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My First Sale: Stephanie Tyler & Larissa Ione, When One...

Riding the StormLarissa Ione and Stephanie Tyler are the writing duo named Sydney Croft. The name is part Sydney Bristol, part Lara Croft and the story is all steamy action. Their first book, Riding the Storm, is due out September 2007. This is their story of how two action heroines, disguised as writers, made their first single title sale.

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websitelittle.jpgLarissa starts: Stephanie and I met online around four years ago. I don't even remember how we started critiquing, but somehow it happened. I'm pretty sure it was me who one day, out of the blue, said, "We should write something together!–? I think she thought I was nuts.

Steph continues: I thought Larissa was nuts. For the record, I still do. But sometime in February of 2006, we were both really getting impatient, both waiting to hear on individual projects that we'd submitted. So I sent her the first scene of a story I'd started back in back in September of 2006, the day that Hurricane Katrina hit and I was sitting helpless in New York, waiting to hear something about Larissa who was running from the storm. The scene featured a hero who was running from a hurricane. And she sent me an email back after she'd read the scene, the subject of which I'll never forget: T-Remy and Hurricane Trauma.

Larissa replies: Yes, my family and I had just lost everything we owned in hurricane Katrina, and she sends me a story about a hero who attracts hurricanes, and expects me to write the next scene. *rolls eyes* Of course, I did. Once the chapter was finished, I passed it back, and soon we had completed the novella, come up with ideas for two more novellas, and written a proposal for what we figured would be an erotic anthology.

Steph: We finished everything in just about two weeks, during which time we both sold individually, so we were already all pumped up. And so we sent two chapters to my agent on a Friday morning to see what she thought. By Friday afternoon, she'd emailed to say that she loved it and that she'd already put out feelers to publishing houses. By Monday morning, she had requests from about five houses. And that's when Larissa decided that she'd desert me and take a vacation to Germany.

Larissa: In my defense, the trip to visit a friend had been planned far in advance, so her cries of desertion are exaggerated.

tyler_lg.jpgSteph: Larissa put me in charge of making any necessary decisions regarding our joint project while she was away –" we made a joke of it –" I'll call you in Germany. And then Monday, one week from when the proposals were submitted, I got a call from my agent, who said that Bantam Dell made an offer. She said, they'd like you to turn the novellas into three single titles –" can you guys do that? I said, not a problem at all. I'd have agreed to actually sell Larissa to Bantam at that point. And then I picked up the phone and called Germany with no thought to the time difference or anything else.

Larissa: Do you see what I have to put up with? Anyway, I don't remember exactly what Stephanie said during that call, mainly because she was screaming and babbling, but the gist was that we'd sold our first single titles!

Steph: I remember being calm and collected. And despite being an ocean apart, Sydney Croft was born.

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. Kerry Allen
    Jul 27, 2007 @ 06:51:39

    This is my favorite “first sale” story yet. Too funny.

    Not the part abour losing everything to Katrina, of course… but the rest of it.

  2. Jaci Burton
    Jul 27, 2007 @ 07:47:49

    I love Larissa and Steph :-)

    Absolutely loved Riding The Storm too. Fantastic book.

  3. jaq
    Jul 27, 2007 @ 08:53:50

    lol. Just going by this first sale story, it easy to see that you guys make a perfect match-up! Cruisie & Mayer, watch out!

  4. Walt
    Jul 27, 2007 @ 08:59:23

    Two authors coming together as one…
    So, kind of like Voltron, only sexy!

  5. Beth Williamson
    Jul 27, 2007 @ 09:17:52

    I’m lucky enough to have an ARC of Riding the Storm, signed by both Larissa and Steph. The cover is hawt and although I haven’t finished it yet, I am completely in love with the book.
    The interview matches their personalities to a T – they are an amazing team!

  6. Bonnie Ferguson
    Jul 27, 2007 @ 09:49:22

    This is a fabulous first sale story! :)

  7. Janine
    Jul 27, 2007 @ 10:22:39

    What a great story! Thanks for sharing it.

  8. Cynthia Eden
    Jul 27, 2007 @ 12:49:49

    Great sale story, ladies! I can’t wait to read RIDING THE STORM!

  9. Larissa Ione
    Jul 27, 2007 @ 14:21:31

    Thanks everyone (and thanks, Ja(y)nes, for letting us share!)

    All kidding aside, Steph and I have a great working relationship — with nearly three books and one novella behind us, we haven’t even once come close to killing each other, so we figure we’re doing pretty good! :)

  10. Ann Bruce
    Jul 27, 2007 @ 14:27:17

    Cool. I love kick-ass heroines. Not a fan of Sydney Bristol (how are you susposed to be inconspicuous in a platinum blond wig?!?), but I LUV Lady Croft. Will have to keep an eye out when September rolls around.

  11. Barb
    Jul 27, 2007 @ 15:11:18

    What I dont understand one person commented they already read the story….Riding the Storm…. its not out until September.
    Thanks :)!

  12. Alyssa
    Jul 27, 2007 @ 15:53:32

    Barb, ARCs for this book were given out during the publisher book signing at this month’s RWA conference. In fact, it was one of the first books I got at the conference that I read.

  13. Karen Erickson
    Jul 27, 2007 @ 16:13:43

    Ah I feel lucky enough to have met Stephanie & Larissa in Dallas – you guys are too cool!! And I can’t wait to read the first Sydney Croft book.

    Thanks for sharing your first sale story.

  14. Patricia Sargeant
    Jul 27, 2007 @ 17:53:09

    Hi, Stephanie and Larissa. What an awesome first-sale story! I can’t wait to read Riding the Storm.

  15. Larissa Ione
    Jul 27, 2007 @ 20:05:47

    *waving at everyone I met in Dallas*

    Alyssa, thanks for answering Barb! Karen, every time I think of you, I think of your cover for Fairies and Wishes–it’s such a striking cover!

    Patricia, I have a pic of you from RWA…I can’t remember if I sent it to you or not, but I will!

  16. Stephanie Tyler
    Jul 27, 2007 @ 21:32:41

    Hi Everyone!

    Thanks for the awesome comments!!!

    And thanks to the Ja(y)nes for having us here :)

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