October 2nd will be the first anniversary of Morning Coffee. Over the past year I’ve managed to share my thoughts with you every week; not always an easy thing to do. Not only because it can be hard to come up with the time, but because who would have thought I had so many thoughts! Right? Ok, Ok, no chiming in from the peanut gallery…and you know who you are.
I’ve accomplished a lot over the past year. My biggest accomplishment: I finished my first novel, a historical romance, “Mary Bishop”. I’m now in the submission stage, hoping to soon be able to report I have a contract. Currently, there is a publisher who has voiced an interest in it. The editor acknowledged my talent and said if I was willing to change the book from first person/present tense to third person/past tense I should feel free to resubmit. Of course, my response to that was thank you and I will. That’s what I’m working on right now and it’s not so much a difficult task as it is more time-consuming that I originally guessed it would be. You see, the original version has two timelines. One takes the reader through the story of Mary’s first love with her now late husband Earl. This takes place from pre-Civil War through the end of the Civil War in Virginia. These chapters were written in first person/past tense. The other timeline is the story of her current second chance at love and takes place in post-Civil War Wisconsin. These chapters were written in first person/present tense. I’m currently in the process of slowly reading through the entire 300+ page manuscript and carefully changing everything to third person/past tense. The editor’s right; it is better.
I’ve also started researching and writing my second novel, another romance set in Wisconsin, but this one takes place in 1919. The United States is at war, both in Europe and on the home front as the Spanish Flu epidemic sweeps the nation, killing without mercy. This one is entitled, “The Healing Heart”. More on this later.
This past weekend I attended my first romance writers’ conference and the speaker was the one and only Eloisa James. She spoke not about writing techniques like how to write dialogue, plot a romance, or how to write a really steamy sex scene. Instead, she talked at length about the business of being a writer. You see, this is a business. I am a business. She talked about agents and editors, contracts, bookkeeping, doing your own PR and marketing, branding. She talked about what to expect and what to accept, how to stand up for ourselves in negotiations. She told us how to get noticed in a good way, and how to get noticed in such a way as to ruin our careers before they even start. Ms James (a pseudonym) is a tenured Shakespeare professor. She runs the graduate program at her university. She’s a wife and a mother. And she is an incredible speaker, very inspiring…but, then again, that’s what makes her a good teacher. She was honest. You can write only what moves your heart and then you can put it in a drawer to collect dust, or you can admit you want to make a living doing this and write what you love that also fits with the demands of the current marketplace.
I’ve accomplished a lot this year in the pursuit of my dream to be a published novelist. Over the coming year I plan on being able to tell you when and where you can purchase “Mary Bishop”, and in the meantime, I will finish “The Healing Heart”. Thank you everyone who has come along on this ride so far. Some of my posts have been hits and others not so much. I appreciate everyone who hung in there with me and I hope you feel you can stay with me a little longer, maybe bring along a few friends. CHEERS!