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

My First Sale by Larissa Ione

Larissa IoneWelcome to the My First Sale series. Each Monday, Dear Author posts the first sale letter of bestselling authors, debut authors, and authors in between. Larissa Ione is currently working on the bestselling Demonica series, an over the top, crazy, action filled and sexy take on paranormal romance. Her latest entry in the series, Ecstasy Unveiled, is a February Dear Author Recommends.


This is sort of my second "first sale" story here at Dear Author. I know-how did that happen, right?

See, three years ago, my first Sydney Croft book released, so my writing partner for the Croft books, Stephanie Tyler, and I talked about that sale, because it was our first.

Sort of.

It was our first single-title sale, but just weeks before that- (queue tinkly dream-sequence-flashback sound effects)

Ecstasy Unveiled by Larissa IoneHurricane Katrina had really messed up my life. We lost everything, and my son and I were living with my parents in Washington state while my husband stayed on his Coast Guard boat in Mississippi where he was still stationed. I'd gotten back up on the writing horse, and was working on the Croft project with Stephanie, and trying to figure out what I should do on my own.

(more tinkly music)

Several months earlier, I'd entered a short story in the Kensington Brava contest that was judged by Kate Duffy. I did very well in the contest, but didn't win. Still, Kate called to discuss what she liked and didn't like, and offered to take a second look if I revised.

So I did. And she didn't buy it.

But after Katrina, Kate, who was an incredibly generous person, offered a full manuscript critique to the high bidder in an auction that my friends and colleagues put together to benefit me (to this day, I still tear up when I think about how the romance community rallies when things get bad.)

I emailed her to thank her, and to my surprise, she asked for my phone number. Then she called, and we talked (well, I mostly babbled like an idiot) for nearly an hour about writing, the projects I had on my hard drive (I had evacuated with my laptop, thankfully) and she asked me to send her something.

She also told me to submit that novella she'd rejected to another publisher, because she believed it would sell. It wasn't right for her, but she knew it was right for someone.

So I sent her a proposal, and I'll never forget her words: "Damn, girl, you can write! But you can't plot for shit!"


Anyway, she didn't buy that story either, though she loved it, and she spent another hour talking to me to help me work out the plot issues. She believed in me, believed in my writing, and told me I'd better not ever give up. I said I wouldn't, and I told her that someday, I would sell something to her.

Not long after that, I got The Call. No, not from Kate Duffy at Kensington, but from Red Sage. They were who I'd sent that novella manuscript to. It was a Saturday, and on Monday I called Kate and told her I'd sold.

I seriously think she was as happy as I was.

So that was my first sale. Flesh To Fantasy (affiliate link) released in December 2006 in Secrets Volume 18.

And you know what? I did sell to Kensington. A few months ago, just before Kate passed away, I was invited to write a novella for them for inclusion in an anthology. Though Kate wasn't the one to buy it, I somehow think she had a hand in it.

Just like she had a hand in my very first sale.

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. Heather Holland
    Feb 01, 2010 @ 07:35:15

    It just proves it was meant to be, Larissa, and *I* for one am VERY happy about that, because I love those demons. :)

  2. Kris
    Feb 01, 2010 @ 08:27:33

    Wow, rough starts, but Kate sure sounds awesome and am glad you two broke through! In fact, the Demonica series is getting a lot of word – there are a lot of message boards and blogs on this that its crazy! And I like the world building around demons, angels, vamps, mix with creatures: there will never be a boring moment. I just bought Ecstasy Unveiled and can’t wait to read it!

  3. Carolyn Jewel
    Feb 01, 2010 @ 09:41:29

    Thanks for sharing your story. I do enjoy reading about people’s first stories. And I love the support and encouragement you got from Kate Duffy. Obviously, her belief in you was more than justified!

  4. katiebabs
    Feb 01, 2010 @ 09:51:32

    Major kudos to you Larissa! You have a wicked sense of humor that comes through your books. Love how demonic you are to your characters who you make suffer horribly.

    The publishing world is a much better place with you in it :)

  5. Theresa Stevens
    Feb 01, 2010 @ 10:27:18

    We’re very proud to have been the first to publish Larissa Ione, but we’re even prouder of her great accomplishments as an author.

  6. Larissa Ione
    Feb 01, 2010 @ 11:12:33

    Aw, thank you ladies so much! It’s been a crazy ride to get here, but it seems like it’s that way for almost every author. We’re so lucky to be doing what we love, and to have readers who are willing to spend time and money on us.

    I love this job!

  7. Ridley
    Feb 01, 2010 @ 11:29:59

    You rose a few notches in my estimation when you mentioned somewhere (maybe in the back of Passion Unleashed?) that you took your inspiration from Monster Manuals.

    I thought I was the only woman of a certain age to have a shelf of them.

  8. cheap r4i software
    Feb 01, 2010 @ 12:33:29

    I told all of my reading buddies about your books. I have yet to read any of Stephanie's books but intend to soon. I am behind the times-I don't Twitter, have a blog or Facebook or Myspace so hope I can still be considered for the prize.

  9. Michelle Willingham
    Feb 01, 2010 @ 12:36:48

    I’m so happy that all of your hard work has paid off! Nobody deserves success more, after what you went through with Katrina. ;)

  10. Viki
    Feb 01, 2010 @ 12:58:11

    Wow! It proves that there is always some good to go along with the bad. I am very happy for all of your success. Love those demons!

  11. Maili
    Feb 01, 2010 @ 13:35:15

    Oh, I remember that horrible time and the difficulties you and your family had during the aftermath.

    I was really pleased to learn you were finally published when I returned from a long absence from the rom community. A real bonus: I enjoyed your books, too. I shouldn’t be surprised because after all, who but you would come up with the long-running joke about The Day After wolves scenario?

    I’m truly glad you had Kate Duffy and others looking out for you as well. Congratulations! :)

  12. Melissa
    Feb 01, 2010 @ 14:36:27

    I am so glad you kept on trying Larissa because I love your Demonica series! I am part way through Ecstacy Unveiled and I am loving it. The way you manage to make this series so edgy and still have me as a reader be totally along for the ride shows how much talent you have. I have no clue what is going to happen next but I know it will be exciting. Thanks again and keep them coming!

  13. Larissa Ione
    Feb 01, 2010 @ 20:03:46

    Ridley, LOL — yeah, I have way more of those things than any normal adult should!

    Hi, Michelle and Viki! Thank you! Good to see you both here! :)

    Thanks, Maili! Man, those chupacabra wolves still crack me up when I see that movie!

    Melissa, thank you! Great to hear you’re loving Lore’s book! That demon gave me hell while writing it, but he finally shaped up in the end!

  14. Melissa (aka Mimmi)
    Feb 02, 2010 @ 10:15:13

    Awww…Larissa, awesome story ~~ how much Kate Duffy touched SO many wonderful writers lives. It’s amazing and touching that she meant so much to so many. And that you rose from the ashes of Katrina and are Kickin’ ASS, girl!!
    You’ve obviously learned to PLOT!! I can’t WAIT to see those Demons topping the NYT’s list!! It’s coming!!

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