Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Guest Post: Lee Tobin McClain on Turning Failure Into Success

Turning Failure Into Success

Greetings! Lee Tobin McClain here, talking about turning failure into success.

I’ve been wanting to write Christian romance ever since Harlequin came out with their Love Inspired line about 10 years ago. In between teaching, adopting a daughter, and publishing four teen novels, I kept submitting manuscripts to Love Inspired.

And kept getting rejected.

Finally, I got in the door. I’m about to sign my second contract with Love Inspired and I am completely thrilled. Hooray for persistence!

But I had, um, a LOT of manuscripts on my hard drive that were Christian category romances, too short for other CBA publishers. And floating around the writer-world was new vocabulary like “indie publishing” and “hybrid author.” I pulled up my old manuscripts to figure out whether it would be worthwhile to publish them myself.

Job one, according to all my research: make them into a series. But how could I do that with standalone novels? The answer came to me in one of those flashes that I attribute to God, though others might attribute it to their muse. All of my heroes came from disadvantaged backgrounds. They were bad boys. And they all matured into men with hearts for helping others and doing good in the world.

What if they’d all spent time at the same place—a school for young hoodlums, the last stop before juvie? And what if that school were run by a forty-something believer who needed romance in his own right? And what if their mentor talked them into making a pact to be forces for good in the world?

I wrote A Christmas Bond, taking four of my rejected heroes back to their teenage years and having them spend a Christmas at the Covenant School. Voila! Their plot lines didn’t even have to be tweaked much to make it work. I rewrote madly, added cell phones and GPS technology, and had the boys form the Sacred Bond brotherhood, sealed with a tattoo.

I can’t tell you how exciting it is to watch my old, beloved manuscripts take off as the Sacred Bond series! I’d be honored if you’d check out book one, His Baby Bond, which is free on all platforms. And I’ll give away book two, The Bride’s Broken Bond, to a random commenter today, so jump in and share your own rejection-to-success story!

Lee Tobin McClain read Gone With The Wind in the third grade and has been an incurable romantic ever since. When she not writing emotional, faith-infused love stories with happy endings, she’s probably driving around a carload of snarky teen girls, playing with her rescue dog and cat, or teaching aspiring writers in Seton Hill University’s MFA program. She is probably not cleaning her house.

Connect with Lee: 

Romance between enemies  . . .
War hero John Moretti sees the delinquent boys he mentors as the sons he never had, and he wants to give them every opportunity to reform. Crime victim Annie Bauer views them as dangerous threats to her elderly grandma, who lives next door to the boys’ residential school. When the Baby Jesus is stolen from Grandma’s yard nativity scene, the boys’ potential involvement may send them straight to hard-core juvie, and break the fragile connection that’s building between Annie and John. Until the so-called delinquents join together to make a sacred bond . . .

His Baby Bond: Sacred Bond Series Book 1
Poor-but-proud Kendra Forrester doesn’t need an arrogant millionaire to tell her how to raise her sister’s baby. But when handsome Zeke King arrives at her Colorado cabin demanding custody of his brother’s child, strategy dictates that she let him stick around. Battling mountain weather and the baby’s illness brings these two opposites together, but their own insecurities, their dead siblings’ secrets, and a jealous former boyfriend threaten their tentative bond. Only the Lord and the Sacred Bond Brotherhood can help Kendra and Zeke form a family for their baby.

The Bride's Broken Bond: Sacred Bond Series Book 2
As the wedding music starts playing, poor little rich girl Hope DeMille learns that her husband-to-be loves someone else, but her domineering, high-society father won’t let her back out of the expensive wedding he’s funded. Enter Rock Anderson, a former inner-city kid mentored by Hope’s parents, who’s always wanted Hope. After helping Hope escape, Rock gets her a job at his urban mission and helps her find meaning in her life. But when Hope’s powerful father seeks revenge and one of the inner-city kids goes missing, it’ll take the best efforts of the Sacred Bond brotherhood to help this opposite-sides-of-the-tracks couple overcome their differences and commit to love.


  1. Hi Lee, I enjoyed learning agot your and your novels. What a blessing to have all those old manuscripts and so encouraging to author struggling to be published.

  2. Hi, old things! It sure didn't seem like a blessing to have all those rejected manuscripts at the time! But sometimes, we can't recognize blessings at the time they happen, only later. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Lee, this is a great article! It gives me hope for some of my (many) shelved manuscripts.

    1. Sally, go for it! It's amazing to breathe life into books you thought would never be read. Making them into a series is key, though, for indie success. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. Lee, your stories sound great! So glad you've found an outlet for them--and readers!

  5. And Keely--thanks so much for having me on your blog!

    1. My pleasure, Lee! And thank you for the encouraging post!