She's Far From Hollywood, The Publishing Process, The Writing Life

Superromance Rocks!

hollywood-frontI don’t think I can really express how fortunate I feel for not only getting a contract (now TWO contracts!) for my writing, but to get them from Harlequin, and also to land with Harlequin Superromance. In case you’re not familiar with the Superromance line, it’s a series from Harlequin that offers longer, more in-depth contemporary romances.

Many of the Harlequin series are in the 50-60,000 word range, which is a length that is definitely a full-length novel and has plenty of story to it. What makes the Superromance series stand out is that the books are even longer – usually around 80,000 words. That means there’s lots of time to dive deep into the character’s emotions and to bring in secondary characters that add depth to the story. It’s not about one series being “better” – it just depends on what you’re looking for at the time.

I tend to like longer stories for a couple of reasons. First, when I fall in love with a story and its characters, I never want it to end! Second, I like knowing more, not only about the main characters, but about the other people in their lives. In my debut romance, She’s Far From Hollywood (available for preorder now), the secondary characters like Nell, Ty, Emily, Chris, Travis and others add layers of emotion to the story – from humor to sorrow. It becomes a tapestry, much like our lives are tapestries that depend on so many threads to complete the picture.

If you haven’t checked out Harlequin Superromance, I highly recommend you do so. The authors are terrific, and so are the books. Four new Superromances come out every month. We have our own website just for Superauthors, and we also have a Facebook page for Superauthors where we talk about heroes, share recipes, feature our pets, and sometimes even talk about books. And then, sometimes, like today (Nov. 16th), we have Facebook parties, with prizes!

She's Far From Hollywood, The Publishing Process, The Writing Life


hollywood-frontCreating a cover for a Harlequin Superromance is a big responsibility. I know you probably envision the author leaning over an artist’s shoulder while they create a cover on canvas precisely to the author’s instructions…..but that’s not how it works. The artist and author usually aren’t even in the same country, much less room, so a good cover really depends on the author’s greatest strength: words.

As an author, I filled out many pages of information on She’s Far From Hollywood, including endless details on every character, the mood, the theme, the setting, etc. And then I described (again, in minute detail) several scenes from the book that I thought might make a good cover.

And once I sent all of those details out to the art department, I waited. And waited. And waited. But, boy, was it ever worth the wait!!

I couldn’t possibly be any happier than I am with this beautiful cover – the first cover of my first book! In the next few months, I’ll be sharing more about She’s Far From Hollywood, including one tomorrow from the scene that inspired this gorgeous cover! The artists totally nailed the spirit of the scene – – – I’m absolutely thrilled! So tell me – what do you think?

Don’t forget – She’s Far From Hollywood is now available for pre-order in eBook form on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, etc. Click here for the links. It will be available to order in paperback, as well.

The Publishing Process

They Like Me! They Really, Really Like Me!

PillowI’M GETTING PUBLISHED!!!!!!!! That’s right, folks – I’ve been offered a contract for “The Hide-Away” (officially just a working title now – it will not publish as that). It will be published by Harlequin SuperRomance! I am absolutely on cloud 9, and still feeling a little whiplashed by the ride I’ve taken over the past eight days.

So picture this – on Friday, Oct. 16th [semi-interesting side note: 16 has always been our lucky date. My birthday is on a 16th, Hubby’s birthday is on a different 16th, our anniversary is on another 16th, and now, I found out I was being published on October 16th!] , anyway – I’m at my 9-5 job and it is The Friday-From-Hell. Of the five people in our little office, three are on vacation together, and the fourth is at an appointment. Every call is another deal getting ready to burst into flames. So I’m manning the front desk alone and playing virtual whack-a-mole. I’m on one phone line, and the other line is ringing and I’m just watching it ring because I can’t get off line 1. Then my cell phone lights up with a call, which hardly ever happens. And the caller ID reads “Ontario Canada”. There is only one caller who would be calling me from Ontario, Canada, and that’s Harlequin Books.


More than one friend has suggested I should have hung up on the office call, but that’s not how I do business. I let the Harlequin call go to voicemail while I started to shake all over. I finally connected with the most wonderful senior editor at Harlequin later that afternoon, and she confirmed that Harlequin SuperRomance wanted to offer me a contract for The Hide-Away. Like…a real contract, with an advance and everything, like a real writer would get. The word “joy” doesn’t quite capture how I felt. How can you possibly describe a moment when a lifelong dream comes true?

Harlequin SR 10.25

Since then, I have been on an emotional rollercoaster of ecstasy and panic and everything in between. On that first call with the editor, I casually mentioned that Hide-Away was actually the second book in my series of four stand-alone titles. Harlequin rejected the first book, Halcyon, a while ago, and I acknowledged that the beginning needs major changes (like I need to throw out the first two chapters and start over kind of changes). SuperEditor agreed to take another look at Halcyon if I could make the changes. So now we’re talking the possibility of TWO books! Unreal. Midweek, it looked like they wouldn’t take Halcyon after all (which was oddly a bit of a relief in my panicked state), and then we went back to thinking maybe they would take another look at it. Holy crap!!

My dear SuperEditor and I came up with a plan later in the week, after my adrenalin rush began to settle. For the next four weeks, I am doing revisions on Hide-Away. While she felt the book is mostly good as written, there were a few suggestions made that I agreed with right away, and now I have to implement them. Most involve making minor changes to the ending so that things aren’t quite so tidy all of a sudden. Oh, and we also have to cut 8000 words from the book to fit the current parameters for the SuperRomance line. That’s 10% of the book. But it’s okay. It’s going to be fine. Totally cool. I can do this.

After Hide-Away is resolved, I will immediately begin the MAJOR revisions required for Halcyon. If I can have those completed by the start of the new year, I will resubmit them to SuperEditor and we’ll see what happens. If she likes it, I could have another book deal, and Halcyon would be published first, then Hide-Away. Which is just amazing. I’m still pinching myself.

And then this happened on Twitter (where you can follow me at @jomcnallyauthor):

Twitter 10.25

I am officially part of the Harlequin SuperRomance family, and I could not possibly be happier. At the very least, Hide-Away will definitely be published. Right now the SuperRomance line is primarily digital, but I’m hoping that will change so that folks can order paperback versions of my work. It will not be sold in stores, which is a tiny disappointment, but in the big scheme of things, I’m not losing sleep over it. It’s an online world, and I, for one, read nearly all my romances on my Kindle.

I’m walking on air. It occurred to me the other day that the only time I remember feeling like this was when I was first falling in love with my now-husband. I’m in the same exact state of mind: distracted, giddy, nervous, emotional, occasionally teary-eyed, at other times ready to leap up and dance just for the hell of it. Pretty appropriate that learning my romance novel is going to be published has given me the same sense of joy that falling in love gave me – can’t get much more romantic than that!

So this blog will now swerve away from “how will I ever get published?” to “what’s it like to get a book deal?” Follow along on the ups and downs that are surely ahead of me as I negotiate this new world of success. I’m not quitting my day job (yet), but I’m definitely looking forward to an exciting year in 2016 (look – another lucky 16!).