I first started writing in 1986, when my grade ten English teacher read some of my poetry and said that I had talent. I was so floored at the concept that I started writing short stories. My parents weren't quite so thrilled that I was doing something that took my away from my schoolwork, so I arranged to write a novel for two school credits, thereby turning writing into homework. Those two credits resulted in the creation of the novel Cure for the Phoenix, which I haven't read in over twenty years and which will likely not see the light of day. Even now I remember it as being quite clichéd, though my husband likes it.
I did make some attempts to get published over the years, and almost made it at one point, but other things were on my mind. To me, not submitting was easier than dealing with rejection slips, so I stopped trying. I did still keep on writing though. It's true that for writers, it's a compulsion. I just never considered the idea that anyone other than my husband would want to read any of it.
That changed when I picked up a book titled Moongazer by Marianne Mancusi. It had an ad in it for the Shomi Romantic Fantasy Novel Writing Contest, where the winner would get a guaranteed publishing contract in Canada and the United States. I mentioned it to my husband and he nagged me until I entered the first three chapters of The Battle Sylph in March of 2008. Sometime after that, I was wandering the Shomi site and found a link to a page detailing what features the judges were looking for. Other than my book being fantasy, I hadn't done a single thing on the list and figured I must have lost. My husband said, okay, wait for them to confirm that, then ship it out to the next company. You're not hiding for the next twenty years this time.
So, time passed, and the contest closed. The day after the winner was chosen, I was emailed by someone at Shomi who did confirm that, yes, I'd lost the contest, but the head Editor liked my three chapters so much he wanted to see the rest of the book. So I had a minor heart attack and sent it in. I then heard nothing until November 2008, when I was contacted by Chris Keeslar, Senior Editor for Dorchester Publishing, asking if the book was still available. I said yes, as were the four sequels. A week later, he bought the first three books in the series and I had another near heart attack. I also decided I needed an agent.
It's a lot easier to find an agent when you submit emails with subject lines that read "I have a guaranteed publishing contract for three novels - need an agent". Within a month, I'd signed with Michelle Grajkowski with the Three Seas Literary Agency, and the rest, hopefully, will be happy history for everyone.
Where to find LJ McDonald online
Where to buy in print
In Memory of Alexandria
by LJ McDonald
Published: November 4, 2015
When a mother goes in search of a rare book for her son's birthday, she finds far more than she would have expected in a tiny little bookstore.
The Lord of Winter
by LJ McDonald
A hundred years after the war against the Lord of Winter, Porl gathers a group of mercenaries together to search the glacier for treasure left there during the war. Instead they find the last thing they would have expected and it's up to Porl to get them home alive.
Alphabet Soup for Sylphs
by LJ McDonald
Published: April 1, 2012
Sylphs. Earth, Air, Water, Fire, Healing, and Battle. They come to the human world to find love, but are betrayed and made into slaves instead, except for in one place. In Sylph Valley, they're allowed to live their own lives and those lives are filled with humour, angst, fury, and passion.
Twenty-four short pieces to accompany the novels in the Sylph series by L.J. McDonald. Enter their world.
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