If you read my post last week as part of the Transformational Fiction giveaway blog tour titled “A Matter of Trust,” you may be wondering if I struggle with jealousy (also known as coveting, featured in one of the Ten Commandments).
Sure there’s a twinge or two sometimes. Hanging out with such successful authors, there’s bound to be the occasional temptation toward whining and self-pity, but I don’t think I’ve strayed into Ten Commandment-breaking territory. On my old blog, I used to have a whole category called “publishing envy,” but I don’t struggle so much with that anymore. Partly because my author friends are also very busy and have lots of deadlines and pressure that I definitely do NOT covet.
You know what causes me more of a problem these days? Not
publishing envy, but writing envy.
Maybe even more specifically, imagination envy.
Case in point. I’m a college librarian, and one of our
student assistants came to my office door the other day. He was practically
glowing. Seems things had been slow at the front desk, so he started playing
around with the big fantasy epic series he’s writing. He had decided to try
adding a prologue, and when he did, all these ideas about his fantasy world
started flowing. It opened up more backstory, more potential books. He was so
excited and kept saying, “This is awesome, this is awesome!”
Oh, yes…it is so awesome when writing is like that! I
remember it. But I haven’t actually experienced that feeling in a while. And
that’s what makes me green with envy.
Why is that, I am wondering? After having an absolutely
runaway imagination all my life, why has it more or less dried up the past
couple of years?
I have a few ideas as to possible reasons, although I’m not
entirely sure of the main culprit.
If you’re interested in such things, I’m going to do a blog
series exploring things that might drain us of imagination and creativity, and
what we—or specifically, I—can do to get back the awesome! So please come along
for the ride and share your thoughts.
You can check back here, follow me on Facebook for updates, or sign up for an email subscription to my blog. (The subscription form is on the lefthand side of this page.) Thanks!
I am absolutely thrilled to have Ane Mulligan telling the story of her first publishing contract on “How I First Published,” for several reasons. First, she was gracious enough to be on my blog the day before the release of her first novel, Chapel Springs Revival. Second, Ane is special to me because she’s the one who suggested the title of my first novel, Summer’s Winter–a title I still love–and because she forgave me with good humor when I forgot to put her in the Acknowledgements. I’m also so glad to have Ane tell her story because I so identify with it–the long wait, wondering if you’re on the right road, learning to trust God. It’s a very encouraging story. So enjoy, and congratulations, Ane! I’m going to pre-order your book as soon as I get this post done!
Tomorrow!! Fantastic! Was it a traditional publishing contract or did you go indie?
I started long before Indie lost the “vanity” aspect. I had a dream of publishing traditionally and so I waited until that happened.
How did that come about?
The long way around. In 2003, I started my first novel and found some crit partners, ones who told me plainly I had a lot to learn. I bought all the books on the craft of fiction writing they recommended. I read them and absorbed more.
In 2006, an editor took my manuscript to committee. While I waited for the result, expecting a contract of course, I got an agent. However…sigh…the editorial committee said no. I was discouraged. I asked God…okay, I whined…why wasn’t I getting anywhere? I needed a sign. And God gave me the one in the form of an editor affirming my writing. That carried me for months.
I kept writing and going to conferences and learning more. In 2010, my agent called to say my manuscript had passed editorial committee and was going to pub board. Pub board loved it, but their slate was filled, so the editor would hold it for their next quarter. Only she retired and her computer hard drive was wiped clean. I was lost in cyber oblivion. Then my agent retired.
Do you see a pattern here? I did and it looked like a maze.
Once again, I whined, “Lord, what’s going on?”
And He said, “Wait. Trust me.” He didn’t offer me another choice, so I chose to trust.
It wasn’t too long before my agent received an offer for a 2-book contract. But once again, God said no, we both felt it, and we turned it down. By this time, I began to wonder if I’d ever publish. Yes, that was my goal, but if God had something different for me, I was fine with it. I just felt bad for my agent, who worked so hard for me.
Then, in August of 2013, nearly eleven years after I began this journey, my agent called with an offer from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. And my heart quickened. All right, God! This was it. This time, He said, “Yes.”
How did this make you feel? Has it been as good as you expected, or a letdown, or exhausting, for example?
It’s been wonderful. I’ve got an author rep, who has guided me through the process, and a wonderful editor, one whose writing I’ve loved for years! I also was blessed with a fairly easy edit, due in large part to my wonderful crit partners!
Tell us what’s happened with your writing journey since.
I took a short break and Hubs and I did the Great Office Switch. I’d been writing for years from a corner of the master bedroom. It was time for a real office. I’m delighted to say, it’s complete and I’m working on the third book in the series.
While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that’s a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.
With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.
Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It’s impossible not to, what with Claire’s zany antics and Patsy’s self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is personal.
With their marriages in as much disarray as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.