Just a rant about stuff.

I've talked about my time in the writing publishing world to some extent. How I started out long before e-publishing became a thing. Sending snail mail query letters and manuscripts. Paying postage for both ways. Hunting for agents. I spent two years working on two manuscripts with Silhouette before both were ultimately rejected by TPTB. The first one too closely resembled a book going to publication that month. The second one, well my hero called his father Sir and they felt it was a character flaw and ultimately thanks but no thanks. I almost sold the western that I can't even give away today to Pocket Books. Yes Pocket Books. The lovely editor sent me a two page rejection letter. She loved my hero and thought my heroine had spunk. But Pocket had decided to completely stop publishing American set historical romances that year, especially westerns. She asked me if I had a Scottish Laird/Highlander novel available or a London set anything....uh no I don't know nothing bout no British stuff....I sold the third book that Silhouette rejected after requesting a partial to Cerridwen Press. This was 2004. Cerridwen Press was Ellora's Cave mainstream romance branch. The book was published a year later. In fact it was the 13th book Cerridwen Press published. And it did nothing.

After that my life pretty much went to hell. We've discussed this. My husband's nephew was killed in a car accident. His mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. Hurricane Ivan tore us up one side. My mother-in-law passed away. Hurricane Katrina tore us up the other side. I got pregnant. Yeah I'm not writing about people having sexy times when I'm bloated and miserable. My house pretty much fell apart around us. Our insurance sent us a check for $1,500.00 to fix what amounted to more than ten thousand worth of damage to the roof. The interior damage was due to flooding due to rain pouring in the damaged roof and we weren't covered for that. The attic insulation rotted and caused the ceiling to rot. The kitchen ceiling collapsed onto our table one night. The exterior wall behind my older daughter's beds began to turn green with mold from rain that had seeped down into the walls. But again the insurance company said that was flood damage and not their problem. We didn't qualify for FEMA aid because we had insurance.

So we stopped paying our mortgage, declared bankruptcy, and walked away. I do not regret that decision to this day. There's not one thing in this world strong enough to make me feel guilty for that.

About the time we were coming out of that I started writing again. And again for some weird ass reason I chose to send the first thing I'd finished in years to Ellora's Cave. Yep. This one was just a 15k word smutty short story for their quickies line.

I worked well the editor. My original editor had been fired while I was not writing.

But that story also didn't sell well.

See the thing about Ellora's Cave back then was that if you sold really well, they loved you. They'd bend over backwards for you. If you didn't sell well, well, the attitude was more of a bend over thing but not in a good way.

I submitted my next three stories to my then editor...because I had a right of first refusal clause...and because I didn't know where else to submit to at the time.

I was just clawing my way out from under bankruptcy and from a difficult pregnancy. I went to school full time and had a small baby/child. Three other children ranging from elementary school to high school. And a husband who worked sixty plus hours a week to keep a roof over our heads. I didn't have a whole lot of time to figure out where to go and what to do.

This was 2010. Between 2004 and 2010 the publishing world had flipped over on it's axis and nothing was the same. In 2011 it did it again.

Anyway, I submitted Double Coverage, Cloak and Athame (unpublished), and Wicked Game to my editor.

Each book was rejected with the not right for the company. DC had a HEA in the epilogue and she rejected due to that, which could have been easily deleted. But I got a good luck elsewhere rejection...which is code for yeah, no, please don't resend this garbage. C&A was too mainstream for their tastes but she thought it was good and actually referred me to an editor at Samhain. You see Cerridwen Press had just closed and all books were reverted to EC and they had no idea what to do with them, this was just before the Blush line appeared. So at that time they weren't actively buying mainstream titles...or so she said. With Wicked Game she told me that she'd been patient with me but I wasn't a good writer and to please not waste her time anymore.

As we know Double Coverage and Wicked Game got snapped up by Liquid Silver Books. Wicked Game was snapped up in a week. I had a revise and resubmit letter with it but it was with the adamant fix this and get this back to me ASAP or really it read more like a STAT R&R. I STAT fixed that book and had a contract two weeks after the R&R letter.

Cloak & Athame was turned down by Samhain. In fact it has been turned down by every publisher out there. But there has never been a definite reason as to why. Always just not right for us at this time rejection. The one she liked. Wicked Game, the one she hated, went on to final and place in an RWA industry contest. I have a certificate from Passionate Ink on my awards board. It also became the one in the one two punch that launched my career from nothing to whatever it is now.

That editor at Ellora's Cave is no longer there. But you know, for years I let her words of rejection fester and rot something inside me. That last letter that broke the right of first refusal clause into pieces when she told me I was actually a terrible writer and not to submit anything to her anymore....

Was ultimately the single greatest letter I've ever received in my life.

If she'd bought Wicked Game instead of calling it terrible that book would never have become what it became. If she had bought Wicked Game I wouldn't have a career now. If she had bought Wicked Game it wouldn't have sold 16,000 copies. And I would have been obligated to offer her every book after that....every book I'd written would now be tied up with Ellora's Cave.

I have two books trapped in their moldering cave that I may never get back but damn if I'm trapped in there with them.

I may have been rejected. Time and time again. But I'm still here. And that's what matters.

To all of those EC authors going through this hell....keep on going. I've been through hell with Silver Publishing. It might not turn out how you want it to, but it will turn out. Keep going. Keep writing. Keep submitting. Self Publish.


Because they don't win when you lose. You just lose.

Send your rights requests. Prepare for the worst. But KEEP ON GOING! Hold your head up high and say screw 'em. Do not let them kick you down. KEEP ON GOING!

Just keep going. The door is not closed. Kick it down and keep going.

And that's all I have to say on that.


The Mercy Store is open

I've been asked for a long time about t-shirts and things. I just didn't think it was something in demand or what to do. So after a lot of trial and error I have two designs up. One is a Beg for Mercy with what has become my personal symbol. Yeah, that was an accident but it's stuck. And a Southern Scrimmage generic Tee. 

About the pricing. I priced the items at a dollar over cost just to recoup a bit of the design costs. This is not a money grab. It's for the fans to have something. 

So if you're interested here's the link to the MERCYCELESTESTORE at cafepress.

September News: GRL, New Cover, What's New, What's Not

September News Update.

I know you're wondering why I keep purging the blog. Or if I've closed it. Or what I'm up to.
To answer, I'm finding that blogging doesn't work for me anymore. I can't say why. I mean there's no real answer. I have nothing to say that isn't buy my book. I feel like I'm talking to myself. That most of what I write is just babble. 

So I'm changing it to be more of just a newsletter of sorts. No mailing list to clog your inbox. If you want to know, it's here. All book covers link you to my new website where you'll find everything you need to know about my books. Except news.

So for the month of September:

Earlier this year I cancelled my plans to travel to Chicago for the GRL Conference/Retreat/thingie. I was supposed to have surgery in the late summer and felt that I wouldn't be able to make the trip. Due to my insurance being dicks, that surgery was postponed until the end of the year. I managed to snag a late cancellation spot and will be going to Chicago next month after all. As a general admission attendee not as an author. If you're going I hope to see you there.

In news of the same. According to GRL rules this year I am not able to take extra books with me on the off chance that someone might buy one for signing. I can however offer books for pre-sale and bring those books with me. All book purchases must be made and finalized before GRL...this is their rules not mine. So if you're going and would be interested in purchasing a book for me to sign please click the book cover of that book. If I have it available it will have a GRL paypal buy now button. 

Up next: What am I working on at the moment? Right now I'm writing the final Southern Scrimmage book. I'm 24,000 words into it. But considering it's September and I'm really just getting started I'd have to say that the release date most likely will be December, possibly even January. I know, an entire year since Offside Chance....I'm sorry. 

What else? Well, the age old question of Cold Shadow of Doubt keeps coming up. Right now that answer is the same as it's always been. Not in the foreseeable future. Most likely never. 

What about the sequel to Two Point Conversion? I have no idea right now. I have no place to sell the book and the self hosted site Payhip does not see many purchases of 2PC despite making the link available. The same would be for any publisher who chose to take the book. It wouldn't be on Amazon or even All Romance and therefore unfindable....I dearly want to finish Kevin and Kyle's story. I want to take them through college and into adulthood. But ????????? I'll revisit them in the new year.

If you read Shift in Time then you'll be  happy to know that the sequel Sands of Time is my next project following Last Man Standing. And I hope to have it ready in the spring. Pending writing time (and nervous breakdown) of Last Man Standing.

What about anything new this year? Nothing new until the Scrimmage book is released. I'd cleared my schedule early in the year for the surgery and put out four new books or was it five new books early on, I have nothing finished right now. But I will have the re-release of Let It Go my Florida set Cowboy book. The original contract has run it's course and all rights revert back to me on September 30. I plan to have it back out with a new cover and new edits on October 2nd. So that we're clear. The publisher treated me fairly and I was paid for all copies sold. This is just the end of a contract that I've chosen not to renew. There will be no changes to the story. AT ALL. Minor changes in formatting and a new edit to get things that were missed the first go round. 

That's about it for this month. Thank you all for stopping in to see what's going on with me. 

And last but not least, the brand new cover for Let It Go. Re-release date October 2, 2014 in both ebook and for the first time ever in print.
Cover artist is Reece Notley. Photography purchased from Rob Lang Images and used with permission.