A Star is Born... [Catch and Release Episode III]

As Chumly moves in for the kill––er, catch––I'm going to change into my scuba gear...

Yes, I know it's a snorkel. You know I'm a digital frog, right?

Well, the alter ego of The Frogman, Prince––that handsome dude up top on the web header––and the narrator of this story. Yesterday I promised to impart some very important information regarding dates...

Or why it took 20 Years to get this book to publication.

On April 5th 1995 A Star is Born. No, not the '76, '54 or '37 movies...

Yeah, more than one. Mind boggling, isn't it.

Anyway, back to moi. I know I have a big ego, get over it. Everything about me is big––larger than life. I started out as an over the top romantic parody of Grimm's fairy tale The Frog Prince.

My author has this thing where she gives a character the book's start date as a birthday. That's not to say the birthday ever comes up in the book. But it's the kind of insider information I like to share in these daily episodes. If you need to catch up there are clickable links in the sidebar.

I'll wait...tapping foot.

The Frogman, Prince is not the author's first effort, but was the first book she finished. Right out of the gate she knew she had something special. Within a week of querying the editor of a popular romantic fairy tale line she received a phone call and a request for the full manuscript. A week later she received a call from an agent wanting her to deep six the romantic elements and take a male pseudonym to write Navy SEAL action adventures.

She declined.

It took her two years of writing through the Tonight Show with Jay Leno to finish the first draft. She submitted it to the requesting editor as soon as she typed "THE END" and went straight into the sequel featuring the Frogman's daughter.

Somewhere in there she started critiquing and winning contests, which garnered her an editor appointment and a request for the full sequel. This time it didn't take her near as long to finish.

On June 1st 1998 our author received the "real" call and sold her first manuscript. The Frogman's daughter––Puss in Boots. Published by Harlequin as SEAL It With A Kiss in April 1999.

She then experienced what is commonly called the sophomore slump or second book slump. A meeting with her editor put her back on track. Probably not the track the editor had in mind. But our author managed to start another sequel.

Meanwhile, after two years at another publishing house The Frogman, Prince was rejected. Let's face it... That first draft sucked. Besides which, our author was now under contract and barred from selling prequels, sequels and characters connected to her published works.

And her publisher wasn't interested in a prequel.

The Frogman, Prince had been pushed into a black hole between Contemporary and Historical Romance by virtue of the daughter's story selling first.

Our author either had to change the characters––which were intrinsic to the plot––or change the timeline to the 60s. Like I said, a black whole for romance.

In 2000 she decided to upload a chapter a week to her website in order to fill the gap between her First and Second published books. Revising as she went, she didn't even realize anyone was following along until she missed a week and emails started flooding her inbox asking for the next installment.

Over the course of twenty some weeks she received more fan mail for that story than she has for all her published works combined. This was still the early days of the internet. There were no "donate" buttons. Though many readers offered to send checks––she graciously refused.

Self publishing wasn't even an option in 2000.

Her uncle––one of her biggest fans––convinced her to take Frogman down within days of that last chapter going up. Because he was afraid someone would swipe it.

I hope no one swiped it :/

I mean I'm going to swipe it, but I am THE FROGMAN, PRINCE. Later I'll tell you how you can get your hands on a FREE copy. No one gets something for nothing, but the promise of a review might work.  Our author's a real softie.

Every four years or so she pulled out the manuscript and fiddled with it. It's gone back and forth between contemporary present date––whatever that date was––to contemporary 60s. At one point she gave in to desperation and even changed my name from Tad Prince to Teague.

Kind of a cool name, but it doesn't have the same ring.

My full name is Thaddeus, by the way. Thaddeus Miles Prince. But that, and how I came to be called "The Toad," all get explained in the story. Only Lily (the ship's captain) and Mitch (my second in command) call me Tad.

No one else would dare call me Tad. Not since I was a tadpole––get it.

Lily and Mitch do it just to piss me off.

And you know, despite the birthday and all, I'm 33––not 20, not 53––though I am in my sixties by the time my daughter gets around to becoming the first female Navy SEAL.

In 2012, with self publishing a reality, our author pulled out that initial publishing contract and realized she could get permission to use prequel and sequel characters even before she gets those first three books back next year.

At the end of 2012 she quit her day job to pursue her twenty year dream and came smack dab up against reality. Yeah, she's definitely a dreamer our author. But at least now she has a job she loves––creating book covers for fellow indie authors––and her dream is about to become reality....

We'll chat some more tomorrow about "The Summer of Jaws" and how that plays in to all of this. I'd better go check on Chumly. He's looking a little hungry... And our author a little piqued...