Hello, Peeps. I hope 2016 has been a wonderful year for you. I took a run to clear my head at 6am this morning. It was a chilly -2C/28F, still very dark, but crystal clear and quiet. In summary, my favorite conditions for running. As I ran, I reflected on the year in preparation for writing this post.
The most obvious author-y thing to be grateful for was the seven-book deal I signed with St. Martin’s Press at the start of the year for two new series. It was a big deal, and exciting. But the longer I ran, the more I realized it wasn’t about the deal. It was what it symbolized.
You see, I used to be Senior Vice President of a very large company. Tens of billions of dollars large! Flash back to four years ago, and I’d have been up at four-thirty to get out for my run. I’d not get to see my kids in the morning because I’d leave for work long before they woke up. Most of my day would be consumed with meetings, and when I wasn’t meeting, I was emailing, talking, coaching, presenting, planning, budgeting, and all the other things someone with that title was expected to do. My annual evaluation told me I was great at it. But I knew the truth.
MY HEART WASN’T IN IT ANY MORE.
I’ve been reading romance since a snow storm in Chicago (and time spent stranded in Chicago O’Hare airport) thrust me and a paperback copy of Nora Roberts’ Jewels of The Sun together in 1999. And ever since finding that brightly colored book, and the wonderful story of Jude and Aidan contained within it, I’ve loved love stories. Since that day, I’ve read just about every kind of romance there is. And so, the more unfulfilled I became at work, the more books I devoured, until I reached the point where I thought to myself: I want to write romance.
So, in 2012, I quit!
People were shocked. They couldn’t understand why I would walk away from such a wonderful job to attempt to write a book. A romance book.
I bought a small desk from IKEA, shoved it into an unused corner of the house, and opened my laptop. And it was in that spot that I wrote my first book, THE STRONGEST STEEL. But I had help from the most wonderful community I’d ever encountered. WRITERS! They were everywhere. On Twitter. On Facebook. It was like the most perfect village where every resident was creative, talented, positive, and super helpful. Before I knew it, I had critique partners, and beta readers, and a freelance editor who to this day I still love and adore. I found experts, like those who were willing to let me hang out in a tattoo studio for two days to learn about the process. I found other authors like me who were struggling with the basic mechanics of writing a first book. I found experienced authors who were willing to help me learn.
During this time, we moved from Canada to the UK. I renovated our old house for sale, and I renovated our new house when we found it. Life got in the way, as it does some times. But when the dust had (literally) settled, I opened the laptop again and with support from those in the query trenches and the submission trenches, I landed an agent, a publisher, and a three-book contract with St. Martin’s Press. Now before anyone thinks that happened with the flick of a wand, I cannot bring myself to share how many bottles of wine my girlfriends plied me with to help me through the wait.
Flash forward to now, with a new seven-book deal in hand. When I first saw both series announced on the same day, it struck me then, as it does now, that it has taken a village to raise this author. And it has taken time, and sacrifice.
So, on reflection, my gratitude in 2016 isn’t just for the fact I know I can happily write for eighteen months without re-entering the submission trenches. Nor is it for the fact that after four years I finally feel like I can call myself an author. It’s for the village that got me here. It’s for those who have the patience to read my drafts and have the courage to tell me what is wrong. It’s for those who take calls at two in the morning when I doubt myself. It’s for those who offer me advice when I am making scary decisions. It’s for my kids and husband who routinely deal with the fact mom isn’t to be disturbed right now.
My gratitude is for my village.
Two-time RITA finalist, Scarlett Cole, is a contemporary romantic suspense / contemporary romance author. Author of the Second Circle Tattoos Series (available now), Preload Series (starts February 2017), and Love Over Duty Series (starts summer 2017). The Strongest Steel was a Best Debut Goodreads Author Finalist 2015, and Authors on the Air Global Radio Network #1 Contemporary Romance Pick for 2015.
When Scarlett isn’t writing, she spends her time reading, hoarding mason jars, and working out to off-set an epic sour candy habit.
Having travelled the world for work and fun, Scarlett is a citizen of both Britain and Canada. A true city-dweller, she considers Toronto and Manchester home and likes to set her books in vibrant locations such as Miami and Los Angeles.
GIVEAWAY: One e-book copy of THE STRONGEST STEEL
Harper Connelly never expected to find herself outside of a tattoo parlor at one in the morning. The scars that decorate her back are just one more reminder of things she’d rather forget, the past she wants to leave far behind her, but before she can move on, she needs him.
Trent Andrews has his own reasons for specializing in inking over scars. And there’s no way in hell he’s going to turn Harper away. Not when a swirling mix of tenderness and desire slams into him every time he sees her. Being with Harper is like going ten rounds in the ring—exhilarating, powerful, and dangerous. She stirs feelings in him he thought were long gone… if he can only get past her carefully constructed defenses.
Running was the only thing that saved Harper last time, but each session at Second Circle Tattoos brings her closer and closer to Trent. His lingering touches seduce her, making her believe in a life without fear, where she can be happy, whole, in love. But when cryptic messages start appearing on Harper’s phone, strange deliveries arrive at her door, and Second Circle is vandalized, Harper is convinced that her ex-boyfriend has tracked her down, and worse, that he knows about Trent. She ran from her past once before; this time will she have the strength to fight back?
“An incredible story about healing, pain, and trust…you don’t want to miss this one!” –New York Times bestselling author Jen McLaughlin