Today’s guest post comes to you by Melissa Stevens, author of Choosing Happiness.
I started writing almost six years ago after receiving an email about National Novel Writing Month, more commonly knowns as NaNoWriMo. I read the email that told about the international challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days and thought, “That’s insane,” and I threw the email away. But the seed had been planted. The idea wouldn’t leave me alone. And it haunted me night and day. I checked my trash bin, because I needed more information, but the email was gone. I finally had to google it. It didn’t take long before I was on the right website, taking in all the information they had to offer.
On November 1st I started writing, and I wrote and wrote and wrote, and low and behold I managed to finish the book, and get the 50k in 30 days. I was hooked. Over the next year I didn’t do much, we bought a house and moved and I had a preschool child still at home, that was all I could handle. Then in September I found a deal online for some bookshelves for the new house. I was talking to the woman who was selling them and she told me how she was trying to write and sell a book, I told her I’d written one but I hadn’t really tried to sell it. Let me tell you, that was embarrassing. Not that I’d written it but that I hadn’t done anything with it since. So I went home and started rewriting, then submitted it to a couple of small publishers. While I waited for responses, I plotted and did NaNoWriMo that year. I had a good portion of that book done, 65k, at the end of the month and I set it aside for the holidays.
During that break I started getting responses back on the first one, rejections… but there were a couple of really good rejections in there. How can a rejection be good you might wonder? Well, if the editor offers any kind of reasoning or advice, that’s a good rejection. You can learn from it. There were a couple of those in there… “I really like the <story, style, whatever> BUT… and while it’s not an acceptance, those buts can be really helpful if you choose to take the criticism constructively.
By the time I got these responses, I’d been over that first book about 8 times in just a couple months and I was done with it. I didn’t want to look at it again to fix it so I just set it aside and went to work finishing then rewriting the book I’d mostly written that November.
The next year (2011) I signed up to be my region’s Municipal Liaison for NaNaWriMo. What that means is I was the local front person trying to spread the word, gain participants and do events for the month. I loved it, but it was a lot of work. After 2011 I started writing all the time, not just in November. In the process of getting ready and finding people for NaNo 2011 I found a writing group that meets at my local library. They have been a godsend to me.
Because of my writing group I investigated and started self-publishing, my first book releasing in January of 2012. We had some major life issues that summer and I decided I just didn’t have the time to ML again, so I dropped it… but this year I’m back, with a friend from my writing group, and we’re doing it together. We’ve already scheduled “NaNoWriMo Prep classes” with 2 branches of our local library. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it
Oh, and how have I done in the last few years? My 8th book just came out and I have several more in different stages.
Choosing Happiness by Melissa Stevens
Publication date: July 21st 2015
Genres: Adult, Romance
Jake and Andrea met once. When Andrea was in college, Jake came with her brother Ben who was visiting on leave from a deployment in Afghanistan. Now, years later, Jake gets a job in Ben’s home town to be close to his best friend. He hadn’t counted on Andrea. The attraction he’d felt then was still there. And this time he wasn’t headed back to a war zone where he could very well be killed.
Andrea is drawn to the man who calls Ben brother. Something about him speaks to her, but she’s not sure what. She falls into things head first, but when something makes her question how fast things are going she slams on the breaks. Can the two of them figure out what’s going on with them before it’s too late?
Add Choosing Happiness to your Goodreads shelf.
About Melissa Stevens
Melissa was born and raised in Arizona, she’s spent her entire life living across the southern half of the state. She’s found that, along with her husband and three children, she prefers the small towns and rural life to feeling packed into a city.
She started reading at a very young age, and her love for series started early, as the first real books she remembers reading is the Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Through the years she’s found that there’s little she won’t read, and her tastes vary from westerns, to romance, to sci-fi / fantasy and Horror.
She’s been writing since 2009, and enjoys nearly every minute of it.