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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Talk About Leaps…

Where do I begin? My writing journey has been a series of leaps! But I have to be honest about one huge aspect: I believe in God. I'm a Christian. And having a strong faith makes leaping a little less scary. Not easier, mind you. Doing the work and doing it well is still on my shoulders!

This leap all started when I fell in love with Jamie Fraser and Diana Gabaldon's world. I was on vacation with my husband in July 2006 when I finished the fifth of five novels she had published thus far, and dove into her "Outlandish Companion" - the non-fiction book about her fiction books. When I reached the part that said, "The best way to learn to write a book is to write a book" I turned to my husband and said, "I think I'm going to try writing a historical romance novel."

Here's God's first step: that afternoon, I met a woman about my age in the lobby, struck up conversation, and found out she was a published author of 24 books. When I mentioned I wanted to write a book, she was extremely encouraging and gave me her email address so I could ask questions. And I did!

Back home on August 1, 2006 I bought a laptop and jumped into a journey where I had no road map or clear destination. But in ten weeks I completed a 100,000 word manuscript. It was crap, of course, but it was done.

God's next step: a friend suggested I attend a local university's writers conference with her. I signed up immediately and saw that they offered small group intensives - 6 hours over 3 days, 5 hopeful authors, 1 published author. I ignored the "you must have attended before" restriction and enrolled. I also ignored the "select three of these authors" and turned in the only name I cared about. Diana Gabaldon.

I got in - and I got her. And it is the one and only time she has done this.

I took another leap and kept in contact with Diana over the years (we both live in the Phoenix area) and that has won me two things. First, a cover quote on that first novel after 4 years of editing finally brought it up to snuff. And second, a compliment when I saw her in October. She said I was the hardest worker she ever met and she was so proud of me. She is proud of ME? Wow!

The "God opportunities" and subsequent leaps go on, more than I have time to list here. But after successfully self-publishing 5 novels which traditional houses didn't "know how to market," He set Gail Delaney of Desert Breeze Publishing in front of me late on the last afternoon of the 2011 Romantic Times conference. When I told her about my upcoming deaf private investigator in 1700s Norway, she went ballistic! Long story shortened, we signed 3 book contracts and Desert Breeze is now venturing into POD for selected authors, me being one of them.

I leapt again when I listed my first novel, "A Woman of Choice," for free on Kindle for one day, January 9th. Sixteen thousand downloads later, all of my books are selling! I've made double the amount in royalties in two weeks, than I made in all of 2011.

I cannot take credit for all of my successes, because opportunities were clearly placed in front of me. But when they appeared, I didn't hesitate… I took the leap.

12 comments:

Sarah Raplee said...

What an amazing journey you've had so far, Kris! I believe the two most important characteristics of a successful writer are persistence and courage. You're a perfect example of how those two qualities lead to success.

Your new book sounds intriguing - can't wait to read it!

Judith Ashley said...

Seeing the opportunity and grabbing it - your journey to being a successful published author required both. Having the faith to believe when others didn't, knowing your worth and continuing to move forward - all keys to your success and the success of every published writer out there. And, you made opportunities for yourself by self-publishing! A very Inspirational Story - thank you for sharing it with us.

Diana Mcc. said...

Thank you for sharing your journey. All the best wishes for 2012.

Alexa said...

Fascinating story! Thanks for sharing.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I so believe, Kris. I've learned to accept what is put in front of me and to run with it, too. Congrats on all of your success. You are a hard worker and do it so well. Congrats!

Judy said...

What an awesome adventure! She's right: You are an incredibly hard worker, and I appreciate how wiling you are to help others on the journey. I'm so excited for you.

Shawna Williams said...

Hope you don't mind me saying this kris, but I can't help it!

Okay, I was privileged to get Kris's book to edit and it's freakin' amazing!!! Her hero is deaf, and he's confident, smart and sexy. The book is a must read.

Shannon said...

Kris HUGE congratulations. You are living proof that if you put in the work, you see results. Thank you for sharing this part of your journey with us.

Kris Tualla said...

I posted a comment earlier, bu it isn't showing up... ??? Anyway - thank you all for your sweet comments. I know from whee any success comes, and it isn't my strength alone. I just keep leaping!

June Foster said...

Krsi, How true. The best way to write a book is to write a book. June Foster

Beth Trissel said...

Wonderful journey Kris. What blessed stories you have to share. Most inspiring. I am also a believer and have prayed for guidance all along the way of my own writing journey.

Petie Mc said...

Great story! Loved reading about all the "God things" that carried you along. Bestof luck.