Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's Miraculous I Ever Sold (Part One).

Soooo... following on from the last post, where I admitted I'd made the discovery of my original manuscript, synopsis, etc during the great clear out of 2009 - here I am back again with the first of your requests for what you'd like to see. It's miraculous I ever sold. And reading back through some of these things makes me realize how ill prepared I really was for submitting compared to some of my forum and blog friends. Anyone read The Bridal Bet? Now remember it was published as a Romance. Where did I pitch it? Modern. Is it a Modern book? Is it heck. So why did I pitch it to Modern? Cos it had sex in it. Yes, I was that naive. Having said that, I also considered pitching it to Temptation (I have the query letter for that too) and it MIGHT have been a better fit there (with work). Thankfully I hit the right desk at the right time in London, the lovely Editor who pulled me from the slush pile could see a Romance line book and out came the sex. It would be almost four years before I had to write a sex scene again with White Hot (aka The Firefighter's Chosen Bride) when I pitched at Modern Extra, which was initially visualized as a replacement for Temptation. It would be almost another two years before that book was released in the USA and Canada as a Presents - the USA version of Modern.

Who says everything in life isn't inter-connected, huh? We all end up where we're supposed to be. My radar was just a little off back in 2001...

Now. A little background. The Bridal Bet was known in my house as Home At Last. I didn't do character casting or collages back then, but I did have a major crush on Harrsion Ford when he was Han Solo, so a lot of Ryan Callaghan came from that. The setting - well, they say write what you know, so it was a place I'd spent ever Summer as a child/teenager in the West Of Ireland. You can Google it. Honest to God you can. And that helped keep it real for me. After that, the bare bones of the story were from one I'd tried to tell when I was eighteen and lacked the life experience for, but it just goes to show I'd done a lot of daydreaming on those halcyon summer days of my childhood (I had my first crush there but that's another story). I didn't have the original draft of it when I came back to it again in 2001, but I remembered it and the characters names, setting, etc, so I re-told it and had a friend read it and make suggestions as I went along. When it was done she said she'd have liked to know more about their past, so I came up with the idea of the flashbacks. The whole process probably took six to eight months. I sent my partial, letter and synopsis in November 2001 and had the request for the full on Christmas Eve. I can honestly say I was never as glad I'd heeded the advice of the folks on the boards at EHarlequin when it came to finishing it before I sent my partial as I was when that request came. If I hadn't finished it first, there was no way I could have had it on that editors desk by the time she came back in the New Year, never mind writing the synopsis...

I also sent it ALL on really nice paper. Cream paper with a nice ripple to it under the fingertips. I've always been a big fan of nice paper. So here's what my letter said and NO LAUGHING FROM THE CHEAP SEATS. What this hopefully goes to show is that it's the writing that sells at the end of the day - even crappy letters and sucky synopses won't get in the way - so STOP STRESSING ABOUT THEM!

Dear Editor,

Having never written a query letter before, I hope you will forgive me if it's not quite in the correct format. My name is Patricia Wylie, though I only ever get called Patricia when I am in trouble with my mother. Everyone knows me simply as Trish, and I am engaged and living in the beautiful Lakeland County of Fermanagh in Ireland.

My friends often used to refer to me as 'the last of the true romantics', as I am such a great believer in the 'meant to be' and the 'soul mate'. But then, as I grew up with two generations of women who watched the Rogers and Hammerstein genre of films I suppose it was inevitable. From as early an age as I can remember, I watched in awe as the handsome men and beautiful women fell in love on screen and hence became a fan of the 'happy ending'. And so it began.
I have been writing in earnest since I turned twelve and have always been happiest when emerged in a new story. Those stories became gifts for my friends as I grew older and even my Primary School Headmaster told my mother it was what I was 'meant to do'.

My mother was the first to introduce me to the Mills And Boon series, as she ordered the books every month and I was an avid reader by my early teens. I can remember when the Silhouette range was released and I was then able to read double the titles each month. Even now, some twenty odd years later, I still consider the greatest luxury to be a new Silhouette Temptation or Mills And Boon, a tub of Haagan Daz ice cream, and an empty house. Bliss.

My first offering is for the Modern line, it's complete, is approximately 53,000 words long and is set in Ireland. The main characters; Molly O'Brien and Ryan Callaghan, have been friends for half their adult lives and the story follows them throughout that time and as they fall in love. I enclose the full synopsis of the story and may I at this point thank you for your precious time.

Yours sincerely,

Trish Wylie

Now of course that letter had my full address and email addy on it as well, but I think we can agree it was pretty basic stuff. The one I have may have been an early draft, I may have tweaked it some, but this is pretty much it. I can remember wanting to get everything I could in, while at the same time keeping it friendly. The synopsis would tell more about the story anyway, and the partial would illustrate my writing. So I really didn't know what else I could fit in without turning it into an autobiography. Though with hindsight, I should really have read more from the lines before I pitched and mentioned I had - maybe even a couple of my favorite authors. I should also have addressed it to the name of the editor who was the head of the line. But since they asked for the full anyway, I guess it's a moot point. It's the story that becomes the book after all. So it's ALWAYS the story that matters...

I'll do the synopsis (short and long versions) in the next day or so. Meanwhile I have a loooonnnggg blog about the building blocks of a story over on IHeart Presents in the next day or so. Will drop a link in here when it's up. It follows the creative process of One Night With The Rebel Billionaire and the varying things that influenced the story and I'll be there to answer comments or questions so please drop by! Meanwhile I'm off to tweak a partial and prepare for the delivery of office furniture... as one does...

ETA: IHeart Presents Blog now up! Pop by and comment and you could win a signed copy of One Night With The Rebel Billionaire :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ahhhhh Memories...

Yes. Am still doing the great clear out in an effort to get myself office space. Apparently drooling over nice office furniture, chairs and bookcases online doesn't count as clear up time...

Anyhoo. While clearing up, guess what I just found? I found copies of the submission for my first book along with the synopsis, accompanying letter and revisions letters from the editor. How cool is that? I'm glad I kept them. And they make for interesting reading. Now... shall I post little snippets from them even though they were a whole – good grief – seven years ago?! They'd probably make more sense to folks who have read the book. I guess what I could do is take a passage from the original manuscript and post it alongside a passage from the finished book – that might highlight the differences. Do I want to embarrass myself by posting the synopsis? Hmmm... Anyone who knows me knows I've never made a secret of the fact I suck at synopses. Always have. Always will. The letter I sent with it is funny though. Let me know what you'd find interesting and I'll see what I can do. How does that sound?

Meanwhile the great clear-out continues, real life keeps testing me but I finally feel like writing again. Am planning on seeing what I can do with the mess I'd left behind with the latest MS and taking it from there. If real life will just give me a break for a few days that is...

Oh, and I bought chickens. Ten of them. Am now getting ten lovely free range eggs a day. This weekend we let them loose from the run we've had them in until they settled in and met the dogs/cats and the dogs/cats met them. Am hoping I still have ten come Saturday night. Fingers crossed.

Annndddd last but not least, The Millionaire's Proposal took second place in the Traditional Category of the Wisconsin branch of the RWA's Write Touch Award. Thanks to everyone who sent me congrats via Twitter! I'm rapidly becoming a bit of a Tweet Deck addict and it's nice to be able to share a quick line or two about what I'm up to when I'm pushed for time, especially when I have good news! This book also finalled in the Golden Quill Awards and I'm really glad people have enjoyed it. It was a fun one to write and I got to indulge in some fantasy travel destinations from my 'list'. Yes, I do have a list. Doesn't everyone???

Okay. Back to work. Shall post pics of the office furniture I decide on in the end. But to order it, I need a room to put it in, don't I? Do wish Daisy the cat wouldn't keep curling up on the bed, making me feel guilty about changing the room from a spare bedroom that never gets used to an office I may well end up living in... But I have to draw the line at keeping a room for a cat, right? Right?! Say yes!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Taking Reposession Of My Life

A few years back the Queen coined the phrase Annus Horriblus. I've been having one of those. But now that the sun is shining and all my horses and ponies are out, I'm taking steps to repossess my life. So this is a quick flyby to do a bit of a catch up while I have my sleeves rolled up and am sporting what I call my 'determined face'. No. It's not scowl. And yes. I do have wrinkle cream on stand-by.

First up - this months new release is on the shelves in the USA and Canada and Romantic Times have named it a Top Pick for June! Thank you RT!!! This is what they had to say about One Night With The Rebel Billionaire, and I'll be blogging about the book over at IHeart Presents in the next week or so, so I hope you'll pop by to visit me when I do so I know I haven't been forgotten...

One Night With The Rebel Billionaire (4.5) by Trish Wylie: When Roane Elliott meets a naked stranger on the private beach of the Bryant estate, she can't decide if she should report him for trespassing or stay to admire his perfection. She soon learns the man is no stranger; he's Adam Bryant, the charismatic son of her employer. After more than a decade away, he's home to make amends with his ailing father, and Adam won't be leaving before he and Roane discover all that could happen between them. This terrific tale is awash in passion and sensuality. The hot and sexy hero will make your heart beat faster.

Ha! Take that crows of doubt!!! Have I mentioned I'm still suffering with writer's block? All hints and tips to combat it gladly received!

Step one of banishing them from my tiny realm, is a giant clear-out and the decision to turn my spare room (read that as room all the junk in the universe is stored in) into an office/working space where I can shut myself away from the world and try and focus my mind on something I used to be half-good at. To follow my progress with the Spring Clean of a lifetime, you can join me over on Twitter or at my Facebook page, where I'll be Tweeting regular updates on my progress and asking for advice and tips on things like book storage and appliances I should have and why it is I have so many sets of keys and no idea what they're for... I also found condiments in a cupboard yesterday from 2007. I feel lucky to be alive...

I'd also like to say a BIG THANK YOU to the lovely Janet who is now my trusty right arm and Global Moderator at my Forum, where she's helping to keep everyone in line and is bringing us many fascinating links from around the Interweb on writing and writers and the writing life. Janet has become an invaluable member of my circle of web-friends and I really don't know what I'd do without her! On the subject of the Forum, I'm trying to organize some guest authors to come visit and answer questions for us, so look out for that and if you haven't already signed up then please do! The more prodding I get from that quarter the more likely I am to finish the workshop I've been doing there and to invite more guests aaannnddd....

Speaking of GUESTS - if there are any author buddies or struggling writers out there who are NOT attending Nationals this year, can you let me know? I'm considering running a mini Online conference for the week with workshops and talks and random prizes, so if there's enough interest then I'll throw something together once I have taken reposession of my life ;)

Finally, I thought I'd toss in a pic of our foal's first day in the field so you can see how happy she was to discover freedom. We named her Mischief in the end. It's much more suited to her personality - BELIEVE ME - and naming her Hope scared me a little this year. The theory in my mind being if anything happened to her then Hope would be lost. And I'm not taking any chances...(Have to say she's really grown since this pic was taken. When I have more new pics I'll post them so you can see.)