1. Rose is the first story I ever wrote to “The End” in the fall of 2003. It weighed in at 525 pages, 124,000 words. I was dissatisfied with the epic fantasy (e.g. Jordan, Martin) and romantic fantasy I was reading that didn’t have enough romance for me. Rose is both epic fantasy and a love story. And yes, there is more sex than a typical romantic fantasy, but it is not strictly a romance either.
2. Its original title was very cheesy: My Beloved Barbarian. *cringe*
3. I entered that first version proudly in an RWA contest and was appalled at the judges’ thorough and (in the end) extremely helpful criticism. (No, the horse does not need its own POV (point of view), and I probably shouldn’t change POV every paragraph.)
4. I continued writing, including book 2 of the series, read a bunch of how-to books, read more fiction, and in the summer of 2004 I finished a second much improved version.
5. I entered that version in 3 contests and it finaled in all 3. One finalist judge requested a full and so Shannari, Rhaekhar, and Gregar took a ride to NY.
6. Where they were buried in a slush pile for three years… I finally formally withdrew the submission last year.
7. I continued writing other stories but always came back to this first beloved story. Something wasn’t quite right. I knew I could do better. Undertaking a third major revision pass was difficult, even gut-wrenching at times. I basically murdered the original heroine and created Shannari brand new. I axed all the cheesy stuff I could, tightened the prose, worsened the conflict, heaped emotional turmoil on my characters, and finally finished that third final version the beginning of 2007.
8. Feb. of last year I wrote Survive My Fire, which takes place in Keldar, a country connected to the Rose world but an entirely different culture. With dragons.
9. End of March, I saw a brand new publisher, Drollerie Press, specializing in mythic fiction, fairy tales, cross genre work. The lovely artwork on the site immediately drew my attention. Totally up my alley! So I sent the novella, SMF, first.
10. April 11, 2007 I had my first sale!
11. Deena asked to see more of my work, so I sent MBB retitled as BloodRose.
12. By May, that old beloved story had also been accepted at Drollerie, retitled to The Rose of Shanhasson (much more epic in flavor, I think).
13. I bawled, called my beloved sister, and bawled some more. We’re bringing out the champagne this weekend when The Rose of Shanhasson releases!
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