Musing over the changes

Who remembers typewriters and typing ribbon?  I wrote my first full length romance novel on a battered portable Olivetti, using a chip of wood to keep enough pressure on the tape spool so it would turn.  Up until then my life had been grooming dogs and training horses, I knew nothing about reams of paper so I typed onto any clean surface I could find – backs of letters, discarded green ledger sheets (ah, another blast from the past), scrounged notes crumpled then smoothed out.

A friend took pity on me, and sent a whole ream of clean white paper.  What a luxury!  I was able to retype my story so it looked like a real manuscript.  Right about then I also started my first job in the “real world” as a purchasing assistant for a power company.  Quite a change from clipping Cockers and brushing out Collies. I was paid for coming to work and using my brain, and didn’t go home smelling of flea dip.  Not to mention money came my way in the form of a check every week instead of a dab of cash from time to time.  I was even learning how to use a computer.  And in the evenings, I kept writing.

That particular book has never seen the light of day, and the first fifty pages never will.  But the activity of sitting down to create new worlds stayed with me as I married the man I’d wanted to marry years before, moved to Southern California and went to work in booming job market of that time.  I got my first computer.  And I kept writing.

Jump forward to the day I wandered into Michelle Thorne’s “Bearly Used Books” and was immediately directed to the next meeting of the Orange County Chapter/RWA.  Wow, an organization just for people who wrote the wonderful books that were my only company for years.  I was overwhelmed and immersed myself in this wonderful new world.

Right about then I dug into my nerve and sent out my first book for consideration.  They wanted the entire book, printed out and with postage to return those 400 pages representing hours spent building worlds and characters.  The packet came back, along with a letter explaining why my story didn’t work for them at this time.  Later I discovered that was a “good” rejection, and meant they wanted me to change and resubmit.  Lesson learned.

Fast forward now several decades, and the changes are too many to mention.  Electronic books went from a clumsy inefficient method of reading to a major force.  Electronic publishing, once the poor relative of the industry, is now stepping forward to fill a niche, and writers tired of throwing themselves against the obstacle course of the publishing industry are finding homes for their non typical stories.

In the midst of this revolution I was more involved in my other lives than in writing though I stayed in touch with friends made through RWA.  One fine New Year’s Day I decided it was time to put my own dreams ahead of others, pulled out my favorite of all those written so long ago and put away as “not quite ready.”  I used that story for pitch sessions, for on line classes, and finally as the first launch of my new life.

“My Killer My Love” found a home, and I’m now immersed in the many fascinating aspects of this brave new world of publishing.  Websites, FaceBook, Author Badges are now a part of publishing, as well as blog tours and book cover input.

The most important piece of advice I can give anyone thinking about pouring out their hearts and souls into a story?  Keep writing.

6 Comments

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6 responses to “Musing over the changes

  1. Congrats, Monica, on your sale. Good for you for not giving up! Your fellow OCC members are SO proud of you!

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  2. Maria

    Congratulations on your sale and for sticking with it. I always tell people that the only way to guarantee you won’t ever be published is to quit. Your post proves it again.

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  3. Wow, that brings back memories. I started out pretty much the same way on an old Royal typewriter. I remember hubby talking me into buying a used Selectra. That was exciting because it came with correction tape. No more white out.
    Congratulations on your book. I love the name and can’t wait to hear more about it. You have a beautiful blog.

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    • Oh, yeah, Selectrics! I could get those type balls spinning sometimes! Who’d have thought that half semester of typing in high school would have been the most important? Thank you, Miss Bunch!

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  4. Your journey to publication is wonderful, Monica. I love your cover!
    Keep writing and keep promoting.

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  5. Do I ever remember the days of typewriters, ribbons, eraser pencils and correction tape! I wrote my first two novels on a portable Smith-Corona. The second book, resurrected and re-edited, has just been published by Puddletown Publishing Group.

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