A friend got a book contract the other day, and I think I was more excited for her than I was when I received my first contract. Her name is Karla Dawn Tipton, and her book is Rings of Passage.
Karla and I go way back. The ink was hardly dry on our college diplomas when we both got staff writing jobs at a suburban daily newspaper in southern California. We worked for the “lifestyle” section when stories were still written on typewriters and copy changes were literally “cut and pasted.” Karla and I faced each other eyeball to eyeball across our desks, commiserated about our volatile boss, and read/edited each other’s stories when the other needed a reality check.
Karla was the first person I knew to buy a personal computer. This was before Windows when you had to know DOS. She started writing fiction before I did, and I later when I began writing mainstream short stories and novels, I joined her critique group. We attended many writing conferences together, racked up numerous rejections, and both tried and succeeded in getting agents, who were unsuccessful in selling our manuscripts.
Karla is an Anglophile – a lover of all things English – and someone who prefers atypical romantic heroes. She believes King Richard III was maligned by Shakespeare and history. She wrote Rings of Passage, a historical paranormal time travel romance, in which an actress travels to the 15th century to fall in love with Richard and attempts to save him from death on the battlefield. In addition to the time travel element, there is black magic involved. Over the years, I’ve read several versions of the manuscript.
Fast forward about twenty years. I wrote my first erotic romance, Intimate Submission, and Karla beta read it for me. She also read my second, Secret Desires, before I submitted it. I went on to publish seven titles with two more under contract.
Several weeks ago I’d heard on the news that Richard III’s remains had been found in a parking lot. I immediately thought of Karla and Rings of Passage.
Then about a week ago, I got an email from Karla asking if I would read her query letter to an agent. Since Richard III is topical now, she’d dusted off Rings of Passage. I suggested she skip the agent and contact an e-publisher. I recommended Lazy Day Publishing. I know many of its authors, and recently Lazy Day conracted one of my stories so I was aware the publisher accepted a variety of genres, often unique stories that don’t fit other publisher’s pigeonholes.
Karla queried Lazy Day, and I emailed its editor/owner Staci Taylor, and told her Karla had been a friend for more than twenty-five years, was an excellent writer and had submitted Rings of Passage. Staci emailed me back, saying “any friend of yours is a friend of ours” and she would pull Karla’s book from the electronic slush pile and review it.
Within a few days Karla had a contract with an August publication date for Rings of Passage. I know how much Karla has invested in this book.
I’m so happy for her I could spit.