I’m thrilled to be hosting a guest blogger – New York Times bestselling author Maggie Shayne. Maggie has been writing paranormal romance and romantic suspense since 1993, and she’s won oddles of awards and accolades along the way, including Career Achievment Awards from Romantic Times and the prestigious Rita Award from the Romance Writers of America. You can read all about Maggie and her achievements here.
I’m going to turn the blog over to Maggie now, as she tells us all about her vampires for grown-up girls.
It’s very hard for me to fathom that Wings in the Night, my vampire series, is coming to a close. It has within it 20 stories, including the series finale, TWILIGHT FULFILLED which goes on sale September 20th in print, October 1st in all electronic versions. And the first review has just come in. The reviewer calls the end of this series “Like the breaking up of the Beatles” and says that by the end, she “was a blubbering mess.” So I guess she liked it. 🙂
When I started writing my first “Twilight” vampire novel, way back in the early 90’s, I had no idea it was going to be a series. I didn’t even know whether it would be published, for that matter. I was an aspiring writer with a growing pile of rejection letters the only evidence of my work.
Of course, at the time, I could barely give such a story away. Then, I heard about a new line–Silhouette Shadows. And I submitted Twilight Phantasies to editor Melissa Senate there. (Melissa’s gone on to become an author in her own right, and has penned a number of novels, including SEE JANE DATE, which was made into a fabulous movie.)
I then took several other steps guaranteed to result in a sale. I suggested that my local writers group should host a conference. I volunteered to be the speaker coordinator. And I invited Ms. Senate to speak. She accepted. Which, to my mind, meant that she couldn’t possibly be intending to reject my story. She’d already had it for a few weeks by then. Surely she had read it. She’d have turned down the speaking gig if she were going to reject me. Wouldn’t she? So she must be intending to buy the book. She was probably waiting to tell me the good news in person. She would probably make the big announcement from the podium, and all my writing pals would burst into a spontaneous standing O, hoist me up onto their shoulders to carry me around the room. Ms. Senate would likely then drag a giant sized check from somewhere out of sight–you know, like the ones on the Publisher’s Clearinghouse commercials.
It didn’t quite work out that way. In fact, the day before the con, Ms. Senate phoned to tell me she had to reject the story. It needed revisions, and it was against company policy for her to offer me a contract before those revisions were done, since I was an unproven author. The main problem with the story was too much focus the hero’s best friend, Roland. I said, “But I love this character!” and Melissa said, “Save him for a book of his own.” The proverbial lightbulb went on over my head. And suddenly, this was more than just one book. The Wings in the Night Series was born.
I did the revisions, and while I was doing them, Melissa Senate offered me a contract on another of my projects–a romantic suspense called RECKLESS ANGEL for the Intimate Moments line,(now known as Harlequin Romantic Suspense.) And then, shortly thereafter, she also bought the revised TWILIGHT PHANTASIES for the Shadows line. They were published in August and September 1993, and although TP was the second book out, and technically the second sale, it was actually written first, and I’ve always considered it the book that started my career.
It really was, because I’m more well known for these vampire books than for anything else I’ve done. And here I am, just reaching the culmination of this series 18 years later. It’s hard to believe. I started the first book before my youngest daughter started kindergarten. She’s nearly through with college now.
And yet, unlike those old days, today, everyone is writing vampire romance. It’s a very crowded field, but I fear some may be writing it because they see it as a lucrative, popular theme, and a shortcut to bestsellerdom, and not because these are the tales burning in their souls to be told. And a vampire novel really needs to be that, in order for it to work (for me, that is.) A tale burning to be told, almost with a life of its own beyond the author. That’s the way Anne Rice’s vampires always felt to me. As if she were just the channel being used by these beings to tell their tales. And that’s how I have felt about this series of mine, too. I’ve never believed I was just making them up. These stories are given to me from . . . somewhere else.
At any rate, that’s just my weirdness seeping through.
I’ve said often that this is the end of the series “for now.” I always qualify it that way, because I know these characters will never stop speaking to me, or through me. We’re just…going on hiatus.
I feel very blessed and very lucky to have been the conduit through which these stories were delivered. They’re very real to me, and I think they mean something, though I have yet to figure out just what. I believe there are messages deeply engrained in each of the books, for every individual who reads them. Indeed, I had a fan letter from a reader who had been advised to abort a pregnancy in order to save her own life, and told that the fetus she carried was not viable anyway. Depressed, and in mourning as she approached this decision, one of her daughters gave her one of my books to read–EDGE OF TWILIGHT, a story with a hopeless pregnancy storyline. Its ending made her decide to go against the doctors and follow through with her own pregnancy. She and the baby were both fine. Amazing!
I believe these books have magick in them for everyone they touch.
Their magick has certainly touched me. And yes, Rhiannon is alive and well, somewhere. She speaks to me every single day.
Right now, we’re running a video contest, with details at my website. Viewers have been entering videos telling what they love about Wings in the Night. Some are funny, some clever, and some made me cry. Winners are chosen by viewer vote. Details, including a link to see all the entries, and the email addy to vote for your faves, are at my website.
For the full list of Maggie’s Classic Vampire Series, visit her website.
And coming soon….
TWILIGHT FULFILLED (Sept 20th print, Oct. 1 in E)
Twilight Vampires since 1993…
The ones for grown up girls
You can also find Maggie at Linked-in, Goodreads, Shelfari, Smashwords, and on an Amazon at her Author Page as well.