Friday, March 30, 2007

Dreams DO Come True!


Pretty exciting times, chez Ridgway. My Christmas book, Must Love Mistletoe, is a finalist in this year’s RWA RITA competition. My older son was admitted to all six colleges he applied to and heard the “yes” from the final one last night…he’ll be going to his dream school, UCLA, in the fall. But there’s more. I’m very thrilled to say that on April 10th a Silhouette Desire I wrote, His Forbidden Fiancée, will hit the shelves.

I’ve been dreaming of this moment since I decided to try writing romance, more than twelve years and almost twenty-five books ago. I’ve told the story elsewhere, that a high school friend of mine who was working as an attorney in Detroit was at a conference in San Diego and came over for dinner. I was then consulting as a computer programmer. She looked at me and said, “Why aren’t you doing what you always said you wanted to do? Why aren’t you writing romance novels?” That was in February. By April, I’d been to my first local Romance Writers of America meeting and had joined a critique group.

I went on to sell my first book and start a career in romance publishing. My friend from Detroit went on to state politics and is now in her second term as the first female governor of Michigan. There’s a dream for you.

But back to me! When I first thought of writing romance I began reading romance. Stacks and stacks of books. And remembering how much I loved the Harlequins of my teens, I focused on contemporary category romance and the line, Silhouette Desire. When I attended my first national conference, I went to the “Spotlight” session on the line, conducted by then senior editor, Lucia Macro, and just felt certain that one day I would work with her. Yes, I thought, I was destined for Desire.

Well, first I was rejected by another editor, Melissa Jeglinski. And though we kept up a “rejection relationship” (she’d sent me a nice rejection letter), I ultimately sold to another editor at another line, (Yours Truly, now defunct). Then I wrote for Silhouette Special Edition (and still do) and also moved on to write single title romance for Avon, working with…Lucia Macro!

Still, my dream wouldn’t die. I really wanted to write a Silhouette Desire. At another conference, a few buddies and I were talking, we made a pitch to the senior editor of Desire, and she bought the idea. And who would that senior editor be? None other than Melissa Jeglinski!

Dreams don’t die, and neither do those good relationships you foster in this business. So, this spring is turning out to be a banner one for me. My dreams didn’t come true overnight, but I kept at them, through editor changes and line changes, and all the ups and downs of this business.

Did you achieve a dream that was a long time coming? Or one you’re still waiting to fulfill?

18 comments:

Betina Krahn said...

Wow, Christie, what a story! What a journey! It gives all of us hope.

One of my dreams was to be on Johnny Carson's "Tonight" show as an author. Guess that one will never come to pass. sigh. But new dreams have taken that one's place. I wanted to be a published author. I wanted to make some best-seller lists, I wanted to have my publisher send ME roses, and I wanted to have a chance to use the bottle of champagne I keep chilled in the refrigerator for unexpected celebrations. I've now done all of those. . . some repeatedly. (the champagne, of course)

I really want to write a contemporary books. . . probably a romantic adventure. . . maybe a series. . . and I want it to be one readers can't put down. And, greedy me, I want to make a big bestseller list with it.

I also want to write a non-fiction book (have started it) that's from my heart. Don't know when that will be completed. I'd love that book to help folks who need it.

And of course, I'd love to have a house with some land so I could let the dogs and grandkids run.

:)

Michele said...

Love dream-come-true stories!

Last year was my year of dreams. I finally went to Paris, sold seven books (I had dreamed of a multi-book contract and one of them was for 4 books), and I got my first new car. Whew!

Now, of course, this year is the Year of Paying Bills. :-) But worth it for the awesome times I had last year.

Writing dreams? To continue to sell for a very long time, and to eventually be able to support myself (and the hubby).
M

Christie Ridgway said...

Betina: Oooh, cool dreams that have come true (champagne and roses!) and love the ones that have yet to be fulfilled. Contemporary romantic adventure series. Yes, yes!

Michele: Love it. The Year of Paying Bills. Now that college seems really, really, really close, we're looking at the upcoming Years of Paying Bills. Seven books last year and Paris! How cool is that.

Helen Brenna said...

Yay, for you, Christie! And what a power man on that cover - love the colors.

I'm not sure I know yet what my dreams are. They're still in the making, I guess.

Can I dream for my dreams to come true? Whatever they are at the time? I don't ask for much!

Helen Brenna said...

And congrats, again, on that Rita nomination!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Congrats on the RITA finalist achievement, Christie. I had it in my head that your book was series at first. Went to the RWA web site and saw the virtual TON of finalists in Sing Title Contemp and thought Yikes! Little me in such a big pond! Then I saw that you were in the same pond, and I thought, Waaanh! Two riders after the same trophy. Ah, but it's an honor to swim with you, dear. High five!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Part 2: Dreams. When I was a kid I said I wanted to write a book someday. I didn't know anything about publication. I guess I thought, if you write it, they will come.

I've had the case of champagne and the roses for making NYT (ext) from my wonderful agent. Now I'd love to make the "top o' the Times." That's anywhere in the top 15. But I'll be happy to keep making a nice living at this writing thing for a while longer.

No Johnny Carson dream to report. Maybe the "Today Show." Even better, I see myself on "Trading Spaces" or "What Not To Wear." Since that's not bloody likely, I decided to invent a makeover show and use it in a story. That's my WIP--MYSTIC HORSEMAN. The hero is my last hero's partner--Dillon Black from RIDE A PAINTED PONY.

And I'm working with the editor I started out in this biz with, so I echo Christie's observation. Which was what? It's a small world? Dreams really do come true? Burn no bridges? Or was that bras...

Putting the weary, frowsy head back into the book now. Boy, could I ever use a makeover.

Dream on!

Christie Ridgway said...

I think we get to keep coming up with dreams or adding them to our dream catalog, Helen. So no need to declare anything specifically!

Kathleen: I know, we're up against each other in that Rita category. That seems very cool to me. As you're one the authors who made me want, want, want to write stories as wonderful as yours when I started reading romance again...well we're in my personal dreamscape again. On the same finalists list as Kathleen Eagle. That's a big wow for me.

Keri Ford said...

Ah...dreams. The stuff that can keep you up at night!

This year has been a banger one so far. I got to check off one box, “the get a full request”. Now when I hear back from that agent with her telling me she loved the rest of the story more than the first 3 chapters (hey, we are talking about dreaming, aren’t we?), I get to check off another box. The “sign with an agent”. Which will bring me oh so close to the really big box at the bottom of the list, “sign and date publisher contract”. Which of course will only create another list that includes get the cool cover, make the best-seller lists, and so forth. And that completed list will only make room for a new list, and then another. My heads spinning with celebration just thinking about it.

JoAnna said...

My dream right now is to graduate college. I put off going to college for "one" year that turned into five. So, I am going through school and life at the same time and it is not easy. So that is my big dream right now. I dont know what I want to be when I grow up:) I am hoping to figure that out fast.

I love english, but don't want to teach, I don't know what else I would do with a english degree in oreder to make enough money:(

Kathleen Eagle said...

Joanna, you go, girl! My daughter went back to school part time last spring and I went to her honor society induction last weekend. She wasn't ready after she graduated from high school. She'll be--gulp--30 in June. She's married, settled, working full time, works in the county probation dept and now knows what she wants--law enforcement. Again, gulp. Should have seen it coming. Every time we've visited San Francisco, she wants to tour Alcatraz.

I've always loved school and wouldn't mind going back. I'm due for a PhD. Then I could go into the advice peddling business. Write a book like "The Secret," get on the talk show circuit and make a fortune telling people what they want to hear. Sound like a plan?

Seriously, I would happily be a professional student.

Christie Ridgway said...

Joanna: Being a good communicator is important in all kinds of business! I was a technical writer after I graduated with a degree in English. I liked that a lot, but I was offered other positions as time went on specifically because I could communicate well!

Good for you for going back.

And Keri: Cool things happening for you, too! I like that we all keep dreaming.

Bella said...

Loved your blog, Christie. Congratulations on your nomination.

Joanna, I don't know if this helps, but I had the same worries when I majored in English and Art History. My parents wanted me to do a "proper" degree with "prospects" (read: law, accounting, science). Well, despite the disapproval and the doubts, I stuck to my guns, graduated with my Arts degree, and guess what? I’m an editor. It was hard work getting there but I absolutely love my job. And I get paid for it! ; - ).

Best of luck with the study.

Annabel

Susan Kay Law said...

I'm with Helen. I'm not sure I have any. I daydream a lot, but it's usually about things like winning the lottery, winning an Oscar for screen-writing, things that I'm pretty sure are never going to happen.

Mostly I dream about raising happy, healthy children. Still working on that one.

And I have a list of places I'd like to travel, but I don't know those are dreams. Not really an accomplishment, when I'm depending upon my DH's frequent flyer miles.

Susie

principessa said...

Knowing that I have raised productive, healthy children who can contribute to society. I would also love to travel and broaden my horizons.

lois greiman said...

Christie,

Huge congratulations on the Rita nomination. That's soooo exciting. clever of you and Kathy to be in the same category. Now one of our riders will be sure to bring home the home, aye??

Debra Dixon said...

Christie--

I don't think we can say often enough to people that it's okay to go after dreams. Too many people are afraid or just have had the concept of "dreams" beaten out of them in a world that seems to scream, "We ain't got no time for dreams! Grow up and settle for something else."

I hadn't heard your story so that was fun for me. I'm so tickled that you circled 'round to your original desire. (g)

And whoohoo!! on the RITA nomination.

JoAnna said...

Thanks for all the encouragment! I love english and can't imagine doing anything else.

bella-I have thought about being an editor, or going into publishing. I have always loved books, and the books business[I sell them right now:)].