Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Journey to Publication

A warm welcome goes out to fellow BC client and good friend, Anita Clenney, who is still on top of the moon over her three book deal for her Paranormal Romance series about a Scottish Warrior. Here's her bio in her own words.

My name is Anita Clenney and I write Paranormal Romance. I’ve been a secretary, executive assistant and a Realtor, but mostly I’ve been in love. Sometimes it was wonderful, sometimes it hurt so bad I could hardly breathe. Then I found Mr. Right and the two of us multiplied into a family of four, living in Virginia, not far from Washington, D.C.

With scenes rolling nonstop in my head and my feet rarely on the ground, I should have realized that I was born to write much earlier in life, but alas, no, not until I was 43 did I hear the keyboard calling me. But then I tend to do things backwards.
When I decided to wrestle the stories in my imagination and dreams onto the page, my husband and kids encouraged me all the way. Even when I was in the middle of a heated battle with warriors and demons and forgot that people in the real world had to eat dinner and that dishes didn’t wash themselves, my family still supported me. Finally it paid off. After nearly four years of writing, I got THE CALL from my wonderful agent Christine Witthohn of Book Cents Literary Agency. A publisher wanted to buy my story. MY STORY!!! Not just one, but three of them. Now, a new journey begins.

Take it away, Anita.

Hi everyone. I want to thank Mysteries and Margaritas for having me as a guest blogger. I’m Anita Clenney and this is my first blog, so excuse my stammering fingers, but I’m so excited to say….drum roll please…..”I finally got THE CALL.” That elusive, glorious rainbow that all writers chase from the moment they seriously pick up a pen or sit down at the computer, daring to bare their souls for criticism or praise.

On February 6, 2006 I bravely—and ignorantly—sat down at the computer and planted my fingers on the keyboard. I knew nothing about RWA, critique groups, POV, goals, motivation, conflict, black moments or character journeys. And most of all…I had no idea how many others were in the same boat as me, dreamers driven to put their ideas on paper like an artist strokes paint on a canvas. All I knew was I wanted to write, that I had been building scenes in my head for as long as I could remember. Why it took me until age 43 to realize I should be writing…I have no idea.

Thank God I didn’t know how difficult it can be to get published, how overworked (and picky) editors are, or I would never have attempted writing. But the one thing that has amazed me as I’ve progressed on this journey is the willingness of writers to help other writers. It’s a competitive business…if they buy your book will they spend the money on mine? But the generosity and camaraderie of authors just blows that away. Unpublished writers sympathize and encourage while published writers offer articles and tips and how to’s on every writing topic under the sun. I soaked up every bit of information I could, backing off when I got too overwhelmed, then I’d dive back in again.

The past four years has been a whirlwind of ideas, stories, synopses, queries and oh yes…the painful rejections. I’ve been lucky. My husband is supportive and my kids tell everyone mommy is a writer. You’d think I was Nora Roberts. It’s almost embarrassing. I have to keep reminding them that I’m not famous or published…but now, with their support, and the help of the best critique partner on earth (waving at you Dana), I’ve arrived. Closer to the published part anyway.

That’s another story. Where have I arrived? What do I do? How to I merge into this wriggling mass of writers and overflowing bookshelves that line the stores? Frankly, it’s as terrifying as it is exciting. How do I stand out and fit in at the same time? I would love it if you’d drop by and chat about how you got started, what drives you, what drives you crazy, what works for you? Or just to say hi!


Liz Lipperman said...

Anita, let me be the first to tell you how thrilled I am over your deal. Having read "Awaken The Warrior", I can tell you it rocks.

I want to know how you reacted when Christine called? Are you still not totally believing it yet, like me?

Lavinia Kent said...

Anita -- I started with the book that will never be seen. I just sat down and wrote and wrote -- and used every cliche possible and was proud of myself for avoiding dialogue. It's been a long journey since than and long eductation thanks to my local chapter and RWA. I started out not knowing what POV was. LOL.

Anita Clenney said...

It's cazy Liz. I always figured I'd scream when I got THE CALL, but I was calm as a cucumber. I still think it hasn't sunk in. I'm sure it will...with my luck, probably at the wrong moment

Anita Clenney said...

Thanks for stopping by Lavinia. I hear you. I had no idea what POV was. LOVED cliches. Actually still do. Have to stop myself quite often.

Julie Duck said...

You rock, Anita! How beautiful the flow of your life has been... and how great it will continue to be. It's never too late to write (I'm with you on this!). It's only too late if you never sit down at the keys in the first place.

:-) - Julie Duck

Kris Yankee said...

Congrats, congrats, congrats! It's wonderful to hear stories like this.

Anita Clenney said...

Thanks Julie and Kris. I can't help but wonder what would have happened if I had started writing when I was younger. But then again, maybe I wouldn't have had the experience I needed.

Lindsay said...

Congrats on the three book deal.
You were 43 when you started writing. A babe in the woods compared to me when I started. At the grizzled age of 57 I walked into my first RWA chapter meeting. And like you had no idea about POV, black moment or any of that other stuff we have to know. All women. Talk about a fish out of water. Been with them ever since. No greater group of ladies exist anywhere in the world.
Support from family and friends is very important. (See my comments yesterday about my support.)
Side bar-if the family gets hungry enough they'll learn to cook and clean.

Anita Clenney said...

Okay, Lindsay, you got me beat. Ah, a babe in the woods, that makes me feel young. I like feeling young.

I admire YOUR courage. You might have been a fish out of water to walk into that meeting, but you were a fish with guts. Good guts. Thanks for stopping by and lending your support.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

So happy for you, Anita. You deserve this!!!

Anita Clenney said...

Thanks Kari. I still can't believe I'm here. I'm sure you and Liz remember that feeling!