Thanks for having me here today to talk about my path to publication.
Actually, it wasn’t so much a path as it was a treasure hunt map. You know, with one of those quirky maps with all the twists and turns, portent signs, and obscure clues!
I won’t say I’ve been writing ever since I was old enough to hold a pen. I don’t remember back that far! But I will say I’ve always loved books, and before I started putting pen to paper, I would make up stories in my head to go with the images in picture books.
The first ‘book’ I ever ‘published’ was called Mickey the Mouse. Yeah, I know. Real original! That was for fifth grade extra credit—an original one-of-a-kind, hand written, and staple bound volume.
In high school, I started writing what today would be classed as a young adult novel. I read it years later and shook my head. Talk about rubbish! In my early twenties, I went onto write my first serious historical romance novel. After that, there was no stopping me.
My path to publishing took me down a road where I was asked to write some promotional materials. That was my first paying job as a writer. Not long after that I moved to Ireland and started publishing travel articles about historical locations I had visited around Ireland. I’m an avid castle huntress and love photography and research, so it all kind of goes together.
It wasn’t until 2005 when a friend’s publisher was putting together an anthology for charity and I was asked if I wanted to contribute, as they were short on submissions. I’d never written short stories before and wasn’t sure I could do it. But I wrote two and they were accepted, and I eventually published several short stories and a novel with the same publisher.
While I’ve submitted my work for years, I can’t say there was ever a time I got The Call. Writers are always waiting for that big day with a publisher rings to say they want to contract the work and offer a great advance. That never happened to me. It was always the case of ‘We have a space, would you like to fill it’ or ‘You’ve been to this place, write us a piece about it.’
It was the same with Awakening. Erotica is a new road on my publishing life’s map, and when Awakening was completed, I was invited to submit and it was accepted.
I’ve been very lucky so far in my writing career. Things are moving steadily forward and it’s introducing me to new and exciting things, and I’m making great friends along the way. Unfortunately, writing these days won’t make very many people rich—only the very rare and lucky few—but I love writing. It’s as much part of me as my heart and lungs. I couldn’t survive without them, and I certainly couldn’t survive without being able to express myself through the written word. I look forward to each twist and turn, deciphering the signs and figuring out the clues on the treasure map that is my life.
“What’s a little bondage between friends?”
Available now – Awakening, book one of The ABCs of S-E-X: Love by the Letter series
Ysbail of Ellesmere is a pawn in her guardian's war. For decades there has been unrest between the marcher lords and Owain Gwynedd ap Gruffydd, King of Gwynedd. The most recent war had been the bloodiest she could remember in her eighteen years. Madog ap Maredudd, Prince of Powys, and his allies lost untold numbers of men at the hands of Owain's soldiers. When a settlement of truce is presented to Madog, it's at Ysbail's expense. She is to marry Bedwyr ap Owain, one of King Owain’s bastard sons, and his most notorious henchman. If all the rumors and stories she's heard are true, she knows her marriage will be rife with horror and fear.
Since proving himself worthy with his sword, Bedwyr fights at his king's side. He's shed oceans of blood and sent untold numbers of men to their graves. He's become what his name foretold—the grave-knower. He's afraid of nothing, least of all death. All men fear him, including those who fight at his side, and sometimes even his own king. Terror of him lives within women's hearts; only the bravest of whores accept him into their beds. And children weave their own tales of the monster they hear him to be, embellishing the details to their own gruesome degrees.
When King Owain informs Bedwyr that he's to marry Ysbail of Ellesmere as part of a peace settlement with Madog, Bedwyr is furious. A man such as Bedwyr can only survive on the battlefield. For without love, hatred will send a man like him to the edge of insanity. Then push him over. But when Bedwyr sees Ysbail for the first time, blood-thirst turns to blood-lust, and he vows to show her that she should have no fear of him.
He gazed at her slumbering form. Firelight danced over her flawless skin. She was the fairest woman he had ever seen, her skin perfection but for the flush in her cheeks as she thought to defy him, and that of the passion he awoke in her. The fairness of her features only served to accent the deep blush of her lips.
She did not kiss him like a novice. Following his lead, she kissed him back with equal alacrity. He felt she was yet unsure of her own power over him, but he knew it was only a matter of time before she could control him with a simple touch.
And her eyes were the palest of green. Or were they blue? He could not tell. He only knew they reminded him of pools of seawater ensnared in the white sands along Cymru’s coast, and just as translucent. He could gaze long into her eyes, searching their depths, letting himself be hypnotized by them.
Her features were gentle, innocent. It was as if she had never witnessed any of the world’s horrors, that her heart and soul were pure. In that she was now married to the likes of the Grave Knower was incredulous. More so incredulous was her fearlessness. She never cowered before him. Not even as she stood naked before him, challenging him with her gaze.
Indeed, she was the very opposite of himself.
Scarlett Valentine is the alter ego of award-winning romance author, Kemberlee Shortland. Together they write Erotomance -- Erotic Romance.
Originally from Northern California, Scarlett has spent the last fourteen years living in Ireland. She's traveled extensively through Ireland and Wales. When she's not writing, she can often be found castle hunting.
Scarlett's stories cross subgenres to explore hetero, gay and bisexual relationships in a series of stories that include time periods from historicals and contemporaries, futuristics and science fiction, paranormal and suspense, and more.
Awakening is the first book in The ABCs of S-E-X: Love by the Letter series and is available right now through Tirgearr Publishing or...http://www.amazon.com/Awakening-ABCs-S---X-ebook/dp/B005TYXJ6E
Great post, Scarlett! Your path to publication isn't too unlike mine, to be honest. And I didn't realise you live in the UK! I am yet to visit Scotland (despite living in England my entire 37 years!) but love North Wales. My family and I holiday there every year. Love it!