Consume Blog Tour: Melissa Darnell on Her Publication Journey with Harlequin TEEN + Giveaway


By Melissa Darnell, author of Consume (book 3 of The Clann series, Harlequin TEEN, September 2013)

Before I was published by Harlequin Teen, I already had 5 other paranormal New Adult novels and short stories published under a pen name through two different ebook publishers. I also own a small publishing company that publishes books for the cheerleading and dance markets. So before embarking on a writing career in young adult fiction, I already had ten years of publishing experience.

I still wasn’t quite prepared for being published in print by a big publisher, especially one with such far reaching global distribution as Harlequin Teen!

The moment the initial idea for the first book in the Clann Series came to me, I knew I wanted Harlequin Teen to publish it. I grew up reading both my mother’s and stepmom’s Harlequin romances and was thrilled to hear Harlequin had started a line just for teens. Thankfully when I finished writing Crave, Harlequin Teen was still accepting unagented submissions, because although I had sent its manuscript to a ton of agents and received a lot of encouraging requests for partials and fulls from them, I was still unagented at the time. So I sent Crave directly to Harlequin Teen Editor Natashya Wilson via email. And then I waited to hear from her.

Six months later, she apologized for the delayed response and asked if Crave was still available for consideration because she was interested in it. I replied that it was still available. She then gave me a detailed, lengthy explanation for why its current version wasn’t quite right for Harlequin Teen and ways to fix it.

Initially I wasn’t sure I could make those revisions successfully, because although I had been published elsewhere in other genres, young adult was very different from what I had been writing. But my husband Tim encouraged me to try. More than just a spouse, my husband Tim is also my best friend and silent business partner in every endeavor I do, and I really trust his advice. So I gave those requested revisions my best effort.

And Natashya said she loved it!

The only problem was now she had to show it to the marketing department, and they wouldn’t be meeting for another two months due to summer scheduling issues.

While I went through the agonizing wait, I mentioned to Natashya that Crave had always been planned as the first in a trilogy, and I sent her a brief summary for books #2 and #3. She ended up also showing those summaries to the marketing department along with Crave.

The day of the marketing meeting, I was so nervous I couldn’t even stand to be in the house because I knew I would do nothing but stare at the phone in misery. So my hubby and I took our two boys to a local park for the afternoon.

When we returned home, the answering machine was blinking. I was too scared to press Play, sure it would be Natashya expressing her apologies as she explained that the marketing team just didn’t love Crave enough to want to publish it. So my husband bravely played the message for me.

Sure enough, it was Natashya saying they wanted to offer me a three book contract for Crave and its two sequels!

Thanks to that three book contract offer, I was able to secure a lot of agent interest and then find a great agent, Alyssa Eisner-Henkin with Trident Media Group, who signed on to represent me just a few days later. From there, the road to publication was fairly standard, with adrenaline-laced moments of revisions and copy edits and line edits, cover design and title discussions, blog tours and book release dates, and a whole lot of agonizing waiting in between each stage! None of it seemed real, however, until I first walked into my local bookstore and saw Crave in paperback form on the shelves (due to a shipping error, I didn’t receive my author copies of Crave until after its release date, so my first view of my finished book was at Barnes & Noble). That moment was nearly indescribable, and I was smiling so hard my cheeks hurt for hours afterwards as I took all the available copies to the customer service desk so I could sign them.

I am so grateful that I listened to my hubby (I know he’ll LOVE reading that, lol) and attempted those prepublication requested revisions for Natashya. If I hadn’t and had listened to my lack of self esteem as a writer instead, I never would have gotten to experience this journey towards being published in print and seeing my books on bookstore shelves! I am also incredibly grateful to Natashya for her amazing patience and the time she took to write out those very first revision ideas. Most editors might not spend the time and effort to write a multi paged email with suggestions for how to fix a manuscript they can not currently publish! Yet she did, and because of her and Tim’s advice, here I am today getting ready to see my third Clann Series book released, as well as seeing Crave and Covet published in such countries as the UK, Australia, France, Germany and Turkey!

* * *

 About Consume:

These violent delights have violent ends

And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,

Which, as they kiss, consume.

—William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Tristan Coleman has survived the change from Clann magic user to vampire, much to Savannah Colbert’s joy—and despair. By changing the Clann’s golden boy and newly elected leader, even to save him from death, she has unleashed a fury of hatred and fear that they cannot escape.

As the Clann and the vampire council go to war, Tristan and Sav face a new threat—a fracturing of the all-consuming bond they share. To fight for peace, they must forge a new trust and risk everything to take down their deadliest enemy, even as they must run for their lives. Soon they will learn that some bonds are stronger than love—and some battles cannot be won without sacrifice.

* * *

GIVEAWAY! We have 1 copy of Consume by Melissa Darnell to give away. For Melissa, her dream was to have her book published by Harlequin TEEN – so to enter, leave a comment telling us one dream you’d like to achieve!

Contest will close at 11:59pm EST on August 11, and 1 winner will be selected by random number draw and announced on August 12. Open to residents of the United States and Canada. For full official rules, click here.

UPDATE: Contest is now closed. Please check the comments for the winner announcement.

For more giveaways and other fun stuff, follow the rest of the Consume Blog Tour:

Tuesday August 6th – A Bookish Escape
Wednesday, August 7th – fiktshun
Friday, August 9th – Munie Mom’s
Monday, August 12th – A Book Obsession
Wednesday, August 14th – Parajunkee
Friday, August 16th – Mother – Gamer – Writer

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13 Responses to Consume Blog Tour: Melissa Darnell on Her Publication Journey with Harlequin TEEN + Giveaway

  1. Cordelia

    Ideally, I would love to run a successful not-for-profit that focuses on youth.
    On a more practical level, I’ve been dreaming about reading this book since I completed Covet last year!
    I love this series and cannot wait to see what happens to Savannah and Tristan after that HUGE cliffhanger!

  2. Annwitch

    I dream of a beautiful wedding, I want a dark carnival theme. It would be magical. I loved Crave and would love to win Consume.

  3. I would love to be financially secure and open and run my own bookstore 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  4. My dream is to finish school to work in publishing. I love sharing my passion of books with other people.

  5. I love traveling, and my dream is to visit every continent at least once. I’ve done 3 of 7 so far.

  6. I want to travel to Sweden, and someday I shall!

  7. travel around the world

  8. I would love to get to travel to Germany and Finland. Thanks for the chance to win!

  9. I’d like to travel and in my travels visit thrift stores.

  10. I would love to open my own book shop with my best friend and host tours on my blog. Earning money on my blog would be fantastic xD I love that thing so much(: If none of those work out I want to work in publishing!!

  11. Ever since I saw the Crave book cover, I want to read this book. But when I was that this book is a series, I have it on my list to purchase. Now that the trilogy is complete, I need to get to the store to buy all three. Thanks for the interview and the giveaway.

  12. The giveaway is now closed and the lucky winner is — Cordelia! Congratulations! Please check your email for a message from me.

  13. I’m sooooo excited!!!!
    Cannot wait to read this!