The true story behind an award winner

contract

The holy grail, back in the day…..

Last post I told the story of revisiting a world I created two decades ago, to write a new, long-awaited story set in that same world. Now I’d like to tell you about how it all began. You see, there I was, a newbie writer (yes, I had several books already sold and a couple published, but I still felt like a newbie. Heck, to this day I feel like a newbie!) with a signed contract in hand, deadlines, obligations, and the promise of payment to in turn pay for things like food and shelter. I was working a full-time job that often morphed into more than full time–you don’t walk out in the middle of a hostage situation with shots fired–so my time was very tight. And yet….

An idea struck. Actually, more like an entire story, full-grown and feathered. (I blame the release of Star Wars at a very impressionable stage of my life) Scenes fully formed, characters I knew inside out, strange places, odd words that were unfamiliar yet clear (no glossary required, something that will turn me off many books), it was all battering at me. This had never happened to me before. I promised it I would get to it, as soon as I could. I placated it, begged it to leave me alone until I finished this contract. It would not. This story was nothing my current publisher would or could publish. It was pure self-indulgence, I told myself. It would be a book without a market. But it haunted me, day and night, until finally, when I had a vacation coming from the day job (which was really the night job, but that’s another story) I decided to use it to get this thing off my back. I warned my husband, closed the office door, and began.

It started like this:

Fire_close_up_texture

Wow, this is hot! In more ways than one….

But before long it was going like this, like taking dictation, and my fingers could barely keep up with my brain:

fire-speed

Where is this coming from???

It turned into a frenzied white-heat of writing, a string of twenty hour days that lasted…..three weeks. Yep, three weeks. And that is something I waited a very long time to publicly admit. As award-winning author Cindy Dees recently observed on Facebook, “Decades ago, authors were thought to be hacks if they turned out more than one novel a year. That was also before the advent of computers and the Internet which greatly streamlined the writing process.” But I’ve found a lot of that mindset lingers even after the ability to quickly create, edit, and communicate. And so I was hesitant to admit how quickly this book came.

What did it take to convince me it was safe? This:

???????????????????????????????

Okay, maybe it is safe to admit.

And that’s not even all of the honors LORD OF THE STORM accumulated. I don’t live and die for awards, but I won’t deny the satisfaction and gratification of receiving them. It is a tremendous honor, whether they come from fellow writers or readers, although I tend to think continuing to buy and talk about my books is the best award any reader can give me. And in this case, after the book received all these accolades and awards, I finally felt brave enough to admit how quickly it had been written, and that it was published virtually unchanged from my final manuscript. I probably wouldn’t worry about it that much today. Having sixty-plus books/novellas under your belt gives you a bit of confidence, I guess. But at the time, it was a Big Deal.

And I can’t talk about LORD OF THE STORM without acknowledging the godmother of the book, the late, much-missed Melinda Helfer, RT Magazine reviewer extraordinaire. Melinda read this book in manuscript form, and insisted it would be huge. It was Melinda who hooked me up with Hilary Ross, an editor from NAL/Penguin who happened to be looking for just such a story as this. The rest, as they say….

And so that is the story behind the book that will be re-issued this June by Bell Bridge Books, in both print (and they do gorgeous print books!) and e-book. But the tale doesn’t end there. (I’m a writer, of course it doesn’t…) Stay tuned for the next chapter, about the second book I never planned on, and how many times I kicked myself for even thinking a certain character was redeemable enough to be a heroine.

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16 thoughts on “The true story behind an award winner

  1. Rosemary Elwell says:

    As fast as you wrote it, I read it even faster. 🙂 To this day, it remains one of my favorite books.

    I’m going to get a copy of the reissue, so that I don’t read my original Topaz issue to death.

    • Thanks so much, Rosemary. It always amazes me that I still get lovely comments like yours about these two books after all this time. And I remember that Topaz edition so well…Steve on the cover and all. 😉

  2. Eve Gaddy says:

    What a great post! How cool that must have been to have it appear to you like that. Love the illustrative pics too. Really fascinating post. Thanks!

    • Thanks, Eve! It was a very different experience for me, and I was still so new at it all I was quite taken aback. And I like finding pics for the posts. I think it exercises a different part of the brain and gives the word part a break. 😉

  3. Rowan Worth says:

    Wonderful!! That’s a true book of the heart, I think.

  4. I can’t wait to read it!

  5. Skye-writer says:

    Good luck with this second release of this book from the heart

  6. azteclady says:

    I have been the dealer of choice (in the romance genre in the original English) for my sister for years now, and I’m in the process of filling the holes in her education–she’ll now be able to enjoy the trilogy in their new formats (because there’s just NO WAY I’m giving her my own original copies)

  7. Janet Gahagan says:

    They’re on mine, but I might have to buy the new one anyway. I want to still be able to reread it 20 years from now.;-)

  8. Caroline says:

    I loved both of the books to this series. I was only disappointed when more didn’t come out. I have bought the Lord of the Storm book in e format because my print copy of it is sadly worn with much love.

    • Thanks so much, Caroline! I was disappointed as well when the line folded with the third book unpublished. I’m very happy Lord of the Storm is out now, and The Skypirate will follow this October. And the unpublished sequel should be out early next year. At last!

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