Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Long and Winding Road

A few years ago, we lived in the old village area of Mt. Pleasant, SC, for eighteen months. Mt. Pleasant is just across the Cooper River from Charleston. Cross the Intracoastal Waterway on Ben Sawyer Bridge and you're on Sullivan's Island. I used to ride my bike across that bridge and down the beach every morning.
Dave's Low Country Boil Recipe
I loved living in the lowcountry. It spoke to me. And I probably ate my weight in lowcountry boil, a regional dish of shrimp, sausage, corn, potatoes, and whatever else the cook wants to boil in beer and spices. Moving back to Greenville when Sugar's contract was up was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Sidebar: Greenville is awesome in her own right, but this isn't Greenville's story.

One day I was listening to that old Eagles song, "Last Resort," on the radio. The ending of the song is, "They call it paradise. I don't know why. You call someplace paradise, kiss it goodbye." (Don Henley) Anyway, the word "paradise" sent me back to the lowcountry, and a story started percolating in the back corner of my brain.

Several drafts, a few conferences, a critique group, several rounds of "revise and resubmit" with agents that didn't work out, and another pass of edits later, I started querying agents in earnest. After forty-nine queries, and maybe fifteen requests for the full manuscript, I signed with an agent.

But, just as she started submitting, she fell ill and went on medical leave. Thankfully, I had signed with a well-known, reputable agency. They re-assigned me to another agent, and I am convinced that he did his best to sell my manuscript to several New York editors. Most of the rejections I was getting sounded like great reviews until you got to that last sentence that said something like, "Unfortunately I'm just not passionate enough about it to make it a must-have for our list."

And then, someone I knew from a writers' group decided to start her own small press. For many, this would be a risky venture, but I knew things about this lady that maybe everyone didn't--like she was a successful entrepreneur in another business, and had been a freelance editor and cover designer for years.

I called my agent and said, "I really, really want to do this." He offered me the sweetest deal ever--he'd look over the contract just to make sure I was protected, then release this one book from our agreement so I could have my cake and eat it, too.

And I did. LOWCOUNTRY BOIL will be released September 18 from Henery Press. This was the right path for me. Ultimately, I decided to part ways with my agent. Not because he wasn't great, but because we both knew that what I write is not his cup of tea. He had inherited me, and done his best by me. But he was not passionate about my work and that was not his fault. This is a subjective business.

I'm absolutely thrilled to be with Henery Press. It's small enough to be nimble. I signed my contract in late March, and my first book will be released in September. We hope to have the second book in the series out in spring. I have forward momentum, which was necessary for my continued grip on sanity.

Thanks again for the warm welcome to Get Lost in a Story! Please come visit me on the web anytime--I'd love to hear from you!


Be sure to click the website link and sign up for my newsletter to be entered in a drawing for a free e-Book (your choice) or a $15 gift card. I promise you will hear from me only when I have something important to say--like I have a new book coming out.

Enjoy your Sunday!



  1. What a cool story!!!
    I'm so glad you had a happy ending!


    1. Thanks so much, Cecily! It really appreciate your stopping by the blog today! :)

  2. Your Unbiased, Completely Objective SisterMay 21, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    On behalf of those of us who adore you and know how truly gifted you are, I am SO PROUD of you for sticking with this! You deserve beautiful and bountiful rewards.


      How fortunate am I to have an "unbiased, completely objective sister." :) Thank you for being my biggest cheerleader. I love you!