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.
Earl Grey Aficionado
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