Summer is here! And now its time to break out that swimsuit .... yeah, yeah, I know. But today's guest reminds us that all bodies are beautiful. Please join me in welcoming Lilly Gayle!
Lilly Gayle lives in North Carolina with her husband, her youngest daughter who's completing radiation therapy training at UNC's School of Medicine, a dog, a cat, and various critters both dead and alive the cat occasionally drags through the doggie door. Her oldest daughter lives in Germany with her soldier husband. Lilly is a member of Romance Writers of America and Heart of Carolina Romance Writers. When not writing or working as a mammogapher, Lilly spends time with her husband at the beach.
Kim: How did you break into publishing?
Lilly: Growing up, I wanted to be a writer or a doctor. I soon learned becoming a doctor took a long time and writing was hard. There were no home computers when I was in high school and typewriters don’t have delete buttons. So, my life took a different path. I went to college, got married, became an x-ray technologist (and later a mammographer) and started a family. But I never forgot my dream.
Then in 1995, my husband bought our first computer and told me to stop dreaming and start writing. At first, I just wrote children’s stories for our two daughters. In 1996, I attempted to write a medical romance. It read like a text book. My second romance was a time-travel. It sucked. Then I started writing an historical. I found an agent right away but soon learned a bad agent is worse than no agent at all.
So, I joined RWA and my local chapter and learned how to tell the difference in a legit agent and a scam. A legit agent will never charge reading fees or offer in-house editing. I kept writing and submitting and the rejection letters kept coming. But I had the support of other authors. And I learned how to revise and resubmit. And those rejection letters became more personal. Some agents and editors even suggested ways to improve my writing.
In 2005, I got a revision letter from a NY publisher. I made the changes and re-submitted. And got another revision letter. But at least she loved my story. But after the second revision letter, my agent moved to another line and another agent took over who sent yet a 3rd revision letter. I made those changes and re-submitted but then the publisher changed the line and submission guidelines. After two years of waiting and praying I got a rejection letter. My story no longer suited the needs of the new line.
I was devastated but I learned an important lesson. Never concentrate on just one story. And always have that next manuscript ready. Keep writing.
After the rejection, my critique partner, Amy Corwin, suggested I submit to The Wild Rose Press. Exactly one year to the date I signed the contract with TWRP and 13 years after I started writing romance, OUT OF THE DARKNESS was published (available in paperback and digital).
And next month on June 3, TWRP will release my first historical, SLIGHTLY TARNISHED (available in paperback and digital).
Kim: Wow! I love a "persistence leads to success" story! What have you learned as a military "mother in law" that you can apply to writing and publishing?
Lilly: Before my daughter got married, I had no experience with anything military. I’ve always respected our military,and although my brother was in the navy reserves back in 1990, it’s just not the same. Since my daughter’s marriage, I’ve learned about the sacrifices military families make. And the dedication our soldiers have toward this country and their service.
In OUT OF THE DARKNESS, there’s a rogue army colonel who wants to clone human DNA with vampire DNA to create unstoppable soldiers for the military. I started writing the book before my daughter even knew her husband. After the wedding and after OTD was published, I wondered how military people would feel about the book. I didn’t want to offend anyone. But so far, I’ve gotten positive feedback from soldier’s wives (and one soldier’s father) who’ve read the story and actually liked it. I’m now writing the sequel, in which one character is an ex MP in the army. I have a flashback scene in the manuscript set in Iraq. I think knowing a soldier will make the writing stronger and the scene more believable. But I guess until you’ve lived through something like that, you’ll never truly understand the emotional toll it takes.
My daughter is lucky. Her husband is safe with her in Germany and his only deployment so far has been to Romania. My prayers go out to all the wives, husbands, children, mothers and fathers who have a soldier in Afghanistan or Iraq. But my strongest prayers are for our troops. God bless you all.
Kim: Tell us about your upcoming book, SLIGHTLY TARNISHED. What inspired it? What would you like readers to take away from it?
Lilly: Slightly Tarnished was actually the first historical I ever wrote, way back in 1999. I’ve revised it several times over and have changed the title and names of the characters. But thanks to my editor, Allison Byers, it’s now the story I always wanted it to be.
Here’s a Blurb:
Victorian romance laced with danger.
When a brooding English earl with a SLIGHTLY TARNISHED reputation marries his dead wife’s American cousin to save her from her uncle’s vengeful schemes, the sea captain’s daughter with a taste for adventure sparks desires he thought long dead.
Nicole Keller has always been headstrong and independent, but after a failed business venture and a sinking ship take her father, her home, and her childhood sweetheart, Nikki must support herself and her mother. But moving to England and marrying Chadwick Masters, Earl of Gilchrest isn’t what she has in mind. And falling in love with the mysterious earl could endanger both their lives.
|I wonder if the heroine had to clean|
the tarnished tea set?
Kim: What's next for Lilly Gayle?
Lilly: To keep writing! At the moment, I’m working on the sequel to OUT OF THE DARKNESS. It’s tentatively called INTO THE LIGHT. I’m also plotting a sequel to SLIGHTLY TARNISHED that as of yet, untitled. We recently returned from a visit with my daughter in Germany that included a side trip to Amsterdam. I’m posting blogs and pictures of my trip on my blog page:
and I hope to do some more traveling in the future. I love traveling, taking pictures, and getting new ideas for my writing.
Thanks so much for having me on your blog. And in celebration of my June 3rd release of SLIGHTLY TARNISHED, I’m offering a digital copy of the book to one lucky commenter.
Mahalo, Lilly, for donating a digital copy of SLIGHTLY TARNISHED. More importantly, thank you for supporting your military family ... and inspiring us to seek our dreams (and check our boobies!). To enter the giveaway,
1. Leave a comment about a project that required your persistence - children can be include (mine are a work in progress).
2. This giveaway is open to all readers.
3. Comments are open through Saturday, June 4, 10 pm in Hawaii. I'll post the winner on Sunday, June 5.
Kim in Hawaii
|I'm envious that Lilly recently visited Kuekenhof!|
Here's an excerpt for SLIGHTLY TARNISHED:
“This will be your room.” He opened the door and stood to one side so she could enter. “I’m afraid you will have to continue to make do without a lady’s maid. The only household staff I employ are Mrs. Lomax, Dickens, Cook, and my groom. My driver lives in the village as do the few maids I hire on occasion to help Mrs. Lomax with the laundry and heavier cleaning.”
Nikki smiled. “That’s quite all right, Lord Masters. I’m used to doing for myself, and it’s only for a week.”
He returned her smile and leaned forward, his warm breath fanning her cheek. “What happened to Chad? Surely we’ve gone beyond such formalities now, Nicole.”
Gooseflesh rippled over her skin. Her body quivered. “I don’t think it would be proper for me to call you by your given name.” She risked a glance at his face and wished she hadn’t. His eyes no longer looked worried. They were hot—almost feverish. Her skin heated.
“It didn’t stop you before,” he said, his deep voice a husky rumble. Despite the heat, Nikki shivered.
"I don’t think this is proper either,” she stammered when he brushed his lips against her temple. A delicious tingle skittered down her spine.
“No, probably not,” he said, nibbling her neck.
A strange tension rippled through her muscles, tightening them with pleasure. She arched her neck, granting him access as he slid his lips along the column of her throat. Her hands bunched the skirt of her plain, serviceable dress. Her stomach quivered.
“What are you doing?” she asked, breathless and giddy.
He pulled his hands from his pockets and pulled her closer. “I’m seducing you, I think.”
“Seducing me?” Her heart hammered against her ribs.
“Hmm. You’re doing it again.” Then he lowered his mouth and kissed her.