Friday, October 16, 2009
Sandra Elzie was challenged by her husband in 2001 to not wait until retirement in 2005 to start writing the books he had been hearing about for years. Picking up the gantlet he threw down, she spent the next 8 years honing her craft and finishing 12 manuscripts.
Her first published book, The Diplomatic Tutor was her thirteenth manuscript and will be released by Avalon Books on October 24th. Avalon also bought her next book, In Daddy’s Shoes coming in October of 2010. She now lives south of Atlanta with her husband, Richard, and cat, Jack, and enjoys reading, traveling and, as always, writing her next book.
When Natalie Holmes accepts a position to tutor Kelsey, the 5-year old daughter of the British diplomat to the U.N., she never expects to be the one put to the test. She never expects to fall in love with the child or the father, but fights the attraction since she knows he could never love a coal miner’s daughter from West Virginia.
Trenton Lancaster is a widower, with strict rules concerning the safety and education of his daughter. When Natalie thoughtlessly breaks a rule, she expects to be fired. Only Trenton’s growing attraction for Natalie and her obvious devotion to Kelsey makes him retain her. She later proves her love and loyalty when terrorists attack and she risks her life to protect the child.
Natalie and Trenton immediately clash, but he can’t resist her homespun simplicity and intelligence and she falls in love with his strength of character and devotion to Kelsey.
Each must change, but when the prize is the ‘live happily ever after’ kind of love, its worth any risk and sacrifice.
I must start by thanking Petit Fours and Hot Tamales for all the support they give to a sister writer. It is my privilege to be a guest chef today and I can’t wait for each of you to have your day on the blog.
In keeping with this month’s theme about Halloween and scary things that go bump in the night, I thought I’d write a little about my journey to publication and the scary bumps along the way.
Like a lot of you, it started waaaaaay back when I was in grade school and my imagination ranged far and wide about how someday I’d write a book and be famous. I even practiced signing my name…although I write under my “real” married name, so all that practice was for nothing unless you count the good grade in penmanship.
Most of my beginning masterpieces have disappeared into a black hole (definitely the best place for them), but my mother actually kept one I did when I was about ten and I let it remind me of just how far I have come in learning to write. Notice I said “learning”. For me, writing is fun, but I had to study in order to improve enough to sell. I’m all for continuing education and that goes for writing skills as well as classes needed to stay at the top of the game in any other professional career.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that some writers seem to be born with the ability to put words on the page that describe people, places and things with an eloquence that is a pleasure to read. Others have the kind of brains that grasp sentence structure and parts of speech and can make even poor prose sounds good with just a few tweaks. My hat is off to these folks.
Sad to say, I was not gifted in either of these areas. I have a mind for ideas, the ability to write children well and to write strong arguments between my hero and heroine, but when it comes to spelling, I have to rely heavily on Spell Check and when it comes to grammar, I rely on my husband, critique partner or editor.
So, do you have to have a degree in English Literature, grammar or education in order to write a book? No. In order to sell one? Thankfully, no.
First of all, what you need is a good idea for a story and then the determination to get it down on paper. An unwritten or unfinished story can’t be edited and sold. When every excuse in the world rears up to gobble your time and keep you from your computer, train your mind to recognize the little devils and send them packing…without a Trick or Treat goodie. (Hey, I had to stay on theme, right?)
My road to publication was paved with ghouls and goblins, also known as rejection letters. In fact there were so many of them that I could have easily allowed the demons of “I’ll never be published” to convince me that getting yet another rejection letter meant that I had again failed and that I would never succeed; I’d never reach my dream of signing my name in a book that had my name on the cover. To quit might have been easier than fighting the demons, but the stories in my brain would have persisted and I would have been miserable.
Instead, I kept trying and eventually I sent The Diplomatic Tutor to Avalon Books and met with success. Am I through with rejection letters? Of course not! Just know that each rejection letter is a brick in the foundation of your writing career and keep building that foundation, one brick at a time, until the structure is complete and your name is printed on the front cover of your book.
Are rejection letters one of the things that go bump in the night for you? Or maybe it’s the synopsis or the query. (I can certainly empathize with that one).
If you’re not a writer and instead love to curl up with a good book on a stormy winter evening, tell us about your favorite scary story and you will be eligible to win a free copy of my first publication, The Diplomatic Tutor.
Please visit me at: http://www.SandraElzie.com/