Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Welcome Marilyn Brant!

I heard some great news on Monday. Marilyn Brant, who won the Golden Heart in the "romantic elements" category last summer had SOLD HER MANUSCRIPT in a two book deal to Kensington!!! Now, some may think I'd have sour grapes at this. She did beat me out in the contest... She did sell before me... But if you ever have the pleasure of meeting Marilyn, you'll understand how it wouldn't be possible to be anything less than genuinely thrilled for her.

I asked her to guest blog about her first sale story. (First sale stories fuel my fantasies these days.) Take it away, Marilyn!

“It doesn’t have to be super long,” Maureen said when she graciously asked me to guest blog today. “I was thinking you could just tell your ‘first sale’ story for a bit.”

Nearly eight years sped by in my mental viewfinder at her words, stopping on the most memorable scenes from my writing odyssey--fast-forwarding to one and then lurching back to another, like some dreadfully mutated author-version of The Time Traveler’s Wife.

And I wondered, should I really try to condense my journey from Newbie Fiction Writer to Published Novelist in a handful of paragraphs when--let’s face it--I seriously suck at composing a 5-page book synopsis?

Hehhehhh! (That would be no.)

Okay, then. I briefly considered listing a bunch of pertinent facts about my writing background and letting you all conclude what you will, but I could too well imagine the reaction of Maureen, Molly and Sinead’s smart Drunk Writer Talk readers: “That Marilyn Brant person wrote SEVEN full manuscripts before she finally sold? She had to revise her According To Jane book FIVE TIMES before she could make it marketable? She’s, like, 40 and she STILL doesn’t ‘totally get’ GMC? Man, I’m not reading this blog post anymore. There’s gotta be something better on YouTube…”

So, I’m turning to an old standby--the wisdom of experienced writers. Because, when I lacked my own, their wisdom guided me through hundreds, quite possibly thousands, of rejection letters. And rejection emails. And rejection pitches. It saw me through group critiques where my novel’s opening was so somnolent that a few of my chaptermates were in danger of snoring. It supported me as I steadily worked my way from an aspiring romantic-comedy/women’s-fiction writer who’d never even heard of RWA…to a PRO member…to a GH winner…to someone who’ll soon have provisional PAN status. (And, incidentally, to a person who can now translate all of these industry-specific acronyms, which may be my biggest career achievement to date.☺)

The wisdom of which I speak basically boils down to something the wonderful Betina Krahn wrote to me this week in a note of congratulation: “Know that the world is a better place because of your dreams and the way you’ve worked diligently to achieve them.”

Sigh.

Her words resonated right to the heart of one of my deepest dreams--that from the moment I started this writing game, I DID want to help make the world a better place. I think most of us authors do. But I knew I couldn’t do it by cracking medical mysteries or leading a country through crisis or even baking anything that didn’t taste vaguely of too much vegetable oil.

I could, however, be emotionally truthful and share my observations and skewed worldview with others. I could scribble down plots that illustrated character growth, hoping the thoughts and actions of my heroines would be meaningful to someone else someday. And I could show by example that committing to following your dreams is not only a good idea but a vital one--the very cornerstone of personal happiness.

So, you see, although I wish I could do as asked and give a decent Cliffs Notes version of my “first sale” story, it’s not possible. Synopses really are a weakness of mine and, anyway, my real story has very little to do with a certain phone call on a special day. Like your “first sale” story is--or will soon be--it’s a lot more about those 2,812 days before it.

(Yeah, I counted…)

And, it’s also about where we choose to go from here.

11 comments:

M. said...

eloquently expressed. since maureen's previous reco worked great for me (eileen cook) i'll look out for your book (i take it it's called 'according to jane'?) while waiting for maureen to share her publication story for 'miseducation' (it HAS to be soon or the world doesn't make sense)

Marilyn Brant said...

Maureen, you're wonderful. Thanks so much for having me here!

M, I'm really glad you stopped by, and I completely agree with you--I'd love to see "Miseducation" and ALL of Maureen's manuscripts in print! It'll happen. I know it.

Maureen McGowan said...

Aw, thanks M.

I'm sure Marilyn's book will be awesome! She can correct me... but I think it'll be out in fall 2009. We've got a bit of a wait, but I'm sure it'll be worth it.

Kwana said...

Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing and congrats!

Betina Krahn said...

Marilyn, I can't wait for According to Jane to come out. If it's anything like your warm, personable post, it will be fabulous!

Congratulations again! And have you cracked open the champagne yet?

Molly O'Keefe said...

Amen Sister!! Marilyn - that was so wonderfully said and something I need to hear every once in a while. I'm so glad you're here and will look forward to your book.

Betina Krahn just posted on our blog!!!! Betina Krahn is why I started to write romance in the first place -- I need to go have a moment.

L.A. Mitchell said...

Beautifully put, Marilyn. And I second Maureen's sentiment about the GH. I can't imagine anyone I'd rather have pave the way for those of us on the 007 "fringe" :)

I hope you're still celebrating!

Sinead M said...

Marilyn, thanks for posting that on our blog. It was really inspirational.
I love that you counted the days it took you to sell a book.
Can't wait to read your book.

And yep, Bettina Krahn.. Molly and I are both having a fangirl moment right now.

Marilyn Brant said...

Thank you all so much! What a thrill being here :).

You're absolutely right, Maureen--According To Jane isn't out until Fall 2009 but, from all I've heard this week, I'm getting the sense there'll be A LOT to do before then...

And, yes--and yes, again!--I'm still celebrating!! Thanks for sharing the moment with me.

Sandra Ferguson said...

Congrats, Marilyn.

They say success is sweeter when you wait for it. So, I'm guessing those 2,000 + days will make this dessert deeeeeeelicious. (Make sure to drag that out when pronouncing like all good Texans will do.)

Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Well, as a friend of marilyn, I want to say how great you all are in your support of her! I myself have no aspirations to publication so I can bask in all of y'all's collective glory and say that we of Marilyn's nonwriting "home front" are out of our heads with pride!
Sarah

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