Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

My First Sale by Joey Hill, the Story Witch

bio-head-shot.jpgI can’t remember which friend talked me into reading of Joey Hill’s book Natural Law. It is not the sort of book that ordinarily appeals to me. It features a type of sex that I had, in the past, believed to be quite deviant. The hero was a male submissive. It was a new type of romance called erotic romance and I wasn’t sure that was my cup of tea either. But upon the urging of another reader, I bought the book from Ellora’s Cave and quickly fell under the spell of the story witch. Her most recent release, The Vampire Queen’s Servant, is in bookstores now. It’s a book I don’t hesitate to recommend. It’s a fierce emotional story that will suck you in as soon as you open the book and won’t let you go, even after you are done.


The Vampire Queen\'s ServantI'd pulled into the driveway, coming back from an errand, when my husband brought me news that a small e-publisher had accepted my book, a fantasy romance. This was around 1999-2000, I believe.

When pursuing an important objective, I have a tendency to be like an Olympic long distance runner/hurdler. I achieve one hurdle and think ahead to the next without taking a breath to say "Wow, that's great, I made it over that hurdle!–? Therefore, when I got that news, I nodded, gave him a silly grin and felt a flutter of happiness. Then I thought –" "Okay, what's going to happen next? Where's the next hurdle?–?

Because of course at that time e-publishing was in its infancy. A lot of my fellow writers didn't follow in my footsteps, I suspect because e-publishing was considered in the same boat as vanity publishing –" not really a validation of your talent. But what I found intriguing in e-publishing was that it was taking chances on the cross-genres and new genres that the "big guys–? had said readers didn't really want. And since I was one of the many readers who DID want the things the big guys said I didn't, and those cross-genres and new genres were what I was interested in writing, I was willing to take the leap. I'm so glad I did.

That e-publisher eventually went out of business, but I'd also sold an erotic romance to another, separate e-publisher by that time. Then THAT e-publisher went out of business, and I admit I did start to doubt the course I'd taken. But the editor from the original e-publisher who'd accepted my fantasy romance had moved on to another e-publisher, and she contacted me and said, "I have a place for your homeless erotic romance. I'm working for this new e-publishing company and I think they'll love your stuff.–? That e-publisher did want my stuff, and they were Ellora's Cave Publishing, now a successful independent publisher who has been key to putting erotic romance permanently on the genre map. Such that I now have a solid backlist with EC, an agent, and two books coming out with Berkley Heat (one just hit the shelves on July 3, Vampire Queen's Servant).

So when I think back to that first letter, I guess what I feel is a great deal of respect for the small but vital steps that brought me so much closer to my goals. It reminds me a great deal of Joe vs. The Volcano, the crooked path Tom Hanks followed in his character's life to reach his primary goal. You have to believe in your destination. Just as your muse guides your work, often I believe it also guides your career path. Whether you succeed has everything to do with luck, faith/perseverance and talent (yes, in that order – but all three are critical).

In my mind, the big "WOW–? that eluded me in the driveway that first letter day will come when I do this full time, making enough money at it for my husband and me to feel like we are a stable "two income–? family. I'll also have the respect of my peers, and readers who are consistently willing to spend their time and money on my work. Oh, and world peace is achieved. Is that so much to ask? (chuckle)

If ever I'm blessed enough to meet all those writing-related objectives –" and to even think such a thought is greedy, with all the blessings I've already received – there will be a day I'll be sitting on my screened porch, with my IPod wailing a movie score or a gritty ballad in my ear to guide me through my character's emotions. Chocolate and diet soda will be at my elbow for essential nourishment. Suddenly, I'll come to a dead stop and think: "Oh my God. I'm a successful published author. Holy crap.–?

Then I'll get back to that draft, or the edits, or whatever deadline I'm supposed to be meeting. The next hurdle (lol).

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Sarah McCarty
    Jul 06, 2007 @ 08:20:13

    I have the Vampire Queens Servant in my TBR pile. Right at the top! It’s going to be my reward to myself for meeting my next deadline. Joey is an auto-buy author for me and has been since I read my first book of hers. I’m so glad she kept writing despite those initial obstacles and hope she keeps on for many years to come.

  2. Bonnie Dee
    Jul 06, 2007 @ 08:55:21

    “In my mind, the big “WOWâ€? that eluded me in the driveway that first letter day will come when I do this full time, making enough money at it for my husband and me to feel like we are a stable “two incomeâ€? family.”

    This really spoke to me, because that’s all I want to achieve with my writing, a simple, steady income. I’m happy with each success, but almost immediately assimilate them and move on, thinking, “Great. That’s done, but what do I need to do next?”

  3. Shiloh Walker
    Jul 06, 2007 @ 09:49:43

    Man, I love Natural Law. It’s one of my faves. Haven’t read The Vampire Queen’s Servant yet, but I’m going to soon.

  4. Caro Davis
    Jul 06, 2007 @ 09:54:49

    Having read Sarah’s post, I’m actually glad I’m not a writer with a deadline and can reward myself with VQS as soon as I get home tonight – or, heck – I don’t really need to eat during my lunch break, do I? Congratulations, Joey on the release of your first “big publisher” book and thank you EC for nurturing so many great talents (Sarah and Shiloh included)!

  5. Sarah McCarty
    Jul 06, 2007 @ 10:20:48

    Caro! That was just mean!! *grinning then frowning* You’re probably reading it already, aren’t you? So unfair!

    And yes, EC certainly gave many of us a opportunities we might not otherwise have had.

    Thanks for the compliment!

  6. Teddy Pig
    Jul 06, 2007 @ 11:47:44

    Natural Law was the first book I read from Joey Hill after it was reviewed on this site.
    It impressed me with how someone writing BDSM Romance had finally got it. The whole BDSM power exchange, the motivations and the reasoning and well it was dang hot too.

    I have read many other writers since that have tried their hand at the same territory but Joey Hill got it right.

  7. Charlene Teglia
    Jul 06, 2007 @ 14:50:07

    Go Joey! I dunno about world peace, but I’d say you are succeeding and have the respect of your peers.

  8. Gwen
    Jul 06, 2007 @ 23:53:34

    VQS is a truly amazing read. Very erotic, very sensual, and very… well… Jane said it best – FIERCE. I’m awfully glad Joey kept writing. Here’s hoping she doesn’t stop.

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