Our First Sales…and Celebrating Bridget Zinn’s Debut, Poison

Bridget Zinn Author Photo

Bridget Zinn, Author of Poison

Bridget Zinn was a librarian and author who, by all accounts, brought joy and optimism to the world. She was diagnosed with colon cancer right after getting married, and died at age 33, shortly after selling her debut novel, Poison. That novel releases today, and Everybody Needs a Little Romance is participating in her blog tour.

Connecting with the tour’s theme of “firsts” and “books,” we’re reminiscing about our first book sales. Below that you can find information on Poison and how to get it!



Hunter's Song CoverNatalie J. Damschroder – Debut novel: Hunter’s Song, Avid Press, June 2000

My first book was a short contemporary romance about a single mom with a little too much independence, and the restaurateur eager to create a family. Talk about write what you know! I set it in Misquamicut, Rhode Island, my favorite place in the world, and wrote it very shortly after having my first kid, so there was a lot of real life in the momhood parts of the story. I sold it to a very tiny startup publisher who was doing mass market paperbacks as well as the newfangled e-books. One of my favorite pictures of myself is holding that first book in my hand. I get the same jolt of excitement every time a box of books with my name on the cover shows up on my doorstep. 🙂


Cover - The Sweet Spot Laura DrakeDebut novel, The Sweet Spot, Grand Central, May 28, 2013

My first book is being printed, even as you read this!  The Sweet Spot is the first in my three book Sweet on a Cowboy series from Grand Central.

It sprung from my love of Pro Bull Riding. The sweet spot is actually a bull riding term; when a rider is perfectly balanced in the eye of the hurricane, making a great ride.

After the death of their son, the Denny’s marriage imploded. Char found ease in a bottle of Valium, and JB, in the arms of a younger woman.

But  now thier ranch  raising bucking bulls will fail if they don’t work together, and they struggle to find their way: back to life, back to love, back to the sweet spot.


ParamourMargaret Ethridge – Debut novel, Paramour, Turquoise Morning Press, January 2011

What I remember most about  making my first sale was the email the publisher sent when she requested the full manuscript. I’d sent the first chapter and just days later an email appeared in my inbox telling me she couldn’t sleep all night because she kept thinking about poor Frank, the ghost trapped in his childhood bedroom. I had to laugh. While Paramour is considered a paranormal romance because of the ghost, the story isn’t the least bit scary. Still, it was good to know I could make a publisher lose a little sleep. 🙂



Beth Cornelison – debut novel To Love, Honor and Defend, Silhouette Intimate Moments, March 2005
My debut novel came out in March of 2005 just in time for my local chapter’s annual conference. It just happened that my editor was attending the conference so she was able to be with me for my first booksigning for the book. I remember gleefully driving to all the book stores and grocery stores in town to sign and sticker the copies with ‘autographed copy’ labels, then checking up throughout the month to see how many copies sold. It was a kick to hear from people who’d spotted my book on shelves around the country. I even heard from a reader in Hawaii. How unfair is it that my books have gone to Hawaii and I haven’t?




Shawna Thomas – Debut novel, Altered Destiny, Carina 

I’ve actually had two first books. The first, first was under a pen name so there was a bit of anonymity there. The second first was Altered Destiny, my first full-length novel, and believe it or not, when someone asks me about my first book, that’s always the one I think of. It was released right before my birthday in 2011 so my husband planned a surprise party for me with a huge poster of the cover. It was awesome.Press, September 2011

I’ve heard a lot of comparisons such as sending a child off to college or watching your baby take his or her first steps, but I don’t think anything really comes close to that moment that you realize your book, the book that represents hours and hours and  hours of work, hopes and dreams, is available for anyone to buy and read. It’s scary and exciting at the same time.

Although it was released as an ebook, I have seven physical copies of Altered Destiny that I keep saying I’ll give away one day…and I can’t. I love seeing them on my book shelf.  It gives me  a sense of accomplishment that I just can’t describe.


Vegas Two-Step CoverLiz Talley – Debut novel, Vegas Two-Step, Harlequin SuperRomance, June 2010

My first book in print was Vegas Two Step – a story started on a whim. It’s about a Texas librarian approaching her 30th birthday who realizes she’s sunk into being an old maid. She calls her bff, goes to Vegas, gets a make over and falls in love with a sexy nightclub owner…who follows her back to Texas. It’s a fun book and I’m so happy it took me down a new path (I’d been writing Regency romances). Never know where life will take you…you have to be willing to follow untord paths. I still love that first book so much, and love that with the ebook revolution, it can still be found and read.




 Cynthia D’Alba – Debut Novel – Texas Two Step, Samhain Publishing

It was so hard for me to move on after I finished Texas Two Step. It was a long time in writing. In fact, my cowboy hero, Mitch Landry, started off as an Italian Prince! Then one day, he informed me that he was a Texan rancher, wore jeans, boots and cowboy boots. Okay. I gave in. My heroine was thrilled. She just LOVED a sexy cowboy instead of a stuffy prince. 🙂

Apparently I was on the right trail as Texas Two Step was a two-time contest winner before I sold it.

Here’s the cool thing for all you unpublished authors…My editor at Samhain REJECTED my first manuscript I submitted (a paranormal that still needs work!). However in her rejection letter she told me she loved my voice and would to see something else. I remembered that six months later when I submitted Texas Two Step. AND this wouldn’t have happened without that first rejection.


ScrivenerFDCoverGwen Hernandez – Debut book: Scrivener For Dummies, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, August 2012

My first—and currently only—published book isn’t a romance. Like Liz said above, you never know where life will take you. I was busy editing my Golden Heart finaling manuscript when I received an email from an associate publisher at Wiley’s For Dummies line, asking if I’d like to submit a proposal for Scrivener For Dummies. Once I checked him out to make sure it wasn’t a hoax, I didn’t have to think twice. It was a whirlwind, going from proposal to bookstore shelves in less than six months, but finding my book at my local Barnes & Noble was incredible. And one of these days, I hope to have a first fiction book story to share.


thetimestonekey (2)Pamela Hearon–debut book The Timestone Key, Lyrical Press, October 2009

My first book, The Timestone Key, is the book of my heart.  Set primarily in England, the story came to me during a trip my husband and I took during which I dragged him around The Island on a quest for tancient Arthurian sites.  King Arthur has been a wicked pleasure of mine since I first read The Sword in the Stone as a child.  The Timestone Key is a romantic fantasy about a modern day woman who bears the mysterious legacy of her family–a legacy that unites them forever with the Bear of Britain, ‘The Once and Future King.’

The first edition of The Timestone Key was published by Lyrical Press, who contracted it for three years.  When that contract ended, I couldn’t bear to see it no longer available, so I re-edited it (adding back in parts that I loved which had been cut), hired a cover artist, and self-published it.   I have other published books out there now, but this one will always be the most special.


Poison CoverPoison—About the Novel

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart…misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

Purchase your copy

Barnes & Noble
iTunes Bookstore
Powell’s Books

About Bridget Zinn

Bridget grew up in Wisconsin. She went to the county fair where she met the love of her life, Barrett Dowell. They got married right before she went in for exploratory surgery which revealed she had colon cancer. They christened that summer the “summer of love” and the two celebrated with several more weddings. Bridget continued to read and write until the day she died. Her last tweet was “Sunshine and a brand new book. Perfect.”

Bridget wanted to make people laugh and hoped readers would enjoy spending time with the characters she created. As a librarian/writer she loved books with strong young women with aspirations. She also felt teens needed more humorous reads. She really wanted to write a book with pockets of warmth and happiness and hoped that her readers’ copies would show the watermarks of many bath time reads.

Bridget’s (and Poison’s) website

A remembrance of Bridget written by her agent (with a video of Bridget that shows how vibrant and funny she was)

Bridget’s path to publication—in her own words.