Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Paths to Publishing: Babette James || SUMMERTIME DREAM

My Winding Path by Babette James:

It’s been a long and winding path to publication for me. I’ve always loved writing and making up stories, beginning back when I used to act out epic fantasy tales with my dolls. (My Barbies had swords and knew how to use them.)I’d scribble out bits of those stories in spiral-bound notebooks and on backs of school papers—which, I’m sure, were a horrible mishmash of influences from Star Trek, Edgar Rice Burroughs and J.R.R. Tolkien, with some Phyllis Whitney and Mary Stewart thrown in to make things interesting for the hero and heroine. I even have a degree in Literature, but I let fear and self-doubt keep me from pursuing my dreams over too many decades. It wasn’t until 2004 that I wrote my first full rough draft of romance novel, finally gave up simply dreaming about being an author, and gathered up my nerve to pursue publication.

Learning to get the words on the paper first and edit second was a major step toward getting published. I used to write a little, polish a lot, and never, ever finish the story. Then I stumbled across National Novel Writing Month and that experience taught me how to spill out the words and muzzle that nasty internal editor long enough to write the story.

Then I found the New Jersey Romance Writers chapter of RWA and then I found an awesome group of online writing friends who are my critique and goals group. Writing might often be considered a solitary journey, but it’s better with a community. I couldn’t have made to this point of my career without my writing community. They are a critical editing eye, sounding board for ideas, mentors, cheering squad, shoulder to whine and cry on, and very great friends. I learned how to pitch, edit, write a synopsis, query letters, and so many other aspects of the publication process. They cheered me on when it was time to hit send on a query letter, gave me consolation on the rejections, and pushed me to pitch and hit send again.

On August 5, 2011, all the years of work paid off: I received The Call for my first contemporary romance novel, Clear As Day. Well, The Call was an email, but it was an email that changed my life, and becoming a published author has been a rollercoaster of awesome and crazy. I thought I was mostly prepared: I’d paid attention to my friends’ writing careers, I’d taken workshops, I’d started my website and blog and dipped my toe into social media, but BEING a published author, even now after my second novel Summertime Dream has released, remains a huge, on-going learning experience.

Now that I have two novels out, what next? I think that being a hybrid author in these interesting publishing times is a practical approach in planning my career. My goal is to build my career and become a full-time author. I’ve had so much fun writing stories for the circle of friends in my River series, so the first project on deck is completing Love Burns, which takes place in the series timeline immediately after the events in Clear As Day. Once that is handed in, I have four more planned in the series. I am also working on a contemporary romance novella series which I am targeting for self-publishing and I am working on an epic fantasy series which I want to pitch to an agent. And after all that? Then there are the other stories yet to be written that I haven’t even dreamed of.

What are some of the things necessary to meet my goals? There are so many ongoing tasks, but here are three important ones for all writers, no matter the stage of your career:

1. Writers Write. Don’t forget to give yourself time to write. Once that contract is signed, editing and promoting can consume your time and burn you out so easily. Give yourself time to really write. Start that next story. Jot down that plot bunny. Have fun with a crazy short story idea. Let yourself be creative.

2. Give Yourself A Break. We all have lives outside of our writing career: children, spouse or significant other, parents, everyday job, church, hobbies. Our lives are packed and finding balance is already hard. It’s easy to think, “Oh, I can squeeze in promoting my book a little on top of everything else. I can still write every day. I can give up some more of my me time.”  You need that me time even more now. Get your rest. Read that book you put aside on your TBR pile. Have those dinner dates with your spouse and friends. Set the breaks as appointments on your calendar if you have to, but take time for yourself. 

3. Celebrate Your Successes, Big Or Little. You busted your butt and got those edits in on time. Your neighbor liked your blog post. You held the copy of your book in your hands for the first time, print or on an e-reader. You got a five star review. Have that glass of wine, those fifteen extra minutes soaking in the tub with your favorite music playing, or that fancy latte at the coffee shop. Be proud of yourself. Honor your hard work.

Wishing you all a very happy and successful 2014!


Title: Summertime Dream

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Date Published: Released on Kindle December 27, 2013. Releasing worldwide on April 4, 2014

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Word Count: 86,710

The Fourth of July is over, but for these summer lovers the fireworks have just begun.

An unexpected inheritance brings business consultant Christopher Gordon from Los Angeles to quaint Falk’s Bend. He’s carved a week from his demanding schedule to list his great-grandparents’ house for sale and explore his roots. However, disturbing family secrets and the sweet temptation of writer Margie Olsson derail his plans, challenging him to seize the elusive dream missing from his hectic life— love.

A recent brush with death shook Margie’s life, but not her dreams and she’s ready to move forward. Only, standing up to her loving, over-protective family isn’t easy. Helping Christopher explore the derelict mansion and unravel his grandmother’s mysterious past should be a harmless fun taste of independence. But when her experimental summer fling ignites into unexpected love, how can her small town dreams work with his big city life?


The evening grew late and, as much as he’d like to drive and talk with her all night, he should be getting her home. “So, plans for tomorrow?”
“Dad and Joe will load the ladders on the truck for me and we’ll have tools. I’ll meet you at the house.”
“Tell them thanks for me. I really appreciate the help. What time?”
“I recommend early, maybe seven, so we get a cool start. You okay with that?”
“Perfect. I’m a morning person. Up with the birds.
Coffee or tea?”
“Coffee or I can’t start my day. I’ll bring us some.”
He winked. “I knew there was a reason I liked you.”
On arriving back at Margie’s home, he parked at the curb and turned off the engine. Nocturnal creaks and shrills of insects filled the dark. A dog barked somewhere in the neighborhood. The tranquil, deep night, empty of city sounds, reminded him again of nights at Mohave and the restful peace he found there.
Now, to say goodnight. He walked around and opened her door. This wasn’t a date. He was going to keep his hands to himself and he wouldn’t kiss her.
Best laid plans...
She caught his hand in hers and kissed his cheek. “I had a wonderful day. Thanks!”
From that innocent touch, his resolve shattered, and sliding his hand over her silky, wind-tangled curls and touching his mouth down onto those soft smiling lips of hers was as simple as his next breath. And as necessary.
She slipped her arms around him, her body pliant against his, and her welcoming sigh erased his last glimmer of restraint. Savoring her lips, tracing the seam of her mouth, brushing and tasting, relaxed and curious, coaxing her to open to him, taking it slow, long, and easy.
So much for remembering he was leaving on Sunday.

Summertime Dream is available on Amazon.

About the Author:

Babette James writes sweetly scorching contemporary romance and loves reading nail-biting tales with a satisfying happily ever after. When not dreaming up stories, she enjoys playing with new bread recipes and dabbling with paints. Babette is a member of New Jersey Romance Writers, where she has served on the Board. She is also a Pro member of Romance Writers of America, and the Celtic Hearts, and Contemporary Romance Chapters of RWA, and Liberty States Fiction Writers. As a teacher, she loves encouraging new readers and writers as they discover their growing abilities. Her class cheers when it’s time for their spelling test! Born in New Jersey and raised in Southern California, she’s had a life-long love of the desert and going down the shore. Babette now lives in New Jersey with her wonderfully patient husband and extremely spoiled cats.

You can find Babette at:


  1. Hi Melissa! Thanks for the opportunity to share a little of my writing journey. :)

    1. Good morning, Babette,
      Sorry for being tardy. Wednesday is the morning I sleep a little later so I'm still blinking my way through my first cup of coffee. :)

      Welcome to the Snarkology and thank you for participating!

  2. Hey Babette, I enjoyed reading your pub journey so far :) Great tips too. Thanks for sharing and good luck.


  3. Hi, Melinda, thank you and thanks so much for stopping by today!

  4. I love your advice, Babette. We often lose sight of the small successes in all the bustle to promote. This writing business is a tough one. Congratulations on your second book! The cover is gorgeous and the excerpt interesting. I'm looking forward to the read.

  5. Thanks, Robena. Of all the things I put on my to-do lists, these look so simple, but always feel the hardest.

  6. Enjoyed your post Babette. Thank you.

  7. What an inspiring blog Babette - and I LOVE your three goals. All resonated with me, but I think the final one is very important. Sometimes we get so bogged down with the nitty gritty of trying to make our writing a success, we forget how far we've travelled. Very best of luck with Summertime Dream.

  8. Great advice, Babette. Writing is definitely in your blood, starting with the dueling Barbies. Hope your release is going well. I'm almost blogged out, aren't you? And then we've got the free days looming which are truly intimidating. You, me, Robena and Monica...have we got hard work ahead! Definitely calls for an extra glass of wine...or two! Cheers. Rolynn

  9. Three great suggestions! Thanks, Babette!

  10. Thank you, Kathryn! Definitely important to remember how far we've come. :)

  11. Hi, Rolynn! We can do it, but wine is a great idea. Cheers!

  12. Glad you liked them, Ashantay. Thanks for stopping by.

  13. Thank you, Babette! I'm standing on the edge of the cliff about ready to debut book will be published this year, received a second contract over the holidays, and scrambling to put everything in order when my life takes off on a whirlwind of chaos after my release. The most important bit of advice I will take from here is to remember the "me" time. I tend to say "yes" to everyone and everything, leaving no breathing time for myself. I must remember to fill the well...Wishing you all the best!

  14. Hi, Mary, congratulations! Saying no is so hard, but very healthy. Good luck with your debut!

  15. Hi, Babette! I love reading about writer's journeys and I love the cover of your book. Congratulations and many successes.