Posted by: reneewildes1 | February 19, 2018

Why Champagne Books?

With the demise of Samhain, all of us in-house authors had to scramble for “What now?” Many of my friends opted to go Indie, but that’s not me. I’ve always been with a publishing house–Samhain, The Wild Rose Press, Tirgearr. (I was also offered a contract by Noble, right before they closed their doors forever–that was weird…) I am definitely not a lone wolf. I prefer a pack. I might not have been the biggest author at Samhain, but I was the second biggest in the Fantasy division–behind Bianca D’Arc–and had garnered a wallful of awards, as well as numerous 5-star reviews. So, resume in hand, I went in search of a new publisher.

Backtrack a bit to my early days in Wisconsin RWA–when I was first starting out and didn’t know ANYTHING. I entered a manuscript entitled Hedda’s Sword in the Fab 5 pre-pubbed contest (I had won the year before with Duality). When I’d heard Hedda finalled, I went to the conference to learn the results. I was of two minds about this, because I’d royally screwed up in the one-page critique the year before. They said enter your best work, and I didn’t know that referred to “make the first (opening) page your best work” so I entered what I thought was the best page…from somewhere in the middle. (Told you I didn’t know anything…)

One of WisRWA’s grand matriarchs, Jane Toombs, quietly took me aside and explained things to me. I am grateful she was kind, and discreet, but Jane Toombs was a legend with like a zillion books published and she intimidated the HELL out of little old dumb-hick me. So when she approached me THIS year, I found myself eyeing the nearest exits, wondering what did I do wrong NOW? I never expected her to say, “I judged Hedda’s Sword and regardless of what happens tomorrow, I wanted to ask a favor of you. Tell me where that manuscript lands because it WILL be published. I loved it.”

I just about fainted then and there. Jane Toombs believed in me, saw potential in my writing. Jane Toombs!

(Later on, she gave me her entire 18th century Colonial America research library. I’m planning on putting it to good use writing a historical romance that I’ll dedicate to her.)

So when I was perusing Champagne Book Group’s website, I really liked the cover art and went to list of authors to see if I could recognize any names. And I saw Jane Toombs on the list. Now, I am a Jane Toombs fangirl–she’s been around forever and she knows stuff. If she was willing to be a part of Champagne, then I wanted to go for it also.

And so I queried Cassiel Knight about Duality…and got the entire seven book Guardians of Light series signed. All thanks to the wonderful Jane Toombs!

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