Happy July 4th to any Americans reading this post!
Now that my first book, On The Homefront, has a definite release date of August, 23, 2017, I'm very happy to report that you can search my name, or book title, on Amazon now and the e-book version will pop up. The e-book version is also listed in the catalog of my publisher, The Wild Rose Press. I'm sure the paperback version will be up soon. The wheel have already started turning to make On The Homefront available in audio-book as well.
I have been getting a lot of congratulations from family, friends & colleagues, which is wonderful, but I've also gotten some questions on the process and amount of time it took to write this, my "first" book. So, now that I've seen my name in lights - or the writer's first equivalent, on the Amazon search - I have been giving it some thought.
I first started writing in middle school, or maybe before. I wasn't good at penmanship or spelling in the very beginning, so I don't think we kept a lot of my elementary school projects (I was the 4th child, after all). I have one "book" I wrote about being a Girl Scout in about 3rd grade, but that's it. I have a binder, hidden away somewhere, of some stories but mostly poems that I wrote in middle and high school. Nothing noteworthy, to be sure.
Along the way, I started getting serious about school and finding a path that would lead to gainful employment, so when I went to college, I majored in Hotel Administration. I found that the subjects that spoke to me most, besides my English classes, were Business Law and the Law of Innkeeping, so I went to law school. I only practiced law for a few years before corporate moves, motherhood, and the expat life took over. I've done a lot of things over the years, but it was 1999 before I found myself at a Romance Writers of America (RWA) convention. I joined the local Windy City RWA chapter and met some wonderful and extremely supportive fellow writers. I found some incredible critique partners and started really dedicating myself to writing. I finished my first novel in 2000, but I can safely report that it is rubbish and will never see the light of day.
But, I kept writing, finishing two more novels and starting many more. I served a term as the President of the Windy City RWA, got various jobs, moved to Germany and didn't write (but experienced a LOT), moved back and got busy with growing daughters and a traveling husband. We moved to China without our then grown or college-aged daughters, and started to finally pull together some ideas that had been growing in the back of my mind since visiting the American Cemetery in Normandy in 2007. We moved back to Illinois, I got a job, and dedicated myself once again to researching and writing the historical novel that would become On the Homefront.
Through a fiasco with United Airlines, I was unable to accompany my family on our spring break trip to Paris in 2016, so I stayed home that week alone and finished the first draft of On The Homefront. I quickly started editing it , as well as sending it to agents in the hope of finding one who would send this book-of-my-heart off to the big publishing houses. After more rejections that I can remember, I decided to research some small publishing houses and quickly got offers of publication from three of them. Since I had written other types of books as well, and hoped to one day get some of them published, or at least write in other genres, I chose The Wild Rose Press, because they have such a broad catalog of published novels. My book was assigned to Nan Swanson, my new editor.
I signed with The Wild Rose Press at Thanksgiving of 2016 and On The Homefront is being published on August 23, 2017 - so not quite a year. After the first sale, I pulled out one of the manuscripts I'd completed around 2004 or 2005, dusted it off, and edited it. I contacted Nan and asked if I could submit my romantic suspense, Killing Her Softly. Nan directed me to the right editorial staff and I found my new editor, Rachel Kelly, who offered me a contract on Killing Her Softly in March of this year and I anticipate that it will be released in September or October - everything done except getting the release date.
This is the most exciting time of my writing life, and ranks pretty high up in my overall life thrills with meeting my husband, having my daughters, and some of our wonderful travel adventures as a family. I still have the incredible support of my wonderful critique group from the Windy City RWA, and am still a member of RWA, although part of the Published Author Network, as well as the Windy City and Chicago-North chapters, and the Historical Writers of America. Writers support each other in a way that may not happen in other professions, but is wonderful. I also have the total support and encouragement of my family, both my husband and daughters, as well as my extended family and friends who are as close as, plus the wonderful people I've come to know from all over the world over the years. Thank you to all of you - you have helped make this possible. It's been a long time coming, but was so worth it. :)