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Life is good

It’s been a disappointing day. My super-secret fun thing that was supposed to happen this morning (SWAT team barricade training) was canceled just before I walked out the door. At 4:00 am. After rolling out of bed at three.

And then I got a rejection email for Blind Fury.

But so what?

In the scheme of things, these are minor things to be upset over. Much, much worse things could have happened.

I could be the reason the SWAT team got called out at three in the morning, for example.

And despite my disappointments, both incidents brought positives. I got to go back to bed and get a full night’s sleep. A rarity these days.

The rejection had helpful, and even some positive, feedback. Sometimes hard to take, but always better than a generic “not for me” response. I even got a request for future work.


So in an effort to focus on the good things, because really, these are such tiny problems compared to a real bad day, here’s a small list of some of what’s good in my life.

  • I have an awesome family
  • My husband is gainfully employed
  • We’re healthy
  • Both cars are almost paid off
  • My computer works 😉
  • I get to write every day!
  • I’m alive

I could list hundreds of good things. I could go on and on. Under the avalanche of all the wonderful things in my life, those disappointments, inconveniences, and frustrations get crushed.

Reese’s peanut butter cups help too.

By tomorrow, the little knot in my gut will be gone, right along with the feeling that I suck as a writer and should quit now, and I will look at that rejection and be grateful to the agent who took time to not only read my entire MS, but to comment on what worked and what didn’t.

Life is good.

Photo credit: THUMBS UP © Andres Rodriguez |

The science of writing

Author Christina Dodd is celebrating her 20th anniversary since getting The Call. Wow! When I look at someone as successful and prolific (42 novels published) as her, it's easy to think that it will never happen to someone like me. But she's quick to point out that her journey to publication was long.

Ten years long, in fact! She garnered 25 rejections (not too bad, actually), and in those ten years, she wrote three manuscripts. So just like many of us, she wasn't spitting out 3-5 books a year yet.

Writing is a study in patience and persistence. If we keep writing, keep learning, and keep querying, I'd like to think the odds are with us. That eventually we'll get The Call, too.

It supposedly took Thomas Edison 10,000 tries to create a viable electric lightbulb. He is purported to have said that he didn't fail 9,999 times, he merely found 9,999 solutions that didn't work. For a scientist, failure is just part of the process of eliminating incorrect solutions.

What if he thought #3,455 was the best he could do? That he had nothing left to learn and therefore was a failure? Maybe Joseph Swan would be a famous inventor instead.

What if Christina Dodd had given up after seven years? Or nine? If you thought of the write/submit/rejection loop as a scientific process of learning what does and doesn't work in your quest to invent a salable manuscript, would it help?

Go out and keep finding ways that don't work, because one of these days, you'll find the one that does. And then you will get The Call.

Good luck!

Never give up

I was sad yesterday when a woman I've never met gave up her dream. She's a member of an online writing class that I've been taking, and she received another rejection. It was the last straw. She's apparently been writing for twenty years without publication and has decided to “face facts”.

Okay, granted, if I am still doing this in 2029 and I haven't been published, maybe I'll be considering giving up, too. But, I hope not. Because at the end of the day, I write because I've finally found the one piece in my life that was missing.

Yes, I want to be published. I really, really want to be published. I can't imagine the joy of seeing my name on a book at Barnes & Noble, or better yet, receiving a check in the mail for it. But ultimately, I'm writing for me.

I hope that after a few days this woman will get beyond the pain and change her mind, but she might not. And, maybe writing romance isn't what she's meant to do, but I have to think that if she's stuck with it this long, there must be something in it for her besides the desire for publication.

She may find that her characters won't shut up until she writes their story. Or after a few weeks, the itch to write may overtake her when she least expects it. If writing (or anything else) is what you love, then it's never a waste of time. For me, it has to be for me first, publication second.

The Daily Squirrel: airplance

Simon gripped the armrest, ignoring the overstuffed sausage of a man squeezed into the seat next to him. Why had he ever thought he could strap himself into a tiny, metal tube and leave the ground without having a panic attack? His chest contracted as if it was being crushed by a vise.

He fumbled with the seatbelt latch, unable to get it undone, trying desperately to catch his breath. If he didn't get off this plane, he was going to die.

But then a baby's cries pierced his consciousness, and he remembered why he was on the flight in the first place. Gloria. His beautiful, amazing Gloria was about to have his baby, and he wanted to be there.

He pulled a worn photo of his wife out of his shirt pocket and rubbed it gently with his thumb, as a flight attendant gave the safety briefing. No panic attack, no mere phobia would stop him. He might be half dead from fright when he arrived, but God dammit, he'd get through this flight.