Wednesday, October 12, 2016

You'll Never Believe What I Did Next!

~ By Vonnie Davis (Hereafter known as Cranky Author, or CA)

For months I've fussed about my editor at Random House wanting to change my voice and my feeble attempts at trying to march lock-step in line with her changing demands. And you all know I don't march, I tend to schlep, stopping here and there to admire the flowers or stare off at a cloud formation in the sky. No, I don't do marching. Heck, it's all I can do to manage normal.

Trying on hats in a souvenir shop. Is it me? I didn't think so either.

My editor emailed to ask if I was happy writing my bear shifters. She knew how upset I'd been when they rejected MR. OH, a romance I'd written specifically to her criteria--like a literary pharmacist filling their prescriptions. I replied that I was. I was in my comfort zone of the dual personas and the delightful Scottish burr. I also included an excerpt of Kendric as he leaves Mathe Bay, home of the original series, to take the ferry to Sonas Isle, locale for this new series. Warning:  Even with Scottish spelling, some words may offend and, for that, I'm sorry.
Unlocking his SUV, Kendric belted himself in once he settled behind the steering wheel. That’s when he allowed the vision of Jaimie to surface, just as she had so many nights in his dreams. Long, blond hair the color of honey that she usually wore in a braid. Green eyes like Highland pines. Wide hips the way he liked them with an arse that bore watching as it swayed from side to side when she walked. She was a bonny lass and, damn, she could kiss, too. His kilt tented a wee bit at the memory of her lush body flush against his. Hell, he’d better think on something else.
Yer awfully quiet, bear. The last time ye were this silent was after ye heard Ronan’s bear had picked a name for himself and ye got a wild hair up yer hairy arse to have one of yer own.
Kendric started his vehicle and eased out of the parking lot.
Aye, and a fine name I picked, too.
‘Tis nay name for a feckin’ bear. Ronan’s bear picked Magnus, a tough name. It shows strength. Kendric checked both ways for traffic before pulling onto the road, making a right at the second traffic light that would take him to Galswren where the dock for the ferry to Sonas Isle was located.
Mine is just as good.  To be named after Maizie’s ferocious dog was an honor. We fished for many a salmon together.
I repeat, ʼtis nay name for a feckin’ bear. ʼTis why I refuse to use it. Kendric’s temper rose. He’d put up with his bear’s foul mood for days. As soon as Creighton had talked to Kendric about leaving his job as a police detective in Mathe Bay to replace the current sheriff on the remote island of Sonas Isle, his bear had made every waking and sleeping minute of his life bloody hell. While he ken Jaimie moved to the island after inheriting her aunt's property, his bear had nay idea until Creighton mentioned it just now when he'd said his farewells.
Ye ken Jaimie is the woman I claimed for ye back when ye first met her. If ye behave yerself like the proper gentleman I ken ye to be, ye can woo her and win her heart.
Kendric scoffed as he turned onto the road leading toward the ferry’s dock. Och, as if I’d take fokin’ romantic advice from a bear named Spot.

The editor replied she didn't like it.  She didn't want the human and the bear talking to each other. She didn't want the bear to have his own pov. I responded it was "just like a woman trying on a dress in a store. The feminine side of thinks I love how this looks on me! The practical side responds Do you really need it? Have you looked at the price tag? One woman with two opposing opinions arguing within her.
"I also thought you were allowing my creativity free reign on this series. You gave me a list of criteria and I've complied with them all. Do you micromanage all your authors this way or only me?" Yeah, I was a couple shades beyond livid and my fingers were running amuck over the keyboard.
She asked me if I wanted out of the contract.
I replied that I felt it would be for the best. That writing no longer held any joy for me. I was eight chapters into this book only to find out, to make her happy, most of it would have to go.
Remember the "Cranky Author" moniker at the beginning of this post? Well, there's a reason for that. A few years ago, I fired my agent. This time I fired my publisher, the biggest one in the world. I don't know if that makes me brave or dumb as a rock.
We did part on good terms. She told me I was more than free to submit again if "the right story for the market" came along. Since she doesn't like humor. I don't see that happening. I have a six month period from the release of the final book of each series before I can self-publish another book in the series or use any of the characters I created for the series. No problem there. Since none of the Sonas Isle Shifter books were released yet, I was free to publish at will. 
So, I was mentally prepared to go completely Indie. Being able to write what I wanted the way I wanted felt incredibly good. I'd have a new label: Hybrid Author. Not to be confused with Cranky Author.
Then I got an email from an editor at another publisher. A couple months ago, after Random House had rejected MR. OH, I'd sent three chapters and a synopsis to a couple other pubs. I was in an "I'll show them" frame of mind. A few days later as my spirits sank, I figured they wouldn't like it either and I'd put it out of my mind. Now, one of then wanted a full.
But there was no full to send her. I was so depressed and doubtful of myself as a writer, I'd laid it aside to work on the new shifter series. What had I done? What writer in his or her right mind submits a book that's not even a third written? Don't answer that!
So, I swallowed what little pride I had left and responded to the editor, telling her I had placed the book aside to work on a bearshifter series. If she didn't mind waiting, I'd gladly shift projects to deliver MR. OH to her. She replied she didn't care about waiting; she just wanted to read the entire book.
Okay, leave Scotland and drop the lyrical burr. Land in Philly ASAP. Go from writing in third person to first and get this puppy done. And if she doesn't want it, no biggie, I'll just self-publish it. More and more I feel like my author's bio. "Vonnie likens herself to a freshly baked croissant: Warm, crusty, wrinkled, and a tad flaky--best served with strong coffee."


Angela Adams said...

Vonnie, your literary path is a novel in itself. "Feckin'" -- I'm getting a kick out of that word!

Margo Hoornstra said...

I think that hat looks good on you. I say buy it! ;-) Bravo for reclaiming your joy in writing, Vonnie. That's really what it's all about, right?

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Oh Angela, never go in a straight line when you can zig-zag. I like "feckin'" too. LOL

Rolynn Anderson said...

As I've said before, going hybrid is so freeing you won't believe it! Good for you for saying see-ya-later to your publisher. You didn't burn bridges...nice...but you're free! I agree with you about the bear/man talk-we women are always talking ourselves in and out of stuff. Glad you've got that smile on your face again, Von!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Calvin and I discussed that joy at some length, Margo. He's always said he'd support me in this writing as long as I was enjoying the journey. His fear was that I'd get caught up in the money aspect. No big worries there, but my writer's ego has taken a huge hit. No the challenge is to find all the bits and pieces of my shattered voice again. But I will. I don't give up easily.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Thanks, Rolynn. I learned a valuable lesson through all this. My audience is not the millennials. My audience is a shade older and more inclined to enjoy a well-woven plot with secondary characters who add spice and depth to the story.

Jannine Gallant said...

I stood up and cheered when I read this. Micromanage is an understatement. That woman tells you what to write and how to write it. You're not a ghost writer for her. You're an artist with your own voice! Other pubs don't do this. Submit your new series to Kensington. They ASK me for a new series. They don't TELL me what they want. They promote. You have many options. You don't need Loveswept. You need positivity not negativity in your life. I'm 100% sure you'll find a place in this business that makes you happy.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Thanks, Jannine. I was befuddled by the whole experience. HarperImpulse never edited my books, they just sent them through to the next publishing step which scared me to death. No one writes that well...especially not this ol' gal. Then Loveswept edited me while I was writing. Told me what to write, what locale, sometimes what names to use, and what plot elements I couldn't have. I am so glad to be out of there. I have one book yet to release with them next month. Then I'll be finished. When an editor tell you you need to dummy down your writing, you know something's wrong.

Alison Henderson said...

I'm relieved and happy for you. Your journey has taken such a toll. You're one of the most joyous writers I know, and it hurt to see that joy diminished. The best part is you have choices now; you're in charge. You deserve the freedom to honor your own voice. I couldn't write for millenials, and I wouldn't want to try. I might get a wee bit despondent from time to time about my lack of monetary success, but at least no one's telling me what to do.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Oh, Alison, I like to laugh when I'm writing. Laugh until the tears obliterate what's on my screen. I know my humor can be over the top and I'll have to go back and tone things down a bit, but I know I have more fun writing than readers do reading. Now, I'll have that joy again.

Diane Burton said...

Good for you, Vonnie!!! I am so proud of you standing up to her. Write what you love. I've been so much happier as an indie writer than I ever was/am being traditionally published. Enjoy writing again.

Brenda Whiteside said...

You go, Vonnie. I've always hated being micromanaged. When I worked outside the home, I had a go round with a manager who did that. Got my hackles up. Wishing you so much luck!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Thanks so much, Diane. I'm looking forward to it. I really am.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Brenda, being micromanaged is the same as telling you you don't have the smarts to do it on your own, isn't it? I'd had enough. Cranky author here.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Oh yes, Vonnie. And I always pushed back. Glad I don't have that job anymore.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Reading this again and smiling all the while. Excellent choice, Vonnie (and Calvin!)

Leah St. James said...

Yay, Vonnie! I'm too tired right now to say much more, but inside I'm jumping up and down. :-)

Alicia Dean said...

First of all, love the picture. You look lovely. And, I LOVE that you stood up to your publisher. You are a very brave woman indeed. You know, as authors, we have to follow our own path. Hopefully, this other editor will want your novel. If not, the Indie world will welcome you. :) Best of luck whatever you do!

Donna Michaels said...

Woot! So very happy to hear the new publisher wanted to read more of your book, but sooooooooo not surprised! Best of luck!