I'm honored to introduce Pamela Kaye Tracy. Pamela writes for Barbour, Love Inspired Suspense and Love Inspired. BROKEN LULLABY is on the shelves now and her suspense, PURSUIT OF JUSTICE is a finalist in the 2008 RWA Rita contest. A prolific and accomplished writer, Pamela is also active in local writing groups. She's co-chaired the Desert Dreams conference for Desert Rose Chapter of RWA and is currently president of Christian Writers of the West (the local ACFW chapter). Welcome aboard, Pamela.
Hi, I’m Pamela Tracy and thanks for inviting me to your Blog! I’ve been looking over past posts and what an exciting and welcoming place. Let me tell you a bit about me. One, I’m not shy. Two, I talk (type) too much. And three, I love to write. Settle back and I’ll tell you a bit about my writing journey.
Remember Hogan’s Heroes. One of the catch phrases of that show was “I know nothing. Nooothing?” When I first started writing, that was certainly true of me. I knew nothing. I purchased my first computer compliments of my Montgomery Wards credit card. I set it up in my room, on a card table, and started typing. When it came time to save, I didn’t really know what to title my files, so I named them Pamela 1, Pamela 2, Pamela 3. It didn’t take me long to realize the key word ‘Pamela’ wasn’t going to help me remember WHAT WAS REALLY IN THE FILE.
I lucked onto AOL’s writing community. It was small, intimate, and alive. I met my best friend Cathy McDavid during a Friday night chat. I met wannabe writers like Terry Fowler, Lynn Coleman, and Cathy Marie Hake (all published now). And, I found out I wasn’t alone. I really needed to find this out because I was such a novice that even though I, on my own, figured out I needed more specific names of files, I still didn’t know that I needed to double-space or that I needed to really figure out what I was trying to write. Along the way, I found RWA, joined my local chapter, got involved, and went to every meeting, workshop (both RWA sponsored and community college provided), and event I could find.
I sold in 1998, and my first book It Only Takes A Spark came out in 1999. Here’s the funny on that book. I was doing everything right. I was becoming an expert on writing. Happily I’m moving along, entering contests (not winning. I actually tried to enter the Golden Heart. My manuscript came back with three WCs) making charts for my hero and heroine (okay, I’d start the charts but never finish, I’m really a SOTP’s writer), keeping track of who and where I’d sent the manuscript, etc… Well, you get the idea, and one day I went to church and I mentioned to an acquaintance that I was trying to sell a book. She responded, “Oh, I just sold a book.” AND SHE WAS TELLING THE TRUTH.
She’d sold the first book she’d ever written, to a publisher I’d never heard of, and she’d sent off the manuscript without the perforated pages separated! (You remember the early printers. You had to fit the circles onto pegs and then it fed through, and then you had to tear the sheets. You got it. She was afraid to tear the sheets less a page get lost). Laugh if you will, she sold.
I started investigating her publisher. Still, me, who followed all the rules, took another year to sell. She kept selling .
Before I published, I entered two contests: the Golden Heart and the Fabulous Five. The Golden Heart labeled me as being in the wrong category (they were right, my vampire hero wasn’t even in chapters 1 – 3!) the Fab Five contest sent me a list of entries and how everyone fared. It was three pages long. I was on page two. I figured I was average.
Last year, I started entering contests again. It had probably been eight years since I’d tried. But, being a lover of catch phrases, I kept thinking about the lottery commercial (no, I don’t play the lottery.) It goes like this: You can’t win if you don’t play. I entered a 2006 novella. Let’s just say, “I was the weakest link: goodbye.”
If you’re chuckling about my beginning – files labeled by MY name, single-spaced manuscripts actually sent in an outline instead of synopsis, friend who sold first book on still connected perforated paper – also chuckle because I never gave up. It’s more than a decade later and I have two prayer books, nine novellas, and five novels.And finally, I’m a finalist in a contest! Yup. How does it feel? Like, I'm driving to work and dodging traffic, coming to a standstill (I live in Phoenix , third largest city in the U.S.A) and suddenly I remember... I'm a RITA® finalist.
Like, I'm eating dinner, talking to my husband, trying to get my three-year-old to behave (Yes, I have an active child), and suddenly I remember... I should have ordered a salad. I have to buy a dress - hopefully in a smaller size - because I'm a RITA® finalist.
Like, I'm standing with friends, all of whom know I'm a writer but none of whom really understand the world (think church or work friends, seems all other friends ARE writers) and they ask what's new. I mention the puppet show I’m doing for Children's Bible Time, I mention the end of school, I mention our second go-round trying to get Mikey interested in Pottytraining, and I mention (and have to explain what it is) the RITA®. And, I remember... I am a RITA® finalist.
Of all my friends who entered, I think I expected it the least. Lisa Mondello mentioned to me that Tuesday morning that "Calls are going out." I promptly forgot. When my cell phone rang at 10:25, I was in my office five minutes away from teaching a comp class. When Jill St. John said, "I'm calling from RWA..." My first thought was, "Oh, the Desert Rose chapter is having a contest next weekend. They must have a question." Then, she said, "Your book, Pursuit of Justice, is a RITA® finalist."
I about fell over. I did make a lot of noise (apparently, according to my coworkers, a lot of noise). And, promptly I made three quick phone calls: best friend, editor, and agent.
Then I went off to teach a class to 24 students who'd never heard of the RITA®.
I am humbled by the nomination. I've always called Pursuit of Justice my lucky book. I started it about six years ago. And, every time I tried to work on it, I sold something (a novella, a prayer book, etc). Finally, when I got Steve Laube as my agent, he took the first three chapters and sold it, and I finally got to finish the thing!
Now you know all about my writing life! It’s the best life J