You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because
reality is finally better than your dreams.
I’m assuming if you’re here, it’s because you want to find out
a little bit more about me. You’d think as a writer I’d find this
easy, when in fact it makes me want to do a massive Spring cleaning.
Anything but writing about myself. You know what it means when
suddenly the thought of cleaning the shower grout with a toothbrush
It’s called procrastination.
When I was nine years old, my Mom caught me reading Kathleen
Woodiwiss’s, SHANNA, under my covers with a flashlight. She was
not happy and didn’t quite buy my fervent assurances that I skipped
the sex scenes. Strangely enough, I’d read a few already in other
books and wasn’t nearly as interested in them as I was the rest
of the story.
And so my love of reading romance began. Once my romance-writing
mother realized she’d have to keep her stash of books under lock
and key, she decided loading me up on the old Harlequin romances
was better for both of us. I was voracious and the used bookstore
became my favorite haunt. (The owners still like to tease me that
this is where I cashed my first check ever!)
Strangely enough, it never occurred to me to actually write my
own. I watched my mom type away, attend NJRW meetings and conferences,
but tackling a book myself seemed impossible. While in college,
I applied to Meteor Publishing to become a reader for their Kismet
line and soon had boxes of manuscripts delivered to my door. I
was being paid to read! It’s then I first thought I might be able
to write one myself. I started with small stories and everything
I sent to magazines was rejected.
That’s when mom dragged me to a New Jersey Romance Writers meeting. I
was busy teaching elementary school at the time and had just mentioned
writing again, so she jumped on the chance. At the meeting she
cleverly sat me next to a very nice woman who stood up at one
point to tell the others about her latest sale. She was Linda
Cajio, one of the women whose wonderful books sat on my keeper
I was hooked.
I joined RWA and NJRW, where those savvy ladies in my chapter
mentored me through the learnings of this industry. They also
twisted my arm to take on jobs for our meetings and conferences.
It was at my first NJRW conference that I was “forced” into being
the moderator for Nora Roberts’ workshop. I managed not to drool
or stutter (I think!) and before the talk began, she asked me
about my book. Nora Roberts asked ME about my writing!
I kept learning. After every NJRW program I’d take my new knowledge
home and tear my manuscript, ECHOES, apart. It was not pretty. A
dozen rough drafts later, I started entering in contests, did
well in a few and sucked the bottom of the writers’ barrel in
others. With the help of my critique partners – my mom, Lyn Wagner
and Mary Stella – I kept working at it.
When I turned 28, my life went through a crossroads-type change. I
quit my teaching job (I could go into the myriad of reasons why,
but now’s not the time for that soapbox <g>). I began traveling
all over the U.S. as a photographer. I learned a lot and I’m sure
many of those experiences will find their way into future books! It
was during this time that I finished ECHOES and while at NJRW’s
Put Your Heart in a Book Conference in October, 1999, I
pitched the book to Melissa Jeglinski, a Senior Editor with Harlequin/Silhouette. She
asked for the whole manuscript, so I hurried to print it off and
ship it out. I knew from my writer friends that the average wait
time for response from H/S was a year to a year and a half.
So "The Call" was a complete surprise. My mother frantically
paged me at 4:30 pm, but I couldn’t return her call until close
to 5:00 p.m. She was practically hyperventilating, telling me
that Patience Smith from Silhouette had called and would like
me to call her back.
I did. But it was a Friday afternoon. The offices were closed.
The next 48 hours were a roller-coaster. Only my mother and immediate
family, Mary and my close friend, Anne Walradt, knew about the
call. We speculated. They tried to contain their cheer. I was
Ms. Negative, figuring they’d lost the last half of my book and
needed me to send it out again. After all, it was only four months
since I’d sent it in.
On Monday morning, I called Patience and found out that Melissa
Jeglinski liked ECHOES enough to pass it on and now they wanted
to buy it! I was in shock, even though a part of me was prepared
and hopeful. I remember staring at myself in the mirror, holding
the phone to my ear and seeing my mouth fall open.
It was Valentine’s Day and I’d just sold my first romance!
Since then, my life has changed drastically. I’ve learned about
revisions, galleys and the title changes. ECHOES is now TWICE
UPON A TIME and was released in July 2001. Currently, I live
in New Jersey and I am working on selling my next book.
Last, but not least, I’ve found my very own Prince Charming. I
didn’t need to travel the country to find him – he’d been in New
Jersey all along! Every day with him is a gift of laughter and
love and I realized that I could never create a romance hero who
could compete with him...but I’m still going to try.
Please stop back often and I’ll fill you in on new sales and
what's going on in my life!