So…I was outted on Facebook the other day by a friend *cough cough Leigh cough cough*, which means I might as well go ahead and spill to everyone else.
Entangled Publishing has offered me a contract on One Night in Buenos Aires! I’m very excited to be working with Entangled (I mean, c’mon, you’ve heard me talk about them often enough here on the blog) and I’m looking forward to having my first book published. I don’t have any details, but once everything’s been finalized, I’ll be posting it here. Along with cover art. I’ll have cover art! And an ISBN! Honestly, I think that’s what I’m most excited about: having my very own ISBN.
Anyway. On to the purpose of this post.
If you follow me on Twitter (and have been listening to me whine for the last couple of weeks), you’ll know what those cupcakes are for.
Iron Jewel has been submitted.
As in, I sent it to a publisher.
When I first came up with the idea for Jewel, I was sitting at the dinner table with the BF, trying to think of a story to write for NaNo 2011. The BF then came up with the title, and off I went, cramming 80,000 words into three weeks (yes, I finished before the month was over). It was exhausting and stressful and I am never, ever doing it again.
Because I crammed 80,000 words into three weeks, the end result was…crap. Total, utter crap. I put it away, took it back out a month later, made some minor adjustments, and put it away again. Then I got an offer from someone to beta read the first fifteen chapters, and that started a whole new slew of revisions.
The original structure was two main plots that didn’t really connect. They intersected here and there, but other than that, you could have removed one and it wouldn’t have done much to the other. The reader pointed out that it wasn’t really working. Thank god she did. Or maybe not.
In the end, I didn’t end up revising Iron Jewel any more times than I normally do. Most of the time my stories go through at least three revisions, usually four. Jewel went through five. But it was the extent of those revisions that sets it apart from everything else. It’s the first story I’ve done a major overhaul on, and I do mean MAJOR. We’re talking one whole plot line was cut. It necessitated deleting entire chapters and writing new ones. It meant that the relationship between Remy and Bodhi, my two main characters, needed more depth and angst. By the time I finished the fourth round of revisions, I was pretty well satisfied I’d done everything I could for the story, and sent it off as my entry into the 2013 Golden Heart.
While I didn’t final, my scores were high enough (top quarter!) I was happy with my efforts. The paranormal category is a tough one, so I wasn’t terribly disappointed when I didn’t make it to the finals. I did manage to final in both the FF&P’s On The Far Side contest in the same category I won last year (Romantic Elements) and the 2013 Maggies, sponsored by Georgia Romance Writers. But then I got to thinking about some of the comments one of my CP’s said toward the end of the story, and even though I said it was ready for submission, I went back through and did one more round.
One of my favorite TV shows was ER, and there was a quote from an episode in season two that I think does a pretty good job of summing up revisions:
Mrs. Rubadoux is a sinking ship, and you’ve spent all afternoon rearranging her deck chairs.
A lot of times, when you get to the end of revisions, you’re tempted to go back through one more time…and really all you’re doing is rearranging the deck chairs. In the case of Jewel, there were a few places that needed minor surgery to tighten the pacing (I ended up cutting an additional 4,000 words to rid the story of several dragging spots), but when I found myself picking at sentences, I knew it was time to stop.
So I hit submit.
It took almost two years for this story to get to a place where I was confident it was the best I could make it. And a lot of the whining this past month had more to do with everything else I had on my plate: closing on my first house, herding authors for the ECWC 2013 Book Fair next month, trying to get all my reviews done on time, and trying to keep up with all the changes happening in the day job (there are a LOT). But more importantly, I know I can tackle any of my other projects needing overhauls (there are at least two, one of which will likely be a complete rewrite) and turn them into something viable. It might not happen every time, but hey, I won’t know until I try, right?
For the record, the cupcakes I brought in for my coworkers are these ones (pumpkin with cream cheese frosting):