Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication: February 19, 2016
Number of pages: 242
Word Count: 83,745
Cover Artist: Kim Mendoza
For three years Laura Drake has watched Senator Pete Worthington promote a series of gorgeous women while she sits in a forgotten corner answering constituent letters on an outdated computer. When Worthington asks her to find an elusive file one Friday night he sets off a series of events that brands her as a killer and puts her life in jeopardy. The path she sets out on forces her to confront not only the nature of evil but the ghosts from her past that have never been set to rest.FBI Agent Dalton Ross transferred from Chicago to Washington to escape his own ghosts. When his investigation leads him to Laura he's torn between his desire to keep her safe and the need to protect his own heart. As the mystery that surrounds them deepens, Laura and Dalton race to save themselves and the nation from someone willing to sacrifice anything to protect a secret.
“I need you, Laura.”
The voice was masculine as hell and it demanded compliance.
Laura Drake sighed and pushed herself back from a desk sandwiched between an overstuffed file cabinet and a door that didn’t open. Nine o’clock on a sultry Friday night in the nation’s capital and here she was, smack in the middle of a big, fat cliché. Dashing senator smitten with beautiful young assistant. Even worse, it wasn’t her cliché. That belonged to Paige Neverett. Blonde. Big-chested. Bombshell.
She on the other hand was just the mousy aide designated to pick up the shrapnel.
Paige was long gone, of course. The gorgeous videographer had departed hours earlier, as had most of Senator Pete Worthington’s staff. As she hurried down the corridor toward his plush office Laura could still picture the curvaceous twenty-something woman as she stood poised in the doorway, face raised to receive a clandestine goodbye kiss from her boss.
“Coming!” she shouted, breaking a heel on the carpeted hallway in her rush to reach him. She swore under her breath and hobbled the rest of the way, heel in hand.
Worthington sat behind an enormous desk covered with papers. Files and flash drives were scattered across the floor as well, nearly obscuring the royal blue carpet. Clearly, the senator had been looking for something. Either that or he’d gotten into cleaning mode for the first time since she’d known him. Laura braced herself for an order to start alphabetizing.
The order didn’t come.
I’ve always wanted to write but until a couple of years ago I hadn’t published a novel. Sure, I’d published stories, nonfiction and poetry, but finishing a novel and seeing it appear in print seemed different. It also taught me a few things about being an author. Here are 10 things I wish I’d known before the book appeared (some of these things I still need to remind myself of, others I’d be happy to forget, and still others I haven’t fully learned).
1. Being an author involves much more than writing. I’d heard this, of course, but I don’t think I understood how much more there is to it. I had this vision of myself sitting before my laptop day after day, cranking out novels and that’s it. Nothing could be further from the truth. There’s editing, publicity, networking, reading work in your genre and many other things you’ve got to make part of your routine. More on this below.
2. You’ve got to publicize your work. I’m still awful at this but I fully understand it’s essential. With so many talented authors published, you’ve got to put yourself out there—on social media, on blogs and any place else that will help readers find your work. You can write the best book in the world but if that’s all you do, nobody will read it.
3. It’s important to network. Whether you connect through Facebook or Twitter or local writers groups, the more authors you know the better off you’ll be. This is also something I knew beforehand but need to remind myself to be better at. This summer I met a group of other Wild Rose authors for lunch on Cape Cod and got lots of great advice. Maybe even more importantly, I got the chance to talk to other writers about their challenges and struggles. Having support like that really helps.
4. Rejection and negative comments will be harder than you think. Brace yourself. If your work achieves any kind of success (and even if it doesn’t), you’re going to get some tough criticism. You’re going to get ratings from people you’re pretty sure never read your book and ratings from people who did but just didn’t like it. And that’s going to tear your soul to pieces because you’ve invested so much in your work. The good news is that over time this gets easier. But I don’t think I’ve ever read a bad review and felt nothing. The thing to remember is that these types of reviews are actually a good thing, because it can mean someone’s taking you and your work seriously. And sometimes the criticism can push you to a better place with your writing.
5. Positive feedback will be better than you think. Along the same lines, the good feedback you get will also make you feel far happier than you expect. When somebody emails to say how much she loved your story, you won’t be able to stop smiling. And that’s great, maybe one of the best things about writing is the connection with readers. But at the same time, I think you’ve got to put that stuff out of your mind when writing—you’ve got to tell the story the way it’s meant to be told, whatever people are going to think. So I guess it’s a balance.
6. Persistence really does pay off. The more I connect with other writers, the more I’m convinced persistence may be the most important thing about writing. I’ve talked to so many writers whose novels were rejected and then went on to become bestsellers. Or authors whose first book or two didn’t do much but whose later books broke out. If you don’t give up, you’re far more likely to succeed than a talented author who doesn’t keep at the craft.
7. If you’re meant to be writer, you’ll find a way to keep writing. The most inspiring piece on this appears on Sherrilyn Kenyon’s blog. I had no idea Kenyon is severely dyslexic and was a little shocked to read about some of the tough times she went through—years when she couldn’t get a book published. She kept writing when she couldn’t get her dark hunter novels into print because publishers were seeking Scottish historical romances. She kept writing when she was broke. She kept writing no matter how much emotional pain she was in because of crippling losses. In short: she kept writing.
8. Write what you want to write. This also relates to Kenyon. When she began writing her dark hunter books, no one was interested. But that was what she wanted to write so she stopped trying to write romances that weren’t her style and focused on what she loved. I’ve tried to do the same. When I first started writing I attempted straight romance but found out that I was terrible at it. Romantic suspense, on the other hand, was something I loved, even though I’d been told it didn’t sell as well. But I stuck with it.
9. You need to learn to juggle writing with other priorities. I’ve been lucky to have chunks of time when I could devote ten hours a day to writing—when I could lock myself away, to an extent, and crank out a manuscript. But this is definitely not always the case. I’m a mom and a dog owner and I work full-time so writing has got to be something I squeeze in. This is tough for me because I’m more of an “all-or-nothing” kind of writer. Fortunately I’ve learned a few tricks over the past few years and hope the new model, where I write a little every day, will continue to work.
10. It’s going to take a while before you see any lasting money or success. I’m still working on this one—we’ll see how things turn out. When I started writing I published a sexy indie historical than ended up selling around 10,000 copies in a few months. That made me think publishing would be a lot easier, and a lot more lucrative, than it’s turned out to be. But I believe the potential to make a living at writing is there and would advise other authors to think of writing as a long-term venture that probably will include both indie and traditional publishing. That’s what I try to do. A lot of the most prolific and successful authors today—Tami Hoag, Iris Johansen, Nora Roberts—started out writing category romances. They went on to publish dozens of novels and are some of the most impressive women out there.
Well, that’s it. Hope it helped! Thanks for having me.
I live in an old Cape house with my daughter, too many books, and a red-and-white Siberian husky born on Halloween. After working in Washington, D.C. for several years and traveling to Russia, Europe and Pakistan, I moved back to New England. I’m the author of the romantic suspense novel Vertigo, which is available as an E-book from Amazon Encore and in paperback from Wild Rose Press. Collateral Risk, the follow-up novel to Collateral Damage (which features Dalton’s boss Nick Doyle and scientist Mia Lindgren), is forthcoming from Wild Rose Press. When I’m not working on fiction, I write poetry, teach literature and am still trying to learn how to cook.
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