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October 10, 2012

Janice Lane Palko: The New Road that Led to St. Anne's Day

Still round the corner there may wait, A new road or a secret gate. J. R. R. Tolkien

We all know Robert Frost’s line about taking the road “less traveled by” and how that made all the difference. Well, it wasn’t the less-traveled road that made all the difference for my romantic comedy St. Anne’s Day, but a brand spanking new road that brought it into publication.

I wrote St. Anne’s Day all the way back in 1998. Yes, 1998—when people were just starting to get” Jiggy Wit’ It,” the first triple-blade razor appeared, and this new book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone hit the shelves.

The inspiration for the novel came from three things. At that time, I was watching repeats of Pride and Prejudice, and writing my grandfather’s memoir when an incident from high school popped into my head. I attended an all-girls school, and when prom time came, several of my classmates were without dates. One day before class, we were trying to come up with dates for these girls when our teacher, Sister Jane Frances, came in and heard our conversation. She recommended we start saying the St. Anne prayer. We’d never heard of it. This is what she taught us:

Dear St. Anne, get me a man as fast as you can.

We all thought it was pretty funny, but we said it every day before class. Well, don’t you know, every girl got a date for the prom!

Those three things swirled around in the blender that is my mind and the concoction that resulted was St. Anne’s Day. For many years, I sent the manuscript to agents and publishers and even personally pitched it at the RWA conference in NYC in 2003. Several expressed interested in it over the years, but each time it was ultimately rejected because it wasn’t your typical romance and didn’t fit neatly into any one genre. It was too edgy for the inspirational romance category, and it was too spiritual to fit neatly in the romantic comedy genre. In effect, the novel was a misfit, and like Hermey the Dentist in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on the Island of Misfit toys, St. Anne’s Day was exiled to the Island of Misfit Books. I put it away and wrote another novel—a Christmas romance, A Shepherd’s Song, which will be released in November. But every now and then I’d send St. Anne’s Day out to new agents or publishers. Fortunately, the other aspects of my writing career flourished. I was hired as a columnist for a newspaper, and then offered the position as executive editor for a local magazine.

Two years ago on a lark, I posted several chapters of St. Anne’s Day on my website with the hope that an editor would stumble upon them, fall in love with St. Anne’s Day, and offer a lucrative, multi-book deal.

But something entirely different happened. A number of Facebook friends found the chapters and began asking where they could buy my book. Also at that time, a friend asked me if I would look at his novel before he independently published it. The year leading up to that time had been very busy, and while I wasn’t paying attention to the publishing world, it all changed. It appeared that indie publishing was not the same as in years previous. To my surprise, I discovered that there was another road, a new road to publication. When I found myself hoping that the queries I had out to agents and publisher would reject St. Anne’s Day, I knew independent publishing was where I needed to head.

It has taken me more than a year to familiarize myself with the world of indie publishing, learn all the technology associated with it, and to whip St. Anne’s Day into shape.

Finally, after 14 years, St. Anne’s Day was published in August and has been getting stellar reviews since. I invite you to read St. Anne’s Day, and I hope you find my long journey to publication encouraging for anyone considering the new road of indie publishing. It is available at Amazon, in the Kindle store, at Barnes & Noble Nook store, IndieBound and Smashwords.

About the Author:

Janice grew up in Pittsburgh and is the author of the romantic comedy St. Anne’s Day. A writer for more than 15 years, she is currently the executive editor of Northern Connection and Pittsburgh 55+ magazines, where she also pens a column and contributes regularly to the magazines’ content.

Her work has also appeared in publications such as The Reader’s Digest, Guideposts for Teens, Woman’s World, The Christian Science Monitor, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In addition, her essays have been featured in the books A Cup of Comfort for Inspiration, A Cup of Comfort for Expectant Mothers, and Chicken Soup for the Single’s Soul.

Janice has won several awards for her writing including the prestigious Amy Foundation Award of Merit, and she has a bachelor’s degree in Writing & Literature from Union Institute & University.

Her second book, a Christmas novel entitled, A Shepherd’s Song, which will be released in November 2012.
Connect with Janice Lane Palko:

Amazon Author Central
Twitter: @janicelanepalko

The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by guest post authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views, beliefs, or opinions of Girl Who Reads. Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links.


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  1. Loved reading about your journey!
    I feel like we're sisters in writing!
    Keep up the fab work and publishing those books--
    Stephanie Queen