Thursday, May 17, 2012

Something Old, Something Revised, Something Published!

THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THE WINNER IS NANCY JARDINE. CONGRATULATIONS!
Karen: 

World traveler, Paula Martin is a multi-published author with Harlequin, Publishing with Rebecca J. Vickery and the Whiskey Creek Press. It's amazing how something long forgotten can become an intriguing story that must be told. Let's give Paula a warm welcome! 



***Paula's giving away an e-book(pdf or mobi for Kindle) copy of CHANGING THE FUTURE to one lucky commenter! Don't forget to leave your email so she may contact you if you should win! 


Paula Martin:
Never throw away an ‘old’ manuscript!

Four years ago, while on holiday in the USA, I happened to meet a Harlequin best-selling author who, on hearing that I’d had 3 books published by HQ in the 60’s and 70’s, encouraged me to start writing romances again.

When I got home, I found the box in which I’d dumped a pile of half-written stories 30+ years earlier when I was a divorced and single parent with two young daughters and a full-time teaching career, and simply didn’t have any time to devote to writing.

One novel was complete but was rejected by HQ in the 70’s. At that time they wanted brooding and domineering alpha-men as their heroes (preferably sheikhs, Greek billionaires or Italian counts), so my story of two teachers who meet again at a school, in North West England, a few years after an acrimonious break-up obviously didn’t fit their new formula.

I thought about this story and, as I was still setting my sights on Harlequin, decided to re-locate the story in America. The heroine became a teacher at a college in Virginia, the hero was a celebrated volcano expert (instead of another teacher), and the heroine’s ‘best friend’ was a Senator. Okay, that seemed to work, so once I’d rewritten it, I sent it off to the HQ editor recommended by my new author friend. Five months later, she rejected it. That was a blow, but I decided to send it to Mills and Boon, the HQ associates here in the UK.

I knew it would probably be a long wait, so I started another novel (one from my box of started but never finished novels). This second one was accepted in May 2010 (by another publisher) but in August of the same year Mills and Boon rejected my first novel. By then I was well aware of some its weaknesses, particularly too many flashback scenes which slowed it down in the first few chapters.
So what now? Do I throw it back in the box? Or do I try yet another re-write? After completing my third novel, I turned my attention back to the first one. I moved the setting (again!) back to England, abandoned the ‘flashback’ scenes, added more scenes (and conflict) and researched volcanoes in Iceland instead of in Hawaii.

In the end, the final story of ‘Changing the Future’ is very different from the one I wrote back in the 70’s, and even from the re-write I did four year ago.

Maybe the moral of this story is: look at your ‘old’ stories, update them, re-set them (if you can), and play around with them until you eventually get the story you’re happy with.

Here’s the ‘blurb’ for ‘Changing the Future’:
Lisa Marshall is stunned when celebrated volcanologist Paul Hamilton comes back into her life at the college where she now teaches. Despite their acrimonious break-up several years earlier, they soon realise the magnetic attraction between them is stronger than ever. However, the past is still part of the present, not least when Paul discovers Lisa has a young son. They can’t change that past, but will it take a volcanic eruption to help them change the future?

Excerpt:
As she went into the large airy lobby, Fiona and Paul were crossing from the wide stairway towards the door. She couldn’t avoid them without doing yet another abrupt about-face. Every nerve inside her tightened.

“Hi, Lisa,” Fiona greeted her. “Had a good break?”

“Yes, thanks.” Her reply was as automatic as her casual smile. She tried not to look at Paul, but couldn’t stop herself. A sideways glance at his familiar face brought back far more memories than any two-dimensional picture on the television screen.

Five and a half years hadn’t diminished his good looks; on the contrary, they’d matured him, and lent strength and character to his handsome features. Thick light brown, wavy hair which used to feel silky to her touch. Stunning azure eyes she’d once been able to read like a book. High cheekbones, well defined jaw, beautifully-shaped mouth—No, she mustn’t think of his mouth or his kiss.

Fiona gave a smug smile. “I see you’ve recognised Paul Hamilton. He’ll be working in my department for a few weeks. Paul, this is Dr. Lisa Marshall, head of the TV Journalism Department.”

Lisa cursed inwardly, knowing the colour had flooded to her cheeks. She’d caught Paul’s initial stunned expression but now his face registered nothing as he held out his hand to her. His blue eyes were expressionless. “Hello, Lisa. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? How are you?”

The feel of his firm hand around hers sent an unexpected, yet familiar, electric current arcing through her and she had to struggle to maintain her outward show of calmness. “I’m fine.” She was relieved her voice seemed to be coming out with no indication of her inner shakiness. “And you?”

“Yes, I’m good too.”

Fiona looked curiously at Paul. “Do you already know each other?”

He turned to her. “We met a few years ago, in London. Before I went to South America.”

Lisa stiffened. It was a reminder, maybe a deliberately cruel reminder, of everything that had gone wrong between them.

“Oh, I see,” Fiona replied. “So you’ll be able to reminisce about old times.”

“Oh, I doubt Lisa will want to do that.” Paul looked back at her again. “Will you, Lisa?”

She heard the razor’s edge in his voice and copied it. “I really don’t think there would be any point.”

Touché, she thought, as he tilted his head in what seemed to be a mocking acknowledgement.

He glanced at his watch and turned back to Fiona. “Shouldn’t we be going? The meeting’s at eleven, isn’t it?”

“Yes, in the Old House. See you around, Lisa.”

“Yes.”

Without looking at Paul again, Lisa walked along the corridor to her room. She yanked open the door, sat down heavily at her desk and ran her fingers through her hair as she tried to sort out her confused emotions.

Why was she allowing him to have this effect on her? Their relationship was over, finished. Everything had ended the day she came back from Berlin. She shuddered, remembering the accusations, the anger, and then the agonising pain.

Hardly surprising that he’d said she wouldn’t want to reminisce about ‘old times’. She didn’t even want to be reminded, let alone talk about what had happened. It was bad enough to realise the very nearness of him had sent tremors quivering through her, just as it always had.

A door banging somewhere brought her back to the present. She had a class waiting in R106.

“To hell with you, Paul Hamilton,” she muttered as she stood up.

Available as e-book or paperback from http://rebeccajvickery.com, also on Amazon

About the Author:
Paula Martin lives near Manchester in North West England and has two daughters and two grandsons.

She had some early publishing success with four romance novels and several short stories, but then had a break from writing while she brought up a young family and also pursued her career as a history teacher for twenty-five years. She has recently returned to writing fiction, after retiring from teaching, and is thrilled to have found publishing success again with her contemporary romances.

Apart from writing, she enjoys visiting new places. She has travelled extensively in Britain and Ireland, mainland Europe, the Middle East, America and Canada. Her other interests include musical theatre and tracing her family history.

Links:
Other contemporary novels by Paula Martin available from http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com and from Amazon.

18 comments:

Natalie G. Owens said... Best Blogger Tips

Paula, it is so wonderful to learn a bit more about you, to get to know you better. HQ in the 70s! Wow, what a story :). Thanks for sharing it. Great post!

christine warner said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Paula! Very interesting story...loved reading about your journey.

Congrats on finally getting your story where you were happy with it and getting it out there for all your readers to enjoy. Sounds like a winner to me!

Mae Clair said... Best Blogger Tips

What, a fantastic story, Paula - - not only the novel but what you did to get it where you needed it! Rewriting is hard enough but large revisions are daunting. I'd love to win a copy of this! maeclair@maeclair.com

Wishing you much success!

Nancy Jardine said... Best Blogger Tips

It's really annoying whenyou have some kind of clear out and then a couple of months latr someone asks for tha tvery thing. I agree, Paula, that keeping old stories is a good thing!

Kathy said... Best Blogger Tips

What a wonderful story! It sure emphasizes the point of keeping around old stories and past attempts because in the future you could rework them and really have something!!

Kathy
http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

Ana Morgan said... Best Blogger Tips

Nothing is ever too old. FoV is a great read, Paula.

Jennifer Wilck said... Best Blogger Tips

Just shows that persistence pays off. Congratulations (again).

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Paula,

I never get rid of my old stories or half started tales. There's been more than a few times, those rough ideas became blossomed into a novel.:)

Thank you so much for sharing your new release with us. It sounds fantastic. I wish the best success!

Cathy said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Karen and Paula!

Paula,

Sounds like you have a few books published. I'm curious, how much research do you put into writing your books? I know it would differ with each. So what did you need to do to write this story? :)

cnickol at verizon dot net

Paula Martin said... Best Blogger Tips

Natalie - HQ certainly changed its formula in the 70's, from the previous 'don't even mention the bedroom' stance to 'the more sex, the better!' LOL

Christine - thanks so much. The published book bears hardly any resemblance to the original, apart from a couple of scenes (and the basic scenario).

Mae -this story went through so many revisions, I've almost lost count!

Nancy and Kathy - I'm kicking myself that I threw out one story back in the 80's that I know I could now rewrite.

Thanks, Ana and Jen :-)

Cathy - this one took quite a lot of research because of the hero's occupation. I'm going to write moe about that at our group blog tomorrow (Friday) - http://heroineswithhearts.blogspot.com

Karen - thank you so much for having me as a guest on your blog today!

Ilona Fridl said... Best Blogger Tips

I know what you mean about revising an old ms. I'm still trying to fix up my first. I may have to sell it as women's fiction. Best of luck on the release, I loved the excerpt.

Paula Martin said... Best Blogger Tips

Many thanks, Ilona - and best of luck with yours!

Paula Martin said... Best Blogger Tips

Many thanks, Ilona - and best of luck with yours!

Katrina Gillian said... Best Blogger Tips

Congratulations on your story. It encourages me to take out my story I started a while back. One day, I'll finish that novel lol

mysweetpirate at yahoo dot com

Rosemary Gemmell said... Best Blogger Tips

What a brilliant background story about your writing career, Paula - I'm so glad you started getting your wonderful stories published again.

ros_gemmell(at)hotmail(dot)com

Paula Martin said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks so much, Rosemary. At one time I never thought this one would see the light of day, but eventually it all came together!

Paula Martin said... Best Blogger Tips

Katrina - apologies, I missed your comment earlier. Do dig out that story again, and tell yourself you WILL finish it!

Paula Martin said... Best Blogger Tips

And the winner, chosen by a random number (i.e #4) selected by someone on Facebook, is Nancy Jardine! Congrats, Nancy - will be in touch to send you your prize of a copy of 'Changing the Future'.
Thanks to all who have left comments, and thanks again to Karen for hosting me here.