It’s my first book’s third birthday, and my third book’s second birthday. WOOOOHOOOO! Such cute little things, filled with deep, cold powder and hot, steamy sex.
I can’t believe it’s been three years already since Just Friends came out. So much has happened since I stumbled into this wonderful career: awards, reviews that touched my heart, a core group of writing friends who make my life, career, and work better.
It’s funny because when I started writing my very first romance (Which was not Just Friends. It was another novel that I rewrote four times before throwing it in the garbage.), I never thought it would be a career path. I was just trying to entertain myself.
I had blown out my shoulder and couldn’t bike or ski or kayak or dance, or do any of the fun things my husband and I normally did on the weekends. One day, an idea for a romance novel struck, and I started writing.
Then I realized how much I liked it. And that I would much rather be writing romance novels then marketing copy and non-fiction — which is what I’d been doing for the 15 years prior.
Just Friends started out as sub-8000-word short story I wrote in response to a call for submissions for an anthology by the Romance Writers America. I didn’t think it would get published, since they needed eighteen stories and had a few thousand submissions. But it gave me a reason to try writing short stories, and a deadline (I do love a good deadline.).
A little more than a year later, I found out my short story was not chosen for the anthology. Rereading it, I realized I could make it much better—especially without the word count restriction. So, I did.
At that point, it was still more an exercise in learning to write fiction than writing a story with an eye towards publication. Then, at a writer’s conference, I discovered a publisher interested in stories as short as 10,000 words. So, I pitched it, the editor expressed an interest, and I submitted.
I’d hoped for a custom rejection letter with some great feedback to help me improve my writing skills. Instead, I got offered a publishing contract.
What an amazing moment! Major validation that my writing was good enough, and my stories something people might actually want to read. Plus, I was about to be a published author!!
It didn’t take me long to realize that having one short novella, digitally published, did not a career make. So, I wrote the next two, longer novellas in the Emerald Mountain ski romance series.
Where Just Friends was a friends-to-lovers story with tons of sexual tension, In Deep reunited two lovers in the high-stakes world of ski patrol. And Never You stuck a wounded, prickly heroine with an too-sexy-for-his-own-good, smartass chef in a backcountry ski hut for a classic enemies-to-lovers tale.
These gave me a chance to explore different themes, and tropes, and personalities. And further hone my craft. But if it hadn’t been for that one little short story, I would not have three novellas and a boxed set published. And I certainly would not have just landed an agent.
I have no idea where my career will go from here, but I’m excited for what the future might hold. And I have my first book baby to thank.
Happy Book Birthday, Just Friends and Never You!