Today’s Path to Publication story is by fellow Astraea Press author, Lucie Ulrich…
My jobs took me from airline agent, to stay-at-home mom, to home school mom, to substitute teacher, to performing arts director at a private Christian school. Somewhere in there, I joined my church’s drama team. I always loved drama, and performed in several middle school plays, but when I reached high school, my fears and insecurities took over, and I never tried out for a single production in four years.
Fast forward roughly 21 years after graduation, and I’d written my first skit for church. It wasn’t great, but it was rewarding. A few years later I headed the team, and wrote everything we performed. During those years, I felt the nudge to attempt a novel. My first thought was YA, seeing as I worked with a lot of youth on the drama team, and was, by then, subbing elementary to high school students. After several attempts, I realized YA wasn’t for me.
When my daughter asked me to accompany her to Holland, where she was participating in a dance/worship week, I brought along a half dozen large yellow legal pads. While my daughter danced, I wrote the beginnings of my first romance novel while sitting under a tree, listening to a small stream close by. I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful setting.
I based my first novel in my hometown, and it ran a whopping 150k words—way too long for a romance novel. Not having any formal writing training, I ran it by some friends who thought it was the best book ever. Needless to say, they knew less about writing than I did. Lol! Not long after that, I read M.K. Malone’s debut novel, Divided Loyalties. I loved it and emailed the author to tell him so. I soon learned he was a she, and we got to chatting via email. I asked to join her online critiquing group, which was very much out of character for me, and she agreed. Learning from her was amazing and much appreciated. We moved on to a much larger group, but I’m still friends with three of the main participants in the original group.
The people at The Critique Circle not only broadened my education, but helped me develop thick skin. My first book, Broken Vessels, was run through the site twice before I felt it was ready for publication. It didn’t take long to realize large publishing houses don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts—especially from first time authors, so I submitted my work on ECPA, a Christian publishing site that (for a reasonable fee) allows authors to post a query with sample chapters, which is then made available to a host of publishers for 6 months. It took two go-rounds, but my book was picked up, and soon released as an ebook.
Two years later, my second book was released by Astraea Press. I had all the information needed per their submission guidelines, when I was lucky enough to come across their FB pitch party, which made things really easy for me. When the party was over, I was asked for a full manuscript. My first, and hopefully not last, AP book The Rose Ring, was published in July.
With a will that reads like a piece of fiction, the return of his long-lost brother, and the possibility of losing the family ranch, Micah Cooper calls on high school friend, Sky Baxter, to bail him out of a bad situation.
Though her brain tells her no, Sky’s heart says yes. She accepts Micah’s in-name-only proposal, knowing it’s unlikely anything permanent will come of it. She’s been in love with him since the ninth grade, and if he hasn’t figured it out by now, there’s little chance he ever will.
When an unexpected kiss ignites a spark, giving Micah hope for a possible future with Sky, a tragic accident threatens to take it all away. Torn between following his heart, doing the right thing, and forgiving the past, Micah is lost in a whirlwind of pain and emotions. Will he make it through the next two years, or will a long-kept family secret be the undoing of them all?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lucie Ulrich took her time becoming a writer. Not much of a reader as a child, writing was of no interest to her–until she joined a church drama team. The desire to write a skit, and not simply act out someone else’s was so strong, that once she started, she couldn’t seem to stop. That first skit led to her becoming the drama team director, then eventually, the performing arts director at a small Christian school.
Lucie’s first novel was penned under a tree in a field in Holland. Though her first, second, and third attempts never saw the light of day, parts of each of them became the foundation for “Broken Vessels,” her first published work.
No longer involved with the performing arts, Lucie enjoys going on photo shoots with her husband, and taking long (or short) road trips. She hopes to find inspiration as she and her husband explore the four corners of the United States.
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