Monday, November 13, 2017

I Wanted to be an Author

Once upon a time there was an author (Me!  Pamela Tracy).  You could have called me unpublished or the politically correct term of the time prepublished.  Didn't matter.  I wanted to write, sell, and see my books on a store's shelf - even better know that some stranger in a distant land (like Florida) might actually be relaxing on a chair and reading my book.

I did everything wrong.  My first manuscript was hundreds of pages long, single spaced (I'm telling the truth) and I didn't plot at all - nada.

I realized that "I knew nothing"(think Schultz), so I joined a creative writing class at a nearby college where I had a topnotch teacher, found a critique group, and as a posse most of the class (well,  the females) went to an RWA conference together.

I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote.
Submitted, submitted, submitted, submitted.
got rejections, rejections, rejections, rejections.


When I finished one book, I started another.

At church one day, someone said to me, "Hey, you're trying to be a writer, right?"

"Yes."

"Well, Darlene Mindrup sold a book."

Huh?  Darlene Mindrup?  I didn't know she was writing.  She hadn't attending any creative writing class I was a part of.  What?  There'd been no mention of a critique group or going to conferences.

What!

I'd been following "the plan. " You know what I'm talking about - do everything in order, check off boxes and all.

That's next Sunday I cornered Darlene.  "You sold a book?"

"Yes, to Barbour Publishing, a line called Heartsong."

"Never heard of them."

Darlene told me they were mail-ordered and then gave me a few.  I promptly sent them a book and heard nothing.  (Btw, Darlene told me she'd been so nervous when she sent her manuscript in that she hadn't separated the dot matrix pages)

For a year.

Then, I went to my first RWA National Conference.  Back in those days, ACFW didn't exist so all the Christian publishers came to RWA.  I signed up for an appointment with Rebecca Germany, pitched my book, and she said, "Sounds good, send it."

I told her she already had it.  She suggested I send it again.  I did.

Two months later I headed to my apartment mailboxes.  It was early afternoon, probably 4:00.  Back then, I was an elementary school teacher and finished at 3:00.

I found an envelope from Barbour inside the mailbox.  I ripped it open and saw, "If you make these revisions, we'd like to publish your book."

Yup, I was standing alone in front of a row of mailboxes whooping and jumping around like a happy mad woman.

I made the changes - btw, the edits were done by sticky notes put on the pages that needed changing.  That was my first book It Only Takes a Spark.

Cool beans, eh?
My first book ever.
It came out in 1999.
It was my fifth completed manuscript.


More than a decade later, I sold my first book to Heartwarming.




This is my seventh book with Harlequin Heartwarming
It came out this month!!!!!
Go ahead, read the blurb.
Did Tom Riley arrest the wrong woman? 

For six years, the Sarasota Falls police chief has been hunting the cunning beauty involved in his partner's death. Now here she is, back in his New Mexico town, her face a match to the one on the wanted posters. But the woman Tom Riley knows as Rachel Ramsey insists her name is Heather Graves. 

Is Heather really as innocent as she claims? And what is he supposed to do about their undeniable mutual attraction? As his search for answers uncovers secrets in Heather's past, Tom realizes that Heather is the woman he most wants…

Buy me

27 comments:

  1. What a great story! Thanks so much for sharing, Pamela. I can picture you standing by the mailbox. :) Congratulations on your seventh Heartwarming!

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    1. It's true, and since I got off before five, everyone else was at work. No one saw me whooping.

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  2. I love the story, Pamela! We all followed different "plans," didn't we?

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    1. I'm still decided to a list with check-off to do. But, my list is really long and the checkmarks are getting rarer and rarer.

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  3. A great story Pamela and it really highlights the word ‘persistence’ which we all needed to get to our publishing goals. Congrats on your 7th Heartwarming! It sounds like a terrific read!

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    1. I "never" thought I would not get published. It was always a matter of time.

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  4. Dreams really do come true!! Thanks for this inspiring story. It gives me hope. And congratulations on book #7.

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    1. Laurie,
      Writing, as they say, is ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration.

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  5. Persistence for sure and how things have changed over the years. Congratulations!

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    1. T.R. you got that right. My second book was to Kensington and the editor emailed me asking for page 192 because she'd lost it during the editing stage. I had to snail mail it to her. one page. LOL

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  6. Night before last, I started reading The Woman Most Wanted. Yesterday evening, I decided to take a little reading break before digging into a paperwork project. Needless to say, the book is finished and the paperwork is not, because I couldn't stop reading until I knew all of Heather's secrets. So it's a good thing for me (if not my project) you kept on trying or I would have missed out on a great story.

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  7. I agree with Beth. Don't start this book unless you have time to read all night and finish it. Pam, it's a grabber. I think I assumed you'd sold your first attempt to Barbour. Glad you persisted.

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    1. Roz, you've always been my cheerleader :) Nope, I wrote a Star Trek, a vampire, a ghost, a time travel, and an angel story all before I sold to Barbour.

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  8. Such a cool story, Pam! Congrats on this latest release!!!

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  9. Love your story! Especially this--"never" thought I would not get published. It was always a matter of time." I truly believe you have to envision success. So glad you persevered.

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    1. I need to have that attitude for losing weight!

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  10. Love a good publication story. They all seem to come down to a lot of preparation and perseverance with an added dash or two of luck! Congratulations on your new release.

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    1. Perseverance is a key word. I'm a teacher, and boy do I wish I could open the top of my students' heads and pour it in.

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  11. Loved reading about your journey! Isn't it amazing the way we get here? I'm so glad you never got discouraged! You're book sounds amazing and I can't wait to start it. I also can't wait to hang out with you this weekend. :)

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    1. We're leaving at 3:00. We're going to do dinner Fri evening with Patti. Join us!

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  12. Wow. Times have so changed, haven't they? Dot matrix printer??? I'm just trying to imagine the stack of connecting pages. Love the story.

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    1. Hah, I know for a fact you had one too!!!!!

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  13. I love this story. All your energy was in it.

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    1. Shirley, I used to have endless energy. Now, my chores are just endless LOL

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  14. Pamela, love this story! Thank you so much for sharing this. I'm so glad that I'm not the only who didn't know anything before getting published. And I still feel like I don't know enough! Love your latest Heartwarming cover. Sounds like a fabulous story!

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