Do you want to be a writer? Join me as I write. I share the good, bad, and ugly of putting the story together, getting it published, and learning how to promote it. I share my thoughts and feelings, my good ideas and bad ones, what works and what doesn't.
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my recent retirement, I wrote professionally for over 45 years. Some of it was,
I told myself at the time, not what I really wanted to be writing—articles for
agency publications, informational materials, speeches for the agency director.
It was “my day job” that I couldn’t quit because I couldn’t get anyone
interested in my novels.
the years, Irealized that any writing
hones your craft—the thought processes required to come up with an idea; the
utilization of resources to research thoroughly; the time to learn correct
grammar and spelling; the willingness to learn from the masters; the discipline
to sit in the chair and work; the development of thick skin in order to learn
from, and not resent, criticism; the humility that comes with rejection; and
the absolute joy that comes when someone really likes what you’ve written and
says those magic words, “I couldn’t put it down.”
speaker at a writers’ workshop I attended made the statement, “Persistence
could be the poster child for persistence (some might call it hard-headedness).
I’ve been writing for 35 years, honing my craft at more writing conferences and
reading more books about writing than I can remember. I simply refused to give
up until I found someone interested in representing and publishing my novels.
All those years I worked fulltime, took care of my family, and made time for
writing—sometimes into the early morning hours. And praying … I should have
said that first.
news in the past two years has been grim. A publisher may LOVE your novel, but
doesn’t think your platform is expansive enough.In other words, you don’t provide promise of
famous authors persisted in the face of rejection. F. Scott Fitzgerald once
received a rejection letter for The Great Gatsby that read: "You'd have a
decent book if you'd get rid of that Gatsby character."Jack London’s estate “House of Happy Walls”
has a collection of nearly 600 rejection letters from his early years.
Grey had difficulties getting his first novel, Betty Zane (1903) published.
When it was rejected by Harper & Brothers, he lapsed into despair. He
finally self-published it.
Potter sent her tale to six publishers, but was rejected by all of them. In
September 1901, she decided to self-publish and distributed 250 copies of a
renamed The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Women would never have seen the light of day if Louisa May Alcott let rejection
hold her back. The editor of Boston’s The Atlantic magazine, James T. Fields,
told Alcott’s father, “Tell Louisa to stick to her teaching; she can never
succeed as a writer.”
boiled down into the format I like best – a list:
every day, preferably in the same place and at the same time. (I don’t follow
my own advice about the same place, same time, but I write every day.)
editing on the screen or in print, read your work aloud. You’ll be amazed at
how many awkward sentences you can fix this way.
a critique group, preferably with people who write in your genre. (Or find a
as many writers’ conference and workshops as you can. These things can get
expensive, so check them out for those that sound helpful to you and your level
of writing. The networking is invaluable.
– a lot, especially the great writers. You’ll soon come to recognize what
excellent writing is.
writing contests; sometimes you get tremendous feedback from judges and you get
name recognition, awards, and rewards if you win.
to work at your local Book Festivals. They are the ones who will invite you to
speak once you’ve been published. You’ll meet some fine people and network with
published authors who usually have good advice.
you write historical fiction, PLEASE, make every effort to assure that your
facts are correct and your history is good.
is separate from writing. Not every writer has the time, the talent, or the
interest. Both writing and publishing take work. Self-publishing demands the
work of both. Even if you land a contract with a traditional publisher, you
must still work at self-promotion.
an agent. Some writers complain that it is unnecessary and ask why they should
give another person a piece of the royalties. My agent, Linda S. Glaz, with
Hartline Literary Agency, is my best ally. She knows where my book should be,
and she knows the people to send it to, and they respect her opinions. While
she’s promoting my novel, I’m free to write. Finding an agent is as difficult
as finding a publisher.
Christian writers. Pray about and for what you are writing. Ask yourself, will
this glorify his name? Will it lift up your readers? Will they be a better
person for having read what you’ve written? Have you done your absolute best to
honor the absolute sacrifice that was made for you? Will you handle rejection
with grace and accolades with humility?
to rescue their kidnapped daughter, Lilyan and Nicholas Xanthakos trek two
hundred miles through South Carolina mountains and backcountry wilderness,
fighting outlaws, hunger, sleeplessness, and despair. When the trail grows
cold, the couple battles guilt and personal shame; Lilyan for letting Laurel
out of her sight, and Nicholas for failing to keep his family safe.
track Laurel to the port of Charleston as post-Revolutionary War passions reach
fever pitch.There, Lilyan, a former
patriot spy, is charged for the murder of a British officer. She is thrown into
the Exchange Building dungeon and chained alongside prostitutes, thieves, and
murderers. Separated from her husband, she digs deep inside to re-ignite the
courage and faith that helped her survive the war.Determined to free his wife at any cost,
Nicholas finds himself forced back into a life of violence he thought he’d left
a rumor that Laurel may be aboard a freighter bound for Baltimore, Lilyan and
Nicholas secure passage on a departing schooner, but two days into the voyage,
a storm blows their ship aground on Diamond Shoals. As the ship founders, both
are swept overboard.
their love for each other and their faith sustain them as they await word of
their missing child? Or is Laurel lost to them forever?
recently retired after a 41-year career as a communications director, editor,
and proofreader.To assist authors to
“get it right about horses in their works,” Susan worked with the Long Riders’
Guild Academic Foundation to compile A
Writer's Guide to Horses (also known as
An Equestrian Writer’s Guide) that can be found at www.lrgaf.org.
Forty-five years ago, she married her high school sweetheart, and they have two
adult children, one granddaughter, and a granddog. An admitted history nerd,
she enjoys researching for her novels, painting, singing, listening to music,
and sitting on her porch watching the rabbits and geese eat her daylilies.
Publishing of the Carolinas will release the sequel to Laurel, entitled Cassia, in
September 2015.The Chamomile, the prequel to Laurel,
won the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Okra Pick. Want to win a copy of Laurel? Leave a comment below. The winner will be announced next week on this site. I will need contact info from the winner at that time. Good luck!