Twelve Months Later…
By Tracy Brogan
On July 1st, 2012, I was pretty happy. For one thing, it was the middle of summer. It’s far easier to be happy in Michigan in the middle of summer than it is in the middle of winter! Trust me on that, you southerners, with all your fancy-shmancy, year-round sunshine.
I had some other lovely reasons to be happy, too. Soon, I’d be heading off to Anaheim, California, to attend the Romance Writers of America® conference. I’d be sporting my second Golden Heart Finalist ribbon, this time for my historical novel, HIGHLAND SURRENDER. (The year before that, I’d been nominated in the Novel with Romantic Elements category for my contemporary romance, CRAZY LITTLE THING.)
Yet best of all, I also had a signed contract from Montlake Publishing for a three-book deal. The ink on that puppy was still wet. At least, it felt that way to me. The offer had been made in March, but the reality of how things were about to change had yet to hit me.
There were some clues, however.
To begin with, I’d spent April, May and June going through revisions for CRAZY LITTLE THING, and then HIGHLAND SURRENDER. Back to back. Two books, two genres, no recovery phase, no breaky-breaky time. Switching gears from fictional, contemporary Bell Harbor to 1537 Scotland gave me a bit of whiplash but fortunately I knew these characters well, and they were all moderately cooperative when I tried to revise their stories. I managed to claw my way through those edits without too many scars. Thank you, dear editor, for being gentle with me!
After that, I started to catch on to what my life was going to be like from that point forward. There was the madness that is RWA Nationals. Meeting with my agent, my editor, my fellow nominees, all the while secretly stalking my favorite authors. (I may be a writer, but first I was a reader and I’m not above going full fangirl at any given moment.) Then there was the realization that I had a contract for three books. But I’d only written two. Omg. Suddenly I was on (dun, dun, dunnnnn) DEADLINE.
Being on deadline is a stress unlike any other. It’s like having someone constantly tapping you on the shoulder to remind you that you have a book to finish. You’d think being a parent would have prepared me for the tapping, but it didn’t – because I could put my kids to bed – but I could never forget that I had work to do. I thought about it constantly.
I can’t say I handled that deadline pressure with any sort of grace or dignity. (Not that I really handle anything with grace or dignity… My critique partners will attest to this.) My family suffered. They ate a lot of noodles and cereal for dinner. My butt grew three books larger. But I did finish, and I’m very proud of the end result! That book was just released on June 25th, 2013.
So you might think turning in that book was my HEA, right? Nope. Because after handing it over to my publisher, they wanted me to edit it, too. Geez! And I needed to do promo for my first two books which were released while I was in the throes of drafting that one. Then, to complicate matters even more, I’ve since signed another three-book deal. And thus the cycle overlaps once more. Promo, drafting, editing, all at the same time. It’s crazytown over here.
But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
As I’m writing one story, I’m already excited about starting the next. If I get bored thinking about contemporary plotlines, I switch to historical. I have enough ideas to fill an elevator shaft, and I would write even if I’d never been published. I didn’t choose to be a writer. It chose me. And although I was happy last July 1st, this year I’m doubly blessed and triply ecstatic. I’m off once more to the RWA conference and this time I’ll get to wear a ribbon that says RITA Finalist. CRAZY LITTLE THING has been nominated for Best First Book and I could not be more thrilled. But lest I get too wrapped up in pre-conference planning, I have another book to finish! It’s due the day before I leave for Atlanta. And as soon as I get back home, I’ll dive into another.
Life doesn’t get simpler or easier once you publish. Just the opposite. It gets busier, more complicated, and it feels as if there is more at stake. Writers must feed their creativity while also handling all the business aspects of publishing. It’s a careful-what-you-wish-for scenario. But it’s fabulous and never for a moment will I take this for granted. With each new book, I learn something more about craft, and something more about myself as a writer. It’s a grand adventure! Join me!
If you’d like to know a little about the book I just released, it’s called HOLD ON MY HEART. Here’s the blurb:
To build a future, sometimes you have to tear down the past…
Chicago event planner Libby Hamilton can turn any bland setting into a dramatic venue – but when she abruptly loses her job, and her fair-weather boyfriend moves to another state, Libby suddenly finds herself back in the tiny town she grew up in. Worse than that, her father wants help transforming an old schoolhouse into a vintage ice cream parlor and Libby must trade in her power suits for power tools.
Widowed restoration specialist Tom Murphy can rebuild just about anything – except the shattered relationship he shares with his teenaged daughter. Hired by Libby’s father, Tom isn’t interested in sharing the details of his personal life with beautiful, spunky Libby. He just wants to get the job done. But she is tenacious – and sexy – and it doesn’t take long before she breaks down his walls, builds up his hope, and gets a hold on his heart that won’t let go.
Biography: Past or present, Tracy Brogan loves romance. She writes funny contemporary stories about ordinary people finding extraordinary love, and stirring historical romance full of political intrigue, damsels causing distress, and the occasional man in a kilt.
She is a best-selling author, a 2013 RWA® RITA Best First Book Finalist for CRAZY LITTLE THING, and a two-time Golden Heart Finalist in both contemporary and historical romance.
Her next contemporary romance, HOLD ON MY HEART, releases June 25, 2013.
Tracy lives in Michigan with her husband, her children and their overly-indulged dogs.
Please stop by her website at tracybrogan.com, or visit her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorTracyBrogan.