How many people does it take to publish a book?

I used to think it took one person to write a book. Now, I know better.

Yes, yes. That’s my name on the cover of INN BY THE LAKE, my newest novel, a love story sweet as a candy cane. It’s true. I am the person who sat down every morning at 6 a.m. to put the words together that would bring Amanda and Luke together, torture them a little and then give them a sweet happily-ever-after. I’m the one who after revising the book a few times, wrote the query letter, the synopsis, the blurb and the pitch for Savvy Authors’ Sweetheart Pitch.

But from the beginning I had help. And now it’s time to thank them all.

First, my husband Ray has my undying love and gratitude for putting up with my many moods, obsessive compulsions and distractions while I wrote, got rejected, wrote again, got rejected and, finally jumped out of my skin when Champagne Book Group asked for my manuscript. On my birthday, no less. I dedicate this book to him.

My children, Gina, Sean and Brigid, have been my greatest cheerleaders. They not only want to hear the latest twists and turns as my plot unfolds, they’re happy to answer endless questions about life of a millennial. They make me proud every day.

I have a critique group that gets me out of bed every morning for our 6 a.m. role call to make sure we’re up, fueled with coffee, and ready to write, query, revise or critique. I’ve counted on the group, which has included Nellie Jane Romance, Kristie Wolf, Kimberly Butler, Alexa Jacobs and A.R. Case, for years.

Once my manuscript got to Champagne Books, then the magic happened all over again. Here I had the book I thought was perfect—and then my editor Jennifer Windrow got her hands on it and…Wow! She pushed me to write stronger sentences, to push the conflict a little more, to delve deeper into what makes my characters tick. I worked like a dog on my story after I got her very, very long list of comments and questions.

Before sending my revisions to Jenn, I sent them to my fellow travel writer Leslie Atkins for yet another look. When I finally sent it back, I felt good that I’d written the most perfect piece of fiction possible.

I thought I was done but no. The manuscript was sent back to me once again. This time, two sets of eyes had given it a thorough looking-over.

First, there were the commas. Every writer has his/her own theory of the perfect placement of commas. Thank you, Emily Akers, for your eagle eye and your love of good sentence structure. I bow to your comma prowess.

After that, the Champagne Book Group’s publisher Cassiel Knight took a final look at my book and pushed me to make it even better. Four major plot points were revised, honed and polished until I was even weeping at the touching scenes. Doesn’t everybody read with tears in their eyes?

The book readers will hold in their hands is the product of so much work by editors, graphic designers and many more who produced a beautifully-readable book with a lovely, romantic cover. Thanks to Robyn Hart, for her cover art.

Champagne Book Group pairs new writers with seasoned writers. I kept my mentor Renee Wildes busy with many questions along the path to publication. I am also a new fan of her fantasy novels.

Finally, I must thank everyone who reads my stuff—my books, my articles, and my blog posts. I write so that others will read, after all. Without you, what would be the point?

Inn By the Lake, my sweet modern love story set at Deep Creek Lake in Western Maryland, is available from Champagne Book Group now.

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