Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Writing Single Title Romance (Or Sweet Romance is on the Rise)

Well, I've had to put my other blog into hiding. Sadly, the creepy people who like to troll the Internet can't seem to stay away. For the safety of my daughter, I'm keeping it private. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure I'll be blogging there again. Cheeky deserves her privacy. As much as I love to share my journey with those who are truly interested in adoption, I do NOT want to share it with voyeurs who think of her as some strange and exotic creature.

So, that is my story, and I am sticking to it.

I guess, though, that is part of life, right? Morphing into something different than what we once were? Taking steps into something new, developing that until it is time to step into something different?

I spent two and a half years focused on being the kind of mother Cheeky needed. I blogged about her and about us and about our family. At some point, though, she became completely us. Not at all seperate. Truly connected, her journey our journey. Yes, her past is always with us, but it is as much a part of our family story as the birth stories of our other children.

I suppose that there is a part of me that is tired of seperating Cheeky out, making her story somehow unique to us. She wants to feel the same as her siblings, and I want her to feel the same, and while we talk often about her life in China, her birth family, even a future where we might search for them, we are a family...complete without the use of words like adopted, biological, special need.

That is the way it should be.

And, so I am here, blogging about life in general. Everything from mothering, to faith, to being a wife and being a writer and washing the endless supply of dishes that are in the kitchen sink.

My life has changed drastically since the last time I posted here.

I was in a car accident that caused me chronic pain. I had moments where I thought that writing wasn't worth my time or effort. I almost gave up, tossed all the years of writing into a little drawer and left them there. But, I had contracts to fulfill, and I had to keep writing.

So, I did.

Write and write and write some more. In the deepest moments of depression and pain, I wrote.

It is very surreal when I think of it, now. I'm not sure how I did it. I prayed, but I wasn't even sure what to pray for.  But, as Romans 8:26 says - In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans

In the midst of all this, I kept shooting toward my goals, because it was that or open the drawer and shove the writing life in it.

One of my goals has been to write both series romance and single title romance. I've had that goal from the day I sold STILL WATERS. Which was, btw, a single title. My second book was one of the launch books for Love Inspired Suspense. I've been happily and consistently writing for them for eight years, but I have never given up the goal of writing single title romance again.

I thought long and hard about where I wanted to sell a single title romance. The Christian market or the mainstream market? I wanted to write sweet romance but not necessarily Christian romance. I had heard a speaker at a local writing conference say,  "The world needs sweet stories."

I wanted to write sweet stories.

The market was filled with erotica, paranormal, dark subjects that I don't and can't write.

And, then the pendulum swung. Mainstream publishers began to see a trend toward sweet romance, and they rushed to fill a hole in the market. It just so happened that I had written a proposal for a mainstream Christmas story, and it just so happened that it was sitting on my agent's desk and on my editor's desk. I had been waiting for over six months and figured the story was dead in the water. At the time, I didn't care. I was still in the midst of pain and depression from the car accident, and it was all I could do to keep writing.

One day, my agent sent me a short email. She said that Kensington press was looking for a sweet romance. An editor there had contacted her and asked if she had one, and she immediately thought of my Christmas story. Did I want to submit it?

It was a door, and I've always believed that God opens them when the time is right.

I said yes.

Two days later, John Scognamiglio called my agent and offered me a three book contract for a small town romance series.

My first book comes out in November.


It is a sweet story about a woman who finds that the one place she's never wanted to be is the only place she really belongs. It is about family, community, connections that tie us together...even when we don't want them to.

In many ways, it is like Still Waters:

Filled with quirky characters, centered around small town life and the wonderful people who live it.

There is no overt faith message, but the us...are searching for meaning and purpose in their lives. They are real people, living in a real world, facing troubles the best way they can.

It is the kind of book I love to read, and it seemed only natural to write one.

Sweet romance is finally on the rise again, people, and I couldn't be more thrilled to be part of that!