Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Ribbonless...

Following Eileen’s lead I figured I had to introduce myself to this blog by telling you how it all began. Sure Molly likes to remember me shaking my tatas in front of Nora Roberts but actually Molly and I met a couple of nights before that.

I sold my first book in 1996. I was twenty-five years old and it was only my third complete manuscript. Sounds lucky right? But what they don’t tell you (or some do but still people don’t want to hear it) is that after you get published there is no guarantee you will ever publish again. Doesn’t that just SUCK!

I wrote maybe four or five proposals, a few more fulls and all of them were rejected. It wasn’t until I switched gears and moved to comedy that I got a break. There was a new comedy line Harlequin was buying for called Duets. Four years after my first sale, I sold book two. I had gone to RWA Nationals once when I published the first book, but not since. I figured I sold another book, I should go again. But I didn’t understand all the ins and outs like so many other writers. I didn’t belong to a local chapter. I didn’t have a critique group. I didn’t have writer friends.
I definitely didn’t get the ribbon thing. Didn’t even know what PAN was. I finally worked up the courage to ask someone what the deal with the rink ribbon was and she explained it was for “Published Authors Only”. In my naiveté I said… I’m published. If I recall the woman rolled her eyes with an “oh sure” type look.

That night I had to go to a Harlequin hosted cocktail party for the new Duets line. This is when I learned the best part of National – drinking for free because Harlequin throws kickass parties. I remember standing in this small hotel meeting room thinking what a fraud I was. I didn’t have a pink ribbon. The pink ribbon committee was probably going to kick me out any second (so I had a quick second glass of pinot grigio) and I wondered if I could remember the ISBN off of my first book to offer as proof. That’s when I met Molly. She didn’t have a ribbon either. She had just sold I think, and there wasn’t time to get PAN membership before the conference. There we were, two published ribbonless authors who liked to drink and talk about books. I remember clinging to her and thinking… well they can’t throw us both out.

And that is how I made my first writer friend.

Almost nine years later, (Yes Molly I did the math - it’s been freaking 9 years!) a few more conferences, a trip to Toronto to meet the rest of the DWT posse and all I can think of is how lucky I was that night to not have a ribbon.


Molly O'Keefe said...

I remember that Birgit Davis Todd remembered tiny little DETAILS from your book and she just gushed over them. It was the nail artist - she GUSHED. I stood there thinking - well, they can't throw me out if I'm friends with HER!
Then she shook her tatas in Nora's face - you can all understand why I attatched myself to Steph's hip. Then she killed the line I wrote for - and the next. And foolishly I keep trying to get her to write for Supers.

How freaking cool is that widget on the side - Maureen! Amazing job!

Stephanie Doyle said...

Ditto on the widget Maureen. When I'm bored at work I like to play with it and see how fast I can make the books go around!

Molly - for now you're safe. I'm desperately working to kill Romantic Suspense which leaves me little time to take Supers...(insert evil laugh here mwhahaha...)


Maureen McGowan said...

I love how people me. Such fun.

And congratulate someone at Amazon for that widget. I sure didn't build it. Just finally figured out how to put the dang thing on the blog. :-)

Welcome Steph! We're excited you're here!

Eileen said...

I don't think I've ever been a trend setter before . . . I felt so hip and cool until I read the part about you being 25 in 1996. Sigh.

By the way, you can only kill romantic suspense if I don't first. I certainly helped kill chick lit.

Stephanie Doyle said...

"Do Me, Do My Roots" Greatest book title in the history of chicklit EVAH. You can't have been responsible for the death Eileen!

And actually the age was my Harlequin "claim to fame." At the time my editor thought I was the youngest to be published. But I know Jamie Sobrato beat that later. I think she was like 23!


Eileen said...

Maybe this time we'll keep the genre afloat together, Steph. I can hear our rallying cry now. Drunk Writers Unite!

Molly O'Keefe said...

I would totally rally to that cry!!

Molly O'Keefe said...

I need to watch my pronouns - in my first comment it totally reads like Birgit Davis Todd shook her tatas in Nora's face and that...well, that would be funny, but it never happened. That I know of.

Anyone watching Entourage? Last week's episode - I'm thinking something like that...

Sinead M said...

Drunk writers unite!

I'm shaking my tatas right now.. sadly no one would notice, it only works for the well-endowed, the rest of us just look foolish

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