Now, I sat there smiling, loving what she had to say, but thinking to myself that that was a nice thought, really nice thought, but what I’d always heard was that you have to make your goals attainable. Setting a goal like that isn’t something we could actually do unless the planets aligned properly and our stars were in the right place, and oh yeah, we had a lot of luck on our side too.
So for me, I was sticking with what I could actually accomplish on my own.
In other words: Write the story from your heart. Complete it. Revise it a million times. Submit it. And do it again, and again, and again, thinking with every story you write, this is the one that’s going to get picked up. This is the one that’s going to find its way into readers’ hearts.
That was my goal.
Still, with that goal in mind, and a desire to tackle it, and a whole lot of perseverance despite all kinds of family crises over the years, I did wish that if I could, some year in the future I might final in the Rita, or in my wildest dreams, because it is important to have them, make a bestseller’s list. Though I must say the elusive Rita is also just as daunting a goal.
But first…I had to write, and write, and write. And I switched genres, trying to find the niche I fit into. And I submitted to editors and agents all over the place. And I wrote some more, revised a whole lot, even learned how to write, and revised again. And I submitted to new lines at publishing houses all over the place, trying to find a place to fit in.
With every rejection, with every house closing, what did I do? I smiled, and said that I’d write a new story because the other didn’t work. This next one would. And then when someone loved that one they’d buy all the other stories before that. Which was great because they were ready to be bought. And then I’d revise and submit and get rejected and do it again.
I never felt that the other stories were hopeless, just needed some more revision work maybe, and needed a home where they would fit in.
My father always called me the hopeless optimist. I was so far out there, thinking that no matter what, I could make it, because, darn it, he’d always said when I was a child that I could do whatever I told myself I could do! And I believed him. Because he was right.
My mother always told her friends that I was the only one she knew who could get a rejection and smile and say, “Yeah, but Mom, it’s a good rejection.”
She wouldn’t listen to me as I’d continue with, “Yeah, but they said they want to see more of my work. That’s a good rejection.”
Her friends would smile sagely and nod.
It was a good rejection! It gave me hope that I was headed in the right direction if I could just find the right story that might resonate with someone who had the ability to share it with the world!
I had sold to some small epublishing houses, before epubs were a big deal. And then those houses folded. I sold to a publisher that actually paid advances for my first two YA books, and then they closed their line before my first book came out a month later.
So close, and no cigar. Not that I’d want a cigar. But do you see a pattern here? Bottom of the barrel sales (forget mid-list sales), then the lines closing, even when I made published author status with RWA and the books were never published.
What was next?
Remember my goal? Write the story from your heart. Complete it. Revise it a million times. Submit it. And do it again, and again, and again, thinking with every story you write, this is the one that’s going to get picked up. This is the one that’s going to find its way into readers’ hearts.
That was my goal.
And it worked!!! I got THE CALL from Sourcebooks acquisition editor, Deb Werksman, who said she’d only wanted to know if I’d sold the story yet, Heart of the Wolf, and if my world was unique.
OHMIGOD yes! I mean, no. I hadn’t sold the story, and yes, my world was unique. So I told her how, and she said….she hadn’t finished reading the story. But if she still liked it by the end, she would take it to her acquisitions board. In a week.
What if she didn’t like the rest of the story? That was it.
But no, it wasn’t it. Because you know what I’d do? I’d write another story.
That’s what we have to do. Don’t wait for stuff to happen. Make it happen!
Two weeks passed. I figured that was that. But I was still writing. Had even started a second wolf tale, Destiny of the Wolf.
And Deb called back. This time it really was THE CALL! They wanted it. What else did I have?
Remember how I had all these other stories that I knew that whoever would pick up my current work, would pick up all the rest? Well, if they’d all been wolf stories, sure.
But some were novellas and well, just a whole lot of other kinds of stories. Heart of the Wolf made PW’s Best Books of the Year!
Sourcebooks wanted another wolf story, and I was working to finish the second one and turn it in. I sold it, and gave a proposal for books 3 and 4, and wrote 3, then got THE CALL. (They’re really, really important so they must be in all caps.)
Deb LOVED To Tempt the Wolf. She’d only read half of the book, but she was buying it and Legend of the White Wolf, and I hadn’t even written it!
That’s how I started writing on proposal.
But wait, what about all those other books I wrote? I finally self-published them, and The Dark Fae, YA book was so popular, I turned it into a series. And selling all those books was a dream come true!
Now with my ninth book just released, A SEAL in Wolf’s Clothing, the book made USA TODAY’s bestseller list!!!!
And I remember so clearly that day when the NY Times bestselling author said to set our dreams for as high as they can go.
I say: Write the story from your heart. Complete it. Revise it a million times. Submit it. And do it again, and again, and again, thinking with every story you write, this is the one that’s going to get picked up. This is the one that’s going to find its way into readers’ hearts.
And if we work really, really hard, and keep on trying to write the best we can do, and the planets align properly and our stars are in the right place, and oh yeah, we have a lot of luck on our side too, we might just reach that pinnacle that makes us feel like a star.
In the words of Galaxy Quest: Never surrender. Never give up.
“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy IS reality!”
USA Today bestselling author, Terry Spear has written over a dozen paranormal romance novels and two medieval Highland historical romances. An award-winning author, Terry’s Heart of the Wolf was named a Publishers Weekly’s Best Book of the Year in 2008. A retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry Spear is a librarian by day and spends every spare moment writing paranormal romance as well as historical and true life stories for both teen and adult audiences. Spear lives in Crawford, Texas, where she is working on new paranormal romances! For more information, please visit:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Her instincts tell her he's dangerous...
While her overprotective brother's away, Meara Greymere's planning to play—and it wouldn't hurt to find herself a mate in the process. The last thing she needs is one of his SEAL buddies spoiling her fun, even if the guy is the hottest one she's ever seen...
His powers of persuasion are impossible to resist...
Finn Emerson is a battle-hardened Navy SEAL and alpha wolf. He's a little overqualified for baby-sitting, but feisty Meara is attracting trouble like a magnet...
As the only responsible alpha male in the vicinity, Finn is going to have to protect this intriguing woman from a horde of questionable men, and definitely from himself...
"This novel has it all...Hot doesn't even begin to describe it."
—Love Romance Passion