Welcome to the My First Sale series. Each Monday, Dear Author posts the first sale letter of bestselling authors, debut authors, and authors in between. Last week we featured a few of the debut Carina Press authors and this week, we’ll feature a few more (they all were supposed to go in the same post but somehow I screwed up, not surprisingly). Welcome more debut Carina Press authors!
Dark and Disorderly by Bernita Harris. Release date: June 28, 2010.
My timid attempt to interest various agents in the manuscript of DARK AND DISORDERLY were cut short in the fall of 2008 by my husband’s cancer diagnosis and immediate hospitalization. After he died that winter the novel remained ignored on my hard drive while I dealt with pain and loss and all the dreary official protocols surrounding death. Even now, it is impossible to write about those long months without tears. I do not think I have to say he was brave throughout it all–and he was beloved.
Then I read, here on Dear Author, about Carina Press, and that Angela James would be its executive editor. I have always admired Angela; and further, I thought that a digital first imprint might not automatically dismiss my meager e-pub credits. I sent off my novel at the end of the old year, half in hope and half in expectation that a rejection would arrive coincidental with the anniversary of my husband’s death.
So when Angela phoned to offer a contract with Carina, I cried.
DARK AN DISORDERLY, the Adventures of Lillie St. Claire, will be released June 28. He would have been so proud.
Her Heart’s Divide by Kathleen Dienne. Release date: June 21, 2010.
I finished writing my novella in January. Carina Press was my first choice, because I wanted to digitally publish. (Okay, and to be honest, because I thought they would be the only ones willing to take a chance on such a niche-busting story.) The website said I’d hear back in six to eight weeks, but lots of publishers say that with six months being the reality. I polished the submission package until I could see my own reflection in the email, BCCed myself so I could see how the package looked to recipients, and hit submit. Good thing I do that, too, or I might not have realized that I had forgotten to attach the manuscript.
That was a low moment.
Fortunately, humiliation is something I’m used to, and it doesn’t stop me. I resubmitted with a sheepish note, and to my surprise, Angela herself emailed me back with a laugh and reassurances that no one would ever know unless I told them.
I marked my calendar for the middle of May as a tentative date to write for a status check, and moved on. When my phone rang on the afternoon of February 11th, I answered without thinking. Angela introduced herself, and said she’d never read anything like my story, and wanted to offer me a contract for it. I do not know what her exact wording was, because my brain turned off. I just stood there in total silence for a minute. What I remember best was that I was holding the phone in my left hand because my right hand was covered in peanut butter. (Free range toddler.) Then I shrieked and babbled at the poor editor. I do not have any recollection of what I said.
I must have said yes, because I’ve got excellent memories of everything that’s happened since, and every bit of it has been wonderful. I hope you enjoy the story.
Captive Spirit by Liz Fichera. Release date: June 28, 2010. (reposted from last week due to not being included in original post).
I don't do normal. My publishing and creative writing life has been nothing but abnormal. For example, I have a fab NYC agent but I have had difficulty selling my young adult novel. I learned pretty quickly that YAs that don't contain the words boarding school, vampires, werewolves, fairies, or zombies are not exactly being zapped up by editors like hotcakes at the moment. So, while I watched my beautiful YA novel get rejected over and over, I decided to write something completely different. I wrote a historical romance novel. It included all of the things I love: Native American characters, epic themes, suspense, a love story, and an American Southwestern setting. CAPTIVE SPIRIT was born. It sat in my laptop for almost a year until I was sure it sparkled. Then last January, I saw a tweet from Angela James at a hip, innovative new imprint called Carina Press. She tweeted, "Send us your historicals! Our editors want historicals!" And so I did. Two months later, Angela offered to buy CAPTIVE SPIRIT. I couldn't be happier to have my story with a publisher who isn't afraid to shake up the traditional publishing model. To read the first chapter of CAPTIVE SPIRIT, click here. To visit my web site, click here. And, for those of you who love book trailers as much as I do, click here.