On not waiting: or, a publisher wants my book!

Lee Welch on hearing the news. Gob. Smacked.

Some of you may remember that three months ago I sent my historical, fantasy m/m romance off to a publisher for consideration.

So, that meant three-four months to wait for an answer. That’s fine. I know these things take time.

But still, I thought, I can’t wait around for three-four months. I’ll go potty.

So I wrote another book – and a publisher wants that one! They want the second book – the one I wrote just so I wouldn’t bite all my fingernails off waiting to hear about the first one!

I can hardly believe it. Now if that’s not a lesson in NOT waiting I don’t know what is.

What happened was this:  I sent off the first manuscript and then trawled around the internet, feverishly looking for something to do. And I found a call for submissions from MLR Press. They wanted m/m romance novellas, in which one of the main characters has a ‘physical disability’ or ‘mental challenge’. And, of course, finds true love.

So I left my Victorian fantasy comfort zone and wrote a contemporary romance, set in and around Makara Beach, which is near where I live on the wild west coast of Wellington, New Zealand.

No magicians. No mysterious curses. No cravats or top hats.

It was an experiment. To see if I could do it.

Characters have phones, cars and social media. If they have sex, they can’t use magic to make it more exciting. And they can’t say things like, “By Jove! That demon’s got more tentacles than the Duke!” (well, they could, I suppose, but the other characters would look at them pretty funny, I can tell you).

But writing a contemporary romance set nearby was interesting in a different kind of way.

I could go to the place, for one thing. I chatted to the locals about art and erosion, storms and herons, and how much oyster-catchers look like plague doctors (see below). I walked around, took photographs, and enjoyed the spirit of the place.

Plague doctor. No, wait…
plague doctor
Oyster catcher. Right?

The story is called Mended with Gold (unless the editor thinks that should change) and it’s an m/m romance. It features a photographer with post-traumatic stress disorder who’s desperate to find a refuge. He buys a house near wild and remote Makara Beach in New Zealand and falls in love – not only with the place, but with a shy comics artist who will either break his heart or become the love of his life. It’s a story about creativity, adversity, true love, and comics.

And in my mind the main character looks a bit like Jeffrey Dean Morgan, so there’s that too.

A bit like this.

And in case you’re thinking ‘my god! Three months to write a story!’ let me tell you that I had the idea about twenty years ago, and it’s been stewing in my mind all that time. So it might seem fast, but it actually took about twenty-years-three-months.

To follow are a few images from my trip to Makara Beach. I hope you enjoy them as much as the picture of Mr Morgan.

And if you’d like to read my story when it comes out, please follow me and I’ll be sure to wave my hands around excitedly at you when it gets released.

Makara Beach: the Setting for Mended with Gold

It’s wild and remote. Gets cut off sometimes.
The houses are charming and unpretentious – like some of the characters.
People around here are pretty creative. I love this driftwood archway.
Though they sometimes forget to bail their boats. This is probably a metaphor.
If you live around here, people will often give you a fish they’ve caught. If you’re lucky, someone might woo you with a comic he’s made as well…

Please leave comments below!


  1. I don’t know what to say or how to say it! ‘Congratulations ‘ is limp, and you’ve already said gobsmacked. I’m full of delight for you!

    And other readers of this blog, take note. Mended with Gold is a beautiful, tender story. I know the place too, and it’s great to be able to complete the picture with a photo of the hero! Lee has written a terrific novella, and I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I, a beta reader, did .


  2. I’m totally gobsmacked for you, Lee, and preparing to have you wave your hands in the air at me as soon as they’re both published! Huge congratulations – you deserve it and you’re such a tonic/inspiration to someone like me who is just starting out on the journey … plus, you’re funny and make me laugh and I like your photographs. 😀 That driftwood arch is fantastic! Oh, I’m so excited! The thing I take away for myself from your experience is that you kept yourself busy writing while you were waiting for news … and look how it paid off. Well done!


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