Claire McEwen, hopeful romantic.

2013 Gratitude

It just seems fitting that my first blog post should be about gratitude. I am here with my shiny, brand-new author blog because of the bounty that the year 2013 served up on my plate.  I sold three books in 2013.  My first three books, and for a person who never believed she’d reach her dream of becoming a published author, this felt like a miracle!

And it was a bit of a miracle, really. If you are an aspiring writer, your first question might be, “How did you do it?”  And I wish I could offer some real guidance, or words of wisdom, or the magic key, but I can’t. The answer for me is that I just got lucky.

Here’s how my miracle happened. I entered the first chapter of my novel into Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest in the fall of 2012.  And I entered without much hope of winning or placing.  I chose the contest because to enter you had to check off a box on the entry form that said you had finished your book.  I hadn’t finished my book.  I was endlessly tweaking and revising and never ending it and I needed a deadline to make myself finish.  And quite frankly, I had a rather intimidating birthday coming up and decided that one way to make myself feel better about it was to finally finish my book!

So I entered, and finished my rough draft, but didn’t place in the contest. However, much to my astonishment, a few weeks after the contest was over I got an e mail from an editor at Harlequin Superromance asking to see the entire manuscript.  I revised for a week, pretty much twenty-four hours a day, (the three a.m. dates with my computer and my coffeepot reminded me of being in college!) and sent it in.  She liked it, and after a round of very extensive revisions, she offered me a contract.  I was overjoyed and absolutely amazed.

(Looking at what I wrote here,  maybe I do have a bit of advice.  Enter contests!  It’s exciting, it narrows the slush pile and it guarantees that an editor will put eyes on your work for a moment at least.  Plus, knowing that a lot of people will be reading your work pushes you to write better!)

Recently my editor at Superromance offered me a contract for my next two books.  So I get to end my 2013 completely overwhelmed by miracles. I’ve got a heart full of gratitude! And for 2014 I have a new dream – that when my debut novel ventures out into the world in February, readers will like it, and have fun with it. And maybe they’ll be inspired to go after their own dreams, in search of their own personal miracles.

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