"It was not you who chose me, it was I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit." ~~John 15:16~~

Monday, October 1, 2012

Getting Ready for M&M!

Debby receives her rose from GRW
President Maureen Hardagree,
celebrating her first sale.

By Debby Giusti 
We’re into the countdown for the 30th Annual Moonlight and Magnolias Conference, hosted by Georgia Romance Writers. With over 40 workshops, this year’s event has something for everyone—from the writer just starting on the road to publication to the multi-published author.

I attended my first M&M in 1991with a completed manuscript in my suitcase. I was sure my story would sell, and when an agent requested the full, I thought I was on the fast-track to publication. Weeks later, I received a rejection letter and knew I had a lot to learn.

Where did I turn? To Georgia Romance Writers…

Every month, I attended the GRW meetings where I mixed and mingled with award-winning authors and industry professionals. The outstanding programs they presented taught me about craft and technique and the difference between a ho-hum manuscript and one that would be snatched up by editors and agents alike. Being with other writers who shared my dream for publication fueled my desire to keep working and never give up.
Debby (L) with GRW member Darlene Buchholz (R)
In March each year, I submitted pages to the Gin Ellis Workshop where published authors offered constructive criticism and suggested ways I could improve my story.  Eager to make those changes, I polished my submissions and entered them in the Maggie Award of Excellence.

My confidence grew, and my stories improved.  Soon, I began to final and eventually won contests, including the Maggie.

 My road to publication wasn’t easy. I faced detours and obstacles along the way. Sometimes my progress slowed, seemingly to a crawl. At other times, I speeded too quickly ahead. Thankfully, if I took a wrong turn, someone from GRW would gently nudge me back on the right path.
Debby (L) and Missy Tippens at a recent GRW meeting.
Eventually, I received “The Call,” and my first book was published in 2007. Since then, I’ve written a total of eleven books for Love Inspired Suspense. I just landed another contract so I’m starting over again with new characters on an adventure that’s bound to be exciting. I’ll use the knowledge I learned from GRW as I push forward to the end. The road may be bumpy. I might get discouraged at times, but eventually, I’ll arrive at my destination.

GRW is the roadmap, the AAA TripTik, the Garmin that allows me to travel new and exciting routes with each story. Next week, I’m setting my course for the M&M where I’ll load up on more writing information and industry news that will help me navigate the road ahead.  I hope to see you there!

Marilyn Barons (L), Debby and Carol Burnside.
What road are you traveling to publication? What have you learned along the way? Who’s been your guiding light?

Happy writing! Happy reading!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

The Colonel’s Daughter is still available in print or e-book.
A ruthless killer is targeting the families of soldiers in a U.S. Army
colonel’s brigade. Special agent Jamison Steele, of the Criminal
Investigation Division, vows to stop him—because this time,
Jamison’s heart is involved. The colonel’s daughter, the woman who loved and left Jamison without a word, came face-to-face with the murderer. Protecting Michele Logan means constant surveillance. And solving the mystery of the serial killer’s motive requires asking Michele the questions she least wants to answer. Questions that may lead them both into a deadly trap. 

Watch for The General’s Secretary, the fourth book in my Military Investigations series, which will be in bookstores this January!