I'd been working on a novel for several months, and it was beginning to feel like it would never be finished. I can't tell you how many times I rewrote the first several chapters, and I was never sure exactly where I was going. I kept telling myself to be patient, that Ernest Hemingway wrote 39 different endings to A Farewell to Arms, so why did I expect to get it right the first time? You haven't paid your dues yet, I told myself. Just keep plugging away at it and someday you may have something worth reading.
Selene told me it was ridiculous to expect to have to wait years and years to find success—an opinion echoed by my writer friends. She suggested that I write a short story and submit it and then when it was accepted I’d know she was right. So I did. I wrote a 12K story in five days, ran it past my critique partners, submitted it to three publishers, and then set about writing another one, expecting it would take months to hear back from them and that I should prepare myself for rejections.
Four days later, I had an offer from Ellora's Cave—my first choice of the three publishers—to publish Treasuring Theresa in their Blush Cotillion line. Two hours later I was still shaking when the second one asked to see the full manuscript, and I had to tell them it was already taken. Was this really happening?
Seven months later, I'm still a retired teacher, I still live in Toledo, Ohio in a dusty house, and I can never seem to keep up with yard work. I imagine those are among many things that will likely never change. In spite of all that, I have to admit that I'm truly living the life I dreamed about since I was a teenager.
How is it possible that one short story could change my life so definitively?
- I know what it's like to be an author. I have an Amazon author page, a web site, two blogs, and best of all, readers who really like my story. I've made lots of author friends through Facebook and Twitter and even met a few in person.
- My editor loves my writing and I can submit my work directly to her and not have to go through the slush pile. Woohoo!
- The whole author thing has brought me closer to my family after years of strained relationships. I never could have dreamed that Treasuring Theresa would prove to be the catalyst that brought us to a new understanding of each other.
- My mother committed to a major project of making me a Regency gown and matching pelisse to wear to conferences. And it was a commitment, as well as a labor of love. I'll never, ever forget it.
- I had the time of my life at the Romantic Times Convention in Kansas City! I got to walk across the stage in my gown with a hunky caveman at the Ellora's Cave Disco Party. The next night at the RT Awards Ball, I got to walk across the same stage when my costume was chosen as one of the best. The gown garnered compliments everywhere I wore it. I met some of my favorite authors (even got my photo taken with Mary Balogh), talked to authors and potential readers, met my editor in person, attended some interesting sessions, and shot the breeze with fellow MVRWA members. It was all good!
Life is like that, though. There are always a few weeds in your rose garden. If you focus on the weeds, you'll never truly appreciate the roses. If you believe you'll never succeed, you probably won't even bother trying.
What I really want to say is this: Live your dream…NOW! Don't put it off until the weekend or summer vacation or that day sometime in the future when all the planets are aligned and you'll finally be ready. Start taking the steps now to make your dream a reality, and most of all—enjoy the journey!
I'd love to hear about your dream and what you are doing to make it happen.
At the betrothal ball of the man she had expected to marry herself, Lady Theresa latches on to Damian Ashby, hoping to divert attention from her own humiliating situation. Of course, she's not seriously interested because he's a useless London fribble, in her opinion. He is not favorably impressed with her either.
Still, she's the daughter of an earl, and he's the heir to her father's title and estate, so they are destined to spend more time in each other's company…sooner rather than later. And who knew that the two of them would develop an unlikely attraction to one another?
But can a London swell and a country lady ever make their diverse lives and interests work together?
The dancing had already begun when they arrived. Damian stayed close at Theresa’s side, his arm lightly around her so that his fingers pressed into the small of her back, while she introduced him to her friends and acquaintances. They shared a set of country dances, and when he returned to her side after fetching a glass of lemonade, she was chatting merrily with a cluster of her friends, so he danced a trio of sets with some of the other young ladies. He managed to get back to her in time for the supper dance, just ahead of a tall, fresh-faced youth in a poorly tied Mathematical and a waistcoat that went out of style years ago.
“When does the waltzing begin?” he whispered as they performed the elaborate steps of the country dance. “I must claim the first waltz.”
“We do not waltz here,” she whispered back. “It’s considered far too scandalous. Besides,” she added when they came back together, “we have already danced twice. A third would make us the talk of the shire.”
He chuckled. “Isn’t that what you were aiming for at the Sedgely ball? A juicy scandal to divert the gossips’ attention?”
She looked up at him in surprise. “You know,” she said, “I just realized I don’t care about that anymore. I’m glad Reese is happy with Eugenia.”
“Indeed,” he managed, wondering why he suddenly felt so relieved.
She did condescend to dance another set with him, and Damian hoped all of the old biddy gossips had noticed.
On the return trip, Mrs. Noble babbled on incessantly about gowns and stale cakes while Damian found his eyes lingering over the curvaceous form of the young lady on the seat across from him, the light of the moon being thankfully dim enough to conceal his bold appraisal.
She was silent, in a reflective mood, her head turned toward the window and the shadowed images of the scenery outside.
“Imagine that scamp Dickie Fielding enticing the Hampton chit to meet him in the garden!” Mrs. Noble exclaimed indignantly. “Why I thought her father would explode when they were discovered.” She lowered her voice. “I have it on good authority that they were embracing,” she revealed. “A dreadful scandal indeed should they not marry post-haste.”
Theresa’s head shot around to face him, and he knew she was recalling that night at the betrothal ball when she’d tried to lure him out to the terrace and he’d made a hasty escape. He rather thought now that he would enjoy a pleasant interlude alone in the moonlight with her. He would hold her against him, her head on his chest, while his hands swept over her curves. When he felt her pulse rising, he would draw her chin toward him and take her lips in a long kiss while his other hand would cup her breast, already pebbling with her desire.
Damian froze. What was he thinking? Cousin Theresa was no strumpet. The only way he could indulge in such carnal delights with her would include an obligatory wedding first. And that was out of the question.
Ellora’s Cave: http://www.ellorascave.com/treasuring-theresa.html
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/treasuring-theresa-susana-ellis/1114106453?ean=9781419944093
AllRomance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-treasuringtheresa-1039697-173.html
About the Author
A former teacher, Susana is finally living her dream of being a full-time writer. She loves all genres of romance, but historical—Regency in particular—is her favorite. There’s just something about dashing heroes and spunky heroines waltzing in ballrooms and driving through Hyde Park that appeals to her imagination.
In real life, Susana is a lifelong resident of northwest Ohio, although she has lived in Ecuador and studied in Spain, France and Mexico. More recently, she was able to travel around England and visit many of the places she’s read about for years, and it was awesome! She is a member of the Maumee Valley and Beau Monde chapters of Romance Writers of America.
Web site: http://www.susanaellis.com
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=212206075&trk=hb_tab_pro_top
Susana’s Parlour (Regency Blog): http://susanaellisauthor.wordpress.com
Susana’s Morning Room (Romance Blog): http://susanaauthor.wordpress.com