A Prepublished Novel in the Process of Revisions and Rewrites

Monday, October 27, 2008

Please give a warm welcome to today's guest, Mary Ricksen, author Tripping Through Time a Faery Rose Release

On one very special day for me, I met an editor for the Wild Rose Press. Her name was Callie Lynn Wolfe and she is a very special friend.
It was at a meeting of my local RWA chapter, the Florida Romance Writers. The only reason I was there, was that Traci Hall, talented author and then president of the group, dragged me there. She pushed me and gave me the confidence to try. Traci even gave me a ride. She made me feel wanted and comfortable. And for an agoraphobic like me that is a feat. My friend Traci is very sweet, kind-hearted, and a good soul.
Well being shy and taking a deep breath, I sat at a table where the group always meets in Ft. Lauderdale. I always sit at Traci’s table and there I have met many talented authors. On that day, a new member happened to sit next to me. Callie at first was a bit bashful herself, but shortly we were talking and getting to know one another. In the conversation, Callie told me she was an editor. Well for one of the few times I have been gutsy, I asked her if she could look at the first three chapters of my book, if only to tell me whether I stunk at writing or not. So I emailed them to her that very same day.
At first Callie was not impressed. After reading my first chapter, she told me kindly that she didn’t think it was a publishable romance. It turns out that what I was doing in my first chapter was called back telling. A real no-no in writing. In my mind, I knew that there was more to it. I really started the story in the second chapter. So I asked her if she would read a little more, and she did.
This time she was a bit more excited. She told me I was very good at imagery and with her suggestions and criticisms in my head, I dropped the first chapter and added a lot more dialogue. I am not as good at that. After reading my rewrite, she told me she was forwarding it on to an editor in the Faery Line. I’d have to make or break on my own. I held my breath for quite a while, (figuratively for sure).
It was at the next meeting that I learned my now editor, Zanoni Rose, had decided to accept my story for publication. Now Zanoni is a very patient person, she had to eliminate about a thousand commas that didn’t belong there. Yes, commas are my nemesis. Knowing that she had more experience than I did, I accepted every change she suggested, without question. There was one big change I had to make at the end of the rewrite process that was hard for me to accept. But trusting in Zanoni’s judgment, I made the change, crossing my fingers that it would still work.
My book was born! Delivery will be in digital on 1/2/09 and in print on 3/27/09. The thrill of accomplishment and acceptance overwhelmed me and it still does. All of my life I have been trying to find my talent. I made stained glass pieces, I tried painting, I played guitar and sang in a band, the list of things I tried is endless. Finally, I had found my talent. I have been writing and throwing away my stories for years. But this time I didn’t throw it away.
My muse was there all along, and I ignored it. Now I embrace it. I only wish I had discovered it many years ago. I might be a real famous author today if I had known!
Now I have a book, Tripping Through Time, coming out. My heart is so filled it is about to burst. Me, I did it, I have made a small dent in history. Some day maybe someone will pick up my book and think. Who was she? What was she like? I have something to leave behind. I never was able to have children, but I still have a legacy.
Writing is so special. I have lost myself so may times in a good story. Escaping my troubles, I learned about new places and new people. Losing myself in a book is a gift, and there are so many of them, I will never have to give that gift back.
So that’s how I got my book published. For the first time in my life, Lady Luck was with me. I met Callie, she changed my life, and I will never forget it. She gave me a chance, and that is all we writers want, a chance. She is my very special friend, forever I hope.
Thanks Callie, now everyone knows how special you are to me.
My advice to those of you who are trying to get published is this. Never give up if it’s your dream, never stop trying, and network, that’s the secret. Give it your all. Listen to all the advice that other writers give to you and try not to cry when you’re critiqued, because
someday you might get your chance. You too might be saying the words that thrill me.
I am an author, how great is that!

Mary Ricksen


  1. Amen, Mary! I'm glad you didn't quit writing. I almost didn't submit my first publication to WRP. I was sick of trying with a 8 month old. A WRP author read the first 6 pages and told me I had to. So, I did--not long after a synopsis doctor showed me what I was doing wrong. It's weird how we just need to find the right person to "see" what we're doing wrong and steer us in the right direction. Then again, writers have to be open to the steering wheel of fate. ;) I almost quit writing!!! With over a dozen novel-length manuscripts sitting around... It's funny how we can put so much energy into an art form and dog paddle in circles for years. LOL

    Now, tell us what your story is about! Skhye

  2. Hi Mary! First of all, good luck with your debut! Something you said-- too much backstory-- I think many aspiring writers have trouble with it. Deborah Hale (Historical writer) says she writes what she wants then throws out the first 4 chapters. Confidence is so important for any of us who are trying to get published. I've found that having critique partners is the key, and of course, networking with other writers. The romance bunch are always open to helping each other, either with crits or connections. Thanks for sharing your road to publication with the rest of us.

  3. Aw, Mary - you are fabulous and I am so glad that you had the courage to tackle your dream. Yeah for you!! Rejection is hard, but I think not finding what makes you tick would be even harder. Although stained glass is pretty cool, lol. I've owned a daycare, worked with special needs kids, been a florist, worked in every fast food imaginable, I was a receptionist, and I even did some light data entry work.
    Guess we both had to take the scenic route to publication

  4. Mary, it's so true that trying to become published is not for the faint hearted. I'm glad you never gave up, and I'm so glad Traci "dragged" you to one of our meetings! Looking forward to Tripping In Time!

  5. Hi Mary! What an inpsiring story. The editors at TWRP are so helpful, aren't they?

    I had the pleasure of meeting Traci Hall in San Francisco this summer. I actually won a copy of her book, Love's Magic, at a workshop she helped present.

    Congratulations on your release in January! I'd be happy to offer you a guest spot on my blog to promote your book. I focus on the romance hero. Stop by www.helensheroes.blogspot.com, and leave me a comment if you're interested.

    Wonderful post!


  6. Mary

    Great blog. You are so refreshing. But sweety, don't ever put yourself down again. We all went through a roller coaster until we finally published. I keep the R letter to remind me never to take this job for granted. I can't wait to hold your book in my hands. And hold my own first printed book that just came out. Yeah!!

  7. "How great is that?" Mary, it's the GREATEST!!! I remember my very first rejection--it was personally written and signed, with suggestions, but--not being in the know at that point--I put it in "my rejection" file (which I still have) and forgot about it. This is a "Had I But Known" moment. Recently, I got a phone call from an edition who duplicated what was in that letter of 20 years ago, only this time I listened. She's going over the re-edited version now. See? We learn as we go!

  8. Thank you all for commenting and reading my blog. I think we all go through our own journey to get where we want to be and when it hits you it's a wake up and grow call.
    But I think the most important thing is to help someone else if you can, there's a reward for that too. I don't think I've met a better group of people then authors.
    And thanks to Dayana for the opportunity to blog today.

  9. Mary, You must not put yourself down. You are a beautiful person and a fab writer. I am so glad you didn't give up on your writing. I'll bet you are, too.

    Mama Mary

  10. Great post, Mary! Your story is so inspirational and so like what other writers have gone through. I recognized myself in parts of your tale. And I happen to have had the priviledge of working with Callie Lynn on my TWRP short vampire story, Eternity Waits. She was a real help in making that story all that it could be.
    Best of luck with your release!

  11. Hi, Mary. A great post and beautifully written. Best of luck with your novel, and thank goodness for those angels that put us in the right spot at the right time! Keep writing.

  12. Congratulations Mary!

    I'm so proud of you and so happy for you.

    I can't wait for the link to buy Tripping Through Time,

    Jianne Carlo

    P.s. I always knew you'd get there.

  13. Mary,
    Followed you over here from the pinkfuzzywriters blog! I so enjoyed you blog, I have read many entries of yours on the pink fuzzies and have found them all very good. You are a great writer! I'm glad someone took the time to drag you to that meeting! Mama Mary did that for me a while back.


  14. Hi, Mary! Wow! You're a hit here! Thank you for stopping in and sharing a piece of Mary Ricksen's writing history. I agree with everyone here that we've all had our share of ups and downs and rejections enough to wallpaper our offices but the universal key here is to not quit.

    Never down yourself woman! Stand head tall shoulders straight and know that you have beat the odds and are A PUBLISHED AUTHOR:)

    And btw a very astute speaker as well, my friend. Don't forget the panel talk you gave at The World Erotic Museum field trip, LOL It was a wonderful talk.

    You are a wonderful writer and a wonderful friend and I wish you all the success in the world.


  15. Great blog, Mary! Send me some of your bravery - I need it!


  16. You are good at more than imagery, Mary. The post was beautifully written and heartfelt. Thanks for the encouragement to continue. We all need that at times. Congratulations on your upcoming release. I'll be standing in line to buy it.

  17. Ah, Mary. I was "Callie'ized" myself on my first book. She didn't go easy on me either, but she taught me a lot!

    Thanks for sharing your touching story! And good luck with your upcoming release!

    Thanks to Dayana for hosting your blog.

    Bess McBride