In 2009 I heard from a writer-friend about Ellora’s Cave Publishing, a house built on the idea that female sexuality is a wonderful, beautiful thing that should be celebrated right along with falling in love. No abstract, flowery descriptions for sex, no blushing virgin brides whose character journey results in pregnancy and marriage (in whatever order). But the best part about Ellora’s Cave was its big readership for fantasy romantic erotica.
After further researching Ellora’s Cave, I wanted desperately to be one of their writers, to work with one of their editors, and to publish stories that were honest and romantic, sexy and exciting all at the same time.
Following their guidelines, I began working on my premier shifter lion novella, First Heat, which was about a young female shifter lion named Kissa who is going into her first heat and is forced to choose a mate. Not a problem until she is betrayed by her parents, who are also the pride leaders, and they try to force her to choose Venor, the one male she never wanted to see again.
This story flowed from me like blood from a cut artery. Yes, I plotted up front but my characters still surprised me with the things that they said and did, and as violent and volatile my characters and the story were, it was a love story which ended in a happily-ever-after.
I submitted it and sat back for what I expected to be a long wait (at least a couple of months according to their website). Just a couple weeks later I heard back from them.
Once again, it wasn’t a “yes” but it wasn’t a “no” either. They wanted me to make a few changes, add a scene, and resubmit.
Thanks to my past experience with this kind of response, I was grumpy-bummed but not suicidal-devastated. After bitching and moaning to anyone within earshot, I sucked it up and did the edit they asked for.
And you know what? Their next response was a yes! I was in. I was an author with a contract and an editor and a book on the way.
First Heat dropped in 2010 and the day I received my first royalties check was one of the most satisfying days of my life. No, I wouldn’t be taking a month long vacation in some exotic location and-or buying my family new cars, but it was money I earned by doing what I love to do.
I could do this. I could be a fiction writer and pay my bills (well, some of them anyway). I could write my dreams and live my dreams all at the same.
Time to buckle in, baby. Trips to the moon ain’t smooth rides.
Jocelyn Modo may be crazy but writing keeps her from going insane. She grew up reading science fiction and fantasy and fell in love with romance when her girlie hormones kicked in. Nothing makes her day like working on her current manuscript…and nothing makes her crazy like working on her current manuscript. But all’s fair in love and war, and Jocelyn likes to put a whole lot of both in everything she writes.