Thursday, March 29, 2012


I’m not going to lie. It’s been a pretty big couple of weeks career wise that happened so unexpectedly as to be almost bizarre. I went from invisible to very visible (at least in the romance writing community) in a very short amount of time.

But here is the thing, I’ve been on the writing roller coaster a long time. And I remember very clearly my last high. I know I’ve told this story before… but I was hard at work on a 3 book contract that was going to be my first series, my Flipside was chosen to be one of two launch books for the line. Which meant there was a big advertising push behind it including ads in national magazines. I remember at that RWA conference seeing my book everywhere. To this day it is my highest grossing book. And there was a new line coming out that I thought fit me perfectly called Bombshell which I had submitted to. At that same conference the senior editor of the line sought me out and wanted to talk to me about the book I submitted. Sure thing right? If an editor actually approaches you!

So in my head I had dreams of really starting to make an impact. Lots of books out, multiple lines, finally finally attracting some readers.

My editor hated the first of the 3 book series so much she dropped the other two books and I made the decision to give Harlequin the advance back on the whole series rather than put what my then editor said was a subpar product on the market. The book for Bombshell was rejected without any reason and I was to find out in a couple of months that the Flipside line was going to be canceled.

Career over. And the feeling in my stomach felt just like it does on a roller coaster when you are on the way down. Now over the years I’ve come back up on some smaller sized bumps and then of course gone back down again.

But these last few weeks it’s been like … oh man, this is really high. Which naturally in my warped mind has me wondering how bad the fall is going to feel when it’s time to go back down again.

But I decided to learn something. To grow as a human being because I’m over forty now and that seems like something a human being should do. I mean my characters are always growing… seems silly I never thought to try it myself.

Instead of letting the high drive me to push even higher – I’m going to keep it in perspective. Instead of spending the whole time on the ride up worrying about the way down – I’m just going to enjoy it. This is fun. Will it have an impact on my career… who knows? Will I be down in the dumps in a couple of months because everything went wrong… maybe.

But the thing other thing I’ve learned is that nothing is ever so bad that it means the end of my writing world. There is always a way even at the lowest point to somehow start it up again.

I guess I’m saying it’s a ride that never ends. Good thing I like roller coasters.

What about you, ever thought your career was over?


Karen Whiddon said...

Hey you. Unlike you, I've had relatively few highs. Steady and slow, that's me. The only high was when I won the 2005 RT for best Silhouette Intimate Moments. And that's nothing compared to being nominated for a freakin' RITA!

So yes, enjoy it. And keep plugging along.

Sorry, I guess I didn't answer your question. I'm still plugging.

Keep on keepin' on!

Eileen said...

I've been convinced my career was dead about five times now. This is a really wise post, Steph. It's so clear it's born out of experience, too. Enjoy that ride.

Maureen McGowan said...

So wise, Steph. Sinead and Molly know well how hard it is for me to enjoy the highs on the roller coaster. Although I've just barely been published, I've already traveled several big ups and downs. We all have. And it does get hard not to expect the drop.

I read a quote recently (might have even been a Dale Carnegie quote) that said if you spend too much time dwelling on bad things that might happen, you have to live through them twice.

I need to remember that. :)

AND I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU!!! Ride the top of that coaster! Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you're enjoying this, and you should be. There will always be room for worry and self-doubt later, but anything that makes you feel powerful and successful should be celebrated for as long as you can.

Molly O'Keefe said...

I like that quote Maureen - about experience the bad stuff twice when you dwell on it. And Steph - enjoy this stuff - roll around it - get yourself a pretty dress and some fancy shoes and Maureen and I will escort the crap out of you!!

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