Saturday, March 21, 2009

Contests, Change and Opportunity

I blogged yesterday at the I Heart Presents site about the one year anniversary of receiving the call that I’d won the Harlequin Presents Instant Seduction contest. Everything in my professional life literally changed in the space of that one phone call. I went from an unpublished hopeful to an unpublished hopeful with an editor whose mission it was to guide me in the completion of a novel suitable for the Presents line.

You never know where opportunity will strike. The Instant Seduction contest was a grand opportunity, but there are other contests that provide good opportunities as well. In 2008, I was also a Golden Heart finalist, and that was some of the most fun I’ve ever had. I met a group of fabulous women who I know will be with me through the ups and downs of this writing life. Several of the finalists, aka the Pixie Chicks as we dubbed ourselves, sold their novels in the months leading up to and immediately after the conference in San Francisco. Opportunity knocked, and they were ready. (And I have no doubt the rest of them will sell!)

This Wednesday, those calls will go out again and some lives will change. If you don’t get the call, don’t be too upset. It took me four tries to get that GH call. There is always next year. Seriously. (Unless you sell, of course!)

Everything can change in the space of a year. On March 19, 2008, I was unpublished, unagented, and had no idea how quickly that would all change. With the Instant Seduction win and the Golden Heart final only a few days later, I had new found courage and hope that I would succeed. Today, I have two books accepted for publication, an editor who wants me to write more, and a fabulous agent that I still can’t believe wants to represent ME.

No matter what happens next week, take heart and keep hope. So long as you hold up your end of the bargain – to write, to read, to grow, to submit – I firmly believe you will get there. Opportunity will knock, maybe in the form of a contest or maybe in a pitch appointment, and you’ll be ready for the change.

And now, if you don’t mind me having a squee moment, check out my post over at IHP – there’s a sneak peek of my very first cover and blurb. I am *so* excited about it!

Are you ready for change? Are you ready to try again if you don't get that call on Wednesday?


Karen Beeching said...

I didn't quite make the deadline for the GH this year, but I will have my fingers crossed for the rest of our Southern Magic members who entered.

Thanks for sharing your story. It's inspiring!

Christy Reece said...

Congratulations on the great cover! Alejando is definitely poster worthy!

And you're so right. There's no just one way to attract the attention of an agent or editor and make that first sale. The key is to be ready when it happens!

Congrats to you and fingers crossed for our Southern Magic GH contestants!

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Hi, Karen! I'm glad if I've been inspiring. :) I feel like I slogged in the desert for so long that I want to encourage other writers not to give up. :)

And yes, fingers crossed for all our SM members who entered!!

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Hi, Christy!! Being ready for whatever happens is the key, I think. I did not envision my path to publication happening the way it did. Do any of us, LOL?

I do love my cover. Thank you for the compliment! :) Can't wait for your first book to hit the shelves. It's coming very soon.... :)

Kathy said...

Great cover, Lynn!

Wow! Though I've seen you go through all these steps, it's still hard to believe it's only been a year. You've achieved so much already!!

You're an inspiration!

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Thanks, Kathy! :) Believe me, no one is more surprised than I am that it's been an entire year!

Louisa Cornell said...

Hey, Lynn! You have had a stellar and whirlwind year and nobody deserves it more. You have worked so hard for this and I am absolutely thrilled for you!

And can I just say that I really need to brush up on my Spanish as Alejandro is MUY CALIENTE !!! Great cover! I can't wait to get my hands on it.

I am convinced my final in the GH was a fluke last year so I am not counting on finaling this year. We'll see. Either way, The Raven's Heart revisions will be done and I will be ready to query by March 31st. That is my goal.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Hi, Louisa!!! I'm so glad you like Alejandro. I don't think they could have done a better job -- unless Mr. Antonio Banderas had been available, ahem. ;-)

Oh my gosh, NO, I don't believe your final was a fluke!!! I think it's always best to count on not finaling, as you never ever know what can happen with the judging, etc. Helps keep us prepared on the day, I think. :)

But you, lady, are one talented writer and I have no doubt you're going to sell! And I'm looking forward to buying your first book when you do!

Anne Barton said...

Lynn, what a great post. And an excellent reminder to be ready for any opportunities that come our way.

I'm so happy for you, and I love your cover. As I mentioned, it's just how I pictured the pool scene from your first chapter. Except in my mind the heroine looked a bit more like me. ;)

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Hi, Anne! Thanks for stopping by. :) I'm so glad you like the cover! And LOL about picturing the heroine looking like yourself. When I first saw the cover, I barely paid attention to her. She's nice, but he makes me haaaaappppppy. *g*

M.V.Freeman said...

Sadly, I know there won't be a call this Wednesday for me, except if there is a sick kid (LOL).

You should be proud, you have worked hard and long for this, and I am always excited to see the good things that come.

And yes, I am ready to keep on writing. :) Even if it hurts...

Lynn Raye Harris said...

It always hurts, Mary. But that's how you get there. And I know you will!!! :) I'm going to take that no call comment to mean you didn't enter, btw. :) There's always next year!!

M.V.Freeman said...

Thank you Lynn, you are always so gracious and it encourages me!

You are absolutely correct, sadly, I did not enter this year-lets just say this year has been one of tempering. :)

Christine said...

Thanks for the inspiring post. I am dreading this Wednesday as I am pretty sure I won't final. Blah. But I know what I have to fix and I will keep at it. Your story is what keeps me going. I know you have worked soooo hard for this and now it is paying off. I am very happy for you and wish you much success in all of your writing endeavors!

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Next year, Mary! :)

Christine, you have the right attitude! If you don't get that call, it WILL be disappointing. Almost as much as if you got a rejection, I think. But you eat chocolate, or drink wine, or whatever your choice of comfort is, and you keep working and enter again. That's the only way I know to do it. :)

But you never know. Last year, I waffled between thinking I would and wouldn't final. You just can't tell. :) Good luck!