I’m still stunned.
2015 was a wild ride as far as my writing was concerned. I started out trying to find a home for my adult contemporary novel, Left Hanging, and ended up with a publishing contract for my YA novel, Tuned Into You. Yep. It was a year with more ups and downs than the Great American Scream Machine at Six Flags Over Georgia.
To back up, my first attempt at writing a novel was back in the dark ages: the nineties. Sister Soldier was the first novel I ever wrote and I was so proud of it. I received several requests, but nothing ever came of my historical romance. I switched gears to writing screenplays and I got even less attention. I put everything on hold for a very long time to completely renovate a house, have a baby and even go back to school. It was in one of my last semesters of nursing school that I had a ‘come to Jesus’ moment and decided I was sick and tired of spending all my spare time reading about patent ductus arteriosus or the difference between schizophrenia and schizoid disorder. I’m glad there are people who are committed to taking care of all types of people, but I was being tugged in another direction. Characters in my head were trying to get out. No, I do not have multiple personality disorder – I am a writer.
The biggest weight had been lifted off my shoulder when I told my husband that I wanted to quit school. Instead of saying, “but you’re almost finished,” he said, “whatever makes you happy.” There’s a reason we’ve been married for twenty-seven years. I hope everyone finds a life partner that will only want what’s best for you!
So, in 2014, after I ditched school (I was still working full-time, by the way), I started back on a story I began several years earlier. My contemporary romance Left Hanging was finally ready to pitch to agents in November. By spring of 2015, I found some Twitter contests to enter and I think I own the record for least number of ‘likes’ or ‘favs’ for a submission. It was awful. The only thing contests did consistently was to increase my self-doubt and I sure didn’t need any help in that department.
I stepped up my Twitter presence and made some incredible writer friends that have been my biggest cheerleaders, critique partners, and overall sounding board. Had it not been for them, I would have given up because I do not have a thick skin. Being rejected, either from the slush pile (God, I hate that term) or from contests hurts worse than when I fell off the front porch and twisted my ankle. I would see other authors tweeting their announcements about getting representation or publishing deals, and I’ll admit it, I was jealous. I wanted it just as bad as them. I’d been working on various manuscripts for more years than I care to admit. Why wasn’t it happening to me? Like a writer friend of mine calls it, I had fifty shades of green. So. True.
After 70+ rejections with my adult manuscript, I decided to go to a writer’s conference. It’s not easy for me to attend conferences because I work full time, but this one was only an hour away and it was FREE. I attended the Kentucky Writer’s Conference in April of 2015. I was bummed because I didn’t get in to the first page writer’s critique session so I went to a ‘How to Write YA’ workshop. I listened to the presenter and every example she gave spoke to me. It was one of those ‘I could have had a V8’ moments. The more she talked, the more convinced I was that I needed to give YA a try. I liked reading YA books, so why not write one? What’s the harm? The worst thing that could happen was I have more rejection letter.
Not long after that conference I got an idea for a story and wrote it in record time. I went through about ten drafts and was riding this ‘OMG’ wave. This is it! This is going to change things for me. So, with that attitude, I let a writer friend convince me to join Pitch Wars. If you have to, back up to paragraph #2 to remind yourself, do it. I AM A RECORD BREAKING CONTEST LOSER!! Why in the world did I think Pitch Wars would be any different? It wasn’t. I was so upset because 1. I thought this novel was going to be the one that changed things for me and 2. I convinced myself (or let others convince me) that Pitch Wars was THE way to reach my goal.
It didn’t happen and I almost quit writing.
Some of my writer friends DID get mentors and I’m telling you right now, being happy for them was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but it was the right thing to do. They would have done it for me if the tables were turned. (But it still hurt like crap)
This takes us to fall, 2015. I took a step back from my YA novel and rewrote my adult manuscript while I watched surfers on Saint Augustine Beach, Florida. Once I regained my confidence, I revised my YA manuscript, rewrote the query with the help of the Great and Powerful Oz, Kelly Ann Hopkins. She even suggested a change in the title. With revised manuscript in hand and a re-tooled title, I was ready to hit the street running again.
I attended a conference sponsored by my local romance writing group (Music City Romance Writers) and signed up for a pitch session with an agent. She liked it!!! I sent her a partial. Yes! Renewed confidence.
While I was waiting for her reply, I noticed that BookFish Books had a pitchfest where you could tweet to them and if they liked your tweet you could submit to them. What the heck? Why not?
On 10/13/15, I tweeted and they liked my tweet, so I submitted my query + first 3 chapters. YAY!
Before the day was over, they asked for my full manuscript. On that very evening, my daughter was trying to be helpful and update MS Windows on my laptop and it took FOREVER to finish. Bites Nails!!!
On 11/5/15, I was offered a publishing contract for Tuned Into You. I seriously thought I was being pranked and almost deleted the email discussing the contract. No joke!
After giving the agent time to consider representation, I accepted the offer on 11/10/15. I didn’t do a happy dance or as my friend Jymie says ‘muppet flailing.’ It was more like an episode of The Twilight Zone. Is this real? Yes it is. It took a while before it sank in.
WHEW! What a year!
What have I been doing so far in 2016? I’ve had three rounds of content edits and a round of line edits. The first round of edits was INTENSE!! I’m talking thirty pages of chapter-by-chapter suggestions. After I got over the shock and developed a plan of attack, I could look at Jenn’s suggestions with an open mind and she was spot on 99.9999% of the time. She’s awesome and we polished that baby and made it shine.
In April, 2016 my cover was revealed and I almost cried. To see in front of me what I’ve been seeing in my mind was more than I can describe. Kudos to Anita Carroll for the cover design.
June 21, 2016 is my publish date and I already have one book signing scheduled with hopefully more to come.
About the Author
Cindy Dorminy grew up on a steady diet of popcorn (the kind you pop in a sauce pan), Tab (pre-Diet Coke), and movies for teenagers. She can’t let a day go by without quoting a line from one of her favorite films, so quirky dialogue is a must in her stories. When she’s not at her research coordinator day job, Cindy is writing funny love stories, walking her dog, or slinging iron the old-fashioned way. She shares her house with her musician husband, her awesome daughter, and a cool, four-footed child that would eat all the cheese ifshe could figure out how to open the refrigerator. Cindy is a member of Romance Writers of America and Music City Romance Writers. She resides in Nashville, TN where live music can be heard everywhere, even at the grocery store.