Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Guest Blogger, Emery Lee

Please join me in welcoming author Emery Lee as the special guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress.

Emery’s debut book “The Highest Stakes” is in stores in April. Here’s a brief synopsis of the book: “All thoroughbred horses in the world to this very day can trace their blood back to three specific Arabian stallions imported to England in the early part of the 18th century. Against this backdrop comes a painstakingly researched novel with breathtaking scenes of real races, real horses, glimpses of the men who cared for them, and the tensions of those who owned and controlled them.

In 18th century England and Colonial Virginia, when high-spirited stallions filled the stables of the lords of the land and fortunes were won and lost on the outcome of a race, a love story unfolds between a young woman for whom her uncle's horses are her only friends and the young man who teaches her everything about their care and racing. When she's forced into marriage, his only hope of winning her back is to race his horse to reclaim all that was stolen from him—his land, his dignity, and his love.”

Thanks to Emery and Danielle at Sourcebooks I have two copies of “The Highest Stakes” to giveaway to readers leaving comments between today and 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 7. Be sure to include her e-mail in the comments if it’s not included in your profile. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only.

Emery has stopped by today to talk about how her Georgian era drama/romance book with an equestrian theme came about.

I truly envy writers who walk around with their heads constantly filled with fantastic ideas for books. Although I have always dreamed of writing, and even made an initial attempt at a romance novel back in 1986, I never got past page one. It then took me almost twenty five years to finally come up with what I thought was a worthy premise, an idea too unique to ignore:  a novel combining thwarted love, blind ambition, political intrigue and horse racing! 

The idea for The Highest Stakes just kept churning around in my head during the day and invading my dreams at night, until I actually dared confess it to Dina, a good friend of mine, while riding up a mountain on horseback.
Diana said, “Just do it! Write the book.”

 “But I’ve never written anything creative in my life. I don’t have a creative bone in my body, “I argued.

“God works in mysterious ways. If it’s keeping you awake at night, he’s giving
you a gift,” she answered back.

 A few days later (coincidentally on my birthday), I found a package from Diana on my front porch.  It was a book on how to publish a book.  I don’t even remember the name of it now, but it was all the extra push I needed.

After fourteen months of blood, sweat and tears, (well…not so much blood… unless you count paper cuts) I completed my first draft of a Georgian era drama/romance set against the backdrop of early Thoroughbred horseracing.

What do I do with it now I have it completed, I thought (panic now sinking in). I didn’t know a single writer. I had no literary contacts. I unburied the book on publishing from beneath at least three reams of first drafts (that I dared not throw away in case the garbage man should steal my best seller.)  I then decided to seek out a literary agent (thus began the sweating part).

Thirty-plus queries later, with as many rejects following, (This is where the tears actually came in.) I finally decided that none of these agents were even worthy of representing my masterwork. While looking for other opportunities I learned that Sourcebooks is one of very few publishers who still accept un-agented queries. 

My query email was promptly answered by acquiring editor Deb Werksman.

“Jackpot!!!”  I cried (only tears of joy this time). 

Fourteen months later (and after much more profuse sweating throughout the editing process) I am delighted to announce that The Highest Stakes has finally come to fruition. 

Emery, thanks so much for sharing this. There is so much hard work that goes into writing and getting published.

A little background on Emery. She is a life-long equestrienne, a history buff, and a born romantic. Combine the three and you have the essence of her debut novel: a tale of love, war, politics, and horseracing. A member of Romance Writers of America, she lives with her husband, sons, and two horses in upstate South Carolina. For more information on Emery check out her website at

Have you combined your love and hobbies to be included in your writing?


  1. Very, very cool! I live in Upstate SC as well! Thanks for showcasing this Southern writer on your blog - maybe one day I'll be on here!!

    Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting yesterday! You've got a new follower. I look forward to reading your posts!

  2. My hubby's right into racehorses (he has a couple of country racing horses with his mates) - it's a huge past-time here in Australia. I will have a look at this book - thanks for the great blog post :-)

  3. Sounds like an interesting book filled with excitement. I love horses!!

  4. What a wonderful story of going from idea to publication. I hope she has many, many sales!

    Straight From Hel

  5. Becky, thanks so much for stopping by and becoming a follower. Look forward to hosting you as a guest author here. Enjoyed your blog and I'll be back.

    Charmaine, how wonderful that your husband has race horses. This book will definitely be a good read for you. Hope all his horses win their races.

    Teresa, I'm with you - I love horses too. That was one thing that attracted me to this book. I'm so glad it did. Great read.

    Helen, guess it just goes to show we should pursue our ideas. You never know where they might lead.

  6. Horses are fascinating creatures. I think they're smarter than most people give them credit for. Good luck with your book.

  7. Thank you all for your interest and comments!

    Becky - if you are an unpub'd writer (I assumed this was the case from your comment) just keep honing your craft and don't be afraid to follow your gut.
    Also I'll be doing a signing in Greenville SC FRI June 4th at Fiction Addiction. Hope to get a chance to meet and chat.

    Charmaine- I find that many men won't read a book by a female author - particularly if there is a hint of "romance" in it, however, a friend of mine who is a noted horse trainer, breeder and clinician (Mike Kinsey at told me that he had read chapter one (sneak preview on my web site) and was really hooked. He loved the horse history and will be reviewing THE HIGHEST STAKES for the "horse community". I hope that you and your husband will both enjoy the story!

    JOURNALING WOMAN- Yes Indeed! I promise you a hellava ride in THE HIGHEST STAKES!

    HELEN- Thank you so very much for your words of encouragement. As it turns out I am hard at work on the sequel! I am again writing for SOURCEBOOKS and I hope you will look for FORTUNE'S SON later next year.

    CAROL - Anyone who thinks horses are dumb animals knows nothing about them! I tried very hard to show both intelligence and their individual personalities when writing my supporting equine characters!

    Lastly MASON CANYON -
    Thank you so very much for allowing me to reach your blog followers and promote my debut novel by participating in your wonderful blog.

    Warmest Regards,

    Emery Lee

  8. Yes, I've been fortunate that my passions and writing merged.

    And Emery, the disadvantage to all those ideas rattling in the head is there's not enough time to write them all down!

  9. Sounds wonderful! I did my master's these research on free-ranging horses and love stories about horses, love Romance and intrigue--sounds great.


    Id love to read it.

    Sorry I'm behind, will try to catch up soon. (I hope!)

  10. Your book sounds great. I look forward to reading it (especially around the beginning of May--think Kentucky Derby!) And let me just say what a great friend your Diana is. How fortunate your are to have someone believe in you and give you a gentle shove to reach a dream. Thanks for sharing with us.

  11. emery lee's debut book sounds wonderful...thanks for the chance to read it

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  12. Sounds like a very good book. I've always loved horses since I was a kid, and have never fulfilled yet the childhood dream of owning one. Best wishes for great success with this!

    The Old Silly

  13. Good interview - I let my characters walk around in my head for a while too until I really know them and am comfortable starting to write.

  14. Just popping in to say I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

  15. What a great review-I am not much of a horse person-this story sounds interesting. It took me forever to read Seabiscuit and once I did I loved the story.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.