Mulling Things Over

Bright and early this morning, to fit with the morning I'd already had trying to find a decent pair of jeans to wear on dress down day at work and a bit of bickering with my husband, I opened my inbox to find a rejection from Harlequin. I won't go in to how many daydreams centered around finding an acceptance from Harlequin, because all of that is moot now and no longer matters. 

The thing that matters is this. I'm going to keep writing. I probably won't be submitting another book to Harlequin. Why? Because my voice doesn't seem to jive with theirs. It's not my fault. It's not their fault. I just can't seem to write to their specs. That is an assumption, of course, because the rejection was a form letter that just said "not a good fit for us", but that is what I think is the problem. Maybe category romance just isn't my thing. None of my other books would fit into a Harlequin category either.

Rejections are a fairly normal part of most writers' lives. I hate to say we get used to it because each rejection carries its own special sting. What a writer learns to do is look at them differently. I've had some very encouraging, helpful rejections, and some that are just "not right", and of course, those that are just echoing silence that says "if you don't hear from us within the next 100 years, we don't want it".   I try to look at each of them not as roadblocks by directional arrows, based not only on what they say but what I feel when I get them. Today's rejection made me ask myself the question of what I really want to happen with my writing. Is Harlequin my dream? My answer to that is a resounding "no." My dream has never included the sentence "I want to write for Harlequin." My dream has always been "I want to write." There's a difference. A huge difference. And this realization made me ask myself why I write. The answer to that is simple. 

I write because I'm a writer. I'm also a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, paralegal, etc. I went to school to be a paralegal and followed school up with twelve years of experience. The rest of the things I am, I do by heart. Including writing. I write from my heart and, while I have learned the rules of writing, they improve what I do by heart, they don't alter the organic nature of my stories.

I have a hard time letting my writing flow when I'm sticking to the tight formula required by category romance. There are many talented writers who can do it, but I can't. Any attempt I make at it seems to stifle my voice. As a writer, my voice is all I have to offer. 

I think a writer's voice and heart are so entwined it's nearly impossible to separate them. So my heart, my voice, my writing might not be what Harlequin is looking for, but that's okay. It's not right for Harlequin, but that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with it. It just means it's not right for them. 

So, I move on. I'll look the book over through the lens of rejection and see if it needs fixing. If it does, I'll fix it. I submit it elsewhere or I put it aside and work on something else. Whether writing is just a hobby that results in some published books on my bookshelf or whether it eventually becomes a career,  I have to write. Like being a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a daughter, it's in my heart. 


When Swallows Fall will be released on Amazon on October 28, 2013! 

Stay tuned for exciting news about the re-release of my first three books!


  1. While I'm sorry to hear Harlequin didn't think your writing fit,I like your philosophy on the rejection. I hope you find a good fit for your MS soon.

  2. Have you tried a small press? Many of them have wonderful editors, solid reputations and they won't sign your story to a lifetime of copyright contract.

    Good luck with your future endeavors, whatever you decide to do.

  3. My other books are published by small presses, and I've been happy with them.


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