My books-volume two!

26 Jan

Once I discovered RWA, I promptly joined, just as I always encourage anyone who wants to write books. You don’t have to aim for ‘romance’ to join, you can still benefit from their conferences and networking. Anyway, one of the first communications I received from them was a flier for their national conference to be held that year (1989) in Boston. I thought, ‘oh that’s nice’ and put it aside, thinking I couldn’t possibly afford it. But then, I investigated further and discovered a Regency workshop featuring Edith Layton, Barbara Hazard and Joan Wolfe, moderated by then-Signet editor Hilary Ross. OMG!

If those four women were to be in one room at one time, and there was any possibility that I could be there, also, I certainly had to try for it. With a good bit of help from a good friend, I made it! I loved every minute of the conference, learned a lot, and made many, many new friends. It was totally fabulous!

An interesting side venture, however, really captured my attention. One of the bigger publishers at the time was sponsoring a contest. This particular line was short contemporary romance – complete with sex scenes. I was quite certain I’d never be able to write such a thing, but their offer really grabbed me! They would read ANY manuscript received at their office during the six weeks following the close of the conference. Of course, the manuscript had to be suitable for that line, and the winner would be offered a contract. Dumb me, I decided to try for it.

To demonstrate how my cluttered mind works, several things influenced this story, which I titled But Not For Love. It’s from Shakespseare’s famous quote “Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love.” My daughter had just come back into my life after too long an estrangement, but she was still troubled. This time it was an abusive husband, so I borrowed heavily from her life in several ways, all of which she approved. Sadly, it was an element of which we knew nothing (a congenital heart ailment) that took her from us fifteen years later, but still many years too soon.

I had also read about a building in England that dated to the 1500s (or thereabouts) that had been purchased, carefully dismantled and brought to the Cleveland area and re-assembled. It’s still here, but I don’t recall just where. The university campus is that of CRWU in University Circle. They have a lovely old, stone building there that seemed to me to be the physical embodiment of the building in my book. I drove by Adelbert Hall nearly every day, but was never inside it until about 13 years after I’d written the book.

It certainly seemed reasonable to me for my heroine of this contemporary romance to be a writer of romance novels – but of course, they’d be Regency. That’s the only writing life I knew much about—and also the necessary research to make the book believable. Believe me, no readership as a whole is more insulted and turned off by inaccuracies or carelessness than Regency devotées. It has to be right, or the book is just totally trashed. Literally.

I didn’t think I could write love scenes, but I persevered, and I guess they’re okay. I certainly could create a marvelous hero – I only had to examine my own mind and heart and create the gentleman I’d most like to meet. Other details just sort of fell into place, and to my great surprise, in just about a month from when I hatched the idea, I had a first draft of some 55,000 words!

To my not-so-great surprise, the book didn’t win any prizes in that contest. In fact, no one won anything. The form rejection letter I received blithely informed that they’d received some 400 entries and NOT ONE of them passed muster. I truthfully wasn’t overly upset that I didn’t get anywhere, as I’d never even contemplated the notion of writing a contemporary anything. But to think that not one of the authors showed any promise at all was mind-boggling to me then, as it is now. In all honesty, I don’t think they looked very hard, or read very carefully.

However, the whole project did give me confidence. After all, I had now completed two books (and two plays) all vastly different from each other, (on each historical and contemporary) during the previous four years. That gave me hope that maybe – someday – the chemistry would work better, and I’d find what it was that I should be doing. I started several other books, but none of them made it to completion, mostly due to other things occupying my mind.

In 1990, I went to the RWA conference in San Francisco, and was elected president of my local chapter, which led to the next book. And – my daughter moved in with me. This sequence of events was to be the catalyst that led to the next three books.

But in the meantime – after Bertie found a home with Cerridwen Press, I asked if they’d be interested in my two unpublished books. They invited me to submit them, which I did, and subsequently both of them were published.  My fourth book (Ardenwycke Unveiled) was published first while But Not For Love came along as an e-book in January, 2008.  It’s not yet made it to print, but I’m ever hopeful. It is available as an e-book from my publisher’s site, and as a Kindle. While I must say I don’t necessarily think the cover is an accurate representation of my characters, it IS a gorgeous and eye-catching cover. Don’t you agree? Here ‘tis –

blush-cover

Ordering and other info is available at the web-site:  http://www.jasminejade.com/pm-4263-383-but-not-for-love.aspx It’s also available as a Kindle.

I hope you’ll come back in a week or two for the next installment, which led to my first book in print! See you then!

 

And as always, if you have questions or comments, please write to me at bookmechanic@gmail.com   Thanks!

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