Thursday, October 23, 2014

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face ...

Forgive me while I break into song.

I'm excited that the sequel to Harte's Peak will release on January 23, 2015. It feels like it's been a long time coming. Jack and Maggie's story was actually the first book that I ever finished writing so it feels like a first born child.

No, really.

It took me 14 months to write the first version. It was submitted through the slush pile and turned down by Harlequin Love Inspired about three months later. By then I had started writing Vera and Ryan's story. I participated in a fast track submission with Harlequin and got a request for the synopsis, followed by a request for the partial, followed by a request for the full. Sounded pretty good, right? But in the end, it was rejected again. Cue the violins.

But then I subbed to White Rose Publishing and they offered me a contract. By that time I realized why Jack and Maggie's story had been rejected. It had many problems, most of them first book problems, including a lack of emotion due to weak POV. I worked hard to make it better and wouldn't sub to WRP until I felt it was good enough. They accepted the much better version of it earlier this year.

Sometimes the journey is worth the wait. I feel much better about having my name on this finished story. I would never want to put anything out that isn't the best I can do.

Here's an excerpt:

"That’s not a dog. That’s a walking furry garbage can." Ryan frowned.

"If you clean him up, I bet he’ll look like a dog again," Mrs. Jones said with a finger wag.

"That’s mighty optimistic of you, Mrs. Jones." Ryan walked to the other side of the office, holding his nose.

"It’s under control," Jack said.

Surely Calhoun would take pity on the dog. Man of God and all. How could he turn this poor animal down?

"I’ll be going home now." Mrs. Jones rose to leave, and both Jack and Ryan moved in her direction, but she held up a hand. "And I don’t need any help."

It took Mrs. Jones several long minutes to make her way to the door, during which Jack stared alternatively at the mutt and at Ryan, who stood, body wound tight as a new guitar cord. He wanted to open that door, but he also knew better.

"What will you do with that?" Ryan frowned in the direction of the dog after Mrs. Jones left.

"I thought you loved dogs." The mutt stared at him. Jack stared back.

"I love dogs. That thing isn’t a dog."

"Oh c’mon, stop exaggerating."

"We’ll need to have the station fumigated now." Ryan went around the office opening windows.

"Take him home, and tomorrow Calhoun will take pity on him," Jack said.

"I can’t take him home. I live in an apartment. At least you live in a house."

"I can’t have a dog." He stopped short of saying that he didn’t want any attachments even though it was the truth.

"Like you told me. It’s just for one night."

He lived in a house with no lease, a month to month arrangement with a landlord so desperate to fill the vacancy that she didn’t mind a short timer.

Because that’s what Jack was around here, and no amount of pitiable dogs, elderly ladies, troubled teens, or beautiful mothers would change that.

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