By John Lovelady
I’ve been writing for a fair number of years and you would think had learned by now to take the down times in stride -- and pretty much, I do.
But our egos are fragile and as writing markets deteriorate and change under our trembling fingers, even a relatively stable writer can be shaken. Like one of those bottom-heavy rocker dolls, being knocked one way, however, can also send you swinging back the other way. Especially with a cheering section that emails you daily to keep at it, don’t let rejections get you down, keep a stiff upper submission file, etc.
It is the season for thanks, and I do so, gratefully and gladly, RWA/NYC. For though the good wishes and good hopes and good solid advice are always a balm -- sometimes it even leads to a sale.
And a cover.
And for the first time, I have a cover with my erotic pen name in big type. Another step along the rocky road that we all travel.
I can’t even find the original email now, but in September, someone sent out a link to a Dreamspinner Christmas Anthology call for submissions. The holidays almost upon us. I write better under pressure. Well, maybe not better, but I do tend to respond to the impetus of a definite deadline. Dreamspinner does “quality M/M romantic fiction.” I can do quality M/M.
So I hustled a quality couple of cute, quality stories out, -- one M/M, one M/M/F/F/M feeling very proud of myself for finally getting a hustle on and being extremely clever under pressure, and after a couple of weeks they just as quickly hustled a “your stories do not fit our publication needs” right back to me. So much for my hustling ability.
But somehow the chorus of positive thinkers in the back of my head and glaring at me from my emails spurred me on and I hustled on over to Erotica Readers and Writers Association, and, lo, there was another call for a Christmas Anthology from Evernight, a new epublisher of quality erotic romance. So, not expecting much -- so much so, that I didn’t even rewrite extensively, which is what I always do whenever I re-read a story of mine -- the two qualities were sent on their way, feeling not quite so cute.
Within hours, THE MAGIC COPY MACHINE was accepted. The contract was attached. The editor would be getting in touch. I stared at the computer screen. Thanksgiving was coming early.
Within a few more hours, the assistant emailed the editor’s initial comments. She basically wanted a different story -- a much cuter idea. The turkey was quickly growing cold. I had not worked with an editor in decades. I suggested the second submission, TRICKSY THE CHRISTMAS ELF, which was much simpler with fewer characters and could therefore, it seemed to me, more easily be bent in whatever direction she wanted the story to grow.
BL Brown, the editor, agreed, and we began the astonishing process of Word’s Track Changes, which I had never used before and which, it appears, appears differently on different computers and I was moving between PC and Apple and different OS’s.
Other than cutting my heart out at one point -- that’s a joke, remember I said I had not dealt with editors in decades -- BL brilliantly, and quickly led Tricksy through to a cleaner, crisper and much cuter Christmas caper.
That was satisfying enough, but expecting to be one story among many, I was totally surprised when it turned out ‘TWAS A DARK AND DELICIOUS CHRISTMAS was to be split in two and mine was one of three in the Man Love edition. Hence, the cover. With Troy Storm’s name prominently inscribed.
So…Happy Holidays everyone. Thanks for the good cheer during good times and not so and bless those manuscripts, every one. ♥
TWAS A DARK AND DELICIOUS CHRISTMAS will appear on the EvernightPublishing.com website December 1st. As Troy Storm (and numerous others), John Lovelady has been eroticizing straight, gay and bi romances for decades. As Elizabeth Maynor, NEVER LOVE A NAKED P.I., a romantic intrigue, has been available on Hardshell.com and Amazon for almost as long. The Trues don't give writer by-lines. John/Troy/Elizabeth has been a member of RWANYC for almost as long as he's been published and has judged manuscripts for both RWANYC and RWA National.