A simple truth about writing is that not everything makes the final cut. In fact, some of your favorite parts of a novel, might never have been in the original. Likewise, there may be some stuff the author loved that editors or critique partners didn't feel was all that strong. Maybe it didn't move the story forward. Maybe it took away from another part of the story or a character's development.
For me, it's kind of like when I used to take exams in college. Those ones that I felt awesome about and thought I'd aced...not so much. The ones I was positive I'd bombed, I did better than I thought. There have been times where I was certain a line was perfect, only to have a critique partner be like, "Um...I'm sorry, but no." There has also been times (thankfully) that I've been completely uncertain about a line and readers have said, "I love this."
Sometimes, as authors, we get so far into the story that even when we're re reading, we're not separated enough to make a final decision. So we seek help and outside eyes (that sounded creepier than I meant for it to).
When I wrote Falling for Kate, I had a different ending than the one you've all read. In fact, very few people have read the ending as I originally intended it. My editor pointed out some very valid reasons for changing it and so I did. When I was chatting with my Romance Chicks pal, Christina Hovland, she suggested I put the original ending aside for bonus material on my blog. AND GUESS WHAT? That's what I'm going to do. I wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American pals, readers, friends, and acquaintances. I'm grateful for all of you.
We Canadians have already had our Thanksgiving, but that doesn't mean I would say no to pie this weekend. Or cookies. Or turkey, actually. Whatever feast you'll be enjoying, here's the original epilogue that I wrote for Falling for Kate. Enjoy.
Kate stared into the full length mirror, turned sideways. The dress she’d designed for the opening of her store tonight had subtle ruching around the waist, so even if anyone other than Elliot knew she was two months pregnant, it wasn’t visible. But they knew. And knowing their baby was growing inside of her overwhelmed Kate with a kind of happiness she hadn’t ever known.
Elliot came into their bedroom, looking extremely sexy in his dark suit with a deep burgundy tie that matched the little buttons trailing the slit of her dress.
“You look beautiful,” he said, slipping his arms around her from behind.
Kate stared at him in the mirror. Loving someone the way she loved him was nearly painful. It stole her breath if she thought too hard about it. “So do you.”
Elliot chuckled. “Beautiful describes women. Not men.”
“Since I’m looking at you and seeing what I see, I’d say you’re wrong.”
His hands covered her belly and he spread his fingers wide. His voice went lower when he spoke again. “I can’t believe you haven’t even told your sisters. It must be killing you.”
It was. But she wanted to wait until they were past the twelve week mark. Besides, Lucy had given birth to a baby boy only a month ago. Nathaniel was born June eighth and the family was still riding high from that. The girls had just started their summer vacation and tonight was the grand opening of “Details”, Kate’s very own dress shop. There was enough going on and she wanted this news to be just for her and Elliot for a bit longer.
“I like sharing a secret with just my husband,” she said, meeting his eyes in the mirror.
Elliot’s eyes darkened. “God, I love hearing you say that.”
One of his hands went to her hip while the other slid down to the gap in the dress where her thigh peeked out. His fingers trailed down as far as they could then back up. Shivers stampeded straight up her spine and through her stomach.
“Secret?” she teased.
With her hair pulled into a loose bun, he had easy access to her neck. He took full advantage, kissing a trail over her shoulder and back again, right up to the spot below her ear.
Kate’s eyes drifted closed as Elliot’s fingers continued to travel over her body. “Hmm. I like it, too.”
Turning her, Elliot cupped the back of her neck and tilted her face up. “I didn’t think the words would matter so much. But I love introducing you as my wife. I love being your husband. I love you, Kate. More than I knew was possible.”
Emotions burst like fireworks in her chest. How could anyone feel so much for one person? “I love you. It’s impossible to tell you how much.”
They’d married in April and every morning, Kate woke up with the need to pinch herself. She had all of the things she wanted and some she hadn’t known she needed.
Elliot walked her backwards until her knees hit the bed. “You could show me,” he said, grinning in a way that made her insides twirl.
Kate laughed. “I just got dressed. Did you drop the girls off with Gina?”
Elliot slid the strap of her gown off her shoulder and let his lips linger on her collarbone. “I did. I told her we’d pick them up in the morning.”
Kate froze. “What?”
He smoothed his thumb over her cheek. “We talked about this, baby. She’s ready. She’s been working at Cal’s since the end of January. That’s six months of solid employment. She bought plants for her apartment. Real ones that she has to take care of. She’s ready. And so are they. One night. I want one night alone with my wife.”
Elliot’s hands went back to wandering, which didn’t help to slow the steady beat of Kate’s pulse.
“Ok. You’re right. But by one night alone with your wife, do you mean in a crowd of people who are attending the opening tonight?”
Elliot groaned. “Let’s be late.”
She laughed. “I can’t be late to my own opening.”
His lips quirked. “Sure you can. That’s the beauty of being the boss.”
“It’s only a couple of hours. And then we have the rest of the night.”
Elliot kissed her, pulled her tighter against him. “Sounds promising. So far, you’ve proven yourself worth the wait.”
Kate threw her arms around his neck. “Good to know. I love you, Elliot.”
“I love you.”
She kissed his cheek. “You’re a very accommodating and supportive husband.”
He winked at her. “Whole package, right?”
Linking her hand with his, she nodded. “Absolutely.” And he was all hers.
~ The End ~
I'm not sure how long it'll be before I stop using Friends references for all things. If you've never seen the one where Ross talks about the night of five times, then you have no idea what I'm talking about. Which is fine. My husband is in your shoes all. the. time.
Summer is coming to a close. Technically, there are still three weeks left but time has a way of speeding by without my permission. All in all, it's been a pretty great summer, despite the lackluster weather. I made it to New York City with my best friend to celebrate my 40th birthday. That was every bit as wonderful as I'd hoped it would be. Not only did we see three Broadway shows and walk the Brooklyn Bridge, I met my agent. And that was, literally, a dream come true.
We've also done some fun family stuff. We've gone down to Vancouver a couple of times, gone swimming, and done some shopping.
In between all of the other wonderful things I've gotten to enjoy this summer...a boatload of book news goodness came my way as well. Sometimes, it feels like all or nothing in this industry. You spend time in a writing cave (or in my case, my bedroom), head down, trying to get the words right. Some days, there's endless chatting online as the words come. Other days, it's quiet. This summer has been not so quiet in the best possible way.
If you didn't see, my three book deal with Entangled Publishing (Bliss Line) was announced this week. I'm already working on notes from my awesome editor, Stacy Cantor Abrams and her assistant.
In addition to this, I posted earlier in the summer that a novella "sequel" to Falling for Home, titled Falling for Kate, was signed by Penner Publishing. I'm very happy to be working with them again on another book. This one is out (tentatively) October 3rd.
If you're counting, that's four and I said the summer of five. The fifth one that I'm really excited about is also with Penner Publishing. This one is called Caught Looking. Between now and the end of 2017, I will have five books released, all signed this summer.
So. Needless to say, I'm seriously excited. And in serious edit mode for the foreseeable future.
Every book I write matters to me. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to know that I'll get to share this many of them with all of you. I'm grateful to both Entangled Publishing and to Penner Publishing for believing in my work. I'm very grateful to my agent, Fran, for believing in me. And I'm extremely grateful to all of the people that help me and support me by forgiving me when I'm late or forget things, read my work-- some repeatedly, talk down my uncertainty, let me bounce ideas off of them endlessly, share in my enthusiasm when things are great and stand by me when they aren't.
And as bonus good news, this morning I was notified that my books, Falling for Home and Damaged were nominated for the Summer Indie Book Awards for 2016! Voting takes place between September 1-11, 2016.
I'm not sure how to top this summer or if I need to, but I definitely know what I'll be doing for the rest of it: editing.
I am excited to share the news that Falling for Kate (An Angel's Lake Novella) will be published by Penner Publishing in time for the holidays.
Don't know if you remember Lucy's younger sister from Falling for Home, but Kate was part of the reason Lucy came home.
Though Kate Aarons had just finished her degree in social work, designing was her hidden passion. Lucy was able to hook her sister up with a sweet internship at a major fashion house in New York City.
Fast forward a couple of years. Kate's dream may have been in New York, but her home and her heart are in Angel's Lake. Wanting the best of both worlds, Kate decides she'll open her own dress shop in the town she loves.
Elliot Peters wants to give his daughters a stable, steady, predictable home life. Something his ex refuses to do. When he brings them back to Angel's Lake for Christmas, he knows he'll fight to have them with him for good.
With Kate home, needing a place to live and a temporary job, Elliot thinks he has the perfect plan. If Kate will be a nanny to his girls, they'll be well cared for and she'll have plenty of time to focus on her plans of opening her own store.
Both Kate and Elliot wonder if they've made the right choices in their lives up to this point. But when they give into the attraction that sparks between them, they learn, sometimes, it takes a while to get where you're meant to be.
Come back to Angel's Lake this Christmas as Kate and Elliot fall for each other.
ON THE REBOUND IS NOW AVAILABLE!
Author: Jim Cangany Release Day: January 22, 2016 Genre: Sports Romance Publisher: Penner Publishing
ABOUT JIM CANGANY
Jim Cangany was forty pages into his first manuscript when he realized it was a romance. He went with it and has great joy writing sweet, contemporary love stories. A lover of things that go fast, when Jim’s not writing, you can probably find him checking into the latest from IndyCar or pro bike racing. He lives in Indianapolis with his saint of a wife Nancy, his sons Seamus and Aidan, and the princess of the house, kitty cat Maria
When I started writing, I thought it would go like this:
1. Write a book
2. Sign with agent
3. Agent sells book immediately
4. Stay humble despite success
Yeah. That's not exactly how it goes. Well, not for me anyway. But I'm sure that works out for some people. For most of us, there are several more steps involved-- including a lot of rewriting, editing, handling rejection, trying again, etc. But the most surprising part for me is how often I have to reach out to others because in today's digital world, you are not just an author. Not if you want your books to be read. My original intention on Twitter and Facebook was to connect and get to know people. Fortunately, I've managed that part but it doesn't mean that I like what came next...realizing that I needed to ask for help.
Because, let's be honest, everyone is busy. Despite being on the computer OFTEN, a writer will tell you that it isn't just to write. It's to market, promote, research, edit, learn, read, make connections...there is so much more than writing involved when you work toward publishing a book.
So, my journey looked a little more like this:
1. Write a book
2. Get book rejected several times
3. Try again with a new book
4. Repeat step 2
5. Repeat step 3
6. Get an agent
7. Get a previous manuscript accepted by a publishing house
8. Edit. Edit. Edit. Edit. Edit. Edit.
9. Get ready to promote
10. Try not to be annoying
This is where I'm at. I have three books coming out in the next two months. Two in February and one in March. One is co-authored, a follow up to the Christian romantic suspense I wrote with Kara Leigh Miller. It's called Jaded Love and will be out February 23rd.
Falling for Home is a story I wrote a while back, that I was particularly fond of. It was requested by agents but it wasn't the one that landed me an agent. Still, I found a home for it with Penner Publishing. This releases February 9th.
The March release is called Damaged and also found it's home at Penner Publishing.
With three books coming out so close together, I'd really like to not have people dread seeing or hearing my name. I'd rather have people think things like, "Wow, her book is really good. I should read another" than "$%##, if she tweets/posts/says one more thing about her books I'm going to virtually slap her." I'm sure you can see why I'd favor one over the other.
It was important that I not inundate people with requests and favors but to some extent, I had to. If I don't tell you about my books and you don't tell others...they're just going to be stories my mom and best friend have read. But I cannot have three back to back Facebook parties as promotion. On top of being just too much, I think it would lessen the impact; become redundant or tedious.
But one is alright. If I could plan one successfully and get some other (cooler) authors to pitch in. And therein lies one of the hardest things: asking people you "know" and are "friends" with to help you. Think how hard it is (for some people) to ask for help in real life. A friend of mine recently broke her elbow. I found out almost two weeks later and felt horrible. I asked why she didn't call? Why didn't she ask for help? Because she knew we were busy and didn't want to ask. SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO ASK. Though I hope helping me promote my books and get readers isn't as bad as a broken elbow, it's still hard to put yourself out there. Even if you'd do the same for them, it's hard to make that request on someone's time (more if you're asking them to giveaway one of their books).
One little instant message or email after another, I started to ask writers I engage with on Twitter and Facebook if they'd help. My nerves didn't lessen each time I asked. It didn't get easier and my response every single time was something along the lines of "OH MY GOODNESS? SERIOUSLY? YOU'LL HELP ME?" I stopped short of saying WHY would you help me because I didn't want them to rethink it.
But here's what I think. They're helping me in some sense because it will promote their own books-- they'll touch base with readers, tell us about their releases, and maybe do a giveaway which ups their own fan base. I really don't think it's the biggest part though. I think that these people are just kick-ass, over the top awesome. They're nice and they're kind and they're giving because THEY'VE BEEN HERE. I have received countless messages from other authors, answering my questions, helping me, and guiding me. I have laughed with, chatted with, and commiserated with some truly incredible people. People I've never met. Might never get to meet. But these people have had a huge impact on my writing life because they are or were there when I needed them. I can't tell you how much this matters and not just because I don't want to have a Facebook party where I'm all by myself, but because it's a lifeline.
It's not easy to keep going some days (with writing I mean). The waiting involved in this industry is HARD. It makes me think of the book by Dr. Seuss, "Oh the Places you will go". Publishing can feel like The Waiting Place. And it's always nicer to have someone by your side who knows how hard the waiting and wondering can be. Someone who, when you need them to, steps up and says, sure I'll help you. Someone who knows what a celebration it should be that you wrote a book and SOMEONE IS GOING TO PUBLISH IT.
I asked several authors if they'd be willing to join in on the party. MANY said yes or that they'd try. I don't even know why, but instead of questioning why they're willing to take time out of their busy schedules, I'm going to just be extremely grateful. I think the best way to show that is to give back what's meant so much to me. Time. Acceptance. Kind words. Support. It's really hard to put yourself out there, but you don't have to do it alone. Every step of this journey requires bravery. Writing the book. Looking for agents or publishers. Revising. Getting critique partners. Interacting. Asking for help. All of it. But like so many other things in life, it can surprise you and be even more than you hoped for.
If you're around on February 9th, 2016 between 6 pm and 9 pm, come by my release party for Falling for Home on Facebook. You don't even have to dress up and you won't be able to see that I'm in my pajamas. Best kind of party. I am extremely thrilled to say I'll be joined by Amanda Heger, Kara Leigh Miller, Jennifer Blackwood, Shannyn Schroeder, Dawn Ius, Kelly Siskind, Harper St. George, A.J. Pine, Joanne Macgregor, and possibly Carly Phillips and Karma Brown. There'll be some great giveaways and lots of chatting about books, romance, and writing.