March 05, 2024

My Writing and Publishing Roadmap

This is a long post, so I color coordinated. If you’re only interested in the journey I’ve gone on with my Secret Book Baby Series, read the green destination marks (dates). If you’re interested in what I’ve actually published or other works, read the remaining destination marks (dates) in bold white font. Anything in red font is important either way.

Twelve Years Old:

I was twelve years old when my first real story idea came to me one afternoon after school and a lone game of basketball in front of my house. I've told this story many times, but I'll share it again.

Sitting in the grass, with the basketball on my lap, I was catching my breath, enjoying the weather, and playing with the blades of grass with my right hand. My fingertips brushed something cold and hard close to the earth. Excited, hoping to find a coin or a key, I searched the blades only to discover a rusted screw with a crooked tip. The strangest thing happened while I held that screw, though. I thought about what it would mean if that screw was really a key to an unknown world, and who would be there if I found that door? A girl was there, who had extraordinary powers. I ran into my house, grabbed writing utensils, and resumed my spot outside to write the opening of that story. The rest is, well, herstory.

I had kept that screw for many years, but when my family moved out of my childhood home because of foreclosure, I got rid of it. I could've kept it. It was tiny, after all. Alas, I did not. I wish I had that screw still. I honestly don't remember if I put it in the trash or stuck it back into the ground where I'd found it. Part of me thinks I did the honor it, so I choose to believe I did.

Fourteen Years Old:

I finished writing my first novel. I had called it The Unknown World. It was a fantasy adventure and took up four hand-written notebooks. The computer document was complete at ​87,018 words/​​​​​​​426 pages.​​​

Sixteen Years Old:

Writing became my passion. I couldn't not write. I wrote on the school bus and in class. I wrote at home. I carried my current notebook wherever I went.

At ​the age of sixteen, I completed Book Two, The Face Beyond, which took up eleven hand-written notebooks. I was unable to open this document, so I don’t know the word/page count.

Seventeen Years Old:

Book Three took up seven hand-written notebooks. I apparently never typed this one up, which is surprising to me. I swear I did. I used to have so much fun typing up these stories, listening to music from my headphones, and adding to the story as I went. Alas, I can’t find that ancient document.

Book Three was the story that changed the course of my series, my characters, and my writing forever, and it was all because of a new character who came into the story. His name was (and is) Rainer. I loved him. Plain and simple. I liked him more than the love interest I had at the time for my FMC (female main character), and I struggled to justify keeping her and Rainer apart, as only best friends rather than boyfriend and girlfriend as they truly wanted to be.

Seventeen Years Old (Again):

I was working on Book Four, and I was seven notebooks in (nowhere near done), when writer's block hit. A big part of it was because of my Rainer dilemma. The other part of it, I later discovered, was because I'd matured while writing my stories and felt a disconnect from them because of where I was taking them. The first two, especially, weren't anything like the story I was working on, which was much more adult.

That's when I decided to rewrite them from page one. Age my characters. Give them interesting jobs. Change their world to be less fantastical. Dump the old love interest and bring Rainer in from the start.

All of the notebooks that make up the original series.

May 2008:

I completed the rewrite of Book One. Then I sent out my first snail mail query letters. Way before I ever should've submitted, so, yeah, I got rejections.

May 2010:

I completed Book Two.

December 2011:

I completed Book Three.

December 25th, 2011:

After completing Book Three, I got the idea for Hurricane Crimes and started to pen the story on Christmas Day.

May 2013:

I completed Book Four, finishing the series.

Side Note: Interesting that three books in this series was completed in May, and the third book was not. That's especially interesting considering I have done revisions on those three, but I have not done the new revisions/rewrites that are required for Book Three, even after all these years. I know what I need to do, and I write a little here and there, but it's been slow going.

July 2013:

I got my acceptance email for Hurricane Crimes, a day after I literally said I was going to give up and everything felt hopeless and "God better hurry up."

November 2013:

Hurricane Crimes was published with The Wild Rose Press. My first eBook! I thought everything was going to change for me.

I thought this publication would open doors. Not only adding to my publishing credentials, which used to be a thing writers had to worry about to be deemed publishable, but also getting me closer to that agent and a real book deal I've always dreamed about.

Spoiler: It did not bring me closer to an agent or a real book deal. Dream was not realized.

September 2014:

I published 30 Seconds, a novella longer than Hurricane Crimes. Another publication to add to the biography paragraph of my query letters! Much better than flash fiction and poetry published on ezines.


I asked my blogging community if anyone would be interested in reading the first 3 chapters of Book One. I got several takers. They praised my writing and descriptions and said they were intrigued. One beta reader suggested that I wasn't starting the story in the right place, and they were right. In fact, I've changed that beginning so many times. Before then and after that. I just couldn't get the beginning right.

Another beta reader offered other suggestions. I liked her feedback and ended up giving her a few chapters at a time for her to read when she had the time. We kept this up from September 2015 to January 2016. Her thoughts helped me to realize a certain scene had no place in my story, and she helped me to figure out a few things about the world and the characters, like how the "gods" weren't gods but Guardians. Not all of the changes stayed, but the most important ones did.

2015 (again): 

I published Ghost of Death and Witch of Death.

Still 2015:

Now, Ghost of Death features the FMC from my Secret Book Baby Series—Avrianna Heavenborn. I thought that if I published a story with her as the heroine, showing a bit of her world, that that would help me to get readers interested and my foot in the door with an agent. A few readers who read Ghost of Death and reviewed it did say they were intrigued by Avrianna and wanted to know more about her, which had been my goal, but nothing else came about from that.


I published Seismic Crimes (sequel to Hurricane Crimes) and my first novel in print, Lightning Crimes (a free short story that I self-published), and 30 Seconds Before (prequel to 30 Seconds).


I published Tsunami Crimes. This installment of the Disaster Crimes series is my favorite.


I published Flaming Crimes, which was inspired by my real life.

2013 - 2019:

During those years, I queried Book One, and I continued to read all four books over and over again and make revisions, add descriptions and dialogue, and look for typos.

No agent. No closer to publishing Book One.


I received query letter help from an author in my blogging community. The query letter for Book One was never something I was confident in because it was always difficult figuring out what to highlight. The author helped me to level it up, focusing a bit more on the romance, but that query letter has since been upgrade to a better version. The bones of the query letter I wrote back then with her advice are still there, though.


I submitted Book One to a well-known publisher. A few weeks later, I got a rejection with actual feedback on how I could make it better, and they said I could resubmit.

That was when I went to a dear friend (who is also a writer and in my blogging community) and asked if she'd be interested in critiquing Book One, keeping an eye out for the things the publisher had said. She said "yes"! After she read the complete manuscript, we had countless email exchanges, hours-long video chats, and Discord discussions. Her thoughts were invaluable.

Now, here's the honest truth, while I was making the extensive changes, I did think, while sobbing my eyes out, "This doesn't even feel like my story anymore."

I've seen other writers say the same thing while doing revisions after a critique and give up, saying, "Nope, I'm ignoring what my critique partner said. It's my story!" And it is. Totally. But sometimes you have to ruin something to build it better, stronger, more beautiful. Trust the process. I did. After all the work was done, I looked at my story and said, " this was how my book was supposed to be all along." I had to find the true version of my story beneath the one I was holding onto so tightly. 

2020 (again):

I published Frozen Crimes, the final story featuring Beth and Donovan as the main characters.

I wrote Let It Charm You, a contemporary romance with suspense that came so easily to me that it felt like fate.


April 26, 2021: I resubmitted Book One to the publisher previously mentioned.

June 27, 2021: The publisher requested additional time to review my submission. I granted it.

December 8, 2021: The rejection came with no reason as to why.

Still 2021:

My critique partner agreed to take a look at Let It Charm You, which resulted in quite a few, hours-long virtual chats and a manuscript I love.

2021 (again):

A Fighting Chance and The Disaster Curse, both featuring Thorn from the Disaster Crimes series, came out. A Fighting Chance will always have my heart because it's a story with a FMC who is a survivor of domestic abuse. Plus, it had Thorn as the MMC! As for The Disaster Curse, I couldn't resist writing about the one major disaster I had yet to feature.



I did not submit Book One even once all year. Instead, I was taking care of my mom. 

My critique partner gave me valuable synopsis help, though.

Still 2022:

My critique partner is seriously awesome and helped me with the query letter and synopsis for Let It Charm You, bringing the latter down from four pages to two pages. With that, I started to submit LICU, which…no, we are NOT using that abbreviation now that I see it and hear it. 🤣


I attempted something new and published two complete novelettes (Universal Killer & Cocky Killer) on Patreon. These are stories featuring Avrianna from my Secret Book Baby Series and take place before Book One. The goal was to publish nine novelettes that would lead up to Book One. The other goal was to generate interest in my character and my series. It did not go that way. I had two subscribers after a handful of months and two completed stories. I was publishing Alien Killer, when life changes forced me to put my Patreon on pause. It is still on pause, and I don’t know what to do with it.

Still 2023:

My critique partner and I brainstormed over how to make my query letter for Book One better.

She also reread the entire manuscript, offered new feedback, and even read over the third act for a third time after I made revisions based on her notes. I am happy to say the changes worked for both of us. 😄

I only submitted Book One twice at the end of the year, after completing revisions.

Still 2023:

I continued to submit Let It Charm You, thinking this would be the book to land me an agent. Nothing but rejections.


I made it a goal to submit at least one query letter per finished manuscript a week. I’ve collected a lot of rejections already.


2024 Continues:

I took a serious look at the opening chapters of Let It Charm You and, despite what I said in this post about believing those chapters are necessary, I cut all of the chapters where the characters are kids. And was surprised to see I didn't need them after all because the information was already sprinkled throughout the rest of the story. This cut the story down significantly. I then added in a couple of sex scenes I'd cut in the past because the story needed more romance.

2024 Continues:

I also took a serious look at Book One of my Secret Book Baby Series after an agent specifically said she thought the word count was too large for the genre (paranormal-romance). I ended up cutting about 8,500 words.

Still 2024:



Okay, so, no I haven’t, but I’m claiming it. I wrote it here for the universe to see. It’s going to happen this year. I’ll land my agent and get publishing deals for all of my books. It will happen.

In fact, that was the purpose of this whole post. It’s like one of those “How I Got My Agent” articles. This is my journey, my ups and downs, to my future agent so that another writer out there who is struggling and thinks it’ll never happen 🙋‍♀️ can see how it happened for me, and it was not quick, it did not happen overnight, and it required a lot of work and patience.

(I guess I have to put the catch in bold, red for those who may skim. 😉)


  1. That's awesome that you've kept track of your writing since you were a kid and even know the word count of your early stories. And good luck finding an agent this year. I hope you'll start entering some of my query critique contests. Many of the agents I feature are looking for writers of adult fiction too.

  2. Still laughing about LICU...Good call on not using that abbreviation. :)

    And nice GOTCHA moment at the end. I read "I SIGNED WITH AN INCREDIBLE AGENT!!!!" and went, "WHAT?!?!? WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME?!?!?!?"

    It's going to happen. I most definitely believe that. <3

  3. I found the recap of your journey fascinating. I always enjoy hearing about writer processes. So often the steps along the way may feel like nothing, like your first published book that didn't do as well as you hoped, but they are still important, meaningful steps in the writing journey. As for the second publisher rejection, it probably had nothing to do with your manuscript but may simply have been that they had their quota of books in process for the year, or their quota of this genre, and weren't taking any others. Rejection is so often a business decision rather than an artistic critique of the work.

  4. What a journey! Congratulations! I am with you- it doesn't happen over night. It is a long and winding road for sure. So happy for you! :)

    1. I don't have that agent yet. There was a catch there at the end. A little April Fools if you will. But I believe it'll happen, so I'll take that pre congratulations. lol :D

  5. What a long journey! But look at you now. This is really inspiring. Congrats!

    1. It has been a journey. It’s not over yet, as I haven’t actually signed with an agent yet (that was a trick lol), but I have faith it’ll happen soon.