Friday, May 14, 2010

My Journey to Publication by Gina Holmes

Happy Fortifying Friday, readers! Annette here. Last week, Gina Holmes' debut novel released and if you're friends with her on Facebook, you were probably invited to post her book cover on your profile to show your support. I loved her story of how she came to be published and am grateful she's here today to share it with us. Please welcome Gina today. I hope her testimony encourages you as you head into your weekend. Happy writing!

My Journey to Publication
by Gina Holmes

Years ago I had a brilliant idea that becoming a writer would be an easy way to bring in some fast cash. I wrote everything from greeting cards, to articles to short stories, poetry, and even a children’s books. I collected quite a pile of form rejection letters.

After a few years of minimal success, I decided to focus on larger goals.

In six weeks I wrote my first novel. I took this to sell at a local writer’s conference. It was there I met the man who would become my agent, Chip MacGregor. He scared some with his brash frankness, but I saw a truth teller. I pitched him that first novel. He smirked a little, then turned me down.

Chip and I prayed together before I left that appointment, and I’d made a friend. I spent the next year or two editing that first novel, and learning the craft of writing. After that, I wrote my second, third and fourth novels, all suspense. Rejection after rejection . . . after rejection followed.

Through these years, I ran Novel Journey, wrote and edited. I attended many writer’s conferences, built relationships in the industry and learned all I could about the business. I had several agents who weren’t quite right for me and then at an ACFW conference Chip announced he was starting his own agency. He also made it clear that he was interested in representing me. Chip and I were friends, our philosophies lined up, and I knew he was very good at what he did, so the partnership was a no-brainer.

Over the following months, I would get calls from Chip every now and then making sure I wasn’t planning on jumping ship just because it was taking us a while to get a contract. I think we were both concerned we were letting the other down during this time. Chip always kept my spirits up by letting me know he believed in my writing and that I would get published eventually because “greatness will win out.” I think he represented me close to two years before I was contracted.

In 2008 I think, I started reading things like Memoirs of a Geisha, Peace Like a River, Jane Eyre, Watership Down, etc and thought that maybe I was writing in the wrong genre. I wasn’t sure, so I figured the only way to find out was to try writing something a little different.

I presented a third-person medical mystery to Chip along with a few chapters from my first-person women’s fiction novel about a young mother dying of cancer. I asked Chip which one he thought we ought to pursue. He said, “They’re both good and I can probably sell either, but Crossing Oceans seems like your true voice.”

One fine day, Chip called me when I was at work in the hospital nursery, surrounded by crying babies, nurses and doctors. Via cell phone, he said, “Gina we have an offer. It’s okay to scream now.”


Gina's debut novel, Crossing Oceans, has just released. Here's more information:

Nothing deepens a stream like a good rain . . . or makes it harder to cross.

Jenny Lucas swore she’d never go home again. But life has a way of upending even the best-laid plans. Now, years after she left, she and her five-year-old daughter must return to her sleepy North Carolina town to face the ghosts she left behind. They welcome her in the form of her oxygen tank-toting grandmother, her stoic and distant father, and David, Isabella’s dad . . . who doesn’t yet know he has a daughter.

As Jenny navigates the rough and unknown waters of her new reality, the unforgettable story that unfolds is a testament to the power of love to change everything—to heal old hurts, to bring new beginnings . . . even to overcome the impossible.


In 1998, Gina Holmes began her career penning articles and short stories. In 2005 she founded the influential literary blog, Novel Journey. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her husband and children in Southern Virginia. Her debut novel, Crossing Oceans, is set to release summer 2010 with Tyndale House Publishers. To learn more about her, visit: or


  1. Thanks for sharing your story, Gina!

    It's always helpful to hear that hard work and perserverence can bring success. :-D

    Also, cool to read that you and Chip prayed together and how your friendship and professional relationship developed over the years.

  2. So glad to have you, Gina! Love your story.


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