Just heard from my publisher that my first novel, Heart of Hythea, will be released on December 3rd.  At the moment we are in the final stages of editing, and I have been busy designing a cover for it.

It has been a long road.

I began writing H of H in July 2005.  At first I didn’t tell anyone, even in my own family, what I was attempting.  “You?  Write a whole novel?” they would have said in derision, knowing full well that I am the Queen of starting things with great enthusiasm without ever finishing one of them.  So I kept writing, pushing myself, until I had about 60,000 words.  Everyone was wondering why the house was so messy all the time, and my husband probably thought I was having an affair, so finally I had to confess.  The reaction was much as I had expected (see above) but I kept going anyway.

When I had a finished manuscript, I had to do the hardest thing I have ever done–show it to someone else.  My husband read it first.  He was complimentary, but I knew it was awful.  I showed it to a female friend of mine, who is a librarian.  She said the story was good but I needed to work on the grammar.  That was more helpful, so I took it to my sister, who is an ex-English teacher.  That almost sank me, because she was very UN-complimentary, and I wondered if I ought to chuck the whole thing in the bin.

But I didn’t.

Instead I took an intensive  novel writing class at the University of Otago.  It was helpful, although the atmosphere was a little too “supportive.”  I needed something between my sister (this is rubbish!) and my husband (This is great!  When do we eat?)  I found it in the form of Mike Goodwin, a classmate.  Together we formed the Otago Writer’s Guild, and went through H of H chapter by chapter.  He was honest about the bad stuff and complimentary about the good stuff.  Slowly, I polished my work.

Then I sent it to a publisher.

It was, of course, rejected.

I did some more polishing and tried to get an agent.

No joy.

I totally rewrote huge chunks and sent to another publisher.

It was rejected.

I dabbled with the idea of self-publishing through Book Surge.  Mike talked me out of it.

Meanwhile I started work on Book II, Ketha’s Daughter.

I decided to try one more publisher.  I searched on Google for small presses, and found Bladud Books.  I sent them an e-mail, not expecting a response.  I got one–an invitation to submit my novel for publication as an ebook.  “Fine,” I thought.  “What have I got to lose?”  Especially since they were willing to read an electronic submission rather than a paper one.  To my surprise and everlasting joy, they offered me a four book contract, through their ebook arm, Mushroom.

Seeing my book for sale on the Internet will be one hell of a kick!

(But now I have to worry about people buying it…)