Tag Archives: publishing

How a Sassy Southern Gal and Aloof New York Man Made it to Publication (almost)

Drawn to Her: Southern Heat book 1...coming in April

It’s taken some time to get Southern Comfort, now renamed Drawn to Her, ready for publication. But all of a sudden, things have picked up. The cover is nearly finished. I just received an ARC to proof. My publisher has posted the blurb for Drawn to Her online. The release date is set for April 12. Now it’s time to get the word out!

What started out as a little story idea I jotted down nearly ten years ago, is about to enter the world!

Just for fun, I thought I’d share the history of Drawn to Her:

  1. The idea: I can’t actually remember how the idea for this story came about, but it’s probably because it was so long ago. The original story had a scene in which Drake Carmichael (the male lead) has a phone line installed into his grandfather’s home so he can access the Internet (way back when you needed to attach the computer to the phone line to get online). Eventually it was changed to DSL and in this final release, he uses his phone as a hot-spot. But as you can see, this story started long ago. So long ago, I was a little worried it end up being a historical romance.
  2. The completed work: When I sent the three chapters to the first publisher, the book was a very rough draft. In fact, it wasn’t even done. I finished it in about 3 weeks, hoping she’s ask for the full manuscript. My effort paid off, when she asked for the full manuscript about 4 weeks after that.
  3. The rejection: The editor of the first publishing company was very positive, which is probably why I let it sit for two years while I waited for a response. In that two years, I published at least three, maybe even four, of the Valentine stories.
  4. The agent: Two months before I received a rejection from the first publisher, I submitted it to an agent. I figured an agent would have an easier time getting a response from a publisher. Plus, if it didn’t sell to the current publisher, the agent could get it out to other publishers.
  5. The fix: After the rejection, my agent sent back ideas for making the book better. New scenes were added. Old scenes were fleshed out, cleaned-up and improved.
  6. The sale: During the summer, while on a family reunion in the Outer Banks, I got the call. Penner Publishing wanted to buy this book, as well as two others in a series. Whoop!
  7. The fix number 2: Although I thought the book was in pretty good shape, first round edits came back in November with several suggestions to improve it. So after a few more tweaks, it went back to the publisher.
  8. Approaching the release: I received mock up of the cover last week, and was very excited about it (you’ll need to stay tuned for the reveal). I also got the release date (April 13). This week I received a copy of the book that had a few more edits and questions, which I dealt with and sent back the next day. Today, I received the mobi ARC to proof. This is exciting because it’s the completed book, with formatting, drop caps and all the stuff that makes it look like a book, instead of a Word doc. I’ll review the ARC this weekend and send back.
  9. Gearing up for release: What many people may not know is how much work goes into the marketing a book, particularly the release. There are reviews to get, tours to arrange, and buzz to build. The next few weeks will be busy, but I’m excited. Finally, my sassy southern belle and cool, aloof New Yorker will make it into the world.

Summer Lovin’ and Fun

sweethartesI’ve had a crazy, busy summer, and have ambitious goals for the fall and winter! To finish the summer, I thought I’d have a little fun by having a giveaway for my Sweet Hartes. Not a Sweet Harte? No worries. You can join in the fun for free. I answer your questions, give sneak peaks to upcoming books, have giveaways and more. Visit the Sweet Hartes at Facebook to join now! Then be sure to stop by to see what sorts of fun and goodies will be going on in August.

More news….

I announced on Facebook, that I just received a 3-book deal on my Southern Heat romance series. The first book, Southern Comfort, was the book that sat at Harlequin for nearly 2 years (1 yr, 11 mos, 3 weeks…but who’s counting)! Luckily, during the wait I got an agent, beefed up the book and sold it to Penner Publishing! Southern Comfort will be released in January, at which point book two, Southern Persuasion will be due. The third book, Southern Conflict (I may ask to change that title), is due in July.

I’m very excited to have received this deal. Unfortunately, it puts off more Valentine books for a time. My goal is still to have To Love, Honor and Betray: Valentine Book 5 published in September as well as a Christmas Valentine short story in December. I have several other book ideas for the Valentines, but with the three book deal at Penner, I need to get the other two books written. Plus I have a new idea for a cozy that I’m eager to write (probably for NaNoWriMo).

Here is a picture of fall/winter writing schedule:

Jenna Harte Fall 2015 Writing Schedule

It’s a little ambitious, but I can write fast when I clear my schedule and I know what I want to write. I know you might be questioning this as it has taken forever for Valentine 5 to get finished. That has been partly busy schedule and partly plot issues. But starting in August, I’m making a big push to get it done and to my editor before the end of the month.

So that’s it for now… I’m off to write and when it’s time for a break, I hope I’ll see you in the Sweet Hartes group.

Best Laid Plans… and other Truths of Writing

First, a big thank you to fans who are eager, yet patient about the release of the next Valentine book. My plan was to have it ready for you Valentine’s day, but editing is going very slowly. However, I’m still working on something special for Valentine’s day, so you might be seeing an excerpt and perhaps some other goodies…(chocolate?)

The truth is, even when self-publishing, writing, editing, publishing takes a long time. Once I’m done fixing the book, I have to get it to my editor, who’ll need a couple of weeks. Then there is formatting and cover design, etc. However, I will say that traditional publishers take forever. In February, it will be two years since I sent the full manuscript of Southern Comfort (per the editor’s request), and I still haven’t heard anything except, “We’re sorry it’s taking so long. We’ll be in touch soon.” In November, I secured the services of an agent, who got the same response from the publisher. Fortunately, the agent can submit it to other places in the mean time. It’s been a real exercise in patience.

In November, I submitted the Delecoeur prequel, now called Worth the Risk, to Hachette’s Forever Yours ebook line. The auto response email said I’d hear in four weeks. Admittedly, it wasn’t a good time to submit as it was a week before Thanksgiving. However, it’s now been eight weeks and even with a little nudge last week, I’ve heard nothing.

So what’s a writer to do? Keep writing of course. I have several projects (including Valentine book 5) in the works and new ideas percolating. I think 2015 is going to be a good year.

 

Old Flames Never Die, A Sneak Peek

UPDATE – The sneak peek to Old Flames Never Die was removed to meet TOS of Amazon’s KDP Select program. Old Flames Never Die is now available for purchase for $2.99 at Amazon.

 

Last week I sent the complete manuscript of Old Flames Never Die to my editor, which means it will be ready for publishing very soon. For those of you who’d like a little sneak peek of what’s to come in book 2 of the Valentine Mysteries, I’ve got a treat for you! You can read the first few chapters here: Old Flames Never Die Sneak Peek

I’m still working on the blurb, but so far I have:

Tess Madison is jobless, homeless and hopelessly in love with the sexy, blue-green eyed Jack Valentine. But their new love is put to the test when the husband of an old flame of Jack’s is murdered. Jack thinks she innocent and vows to help her. Tess isn’t so sure and with the help of her friend and Jack’s nemesis Det. Daniel Showalter, she joins the investigation. Now Tess is pitted against Jack and as they each seek answers, not only do they put their love at risk, but their lives as well.

I’ve got a mock up of the cover as well. It still needs work and I haven’t bought the art yet, but here’s a peek at what’s created so far.

By the way, Deadly Valentine, book one in the Valentine Mysteries is now available for Nook, other ereader formats, and in print.

If you have any feedback, please let me know. You can comment below or contact me here.

Taking a Risk and Stepping Into the Unknown

About two weeks ago, I came a across a Tweet that said Harlequin was having a pitch challenge for its Blaze line. If you don’t know Harlequin, it’s a company that publishes category romance books every month. One of its lines is Blaze, which according to Harlequin is its sexiest line. I have a draft of a romance that I thought I might pitch to Harlequin (at the time I was thinking of its Desire line…one hot notch down from Blaze), but Harlequin submission rules still require snail mail and I hadn’t gotten myself organized to put together a complete package with SASE. But the Blaze Pitch Challenge said to email a one-page synopsis and first five pages, so I thought, why not. Actually, my thinking process was something like:

“I should do that”
“But my manuscript is only a rough draft. Maybe it’s not ready to pitch”
“What the heck, you can’t win if you don’t try”
“Ugh, I have to write a synopsis, which are 100 times harder than writing a novel”
“It’s just one page. Give it a go.”

Whew. So on the last day for submissions, I sent a one-page synopsis and first five pages of “Southern Comfort”, a straight forward romance about a sassy, feisty southern gal and brooding, but hot New York guy.

I’ve never done anything like this before, and while I’ve read many Harlequin books, I don’t know much about its editors or writers. And yet, I felt pretty good about what I submitted. Perhaps it was the universe rewarding me for taking a risk, because on Friday afternoon I got an email saying my submission was one of five selected to participate in the pitch. Whoop!

But then I thought, “I don’t know how to pitch through conversation.” The Harlequin Pitch Challenge uses online chat to converse with editors. I’m nervous mostly because I don’t know what to expect? What questions will be asked? How much of the book actually needs to be done? (Only about 1/3 of it I’d feel comfortable letting someone else read. The rest is just too rough and some scenes aren’t written yet). What will the editor want to know about the characters and plot. Will I be able to convey plot succinctly? How are pen names managed (I submitted using my real name, but let the reviewers know that I used a pen name). The email I received on Friday indicated that I’d get further details this week and I hope that means I’ll be able to prepare.

So now I’m editing two books, “Old Flames Never Die”, book two in the Valentine series, and “Southern Comfort” so I have something to send should the editor ask for it on Wednesday. And because it’s the Blaze line, I have to up the hot factor, which is harder than you might think. But I’m up for the challenge.

I feel a little stressed out with so much going on, but then I think, “Hey, this must be what it’s like to be a real writer!”