Wednesday, August 29, 2012

From Writer to Author?

By H K Carlton (Guest Blogger)


I love to read. I don’t even remember the cognitive act of ‘learning’ how to read. It was just something I always knew how to do. I’ve found that most authors are voracious readers. It is a love of words and how you can string them together to paint a picture for someone else. To have your audience create in their own minds that scene you have envisioned from the beginning and to perhaps even feel the emotion those words were meant to evoke. As a writer there is no stronger praise than for your reader to feel your words.

I’ve always jotted things down but never really thought anyone else would be interested in my ramblings until this one particular idea wouldn't leave me alone. To make a long story short, (my editors would laugh at that statement, I’m kinda wordy) by the time I was finished I’d written my first historical romance. I knew this time was different. I’d really enjoyed creating and developing the characters; twisting and shaping the plot, taking it farther than I ever thought it would go. I asked my sister to read it. Which was a big step for me. I don’t think I’d allowed anyone to read my stories since creative writing class back in elementary school. But that’s something else I’ve found. Some writers are afraid of rejection, so we just don’t put ourselves out there; in the beginning, anyway. My sister liked it and she encouraged me to send it out. But she’s my sister, the one who has always had my back and encouraged me when I thought that I couldn’t do something. She’d tell me anything to make me feel good about myself. But, then again, she’d also never lied to me and she would never encourage me to do something that she knew in her heart I would fail at.

I decided to send out my first manuscript, all polished and pretty, or so I thought. I read up on the specific guidelines of potential publishers. And learned quickly that every publisher has a different set of requirements. Double-spaced or 1.5; Book Antiqua or Times New Roman font; first three chapters and final or the entire manuscript, saved as a .doc, .docx or .rtf... WTF!

And certainly always punctuated with the ever-daunting reminder that if even one of the specifications outlined are not followed, your work will be deleted without being reviewed. Then you wait. Anywhere from six weeks to ten months for a response, which can be even more unbearable if the publisher will not accept simultaneous submissions. Or worse yet, the publisher leaves you hanging in that state of angst-ridden limbo for a year and a half with several politely written if not error-filled e-mails (should have been my first clue right there) that 'your work has moved passed the first stage of review, however no decision has been reached, thank you for your continued patience'; until that patience runs out and you retract your submission out of pure self- preservation. (And then they don't even have the common courtesy to respond at all!) But I'm not bitter.

My manuscript was declined, once, twice, three times…

In the meantime I kept writing. I wrote a new historical romance from beginning to end. I started another story that took on a life of its own. I’m not even sure what genre it might fit into but I do know that if it sees the light of day, it will be a series. I wrote down anything and everything that came into my mind. I found the more I wrote down, the more room I had in my head for other stories to come through. It was like a flood of creativity. If I’d only known sooner.

Then I went through a period of not writing at all. I didn’t even read. I was so discouraged. What if I couldn’t cut it? Maybe I was not even a writer, so ‘author’ might just be unattainable. Maybe my stories only entertained me; perhaps they should stay in my head. But I’m lucky because I have some of the best cheerleaders in the world, in my children who also have great talents and big dreams that I pray someday they will also be fortunate enough to achieve. They wouldn’t allow me to give up. “Keep sending those manuscripts out, Mom, they’ll find a home.” My daughter even went as far as to find examples of famous authors who had been rejected in the beginning. A hundred times? Really? I didn't think I had the fortitude to struggle that long.

So, I sat down with my laptop and I started something completely different. Something I’d never done before. It wasn’t even my genre. It was so far out of my comfort zone that I didn’t even have the vocabulary for it. Who knew there were dictionaries and thesauruses for those kinds of words? Some I’d heard of, maybe even said a few times, some I’d never heard of and some I know that I will never use in my own writing. But I kept at it, finished it, polished it, did some much needed research and sent out my first erotic works to Total E-Bound for consideration, Chapters 1-3 and Final. And to my surprise I was asked to submit the entire manuscript. And to my utter disbelief and excitement I was offered my first contract to be published.

So, is that it? Is that the distinguishing bar that we must achieve to be considered an Author? I’m not entirely sure but it feels different. Knowing that someone other than your ‘sister’ might be entertained for a while by those carefully chosen words. Don’t get me wrong; I still have those ‘I’m not worthy’ moments and new author insecurities, more often than not. I am floundering my way through all these new things that I’ve never done before, from my first round of editing to the marketing and self-promotion. I'm second-guessing myself at every turn, but I love every minute of it. And maybe I’ve even shown my children that you’re never too old to chase your dreams. 

Oh and by the way, Muse It Up Publishing will release that ever-elusive first historical romance in February 2013. My kids were right. It found a home. And funnily enough the title is You Found Me. And thankfully it didn’t take me a hundred rejections.

There are so many people to thank. My sister and my kiddies, of course - they know how I love them. I have come into contact with so many incredibly talented and giving people, some that I will probably never have the good fortune to meet in person, but they have changed my life and helped me realise my dream. From the moment I hit that send button that took my manuscript to TEB things changed for me in a positive way. I was lucky enough to be paired with a fantastic editor, supportive and patient. She guided me, shared advice and made the whole process warm and fun. She put me at ease and made it seem like we were not thousands of miles apart. She is the best.

I was blessed with a gifted artist who created my very first cover and I could sense from our very first communication, that she was a fun-loving spirit. She just made me happy. I was thrilled to see my first cover, and she seemed genuinely excited for me. Her energy is contagious.

I feel like I have two new families. My TEB family in the UK and my Muse It Up family in Canada. Thank you all. I’m almost done gushing! I warned ya I was wordy.

And last, speaking of incredibly talented and giving people, I would like to thank Lisabet for having me as a guest at Beyond Romance today and for the great advice and never-ending patience with all of my questions and e-mails. I appreciate how open and available you are to new authors. You lead by example. Thank you.
 
You'll also be happy to know that I am a virgin at guest blogging. Yes, Lisabet, you are my first. ;) This starts a week full of firsts for me. I am honoured to share them with you.

Look for my debut Erotic Romance Swap Monday, October 1, 2012. But you can pre-order Swap and save 15% until September 3rd, 2012, when it becomes available to buy and download at Total E-Bound also at a discount.

Blurb

Hailey Hollinger has it all—a great husband, a fantastic career in journalism, good friends…and one hot brother-in-law who won’t stay out of her fantasies.

When Hailey Hollinger was eighteen she thought her boyfriend, Brent, was the best-looking guy around. That was until he introduced her to his older brother, Mike. From that moment on she had the biggest crush on him and he became the star of all her teenage fantasies. Hailey’s all grown up now and has been married to Brent for three years. They have great careers, a nice house—they enjoy life and each other. Everything is supposed to be perfect. Except for that pesky little infatuation with her husband’s brother has never completely gone away. A crush, by nature and definition, is supposed to be short-lived and should diminish over time. But, unfortunately for Hailey, it hasn’t, and it is beginning to mess with what she thinks should be perfection. And if her life is so great, why does she then find herself groping her brother-in-law in the cab of his truck like some sex-starved teenager? And the biggest question yet—why is he groping her right back?

Excerpt

He turned to face me and, to my surprise, he reached out and tucked my hair behind my ear. “You’re really lame, ya know?” He laughed at my expense.

And the eighties lines are alive and well. I know I’m lame, but you love me anyway,” I tossed his words from earlier back at him.

His smile slipped. “Yeah. I do.”

Something in his voice made every body part I owned turn liquid. In my head, I rushed to tell myself that he meant ‘like a brother’ and that he’d had a few beers, but his next words stopped my thought process cold.

You might be the only thing I’ve ever envied about my little brother.”

He moved his hand to the side of my neck and grazed my cheek with his thumb. Then his lips were there, hovering in front of mine as if he were seeking permission. My senses swam with the possibilities. I pounced, seizing what might be my only opportunity to kiss him. I didn’t hold back—he experienced the full-on, ravenous impact of years of worship and sexual fantasies that had run the gamut from sweet, innocent, eighteen-year-old’s kisses to the tantalising nocturnal fantasy that I‘d created just the night before.

I flattened my chest against his, trying to get inside his coat. He spun me around and nudged me onto the seat of the truck. I didn’t want to separate from his lips, afraid that if we lost contact, he would call a halt to this. So I fisted my hands into his shirt and hauled him in after me, opening my legs and welcoming him towards my heat. I crabbed toward the driver’s side, hitting the steering wheel, then released his shirt long enough to grope for the tilt-steering lever and pushed the wheel up to give us a little extra room. He was not a small man. The thought shot another little thrill through my already highly sensitised body.

He reached backward with one arm, trying to close the door, but I pulled him towards me with all my strength. I wanted to get as much as I could before he put a stop to this. I knew he would. He was too nice a guy to let this happen. What did that say about me?

Let me get the door,” he said against my mouth, his breathing choppy and heavy.

I released him for long enough that he could reach behind him. The door clicked and I didn’t even have to coax him back—he was there and kissing me as I strained to get closer to him. I could feel his erection digging into my wet heat through my jeans. I rubbed my aching cunt shamelessly over his rock-hard cock. I couldn’t stop the sounds of need that kept erupting from the back of my throat. I wanted him more than I’d ever wanted anything, and at this very moment I didn’t care about anything else. Not Brent. Not Cheryl. Not even the fact that I was probably making a fool of myself. There was one thing on my mind, and that was getting him into my body.


I pulled at the bottom of his T-shirt, moving it up his chest as he pushed at mine, his large, warm palm passing over my ribs. Skin met skin, but it wasn’t enough for me. I let him push my T all the way up, exposing my bra. He smoothed his hand over me, cupping my breast. I pushed myself into his hand. My nipple pearled in his palm. He gave me a soft squeeze as he hunted around back for the hooks, but the bra had a front clasp. I made a protest into his mouth as I directed his hand back around to the front. He undid my bra, setting my breasts free, and he moved his mouth from my lips, down my neck, finally fastening around my nipple.

I moaned at the sensation, arching my back, giving him full access. He growled in return and I wanted to laugh out loud. This was incredible. He swirled his tongue, making me tighten even more—not only my nipple, but deep down inside me. The sensation of his lips and tongue around my breast coupled with his erection pulsing between my legs. I could almost imagine he was inside me. If not for the goddamn clothes between us, he would be. I wanted it. I wanted it now.


Author Bio and Links

H K Carlton lives in Canada with her hard-working hubby and three fantastic children. She loves to read. She is learning to Blog and Tweet but would much rather be writing. She is currently working on a contemporary romance and a family saga series.

Swap (Erotic Contemporary Romance) October 1, 2012
Pre-order Swap and save

Watch for Lost Time (Time-Travel Erotic Romance) February 25, 2013 Total E-Bound

You Found Me (Historical Romance) Muse It Up (February 2013)



Contest Giveaway


Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a $10 Total E-Bound gift certificate. Good luck, everyone! Don’t forget to leave an e-mail address with your comment. I'll announce the winner on August 31, 2012.

50 comments:

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Heather,

Welcome to Beyond Romance, and huge congratulations on your first release - the first of many, I hope.

I do wonder about the resolution of this story. I'd be surprised if Hailey left Brent for his brother... stuff like that tends not to happen in romance. Guess I'll have to read the book!

Maggie Nash said...

HI Heather!

Congratulations on your releases. I am truly a believer that some books need to find their home, and some take longer than others, so I'm so pleased that your historical found it's own.

Swap sounds very intriguing and like Lisabet, I'm dying to know how it all works out!

Keep up the good work :-)

Maggie

Victoria Blisse said...

Congratulations on being published, it's a great buzz isn't it? I remember my first steps into the published world and blimey, it's daunting. It is also rather addictive. Here's to great success with your titles and more and more acceptance letters/emails! Keep writing! Oh, and if you want a guest blog spot at my place you're always welcome!

victoria AT victoriablisse. co. uk

Marian L said...

Congratulations, HK. The excerpt drew me right in. Can't wait to read the whole book.

mcv said...

That was a totally hot excerpt! Congrats on your publication and I would be interested in reading Swap and You found Me. I especially love historical romance.
mcv111 at hotmail dot com

Author H K Carlton said...

Thank you so much, Lisabet for having me at Beyond Romance today.

I'm glad Swap has tweaked the interest from the comments so far.

I've found that stuff like that doesn't work out in real life either.

Author H K Carlton said...

Thank you Maggie. My historical is near to my heart so I too am thrilled that it has found its place.

Bellina said...

I could feel your pain, H K. It's so hard waiting for that email from the publisher! Now that you are off and running, I hope you keep writing and submitting. It gets easier, and you get more savvy. Lisabet does lead by example. She's a gem. Nice post, a yummy way to start my morning.

Author H K Carlton said...

Thank you, Victoria. It is a great buzz! But intimidating too. And thank you for the invite for a guest spot. That's fantastic.

Author H K Carlton said...

Thank you Marian, I'm so glad you enjoyed the excerpt.

Author H K Carlton said...

Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt. I love historical romance too. Just a little tease, You Found Me is about brothers too. Hmmm, I see a trend.

Author H K Carlton said...

Thank you so much. The waiting is difficult, but I think we have it so much easier now than even just a few years ago when the whole process was by snail mail? I can't even imagine. I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt.

Booksrforever123 said...

Congrats on "finally making the big time". I've now another author to check out and devour.

Rhonda D said...

Thank you for steaming up my morning. That was one hot as hell scene. I can't wait to read the book. I am glad you stuck it out and kept trying to get published, even if it was a pain and your first experience sucked. Thanks for sharing your story and for the awesome blurb and excerpt.

Author H K Carlton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Author H K Carlton said...

I'm glad I stuck with it too, it really is my dream. Thank you so much Rhonda, my pleasure to steam up your morning. Have a great day!

Author H K Carlton said...

Thank you. That sounds awesome to be included with your other go to authors. I hope you enjoy. Devour away.

orelukjp0 said...

Swap sounds great. Thank you for the wonderful excerpt.
I'm glad you listened to your sister and also kept on trying.
Congratulations on your firsts.

Author H K Carlton said...

Thanks so much. It is an exciting time. I'm happy you enjoyed it. I'm glad I listened to my sister too. She's never steered me wrong.

Christy McKee said...

Wow! Your excerpt certainly got my morning off to a "hot" beginning. I want to see how this relationship plays out. Could it end in a menage, an affair or a divorce? I hope not the latter, but then it does happen.
Congratulations on your first of many. My first came out two weeks ago. It's a real rush!

Christy McKee
http://christymckeewriter.blogspot.com

Author H K Carlton said...

Thanks Christy. I'm happy Mike and Hailey kick started your day. Congratulations on your release! And many more!

authorjenwright said...

Congrats HK! Loved the excerpt, very HOT :) I'm glad you stuck with it - kids and sisters are the best. Good luck!

Jen
jwright3571@gmail.com

Author H K Carlton said...

Hi Jen. Thank you. You're so right. Can't go wrong with that group behind me. Glad you liked the excerpt.

ilona said...

Congratulations on losing your guest blogging virginity ;) and on the release of your book, I loved your excerpt too.

ilona
felinewyvern at googlemail dot com

Author H K Carlton said...

On that note, is this where I ask, was it good for you? ;)
Thanks ilona, I'm pleased you enjoyed it.

Adriana said...

Congratulations on your release - AND on hanging in there and never giving up. Very steamy excerpt, well done - like Lisabet, I, too, am way curious how this will all work out!

Adriana

Colleen C. said...

Congrats HK! Wishing you the best with your releases! :)
Great first blog post!

hotcha12 said...

CONGRATS SWEETIE!! ALL THE BEST!

lindarb49@hotmail.com

Author H K Carlton said...

Thanks Adriana. Its great to stir your curiosity. I hadn't realised this was such a provocative subject. I'm curious to know what readers will think.

Author H K Carlton said...

Thanks so much Colleen.

Author H K Carlton said...

Thank you and thanks for stopping by.

desitheblonde said...

hi well the book it self sound great and then you never know it could end up good or bad or could it be 2 on one but congrat on the book and hope it goes great for you

desi the blonde a t msn dot com

Jen B. said...

Well, heck. I promised no more new authors on my wish list. That promise lasted less than 5 minutes! Lisbet's request to stop by and say hi made me click the link. And the blurb and excerpt! Holy moly! And wow! I love that you wonder where the line is between author and author! Life is like that. Congrats on getting published and I hope you have many successful years as an author! ;) jepebATverizonDOTnet

PamelaTurner said...

So glad to hear you didn't give up on your writer's journey. Understand what it's like to endure the highs and lows, but persistence is what separates the "writers" from the authors. Congratulations on your upcoming releases!

Author H K Carlton said...

You are right, it could go any which way. Thank you for the good wishes, desitheblonde.

Author H K Carlton said...

Thank you Jen B. Holy moly and Wow...Ahhhh, I'm on a wish list!! This is the best day! I'm so glad you clicked that link and that you enjoyed the excerpt.

Author H K Carlton said...

Hi Pamela and thank you. I'm so pleased you stopped by. I'm thinking the lows, make the highs that much sweeter.

Tameka said...

Congrats on the release of your new book. Nothing more scandalas than a little family love. Lol I would to find out which brother our gets at the end.
rasco630@yahoo.com

Donna Gallagher said...

Congratulations on your release and your first guest blog stop. After reading the excerpt will be adding Swap to my must read list. Wishing you many sales and future release dates.

Author H K Carlton said...

Thanks Tameka. Share and share alike, that's what I say. And isn't that what mom's always try to teach their sons? LOL.

Author H K Carlton said...

Thank you so much, Donna, so good to 'see' you here. Wishing you the same!

booklover0226 said...

Congratulation on your upcoming releases, H.K.

The excerpt was great and I'm ready for more! I look forward in reading Swap and your other works.

Thanks,
Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Bobbi said...

The excerpt was hot! Thanks for sharing, and I look forward to reading the entire story.

Bobbi

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the book release--it sounds hard-won and well-deserved! Sounds like a hot and intriguing story...

vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

Author H K Carlton said...

Thank you, Tracey, I'm glad you liked it.

Author H K Carlton said...

Thanks Bobbi, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Author H K Carlton said...

Thanks for stopping by and the kind words.

Julianna said...

Thank you for the backstory--wish you well!

tsukito34[at]yahoo[dot]com

flchen1 said...

Congratulations on your debut, HK! I'm glad you persevered and I'm looking forward to picking up your story!

f dot chen at comcast dot net

laura troxel said...

Congratulations on your first book!!! I always enjoy finding new book and authors. Cant wait to start readiing your books.
lauratroxel@yahoo.com

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