Great. Except, instead of tossing the letter aside, this time I turned the envelope over and saw the words scribbled across the back. I looked closer. "This is not a rejection," the words read. My heart raced. I ripped open the envelope. It wasn't a rejection, but I had major work to do on the book, and the editor wanted to see the revisions ASAP. If I could deliver, she wanted to buy.
Wow. It's really happening? But let's back up a few steps in this writer's journey.
Summer, 1986. I've been teaching for seven years by now. The babies are born. Graduate school is finished. I'm juggling everything from grading papers to diapers to managing the household to writing my first book. I'm taking the courses and workshops. I've managed to get a few small pieces published. But I've yet to finish my first romance novel, which was my goal. In my busy mind, being a published author would look something like this lady. You know, happy. Together. Uncluttered life. Pecking away on my story, smile on my face, contemplating the next plot. Waiting for the money to roll in....
You know, sexy, classy, writing in the park while birds sing and children play and people walk by and comment, "Oh, there is that famous romance author..."
Back to 1996. After ten long years of writing, submitting, weathering the rejections, and questioning whether this romance-writing thing will ever produce anything beyond a local bookstore third-place contest win, I'm still staring at the "this is not a rejection" envelope.
That book, The Wild West, published by Kensington Precious Gems Romance, was my first published novel, and the first of six books I would publish with Kensington. Now, The Wild West has a new name, and a new life, as one of my bestselling western romance novels, titled Rawhide and Roses.
AMAZON | IBOOKS | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO | SMASHWORDS | ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS | AUDIO | PAPERBACK
And me? Well, I'm still pecking away waiting for people to recognize me in the produce aisle as "that romance writer" and still, I'm not expecting to write the Great American Novel, but forty-some published books later I'm making a living at what I do and am grateful for every story I publish, and for every reader who picks up one of my books to read. (Thank you, thank you). Oh, and nowadays, I subscribe to the notion that the happy, hard-working writer looks more like the one below, than the ones in my decades old fantasy world.
But with pajama pants. And I'm pretty much okay with that.
Maddie James writes romance -- don't try to pin her down to a genre. From edgy suspense to flirty contemporary romance to darker erotic titles, she just wants to silence the people in her head. Find out more at www.maddiejames.com.