The Quirky Ladies is a group of eclectic (and dare I say quirky?) ladies who are passionate about writing romantic fiction. All types of romantic fiction...paranormal, fantasy, historical, erotic and contemporary. Bring it on!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

What A Difference A Year Makes

"It is with great pleasure that I offer you a contract for Sweet Inspiration. I love the story."

One year ago I pitched my Christmas-themed 55,000-word romance novel at the NECRWA conference and got shot down in a blaze of glory. What followed is a typical roller coaster ride of the romance writer.  Won first place in a contest. Crashed and burned in many other contests. Sent out about a million query letters. Accumulated a mountain of rejections. Got a few requests.  Got a couple more rejections. One day I got three rejections within an eight hour time period.  Good times. Continued attending NEC meetings, and started a new botanical murder-mystery historical romance (I like making up my own genres). Met frequently with The Quirky Ladies and discussed such topics as the existence of gay male ice hockey players, incorporating funny Jewish mother jokes into erotica, and whether or not appletinis or pomegranate martinis are better.  I also incorporated their edits into my first novel and continued sending e-queries.

Now, it's one year later and I am psyching myself up to pitch again, same bat time, same bat story.  Two days before conference I get an email from Donna Bas, The Wild Rose Press.  I stare at the email header and get a sick feeling in my stomach.  She said she would get back to me by May 5.  It's only been a couple of weeks since she got my full.  Oh Hell, here we go again.  I brace myself for that first sentence, "So sorry, but we're going to pass on Sweet Inspiration..." Instead I read the line above.  I re-read it.  I read it about ten times all the while thinking, where is the part where she says sorry not interested? After staring at the computer screen for several minutes, it finally sinks in that this is not a rejection letter.  It is THE letter. The one I've been waiting for.  I call my anesthesiologist husband at work and interrupt him while he is in the OR to tell him my news.  (Picturing the surgeon in the middle of a gall bladder operation saying, so what's the good news? and my husband sheepishly admitting, my wife is finally getting her Santa Claus romance novel published!).  After experiencing euphoria, shock, anxiety, guilt, and then some more euphoria, I have settled into a very nice place.  This is the Place of Infinite Possibilities.  I now believe Anything is Possible.  I could lose 50 pounds.  I could win the lottery.  This totally crazy goal of writing a book and getting it published is coming true.  But most importantly, my real goal is going to be realized. Which was just to have someone read my story.  It's a light-hearted, outside-of-the-box, sexy, irreverent, sometimes raunchy, mouth-watering take on the legend of Santa.  And yeah, maybe some gals don't find a big hunky master pastry chef with a beard and glasses so hot (but I do!).  My greatest wish is that someone will read it...and hopefully like it.  Get a little bit of Christmas cheer? Get a hankering for a gingerbread latte?  Look at Santa in a new light?  I know it's March, but this week I got a really rocking Christmas gift.  All hail St. Nicholas!

This post would not be possible without The Quirky Ladies.  Their support, friendship, belief in me when I questioned it myself, their sense of humor, dedication, integrity, and creativity have made this all possible.  
Dankeschon, Nina Roth Borromeo, a.k.a., Penny Watson


Michelle Pressma said...

The best part reading this about the Quirkies is knowing you've given all the same back to us. Thank you and I'm so happy for you. And Natascha, if you're out there, I missed you at conference, but make sure you check out the RWA chapter in your area, The Capital Region RWA, at -- They have a conference coming up in Albany in June.

Natascha said...

Nina, great blog entry. I go over our conversation about getting "dismissed" and it has occurred to me that I better get used to getting dismissed by a whole range of people if I plan on being a successful writer. Just since Saturday night, I have been dismissed by at least two people when I told them that I am going to write a romance novel. They gave me the weird look in the eyes and some ambiguous and vague comment. Well, I just had to say to myself, "Screw 'em". I have to push forward and keep my head high and be proud of my work.

Michelle, so sorry to have missed you, but I had such a great time with Nina, Dalton, Ash, and Jess. I am definitely going to make going to the conference in Albany a priority. Thanks for you brainstorming.


Dalton Diaz said...

Nina, I have goosebumps, and that's from reading it after being there firsthand! This is a great blog - literally brings tears to my eyes.
You know what's really special? I wouldn't get to be part of this fabulous group if it weren't for you. Who knew that running into you at the grocery store would lead to all this? You Rock!

Penny Watson said...

Michelle and Dalton, thank you so much for your support. You and all of the Quirks are the best motivation ever! And Natascha, tell people you write "romantic fiction, the highest selling component of the paperback fiction market." Also, when people say to me "I don't read romance" I always answer, "I'm so sorry. That's too bad. You're really missing out on some great books!"