Today is the 52-week MFRW blog challenge, Week 34 – Open Doors or Closed Doors?
I have a small confession to make. I often think in song. It’s true! Just about any topic, and my mind goes to song lyrics. Maybe it’s all those musicals my Mom used to watch on TV. Maybe it’s the musicals we went to the Muny to see. (ST. Louis Municipal Theater, Forest Park) Maybe it’s the eighteen years of piano lessons, ten years in band counting college, or maybe it’s just an annoying quirk that I have. It drives the hubs bat sh** crazy.
See what I mean?
I’m sure you can make the leap of why my mind went automatically to The Doors given the prompt. I mean come on, that was an open door! *snorts*
But what if that wasn’t what the MFRW challenge
had in mind? Hmmmm.
It’s a horrible thing, this ADD brain of mine. Look- Squirrel! Back to the topic – doors. How can any writer worth their salt not think of JRR Tolkien in reference to doors?
I put the thought on the back burner while I attempted to upload my new book to Createspace. I say attempted because my laptop is not cooperating with Adobe flash player, and it won’t let me review the insides. It simmered back there for a few hours.
*ding* It’s soup!
What if . . . yeah, I could go with that. Since this blog challenge is related to romance writing, maybe I should share about doors in that field.
In 2015, I had made myself a resolution that I would submit my manuscripts to publishers through July and if none were accepted, I would attempt the self-publishing route.
I have regularly submitted articles to magazines and online magazines. It’s similar but different to novels. I sent Kiss of the Dragon off to 3 publishers and got two rejections and one – if you rewrite the entire thing and change the characters then we will review it again. That kind of changes the entire story, don’t you think? I shelved it.
I sent Faere Warrior: Passion’s Price off to 2 publishers. One rejection, one – if you add the backstory in and set this as maybe the second or third book in a series, and make the overall story the realm war, then we would be interested in the series. I was on cloud 9!!!
I worked on it diligently, had the foundation story down, made the suggested tweaks to it, then had a falling away with an individual who unbeknownst to me was part owner of this small publishing house. Offer retracted. Sigh. Project shelved.
I sent 3 other stories off to publishers, some were unsolicited to houses that it was a long shot; nothing. I submitted to a specific call for romance shorts, nothing. I submitted to a call for a BDSM short, made the first round, then was cut in the second round.
I nearly quit. I thought I’ll just write for myself and file them away and maybe some day when I am dead my kids will find my manuscripts and read them and think they might be worth publishing.
I was ready to throw in the towel on getting any books published. I had been successful in article writing for the newspaper, maybe that was all I was cut out for. My dreams ‘done fell through’.
In my morning sprint group, the wonderful ladies encouraged me to keep writing and suggested that I consider self-publishing. I have to be honest, I had a tainted view of this. I thought self-publishing was Vanity Press. Most of the people I knew that published books were through vanity press and they were a joke. Not to make light of their accomplishments!
Several church friends published their books, most of which was their life story. They sold a few at a table at church when they were first published then ended up with boxes of books in their garage or basement. I didn’t want to be that person.
Then I started seeing more and more fiction writing in the Indy market. I finally bit on a friend’s novel about zombies and I loved it. It was hysterical! They convinced me to consider it. So, back to the time line – I told myself if I didn’t get a contract by July, I would pursue the Indy market.
I finished my first book Red Wine & Roses. OK, it wasn’t the first story I finished, but those were rejected and I was told to revise them, rewrite them or add X amount more to them. I made a post on Facebook that I had finished it! An individual whom I had worked with on the group blog got in touch with me for Eclectic Bard Books. AN OPEN DOOR!
I jumped through that door so fast it made my head spin. It was a whirlwind of deadlines, demands, and then nothing. We came to a mutual point of not renewing the contract and they were gracious enough to release the rights to my story. I am truly grateful for that and the opportunity. I learned a lot, but small house publishers . . . CLOSED DOOR! Locked, bolted, NOPE!
I learned a lot through that experience. Some good, some bad, all of it memorable.
I have edited some truly crap writing. I have also had the privilege of editing some great writing. In both cases, the author was confident enough in their work, even if I thought it sucked, (hello – there, their, they’re; to two too; affect, effect; was/were; numerous cases of that doesn’t mean what you think it means; and sex scenes that read like a clinical post rape exam – shudders)
Yet, they were determined to get their baby out there. What was I so afraid of?
Life has a way of impressing upon you what is really important. I had been making excuses for not finishing my work, and not focusing on one project. I was a story polygamist. Either I wanted to do this or I didn’t, which is it?
My second book, a nonfiction humor collection of posts that started on my blog was my first shot at going Indy. Quotidiandose: 30 Days of Sass: I got the formatting wrong, got the margins wrong, but I learned. Soon I was able to get Red Wine back out there under my name.
I continue to learn. This year, life smacked me around pretty hard but it drove home the point of either do it or shut up. I am going for it! There is still an open door, I’m going to use it.
There are a few other areas of my life that I have made huge revelations in as far as excuses. Some are harder to change than others but not impossible.
I feel like I am getting a second chance in life, I don’t want to waste it. I’ve had some real issues with what our church teaches about personal goals and striving for your own desires. It’s sad that it has taken me this long to get it, but I believe God gives us the desires of our heart. I believe that His word is true. But I also believe that He expects us to work our little or big, fannies off. I don’t think there is anything wrong with personal aspirations – it is what drives us to become better.
Maybe I’m wrong and y’all should pray for me in this. But tell me this, Kurt Warner achieved his goal of becoming a professional football player. How is that OK, yet being an author isn’t? This lack of self-esteem that was established in my young years has somehow made me think that my goals aren’t as important as anyone else’s. That is wrong thinking. I’m shutting that door right now. By doing so, I am opening multiple doors of opportunity.
We are often our own worst enemy. I know I am. I’m the one that put everyone else’s needs above my own. I’m the one who sidelined myself in life. I’m the one who shelved my own dreams. NO MORE!
This isn’t a dress rehearsal, this is real life. We are responsible for what we do with it. I’m not happy with what I’ve done with mine up to this point, so this second chance is a breath of fresh air. It has driven home the point to let things go. Shake it off.
I don’t want my eulogy to be, oh she was nice. I want it to be bolder. I want people to know that I gave my all, pursued my dreams, living life with gusto and no apologies. I’m through apologizing for being me!
This wasn’t the direction that I intended to go, but this is what came out. Doors are apparently a touchy subject with me. Maybe I should have stopped with The Doors. NAH!
Let’s be real. Let’s be authentic with each other.
Life sucks at times, it’s up to us to make lemonade with the lemons we are given.
What doors are you keeping shut? Which ones have you opened? What doors are standing open waiting for you to go through?
There are a lot of other author’s in this blog hop that may have a more sound post. You may want to check them out at:
Here are some other posts in this series from yours truly:
- Raindrops on Roses
- They’ll Survive – I Guess
- Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
- Thank God for Grace in Editing!
- #MFRW Best Friends
- Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
- Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor
- A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor
- I’ll take What is Purple Prose for 50 Alex #MFRWauthor
- Ellie’s Guilty Pleasures #MFRWauthor
- How Do You Do That? #MFRW
There are more but I don’t have the links done yet. I will eventually when I get to it. I’ve been working on Roxy and this week, I FINISHED IT! Roxy Sings the BLues in is the hands of the editor!
Here is the preorder link for ebooks:
As soon as my laptop cooperates or I figure out how to bypass flash player, the print copy will be available!
Write on my friends, write on!