Thursday, September 16, 2010

New rejection slips to paper our walls!

There's no need to drag out the next part of our story. Suffice it to say that our fun, funny, clever book, WE INTERRUPT THIS FUNERAL TO BRING YOU BACK , evidently wasn't as fun, funny and clever as we thought. Before long, the dreaded rejection slips began to fill our mailboxes. This time they were being forwarded to us by our new agent, but the pain of being rejected still pierced our hearts as much as when they had come to us directly. To give her credit, our agent continued to submit the project for the better part of a year, until even we had at last given up hope. When she could think of no more places to send the manuscript, we thanked her and released her from representing us. With admirable class, she agreed with the condition that we send any future manuscripts her way. Believe me when I say that this went a long way toward softening this latest blow to our fragile egos.

For anyone who hasn't experienced this kind of rejection, it's difficult to describe the way it makes you feel. Putting your thoughts and ideas into words is rarely easy and what follows -- letting other people read your material -- is always scary. There are just so many doubts: What makes me think I have the talent to write? Just because I consider my ideas clever and original doesn't mean anyone else will. What if people read my stuff only to laugh about it behind my back? What if someone finds out how many rejections slips I've received? Do my family and friends think I'm just wasting my time, but are too polite to actually come right out and say it? Sadly, the list goes on and on, especially when you're trying to go to sleep at night.

Clearly Nancy and I had reached a critical point in our "writing careers". Nancy was itching to get back to writing her plays (always her first love), and although my husband Bob made a good salary, our children were rapidly approaching college age, which would necessitate our finding some extra income to pay for so many tuitions. (At one point, we had five children in college at the same time, with two more to follow! You can see the problem.)

It was about that time that one of my friends happened to mention how much money could be made by writing romance novels. They'd long been popular in England, particularly the Harlequin books, but were just starting to catch on in the States. Since I was primarily a mystery, suspense, history and adventure buff, I really had little idea what kind of books she was talking about. In the back of my mind I think I had the notion (unfounded as I soon discovered!) that these books were a little sleazy and not very well written). But, in the interest of research -- and motivated by a dire need to earn college money -- I slipped on a pair of dark glasses (yes, I actually did!), ducked into our neighborhood library where I was well known, ergo the disguise, arbitrarily picked up several paperback contemporary romance novels from the "Honor Bin", and brought them home to read.

(Next: I set out on a crash course in writing romance novels!)


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