Here’s the straight truth: I have always wanted to write romance novels. Well, at least since I was sixteen. Then it took another 25 years or so before I actually put pen to paper. (There were careers to start and kids to raise, houses to keep and dinner to cook.) It took six years to write the first one. I loved it, but I was alone in my delight. I decided to write another. This one took about the same amount of time. I sent it off to editors and agents. No one wanted it . . . but it was chosen as a Writing with Stars book for RT.
What an experience that was! To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. I’d spent so many years in my little office writing, it had never occured to me that the world of romance publishing was a sophisticated bit of marketing and commerce with a core of artistic endeavor inside. Like a Tootsie Roll Pop.
By the way, I was cut in the first round of Writing with the Stars. Ah well.
Since then, I’ve joined Romance Writers of America and the Chicago North RWA chapter. The memeber of Chicago North have been amazing. They are truly committed to helping other writers, and twice a month we meet to discuss opportunities and triumphs, as well as disappointments. I have learned so much, and I hope some day I will be able to give back as much as I learned.
After Writing with Stars, I entered a dozen more contests — for the critiques, primarily – and in 2011 I finaled in the Golden Claddagh contest’s Contemporary category.
The big news is that in February 2012, I sold my first book, a contemporary romance to a new e-book publisher, Crimson Press (part of Adams Media). The book was released on June 4. In April of 2013, Crimson Press published by fourth book, Angel Without Wings. You can find both books here: http://www.crimsonromance.com/mari-manning/