Four years ago, I made a leap of faith. I had a crazy idea for a story about a vampire vampire hunter who just happens to be an FBI agent. The idea wouldn’t let me alone. For several years, I’d written Star Wars fanfiction and started dabbling in the Twilight-verse. But the characters who soon appeared in my head after I came up with the story idea wanted out. They wanted their story told.
That was August 2008. By the end of the month, I had written the first chapter of A Hunter’s Angel. The title then was “Finding Grace.” I knew I would change the title, and sure enough by the end of September, the current title was in place.
I will admit when I wrote “the end” at the end of January 2009, I had a 90,000-word monster of a mess. But as so many new writers who don’t have a clue my only thought was: I wrote a book! Now, I was going to get it published and become the next Stephanie Myers…Right? (I hear all you experienced authors out there laughing your heads off…)
Oh, I sent query after query to agents. And even sent queries to several publishers. I still have those form rejections from the agents who sent a reply—most didn’t. I still remember the choked feeling I got when I read my very first rejection letter. The tears when I finally realized no one wanted my story.
In the meantime, I started writing my next story. A contemporary Western (Heartstrings) that will actually be released in May 2013 by Lyrical Press. After I finished Heartstrings, I started writing a second Western (Gambling on a Secret—releasing January 2013, Lyrical Press), which is the first book of a five-book series. I had also joined the RWA and learned how to write in the romance genre. I’d bought into the idea a new author should stick with one genre and crossing over into other genres is strongly discouraged.
So, what do I do with my vampire romantic suspense? I decided not to pursue publication of it. It was a royal mess and would need a major rewrite (actually it took two) to get it ready for a publisher anyway. For a while, I was content to keep it tucked away on a thumb drive.
Obviously, I didn’t stick with that decision. In the winter of 2010, the novel that eventually became Heartstrings was being shopped by an agent to Harlequin (who eventually rejected the book). I was beyond excited while I waited for the publisher to make its decision, but several of my friends (non-writers), who had read the first version of A Hunter’s Angel, all wondered what happened to that book because they loved it so much. They had read my other two Westerns, but it was that first book that was their favorite. After three people asked me about A Hunter’s Angel within three days of each other (one of those being a guy who read it simply because he liked the idea of an vampire FBI agent), I took it as a sign.
I dusted off the mess that was the mothballed manuscript and started editing. I gave myself two months to rewrite the book. It took me almost three. I submitted it to two publishers and got rejected, but this time instead of form rejections, I got helpful ones. I took those editors’ advice, used some of my own judgment, and did another reworking of the book. This revision took only two weeks. I submitted queries to The Wild Rose Press and one other publisher in May 2011. In October, I was offered a contract.
It still amazes me that I’ve written five novels, a short story, and started another contemporary Western that I need to finish someday since making that leap of faith. But what does surprise me is that I published my very first book—and three subsequent books. Most authors aren’t this lucky (or maybe this hardheaded). A lot of my writing buddies have their first attempts stashed away never to see light again.
But I didn’t get here all by my lonesome. I have the best critique partners in the world. I have wonderful non-writing friends who are more than willing to act as guinea pigs…er…beta readers. I also have two fantastic editors—Lara at TWRP and Piper at Lyrical. And I can’t forget my family who make a lot of sacrifices in order for me to have time to write.
A Hunter’s Angel will always be special to me. It’s a study of having faith in myself. Of believing in myself and not letting anyone tell me I can’t make it.
To find out more about A Hunter’s Angel check out my website (http://ceradubois.wordpress.com/a-hunters-angel-the-book-tour/) for a schedule of my blog stops during the book tour. I will be presenting a series of short stories called The Vampire Encounters. Follow me as I interview Ian McHenry, Master Vampire Lucas Pomeroy, Vivian van Dyke Pomeroy, and have a scary run-in with Shane Chamberlain. Hope to see you along the way.
Please leave a comment and your email address to be eligible. (Sorry, only USA and Canada residents are eligible for any prize that needs to be mailed. Non-residents and residents of USA are eligible for free PDF copy.)
*One Lucky Poster will win either a custom-made pair of angel wing earrings, charm bracelet, or necklace (check out my website for photos).
*Two others will get a PDF copy of Bloodwine. (for info on this short story check out my website)
*1st Stalker Prize: Every Poster will be entered into a drawing for a chance at a $5 gift certificate from The Wild Rose Press (four to be given away)—drawing to happen on September 1.
*2nd Stalker Prize: Every Poster will also be entered into a drawing of a $25 gift card from either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice)—drawing to happen on September 1.
Blurb for A Hunter’s Angel:
The serial killer stalking Clayton, Pennsylvania, isn’t all that has Chief of Police Grace Wallace worried. For a year, she’s tried to forget Special Agent Ian McHenry and now he’s the expert the FBI sent to catch the killer. She can’t stay away from him, but something primal is telling her to run to save much more than just her heart. Despite the strict code of ethics Ian vowed to follow as a vampire hunter, he craves Grace’s blood above all others. If he chooses to stay, Ian risks losing his chance at divine forgiveness. But if he leaves Grace unprotected from the evil he’s hunted for over a century, he loses more than just his soul…
Cera duBois has a strong belief in never giving up on your dreams…
Although Cera was unable to read due to dyslexia and a learning disability until she was in the fourth grade, she always had a story to tell. She wrote her first novel in eleventh grade when she had to keep a journal for her academic English class. Since her life was far from exciting growing up as a farm girl in West Central Pennsylvania, she decided to rely on her imagination to give her something to write about. Over the course of the school year, she wrote a tangled romance set in the Deep South during the Civil War. Becoming an author was her ultimate dream. Despite holding a BS in secondary social studies education from Penn State University, she currently works full-time as a medical secretary. A mother of a teenage son and pre-teen daughter, she lives near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with her husband of nearly 20 years. If she isn’t sitting in a quiet corner with her laptop, warm days will find her in the English garden surrounding her house. Cera loves to read and is interested in history, romance, science fiction and the paranormal. She also writes contemporary Westerns under her real name of Sara Walter Ellwood.
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“I’m in love with the man inside the vampire.” Grace moved her hand to thread through his silky hair. When she rested the other over his heart, a soft sigh escaped his lips. Underneath her palm, the slow beat was barely noticeable.
His thumb grazed her cheekbone and slowly trailed down to the hollow of her throat. Her breathing quickened at the zinging anticipation as he caressed the pulse point where he’d claimed to have taken blood from her. He glanced at the spot with eyes as haunted as he sounded. “I’m not a man.”
“But you were once.”
He met her gaze again. “Yes, once.”
His fingers lingered over her pulse. Her heart raced under his touch. She tilted her neck as if his touch awakened some base instinct to offer the sacrifice. “Do you still want my blood?”
Ian stepped away and locked his wide-eyed gaze onto hers. At last, he rasped, “No, I don’t want your blood. Oh, God, I still crave it. You have the sweetest I’ve ever had, but I will never hurt you again.”
She didn’t know what possessed her to do so, but she whispered, “You can take…some of it.”
He closed his eyes, and when he opened them, he acidly said, “No, Grace. I can never taste your blood again. It would kill you.”
Fear of what she’d wanted him to do tumbled through her. She stepped away, and for a moment, she considered telling him to leave. How did she know any of this was real? She couldn’t imagine she’d ever freely offer a vampire her blood. Did she really believe him? He was sucking her into his insanity. But if this was true and he could make people do things against their will, maybe he could control her feelings.
“Maybe I should go?” Ian backed away another step and headed toward the counter where he’d left his dagger. He turned back to her with the sheath in his hand. Her heart shattered with the knowledge that, if he walked out the front door, she’d never see him again. “Goodbye, my sweet angel.”
His jagged murmur ripped at her soul as his eyes took on a blazing intensity and snared hers. She felt a pressure in her mind, and she knew what he intended to do. He wanted to erase her memories of him.