Ten years ago, my first book, “Unchained Memories” was published. Two months ago I signed a contract for my tenth book, which is called “Island Detour.” But for thirteen years, that manuscript was called “Island Fever” and sat in my drawer (and on my computer) without promise.
I’m sure I had sent that manuscript to agents way back when, but it didn’t get any traction, so I moved on. Then, in February of 2022, I heard that Hallmark Publishing was looking for un-agented submissions during the month of March. I pulled “Island Fever” out, since it was the closest completed manuscript I had lying around that might entice Hallmark. It was set on an island in the Florida Keys, it was a fish out of water story, and therefore a little funny, and it was an enemies to lovers romance. And I could definitely see them turning this book, once published, into a movie. (I dream big!)
But there were two problems. One, I write steamy romances and that is not what Hallmark is looking for. And two, it needed a lot of polishing. So I pulled the book up on my computer, took all the steamy scenes out and saved them in a word document, and edited the manuscript until it was shiny and new. The requirements for submissions were a 3-4 page synopsis and the first few chapters.
Even though I can write a book, writing a synopsis is one of the hardest things to do. You have to condense the most important parts of your book into a few pages and draw in the person who will be reading it. But I persevered and sent in the requested material.
Within a few days, I had a responsive email. Did I want to open it? Did they reject me that fast? Holding my breath, I finally opened it and was thrilled to see a request for more chapters. Having been in touch with other authors who had sent in their chapters, I learned that many of them had gotten rejected immediately, so this was a very positive outcome.
I sent in ten more chapters and waited. And waited. And waited.
This could be good news. Hallmark Publishing was seriously considering the book. I checked in once in while to see if any decision had been made. The response was that they needed more time. Okay. I could wait. I had other projects I was working on and one of my books was coming out last summer so I was very busy with that release.
In September, I heard the news. Hallmark Publishing was closing. The head of that division had left the company and it didn’t appear as if anyone was taking over. They were still going to publish those books that had contracts, but no new books would be contracted. Huge sigh!
Once I had revisited the story and edited it to death, I really loved it. So I put back all the steamy parts (thankfully I had saved them) and sent it to The Wild Rose Press with fingers crossed. Happily, I received a contract and “Island Detour” is on its way into the world. I’m hoping for an October release date, but I’ll keep you posted.