Want a book about love in the glamorous world of doggy beauty pageants? Wondering if there all that hairspray and valium (and that’s just for the dogs!) can lead to something more? Then CHIHUAHUA MOMMA may be the book for you!
CHIHUAHUA MOMMA is by Amy Jarecki. Born in Alturas, California, Amy holds an MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. She now lives in south-west Utah with her husband, and writes contemporary romance and Scottish historical romance. Amy loves dancing, hiking, golfing, but above all, she is a true Chihuahua Momma.
Amy has very kindly answered a few questions about books and life here.
Where did you get the inspiration for CHIHUAHUA MOMMA? Do you show dogs?
Well, it all started when my daughter showed dogs in 4-H. She won the Wisconsin State championship, and begged me to buy a top-notch Chihuahua that she could show in the American Kennel Club. So I did my homework, drove to Michigan and bought a dog. Then my daughter got a driver’s license, a job and a boyfriend. Silly me. I wanted a return on my investment, so I started showing him and, after a few classes, I was hooked.
What’s your favourite thing about Rebecca and Matt, the main characters?
Oh boy, there’s so many things. Do I have to pick a favourite? Rebecca’s trying to hold on and keep things on an even keel—she’s making ends meet alone with two teenaged kids. Of course, Matt looks mighty hot in a pair of jeans. He’s always been a playboy, but he’s forty now, and his last disastrous relationship sent him packing across the US all the way from Malibu to New Jersey. Yep, there’s an attraction, but there’s a lot of excess baggage that needs to be shed before the pair have any chance at romance.
CHIHUAHUA MOMMA isn’t your first release, is it? Can you tell us about your other works?
My first published work was Koicto, a Native American historical novel about a boy’s fight for his place as chief of the Nahchee Nation.
I’ve got a few other novels in the works:
Virtue—A romantic suspense about a dancer who ends up on the sacrificial altar of a Mayan cult. Release date: 1 December, 2013
Rescued by the Celtic Warrior – Release August, 2014
Celtic Maid – Release December, 2014
My only overseas holiday was to Scotland so I’m fascinated to see that you studied there. How did that come about?
Funny you should ask. I was living in Australia, working for Arnott’s Biscuits in Sydney, and my daughter was a year old. Heriot-Watt University advertised in the National Accountant (a trade magazine). I contacted them and found I could do most of my studies by distance learning—took some of my exams at the New South Wales Board of Studies—for all you Aussies out there!
I just spent the month of May in Scotland researching my Highlanders of Raasay series—and gathering information for my next as well. I love Scotland, and my maiden name is Lowland Scots (yes, I do rock)!
Coffee or tea? Sweet or savoury?
Tea and savory.
Thanks for hosting me, Cass! You ROCK!
BLURB FOR CHIHUAHUA MOMMA:
In the frenetic world of canine pageants like Westminster, where dog hair flies and personalities diverge, Rebecca Lee remains in a cocoon of loneliness. Widowed, with two teenaged kids and a business to run, Rebecca would rather mow through five-hundred poodle cuts than think about dating. But when former quarterback Matt Johnson shows up to buy a Chihuahua, his irresistible grin rocks her world—until Matt’s ex decides she wants him back and Rebecca’s daughter decides she’s against her mom dating. Rebecca now has a choice—crawl back into her realm of dogs or fight for the powerful love that fills her soul.
Chihuahua Momma releases in eBook on 28 July; keep an eye out for the paperback a couple of months later.
Loyal readers of my blog (ha!) will know that I always intended Isla’s Inheritance be the first book in a trilogy. There’s a three book arc, a meta-plot … and how cool is the phrase “meta-plot” anyway? I feel like I need to say it in this big, booming voice: “I have this plot, and it is meta.”
I’ve drafted the sequel to Isla’s Inheritance; it is in the beta-reading stages. Until last week I was calling the manuscript Book Two, because I am the queen of naming things and all shall bow before me. But when my amazing editor over at Turquoise Morning Press, Shelby, asked me for a synopsis for Book Two, I had to come up with a proper name. And a synopsis. Aaah! I wrote the latter, and then ran it past my Aussie Owned girls. Sharon suggested Isla’s Oath. For she is the true queen of naming things, and all shall bow before her.
Bow! *shakes fist*
Seriously, I’m pretty stoked with that. Isla’s Oath. It rolls off the tongue. (If you’re wondering, Isla is pronounced eye-la.)
I sent the synopsis to Shelby and then—be still my heart—she asked for a one-page pitch for the third book as well.
Now, book three is currently just a series of thought bubbles in my head. I have been working on a different project these last six months, because at the start of the year I’d had no joy in placing Isla’s Inheritance and, since I write so slowly, I didn’t want to spend almost a year working on the third book in a series that might never go anywhere.
Also, the plot bunnies were biting on this new idea. And you can never tell those plot bunnies anything.
But I wrote the pitch (with a working title that I’ll keep to myself for now). And THEY SAID YES!
That’s right, I now have a three-book deal with Turquoise Morning Press. I just, I can’t even … there are no words. (That’s not a problem for a writer, is it?)
The current plan is to release Isla’s Inheritance around the middle of next year, and then the subsequent two in gaps of up to six months after that. As that firms up I’ll let you guys know.
Thanks to everyone who’s supported me in this, especially my boyfriend, the evil genius, Peter; Chynna-Blue; and all of the Aussie Owned ladies. Also, to all of my friends on Twitter and Facebook, and everyone I’ve ever met. Also to people I haven’t met yet. Glomps to you all!
For those of you that haven’t heard my exciting news, I’ve signed with Turquoise Morning Press for the release of my debut novel, ISLA’S INHERITANCE. To say I’m thrilled is the understatement of the century—and I say this knowing the century’s barely gotten started. ALL OF THE SQUEES WILL BE MINE!
So here’s my story.
If you’ve been reading my blog over the past month you’ll know I’d pretty much given up on an agent showering me with love and chocolate. I’d stopped sending out new queries and, as at a fortnight ago, only two agents were yet to reply to outstanding queries. One of the two had my full manuscript, so there was a shred of hope remaining, and I was holding off really hitting the small press market till I heard back from her.
Except one particular small press had a Twitter pitch party back in March. I figured what the hell and entered. They requested my first three chapters and then, a few days later, the full manuscript. And then I waited. And waited.
Waiting, gentle reader, drives me NUTTY BANANAS!
About six weeks later, I lost my nerve and sent my query out to two more small presses. One of them requested the full MS at the query stage (this was TMP), the other just the first pages. Three days after that, I heard back from the original small press. It was an offer of publication. OMGOMGOMG!
Trying to be polite, I emailed the agent with my full and asked her to get back to me within a week. (She replied saying she would.) And I emailed the two other small presses, withdrawing my book from consideration. I mean, they’d had it three days—there was no way they’d have made it off the slush pile, right?
I got an email from the YA editor at TMP almost immediately, asking if I’d signed anything yet. I told her I hadn’t, and that I was waiting a week. She then offered me a contract.
There was squealing and jumping up and down. I couldn’t believe, after all of the “NO” I’d been getting from agents, I’d finally got not one but two lots of “YES”. AT ONCE! That’s more yes than I’d ever had! Willow describes it best.
Willow: “They’re wooing me. They’re pitching woo.”
Buffy: “The wooing stage is always fun.”
Willow: “Rejection I can handle ‘cause of the years of training, but this…”
At the end of the week I heard back from the agent, as she’d promised. She said that she liked what she’d read so far (yay!) but that she hadn’t had time to finish reading the MS, and she didn’t want me to sit around and wait for her when there was an offer on the table, so she was going to pass. I respect that.
So, trying to decide between these two small presses was one of the harder decisions I’ve ever made in my life, let me tell you. They were both offering excellent—but slightly different—contracts, and they both have great teams. It came down to weighing up the two contracts and deciding what I wanted more. I’ll try and put a blog post together later about the factors I considered, in case it will be helpful to anyone else.
In the end, I obviously chose Turquoise Morning Press. But I would have been happy with either press, and I feel very blessed that while my agent query journey was long and unfruitful, my press query journey was mercifully short, and put me out of my misery!
There are some people I need to thank, because this is after all the Oscars my blog. To my alpha reader, Peter, for all his support and for making fun of me when I freak out; to my beta readers, Mikey, Ali and Blue, for their invaluable feedback; to my Aussie Owned ladies, especially Stacey and Katie, for holding my hand this last fortnight and patting it gently so I didn’t faint; to Kim and Krystal for humouring me when I designed my fake cover; to Cass for making me think I could actually do it; to all my tweeps on Twitter and Facebook for the moral support: THANK YOU! Thank you a thousand times over! Mwah!