Writing books is like raising children. You birth them, nurture them, and try to mold them. One day you look at your labor and say, "It's time. Go out into the world." Then, as you approach the door, you wonder if they are ready. Nodding inwardly, you smile and open the door. D.V. Stone
Saturday morning, I opened a box containing copies of Rock House Grill. For a moment I stood and stared down into it. Then a breath hitched in my chest and then I cried like a baby. Rock House is not my first release. It’s not even the second or third. When I received Felice in the mail, I cried too. She’s my eldest and turned three this past January. But the emotion didn’t run as deep as. I wondered why? Thinking about it led me to want to share the story. Oh, some of you know bits and pieces, but, Rock House Grill followed a different path then Felice and even Agent Sam Carter.
As I’m typing this the Theme from Love Story drifts through my mind.
Where do I begin
To tell the story of how great a love can be
The sweet love story that is older than the sea
Because, I think, for an author, each of their books is a love story. Sometimes a dysfunctional one. So, let’s start with Rock House’s birth.
During October 2015, Agent Sam Carter and the Mystery at Branch Lake was my focused project. I knew I needed to complete the it by November 1st. That’s when National Novel Writing Month began. 30 days. 50,000 words.
I’d been thinking about what to write for a couple of weeks. At the time, I’d thought of myself as a Fantasy author. With that in mind, I’d jotted down some notes for a novel about dragons. Nothing meshed. With such a limited time the words Write what you know kept nagging at me. I thought I knew fantasy because that’s mostly what I read. But I realized, I knew a lot about real life too. Instead of forcing the fantasy book, I listened to my inner muse, and the concept was born for a divorced woman rebuilding her life. Been there and done that - no free t-shirt.
Wonder of wonders I reached November 30th and had a bit over 50,000 words. I received my certificate and brushed off the dust from immersion in my office for a month. Like many writers, I have a folder for manuscripts in different stages of development—everything from full unedited works—to a couple of lines of an idea. Then I returned to fantasy. Kingdom at a Crossroad is a huge epic fantasy with a completed story-line, but a massive editing nightmare.
Fast forward to 2017. I pushed the self-publish button on Felice. A few months later, I launched Agent Carter. Crossroad was giving me fits, so, taking a step back from Kingdom, I went to my sort-of-finished folder.
Rock House sat there with a complete story. Moving it to the desktop, I began to go through the manuscript. RHG went out for editing and a cover into development. Everything seemed to be moving forward. Beta readers liked the story. The recommended edits didn’t appear daunting. Notice I said seemed?
While working toward self-publishing, I thought I would send out some queries to publishers and editors. Somethings are meant to be. Making a mistake doesn’t mean doom and despair. In May of 2017, I sent a few more out queries. Not hearing anything, I went to check on my emails, and here is what happened. 0h, let me preface this by saying it was my birthday weekend.
May 27, 2017 11:53 a.m.
Hi Avon Impulse,
My name is Donna Van Stone, and I write as D.V. Stone.
The Rock House Grill is the first book in the Impact Series.
May 29, 2017 11:14 am
A few days later...OMG!!!
The Wild Rose Press. The Wild Rose Press. I’m so sorry I sent the wrong query to you I know it’s Wild Rose Press. Remove greeting to Avon Impulse and insert The Wild Rose Press...
Sorry, sorry, sorry...
May 29th, 2017 2:32 pm
Welcome to the Garden.
The review of your query will begin XXX will be in contact with you soon to provide you with more information and a review timeline.
After that day, it was still touching and go. The editing I mentioned that seemed not daunting? Yeah, it got me almost kicked out of the Rose Garden. Poor Elf, my WRP editor, must have wanted to pull her hair out at times. Commas, POV issues, and Plot holes just to mention a few not daunting problems.
Fast forward to Saturday, March 7th, 2020.
I opened the box holding Rock House Grill and bawled my eyes out. Not once. Twice.
Why do I want to share this with you? If you read my bio, you know all my books are about hope. But behind the hope, there has to be perseverance and often thick skin. My advice is to keep plugging away. If you have a story, believe in it, but also trust the professionals.
I’m happy to say through Wild Rose Press, I have a short story in the Australia Burns books. Rainbow Sprinkles is contracted for a Summer release. In the next few months, Elf will hopefully not be pulling her hair when I submit Jazz House.
Good luck in whatever your endeavor. Don't take no for an answer and at the same time roll up your shirtsleeves and do the work. It's worth it.