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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Overdue Update

It's been awhile and I haven't given an update on how goes the writing for a really long time. I've got some exciting things happening, which makes now a good time:

My third Regency Romance--The Vicar's Daughter--has just been released, people who pre-ordered have started receiving their copies. You can read the opening chapter on my website. It's a country regency, meaning it isn't dealing with London and titles and whatnot, and I really enjoyed writing this book. I'm finishing up a sequel to it right now and hope that it will be out this time next year--cross your fingers for me.

My third Historical Romance--All that Makes Life Bright--will be coming out in Fall 2017. This book is about Harriet Beecher Stowe and her husband Calvin. There's a women's fiction feel to this story, as they are married throughout, but it's still a romance in that they come together and figure one another out. This book really spoke to me on a personal level and I hope readers find it as powerful for them.

AND FINALLY, my big news that I am so excited to share!! Back in 2015 I signed with my wonderful agent, Land Heymont (Here's how he and I got together.) At that time he was with The Seymour Agency and helped me with my current publishing relationship with Shadow Mountain. He's helped me with several contracts since then while also shopping some work to national publishers, in 2016 he established his own agency, The Tobias Agency. Publishing is competitive, it takes quality work, time, and industry savvy to get a national contract. Lane helps with all those aspects and I have loved working with him. He's tenacious and yet calm. Last Tuesday, while visiting my parents, I got an email from him where he'd forwarded a rejection from an editor we were really hopeful for. She had liked the story but her review team hadn't liked it quite as much. She gave us the reasons why. I asked Lane if I should work on those changes, maybe I'd missed the mark and the unusual format hadn't worked like I wanted it to. He told me not to worry about it, that there were other editors still looking and if they all passed then we would go back to the feedback and see what we thought. I appreciated the calm and pushed it out of my mind. the next day--like, the VERY next day--he called me. Alicia Condon, an editor at Kensington Publishing, had loved the book and wanted to make an offer. Not only did they want to offer on that book, they wanted to make a 2-book deal! Kensington publishes the mass market paperback novels you see in grocery stores; a whole new format and level of distribution for me. I am so excited that they saw good stuff in my story, and so grateful for Lane's calm assurance that kept me from stressing about issues that were not necessary to stress over. The title they've chosen is As Wide as the Sky, which I absolutely love. It will be published under the pen name, Jessica Pack. You can read the basics about the book HERE.

I've heard for years that publishing is scary, that people are intimidating, and that there's a lot of negativity in the industry. There is negativity and low moments and frustrations and events that make you question yourself. Absolutely. But there are good people who work hard and want quality work and are willing to take chances. I've been publishing for 18 years now, but I didn't really have a career until 9 years ago when Shadow Mountain took a chance on my first culinary mystery, and I haven't had this kind of national reach until now, thanks to Lane and Kensington. A career in writing is about building blocks, and sometimes it's slow and sometimes that's because you have stuff you need to learn until you're ready to have both feet in this pool. Keep at it, remain prayerful of the direction that's right for you, look for writing opportunities of every kind, set goals you know you can reach in order to build up your confidence, and never forget that editors and agents are just people, doing their best just like you. The magic happens, and then you find yourself at a new level with another level calling out for you. Keep climbing. Keep learning. Stay humble, and learn from your mistakes rather than marinate in them.

Thanks for sharing this happy news with me! :-)