The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress is finally ALIVE! Yes, I feel like Doctor Frankenstein, more so than with the release of Ghostoria: Vintage Romantic Tales of Fright. Doing a collection of short stories is tough enough, but the novel feels like an opus. And what was I thinking writing a parallel story for my first novel. Insanity!
It’s been a long, hard road and a giant learning curve. I started this journey years ago when Dave was still in the Navy and frequently out to sea–which accounts for the romance elements in the story. Don’t be afraid, it has enough romance to satisfy the genre–especially Violet’s story, but enough historical fiction, women’s fiction, and coming-of-age elements to satisfy those genre, too. Not to mention the great fashion, slang, dance, and music.
When I began the novel, I knew I wanted to write about dance, specifically swing dance and try to capture the unique essence of what it’s like to learn and to finally become proficient. This lead me down a path of discovery and research, as I wanted to connect the dance to the past and touch on the history.
The Learning Curve
I’m going to be honest here and admit it. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing when I started. I’ve always written, kept a journal, and had some nice success with poetry contests, small presses, and poetry slams (national twice). I had been blogging my dance adventures, and a few friends suggested I write a novel. Yeah, like it’s that easy. I was naive enough at the time, to think it was. Well, writing a bad novel is easy.
I had created cool characters, had goal, subplots, and nails in the road to keep my protagonists from their goals, but that’s just a tiny bit of it. I didn’t even know how to properly punctuate dialogue. And did I mention the first draft was 190K? Nope, not a typo. (for those of you who don’t know, that equates to about a 800-900 page book) And I queried. Oh, yeah, I queried the behemoth.
What I Learned From Rejection Letters
Needless to say, it was rejected. But…I did get awesome feedback. The agents loved the concept and characters but wanted to know if I planned on dividing the tome into two novel. Oops. Too long. I pared it down to 150K, then 140K, then 125K and finally, 116k. In my defense, it is like two novels in one.
I queried again. This time, I got loads of requests for the manuscript. They LOVED Violet (my 1940s) gal, but wasn’t sold on June. I went back and edited, moved her story faster, gave her more subplots and obstacles. I queried again. Lots of requests, but this time, the agents said, it was too niche genre. Well, yeah, but even non-dancers, and non-vintage beta readers have fallen in love with it. Sorry, no zombies or vampires.
If you’re a regular Girl in the Jitterbug Dress blog reader, you know I made a detour and tried the Kindle Scout, which seemed like an intermediate step where I wasn’t totally one my own. Although I had great response with 2K views and over 75% in the Hot & Trending, KS didn’t feel it was a good fit for them. Thank you all loyal readers who went out, voted, and shared. I could see how many came right from this website. You guys rock!
Prove ’em Wrong
So, here we go. I’m out to prove the agents wrong. I know this is the ideal book for anyone who loves WWII historical stuff, dance, vintage, passion, with a wonderful coming-of-age journey. Give it a whirl. The paperback will look beautiful on your coffee table and the ebook is the same price as a Starbucks Venti Coffee!
Girl in the Jitterbug Dress NOW!
Check it out in Kindle and Paperback! And thanks in advance. I’m working on a fun give-away, so stay tuned, make sure you’re on my mailing list or follow the blog! We’re gonna swing it brother swing!
Did you buy it? Download it? Let me know what you think. Review it on Amazon! I’ve finished the second novel, The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress Hops the Atlantic. I’m working on the third, so let me know what you want more of!