We all have those guinea-pig novels we've written and then shelved. I have a handful of them. Some of which I would love to revise at a later date and try to publish. Others...not so much.
Just to illustrate the level of naivety I used to have (I used to be part of a very sheltered culture that relied heavily on the leadership of men), along with how far my writing has come, I want to share the blurb from the first novel I ever wrote, IN THE FAMILY. If anything, it can give hope to aspiring writers everywhere, that even if you're starting small and inexperienced, anything is possible. Back then, when I was writing just as a mere outlet, I would have called this a grave women's fiction bordering on romantic comedy.
Yes, you can laugh. It goes without saying, those genres/sub-genres don't mesh. We all know better. I do now. Now, I would instead categorize this as a big mess. Aside from it being horribly written, it's riddled with tropes and worst of all, poorly done rape culture (think of archaic damsel-in-distress stories). This definitely falls into the never-seeing-the-light-of-day column:
Falling in love for the first time should be a blessing, but for Anna Donnelly it’s a curse. Still coping from an abusive past—one that has skewed her view on love, men, and even herself—she has finally found a man who can see her for who she is. But the man she loves isn’t just a man who can never return her love; the man she loves is her fiancé’s brother.
When a threat similar to the one that almost ended her life years before attempts to destroy her, he is the only one who can save her. He knows her dark secrets, is privy to Anna’s true self. And when he becomes her savior, both physically and emotionally, Anna realizes her existence is a curse on the Phillips family.
In her innate desire to remain the level-headed but compassionate person she’s always been, she has ironically landed herself in the center of their family divide. Now she must confess the ugly truths of her soul to the ones she loves, exposing just how her past has defined her. In this horrifying but freeing exposure, Anna discovers that the pain it brings to herself and her family is the very stepping stone to a healthier way of life. Whether she lives that life alone or not.
Next up on my guinea-pigs is NOVEMBER RAIN: my second women's fiction with romantic elements. I came leaps and bounds between the former and this one. Honestly, someday, I'd love to see it in real print. My eyes opened to a lot by this point, and though the blurb still indicates that the characters have a level of dependency on eachother, it's manageable:
Raegan Fairbanks, not yet thirty, is in denial after the death of her husband, and devastating grief turns her life upside-down. But the anguish that has ravaged her begins to subside a year later, when she is united with an intuitive dog and her widowed master, Lucas Cross. As her kindred spirit, Lucas’s compassion and empathy help her through the healing process, and their connection strengthens into a palpable bond.
But when Lucas stumbles upon the diary of his late wife, he discovers a portentous secret that taints the very foundation of his and Raegan’s connection. Upon learning the hidden past of their spouses, Lucas returns to a time of mourning and finds himself on a slick slope of self-destruction, with nothing to grasp but Raegan’s hand.
In order to save Lucas, Raegan must conquer her past once and for all, or drive them both to devastation.
The last shelved novel I want to mention is the third I wrote: THE EXCEPTION. This is when I first tapped into fantasy and paranormal elements...and when I realized how much I love writing it (I was too scared to in the beginning). This, like HEMLOCK VEILS, is a paranormal romance. I love this one, and like the former, I would love to see it published someday. This book is special to me because it's when I really tapped into that writing vein and took off with it. It's when I found my niche. The progress I made between my first experimental novel and this one is miles. And then from this one to HEMLOCK VEILS, I went miles more. Hopefully, I will continue to progress miles and miles with each book I write. Blurb for THE EXCEPTION:
Only one memory consumes Elanor Noble when she accepts the deed to her father’s estate: the night he almost killed her there twenty years before. It’s a place she never wants to revisit, but it’s also the only place that holds proof of Samuel Tercy’s existence—the man who took her bullet, claimed he would do anything for her, and then vanished from her life at age eleven.
The man who was once her immortal guardian.
But when Elanor returns to her childhood home, she doesn't just get the proof she's looking for; she finds the man himself, unaged. Through their reunion, she learns of Sam’s two-hundred year old connection to her family, and that finding each other again is anything but chance. Her life is in danger again, this time by a threat much darker and far more powerful than her father: the same threat that once plagued her ancestors.
As Sam’s duty to protect her becomes more binding than ever before, his fate is made clear. Eliminating their enemies won’t just be the direst task he has ever taken on, but may also be his final.