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I’d like to welcome everyone to my final blog tour of 2011. And so to properly celebrate, I’ve decided to give a way one copy of the book each week to one of those willing to leave a comment on this blog post.

Easy peasy, right?

But be forewarned, this is not your typical Christmas romance novel.

Although I love many aspects of this novel, my biggest fear is that readers won’t like one of the main characters, Holly, and thus, won’t give her a chance—won’t enjoy the story. When I starting writing this novel I didn’t want to create the same heroine we all know so well. You know, the leading lady who is pretty, but doesn’t know it, meets a hero who finds her attractive but somehow she just doesn’t see it, blah, blah, and blah. I agree and so I did the unconscionable and wrote a pretty character who actually knows she pretty. But I didn’t stop there, she’s also stylish and…OMG…she knows that too. Gasp! She’s snobby and yes, a wee bit shallow.

Holly is the kind of girl we all knew, and maybe even were, in school who was pretty and popular and new it. The same girl who grew up, married the perfect man, and now lives in the perfect house and by all appearances, has the perfect life. Puke! I know, all y’all already hate her.

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Back in the not-so-distant past when I was still querying and being rejected by publishers and agents
in the privacy of my own home, where said communications could be deleted and/or ripped to shreds,
I thought things were pretty rough.

Rejection, as every author knows, can be crushing to the ego, devastating to the spirit and numbing to creativity.

Once my first manuscript was accepted, I thought those rollercoaster days of excited anticipation followed by an agonizing wait that ended with a screeching halt at a patronizing, “This manuscript is good but it just isn’t for us/me,” were over.

Beyond every obstacle is another hurtle.

What I didn’t know was that getting published, in no way, meant the end of rejection. Not only are readers and reviewers free to say wonderfully glorious things about my book, but they are equally unrestrained, much to my chagrin, from being down right nasty. And to make matters worse, their opinions are published on the Internet where there is no delete button and, obviously, no shredder for me to use at my discretion. Just out there, uncensored and raw, for all interested parties to peruse.

So, I thought I would share a little of my joy, along with a pinch of my pain, with y’all by publishing some of my reviews.

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Oct

21

2009

Waiting . . .

As an unpublished author I’ve noticed a very distinct pattern of reoccurring events.

First, I get all excited about an idea. Then, I spend countless hours burning up the keyboard trying to get it all down before the inspiration evaporates. This part of the process usually involves waking in the middle of the night and reaching for a pen, or worse, the inability to actually fall asleep because the words just won’t stop. Not to mention the inability to accomplish anything because I have to keep running back to the computer. Consequently, I am late for almost everything.

Second, the editing, revising, rethinking, editing, revising, rethinking, editing . . . I think you can see where I’m going with number two.

Third, the all important thumbs-up from a friend, family member, or my personal favorite, the unsuspecting employee who can’t possibly refuse and/or say anything negative.

Fourth is the submission to a publisher, agent or contest.

And then comes what Dr Seuss calls, “a most useless place: The Waiting Place.”

Waiting for a yes or no, or for the phone to ring,

or for the mailman to show, or the email to ding

waiting while my heart dashes

waiting while each day passes

waiting for the time to come when someone says,

“Good work, you’ve won!”

I’m just waiting, worrying that my submission has gone missing, lost in a stack while the editor went fishing

or worn as a hat, or fallen to the floor,

or kicked under the door and into a grate

or smoked in a pipe, or used as a plate

or eaten by a pet, or sitting in a queue

or even swallowed by the internet?

I’m just waiting.

The worst part about waiting is that my hopes grow and then somehow diminish at the same time. By the time I finally hear back from the receiving party my nerves are such an anxious jumble of repressed emotion that I don’t know whether I should plan a celebration or pull my hair out. Sigh. The process is exhausting. Every time I get a no I say that I am going to stop writing but then a well-meaning friend (usually another writer) will always talk me down, saying that I can’t give up. Why? Because they truly believe I’m good. Or, maybe it’s as simple as misery loving company.

Either way, I think Tom Petty said it best when he wrote: The Waiting is the Hardest Part.

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Sep

30

2009

Oops, my bad.

My biggest query faux pas ever had to be the time I submitted to a small publisher, Spinster Ink. One day I was searching for publishers on the Internet and I came across another southern publisher. Great, I write about Southerners! So, I clicked on the site. On the home page they had a statement that said how they were committed to giving a voice to women writers—I’m a woman writer—that their mission is to publish fiction that taps into the hopes, fears, dreams and fantasies of women today. My pulse started to race knowing that my books dealt with these very topics. Next, it said their books celebrate diversity and honor strength in the face of adversity . . . and are always life-affirming.

OMG! My stories were definitely about strong women, or women who become strong through their struggles, and most important, they were both life-affirming.

And to sweeten the deal, the web site said that they welcome, and have published, many previously unknown authors.

Hallelujah, I had found my publisher.

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I’ve never been at the top of anything so I really can’t relate to the saying,

“It’s lonely at the top.”

Well, that’s not entirely true. I was at the top of the Empire State Building once and it was anything but lonely. All those pushy tourists elbowing their way for look over the edge. Closter phobic and disappointing, that’s what the top was like for me.

Why so melancholy? I received two rejections this week. Actually, four to be exact. Two letters, each rejecting both my books.

The first one came from a publisher. It was the basic rejection thanking me for submitting, apologizing for responding with a form letter, blah, blah, blah. The letter went on to explain that they receive six thousand queries and only publish twelve books a year so they have to choose books they feel “passionate” about. Then, they tried to cushion the blow by saying that they “regretfully” must pass over many “fine manuscripts.” Unfortunately, they failed to mention whether or not mine was one they regretted passing over. I would much rather have them say simply . . .

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