I am walking on air. Even if I ultimately don't sell "A Smuggled Rose" to Cerridwen, I am so relived because I finally have the right agent. I have been terrified that she would sneer at me for submitting an old manuscript to an e-publisher. Like Rodney Dangerfield, "they--e-publishers--don't get no respect" and I was afraid she would laugh at me. She actually took it seriously that I had a traditional Regency manuscript that Cerridwen might want to publish, pending revisions, and she asked that I send it to her to submit to them. Yippee!
I am so happy. While I don't expect to make the "big bucks" I think it is a definite stepping stone, and it is a way for me to get stories published that don't quite fit the modern mold. This whole Regency thing sort of knocked me for a loop because I remember reading Georgette Heyer, and the stories I loved most were her "Regency action/adventure stories". I never anticipated that writing suspense/action/mystery stories set in the Regency would be such a hard sell. This may be premature and Cerridwen may say they don't want my stories because of the suspense/action/murder aspects, but I am hoping that they realize that the traditional Regency is more than just a "sweet story".
For those of you who are writing things slightly different, buck up. It may be hard to sell them, and it may take years (as it has taken me--and I still haven't actually SOLD anything yet) but I have learned that you can't make a story something it is not.
People had mistakenly assumed, because I write "sweet" Regencies (stories set in early 19th century without explicit s-e-x scenes) that I'm some sort of religious nut who is against sex. Not so. You see, for me, the deciding factor is whether the characters wish to have sex while not married, or wish to wait--at least until they are engaged. So far, my characters have not been inclined to jump into bed with someone who they are not sure they actually trust. As long as that conflict between them means something, the heroine's are not willing to risk it--not to mention they simply don't have the opportunity when people are kidnapping or otherwise mucking about with them. I have written several contemporary things which actually start out with people jumping into bed with one another because that is true to the characters--they are risk-takers and in today's world, this is not going to ruin their lives.
Being true to the characters is also why revisions to make my Regencies into torrid, sensual love stories generally don't work. The characters wouldn't normally do this, and anyone reading it picks up on that, unless they are not "getting" the characters, at all.
So I am relieved to find an editor who actually just wants me to write stories with integrity and not add a lot of gratuitous junk that doesn't fit, just because it sells.
The downside, of course, is that this may not sell. We shall see. If A Smuggled Rose sells, however, I plan to spend obscene amounts in marketing to make it as much of a success as possible.
I'm hoping to hear word this week on whether Cerridwen likes the revisions, but it may take longer. Who knows? At least I have finally have some hope...