by Judith Post
Before Judy begins, I'd like to highlight her upcoming romance, which is available for pre-order on Amazon and Nooks. Here's the blurb:
Nothing stirs the pot like a new man in town…
Welcome to Mill Pond and small-town country living, filled with fresh air, fresh food, and plenty of fresh gossip—especially when it comes to romance…
It’s impossible not to notice when someone new shows up in Mill Pond. Especially someone as obviously out-of-place as Ian McGregor. His stylish suit and fancy car scream “city slicker.” And when Tessa Lawrence discovers he can’t even change a tire, she has no choice but to help. That’s just what the locals do. And when she finds out Ian’s her new neighbor, of course she’s obliged to invite him to dinner too…
Turns out Ian’s come from New York to open a luxury resort on the property next door to Tessa’s farm, where she grows berries and sells her famous jams and delectable baked goods. But despite their quickly growing friendship and temptingly close proximity, Tessa plans to keep things with Ian strictly neighborly. For one thing, Ian’s got a fiancée who, unlike Tessa, doesn’t have dirt under her nails. Plus, Tessa knows from bitter experience that a guy this gorgeous is all too likely to break a simple country girl’s heart. Even if he’s as sweet as one of her cinnamon buns—and equally hard to resist…
Promises to be an awesome read! I've pre-ordered my copy!
And now, here's Judy...
I started writing after I had my second daughter. I was knee deep in diapers and short on sleep. My husband wanted to give me a break once a week and enrolled me in a continuing education class he thought I’d like: Writing for Fun and Profit. I’d never dreamt about being a writer, but I took a lot of English literature in college, so writing essays and short stories was fun for me. Back then, I didn’t even think of writing as a hobby, just a diversion.
After my second session of classes, one of my fellow class members invited me to join her writers’ club: Summit City Scribes. A core of serious writers faithfully attended it, but over the years, some had to drop out, and others got discouraged. I was lucky. Every time I started to lose faith that I’d ever be good enough, something small would happen to keep me going. Mystery Time magazine paid me in copies for two of my stories. I had stories in three WomanSleuth anthologies and then got stories in Alfred Hitchcock’s magazine and then Ellery Queen’s. Somewhere in there, I started trying my hand at novels. And mysteries seemed the natural way to go.
What I learned by writing mysteries: First, writing novels was harder for me than writing short stories. But with mysteries, I learned to start with a hook. In her early books, Martha Grimes always began her novels with a short, quick scene, showing the killer’s first victim. Then she’d take a step back to introduce her detective, setting, and minor characters. I read most or all of Agatha Christie’s mysteries, and mysteries are naturals for plotting. The book’s big question smacks you in the face when the first body hits the floor. I wrote cozies when cozies weren’t popular. And I learned from that, too. I got lots and lots of rejection letters from editors, saying that they loved my writing, but NO ONE was buying cozies at that time. Did I change to something else? Not me. I truly believed that if I wrote the BEST cozy, someone would buy it. Not so. And that’s when I learned about marketing. When the genre you love is in a slump, find another genre.
I finally wrote an offbeat, strange mystery and sent it to an editor at Tor. She promptly wrote back that she loved the mystery, but could never buy it. It was too unusual. Another lesson. Don’t write too far out of the box. Editors want work that’s original, but not too different. Then she asked, did I have any urban fantasy? She was looking for that. “What is urban fantasy?” I wrote back. She sent me a checklist, and I tried to write it. My next life lesson. When you haven’t read enough of a genre, you’re going to screw it up. She gave me great feedback on my first attempt, and I tried again. This time, she wanted to buy it, took it to a sales meeting, but was told that the sales team had just promoted a book that used Tarot cards as the story’s hinge, and they couldn’t do another one. Another lesson. Rejections aren’t always about your writing. You can be rejected because the editor just bought a book about a serial killer and she doesn’t need another one. Or she has Nora Roberts as a client and focuses all of her energy on marketing her books. Or she hates snakes and you put a boa in your story. Or she spilled coffee on your manuscript, and she’s in a bad mood. Yes, editors and agents are people. They have biases, good days and bad days. Anyway, by the time I wrote a third novel for my editor, she’d changed jobs and wasn’t with Tor any more, and the new editor liked epic fantasy, not urban fantasy. Publishing changes.
By the time I found an agent who liked my urban fantasy, the field was glutted. Publishing trends come and go. Timing matters. There’s a window of opportunity, and when it closes, move on.
I still love writing urban fantasy, but my agent told me the sorry news. “Try romance.” So I did. And I got a three, e-book deal with Kensington. COOKING UP TROUBLE comes out April 12, 2016. And guess what? I really enjoy writing romance, too. Urban fantasy focuses on action, battles. Romance focuses on relationships and emotions. They balance each other out.
What have I learned? Write what you love. But be smart about markets. And keep growing as a writer. There are lots of good writers out there. You’re not competing against the bad and mediocre. You’re competing against the good or awesome.
Thanks, Sue, for inviting me to be a guest on your blog!!
And thanks, Judy, for your awesome post!
Want to connect with this awesome writer? You can find her here:
Judy's webpage: http://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/
Judy's author’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JudithPostsurbanfantasy/