Monday, January 9, 2012

My First Published Novel


January is the month of new beginnings, the first month of a brand new year. I’m excited to begin 2012 with a clean slate and a spanking new calendar to monitor and record my life.
Yet I like to look back, too, to see where I’ve been. January in Seekerville is the Month of Firsts, a great way to focus on our firsts and how they changed our lives.   

I’m highlighting my first published book, Courting Miss Adelaide, September 2008. Melissa Endlich, Senior Editor of Love Inspired Historical offered to buy my manuscript on June 29, 2006. With Love Inspired launching a new line in February of 2008, I had to wait for what felt like forever at the time. Yet this launch provided the open door I will always be grateful for and made me a published author.   

If you’ve had a book published or are trying to, I’m sure you can relate to the excitement of selling your first book and seeing that book in print. Many firsts are involved: first contract, first revisions, first edits, first cover, first back cover blurb, first author copies, first book on the shelves—each milestone taught me a lot.

The Harlequin contract is a long document but I read every word before I signed. Here's the picture my dh took of this momentous moment. My, I look young. Guess six years take a toll. LOL

My first revisions were light, no doubt the result of lots of polishing.

From these firsts come the first reader letter, first book signing, first review, and my first published contest finals. Debut authors may also deal with the first less than stellar review, the first negative reader letter, the first didn’t-sell-a-single-copy book signing. But thankfully most firsts are joyous events, filling authors with optimism and bigger dreams. J

My advice to those who sell this year, squeeze every bit of joy out of that debut. Ahead of you is another book to write. Only this time you won’t have the leisure to revise and polish to your heart’s content, using contest feedback to guide you. This time you worry if you’ll sell a second book. But wait, I’m wandering into seconds’ territory.

Seeing a book didn't change my life in any huge way. I didn't get rich or famous. Most of us authors find life is much the same. That is until a reader says your book touched her life in some way and thanks you for your story. Or until a child or grandchild looks at books with your name on the cover and their eyes glow with awe, like you're some kind of a super hero. Or until you get your very first check and realize you'd been writing for years piling up expenses and now you're getting paid. An editor thought your story worthy. Wow. Publication didn't change my life that much but it changed me. Added some pressure too, but that's another post.   
All of my books have had lovely covers but Courting Miss Adelaide’s cover is my favorite. Doesn’t she look feisty, flirty, the epitome of a successful milliner? Here's the back cover blurb:  

A Family of Her Own

The “orphan train” seemed like small-town spinster Adelaide Crum’s last chance to know the simple joys of family life. So many lost children, every one of them dreaming only of a caring home—the home she longed to offer. And yet the narrow-minded town elders refused to entrust even the most desperate child to a woman alone….

Newspaperman Charles Graves believed his heart was closed forever, but he swore to stand by this lovely, lonely woman who was fighting for the right to take some motherless child into her heart. And her gentle soul and unwavering faith made him wonder if even he could overcome the bitter lessons of the past, and somehow find the courage to love….

The idea to write this story came after I read a newspaper clipping my father sent on orphan train riders. I’d never heard of the phenomenon but knew immediately I wanted to write a story about these children. I set the book in the real town of Noblesville, Indiana, where an orphan train once stopped. I entitled the story Orphaned Hearts and entered it in several contests. In time Orphaned Hearts performed well on the contest circuit, even garnering a 2005 Golden Heart final. I met Seeker sisters and fellow finalists Julie, Tina and Myra through the GH. We called ourselves the Golden Girls. Golden or not, that final didn’t result in a sale.

Speaking of contests, the published book, Courting Miss Adelaide, was a finalist seven times in either Best Inspirational and Best First Book or both. It received 4 ½ stars from Romantic Times and a Romantic Times Reviewer Choice Award. I had no idea at the time that my yet to be written books would not garner this much success. I’m grateful for what my first book brought into my life, for that first open door. Still, each successive book I've seen in print is a thrill. Some readers tell me these later books are their favorites so I've realized contest finals or wins don't determine reader popularity or book sales.  

I can’t serve breakfast until I give a shout out for my latest release. AnInconvenient Match, Love Inspired Historical, that just hit the bookshelves January 3, 2012.  

Here’s the back cover blurb:

THE BEST OF ENEMIES

His family destroyed hers. But Matthew Cummings’s job offer—to care for his recuperating father—is impossible to decline. Schoolteacher Abigail Wilson can swallow her pride for the sake of a summer paycheck that will help her sister. And when Abigail’s employment ends, old loyalties will separate the feuding families once more.

If there’s anyone in town stubborn enough to deal with Matthew’s cantankerous father, it’s Abigail. It’s just a business arrangement—and a temporary one, at that. Her good opinion shouldn’t matter a lick to Matt. Yet their different backgrounds belie a surprising kinship. Perhaps unexpected love will be their reward for the summer’s inconvenient match.

For a chance to win a signed copy of Courting Miss Adelaide, leave a comment. Let's talk debuts. Books or otherwise. 

I brought scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon, pancakes, biscuits and gravy with coffee, tea and tomato juice for breakfast.  


128 comments:

Jan Drexler said...

Still waiting for my own debut - although my short story debut in Woman's World will be in a couple weeks!

Your debut story was such fun to read - it sounds like it was a whirlwind of activity until the second book reality set in. I can hardly wait for that post.

But I have to say my dear husband is very disappointed you didn't become rich and famous with your first sale. I tell him no one does, but he still holds on to hope for an early retirement.

:)

My local LI outlet (Walmart) didn't have the new titles out yet this weekend, but they should by the end of the week. I'll be picking up a copy of An Inconvenient Match!

Carol Moncado said...

I'll talk more tomorrow I'm sure. When I'm coherent. I'm trying to get word count in tonight. I'm sure I'll cringe when I reread...

I did have my published debut last year. Kind of. A 500ish word essay in a Christmas recipe anthology thingie.

But hey - my Step-MIL dropped the bookmark/Starbucks card to read it when she opened it ;). [Didn't have them in time to give everyone else...]

I'd love to be entered to win :D.

Didn't Mary have the orphan train in one of her Lassoed in TX books?

Helen Gray said...

Here comes da coffee. Belly up.

Believe it or not, Janet, I have read subsequent books of your, but not this one. So would love to win it.

Enjoyed your debut story. Thanks for sharing.

Helen

Loree Huebner said...

I love what you said about squeezing "every bit of joy out of it..."

Wonderful post.

Christina said...

Janet, loved the post. Praying my firsts will begin this year. I have Courting Miss Adelaide on my bookshelf. Can't wait to read An Inconvenient Match.

Jan, what week does your WW come out? I'd like to watch for it.

Vince said...

Hi Janet:

“Courting Miss Adelaide,” still has my favorite Love Inspired cover. Readers should know that the hat plays a part in the story and what you see on the cover is what you get. Adelaide is still one of my favorite heroines. That picture of her is exactly as I pictured her from the story.

As a reader, I like to read debut novels. It’s like playing a new golf course. And “Courting Miss Adelaide,” was like playing ‘Shadow Mountain’ in Phoenix. What a joy that was!

Vince

P.S. I have all your books. I’m reading the new one now on my Kindle.

Vince said...

Hi Carol:

Yes, Mary had an orphan train in, “Gingham Mountain”. The town was at the end of the line. Any kids left over would be sent back to NYC as hopeless cases no one wanted. To stop this from happening the hero adopts all of the left over kids from each train.

He’s been doing this for years and yet he is young. It is funny for him to have sons who are only a few years younger than he is! The heroine thinks he is evil and that he is treating the kids as slave labor. She is a real busybody and has to get out to his ranch to save the kids. Especially the girls!

I think it is one of Mary’s best stories. Simply wonderful. It still lives in my memory as if I just read it.

Vince

Melissa Jagears said...

My crit partner's debut book comes out this April, so I'll get to go through a first vicariously before I go through *fingers crossed* my own.

Virginia said...

There are some really good children's books, chapter and picture, for kids.

Now, for the important stuff...

NEGATIVE reader letters?? What?? Not possible! What couldn't be to like?

And you look exactly the same in that first photo! Trim and smiley!


I think what I enjoy about your books, Janet, is how you reveal the theme of the book, layer by layer. That's a talent. Some writers don't seem to know where they're going. While others klonk you over the head with the theme every other paragraph.

Jan, I'm buying that WW when it comes out! :D

I'm enjoying every single step on this writing journey. (Okay, maybe not the mean contest judge from last year, those comments still sting a little!) But honestly, there are a lot of surprises and new things to learn every day.

Mary Cline said...

Here's a first. I was just about to sign off here and go to bed and my son came up and said "Oh, I just remembered, I have this band thing out of town tomorrow, do I have any dress clothes?"
Well yes he does HAVE dress clothes but they weren't ready to go. I "ironed" them in the dryer, they will be okay. He will be okay.
No, it wasn't a first. I have had kids in school for umpty-gillion years. He is a senior now, the first comes next year, no kids home after 35 years. Sigh. We've squeezed a lot of joy out of the whole thing too. Thanks Janet.

Ausjenny said...

I look forward to your new books and will get it one way or another.
Firsts cant think of any as I am not a writer. Although today I had a first. as many know I am looking for work. I sent 4 cold canvas letters of before Christmas last week I had a reply sorry no job but will keep your resume on record (that was a first as I have sent a few letters before these ones) today a phone call from another, again no job but wanting to know they will keep me in mind for any job. It was really good as I was able to then ask how I can improve the letter etc. They also said its more the qualifications than the experience which is a real plus considering I lack experience.
This may not be writing but it was my first.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Janet, I'm lovin' on breakfast! Thank you, sweet thang!

And I love that picture, Janet. And um, I think you look just the same. Gorgeous. Lovely. Smart. And totally together, of course!

Debut novels... Oh, what we don't know, LOL! Great post of awakenings and great memories, Janet. I've got a fresh coffee pot on...

And a host of creamers.

Jan, I'm laughing at your husband's world-view on publishing!

:)

I think all hubbies think like that, but what a hoot!

Helen, you will love this book. Just a lovely story from beginning to end.

Grabbing some bacon. I will not say online how BAD I was this weekend.

You can just imagine!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Janet, Loved the walk down memory lane with your first book. I agree with Vince. I love the cover and I loved Adelaide.

But then I think all of your books have been winners. smile

Thanks for the yummy breakfast. Sausage gravy on biscuits is one of my favs.

Ruthy--no Special K???

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Jan! I will be looking for your debut short story.

I'm smiling at your husband's hope. All husbands--or wives as the case may be--hope for that. :-)

Thanks for getting a copy of An Inconvenient Match! I was surprised that our Walmarts had the books on the shelves on January 3--a feat considering the holiday the day before.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Carol M, Nice that your step-mil appreciated your accomplishment! The first time in print is something to celebrate!

Yes, I remember Mary having the orphan train in one of her stories. That slice of history still fascinates me. Imagine how scary that must've been for those kids.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Thanks for the coffee, Helen! Really need another cup on this chilly morning.

Thanks for your interest in my debut. The first has a special place in my heart.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Loree. Thanks! Often we're so caught up in the moment that it's only in hindsight that we appreciate all that surrounded a first.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Christina, thanks for keeping my book on your shelf! I'm grateful.

I hope Jan reminds us when the WW is out.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Vince. Thank you for your sweet words about Courting Miss Adelaide. I'll never forget your lovely review. I must admit I can't relate to the golf course analogy. A new course is usually a nightmare for me. LOL

You know, I've never seen another LIH cover with a closeup of the heroine. That alone makes it special. Then the artist put a bird on the hat, a detail the hero teases Adelaide about and the artist didn't miss. That's special!

I hope you enjoy An Inconvenient Match.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

I loved Mary's story, too, Vince. The hero was the opposite of the Old Woman who lived in the shoe--almost. :-)

Janet

Jeanne T said...

Janet, your post was fun to read. I loved reading all your firsts, seeing your picture of you signing your first contract. Praying one day that will be me. :) Thanks for your words of truth and encouragement with your firsts. :) For me, I'm still trying to complete my first WIP. Getting close, and so excited to move forward from there.

Jan D--so happy for you with your story debut. :) How exciting! I'm going to buy it. :)

Janet Dean said...

Melissa, you helped your cp with her debut story so you're part of her success.

I'm hoping we'll see a lot of friends of Seekerville receive The Call in 2012!

Janet

Debra E. Marvin said...

Janet, we don't see any change since that debut photo!

I just won An Inconvenient Match from Kav's blog so please don't put my name in the drawing for that one or Courting Miss Adelaide!

A great story. If we as writers are "in for a penny, in for a pound", how many are going to want to miss the 'second book' syndrome if it means no first sale. You've all shown us how to persevere with class through all the things that might steal a bit of the joy of achieving the dream. Thank you Seekers!

Jeanne T said...

AUSJENNY--so good to read of your firsts. I hope you're able to land that job soon. You are a woman of perserverance!

Jeanne T said...

Janet, I forgot to mention, I loved what you said about publication:
"Publication didn't change my life that much but it changed me."
This is such a timeless truth, one I want to hold onto. Outside circumstances don't always bring big changes to our lives, but they can bring beautiful change to our who we are.

Janet Dean said...

Virginia, I've been blessed with mostly good feedback and love to hear from readers. Still, few writers don't get an occasional letter from a reader that didn't like our story.

Your lovely comment about revealing the theme of my story layer by layer truly blessed me. Thank you!

I'm with you. We never stop learning. Each story we write teaches us so much.

Janet

Audra Harders said...

Janet, such a lovely trip down debut memory lane...of course, mine was only last year, LOL!

Great pic, Janet. You look so productive and authentic, LOL!

When you mentioned kids looking at the book and seeing your name on it reminded me of my kids coming home from college and asking me to sign books for their friends.

Their college friends most of which were BOYS!

I laughed so hard at the thought of these college freshmen and juniors holding my LI with the cute cowboy on the front and reading my sappy romantic notions that my own children didn't want to read.

A couple of the guys even posted to Facebook that they'd read Kara or Bud's mom's book and liked it. Wow. Never saw that coming.

I've loved your books, Janet. They're all winners and I like all your covers. Keep writing, girlfriend. You've got a GREAT voice for historicals. I can hear you on each page : )

Audra Harders said...

Jan, I'll be looking for your story in WW! Yes! This the year of firsts!!

And seconds and thirds...

Don't want to just stop at first, LOL!

Janet Dean said...

Oh, Mary, we've all been there! Bless your heart.

I'm remembering the time our daughter inadvertantly washed her white cheerleader outfit with a mult-colored scarf. The outfit came out of the washer looking tie-dyed. I spent ages scrubbing it with Lestoil that finally removed the dye.

You'll miss the kids but they're not really gone, just further away.

Janet

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, WOW, JANET ... this takes me back, and what a thrill it was meeting you through the GH AND seeing this wonderful story (which scored higher in the GH than A Passion Most Pure, as did Tina's, although that brat Myra took the win)!! WONDERFUL memories!!!

And I agree with Vince -- CMA is my favorite LIH cover EVER and I simply LOVED Adelaide's story, although I have to say that each of your books stole my heart a little more each time, so I am REALLY looking forward to An Inconvenient Match, WHICH I just received this weekend. THANK YOU, darlin' -- can't wait to dive in!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

JAN DREXLER, LOL!!! You said: "But I have to say my dear husband is very disappointed you didn't become rich and famous with your first sale."
THAT made me smile because it's SO normal for debut authors to dream big dreams on that first book and some even quit their jobs (like me!) to write full-time. But reality does set in quickly, which is good because the truth is, every Christian author needs to be grounded, keeping their eyes on God, not their own success.

You also said: "My first revisions were light, no doubt the result of lots of polishing." I concur with that, which I have to be honest, did shock me a wee bit. I had almost NO revisions on A Passion Most Pure, but then I edited that sucker at least 60 times, God's truth, so we're talking "polished"!! What I didn't expect was the revisions to get progressively worse with each book. I guess I thought my writing surely had to improve a little more each time, but WHOA, not judging from the revisions!! :)

And the orphan train played a significant part in Katie and Cluny McGee's story, A Hope Undaunted, as well, and to be honest, I do think I may have gotten the idea from you when I was doing my research and saw reference to it. Suddenly I remembered CMA and knew I wanted the orphan train in my book too! ;)

Great post today, Janet!!

Hugs,
Julie

Kirsten Arnold said...

Janet,

Your debut story was fun to read and also enlightening.

I'm hoping and praying 2012 will be my year of firsts for publication, but I'm also treasuring this time of working on my manuscripts and discovering the joy of writing.

--Kirsten

Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, Janet, I just LOVE your first cover. It is just perfect, with that big hat and that mischievous little smile. Love it. It says, "Come hither and read me." A great book too!

Ah, that first sale! For me it was wonderful and overwhelming at the same time. And I can totally imagine how that year and a half you had to wait for your book to get published must have been torture. It was torture for me and I only had to wait about nine months!

I can also relate to how you feel getting published hasn't changed your life but it has changed you. I feel the same way. Oh my, God has taught me so much! And it certainly hasn't all been happy, skipping in the park, easy-to-swallow things either. LOL! But it has had its wonderful moments! God is amazing, and He's given me personal breakthroughs directly related to getting published, so I can't complain!

Hugs, Janet! You are such a sweetheart. It is so evident in the too-brief times I have talked with you! God bless you in all your future writing successes and endeavors!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Jan, when is your first book releasing??? So happy for you!

Janet Dean said...

Jenny, congratulations on the first response to your resume. That's encouraging! Praying you have that first job soon.

I appreciate your interest in my books.

Janet

Melanie Dickerson said...

Vince, Gingham Mountain is one of my favorites of Mary's books too! Love that story.

Jamie Adams said...

I enjoy reading book debut stories. Thank you for sharing yours Janet! I loved Wanted: A Family, and look forward to reading more of your books.

Tomorrow I'm sending a book proposal to LIH, I hope it's the first step towards my debut :)

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Janet,

Six years? That marks about the time I started reading Love Inspired, inspirationals of all kinds. I have been thrilled with the way the lines have grown over that time.

Courting Miss Adelaide still ranks as my favorite cover as well. It has been a pleasure to watch you grow as a writer in LIH! Yep, I am a Janet Dean fan-girl!

Is there anything you wish you could have told that young to-be published debut author?

Get Inconventient Match, folks. I told Janet it was my new favorite and, with CMA, that is mighty high praise. No need to put me in the drawing.

I am adding gingerbread and orange juice to the mix. Flu season here in this neck of the woods! Hope everyone is staying well.

Peace, Julie

Julie Hilton Steele said...

PS. Go, Jan!

Janet Dean said...

Ruthy, your words are sweetie than sugar and even more appreciated. Yeah, I know that's hard to believe since I love dessert.

Janet

Sherri Shackelford said...

What a beautiful cover! Thank you for sharing your story.

One of my most joyous moments from selling my first book came from an unexpected place.

If I'm behind on my goals, I'll go to the local coffee shop at 5am on Saturday morning and catch up. When I sold, the baristas actually jumped up and down.

Janet Dean said...

Thanks Sandra! I loved your biking story, a winner for sure!

My mom made delicious sausage gravy and biscuits. I think this is tasting great too, one of the perks of cyberfood. :-)

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Jeanne, I love your attitude! You're enjoying the journey, very smart of you. Be proud of you for almost finishing your first book. Not everyone who wants to write a book actually does. That makes you a winner!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Debra. You make a wonderful point. We're here to encourage, to help in practical ways because we know how much that helped us. And chatting with you all keeps us slightly normal. LOL Thanks kiddo.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Jeanne, well said. Everything we experience impacts us, teaches us truths. Nothing is wasted.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Audra, I didn't know your kids gave your debut to their college friends. Give them a cyber hug from me! I'm not one bit surprised the guys loved the story. But I'm delighted they posted that to facebook! What great promo!

Janet

Jan Drexler said...

For those of you who asked, my WW short story is supposed to be in the issue that's out the week of January 26, so two more weeks. Thanks for asking!

My debut novel? It's just a matter of time...

It's finished, sent in, being read (hopefully), but I'm waiting to hear back.

So like I said, it's a matter of time.

Days...weeks...months...years...

you all know how it is :)

Meanwhile, I putting into practice some great advice I heard here on Seekerville - I'm working hard on the next one.

And lovin' every minute!

Janet Dean said...

Julie, love your enthusiasm! I'm grateful to have shared the GH experience with all of you.

I will never forget how you grabbed a waitress and prayed for her. I don't remember what about, but do remember your zeal for lifting up others. Your kind words have done just that for me. You do know that I'm always slightly nervous that Seekers won't like my stories. Not that other opinions don't, but your opinions matter.

Janet

Tina Radcliffe said...

Janet dear you said it so well. Savor the journey or else it just becomes a job. It's not. It's a ministry.

Valri said...

Good post, Janet! I also love the hat! Would love to see what it has to do with the story! I love books about children, especially children in need. They tug at my heartstrings! Anyone who champions children is a great person in my book! Enjoy reading your "story" of your first novel. Congrats on continuing to "do what you love"!

westernaz@msn.com

Casey said...

I love your books, Janet. And I love reading your debut story and learning so much from it! It's wonderful to think about that journey ahead of us and learn from those who are so willing to share. Thank you!

I didn't know your latest book was now out!! I thought it was April/May, so glad I don't have to wait that long (hopefully!!) :D

Vince said...

Hi Janet:

Thinking Like a Man about Golf

A new golf course is like a new lover: full of promise, new beginnings, surprises, challenges, rewards and romance! It’s like a walk through the Garden of Eden. The outcome might be heavenly or it might be disappointing.

Yes, there are hazards but there are no past mistakes. No evil memories of hitting the ball into the parking lot or losing your last ball in the creek on the 17th hole. The course doesn’t know you’ve got a hook and hate down hill lies. Why the course may even favor your game. Perhaps there are short par fives you can reach in two!

One of the beauties of golf is that every course is different. Each new course is a potential soulmate to your game.

It should come as no surprise that it was Ben Hogan who said we should ‘stop and smell the roses’.

When it comes to golf, I’ll always choose the devil I don’t know. Oh, Devil Woman! Let the ladies have the bad boys…You can take me to the unknown.

Vince

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

Hi Janet! Loved this post- and love the cover, too!

I haven't had a book published yet, but I remember when my first newspaper article was published. I had graduated college two weeks earlier, and seeing my byline for the first time in a real newspaper...that was pretty cool. I think all my close friends got a copy of that paper, even though the article was fairly dry and boring.

Of course, the thrill of a byline wears off quickly when you're published on a weekly basis. But that's because writing newspaper articles is my JOB. But a "byline" on a published book, my baby, something I created instead of reported... THAT is a thrill I hope will never wear off, whenever that happens!

Your talk of savoring the joy reminds me of my New Year's resolution: be joyful in hope (Romans 12:12). I am hoping for a lot of things right now, but I want to live in a state of joy in the moment, instead of for waiting for my future hopes to come to fruition. I want to savor the journey as much as I can, until new hopes crop up to look forward to!

Love to win the book!

Linnette R Mullin said...

Mmm... Breakfast sounds yummy. Wish it weren't virtual. Could use some comfort food right now.

Virginia said...

Haha, Vince! I don't even golf and that made sense to me! So funny.

I don't know if this counts as a 'first' but the first agent from which I ever received positive feedback contacted me this weekend. She saw my name in a contest final and wanted to 'check up' on what I had been doing. That's a whole 18 months since we first talked.

I told her what was happening and what I had and she asked me to send her everything. :)

It's always nice to have new and different encouragements pop up. Nothing may come from it, but it was nice to hear from her.

Bridgett Henson said...

Janet, I loved reading Courting Miss Adelaide. At the time, I didn't realize it was your debut book. Thanks for sharing the experience.

Though I haven't yet to be published in book format, as a writer I've experience many thrilling first.

First time I announced to the world around me that I'm a writer. -Nerve racking.

First critique- Horrifying.

First writer's conference. -Scary.

First time I ever wrote "The End." is also the first time I did the Happy Dance.

I hope I'm "squeezing every bit of joy" out of my writer's journey.

Thanks for breakfast. Love me some biscuits and gravy.

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Janet, I love that cover too!
Thanks for bringing us back! :)
What happens between book 1 and 2? I want a part 2 to this post! :)

Jan Drexler said...

Virginia! That sounds great!

Julie Lessman said...

JANET SAID: "I will never forget how you grabbed a waitress and prayed for her."

LOL ... even waitresses aren't safe from me, apparently!! :)

And I know what you mean feeling nervous when a Seeker reads your book, but also a little bit in the beginning when I first read each Seeker book. I sweat bullets, thinking: what if I don't like it? What if I can't give it a 5-star review??? WHAT a HUGE relief when I realized there was a reason Seeker authors won all those contests!!! I never worry anymore because I automatically KNOW I'm gonna love each and every book.

Hugs,
Julie

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Janet, THANK YOU for this post. It gave me chills. I've been dealing a lot lately with timing and feeling like I'm ready for that first after all these years of writing, and my fellow bloggers and writer friends have been so supportive, telling me that God knows when that first (agent, contract, etc.) will be. That the wait has provided me with other things. Like time with my little ones, like a chance to grow and become the best I can be. And they're so right! I wouldn't trade this waiting time for anything, and it's nice to know that when that "first" comes, it will be magical in many ways, and just plain normal in others :) I like your advice to enjoy your debut, and think that applies to all stages in our writing. Enjoy where you are, because you might not be there for long :) Thanks again!

Pam Hillman said...

I just had a slightly evil thought...

We need to create a pseudo-blog called:

Authors Strike it Rich

and that's the one we send our spouses to. Only problem is, all the OTHER authors are getting rich, while MY spouse is frantically searching through the posts for my Get Rich Quick story!

lol

Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh Jan, I thought you sold your first book a few weeks ago! Where is my brain? (Don't answer that. Oh yeah, it's in medieval Germany.) But I'm sure, like you said, it's just a matter of time!!!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Virginia, that is really AWESOME! Congrats on getting contacted by an agent!!! We should all be so blessed! LOL!

Salena Stormo said...

What an awesome post. I can relate...I have experienced a lot of firsts lately as well. It is exciting and nerve racking too. :)


Salena

Myra Johnson said...

Oh, Janet, what memories! Weren't we all so very naive prior to signing that first contract?

And Julie, as for that "brat" remark? Girlfriend, need I remind you who got the super-duper agent first, or who SOLD first???? You and Janet both whipped right by me on the way to your first contracts! Golden Girl Tina and I ate your dust for how many years after the 2005 GH???

As for getting published changing my life, I'll never forget what I was doing the weekend after I signed my first contract.

MOWING THE LAWN!!!

Jan Drexler said...

LOL, Myra!

I have a bottle of Champagne waiting for when I get "the call":)

...but then I'm sure there will be a toilet waiting to be cleaned...

Right after I change the dog's diaper. Again.

What I wouldn't do for those adoring brown eyes.

Missy Tippens said...

Janet, it's always so fun to hear about first books. I just love the photos of signing first contracts, too. :) I have one hanging on my wall. My son make me a collage with me signing along with my first book cover. :)

Janet Dean said...

Kirsten, I'm hoping and praying the very same, for you and all the others who are ready and waiting. You're very wise to enjoy the journey. Too often we're in a hurry and forget to enjoy the blessings along the way.

Janet

Missy Tippens said...

LOL, Jan! Yeah, our spouses sure do hope we'll be come instantly rich. :)

Janet Dean said...

Melanie said: Oh my, God has taught me so much! And it certainly hasn't all been happy, skipping in the park, easy-to-swallow things either.

So true, Melanie. We soon discover that a book on the shelf doesn't mean we know all that much. Motherhood taught me that too. LOL

Thank you for your wisdom and friendship. Knowing you is a blessing. One of the beautiful things about being a writer is the wonderful people writing has brought into my life.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Wow, Jamie! I'm excited you're submitting to LIH! Saying a prayer for you. Keep us posted!

Janet

Myra Johnson said...

Janet said: "One of the beautiful things about being a writer is the wonderful people writing has brought into my life."

Truer words were never spoken!

Pepper said...

Oh Janet
What a great story! Beautiful, just like you :-)

I think my favorite part of your post was how you mentioned that your life didn't really change after you got published...except when you received a note from a reader about how your book touched his/her heart.
Wow - that's beautiful.

Janet Dean said...

Julie, thank you for your lovely praise for my books. I want you to know your support means a great deal to me.

I wish I'd enjoyed the journey more. God's timing is perfect but I struggled to see that then. So that's the reason I pass along that advice.

I wrote a post here in Seekerville about what I learned from having my first book on the shelves.

Janet

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Sherri. I love that the baristas happy danced when you sold!! Thanks for sharing!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Jan, I love that you're moving forward on the next book while you wait to hear on this one. Very wise indeed. And smart cause Ruthy is ready to place a boot in any slacker's behind. LOL

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Tina, you're a wise woman. I always hope I will write the book God wants written. A book that will touch or help someone. That's a high calling. Often I don't feel up to it, but then somehow the book emerges. Not painlessly mind you.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Valri, Fortunately many of the children that rode the orphan trains were better off than if they'd continued living on the streets of New York or in its orphanages. Some had wonderful lives.

In my story, Adelaide was a champion for William and Emma, something this brother and sister needed badly.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Casey. Thanks for your enthusiasm! An Inconvenient Match is on shelves now. You may have been thinking about my novella, Last Minute Bride, Brides of the West, that releases in April.

I wish you all the best on your journey! Fun to spend time together in St. Louis!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Vince, I will share your rapsody at the prospect of playing a new golf course with my d/h. Will be interesting if he feels the same.

New golf courses make me feel edgy like going on a blind date. What am I to do for 18 holes if we don't get along? Or worse, what if I can't find the next hole? LOL

We traveled the coast of CA and stopped at Pebble Beach to look around. I wouldn't have considered insulting that beautiful course by playing. Besides think of the clothes I could buy with the the cost of green fees.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Stephanie, I love your resolution! Be joyful in hope. Beautiful. You said: I am hoping for a lot of things right now, but I want to live in a state of joy in the moment, instead of for waiting for my future hopes to come to fruition.

To postpone joy is a sad way to live. Thanks for reminding us of the importance of having joy and gratitude in the now.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Linnette, wouldn't it be fun if we could all sit down and eat together? Eat and talk. Talk and eat. A lovely idea.

Here's a cyberhug, no more real than the cyberfood, but heartfelt.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Virginia, the interest of an agent is very encouraging. God sends us what we need to keep going. And sometimes He says the time has come. Who knows, this may lead to a contract. :-)

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Bridgett, congratulations! You are savoring every moment! As you say, some of those firsts are scary, especially when God stretches us out of our comfort zone. But one day those things that were nervewrecking become far easier. That's growth.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Eva, sounds like we need to talk about seconds one month in Seekerville. :-)

Actually, nothing bad happened with the second book. Just that a book on the shelves doesn't make writing the second one easier. I had far more revisions with my second than I did my first. But I got smarter about some things too. Well, a little.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hey, Julie, you blessed that waitress. As you do all of us. I agree. Seeker books are a joy to read!!!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Cindy, your words made me think of a neighbor and friend. She told me once that she couldn't wait for her kids to come home from college, then she couldn't wait for them to leave. LOL I understood what she meant, but sometimes we're anticipating instead of living in the moment.

I'm asking God to help me be fully present in the moment, not living a half-minded life. Looking back, I see how quickly my kids grew up. Now the grandkids are doing the same. I don't want to miss the blessings, the moments I'm given.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Pammers!! What a hoot that would be!! Probably cause loads of trouble. Talk about conflict! We'd surely have fodder for several stories.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Salena, Firsts have a way of being unsettling. I remember wanting to sell badly, then when I was close I suddenly got scared. What if I couldn't do it again? What if no one liked my story and the editor wouldn't buy a second book? A writer's imagination isn't always helpful. LOL

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Myra, don't take it personally. Julie just hankers for that necklace. And who wouldn't?

When you were mowing the lawn, were you wearing a sign on your back that read: SOLD MY BOOK! :-)

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Jan, you love your dog, that's a given. He's a very lucky pup. Hope those diapers are disposables.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Missy, I love the idea of a collage! I hope all the writers are taking notes.

I frame each book's cover flat. Add colored construction paper that coordinates so it fits a standard 8x10 frame. I hang them in a bedroom turned sitting room where I keep all my memorabilia.

Janet

Kara said...

Janet, LOVED your post! It was very precious learning about your first book and how far you've come since then. I also loved what you said about squeezing every bit of joy on the debut novel, that's a good attitude to have overall as a writer even if your life doesn't change after publication :)

By the way, you look just as beautiful now as you did 6 years ago as God continues to shine through you and your writing! I have not read your book yet, but I was deeply encouraged by all you shared and I thank you for that :) Pray you are blessed beyond expectation now in 2012!
Kara

Janet Dean said...

Thanks Pepper. The big things are exciting but the small things, the details, enrich our lives.

I can't tell you what it means to me to have a community of writers and readers here in Seekerville who come together to help, to share and to celebrate.

Janet

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Virginia!!!! I just jumped over here and scrolled down (while listening to Alicia Keys sing about New York...) and saw your post!

Awesome, dudette! SUHWEEEET!

Janet Dean said...

Kara, I'm so happy my post encouraged you. Thank you for your kind words and especially for your prayers. You've encouraged me.

Janet

Casey said...

Janet, maybe so, that would make sense. ;) I was placing an order on Walmart today and checked to find your book, but they only had WANTED. Next time hopefully!

And yes, wonderful to finally meet you in person. ;-)

Virginia said...

Thanks, Ruthy! On my facebook page I posted a dancing Snoopy. 'Cause that's just how I felt.:) When I first subbed to this agent she resopnded very gently with a list of writing books. And did I need them!! I've always appreciated the time she took to encourage and gently point the way.

Ha! I reread my first comment... That first line should have been about THE ORPHAN TRAIN!! Wow, talk about vague. :D

Mary Cline, 35 years of kids at home? I have to do some quick math... If my youngest (1) leaves in 17 years and my oldest is almost 12, then I'll have had kids in the house for 29 years. I hope there'll be grandkids by then!

Janet Dean said...

Casey, your Walmart still has Wanted: A Family, last year's release???? I'm amazed!!!

An Inconvenient Match was supposed to hit shelves January 3. They're probably in a box in the back.

Janet

Virginia said...

Speaking of agents, but remember when I said an agent had asked for a 3 month exclusive reading time? And some Seekers thought that was pretty long?

Well, that was after I'd sent in a full request that came AFTER a partial I sent in March. I heard back in December, saying she didn't like the first THREE chapters and wanted revisions, please resubmit. Ummmm... So, I hope it's not a terrible thing to do, but I've let that lead go.
I prayed and sat with it, and just decided we weren't a good fit, even potentially. There are too many other projects and WIPs that need attention.
I always thought I'd do whatever possible to be signed, but sometimes it's just not meant to be. And it felt right to let it go. :)

Connie Queen said...

Janet, I loved the cover too.
When browsing for a book, I tend to go by the cover and the title. Sometimes I'll read the first sentence or two of the backcover. I would've picked up your book in an instant.

I have a wip which has the orphan train in it.

Inspiring article.

Melanie Dickerson said...

One of the beautiful things about being a writer is the wonderful people writing has brought into my life.

So true for me too, Janet!!! HUGS!

Janet Dean said...

LOL, Virigina. I just thought you had a lot to say about kids' books. :-)

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Virginia, I'm willing to revise, after all words words are just words. But when something doesn't feel right, you're wise to go with your gut.

Janet

Sarah Ladd said...

Hi Janet -- or should I say fellow Hoosier?!? :) What a great post! Thanks for sharing your journey with us! :)

Janet Dean said...

Hi Connie, love orphan train stories. Hope yours sells!

Typically authors don't write the back cover blurb or design their cover so when I choose a book I read the first page to see if the writer can hook me in the opening.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Sarah! Thanks for stopping in! I copied and printed the post you did in Seekerville, ready to fill in details of my marketing plan. I'm counting on this to help me be more consistent.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hey, Mel, birds of a feather flock together. That's all of us in Seekerville, both writers and readers who love a good romance.

But then I think lice, droppings...

:-(

Janet

Julie Lessman said...

MYRA SAID: "And Julie, as for that "brat" remark? Girlfriend, need I remind you who got the super-duper agent first, or who SOLD first????

Sorry, Myra, I just LOVE to rub it in, girlfriend, because Janet's right -- I covet that necklace!!

LOL ... "As for getting published changing my life, I'll never forget what I was doing the weekend after I signed my first contract. MOWING THE LAWN!!!"

Yep, everybody things being an author is so glam, but they should see the blood on some of my revisions pages and the dirty house that never gets cleaned ... :)

Hugs,
Julie

Janet Dean said...

Julie, I'm not buying it. The home I saw, your home, was both lovely and clean.

Janet

Walt Mussell said...

Jan, I agree with you. The cover of Courting Miss Adelaide is wonderful. So's the book.

Cathy Shouse said...

Janet,

So sorry to be coming to the party late, with no time to catch up on comments.

I'm realizing the importance of character names. I like Abigail already, just based on her name!

Does having a first baby count? My son was a much anticipated debut in our lives. Many have compared writing a book to giving birth. I can't say, but a baby's debut is just the beginning of a long adventure, with ups and downs along the way. And I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. And baby #2 was amazing as well! Can't believe they're 12 and 17 and I get chills just thinking about their arrival!

I'd love to win the book. :)

marybelle said...

Talking debuts, I love the thrill of finding a new author. Either new to me or to the world of books.

Cindy W. said...

I absolutely love debut books. I love to find one that I absolutely love then follow that author and watch their growth. It's so much fun!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

Janet Dean said...

Hey, Walt, thanks bunches!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Cathy, a first child, a second or a...however many :-)...pulls rank over a book debut. The analogy of having a baby and writing and selling a book is right on. Enjoy your greatest creative work.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Marybelle. Excellent point! Any author we haven't read is a debut author for us.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Cindy W. Spoken like an avid reader. I can't get rid of favorite books from favorite authors. The reason my shelves runneth over.

Janet

Digging for Pearls said...

Great hearing your story Janet. Congrats on the new release.

Blessings,
Jodie Wolfe

Digging for Pearls said...

Great hearing your story Janet. Congrats on the new release.

Blessings,
Jodie Wolfe

Kayleen said...

So happy for you, Janet, that you've achieved such success! I hope to keep up with all of your dozens titles in the future!

Janet Kerr said...

Janet,
I am working hard for my debut and find your story most interesting and fun!

Jan

Janet Dean said...

Thanks Jodie! Thanks for stopping by.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Kayleen, Thanks! I'm half way to the first dozen. :-)

Janet

Janet Dean said...

From one Janet to another, never give up! Happy writing!

Janet

Peggy Rychwa said...

Six thirty in the morning (here in New England, anyway) and 125 comments already???

I've often thought about the thrill of being published -- and then returning to reality the next day, that I'm the same old same old -- just I get to say that I'm published!

Janet Dean said...

Hi Peggy! For all the effort involved you'd think publication would make a huge change in our lives. The biggest change, writers now have a deadline.

Janet

Aizess said...

Please enter me in this giveaway! I would enjoy to win this book!

yecenia@optonline.net

http://christianbookreviewblog.blogspot.com/