Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Paths to Publishing: Robena Grant || GONE TROPICAL




Robena Grant on her Path to Publishing:

My path to publishing has been rather rocky. I wrote two novels in 2000, and I thought they would magically be picked up by one of the big six publishing houses in New York (probably the big twenty back then.) By 2002, frustrated with rejections, I partnership-published with an Australian press and it cost me a small fortune. I don’t think I ever made back my investment.

I’d never been to a writers conference, had not heard about RWA, and I didn’t read romance. I know! Go figure. But some kind soul set me straight. I signed up, found my local chapter, Los Angeles Romance Authors, and I never looked back, even though it took until early 2013 to get a romance novel published. 


During those ten years, I learned that my style of publishing did not count within the realm of RWA. I was published, but I wasn’t. Undaunted, I studied hard. I volunteered. I even did a stint as President of the chapter. Romance novels became my best friends, I devoured them, but that only added to my confusion. I was a fast writer, and I used to joke that I’d written one book in each sub-genre of romance. Sometimes I crossed genres and made a stew. I was a marketing nightmare. 


By 2009, I still had not found my niche. However, I had learned the craft of writing from the best. I often said, when I got published I’d do a workshop at RWA National Conference and title it: Everything I Know about Writing, I Learned from Jenny Crusie. I got close to publication with a contemporary and swallowed my disappointment like a giant pill, choking as it went down, when the final decision was no thanks. So, I decided to write a romantic suspense. Why not? I hadn’t tried one of those. After the first book was finished, I sensed the possibility of a series and wrote all three books. I felt that I was close. You know that feeling. It’s like falling in love; you just know.


I entered the 2012 Golden Heart in December 2011, with book #3. In January 2012, I figured why wait around, I’d never final. I submitted the first book to The Wild Rose Press, and got a contract. Then I became a finalist in the GH. TWRP had first right of refusal on any books with ongoing characters. So guess what? Yep, I not only had my first contract, I had three contracts. Later in the year, I submitted one of my favorite writes: Gone Tropical. It released for Kindle on December 27th with a worldwide release set for April, 2014. 


Four books in one year! What a journey! 


And what can you take from these ramblings? Never give up. Never give in. You’re never too old. Keep reading, keep studying, keep on believing in your dream and it will happen. Tenaciousness wins out. I’m the perfect example. *grin*  

Title: Gone Tropical

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Date Published: KDP 12-27-2013 Print and all eBook 04-11-2014

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Word Count: 76,436

Amy Helm arrives in Australia on a tip about her ex-husband, Steven Fray, alias Stuart Firth who absconded with five million dollars from her father’s business. The FBI agent’s trail has gone cold. Who better to catch him than a psychologist who has known him intimately?
 Ex-LAPD, solitary P.I. Jake Turner has been hired by Amy’s estranged father. Amy is furious. Sarge, Jake’s Aussie partner, claims to be ex-army, but Amy smells Australian Federal Police. When Jake orders Amy to stay in Sydney while they tail Firth, her hackles are raised. Just who in the hell does he think he is?
A game of catch-me-if-you-can, set against the backdrop of the Australian rainforest, a fake marriage, a drug cartel, a barrier reef island, and a cyclone, creates a dizzying ride of fear and romance. But it’s one Amy won’t soon give up.
 
 Excerpt:
His voice was deep and steely. “What part of undercover don’t you get?”
She narrowed her eyes. “I was using feminine wiles, and—”
“Shut up,” Turner whispered, and abruptly turned his back to the lobby.
The same bald-headed guy she’d seen earlier spoke with the waiter. Tension coiled through Turner’s body. They were so close, the warmth of his breath fanned across her forehead. He stood taller, like he was on tiptoes or something, his chest puffed out. The bald guy walked past, ignored them, but continued to scan the lobby. He looked like he’d taken a beating.
She thumped at Turner’s chest. “Shut up?” she asked. “Where were you anyway? I’ve—”
He moved closer, his face expressionless, hazel eyes cold. “Be quiet for a minute. Please.” He gripped the hand that had done the thumping. “Play along.”
Her heart raced, and she was unsure if the burst of adrenaline was because of his closeness, or the insinuation of danger. Soap, deodorant, and light citrus after-shave, tickled at her nostrils. Then it struck her, he’d showered and she’d sat down here like an idiot, for hours. About to tell him what she thought of him, she inhaled and realized she liked his scent. The tinkle of china on the glass tabletop disturbed the moment. Jake released her hand, and turned.
“So, what was—?”
“Darling,” Turner said. He turned back to her, his hazel eyes softened, smoldered, so they looked almost green. “You haven’t had breakfast yet?”
Amy shook her head. Darling? She didn’t even know his first name, but he seemed to have a game plan, which was more than she had. And he’d made no comment about her bagel choice. Maybe if she played along, they could be partners. God he smelled sexy. Maybe they could be even more.

Available for purchase at Amazon.


Author Bio:

Robena Grant writes contemporary romance about ordinary women thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Travel and discovering new places brings her great pleasure, and she often includes these discoveries in her stories. She is Australian by birth, lives in Southern California, and has two grown children. Robena may be contacted at: www.robenagrant.com where she blogs weekly, or follow her on Twitter, Facebook or Google+




The author is offering one randomly drawn commenter an ebook of GONE TROPICAL. (Format is winner's choice.)

43 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your successes, Robena! So glad you didn't give up. Your book sounds very interesting and I look forward to checking it out.

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    1. Thank you, Diane. Much appreciated. : )

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  2. What a great journey! I just finished Gone Tropical, LOVED IT. Especially love the way you write action.

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    1. Thanks, Barb. That comment coming, from you Ms. Action Pants, makes me blush. ; )

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  3. Good morning, Robena! Welcome to the Snarkology. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

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    1. Thank you so very much for having me as a guest. You have such a nice, sophisticated site. I promise I'll leave the place as tidy as I found it this morning.

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    2. Robena,
      I use a Blogger template so I can't take too much credit for the layout. But thank you! :-)

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  4. Great story. I love Jenny, too. She taught me a lot about writing. Starting with "you need conflict" lol.

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    1. Yes, Cindy. I few weeks ago I read one of Jenny Crusie's posts titled, Make Me Care, and I thought, yes! So of course I typed that up and taped it to the computer. Every time I get stuck on the WIP I dwell on those three words.

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  5. I love the premise of Gone Tropical and this excerpt took me right to Australia! I can't wait to read more of this delicious read. Thank you for sharing your journey, Robena!

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    1. Thank you, RoseAnn. I'm a huge reader, and a fast one, but I don't know how you young working mothers (who also write, publish, and promote) find the time for reading. I get the warmest glow when I hear someone is actually reading one of my books. ; )

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  6. Great story about your path, Robena! Interesting: We both started out in 2000 and we both have four books out. I wrote suspense from the beginning, but it was still a long and winding road. Congrats on Gone Tropical! Hope your sales are fabulous. Rolynn

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    1. Thank you for stopping by today, Rolynn. That is funny that we have similar paths, and we ended up with the same publisher. : )

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  7. So many of us have graduated from the class of "never give up," haven't we? And Jenny's such a great teacher--you learn just by being there! Congratulations on your whirlwind year--I hope 2014 is even better!

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    1. Thank you, Liz. I see you have a wonderful sounding title out also. I must go as soon as I finish typing this and order. Because I had meant to, and then...oh yeah, holidays, and then my book came out, and then... . ; )

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  8. I love your takeaway ramblings. They are wonderful advice for life in general, but most especially writing.
    I was afraid to come to a place called "snarkology" but I wanted to read your path to publishing. >pokes head up, looks around< Doesn't seem snarky here or anything. Looks pretty nice.

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    1. Lynne,
      Aww, I'm really not all that dangerous. I don't bite. (Unless you're Mr. Snark...sometimes I nip at the Snark minors... ;-) )

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  9. Ha ha, Lynne. Thanks so much for your support, my friend. I love that you braved the snark infested waters to see what I was up to today!

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    1. >>>Insert the Jaws theme song...

      Hehehehe...

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  10. Hi Robena,

    I love your story. It's so inspirational. In our culture, we tend to think "If it hasn't happened for me by 40, it's not gonna happen," which is such an untruth! Especially for writers because so many of us don't even get to take a real shot at writing until 40 or later, when the demands of parenthood, the day job and the rat-race ease off a bit. One of the things I, personally, find so compelling about your story is something you kind of glossed over--the Golden Heart nomination! I've collected my fair share of rejection letters too, so I know how confidence-destroying they can be. It's hard to receive multiple rejections and not think, at least for an instant, "Maybe my writing sucks?" Having a manuscript nominated for the Golden Heart says pretty emphatically, "No, you don't suck. You're good. In fact, you're one of the best!"

    Congratulations on your new release. "Gone Tropical" is sitting on my Kindle, waiting for me like a reward when I dig out from under my holiday backlog of chores! Can't wait to dig in!

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    1. Ah, Sam. You are every writers dream. I envision you doing a swish with the pom-poms. Ha ha. Thanks for your support, and I hope you enjoy GT!

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  11. I always knew you had the determination to break through, and I'm SO glad you did! Looking forward to reading "Gone Tropical"!

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    1. Thank you, Christine! Determination is one of the strongest and most necessary attributes of a writer. It's hard for our little voice to stand out from the crowd. And then when we do get published it's harder still to reach our audience. All we can do is continue to write and hope one day, some way, people will find us. : )

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  12. Robena,

    I love your story because it really confirms that hard work, fortitude and talent are a winning trifecta (even if the win comes a bit later than hoped).

    Congratulations on your success and good luck with GONE TROPICAL.

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    1. Thank you so much, Maggie. In my wildest dreams I never imagined publishing four books in the year I became eligible for Medicare. Ha ha.

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  13. Robena,
    Never give up, never surrender. Words to live by. :)

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    1. Absolutely, Lynn. Thanks for stopping by. : )

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  14. Your story is totally inspiring Robena! That's awesome! Way to go!

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Rebekah, and for the kind words. I know you're busy with your new release. Here's to many sales for you! : )

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  15. Congrats on all your success! No one deserves it more! You and I certainly traveled that rejection road together! So happy for you (and glad neither one of us threw in the towel)!

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  16. Absolutely, DeeJ. There were many days I was tempted. Ha ha. Sometimes I'd quit and within two days I'd back and cranking out the words on a new manuscript. But all of that was good. It was my internship. Some of those ms. were so bad it's a good thing I was writing and not doing brain surgery. ; )

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  17. Hi, Robena, great post. Tenaciousness is definitely key. Congrats on the new release!

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    1. Thank you, Babette (and for your tweeting expertise.)

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    1. Love the excerpt Robena and reading your path to publishing is enlightening. Everyone has similar yet uniquely different paths and we all can relate!
      Best wishes. Hope to see you soon!
      Charlene Sands

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    2. Oh, thanks for coming by, Charlene. You've published so many stories and had so much success, I wonder if you remember how it was in that first year. Do you ever forget? : )

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  19. Hi Robena! Four books in one year is amazing and wonderful and I'm so happy for you and your successes! I've loved your books, but even more, I've loved getting to know you. Thanks for sharing your story with us and best wishes in 2014!

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    1. Robin. You're a sweetie! And right back attya! I hope you have an amazing 2014!

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  20. Robena,
    Very interesting to read how you got 'here'. Your excerpt has me intrigued. I guess another TBR is in my pile.

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  21. Great success story! And you definitely picked the best to learn from. I went to Seton Hill just for her...the year after she stopped mentoring there. Oh well.

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  22. Hi Jenny, yes, JC is an amazing teacher. There were so many things I thought I knew until she'd say NO! That's not it.: ) Then she'd walk me through it all and I'd understand. I've always loved her honesty.

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  23. Hi Jenny:
    Melissa drew out a name from the hat today, and you have won the Kindle copy of Gone Tropical. If you don't have a kindle I can send you an eBook or Mobi or PDF. I'll contact you for the correct address for an Amazon download. : )

    Thanks to all who stopped by. There will be another giveaway next Monday. ; )

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