Saturday, November 30, 2013

Chocolate Cafe Chat with Ruth Logan Herne

She's known for her sassy personality on Seekerville and her poignant dialogue, story-line, and characters in her fiction. For me, Ruth Logan Herne has been an encourager and 'writing mama'.

Pull up a chair and join Ruthy for some cinnamon sprinkled hot cocoa and double fudge chocolate chip cookies.

So Ruthy, why do you love Anne from your newest Indie release, Running on Empty?

I love this character because she's run the gamut, trying desperately to put her life back together after being seduced by a teacher/coach at age thirteen. She doesn't see what the world sees, a predator. She sees a stupid, foolish girl who let her emotions get the best of her. Paying the price for her mistakes... year after year.... seems deserved and justified. But it's not, of course it isn't, children should never be preyed upon. It takes Anne nearly fifteen years to see that. To come forward and help protect others while trying to forgive herself. Life isn't always kind to children, but worse? Young people are prone to taking the blame for so many things out of their control. Anne recovers her faith, her hope and her self-respect in "Running on Empty". But will she ever be truly accepted in her hometown, an Americana-style village that loves its beloved coach? Or will she have to run again?

What makes the hero fall in love with her, Ruthy?

He'd loved her once and it nearly killed him. He can't dare love her again, it would be public emasculation. She'd walked out on him once, without a word.

But something about Anne pulls him, has always pulled him. Chief of police Joe McIntyre is a caretaker... and she needs someone to watch over her. But pride and self-preservation rein him in until he realizes he held the key to Anne's happiness all along. If only he'd been man enough to use it.

The book is amazing! It hits some hard issues, but is told in a real and beautiful way.

Quote for today:

“Write about what really interests you, whether it is real things or imaginary things, and nothing else.” 
― C.S. Lewis

Friday, November 29, 2013

Day After Thanksgiving-- Alleycat Style!

Yesterday we brought you some of the things some fabulous authors are thankful for this past year...

Today, we alleycats would like to share what WE are thankful for in our writing life.

"I'm thankful for God moving in my life at ACFW. It took a trip I wasn't looking forward to and made it one of the best spiritual experiences thus far of my life."

"I'm thankful for what I've been learning about building my platform. This year my focus has shifted from writing to marketing. I've learned so much, culminating in my recent blog launch which has had an amazing response so far, with well over 400 shares on my first two posts. I couldn't have imagined such a groundswell of support. It's been  touching and humbling, and I'm so grateful."

 "I'm so thankful God brought Amy to The Alley this year. She's been a fabulous addition to our group (as well as a wonderful friend) and I am constantly flooded with gratitude for two beautiful ladies who have been constant encouragements to me in my writing: Julie Gwinn and Beth Vogt. God's used them this year to kindle my heart with faith in my writing, even as a lot of tough stuff has happened. And of COURSE, every year....every DAY, I'm thankful God sent me the most fantastic group of ladies with which to share this writing journey. AlleyCats - you're amazing!" 

"I'm thankful that our worth isn't judged by book contracts or sales numbers or even how fast we write our books. I'm thankful that my worth, even as an author, is found in JESUS. I'm thankful that Jesus smiles at each word I write. I'm thankful for new visions He's given me for this upcoming year, and for allowing a passion for writing to flourish in my heart once again. And I'm thankful for readers. Every time I get an email or note about my book from a reader, my heart swells. That God is using my book to touch lives is so incredibly amazing."

"I'm thankful that God is teaching me to dream bigger dreams and catch a vision that sees writing as a ministry and form of worship. I'm also thankful for health in my body after a very frustrating and exhausting period this year with a broken foot. You realize how much you value the everyday things whenever you suddenly can't do them. AND, I'm thankful for A Cup of Christmas Cheer, my first publication, and the amazing team at Guideposts I've been able to work with."

"I would have to say that I am thankful for y'all's patience as I have taken a writing break and haven't really had that much to blog about at The Alley. This has been a difficult year, with many life altering experiences and some depression and "reclusiveness". I know I've been distant and not my chipper self, and yet you all have encouraged me and loved me anyway. So thank you all for your love and patience and accepting God's nudge for me to set my writing aside for a time. p.s. I am hoping this next year is the year to step back in. :)"

"I am thankful for God's grace and goodness. So many times I sit at the computer reading the chapter synopsis I preplanned and wonder what was I thinking? Something interrupts my work that inevitably provides the spark needed to fix the problem. Only God would take the time to give a nudge 'cause He loves us. Knowing my waco thought process, He had someone recommend my purchasing the Scrivener program. At last, I am organized and not floating in the abyss. For the first time, I finished a book in seven weeks from research to "The End". God has also blessed me with my treasured friends the Alley Cats and our retreats which rev the creative juices and lasso crazy ideas. Casey has yanked my brain out of the mud several times. Thanks, Casey. You have all fulfilled the need for kindred spirit in my life and I am thankful God invited me into this family. And our Alley Pals are a constant inspiration. Happy Thanksgiving and Blessings on you all."

"I am so thankful to be a part of the Writer's Alley. Writing was such a lonely pursuit before you all came along and adopted me. With the wonderful blessing of this incredible group of encouragers, prayer warriors, and friends, came my amazing critique partner and sister of my heart, Pepper Basham, who has become one of my closest friends. Having a support group as a writer is something I am immensely grateful for. Every. Single. Day. I am also astounded by God's goodness in giving me such a rock-star agent and champion in Chip MacGregor. So grateful writing doesn't have to be a solitary adventure, and it's so much fun to be on the journey with each of you!"

"I'm grateful for watching the ways God fulfills the visions He has for my writing life in His ways and His timing. For me right now, that meant opening the door for some freelancing. I'm finding it lots of fun! Also this year, God answered a prayer in a special way by helping me to find women who love the Lord and love to write in my own hometown. What a blessing! And of course, very thankful for my Alley Cat writer friends!"

"I am thankful that God has used my writing struggles to help remind me that it really is ALL about Him. I am thankful that I'm celebrating my anniversary of signing a contract with my agent, Tamela! I am thankful for the new tradition of an AlleyCat retreat, and the deepening of friendships with my writer friends. I am also thankful for new stories yet to be written!"


Thursday, November 28, 2013

THANKSGIVING--- Author Style!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING from The Writer's Alley!

What are AUTHOR'S thankful for this year?

I set out on a quest to find out just that-- and here is what I got!

Jody Hedlund, author of Rebellious Heart

"I'm thankful for a bottomless pot of coffee, a laptop that didn't die this year, and for fun-sized candy bars that fuel my creativity."

Tamara Leigh, author of The Unveiling (Age of Faith)

"I am ever so thankful for the ability to self-publish books for which my publishers did not believe there was a market--and, of course, the readers who are proving there is."

Kristin Billerbeck, author of A Billion Reasons Why

"I'm thankful that I've got my writing mind back. It was such a stressful couple of years that I really wasn't able to have much creativity. I'm so grateful those dark years are past and that I feel the hope of future books in my system."

Lisa Bergren, author of Glittering Promises: A Novel (Grand Tour Series)

"I'm grateful for the chance to slow down a bit. I was edging close to burn-out! Rest is a good thing for the creative cycle."

Becky Wade, author of Undeniably Yours

"I'm so thankful for Dani Pettrey, my author friend and prayer partner. For two years she's prayed over my writing (and occasionally my family and my health) every single week. We've helped each other keep perspective on this sometimes thrilling sometimes discouraging work we've been called to do."

Patrick Carr, author of The Hero's Lot (The Staff and the Sword) 

"I'm thankful for finding out it's not just my immediate family who likes what I write."

Keli Gwyn, author of A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California

"I'm thankful for the opportunities I've had to encourage new writers this year."

Liz Johnson, author of SEAL Under Siege (Love Inspired Suspense)

This year I'm especially thankful for a critique partner who doesn't take it easy on me. Sometimes her red marks feel like a chainsaw, but then I realize they're more like sandpaper, polishing the rough edges I left on my manuscript. Every time I turn in a story after she's worked on it, I know I'm turning in a better project. Thanks, Michelle! "

Carla Laureano, author of Five Days in Skye: A Novel

"I'm thankful for the writing friends with whom I've shared the joys, tears, and glorious insanity of this publishing business. Without them, I wouldn't have made it this far!"

Melissa Tagg, author of Made to Last

"What I'm thankful for...oh wow, I could talk (write?) your ears off about that, but in a valiant act of brevity I'll simply say I'm SO thankful for all the people who made my very first book release so special. Family, friends, mentors, my awesome agent and fabulous editor...everyone! I love 'em all."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving - Treasured Words

I feel so very blessed. Each year, the day before Thanksgiving falls on my post day. What more could I possibly ask? I am thankful beyond all belief.

The Top Ten Reasons Why Mary is Thankful:

#10 The Alley Cats

#9  All our Alley Pals/Friends/Guests

#8  My fabulous and supportive husband

#7  Church family

#6  Creation

#5   Five completed manuscripts

#4   Four-giveness of sins

#3   Three children

#2  Two-morrow's fabulous dinner with family

#1  One Savior who provided the One Way for all who believe to go to heaven.

Thank you God, for blessing this blog and other writing blogs whose intent is to train and teach those who write Christian works. May the fruit of our labor glorify You.

Treasured words

One of the qualities of a successful writer is a gift for painting a picture with words. There are many individuals who have lost or have never had one of the five senses. When they read a story or have a story read to them, our words stir memories or create memories of these senses. We help to bridge an understanding.

Photo Courtesy
I cannot smell a rose. I can smell most other flowers, but not a rose. I don't have anything to link it to or any reference to help me. My husband saves money at Valentines because I ask him not to buy roses. I prefer carnations or hyacinths because I can experience their sweet floral scent. 

When I read a story with roses I struggle to grasp the sense of the scene. Now if a writer happened to attach a description to help me experience the scent, I think I could enjoy the magic.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to describe the taste of an item on your Thanksgiving menu for a person with no sense of smell. (Did you know the tastebuds cannot function properly without the sense of smell?)

Pick one item and describe it in the comment section. 

Photo Courtesy
I'll take the first crack at it. Pumpkin Pie: The taste is like the first night of a carnival where the walkways are filled with excited children waiting to get on their first ride and colorful lights dance against the dark sky.

Your turn. What would you like to describe for a person who does not have the sense of smell?

This blog post is by Mary Vee

Mary has moved to Michigan with her husband, closer to her three college kids. She misses the mountains of Montana, but loves seeing family more often. She writes contemporary and romance Christian fiction and loves to pen missionary and Bible adventure stories on her ministry blog, God Loves Kids.

Visit Mary at her website and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Writer's Greatest Tool

Writers live life with a perpetual question swirling through their minds. It is a question that draws deep from the well of creativity and reaches out to grasp the winds of inspiration. It is a question that builds the bones, and then breathes life into stories.

It is the question of "What if?".

When it is time to start a new story, brainstorm a part of the plot, or even hear a news story that plants a seed of a story in your mind, you begin to ask the question....what if?

What if...

  • a young woman is held captive in a convent?
  • the young woman escapes, disguised as a boy?
  • the woman is beaten along the way by ruffians?
  • the woman is saved by a handsome knight?
  • the the handsome knight is on his way to her father's castle for a tournament?
  • he takes her on as his squire (thinking she is a lad), promising to give her safe passage?
  • she falls in love with the knight?
  • her gender is discovered when she is injured in a fight?
These are just a few of the questions I asked while brainstorming my first story. A story starts with a germ of an idea. When you ask "what if", you can find many different directions that your story can go. When you are brainstorming a story idea, try to think of as many different ideas as you can. Having my heroine's gender discovered at the very beginning of the story would have made it an altogether different story. The tension would be stronger, but then my hero would not have been able to get to know my heroine the same way as he did while she pretended to be a boy. 

The question of "what if" is a powerful tool for the writer. Get a pen and paper out and start your list of "what ifs". You might even try a mind map, branching off in different directions...wherever your "what ifs" take you. See what you can come up with.

Better yet, let's experiment and see what we can come with. I'll start and you come up with a "what if". Let's see what kind of story we come up with through our commenters today. 

What if a woman was in an airplane, about to skydive for her 30th birthday, when she discovered that Gerard Butler (or whatever cutie-pie you would like to envision) was sitting next to her?
***What is your "what if"? Or what is your favorite writing tool for brainstorming?

*This is a repost from a couple of years ago.

This post is brought to you by
 Sherrinda Ketchersid

Monday, November 25, 2013

Revisiting The Fictional Thanksgiving Table

Time for a trip down memory lane with the top characters from my many novels. I hope you enjoy their Thanksgiving debates. See if you can pick out storylines, personalities, and interests based on dialogue alone. It's a great practice in deep POV :-)

It wasn’t your typical Thanksgiving lunch. In fact, not one living person was present. Just us fictional characters. We’d decided to get together while the computer was turned off and the author couldn’t rearrange our lives any more. Not that she had much power anyway. We had minds of our own, so we usually caused as much trouble for her as she did for us.

Sure, she started a sketchy plot, developed some general physical guidelines, typed the words on the page, but after that…once she breathed personalities into us – well, it was only a matter of time before we took over the stories. They were our stories, after all.

I've never understood why she puts so much conflict into our stories, though. It felt unending. Conflict, conflict, conflict. One of her favorite writing quotes is ‘conflict is at the heart of a good story.”

Bad news if you're a character.

So I called together some of the heroines to discuss this unfair life over a little Thanksgiving dinner.

“I haven’t been to a Thanksgiving meal in eight years.” Immaculately dressed Dr. Adelina Roseland said, her smile a little uncertain but her pronunciation flowed without one flaw. “Thank you for inviting me, Eisley. I know you must stay busy as a single-mom of three, but you always seem to have time to entertain.”

I shrugged. Entertain? Yep, with a lot of unintentional comedy involved. “It's a treat to get all of us heroines together, from the various genres and time periods.” I nodded toward Ashleigh who stood in full Edwardian attire. “We can certainly celebrate too.”

“Exactly. A brilliant notion.” Asheigh Dougall unpinned her broad-rimmed hat and revealed a mass of dark curls underneath. She had a sweet smile, but it never seemed complete. Like a piece of her was missing. I wonder if the author has even discovered the missing piece yet. Sometimes we surprise her halfway through the story with our little secrets. I love it when that happens.

     Ashleigh nodded to the table. "Though we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in England, I can always find something of which to be thankful. Can't you?”

“I’m thankful that there isn’t one piece of red meat on this table.” Sophia Quinn sighed back into her chair and rolled her jade gaze up to the ceiling. “I see enough blood in my job, the less I have to look at it the better.”

Some of the other characters said she was a vampire slayer, but that couldn’t be right. The author would never write a story about vampires. She was a Christian, after all. It must be a literary term. Like code name for vegetarian feminist or something like that.

Adelina’s fork, filled with chicken salad, stopped in mid-air and lowered back to her plate. I think all the blood-talk kind of got to her. She was a city-girl after all. “Well, I’m thankful the author finally finished my book.” Adelina shook her head. “How long does it take one person to write a novel? She's been working on it for two years.”

“How long? Our author?” Ashleigh stirred her tea, her face a mirror of understanding. “You do realize she wrote my story nine years ago and has revised it so many times I don’t even know the ending anymore. Besides that, she’s changed the spelling of my name twice and my sister’s name three times. Poor girl, I attribute it to her…um…what did you call it, Eisley?”




“No, I think you once referred to it as creative divergence. Yes, that’s right. Although all of the above are most likely involved.”

“If I was that indecisive in my job, I’d be dead.” Sophie grimaced and stabbed a piece of turkey with her fork. Perfect aim and a little unnerving. “I’m sure I could write a much better story than she can, or at least finish it. I don't even know if I survive to the end.”

“Don't worry,” I said. “Whatever the ending, it will be a happy one. She always writes happy endings.”

“Sure she does.” Came Sophie’s sarcastic reply. “I’m trying to be thankful here, but my story ending doesn’t look promising. She’s skipped about fifteen chapters to write the last one – and I'm left in the middle of a forest, bleed-.”

"Shh." Adelina's palm came up in warning, face a little paler than usual. "Don't tell the ending, or at least not at the dinner table."

Ashleigh smiled and waved away the concern. “ There's no cause to fret. You’re only a first draft, Sophie. There are no certainties at this point. Not even an ending at all. Just be thankful you’ve not been stashed into the...” Ashleigh lowered her voice to a whisper. “The drawer.”

I cringed and Adelina dropped her fork with a clang against the table.

“Now, Ashleigh, don’t go passing along horror stories.” I placed my arm on Sophie’s shoulder, but she pulled away. She wasn’t the huggy sort. “Just because a story goes into the drawer doesn’t mean it won’t come out again. She resurrected mine. Although she's rewritten it twice and cut at least thirty thousand words. I felt my life getting shorter with each cut. Sometimes I wonder what in print or e-pub she’s doing.”

“But your ending is still good.” Adelina chimed in. “I’m a little nervous about all these notes the author keeps taking about a submerged vehicle. You'd think having to help that silly cattle farmer of mine birth a cow would be enough torture.”

“Precisely.” Ashleigh snapped her napkin onto the table. “She has four books on historical accounts of the Lusitania  and a preposterous amount of notes on its sinking. Unless I’m wrong, I’m the only historical character at the table. This does not bode well for me at all.”

I tried to interject but Sophie stopped me with a look. "Oh you can't say anything, Eisley. If the worst thing that happens to you is getting locked in a 500 year old tower with a British hunk, I don't want to hear it. Try running for your life through an underground maze of tunnels with a hybrid vampire for company."

“Now guys, I know the author wants to write for the glory of God." I looked at Sophie and hesitated on the thought. Vampires? God's glory? I shrugged. Hey, who was I to know God's plans, right? "That has to help us deal with whatever she throws at us, right? I mean, she wants our stories to send a message of God’s love to the readers.”

“Our stories are part of a much bigger plan, even if we can't see the outcome directly in front of us.” Ashleigh offered.

“But wait a minute.” Sophie leaned forward, her unearthly emerald eyes catching the faint sunlight glimmering through the window. “The author’s own story isn’t so much different than ours then, is it?”

“What do you mean?”

We all leaned closer, well, not too close. Sophie wasn't very predictable with pointy-objects.

“She doesn’t know the ending of her story, not the exact ending – but she’s trusting Someone much bigger than herself to make it work.”

I smacked my forehead. Why didn’t I think of that. “Right.”

“Are you saying, God is the author of our author’s story?” Ashleigh’s smile bloomed complete this time.

“She must be very certain of his love for her.” Dee whispered and averted her gaze to the window.

“I bet she wonders what God is doing in her life sometimes, just like we wonder what in paperback she’s doing in ours.” I reached for a drumstick and shook it at each one of them. Ashleigh looked horrified at the waving chicken-leg. “But in the end, she does remember His love for her – and that’s why she can…” I swallowed hard. “She can be thankful for the good and bad that comes her way.”

“Despite German torpedoes, or unruly cattlemen, or exhausting ex-husbands, and…” Ashleigh lifted a brow toward Sophie and cringed. “Toothy undead. "The author believes her faith will be painted with literary brushstrokes through the stories of our lives – so that others can see God's love through us.”

“As she’s learning how to trust God with her own story, she’s writing ours.” It made everything a little clearer – and a whole lot easier to bear. Our stories, even our pain, had a purpose.

“If she can trust God with her story." Sophie sighed, a surrender-sigh. “Maybe we should be thankful we can trust her with ours.”


"It's the ultimate happily-ever-after." Dee offered. "And I don't have a whole lot of faith in those, so that's saying a lot."

“Well, I’m glad we’ve settled that.” I unveiled the cake in the center of the table. “Now it’s time for sweets.”

“Chocolate for dessert.” Sophie's eyes took on a fighting glint.

I laughed. “Really girls, is there any other kind?”

I Peter 1: 3-9

6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Thanks for reading to the end. Sorry for the long post. It's very difficult to write short scenes :-) Hope you enjoyed. So what are your characters saying about you?

Happy Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Chocolate Cafe Chat with Author Denise Hunter

I fell in love with Denise Hunter's stories when I met Lucas Wright in The Convenient Groom. His faithful love for Kate, despite her apparent indifference toward him, is a beautiful allegory of Christ's care and drawing toward us.

And she's fantastic at writing heroes who adore the heroines! Who wouldn't love that, right?

Well, pull up a chair and join Denise and The Alley Cats for some morning mocha and a chocolate
chip- cream cheese danish :-)

Who is a character you've enjoyed writing and why?

Seth Murphy from "A December Bride". This is a first-time-in-print e-novella that releases Nov. 26. It's a Chapel Springs novella following Layla from "Barefoot Summer".

I love Seth Murphy because he's completely (though secretly) smitten with Layla, and he's willing to patiently woo her. What's not to love about having a guy head over heels for you? A guy who's willing to wait however long it takes to win you? Deep down I think we all want to be loved like that. It was fun writing a hero who
embodies that blend of passion and patience. 

Thanks, Denise. Creating characters, especially memorable heroes, is somewhat magical. Denise's are no exception.

 I found this quote to go along with the thought.

“Stories have a power, a magic all their own. Consider the fact that the actions, thoughts and feelings of people who have no existence in reality can make you laugh, make you weep. That's the art and that's the magic.” 

― Fledge Story Witch of the Ten Nations Fair Tailspin by Denise Rossetti

Do you have a character (or characters) you've created and someone felt the 'magic' of it? Or even better, have you noticed God's work in the creation of certain characters?

Friday, November 22, 2013

‘Tis the season for rejections…

About this time of year… with conference several weeks behind us, the press of the holidays approaching, we often find ourselves in a season that, for a lot of us, might not be so fun. Rejection season.

You labored over every word, dotted every i, crossed every t until your eyes took the same position. And then you held your breath, crossed your fingers, and launched your dream on one giant prayer as you pressed SEND.

Well, send isn’t exactly the end of the line, now is it? Sometimes it feels that way when the silence is so deafening you’d crave a rejection if it meant you’d hear something… anything from the great black void of editors and agents who supposedly have your precious pages.

But then, if your lucky (or some might say otherwise) the waiting ends, and the results come in, and… Splat! Someone press the life-assist button because my mutilated heart is now flat-lining on the floor with my crushed dreams.

Oh, we all like to pretend we’ve developed that tough skin, impenetrable by cutting words, but deep down, if your dream is as big as you claim it is, ooo, those words sure do sting!

Now, feedback, if you get it, can be extremely useful. And not just for unseasoned writers. This is why writers enter contests… sure, we’d like to win, but very often the critique you get from the judges is worth the price of that degrading score.

Sometimes it’s not.

Since you’ll never win over everyone—let’s face it, even NYT Bestsellers get bad reviews--how do you know what feedback to take to heart, and what to let roll off?

I wish the answer was simple. Subjectivity is the name of the game. But for me, I think it’s important to establish what your strengths and weaknesses are as a writer. Work with a crit partner, compile those comments from judges, agents, and editors, and give yourself a baseline. You might be a unique word-smith, describing things in such a way that stirs your reader’s senses. You might have a strong command of language and grammar, keeping a tight and organized flow that provides a seamless read. Or perhaps you struggle with the technicalities but you can pen an unstoppable plot that carries the reader away in spite of the less than fancy words.

Then take an honest look at the criticisms, but don’t let them tear you apart. Remember, these are OPINIONS. All stories can be improved with wise direction, but don’t forget that it’s your story, and YOU alone get to tell it. But at the same time, don’t be so hardheaded that you refute any negative feedback. It’s as important to determine your strengths to build confidence, as it is to acknowledge where you have room to grow.

So, since I’m feeling a little bit jolly and hope to keep my spirits up for the holidays, here are my recommendations for weathering REJECTION season:

--Read your rejection letter, perhaps a couple times, and then put it away until tomorrow.
Our emotions get the best of us in the heat of the moment. Our hopes are riding high, that email drops in our inbox, you’re thinking “This could be it!” and instead of a glowing report, they knock you down a few pegs. Take a breather, sometimes what seems so harsh at first glance can be seen with a more critical eye once the smoke clears. 

--Make notes on what feedback is positive and what is negative.
Use columns if you have to. Then compare the criticism to what you already know about your abilities as a writer. Was this one agent or editor’s opinion consistent with your general consensus of strengths and weaknesses, or might they be someone who just isn’t the right fit for you? You can’t please everyone, so before you go hacking at those hard fought words, determine what will reinforce and strengthen the story you were given and what simply doesn’t mesh with your style and purpose.

--Get a kick-a crit partner who will shoot it to you straight.
This is a biggie, so be choosy if you can! So much of our time is spent silently in our heads or on paper. This is why I read my stories aloud to myself so I can gain some perspective as to how my thoughts translate into real world dialogue and understanding. But at the same time, you will not be able to see what others see. Before you subject yourself to those big glaring “PASS’s” from that dream publisher, get some more eyes on your work. Listen with a critical ear. Weight those suggestions with as little emotion as possible. And don’t just look for someone who will read through and tell you they loved it. They had to have had a thought to the contrary since they weren’t the one who wrote the book.

My crit partner can attest to the fact that if I’m gonna take the time to critique, I’m gonna give ALL of my insights straight up. Now, that doesn’t just mean tearing the book to shreds or being cruel… though I have been known to wield a deadly weapon… it also means explaining what you liked. What made you laugh, cry, what sucked you in or made you fall in love with a character. Strengths and weaknesses here. We all have them both. ** Critical information for weathering those rejections. ** 

--Believe in yourself despite the downpour.
Remember all those stories about the bestseller that collected a stack of rejections before making it big? Don’t let the negative voices drown out what you have to say. You’re story is important. It was given to you for a reason. Don’t get so singularly focused on publication that you lose sight of the joy of creating story. What a beautiful gift… whether it’s meant to be shared with the world or not is sort of out of our hands. Do what you can, write the best story possible, be open to improvement, but don’t let the rejection define you.  

Chin up! God’s got a plan!

What about you… What have you confirmed are your strengths and weaknesses? And how do you stay afloat when those rejections come back and rock your boat? 

Amy Leigh Simpson writes Romantic Suspense that is heavy on the romance, unapologetically honest, laced with sass and humor, and full of the unfathomable Grace of God. She is the completely sleep deprived mama to two little tow-headed mischief makers and wife to her very own swoon-worthy hero. Represented by the oh-so-wise and dashing Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary Inc.