Friday, October 9, 2009

My Journey to Publication by Mary Connealy

This Fortifying Friday, please welcome Mary Connealy, as she shares what helped get her stories on our book shelves.

My Journey to Publication

I started writing when my baby went to kindergarten. The book came out in February of the year she graduated from high school, so journey is the right word.

At first it was just me, home, alone. It took me two years to find RWA (yes, I live in a cave) Then I found a ‘local’ chapter. I started entering contests. I did well enough that the last two years before I got a contract, I finalled in eleven contests with five different books.

Through RWA I discovered ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). Through ACFW I joined an online critique group, and entered my manuscript Petticoat Ranch in ACFW’s Noble Theme contest. I decided to attend the 2004 conference. Through all this passing of the years, whatever else I did to get published, I kept writing.

Well, I won The Noble Theme contest. I got a lot of requests at the conference to send in my book. I also got a really simple request from Cathy Marie Hake, an author I didn’t know. She asked me to send her my first three chapters. She just wanted to see how I wrote.

Just before the next year’s conference, Cathy Marie Hake told me she wanted to pitch my name to write a book as part of a three book series set in historical Alaska. I worked on a proposal and talked on the phone with Cathy a lot before the 2005 conference.

Every year at the conference the acquiring editor for Heartsong Presents gives a contract to an unpublished author. In 2005 it was me. It was a thrilling moment.

I have since gotten more contracts from Barbour. I’ll be writing eighteen books for them through 2011 including Montana Rose, and the soon to be released Cowboy Christmas.

One of the reasons it took me so long to get a book published, I believe, is that what I wanted to write didn’t fit anywhere.

I still remember reading that Harlequin was opening a line of Christian romances called Love Inspired. And here I was with all these finished books that were too clean to fit anywhere. I was writing for a genre of fiction that hadn’t been born yet.

Please visit Mary’s Web site to learn more.

Mary Connealy, writes romantic comedies with cowboys for Barbour Publishing. Montana Rose, Book #1 of the Montana Marriages series, released in July, book #2 The Husband Tree comes in January. Cowboy Christmas, a stand-alone romantic western is in bookstores now.