Tuesday, August 22, 2006

How I Got Here—The Bombshells

I clicked really well with that editor, as far as writing goes. I wrote and submitted Cat’s Claw. The heroine was most definitely kick-ass. The romance wasn’t foremost in the story. I thought I’d nailed it.

But no cigar. The romance was still too strong for Bombshell, but the conflict too external for Intimate Moments. Please try again.

While I’d been waiting for her response on that book, my mother died. She’d battled cancer 15 years before and won, but this time, she didn’t even know she had it until too late. Diagnosed December 9, she died February 6, my brother’s birthday. He flew up from Texas, I drove from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts, and we spent four days clearing out her apartment. At night, in the hotel, I wrote the first three chapters of what would be my last potential submission to Superromance. It featured a heroine who was dealing with mother issues and the guy who got away. It had problems. My agent was fantastic at helping me fix those, but it was the last remnant of my early career. It wasn’t the type of book I wanted to write anymore.

After I got the rejection on Cat’s Claw, I decided to complete another book I’d started before I met with the editor again at the National conference in July. I wrote the draft in eight weeks and revised it after the conference. My agent submitted the full to her, and the wait began again.

In the meantime, the Luna editor had liked Soul of the Dragon,, but it didn’t quite fit Luna. She wanted to hold onto it for other possibilities (that didn’t come to pass in the end). My agent suggested I try a more traditional fantasy, since that editor, too, had liked my writing. I did, and the editor was encouraging, but ultimately passed. That was the end of that, but I still had Bombshell.

And Bombshell was IT. I knew it with every fiber of my being. This was where I belonged.

Then the editor left, because her own writing career was taking off.

The replacement editor was less enthusiastic about my stuff. She rejected the next book, Behind the Scenes as too comic-bookish, too over-the-top. So I wrote another one, and met with HER at the national conference, and submitted it. She was encouraging in manner, if not excited about my submission, so I had no reason to think I was going backwards.

Then she asked me to call her to discuss the book. I knew she wasn’t going to offer a contract, but I didn’t expect her to hate everything about it. I asked what she LIKED, and she said, “well, the widow thing was kind of cool, but actually…” Nope. She hated that, too. I ran my next idea by her, and she said, “Great, but instead of this, maybe that, and make this into that…” I’ve since learned she did that a LOT, and she’s also left to pursue her own writing career. I’m sure she’ll be much happier. In the meantime, that proposal I wrote based on her ideas was rejected with a form letter.

I tried one more time, with a book *I* wanted to write. Another form letter. And now, as of this past week and effective January 2007, Bombshell is no more.

I guess I don’t belong quite there.

Tomorrow…How I Got Here—And Here I Am


Karmela Johnson said...

First of all, congratulations on your anthology! The cover looks divine.

Second, you wrote: So I wrote another one...

Aaahhhh, Nat! I feel your pain! God, how many Bombshell-targeted manuscripts were those? Three? ::hug:: Is there any hope of turning the Bombshell manuscripts into ST submissions?


Natalie Damschroder said...

Thanks, Karm, re: the anthology. I love the cover. :)

I actually wrote three full Bombshell targeted novels, and two partials. The first one was published by Amber Quill last year. The second one I revised to ST length and is the one being considered by an agent right now. The third is the oddball making the rounds as is. The fourth I'm dropping for now, as I wasn't as enthusiastic about it and it would take a lot of research, which isn't my favorite thing. :) And the fifth I'm continuing as a single title, but since it naturally follows the one the agent has and could be the second of a two-book contract, she advised I work on my other WIP, which is a bit different.

That's the only saving grace about the demise of Bombshell, though--the books ARE so single-title worthy. As you know. :)