I’ve wanted to be a published author since I was nine-years-old. However, although I’ve always written, it was only in February 2009 that I started to work seriously toward publication in romance.
If you’re an aspiring writer, “The Call,” and realizing the dream of publication it represents, is one of the biggest milestones in a writing journey. But, like much of life, it may not happen as you expect.
I’d been on the phone to a utility company which had over-charged me by $250.00. I was stressed and frustrated and, when the call ended without satisfactory resolution, went to make myself a cup of tea.
The phone rang. I expected it to be the utility company again, and steeled myself for more angst.
It wasn’t. It was my agent. It was “The Call.”
I babbled. I was incoherent. And when I hung up, I cried. After so many years of writing on hope, and nursing the rejections and other setbacks with copious amounts of ice cream, I’d reached a goal which had lurked tantalizingly out of reach.
I’d written in my lunch hour at my day job. I’d written in hotels while on day job travel. I’d written late at night and early in the morning. I’d written in hospital waiting rooms, coffee shops and libraries, and while my daughter, English Rose, slept, swam, and did gymnastics. I’d given up watching television and certain domestic standards.
Now my writing has found a wonderful home, and I couldn’t be more pleased.
I’m happy to announce that my debut contemporary romance (a finalist in the Romance Writers of America® 2015 Golden Heart® competition), will be published by Hachette Book Group USA, Grand Central Publishing’s Forever Yours imprint in October 2016. It will be followed by two more books in the same series in early 2017.
I have the privilege of working with Michele Bidelspach, a fabulous editor who has worked with some of my favourite authors. With her guidance, I’ll learn and grow as a writer. She’s an all-round nice person too.
I’m also joining a community of authors whose books I enjoy, and whose achievements I respect.
Writing the book is only the start, but today is about celebrating this step, and choosing a special charm for my writing bracelet.
It’s also about thanking those who have been part of my journey so far.
All of you who have read and commented on my blog, posted it on Twitter and Facebook, and shared parts of your lives with me.
The members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) in the UK and, in particular the New Writers’ Scheme (NWS) reviewers, whose encouraging critiques helped me see myself as a “real” writer.
The judges of the many RWA chapter contests I entered whose feedback told me what worked (and what didn’t!) in those crucial opening pages of my manuscripts.
The Golden Heart® class of 2015, the Dragonflies, and the community of authors at Blue Ridge Literary Agency, whose support and friendship make this journey more fun.
My agent, Dawn Dowdle, who took a chance on me, and brokered the three-book deal.
And, not least, my husband, Tech Guy, and English Rose, who have believed in me, even when I doubted myself.
With hard work, perseverance, sacrifice and more than a little luck, dreams really can come true.
As for the utility company? I’m happy to report that the bill was corrected…eventually!
May you also realize your dreams, be they large or small.
Many, many congratulations, Jen! What a fabulous finale to such a roller coaster year.
I’m looking forward to reading your book. Can’t wait until October 2016!
What wonderful news, Jen! Congratulations, and I really look forward to reading your books. Wishing you a long and fruitful career.x
WOW!!!!!!! So fabulous & so well earned! Congratulations, Jen — this is such a big big BIG moment. Best wishes for a crazy happy celebration — your Dragonfly buddy, Nancy
Jen, I’m so thrilled for you. Must have been exciting to pick up the phone and hear your agent’s voice. Looking forward to seeing your cover!
Yippee to my uber fabulous Dragonfly sister! Nobody deserves this more! Truly. You are now my inspiration to keep at it. Thanks for sharing your story. It looks like it was a successful day all around–book deal and you got the bill corrected. LOL.
Congrats again!!! I’m so happy for you, Jen!
Thanks for sharing the story so we can live vicariously through or along with you. So excited for you, Jen!
Such wonderful news, Jen. I’m thrilled for you. I shall look forward to reading your books and seeing your name on the cover.
What a testament to the value of hard work and sheer determination! One of my favourite parenting expressions is: “Anything worth doing is hard work!” You illustrate this (and more), and my heart is overflowing with happiness for you. The other family members I have shared the news with are equally thrilled, so…congratulations from near and far! May I line up for an autographed copy?!
Such happy news, Gen – many congratulations. How I wish that my phone would ring that way!
Sincere and heartfelt thanks to all of you for your good wishes, lovely comments and kind support. Thank you for being part of my writing journey, and sharing my happiness in reaching this milestone. Jen xx