Tuesday, December 01, 2015

10th Anniversary Celebration! Annie West

This month marks a special anniversary for me. Not today but very, very soon, I'll be celebrating ten years since the day I sold my first book to Harlequin for its Presents line. Yay! I still remember that day vividly. I woke early and thought I'd check the inbox for the inevitable rejection. You see, I'd received rejections before, even 'good' rejections and learned to expect them. Even if this time I'd been asked to make revisions to the manuscript. I couldn't believe it possible I'd actually sell a story to my favourite series line. The silly thing was that when I found a message from the London office (where Presents stories are edited) I skimmed it several times looking for the 'but unfortunately it doesn't meet our requirements'. It took me a while to notice the message was headed 'Acceptance'. Even then I had to grab my husband and make him read the message in case I'd got it wrong. It was such a long-held dream of mine I couldn't believe it.
The ten year anniversary has crept up on me suddenly. At first it seemed a very, very slow process, with the long lag time between acceptance and proof reading the edited version of that first story, then waiting and waiting till it appeared in the shops - almost a year after that email! For those of you wondering, here's my first book for Harlequin.
A Mistress for the Taking was originally drafted as The Mistress Makeover. About a woman who, because of her past, had bad body image problems. It took a very special man, a real alpha, honourable hero, to help her change her life, even as she changed his. I loved that book and still do. One of the nice things about the rise of digital publishing is that it's still readily available!
Over the ten years since that first sale I've had 25 books published with Harlequin plus another two accepted for publication next year. In addition I've done a little self publishing and plan to do some more. Here's the first of my HOT ITALIAN NIGHTS novellas, 'Back in the Italian's Bed'.
I discovered writing novella length stories was a real treat. So far I've published two in this series and am planning more. It was enormous fun too, having the final say on the covers and titles for these - something I don't with my longer stories.
In these ten years I've been lucky to have books translated into many, many languages, and be contacted by readers from all around the world. I LOVE hearing from readers. Hearing their reactions to the stories that started in my head makes them even more real to me. One of the special treats too, has been getting manga or comic book editions of my books. Here's one that's already been in print and is coming out as an English language illustrated book. Seeing someone else's interpretation of my characters and story is absolutely fascinating!
And here's my latest story, 'Seducing His Enemy's Daughter'. It only struck me today as I wrote this, that this book, like my first Harlequin Presents, is also set in Sydney, on the Harbour - a location I don't use often in my stories. I wonder if subconsciously I was returning to familiar territory for my 25th story?

 To celebrate my tenth anniversary I'm have a very, very special book giveaway. Next week, on the date of that anniversary I'll be drawing lots of prizes, including books and gift vouchers. If you want to be part of the giveaway, you'll need to make sure you're on the subscriber list for my occasional newsletters. To sign up, just visit my website and follow the link at the bottom of the page, or visit my Facebook page and click the button to sign up for my newsletter.

What are you looking forward to celebrating? Have you any suggestions on good ways to mark a special occasion? It would be nice to come up with a different, new way to mark the occasion, apart from my mega giveaway.


Jan Vanengen said...

Congrats Annie on such an achievement 25 books sold in 10 years and two self publishing and winning Ruby this year was such a high, seeing your name up there, and seeing you go and collect your award, so well deserved. To me it's the Oscars for writers. Such achievement and acknowledgement of your writing and talent. Well done and so proud :) I see many more books to come either Harlequin or self publishing. Jan. xx

Annie West said...

Thanks, Jan. It feels good, I must admit. When I sold my 27th to Harlequin last week it felt very good indeed!

Wasn't the Romantic Book of the Year ceremony fun? I was so thrilled to win that award, which I guess you can tell by the grin I wore in every photo taken that night!

Thanks so very much for the good wishes. They mean a lot!

Diana Tidlund said...

Congrats Annie ! On December 14 th it'll be a year since the 100+strokes that changed my world. I survived , a little different but I survived

Mary Lawson said...

Congratulations on your fantastic accomplishment!!! I celebrated a 34 year teaching career with a 6 week road trip from Florida to Alaska. I have enjoyed every book of yours I have read. Looking forward to many more from you.

Laney4 said...

I have had three favorite celebrations:
1) For our 30th wedding anniversary (5 years ago), we drove to a city an hour away, took a ferry over to an island (where I read a book while he walked around the cold deck), drove around like teenagers (pulling over to neck often, plus holding hands like usual), ate lunch at a nice restaurant (and had my homemade brownies for dessert in the car), toured some more of the island, took the ferry back to the city (where more reading/walking about ensued), enjoyed supper at another restaurant (followed by my homemade butter tarts in the car), took another ferry to come home (ditto), and ate an ice cream cone at a "local" shop. All in all, 12 hours of bliss.
2) For my 40th and my husband's 50th birthdays, we had a "90th birthday party". We booked a hall, hired a DJ, and had everyone dress casually (I wore jeans and slippers). Family brought snacks. No gifts allowed (as their presence was our gift). Danced the night away.
3) My husband retired this year at age 66. He hadn't had a vacation (other than a day here and there for various appointments) in 15 years (because we couldn't afford it). He retired Apr 29, our daughter married May 30, and we accompanied my sister/her husband back to their home 2000+ miles away in their motor home. They were here 1 week before the wedding, 1 week after the wedding, it took 2 weeks to leisurely drive to their place (doing all the touristy things along the way), and we stayed a further 3 weeks until flying home (so a total of 7 weeks together and nobody was hurt, LOL!). It was simply the best, as THIS is our kind of vacation: being with family.
So ... congratulations, Annie, and may whatever you do to celebrate (even if you do absolutely nothing) bring you much (more) joy!

Annie West said...

Diana, good on you! I'm so impressed. As you say, surviving is what it's about, whether changed or not. You've adapted and got through. That must make you smile. Thanks for sharing.

Annie West said...

Mary, a six week road trip to Alaska sounds fabulous! I bet you have a store of fantastic stories to tell as a result.

I'm thrilled to hear you've enjoyed my stories so much. I hope any future ones give you that warm, satisfied feeling I get from a good romance too!

Annie West said...

Laney, you have such great ways of marking special occasions! As you say, it's not about gifts but about celebrating with special people. That makes all the difference! Thanks for sharing your special times.

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