Friday, November 7, 2008

The Windy Road to Publication with Christina Phillips

Thank you Eleni, Hannah and the rest of the Bootcampers for inviting me over to the Bootcampers Blog to chat about my writer’s journey and first release! I’m thrilled to be here.

 In June 2008, I sold my short erotic romance with paranormal elements, Foretaste of Forever, to The Wild Rose Press. I was ecstatic! But it's been a long rocky road to publication. Nine years in fact!

 The first time an editor took an interest in my writing way back when I first started, I was over the moon. She loved the concept and worked hard with me to polish that story until it glittered. I went through three rounds of extensive edits over an 18 month time frame. We got to contract stage – and then the company went into liquidation.

Devastated but not defeated I picked myself up and began to sub to Harlequin Mills and Boon. Over the following year or so I received several form rejection letters (lacks Emotional Punch and Excitement. Oh. Um, so what is Emotional Punch…?)

Then I discovered the eHarlequin boards, my first CP and the mysteries of what, exactly, EP was!!!

A few months later my writing caught the eye of an editor at Harlequin Mills & Boon. She said how much she loved the set up and requested the full. Within a month she rejected it, but with very specific reasons, and asked me to send her ‘several’ proposals so she could pick the strongest one for us to work on together.


I sent her two partials and three other outlines. Months passed and I heard nothing.  I’d finished those two stories and was half way through another, so contacted M&B only to discover this editor had left the company. 

Sigh.  My work was passed onto another editor. She also left the company.

Sometime during this period I subbed a short story to Arabella, a US romance magazine. Within weeks, they went into liquidation.

It was about this time I started to feel just a bit paranoid. Was somebody trying to tell me something here?!

My work was passed to a third editor who requested the full, spoke to me on the phone about my writing and then requested revisions. Ten months later I received a rejection on completely different aspects of the manuscript. Argh!!!

I thought I would try something different and wrote a couple of first person chic lits. They turned into first person romances, and writing hot sex scenes from the first person perspective was quite an… eye opener… ! Unfortunately that was just as the slump hit chic lit and my babies were without a home.

So I decided to go back to my first love of paranormal romance, shifted back to third person and received positive feedback from agents but still no offer! 

At the beginning of 2008 I was seriously fed up with the whole writing business. I didn’t know whether to go back to my beloved category romances, or pursue my paranormals. A lot of the time I just procrastinated around the web and if it hadn’t been for my fantastic CPs who encouraged me to try something new – erotic romance – I’m honestly not sure I’d ever have got my act together again. 

Then, in May 2008, the Romance Writers of Australia held their inaugural Romance Roadshow in Perth. I found out Hannah would be travelling up on the same train as me, so arranged to meet up with her.   

The Roadshow was an amazing experience. I met so many local writers I'd only known online before and the overall buzz and atmosphere was so friendly and encouraging it completely revitalised me. I was so inspired, I queried The Wild Rose Press the following Wednesday with my first erotic romance. On Saturday, the editor emailed and said my synopsis intrigued her and could I send her the full.

I sent her the full. And a week later she offered me a contract!

It really is the truth when they say the only writer who doesn't get published is the one who gives up. I've come close to giving up so many times, and only the encouragement of my fellow witches (and the fact I go slightly insane when I DON'T write!!) has kept me going. As they say in Galaxy Quest: Never Give Up! Never Surrender!

Christina’s first book, FORETASTE OF FOREVER is a dark erotic romance with paranormal elements, published by the Scarlet line of the Wild Rose Press.  It's about a heroine who is prepared to do anything to be with the man she loves, and an alpha hero who is so blinded by his sense of honour that he can't see his destiny when she is standing right in front of him.     


Elyesha, last surviving descendant of a line of powerful witches, finally finds the only man she's ever loved, the man who deserted her countless years before. But Ben is torn between desire and despair when Elyesha, his only love, eventually penetrates his
protective retreat. He knows what she wants, but the price of their love is too high. At midnight, on the beach, a battle of wills and erotic seduction ensues as each confronts the other's darkest fears.

Thanks Christina for your journey to publication.  Glad you stuck it out! Please visit Christina's website and blog.

News flash:  Christina has been offered a contract for her Scarlet Rosette, 'Touch of the Demon'  by The Wild Rose Press. Congratulations Christina!!!

~ Eleni


Kaye Manro said...

This is a wonderful road to pub story, Christina. So inspiring for others on that same road. And now I knoy you mantra... mind if I borrow it please?

Judith Leger said...

Emotional Punch...isn't that the stuff they serve at weddings after the alcohol mysteriously disappears into said punch? No? (Sorry, I have trouble with emotional punch too!)

I know exactly what you've been through. Almost feels like a black cloud is following you then the light at the end of the tunnel appears and makes all this worth it! Love the blurb for Foretaste, sounds great! Keep on moving forward, Christine! That's what makes you a true author; never giving up no matter the obstacles!

Shelley Munro said...

Your story is inspiring, Christina. And this sale, I'm sure it will be the first in a long and successful career.

Cari Quinn said...

Very inspiring story and I'm really glad you didn't quit. I'm just like you - whenever I say "never", next thing I know, I say, "welllll, maybe"...LOL Not that you mentioned that tendency here, but I remember reading it in one of your interviews. ;)

Congrats again on your upcoming release!

Alison said...

Thanks for sharing taht inspiring story, Christina. A lesson to all writers to never ever give up.

Congratulaitons on your well deserved success.

Christina Phillips said...

Kaye, please do! I pinched if off Galaxy Quest!!! Of course the reason I love that movie is because Alan Rickman is in it (even if he is hidden behind a very strange forehead for most of the time!!)

Christina Phillips said...

Judith, OMG too funny!! EP took me the longest time to grasp.

Yes, a black cloud is exactly what it feels like at times, and at the beginning of this year the tunnel had no light at the end at all. I even got to the stage where I no longer loved writing, it was a hard slog but when I tried to give it up I just got even more depressed!

Christina Phillips said...

Shelley, thank you so much. I hope so because I love writing erotic romance. It's just so much fun!

(and I thought you might have guessed my mantra, lol!!!)

Christina Phillips said...

Cari, lol, yes! Although I think it can be a very good thing to try different sub-genres. A year ago it hadn't occurred to me that I could write erotic romance but when I did finally try it, things all clicked into place and I discovered how much I loved the darker side. My contemps were more along the lines of rom com.

Of course I might just have a very weird brain, there is that to it!!

Christina Phillips said...

Alison, thank you. I hope my story is inspiring, because it's absolutely true - you never know when that call or email is going to come. And when it does, there is just nothing else like it!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I think you're my new heroine!!! Your resilience and persistence emboldens me to NEVER give up! Thank you for the inspiration! (Oh, and I've just purchased my first online book-yours! I'm looking forward to kicking back this weekend and reading Foretaste of Forever!) Bootcamper Dana

Christina Phillips said...

LOL Dana!! Thank you so much!! And never ever give up, you never know what's around that very next corner!!

Rebecca J. Clark said...

Christina--Great post. Very inspiring. I wrote for 15 long years before I finally sold to The Wild Rose Press (I don't yet have a release date). I agree with you about perseverance. Talent and skill are important, but it's all about not giving up on the dream.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your story. I bought your story, but haven't yet read it. Can't wait to though--I've heard nothing but fabulous things about it. You must be thrilled.
:) Becky

BORROWED STILETTOS, coming soon from the Wild Rose Press

Eleni Konstantine said...

Hey Christina, LOVE the Galaxy Quest quote. And am so glad you persevered. I attended the Roadshow in Adelaide and it did fill me with enthusiasm. Glad you found your groove in Perth and that in such a short time after, the tide had turned for you. It gives us non-published writers hope that the long windy track leads somewhere. Congrats again on your release and on the offer for 'Touch of a Demon'. Thanks for joining us at Bootcampers.

Anonymous said...

Wow Christina,

You're determination is to be admired. Never give up is the motto we all need on the road to publication. You mentioned your crit group. They to deserve congratulation. Another motto, Great crit groups are worth their wieght in signed contracts.
Enjoy your success.
bootcamper Roseanne

Christina Phillips said...

Becky, thank you so much for that lovely comment! I'm completely thrilled with the feedback I've had. I love that hero so much!

It's so true about perserverance, and not giving up on our dreams. Congratulations on your upcoming release, too!

Christina Phillips said...

Eleni, thank you so much for having me over here and for the good wishes! And yes, those Roadshows were absolutely fabulous. It's a shame I'm in Perth and you're in Adelaide - but maybe we'll meet up at one of the annual conferences one year!

Christina Phillips said...

Roseanne, you are so right about crit groups! I'd be lost without mine. Thank you so much for your good wishes!

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I don't blame you for feeling paranoid, Christina. To be so close so many times then have your dreams crushed must be so disheartening. But good on you for not giving up. As you say, perserverence is the key. Congratulations on your success! I love paranormals and the blurb to Foretaste of Forever sounds fantastic.


Trish Morey said...

Christine, what a great story of perseverance and success! And it's so gratifying to hear that attending the Romance Roadshow in Perth this year fired you up to send out that winning submission.

It was so great to be able to take part this year. Wonderful to meet so many enthusiastic and talented writers.

Anna Campbell said...

Christina, congratulations! I was really interested to read about your writing journey. And wasn't the Roadshow a great idea? I hope it becomes a regular fixture.

Christina Phillips said...

Janine, it was disheartening at the time not to mention very frustrating! Thanks so much for your good wishes!

Trish, the Perth Roadshow did wonders for my enthusiasm. It was a fantastic experience and I'm SO glad I went! Thank you so much for all the hard work that went into organising it!

Thanks, Anna! And yes the Roadshow is a brilliant idea. I very much hope we're lucky enough to have another one here in Perth!!

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