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


My First Sale by Nathalie Gray

My First Sale by Nathalie Gray

Nathalie Gray author photoWelcome to the My First Sale series. Each Monday, Dear Author posts the first sale letter of bestselling authors, debut authors, and authors in between. Nathalie Gray writes science fiction and paranormal romance, some of which have won awards (including an RT for best futuristic romance). Nat also creates cover art as Kanaxa. When she's not doing either of these things, she can be found in her impregnable fortress under the arctic ice sheet, plotting world domination.   Her latest stories can be found in The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2.


Thanks for letting me play! I promise not to say (too many) bad words. At the risk of sounding like a goof (which I am, and proudly, too), I began writing not at the tender age of two with crayons held in my chubby fist, but at the substantially less youthful age of thirty. By then, my hand was no longer adoringly chubby but rather well-worn from a career in the military and a brand new baby (they're hard on the hands, the little critters!). After taking stock of the dents in my wall from various encounters of the bookish kind, I foolishly decided that I could do this shit, I could write stories, better stories even, where heroines kicked Le Butt, and crushed the villain. Almost on a dare with myself, I began to write. Ten pages, fifty, six-hundred. I began to send these ridiculous and pitiable attempts to agents and publishers. Some of them must have taken pity, because I began to receive not only form letters, but personal rejections. I received *personal* rejections! Only writers enjoy those.

Mammoth cover high resIn June of 2005, five years after writing my first page, I sent my latest babbling to a publisher. Two weeks later, I received an email from a lovely editor whom I have since then dubbed Madame M., and could I please send the full manuscript.

Could I?!

I'm sure my neighbours remember that day as clearly as I do. So does my dog, no doubt. Unless you live in a strange neighbourhood indeed, it's not every day a gangly woman bursts out of the house, jeans rolled up from cleaning a flood in the basement and spiky hair a mess, waving a piece of paper quickly becoming limp and sad-looking as she dashes through hedges four houses down to her BFF so they can partake in squeeage and OMGitude.

Since then, I have sold books to Ellora's Cave (Hi EC, my very first publisher!), Red Sage, Samhain, Constable & Robinson, and Running Press. If my latest manuscript is accepted for publication, it will become my 40th title sold.

My First Sale by Grace Burrowes, Author of The Heir

My First Sale by Grace Burrowes, Author of The Heir

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. Grace Burrowes, The Heir, is in stores now.   You can find out more about Grace and her books at


Grace Burrowes, Author of The HeirFor much of my adulthood, I have been a very busy lady.

When my daughter showed up, I was working full time and going to law school five nights a week. I added single parenting to this schedule, then segued into running my own law practice, and all the time-’each and every day-’I toted around a romance novel wherever I went.

Every night, I had one by my bedside so when Beloved Offspring drifted off to dreamland, I could steal away from the day's frustrations and challenges between the pages of a good read. It is no exaggeration to say Judith Ivory saved my sanity, or Laura Kinsale, Sophia Nash and Mary Balogh ought to be among my daughter's honorary godmothers. Reading was my joy, sometimes it felt like my only joy.

But as offspring are bound to do, my daughter grew up (she is still growing up, but I try not get caught telling her this). I read more than ever. One night I was sitting in the law office after another day of domestic litigation thinking about going home to a place I now shared with dogs, cats and horses, and lo, into my head an Idea poppeth.

What if once upon a Regency time there was handsome, titled swain gone lamentably astray who meets a luscious damsel-?

Oh, what if..! Nobody ever had more fun putting 200,000 words on the screen. (I was mightily bummed when I realized half the MS had to go. I pouted for days.) For the next few years, I was writing sequels and spin-offs and prequels, and generally living for the moment when I could dash home and play "let's pretend" on my computer. And of course, then I'd turn off the computer and start reading another romance novel.

This folly went on unchecked for several years, but then (cue serious music) I turned fifty. "I am in my prime," says me to myself. "Women in their prime should quit dithering around in the privacy of their own messy kitchens and try to get their romance novels published."

I signed up for my local RWA chapter retreat and heard about pitching, synopses, and query letters, oh my, and morale in the Burrowes kitchen took a substantial hit. The next year I was ready though, so ready on the Friday night of the spring retreat I fortified myself with a ritual White Russian-’or was it two?

I was standing in line at the bar trying not to look like I'd rather be anywhere else and I noticed a lady in line next to me sporting a knitting bag.

ARGH! She was an editor. I recalled that much from the kick-off panel discussion. We made eye contact. She smiled. I prayed for the hand of God to pluck me into the sky, but instead I asked if I was allowed to pitch her.

This dear, kind, patient woman (you know her as Deb Werksman of Sourcebooks, Inc.) listened to me mix up my heroines, saw me blush into my White Russian, and generally suffered through the world's most pathetic excuse for a pitch. My dears, it was awful. Horrendous. It should go down in the annals of pitching as the bad example of all bad examples, forevermore.

"There's something in the way you talk about your books-." Said Deb. "Send me partials of your best three manuscripts."

People hate it when I tell them I sold to the first person I pitched to, but it's the God's honest truth. I figure this can only be the karmic pay off for reading thirty-five years of romance novels before my "overnight" pitching success.

What about you? Are you nurturing dreams for "some day," dreams that sustain you and keep you sane and help you cope with today?aten to bring the earl's orderly life crashing down-’and he doesn't know how he's going to protect her from the fallout-


Grace Burrowes is the pen name for a prolific author of historical romances whose manuscripts have so far won, finaled, or garnered honorable mention in Romance Writers of America-run contests in Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey, and Florida. Burrowes is a practicing attorney specializing in family law. She lives in rural Maryland and is working on her next book, The Soldier, set to release in July 2011.