Thank you Contemporary Romance Café authors for the invitation to talk about my road to publication. I feel very fortunate that I didn’t have a particularly bumpy road to get where I am today. Some of it was writing the best stories I could, some of it was pure determination to reach my goals, and some of it (maybe a lot of it) was that thing called luck.
Let’s start with the first thing one has to do to get published. Write a book. It’s that simple and that hard. I love to read Regencies, and I had this story in my head about a duke that kept me awake at nights. So I wrote it, did some revising, and submitted it to agents with the conviction one or more of them would call with an offer to represent me. You can probably guess what I’m going to say next. It didn’t happen.
All the rejections were form letters, except for one from Jessica Alvarez with BookEnds, LLC. She took the time to tell me a few things (and believe me, there were more than a few) that were wrong with my manuscript. I’ll always have a fond place in my heart for Ms. Alvarez because even though it hurt to be told why my manuscript pretty much sucked, it was what I needed to hear. It was around this time I joined RWA, started taking every on-line class they offered, found critique partners, entered contests, and began writing my second book.
Books two and three—THE LETTER and THE TRAINING OF A MARQUESS—were also Regencies, published by The Wild Rose Press. From the time I started that first book, now residing under the bed, and the publication of book two in March 2013, a little less than two years passed.
Did my writing improve by the time I finished book two? For sure! Book three was even better, and book four better than that one, and so on. Because that’s what happens. You write, you take advantage of every opportunity to learn your craft, and you write some more. And you kind of start to know what you’re doing.
Although I love reading and writing historicals, I had this story tumbling around in my mind for a contemporary romantic suspense. CRAZY FOR HER was my fourth book, and I finished it just in time to submit it to the 2013 Golden Heart® contest. This is where the luck came in.
My personal opinion regarding contests is that it’s the luck of the draw. Will you get judges who love your manuscript, or ones who hate your story, or your voice, or whatever? For the 2013 Golden Heart®, I was very, very lucky. I didn’t expect to get a call from Claudia Dain on March 26, 2013 telling me CRAZY FOR HER was a finalist, but I did. Yes, I was thrilled and excited, but in my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have predicted where that final would take me.
Because of The Golden Heart®, I received a full request of my manuscript from Montlake Romance. From my pitch appointment at RWA 13, I received another full request from a publisher on my dream list. I also signed with an agent I had met at the conference.
CRAZY FOR HER is the first in a five book series about the men—all ex-SEALs—of K2 Special Services. After a month of biting my nails, praying one of them would make an offer, my agent called and said the book had gone to auction. “WHAT!?” This kind of thing happens to other people, not me.
For the next month, I felt like I was on the wildest roller coaster ride of my life as my wonderful agent went back and forth with the two publishers. Other than my husband, I couldn’t tell a soul. I think that was the hardest part, keeping such an incredible secret. Okay, I’ll fess up. I did confide in my best writing pal, who is also my critique partner. But I knew I could trust her.
When all was said and done, I signed with Montlake Romance for a two-book deal with first rights on the next three in the series. CRAZY FOR HER was release this August 1st as a Kindle First, and its official release date is September 1st when the print and audio will be available. Book two, SOMEONE LIKE HER is scheduled for an early 2015 release.
One thing I’ve learned on my journey is my voice fits contemporaries better than historical, and I’m really glad I learned that. I don’t regret starting with Regencies, and I loved writing them. But they would have never taken me to where I am now.
I can’t wait to see where my journey takes me next!
A native of Florida, Sandra once managed a Harley-Davidson dealership, before switching from a bike to an RV for roaming the open road (though she’s also chased thrills from sky-diving to upside-down stunt-plane flying). In addition to Crazy For Her—a 2013 Golden Heart Finalist for Romantic Suspense—her works include the Regency Romance novels The Letter, winner of the Golden Quill Award, and The Training of a Marquess, winner of the Golden Claddagh Award. A member of Romance Writers of America, and potential cat owner, she lives with her husband in Asheville, North Carolina.
Blurb: When his best friend and fellow Navy SEAL, Evan Prescott, died in his arms on the battlefield, Logan Kincaid gave his word to watch over Evan’s widow. But for two years he kept his distance…torn between honoring his solemn vow and succumbing to his secret love for his fallen comrade’s wife. But when Dani Prescott desperately reaches out to Logan for the help only he can give, he rushes to her side—determined to fight for her safety as fiercely as he fights against his own buried desire.
Someone claiming to be her husband is stalking Dani and her infant daughter, making them virtually prisoners in their remote country home. Logan’s elite military training and high-risk security expertise have outmatched more dangerous enemies. But the real challenge will be the burning temptation that threatens to overcome Logan whenever Dani is near…especially when she reveals her own hidden passion.
Connect w/ Sandra Owens:
Twitter- https://twitter.com/SandyOwens1 (@SandyOwens1)