Wednesday, August 19, 2015

When an Unspoken Dream Comes True

Hey, Erica Here:

Last week a dream that I had never spoken aloud came true. It was one that I didn't even know was there, deep in my heart. 

Last Monday, I sold a book to Love Inspired Historical. 

March 15th, I entered the Blurb2Book Contest. I submitted to round one a 100 word story idea and the first page of a manuscript.

Then I waited. I had no idea how many people would enter (more than 375) nor how many would be chosen to move on to the next round. (Turns out, 25 in each of three lines, historical, suspense, and contemporary romance for a total of 75. Or about 20%) To make things even more exciting, our own Gabrielle Meyer also entered the contest.

Finally, on April 13th, Round two was announced. The 75 writers had one month to submit a synopsis and the first three chapters of the story. The editors at Love Inspired were divided into teams, and these teams of editors would decide who moved on to the final stage. Praise Jesus, both Gabe and I advanced to Round Two!

After what seemed an incredibly long wait, May 15th rolled around. The final 25 in each category would be shaved to the final 10 in each category. I'll confess, I didn't have a good feeling about this one. I had received a pretty cutting critique on the first scene of my novel and had become convinced it must be dreck. But I kept plugging away, working on the manuscript while I waited for results.

When the final ten in each category was revealed, I was stunned and thrilled to find that my story had made it through to the final round. And cheering on Gabrielle, who had also made the final ten. Out of 375+ entries, we had made it into the top 30.

Then the race was on. A completed manuscript was due by July 15th. Talk about writing like your hair is on fire. Actually, it wasn't a bad thing, because there was no time to brood or fuss or worry. you just had to write. Each of the finalists received feedback on their manuscript from stage two, and it was up to us to take that feedback and make changes to our story. A good test for the editors to see how well we could follow direction and tailor our stories to fit the guidelines and brand of Love Inspired.

Once the manuscript was turned in, there was nothing to do but wait. We were told that everyone would have an answer on their manuscript by August 30th. Between times, we had no clue what to expect.

Then, the editors announce a sale. Love Inspired Suspense acquired Jordyn Redwood's manuscript. Woohoo! 

And then I got the call. My agent called while I was at a writer's group (she caught me being good. :D ) and said we had done it. We had sold a ms to Love Inspired Historical. Squee!!

And so far, three more manuscripts have sold for a total of 5. (We're still waiting for Gabe's call!)

So how did this fit into a dream I didn't know I had? Well, when I was in 9th grade, my mom introduced me to the author Essie Summer's work. Essie was a Presbyterian minister's wife who lived and wrote in and about New Zealand. She had a wonderful style and vocabulary, a love of poetry and Shakespeare, and I fell in love with her work. I have all 51 of her books, and I treasure them.

And she wrote for Mills & Boon, the UK division of Harlequin. 

As of Monday, I also write for Harlequin in their Love Inspired Historical division.


I wish Essie was still alive so I could write to her and tell her how much she inspired me, how much I loved her stories, and how she'd set my feet on the path I'm now treading. 





Erica Vetsch:
Executive Assistant
Earl Grey Aficionado 
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30 comments:

  1. I am so ridunkulously proud of you!!!!💜💜💜

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    1. :D :D :D We will have a lot to party about next month!

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  2. Such a talented group of writers! I'm still waiting for the four of you to collaborate on a book together. That would be one fine book with each of you contributing a novella. Whether a continuing story like Smitten, or individual stories with similar backgrounds.

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  3. I'm still doing a happy dance for you, Erica!! I'm thrilled you were the first historical to sell to Love Inspired from the ten of us. Yes, I'm still waiting to see what they think of my story (and this has been the HARDEST wait I've ever gone through with my writing!), but I'm keeping my fingers crossed and celebrating with the others who have sold already. :) I can't wait to celebrate with you in person next month at ACFW!!

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    1. I think the toughest part of this wait is knowing when the end date will be. Most often when we send something out, there is no deadline, so it's easier to put it out of our minds. Not that we don't still wonder and think about it...

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  4. I would love to see a book with the 4 of yours name on it. It would be a joy to buy it. A novella would be a great thing think about it ladies.

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    1. Thank you, Kim! We'll have to brainstorm something maybe at the ACFW Conference where we'll all be next month.

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  5. Congrats again! Made my day to see your name pop up. Way to go!

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    1. Thanks, Jodie! It's so much fun to celebrate with friends!

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  6. Congratulations Erica! I am so happy for you.

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  7. SnOoPy DaNcE!!!!!!!

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2015/08/a-human-oasis-blogbattle.html

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  8. I've said it before, but it bears repeating: Congratulations, Erica! I'm beyond thrilled that you're writing for LIH now. Readers are going to love your stories. (Yes, I foresee many of them. After all, you really do "write like your hair is on fire.")

    Like you, I fell in love with Harlequin romances when I was young. Back in the 1970's my mom would take my two younger sisters and me to a postage-stamp sized used bookstore in town where floor-to-ceiling bookshelves lined both sides of aisles about as wide as angel hair pasta. I'd burst through the door and weave my way to the Harlequin section. We could get those squeaky clean, single-POV novels for ten cents apiece. My mom, my sisters and I would each choose a dollar's worth. I'd devour my stack and swap with one of the others, read hers and move on to the next. A week or two later, we'd return the books, getting half credit for them, and pick out more.

    As I read story after story, my dream of writing one like them was born. Forty years later, I am, which makes us LIH sisters and me delightfully happy. The only thing that would make me happier would be for Gabe to join us. Soon, I hope. Very, very soon.

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    1. Ah,,, that sounds so very much like my own story. My postage-stamp sized bookstore was Pat's Book Nook, and I LOVED that store. We read and returned and swapped books all the time!

      Did you ever read any Essie Summers? I loved her and Sarah Seale and Mary Moore and Mons Daveson.

      And yep, I'm waiting for Gabe's call!!!

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  9. Congratulations!!! Not surprising really lol, but I'm so happy for you! I'm sure Essie would be super-proud of you! :)

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    1. Aw, I would love to think so. I wish she was still alive so I could let her know how much her stories mean to me.

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  10. What a great life story and congratulations!

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  11. LOVED reading this, Erica - - and how your unknown dream came true. :)
    Cannot wait to read your LIH - - I know it will be wonderful!
    Happy Hugs, Patti Jo

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  12. Congrats, Erica!!!! Sounds like you worked really hard for that unspoken dream--which no doubt makes it all the sweeter. =)

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    1. You're right, most things are sweeter after difficulty. I've been very blessed!

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  13. Congrats, Erica! You know how happy I am for you! I just read the tweets about Gabrielle's sale too so how sweet it is for you both to sell to LI. Welcome to the family. I love how big we're growing. :)

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  14. I'd been waiting to hear the background on your entry into Love Inspired! What a neat connection between you and an author you admired. Strong work!!

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