I've sold my second book to Harlequin Superromance!
In many ways, this is a greater achievement than selling my first because it means 1) I'm not a one-hit wonder and 2) I survived a second round of crushing rejections and managed to keep a toehold on this thing I call a writing career.
Only a few details for now:
It will most likely be released in early 2013 (January or February, according to my editor).
The working title is "Prodigal Daughter's Fortune" but will most likely be renamed.
The story features a Chinese heroine going back to the small town where her family owns a Chinese Restaurant. There, she reunites with her old high school crush, who she used to tutor. His son needs help with school, and there's no one better than his old tutor to help. As he reacquaints himself with his classmate, he fan old flames as well as bitter memories. It's a country-meets-city reunion story with a hint of sweet and sour.
The first draft is complete and I'm polishing it now.
So there you have it. Not a RITA Award nomination, but just as good, if you ask me. 8 )
A bronzed, shirtless Adonis with chiselled abs and his willowy, full-bosomed lover are locked in a passionate embrace: It’s a book cover image that’s classic Harlequin, and various incarnations of this coupling blanket the main wall of the Toronto-based publishing company’s ninth-floor lobby.
But one stands out: On a book called Her Son’s Hero, the hero in question is wearing a black belt and karate uniform.
In an unlikely combination merging mixed-martial arts (MMA) and romance, Her Son’s Hero tells the story of Dominic Payette, an MMA fighter who falls in love with single mother Fiona MacAvery. But Fiona has an aversion to violence that stems from her desire to protect her son, a victim of schoolyard bullying, and she initially resists Dominic’s advances.
Written by Toronto writer Vicki So under the pseudonym Vicki Essex (“You can’t spell my name without sex,” she says), Her Son’s Hero is a classic tale of opposites attracting – but wrapped in an unorthodox package.
Yay! I hope anyone who spots this article and who's come to my website will think of getting their own copy by clicking on the link in the right-hand sidebar...
Woo hoo! Her Son's Hero is out on bookshelves! Here are 10 things you didn't know about the book:
1. The characters Fiona and Denise were named after my sister and her friend who helped me come up with this idea while watching a UFC match.
2. Dominic "The Dominator" Payette is inspired by UFC welterweight champion Georges "Rush" St-Pierre, who was bullied as a child and took up karate. The name Payette is after Julie Payette, Canadian astronaut.
3. I did not know about Dominick "Dominator" Cruz before I wrote this book. I didn't steal him name--it's just that awesome, and totally Harlequin hero-worthy.
4. Mako Miwa is named for two people: Mako Iwamatsu, Japanese actor who played the voice of Uncle Iroh on Avatar: The Last Airbender; and my grade 7/8 teacher Bob Miwa, who was always a bit scary, but tough and inspirational.
5. Salmon River is not a real place: I named it after a spot my family used to go every year to watch the salmon swimming upstream. I still have no idea where that place was. We just called it Salmon River.
6. As part of my research, I walked into an MMA cage to see what it feels like to be closed in on all sides. That cage is a lot smaller than you think with a second person in there. And there's a real sense of no escape.
7. It took me 6 months to write the first draft I submitted of Her Son's Hero. I wrote the first three chapters by hand while I was on vacation in Las Vegas, the city headquarters for the UFC.
8. The Octagon, Ultimate Fighting, and the UFC are all trademarked, which is why you will only see it referred to as the cage, MMA, and the fictional UFF in my book.
9. My martial arts training is mostly in Aikido. I have no belts, and never did more than a summer's worth of courses. Everything else was research, and a lot of it.
10. The original title for this work was Fighting for Her Love, which is the title it went by when it won the Toronto Romance Writers contest in 2010.
Harlequin honored me by hosting a signing for my colleagues in the proofreading and production teams on June 23 to commemorate my first book, Her Son's Hero. It was a touching, wonderful moment and I got to thank everyone for the work they put into the book and for all their support over the years.
Hopefully, by July 16th, I'll have worked out all the bugs and come up with a short list of things to say to strangers. Because "See you back at your desk!" doesn't really make sense to the average Jane...