05-26-18 – Blog Queen - Sarah Raplee

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

My Bizarre Path to a Published Book...

Or… You Gotta Laugh
By Robin Weaver

Not ME...
But could have been.
In grammar school, my best friend showed me his book of short stories—pages he’d written, rather typed, and stapled together. At the ripe old age of eight, I decided the stories were the coolest thing ever.  No matter that my friend later decided he’d sleep in a coffin every night. And did.  

I wanted to be a writer, too. The stories previously tangoing in my head got penciled onto double lined paper. A few years later, I convinced my high school principal (Did I mention it was a very small school?) we needed a campus newspaper—just so I could write articles, usually about dissecting frogs or how cafeteria sour kraut smelled exactly like chem lab.
As graduation loomed, the naysayers got into my head. Parents and relatives insisted I should get a real job, a career to pay the bills. So, I set aside my dream and got a degree in Business Management. My finance career quickly evolved into technology and a computer geek was created.
I forgot about writing for a couple decades—okay, so maybe more than a couple, but a genealogy project sparked the deeply buried writer gene. I had discovered a lot of Strange in my tree—literally, my grandfather’s last name was Strange (my mom married a Cox, but we won’t go there. J). 
In the Strange branch of said family tree, I uncovered my Uncle Noverta. A man who “supposedly” killed his wife, escaped from Parchment Prison in Jackson, MS, and ended up in Colorado.  Where he was the deputy sheriff for thirty years. Too cool for words, right?
I decided to finally write that book.
Inspired by Noverta
How hard could it be?  You think, you type, you staple the pages together. RIGHT? Besides, my book would write itself.
Better yet.  I’d just use the tape-recorder on my way to Myrtle Beach.  My admin assistant could type the novel after I got home. Or maybe I’d write it during the Thanksgiving holiday.  After all, the entire book was “in my head.”
Fortunately, I wasn’t really THAT dumb.
I did what any serious wannabe writer would do.  I took a course. Being a newbie, I didn’t see any issues with a teacher…last published in the 1970s. Her pen name was on a book and that was beyond awesome. So what if the teacher quit writing entirely when her writing partner died. I did, however, get a tad suspicious when she told the entire class to write erotica because…
Anyone could get published at Ellora’s Cave.
Like I said, I’m not really THAT dumb. (One can hope, anyway.)
I decided perhaps I should read her novel and found the instructor’s book on eBay. And guess what? Her novel opened with the hero raping the heroine. I kid you not. Then, they fell madly in love.
Dear Lord. Time to move on. I found a nationally recognized writing group and started honing my craft.  After a couple years, I decided I should stop honing and submit. Only I believed I needed credentials first. Simple, right? I’d publish a short story.
After several tries and thousands of submission… Okay, after several tries and ten or so submissions….I decided I might actually be THAT dumb.  But then, I sold my mystery to an online magazine!  I got a $50 gift certificate, a plaque, and a cool notebook. My family threw a party as we eagerly awaited the published story.
Only the magazine shut down. The day before the scheduled release. Sigh.
A few months later, I sold the same store to another publisher, Crimson Dagger.  Yep, you guessed it. Three weeks later, out of business.  This time, before I got the gift certificate. Heaviest of sighs.
But I preserved, writing an entire novel.  And after more submissions and even more rejections, I sold the manuscript.
Not so fast.  I sold the manuscript to Mardi Gras Press. For those of you who areunfamiliar, the publisher went out of business, making headlines in the process. Two weeks before my release date.
Like any dumb, eh…I mean serious writer, I didn’t give up and finally sold a different novel. I held my breath – for the entire eighteen months between my contract signing and the release date.  I was certain I’d cursed my new publisher, too. Only BLUE RIDGE FEAR actually debuted in 2012. I waited three months before I had a release party.

NOTE:  As of this moment, the publisher is still in business.  😉

CASEY RANDOLPH hopes to follow in his deceased father’s footsteps, serving the community with a star on his chest. He’s a shoo-in to win the election if he can hide his necrophobia—fear of dead bodies. As a young deputy, his condition posed no issues. Drunken NASCAR fans and fistfights over the Duke-UNC basketball rivalry were the extent of criminal activity. No more. Growing like kudzu, the Charlotte metro-area has invaded his sleepy little county, which now boasts a quarter-million people. The body count, both living and dead, keeps increasing.  All the skeletons in Casey's closet dance on a very public stage when a body is discovered in his new girlfriend's pool. With no sign anyone but Shannon can be the murderer.

Available at


Linda Lovely said...

Funny as always. Of course, some of the funny isn't so funny at the time for authors as the publishing business periodically goes topssy turvy. Lucky for us readers and mystery fans that you were that--what was the word--determined? Love your books.

Vonda Lee said...

You are persistent....good read.

The Writers Canvas, Author Elaine Calloway said...

I love the story part about you convincing the principal the get a school newspaper! That's neat. Hope you are doing well and we need to chat more soon. And yep, I was the same way with people telling me to "get a real job" and now all I want to do is get back to writing full time :)

Elaine Calloway

M Connel said...

Sorry to hear about your bad luck but enjoyed reading this and your books as well!

Diana McCollum said...

Cool blog! I imagine you did begin to feel cursed, but not any more! Congrats!!

Nancy Northcott said...

Robin, what a story! Congrats on both your perseverance and your success.

Ann Chaney said...

Robin loved this post! What about a screenplay about your road to publication. Great chick movie with Julia Roberts playing you! As always, enjoyed reading.