the disappointments, and even the doubts were so worth it. I look at the cover, a symbol of reality to me, and get goosebumps. The excitement bubbles up all over again. And that hot guy, the one in residence, told me he knew it all along.