Worth the Wait
It’s been a long trip for me to get published, and I want to encourage everyone out there who’s wondering if it will ever happen to keep trying! So escape with me back to the Sixties B.C. — Before Computer—to see how it happened for me.
I’ve been writing all my life and started sending out manuscripts when I was 18. Here’s what you had to do. You typed your novel, made a copy at the local copy shop, found a box the manuscript would fit in, and mailed it to New York City. Then you waited for months and months, and when it came back, if it looked okay, you sent it to the next publisher or agent on your list. Self publishing was very expensive, and the product did not look as good as it does today, so that was not an option for me, plus I wanted to be traditionally published.
Wow, was I happy when computers arrived! Now I could cut and paste and delete! It was like magic! No more re-typing pages or using correcting tape or white out goo. Now I could send my queries by email, save tons of money on postage, and have a rejection in weeks instead of months. And still I persisted. Finally, I got an agent! I was on my way! Money! Fame!
My agent was certain she could sell my book if I changed my hero to a woman. Women detectives had become a hot trend, so I understood where she was coming from. However, my entire Grace Street Mystery series, twelve books, all written, all ready to go, involve a private investigator, David Randall, dealing with the death of his little daughter; his best friend, a reluctant psychic named Camden who owns a boarding house at 302 Grace Street in the fictional city of Parkland, North Carolina where all the characters live, including many colorful Southern types who move in and out; Randall’s love interest, Kary Ingram, a young woman unable to have children due to a disastrous teen pregnancy; and Camden’s girlfriend, high-powered career woman, Ellin Belton, head of the Psychic Service Network. I think you can see the relationship problems I’d need to solve if Randall suddenly became a woman. So I wrote another book with a female detective, ex beauty queen Madeline “Mac” Maclin and her con man boyfriend, Jerry Fairweather. I set this book in a small fictional North Carolina town much like my town of Mt. Airy. Besides having trouble being taken seriously as a detective, Mac had to deal with Jerry’s sketchy friends who often showed up to complicate her investigations.
I think you can guess what happened. My agent didn’t like it. So I had long hard talks with myself. Did I want to change Randall to a woman? Change his relationship with his best friend, his love interest, his entire world? Did I want compromise that much to get published? The hardest decision I’ve ever had to make was telling the agent no, thanks, and we parted ways. Back to square one. Back to the endless lists and emails.
That’s when I found Poisoned Pen Press. I didn’t need an agent to submit to them. After the manuscript went through several readers and revisions, it was accepted. I got the contract two months after I had retired from thirty years as a media specialist at Jones Elementary School. I was 55.
Since then, PPP has published ten of my mystery novels, five in the Grace Street series (male PI), and five in the Madeline Maclin series (female PI). I’ve also had three fantasy novels published by Silver Leaf Books. Both companies are great to work for and exactly what I had hoped to find.
Would I have liked to have been published at 18? Of course. But I’m a better writer now than I was then, and wise enough to know that some things are deal breakers, and you have to be true to your characters and the world they live in.
So to all the writers out there who are hoping to get published, you will! There are so many opportunities available now. I’ve learned how to manage a web page, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube—things that weren’t around when I was younger, things that reach more people than I can imagine. These days, writers can afford to self publish, write ebooks, record their own audio books, or even start their own online publishing companies.
Speaking as someone who decided to never give up, whatever route you choose or however long it may take, I assure you it will be worth the wait.
Baby, Take a Bow (Grace Street Mysteries Book 5)
Poisoned Pen Press (April 4, 2017)
Hardcover: 238 pages
Paperback: 238 pages
Kindle ASIN: B01N3COR8U
Camden’s friend Rufus Jackson receives a letter from his ex-wife, Bobbi, and he’s surprised to learn he’s the father of a baby. When Bobbi is found murdered in her home and her baby stolen, Rufus becomes suspect number one. PI David Randall immediately takes the case.
But Randall is almost sidetracked from the case by a series of what appears to be never-ending favors. When he takes his friend Cam to the Carlyle House to sing for a concert, Cam encounters Delores Carlyle, a troubled spirit trapped inside a huge mirror, who wants to see her daughter, Beverly, one last time. Beverly Carlyle will come to the house on one condition: that Randall find a home for her surly teenage son, Kit, and a band for her obnoxious daughter, Frieda. Kit is welcome at 302 Grace, but to secure a spot for Frieda, Randall has to get a local girl group a gig at a local nightclub. The owner agrees, if Cam will pose as a teenager and spy on a rival club. Cam agrees if Randall will take him to Green Valley to answer some questions about his past. And another ghost is haunting the hot dog restaurant, refusing to talk to Cam.
In addition to the tangle of deals, Randall has to contend with Rufus being hell-bent on revenge, the return of Cam’s telekinesis, and growing concern that if the baby-a girl named Mary Rose, as it turns out-is found, Rufus, might not want to keep her.
But where is Mary Rose?
Jane Tesh, a retired media specialist, lives in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, Andy Griffith’s hometown, the real Mayberry. She is the author of the Madeline Maclin Mystery series featuring former beauty queen, Madeline “Mac” Maclin and her con man husband, Jerry Fairweather, as well as the Grace Street series, featuring struggling PI David Randall, his friend Camden, a reluctant psychic, and an ever-changing assortment of tenants who move in and out of Cam’s boarding house on Grace Street. Her mysteries are set in fictional North Carolina towns and are on the light side with a little humor and romance. They are published by Poisoned Pen Press. She is also the author of three fantasy novels, Butterfly Waltz, A Small Holiday, and The Monsters of Spiders’ Rest, published by Silver Leaf Books. When she isn’t writing, Jane enjoys playing the piano and conducting the orchestra for productions at the Andy Griffith Playhouse.
Jane’s website is www.janetesh.com
The Facebook page for the series is www.facebook.com/GraceStreetMysterySeries
Jane’s Amazon author page is www.amazon.com/author/janetesh
Jane’s blog can be found at www.janetesh.wordpress.com
I don’t tweet often, but when I do I tweet at www.twitter.com/janetesh
Follow Pearl, my spokesdog’s adventures on Instagram at tesh.jane
Watch trailers for Jane’s books on her YouTube channel Jane Tesh
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