Today I’m excited to host fellow Clean Reads author, Laurie Germaine! She’s agreed to share her Path to Publication story. Without further ado, here’s Laurie…
It was during those bliss-filled days in elementary school when I declared I wanted to become a published author by the time I turned forty. I don’t feel my path to publication got underway, however, until after I graduated from college, when I could give writing the focused time and attention it deserved. Of course, then I got married, had children, and got my butt whipped by postpartum depression. Despite my long-time faith in God, I sank into a cycle of negative thinking and vicious self-talk, and though I wrote as often as I could, those chains of bondage paralyzed me from ever moving my stories beyond my laptop.
Several times over the ensuing years, I would try not to write, but fail miserably—kind of like trying not to breathe and then realizing you need that life-giving gulp of air. What could I do but persist at the craft, shuffling my way down the path, my chains dragging behind me. At last, I wrote “The End” to one of my WIPs, an inspirational romance that had taken years of time, energy, and tears to write—or rather, to perfect. I set about querying some agents and publishers, but soon encountered a new problem: I was exhausted. I had grown weary of my story and its characters, and in my attempt to gain perfection with words, I had lost my joy for using them.
So, I did something I never thought I’d have the courage to do and set aside the manuscript I’d agonized over for so long. It was time to write a story just for me. Something that would renew my delight for crafting a good tale. Something fun and uplifting, that would make me giggle and, yes, give me warm fuzzies.
At the time, the holidays were approaching, and I yearned to read a Christmas story that wasn’t written for a six-year-old. I wanted the fantasy fun of Santa and his elves, but I also craved the depth of a 300-page novel. And romance. It had to have romance. When I couldn’t find anything that met those specifications, I decided to write what I wanted to read.
Long ago, my mom had given me a 1000-piece puzzle depicting Dept 56’s North Pole Series, and my imagination had been enamored with it ever since. Using the picture as a visual jumping-off point, I began brainstorming my Christmas story in February of 2013, when an ACFW online course helped me nail down and flesh out the characters. It went through four drafts over the next two and a half years, at which point I was willing to subject it to critique partners via ACFW. By the spring of ’16, with draft #5 in hand, I geared up to blaze a querying trail through the summer, determined to pitch Tinsel in a Tangle to at least 30-35 agents and publishers before taking a break and switching tactics.
I had some initial interest in the story, followed by plenty of rejections, and then there came a one-two punch in October of ’16 with Stephanie from Clean Reads offering me a contract—wahoo!—and another publishing house asking to see my full manuscript. If they accepted it, this publishing house would put my novel in brick and mortar bookstores, as well as online, so I took the extra time to see where that might go.
In the end, like the few other bites I’d gotten, the publishing house passed on Tinsel because its Christmas theme created a limited sales window in any calendar year. By then, I realized such were the breaks for an unknown, wannabe author with a slim-to-none platform trying to pitch a Christmas novel. This has made me all the more grateful to Clean Reads for giving me the opportunity to share my quirky, beloved characters beyond my circle of friends and family. And kudos to Amanda from AM Designs for an amazing cover. She captured the fun, flirty, light-hearted tone of the book perfectly, and I smile every time I see it.
So. Eighteen years. That’s how long it’s been since I graduated college and made writing one of the top priorities in my life. A longer journey than others—longer than I’d like—but God had some work to do in me. And while I haven’t fully routed the negative self-talk, I do treat myself far kinder than I used to.
But you know what’s my big take-away from this path to publication? God’s attention to detail. A few years ago, I had accepted the fact it was unlikely I’d make my published-before-forty goal, but God never forgot the desire of my heart. Just a few weeks before I turned the big 4-0, I signed the contract with Clean Reads. And on Tinsel’s release day, I’ll still be two months’ shy of forty-one. 😉
In the arctic town of Flitterndorf, generations of elves have worked alongside generations of Kringles to make gifts for believing children worldwide. Never have they endured a tall, blundering elf like Tinsel, however.
Despite her setbacks, Tinsel’s determined to prove her worth by nabbing an internship at the Workshop. But when her latest mishap destroys gift reserves and puts Christmas in jeopardy, she lands a punishment mucking reindeer stalls for Santa’s hotshot grandson, Niklas. If she wants a second chance at that internship, she must collaborate with the twinkle-eyed flirt to redeem herself in everyone’s eyes—and do it without messing up. For one more calamity will not only bring about the holiday’s demise, she’ll be immortalized as the elf who shattered children’s faith in Santa Claus.
So not the way she wants to go down in history.
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As a New England native who once dreamed of raising her family in Europe, Laurie is a walking testimony to God’s sense of humor, since she now lives (quite happily) in Montana with her husband, two daughters, and their lovable Alaskan Malamute.
Though she’s been crafting stories from a young age, she found renewed joy once she combined her year-round love for Christmas with an unused BA in German, and the seed was sown for her debut novel, Tinsel in a Tangle. Prompted by God, she is donating all proceeds she receives from the sale of this book to helping girls rescued from sex trafficking. When she’s not immersed in her latest WIP or honing important life skills as a stay-home mom, you can find her knitting anything from clothes to toys, or creating dioramas for her 16-inch poseable dolls.