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Bitter Pills we gotta swallow

Case in point. Some pills in life are hard to take, but they’re necessary nevertheless.

I used to think that every writing-related opportunity was meant for me. Twitter pitches, Facebook pitches, publisher submission calls for un-agented (and agented) Black writers, etc. When all you have to do is write a short 100-word blurb, first chapter, and synopsis, or 280-character pitch, it seemed all too easy to catch the attention of an agent and/or editor.

Once my plate got too full, and I realized I wasn’t in love with every pitch I’d send in, it grew easier to pass on opportunities I genuinely felt were too much for me.

But back in February 2018, when Harlequin/Mills & Boon held a Harlequin Romance Blitz pitch, I felt compelled to submit a first chapter and query for their consideration. I’d entered opportunities like this with Harlequin before, off and on, from 2013 to 2016. I was expecting a form rejection letter. A “thanks but no thanks”. Instead, from the first chapter I received a partial request (that’s the first 3 chapters). I was pleasantly shocked. Cue theatrics with my family who were super indulgent, bless their hearts!

Fast forward to Summer 2018, I awoke to a lovely email from an honest-to-goodness Harlequin editor requesting to see the full manuscript. Luckily, I’d gone ahead and written the first draft of the entire manuscript. So, I sat down, re-read what I had and quickly realized that I needed to do major edits from Chapter Three onwards.

It took 5 months for me to get it back to the editor. *hangs head* I still cringe when I think of how long it took me to edit and revise. Three rounds of revisions later, I hit SEND at the end of 2018.

The editor’s speedy reply came late January 2019, and I got an R&R. Another first! I was excited that this wasn’t the end of the road for my little manuscript, but I had a fair share of nerves too. I hadn’t done editorial revisions before beyond my critique group (hi, Sassy Scribes!), but I turned the R&R around pretty quickly.

Skip to January 2020 and I got my 2nd R&R. Yay, not a rejection, but I was still missing the mark on my emotional conflict. Back to the drawing board, it took me another 5 months (!!!!) before I sent it off to the editor again.

In July 2020, I heard back from her. She was nothing but kind, patient and complimentary about my romance manuscript. She requested another full R&R, and I was determined to hit the right notes this time.

I submitted this latest R&R only a few weeks ago, so I’m back to waiting.

These past two years, I’ve had the opportunity to enter many of these Blitzes with Harlequin and participate in Twitter pitches like #pitmad and #DVpit. Heck, there’s a wonderful #ownvoices opportunity for Harlequin Presents happening this Friday. I’ve skipped them because I didn’t have anything I felt was worthy of any agent’s or editor’s eyes.

So, though a hard pill to swallow, I’ve accepted not every door of opportunity should be opened. 🙂

Tell me, have you walked away from an opportunity in your life because the timing didn’t feel right? Let me know in the comments.

Love

Hana

Hello World!

This is technically the 2nd post on this new spiffy blog, but I’m not new to blogging. Been blogging since 2013, but I’m not a dedicated blogger and I don’t have a huge following.

Which is totally fine because it got me thinking about what I want from this blog. What can its purpose be? Other than, you know, updating you lovely readers on latest releases and other news.

And then it hit me: I love, love, LOVE reading writing-related blogs from other authors. Like, the blogs that really peel back the layers and reveal that writing isn’t a linear process. On the outside, business-wise, yeah, sure. There’s a very similiar process most published books, traditional or indie go through before they get to readers. We got the first drafting stage, self-edits (maybe), revisions, off to beta readers and/or critique partners, more revisions, maybe off to another set of betas and CPs, even more revisions, polished enough to hit submit to agents and/or editors. Rinse and repeat with new book. And then there’s big picture edits, line edits, copy edits, galleys or ARCs somewhere in there, and final AAs before the book is officially out of the author’s hands.

Okay, PHEW. That took a lot out of me. My point being that there’s a ton that happens behind the publishing curtain, when the author is alone with their tablet or laptop or desktop or notebook (hey, old school is always cool!). Where the magic happens. The real real magic.

I call it magic, but it can be writer’s block, doubt crows, etc. Moments where the author is wondering, “What the heck am I doing? Do I even want this? Will I ever be published? Can I make this a full-time career? Great, my book’s out—so, when can I quit my day job?”

It’s those stories on blogs that I come back to time and time again. For camaraderie on this sometimes lonely journey. For a boost when I get all sulky about my own writing. For hope that I’ll be able to make a living (part-time or full) from my stories.

So, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to add to those type of blogs that don’t intend to be inspirational (but totally are!) to other authors, published or pre-published.

Love

Hana

Debut Novella is Available Now~!

Deep breathing… I can be an adult about this… Wait, no, I can’t!

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It was a labor of love, and I had blows to my confidence along the way, but my debut novella is finally—FINALLY—on virtual shelves!

Kwanzaa at His Castle is a holiday read. It’s everything I could ever want it to be. I’ve wanted to write a Kwanzaa-themed romance for a long time coming now, and to have Imani and Tyson’s story be my debut makes this doubly special!

Introducing Imani & Tyson! Don’t they look so cozy?

Imani and Tyson’s love story unfolds in a castle. They’re snowbound, trapped together, and unrequited love blossoms very happily (and quickly). Just to make it even juicier, Tyson’s the older best friend of Imani’s brother. She’s held a torch for him—err, candle (’cause this is Kwanzaa), and this Kwanzaa she hopes to share her love with him. Will Tyson be open to forever with Imani? Maybe… Pick up Kwanzaa at His Castle to find out.

And right now it’s one novella in SNOW IN LOVE, an 8-novella collection of sweet holiday romances.

Snow In Love: Sweet Romance Holiday Collection by [A.K. Creek, Isabelle Grace, Ash Keller, Ann Malley, Lily Rosetta, Heather Scarlett, Hana Sheik, Melanie Waterbury]
Only $2.99 for EIGHT (8) heartwarming holiday romances!

We’re giving you Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s a little ahead of the holiday season this year because let’s face it, we need a whole lotta holiday cheer in 2020.

I’m hoping you get a chance to grab your copy of SNOW IN LOVE. I promise you’re in for a treat!

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