[from Stephanie] Well, the highlight of every convention for me personally is the editors and the agents. I met Anna G from Tor at the Denver conference (my first as well as hers). We became friends and I always look for her. This year all I managed was a fast hug in passing. She was rushing one way and I was standing in line for free books.
But I have gotten to talk to agents like Mary Ellen Seymour as well as Deidre Knight and editors from Harlequin, Dorchester and more. Each one of them has been more than generous with their time and talents. And honest to boot. Our first ms was requested (full) by Linda Curnyn. She sent back a detailed rejection letter on why it wouldn't work for their line. What we didn't realize at the time was that she went above and beyond what she needed to. These talented ladies and gents are swamped. Often they send out form letters because that is all they have time for. Little did we know that our first rejection was a "good" rejection.
Then Anna G rejected our first Shifter book because our heroine lacked spine. She was gentler than that, but it was the gist of the message. Cai and I kept writing. We got our PRO pins proving that we meant business and we forged on to the next in the Shifter series. This one was better. So we thought we would trot it out on the contest circuit.
OUCH! Contest judges can be hideously mean. We have found that the published authors are far more gentle than the non-published ones. Our hero was roundly and soundly hated last year. So we rewrote the intro. We took 15 page and knocked it down to 5. We gave our heroine a bit more inner motivation. But we didn't soften our hero up. We removed one line that was unanimously disliked and removed it. Other than that, Slade never gave an inch.
This year we have seen that same ms with our edits final and win in several contests. It is on the desk of a Dorchester editor, a southern agent and will soon be in the hands of yet another southern agent. This could be the book that makes a difference in our career.
Keep your fingers crossed for us, won't you?
Stephanie (the Stephan half of Cai Stephan)
"When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another." -Helen Keller