And I wrote a novel,"Daughter of a Lady". I got over my bad Historical Romance issues and dove into a pure Fantasy novel.
Mary, the daughter of a powerful warlord, is given in marriage to Jonan, leader of an allied nation. Before she goes, her mother bestows a gift, secretly handed down to all the women of her line: Mary has a Totem, to guide her as she helps rule a nation.
Thrust into a complex game of politics, her new home is threatened both inside and out. Mary herself comes under threat, for her very presence disturbs the plans of those who seek to destroy her husband's power.
Bog-standard fantasy. The magic doesn't feature in this novel as much as the machinations and political maneuverings. Still, I was rather pleased with my completed efforts. Feedback from the 'Orkshop gave high points to the plot and characterisation, even though the Craft could use a bit of work.
Nonetheless, this was the first novel I ever pitched to an editor. Naturally it was a pass, but Achievement Unlocked: Subbing a Novel! By now, I'd had success in getting little things published, like short stories and articles.
"Daughter of a Lady" proved to me that I could finish a novel in less than a year. It also reaffirmed that I was starting to get good. For some people, they can write a good first novel. For most people, subsequent novels are their winners. For me, it took a good... um... (counts up novels...) a handful. But I was improving.
(Okay, the 'Orkshop really helped.)
Once I finished "Daughter of a Lady", I wrote another novel, one that had been bugging me for a good ten years...
Her Grace might resurrect DoaL some day. Maybe. Unless better ideas come along. They often do.