In 1995, my mother passed away after a long and difficult illness. In the weeks following her death I helped my father go through her records. We found a metal file box, and in that file box was everything I ever wrote. Every poem. Every scribble. Every version of every story. Every high school paper I appeared in. That discovery made me see what my mother always saw... I was an author. So, in January of 1996 I began writing. I finished a novel I called Gray Clouds (still unpublished), and began searching for an agent or publisher. I did have an agent for a few years, and he told me I had a lot of 'close calls' with publishing, but he never got me results, so I ultimately ended up going my own way. It was during the early 2000s ebook publishing really became the 'talk'. I was very leery. I mean, if my book was on a disk (which is how they were provided back then... mailed to you), was it really a book? I had a couple very good friends and critique partners who had already taken the plunge into ebooks, and had garnered contracts. So, I decided... why not?
At this point, I had finished my second novel Precious Things. It was a much better novel than Gray Clouds, so I did some research on the ebook publishers out there at the time and I submitted to a few. It was a Sunday morning when I received an email from Wings ePress, offering me a contract for Precious Things. I was thrilled! What a rush! I can remember breaking out in a cold sweat, but feeling my face burning at the same time. I ran back upstairs (I was downstairs making breakfast) and told my husband. I think I may have cried. :-) And so... my publishing journey began.
So very much has happened since then. Precious Things was published by Wings, as well as Tender Hearts. While I was busy promoting Precious Things, I was contacted by an editor for another house who had read my excerpts and liked my online presence. She wanted to know if I had anything else going on. At the time, I was just flirting with the concept of The Phoenix Rebellion, and I told her about it. My approach was different from most romance novels, so I wasn't holding my breath. But, she loved it... and my writing career bloomed!
Much has happened since then. I published, I ended contracts. I published others... the publisher went bankrupt. I opened my own publishing house. I suppose it all leads back to that one email on a Sunday morning. The seed that bloomed.
Precious Things has gone through a transformation since that first release. It's got a much better cover (don't even get me started on the horror stories of terrible cover art I've been given!) and the story has been revised just enough to make it better. And now, it's available again. I love Precious Things because it's the book I was told no one would read. I had several New York traditional publishing editors reject Precious Things, but their rejections inspired me. Every one of those editors said "I love your writing. It's clean and fresh, and the hero and heroine are great..." but, they always added in some way "No woman will ever want to read a romance novel with a handicapped hero. None."
I'm the type of person who better not be told what I can't do. Because I'll be the one looking over my shoulder saying "Watch me..." Benjamin Prescott Roth is deaf, born deaf. And somehow these editors believed that fact would reduce his worth to a reader to such a degree they wouldn't read about him. I could make the heroine deaf... that was okay... but not him. Well, they were wrong. Readers love Benjamin. Not because he's deaf or not deaf... but because he is who he is. The book isn't about him being deaf, but that is a real part of him and helped mold him. I couldn't just switch it over to Jewell!
Okay, I've gotten a little off track here. :-) Anyway, that first release -- that first published work -- is now and still available. This blog's theme is the fantasmic, but hey... I am what I am. :-)
Here's an excerpt. This is a brand new scene I wrote for the revisions. I think it's a good example of how taking away a sense heightens the others. This is from Benjamin's point of view after a chance 'outside the office' lunch meeting. Just to make sure it's clear, since you're kind of jumping into the story, Benjamin is oral and reads lips with great proficiency. His communication with Jewell is a mix of speaking, reading lips, and sign. All sign language is in italics.
BJ Robinson -- True Hidden Treasures Blog
Rating = 5 Stars