2019 Life-Long Learning: Drenched at the Runestone Park

    It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.  Oh, that’s already been done. But it sums up this weekend fairly well.  It was the weekend of the biannual Heavener Runestone Viking Fest at the Heavener Runestone Park in Oklahoma.  I’ve been a part of this event for several years now but this year Mother Nature did not approve. I should have asked her first.

Please let me explain how much I love this park and the lore that surrounds it.  I wrote two books about it and I love to set up in the pristine forest and breath deeply the magic that surrounds it.  But not this weekend.  The weatherman kept saying Saturday would be an indoor day.  That was an understatement.  Why couldn’t he have been wrong this time?

We got to the mountain Friday evening, tired from the four-and-a-half-hour drive and were planning to set up the canopy the night before.  But we were unsure if we would be there the next morning due to the potential rain.  You can’t set up paperback books under a 10 x 10 canvas canopy in the rain. And it was cold.  My husband and I aren’t getting any younger and both of us struggle climbing uphill (and the entire park is uphill).  So, with arthritis meds in hand we came for the weekend anyway.  I so love the forest. 

We went to the weekend cabin we’d rented and met the cousins who drive up from Texas to join us each time we make this trek.  Thank God for company.  Saturday it poured all day long. Just to find something to do, we looked up wineries in the area and drove into Paris, Arkansas in the rain to a tasting room. Cowie Wine Cellars www.cowiewinecellars.com  was lovely – even in the rain – and we might have bought some to bring back with us. On the way back the GPS took us over unfamiliar territory in the deluge with skies so dark it looked like midnight and we were almost involved in a wreck on a two-lane rural Arkansas road.

It continued to rain all day and into the night.  We munched on snacks back at the cabin to avoid getting back out for a meal. 

Sunday – after a sleepless night trying to decide what to do about the festival – we awoke to cold and drizzle.  The yard outside our cabin was standing in ankle deep water in places.    It would be too cold and muddy to set up at the festival for those of us not as young as we used to be.  Cold, wet and disillusioned, once again we avoided the mountain.  We met for breakfast and the cousins headed back toward Texas and we packed the car for home.  I hate that I missed it, but I don’t think nature meant for me to be there this year.  I miss the forest and telling people about the magic of the place. 

I’m sorry, Heavener Runestone Park.  I’m not as hale and hardy as I once was.  I know vendors camped out and stayed on the mountain all weekend.  We didn’t. Another lesson learned about nature and old age.

When we got home to Enid, we found it had barely sprinkled while we were gone.

What did you do this weekend?  Was the weather bad where you were?

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2019 Life-long Learning: Heavener Runestone Park Viking Fest!

  Twice a year the Heavener Runestone Park https://heavenerrunestonepark.com/ holds its Viking Fest with all things Viking and Celtic.  The park is loaded with costumed characters and families on outings.  Picnics are held as children enjoy turkey legs and corn dogs. Celtic music is heard throughout the park and it is transformed back in time to an era we can only dream about.

The festival is held to celebrate the runestone and dream about a by-gone age.  Vendors come from all across the United States to sell their wares.  Food trucks line the road and there are tables to eat the morsels found along the way.

I was enchanted with the forest the first time I traveled to the southeast part of the state near Poteau to the Heavener Runestone Park.  The idea that Vikings were in Oklahoma before Christopher Columbus found the new world was interesting and my YA book Glome’s Valley was born.

The sandstone monolith sits in the valley with ancient carvings on it claiming the valley for someone named Glome.  At least that is what some people believe.  It is the backdrop for my Oklahoma fairytale, Glome’s Valley.   I wrote a story about a young boy who hiked the trails near the stone and ran into a Viking ghost. They had adventures as only a child could.  They encountered trolls, fairies, and of course Thor and his trouble-maker brother, Loki.

Glome’s Valley and Return to Glome’s Valley are on sale this week on Kindle for $.99. If you haven’t read them, check them out.  I recently wrote a short story based on these two books titled Stone of Thor which will be featured in Okie Comics later on this year. Here’s an excerpt.

Last year when Ethan first came to Heavener with his dad, Glome had given him a rock with the sign of Thor written in ancient Futhark like the runes on the famous Heavener Runestone. He said it would protect him from bad things in the forest. And the worst thing in the forest was Loki, step-brother to the Norse god Thor. Ethan found out that if you needed him, Thor was available to help just by rubbing the stone and calling out his name.  But you didn’t call Thor unless it was an emergency. Now the rock was missing.

After dinner when the fireflies came out and darkness came, Ethan went to his swinging bed and curled up. Dad was snoring in his own bed. Ethan had almost drifted off when something made the bed sway.  He opened his eyes and saw Loki sitting at the end of the bed. He wore green clothing and his long nose pointed down until it almost met his chin on the way up. The inside of the cottage sparkled with the eyes of imps who often traveled with their master, Loki.  They had never visited the inside of Ethan’s house before.

“Did I wake you young man?” Loki smiled an evil grin.

Ethan instantly reached under his pillow for the rock that protected him in time of need.  But it wasn’t there.

“Looking for this?” Ethan’s rock with the sign for Thor dangled between his fingers. 

“Give that back!” Ethan sat up and grabbed for the rock sending his bed swaying as Loki disappeared. 

“You’ll never get this back.  It’s mine now. In fact, I plan to throw it into the forest where it will never be found again. Your days of being protected by my brother are over.”  Ethan saw a flash of green and Loki was gone.    

I always look forward to the festival and this year it will be bigger and better.  The weather should be great.  Bring the kids and pick up a copy of the Oklahoma fairytale Glome’s Valley https://tinyurl.com/ycxychjm and its sequel, Return to Glome’s Valley http://tinyurl.com/ybdsqr6w.

Come see us!

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2019 Life-Long Learning: Author Peggy Jaeger – Deerbourne Inn series

  I always learn so much by having a guest blogger on my website.  Today I want to introduce author, Peggy Jaeger, and her novella Hope’s Dream.  Peggy was one of the authors who wrote a novella about the fictional Deerbourne Inn in Vermont for The Wild Rose Press.  I think we all loved writing about this place and I am thrilled to have Peggy tell us about her book and how it came to be.

As a writer, I am always looking for new and intriguing ways to tell ages-old stories. For several months a rags-to-riches romance was spinning about in my brain and just when I was set to let it simmer for a time while I finished working on two contracted books, the Wild Rose Press put out its call for submissions to a new novella series titled THE DEERBOURNE INN.

That story I was milling around bounded to the front on my mind and HOPE’S DREAM came to life.

The Willow Springs setting of the Deerbourne Inn books –a tiny town where everyone knows everyone else – was perfect for the story of a small-town girl who’s gone through some rough times and had to make life altering changes, including giving up on her futures dreams and desires. My thought was, what would happen if this girl was suddenly given the chance to have everything she’s ever hoped and wished for come true? What would she have to sacrifice for the chance to make her life, and that of her family, a better one? And what would happen if during this time, she’d fall in love with a mysterious stranger?

Of course, my hero couldn’t just show up and give her money. What a boring story that would be! No, there had to be a backstory concerning the money and a moral decision Hope would have to make in accepting it. Conflict is everything in a romance! (And in life, too.)

Once I worked out the backstory, it took me about two weeks to get the first draft of the story written and my idea submitted. Luckily, I was one of the first authors to get on board and HOPE’S DREAM was the second novella released.

It never ceases to amaze me how things work out in life.

Hope Kildaire gave up her dream of becoming a nurse practitioner when a car accident killed her father and left her mother an invalid. Working two jobs and caring for her mother leaves the twenty-seven-year-old with no time for fun or relationships. When a law firm representing her paternal grandparents sends her several letters, Hope ignores them. She despises the family who disowned her father and wants nothing to do with them.

Lawyer Tyler Coleman’s job is simply to obtain Hope’s signature on a legal document. Getting it is harder than planned, though, when an unexpected attraction blossoms between them. If Ty is honest with Hope about why he’s in Willow Springs, he’ll fulfill his assignment but may risk hurting her.

The opportunity to have everything she’s ever desired is at Hope’s fingertips. Will her dream come true at the expense of Tyler’s love?

Hope stood behind the bar, filling two glasses with draft beer. She hadn’t spotted him approach, so he took the moment to observe her unawares.

A reserved smile graced her face as the guy waiting for his order chatted her up. Early twenties by Tyler’s guess, the kid stared at Hope with a serious case of attraction. He knew how the younger man felt.

During their lesson her hair had been woven into a braid. In the lodge, when she’d removed her hat, he’d likened the colors to butterscotch and honey. Now with it unbraided and freely floating down past her shoulders, the colors burst into life. Gold and red highlights shimmered from the waves framing her face, as if each strand had been hand painted for emphasis. In the tavern’s subdued lighting, Hope was a bright, vibrant beacon, sparkling with health and life.

Tyler was drawn to her light, her vitality, as if he’d spent his existence until that moment in perpetual darkness.

Hope turned, reached for something behind her, and caught his eye.

For a moment her body froze, her hand still outstretched, her eyes widening in surprise when they lit on him. She dipped her chin and regarded him from under her eyelashes as she finger-swiped the hair falling across her face behind her ear. A quick head bob his way indicated she’d be right with him.

With an expert’s finesse she uncorked a bottle of Jameson’s, poured a thimbleful each into two shot glasses, then added them to beer-guy’s order. He slid a bill into her hand and then waved off the change she tried to give him back. He scooped the drinks, then carried them back to his table. Hope slid the change into one of the jelly jars behind the bar marked with several names, hers among them, and made her way over to him.

“Hey, New York.” Sweet laughter warmed with surprise rang in her voice. “How are the legs?”

Tyler groaned and stretched them out in front of him. “Better after a long, hot soak, but I’m betting they’re gonna feel worse in the morning.”

She tossed him a quick, sympathetic look. “Make sure you take some kind of analgesic before going to sleep tonight. It’ll help. Trust me.”

“Will do.”

“What can I get you?”

He spurted off the name of one of the draft beers.

She pulled it and then brought it back to him.
“Anything to eat? I know the inn doesn’t serve dinner.”

He glanced up at the selection board again and asked, “What do you recommend?”

“The soup’s hot and fabulous. Comes with a salad or fresh bread. The burgers here are always great, but I’m biased.” Her open smile charmed him.

“Sold.”

“So,” he said after she came back from placing his order, “you’re a woman of many talents. Ski instructor. Bartender.”

The brighter colors in her hair glistened when she shook her head. “We in the business prefer the term mixologist.”

You can find Hope’s Dream here:

Amazon :https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HSSYK4V/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1

Wrp:  https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/6303-hope-s-dream.html

Nook :  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hopes-dream-peggy-jaeger/1129675139?ean=2940161540640

Itunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hopes-dream/id1437725682?mt=11

AUTHOR Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.

Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

Tying into her love of families, her children’s book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law.

Peggy holds a master’s degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer’s Disease during her time running an Alzheimer’s in-patient care unit during the 1990s.

In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.

In 2017 she came in 3rd in the New England Reader’s Choice contest for A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and was a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest for the same title.

In 2018, Peggy was a finalist in the HOLT MEDALLION Award and once again in the 2018 Stiletto Contest.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New

Hampshire RWA Chapter.

Peggy Jaeger can be found online here:

Website/Blog: http://peggyjaeger.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/peggy_jaeger

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Peggy-Jaeger-Author/825914814095072?ref=bookmarks

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/peggyjaeger/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13478796.Peggy_Jaeger

Instagram: https://instagram.com/mmj122687/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/peggy-jaeger

For Peggy, writing is oxygen!

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2019 Life-long Learning: Jean M. Grant and the Deerbourne Inn Series

    Today I am thrilled to have as my guest blogger, author Jean M. Grant.  She is a fellow author writing for The Wild Rose Press and has written a novella for the Deerbourne Inn Series titled Soul of the Storm. Seeing how she goes about writing her books is a learning experience for me.

Jean’s background is in science and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and her family for inspiration. She writes historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction. She also writes articles for family-oriented travel magazines. When she’s not writing or chasing children, she enjoys tending to her flower gardens, hiking, and doing just about anything in the outdoors.

Soul of the Storm – Will love help her summit one more peak?

Charlotte MacGregor lost the thrill of conquering mountains five years ago when her sister disappeared on a hiking adventure without her. Still guilt-ridden, Charlotte heads for a vacation to rustic Vermont with a friend—where she’s surrounded by reminders of her devastating loss and plagued with unanswered questions.

Matiu Christiansen is an outdoors buff. He works multiple jobs to save for his dream of owning an outfitter in New Zealand. He’s never quite felt at home in the United States and he yearns for his Maori roots, but his attraction to Charlotte puts a kink in his plans to move home later this year.

Thrown together by coincidence, Charlotte and Matiu form a kindred bond through their shared love of the outdoors. Can Charlotte surmount her demons to assist Matiu on a rescue when a late-season snowstorm hits? And can Matiu help Charlotte heal from the pain of the past?

She went to feel her ring on her finger with her thumb…but the ring wasn’t there. That old habit would not die even years later.

A dog bark intruded. The man crossed to the back door. “Reka, sweet girl, take your nap. Only a few hours here and then home, okay?” He spoke to her like a father to a toddler. The dog barked again. “A swim and walk this morning weren’t enough for you?”

He approached the dog, petted it, and whispered affections.

Charlotte made a soundless “Aww” and kept perusing.

The man returned, nearer. Residual sweat traced his brow. He pointed to a selection of books in the middle. “These are the best. Depends on what you’re looking for. Honest reviews or glorified fantasies?”

“Honest reviews, always.”

He stroked a hand through his neck-length black hair, the longer top layer falling over his forehead. He squatted and withdrew a few books from the lower shelf. “You could go with the popular or famous names, sure, but I like these authors.” He handed her one.

A book on South America sat in her hands. She muttered, “Thanks. Don’t need that one.”

“Oh, already been there, eh? All good, all good.” He took it and shoved it back on the shelf. “Where do your dreams lie then?”

She swallowed. No, I wasn’t there in that way. I was supposed to have been there. Five years ago. Instead she said, “Well, Vermont for now.”

“You’re in luck. I’m from Willow Springs.”

Jean loves settings and compared Vermont to New Zealand.

Ten Signatures of Vermont:

  1. Green Mountains
  2. Covered bridges
  3. “Mud Season”
  4. Farms & meadows
  5. Cheese, ice cream (“cremees”), and chocolate
  6. Rivers and waterfalls
  7. Rustic small towns
  8. Snow
  9. The Long Trail, a 272-mile hiking trail that goes from North to South across the state
  10. Cows

Ten (okay, 15…) Signatures of New Zealand:

  1. Golden beaches, teal seas, and the city of sails (Auckland)
  2. Maori culture
  3. Aspiring mountains (e.g. the Southern Alps/The Remarkables)
  4. Volcanic and geothermal wonderland
  5. Friendly Kiwis (the folk) and shy kiwis (the birds)
  6. Nothing scary that can eat you
  7. Adventure capital of the world (Queenstown)
  8. Cool lingo and dialect
  9. Rugby
  10. Green rolling hills (my favorite)

A few bonus signatures:

  1. Hobbiton
  2. Wineries
  3. Pristine, clean wilderness
  4. Southern lights
  5. Glacier hiking

How does she prepare for writing a book?

For Soul of the Storm, I hightailed it north a few hours to the fictional setting of Willow Springs, Vermont. I donned my boots and hiked a trail that’s in the book, explored farms and weaving backroads, walked through the small towns, chatted with townsfolk, and took many visual snapshots of the quiescent region of the Mad River Valley. Also, the hero in the story is from New Zealand, and I was fortunate to visit the “land of the long white cloud” on my honeymoon. I dug into the memory vault for little bits of authenticity, and when needed, I consulted a few authors and readers for cultural accuracy. What do I do when I can’t get to the location in a book? I research. Books, online, or I chat with experts in the region/culture. Setting deserves just as much attention as the characters and plot. Setting IS a character, at least in my books. 🙂

Connect with Jean here: 

Website ~ Twitter  ~ FacebookGoodreads ~ Bookbub~ Amazon Author PageThe Wild Rose Press

Check out Jean’s books here:

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ GooglePlay ~Walmart

Pick up a copy of Jean’s books and let her love-of-setting fill you with wonder. Setting is a character and I learned a lot about how to use it.

Thanks, Jean, it was great having you as my guest today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2019 Lifetime Learning: A $.99 Sale!

    Erin was sexually harassed at the prom by her date in front of the entire senior class. But high school was over, and college loomed ahead.  The last thing she wanted to do was tell her mother. She and Mom had been through enough already and all she wanted to do was become a lawyer like her Aunt Toni. She and Mom had little money, but enough love to go around. They depended on each other.  Erin decided she was not hurt, only embarrassed and she’d put it behind her. She had her whole life ahead of her.

Todd embarrassed the nerdy young girl he invited to the prom as a show of power.  He had little power in his own life. His father saw to that. Growing up with money to burn, Todd and his brother relied on each other to get by Dad.  Then his brother left for college leaving Todd at the mercy of a man who showed no mercy to anyone.  Todd was lost.  The only thing he loved was the Alpha Romeo Spider convertible he bought with the first check from his trust – mostly because Mom and Dad hated it.

Who knew the two kids from the high school prom would end up on the same college campus and be thrown together again?  Erin worked part time at her aunt’s law firm on days she didn’t have class and found herself in a grown-up world wondering if law was where she wanted to be.  Todd just hung out looking for the next girl in a string of them. They were just a way to feel good for a short time. But Todd never thought about the fact that someone was bound to talk eventually.

When Erin met a young woman working at the courthouse who knew her pain, the pieces began to fall together.  Todd was the rapist on campus and Erin could get Aunt Toni to help her put an end to it.

The Kindle version of Blooming Justice is on sale at Amazon March 15-31 for $.99.  Pick up a copy set at beautiful Keystone Lake, Oklahoma and if you like it, leave me a review.

What are you reading right now?

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Kindle $.99 sale!!!!

    Kindle version on sale for $.99 starting tomorrow, 3/15 – 3/31! Pick up a copy and leave me a review! https://tinyurl.com/yao7gvds

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2019 Life-Long Learning: Learning to Move On

    Erin was a hard-working young woman who grew up helping her mother in her flower shop.  She loved her mother but did not want to emulate her. She wanted to be like her aunt, a partner in a Tulsa law firm.  And to reach that goal she planned to go to college and study law.  She had the scholarship, part-time job at the flower shop and could live at home in Mannford on the lake. She planned to drive into Tulsa to go to school. She had plans. Then her aunt offered her a law clerk position in her firm while she went to college. Life was about to change.

Erin was sexually harassed at the senior prom by a boy she thought liked her. She was a lucky one, he only embarrassed her in front of the whole class. Others were not so lucky. Once on campus, women begin to talk about a student who was raping women.  Many women were afraid to come forward and put a stop to the terror. They planned to just put it behind them and be more careful. But Erin knew the truth and had had enough.  She saw the bullying in high school escalate to rape in college and she was now in a position to help bring the women together to put an end to the abuse.  And then her best friend disappeared.

Keystone Lake is a beautiful part of Oklahoma and makes a great backdrop for mystery and intrigue.  Blooming Justice is the beginning of the series and I’m sure there will be many more stories from this part of the country.

Erin is learning that sometimes you have to stand up for yourself and others and not just put the bad things behind you.  It is a life-long learning event.

Check out Blooming Justice and if you enjoy the story, leave me a review!

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2019 Life-long Learning: Learning About Books

    I spent the day yesterday at the Enid Public Library with 40 or 50 of my dearest friends. The Enid Author Fest just completed its third year – and it was a good one. We had poets, novelists, comic book editors, and even Doc joined us.  He normally does.  He loves to be read a story. He really doesn’t care what it is about. I saw a darling picture of him being read to and I could not find it when it was time to blog.  If you have that picture and want to share, please post it in the comment section.

I’ve volunteered with the Enid Public Library for years and love to help as much as possible with the Author Fest.  The Enid Writers Club was one of the sponsors and we were thrilled to be a part of the festival.

The festival not only brought authors together for readers to meet, it also brought lovers of literature into one place.  Being around like minds can get the creative juices flowing. In speaking to my fellow authors yesterday, it became apparent that reading and writing are as viable as ever.  Anyone who thinks reading is dead, just hasn’t been talking to writers.  We love what we do, or we wouldn’t be doing it.  No one in that group is getting rich. That is not the reason for the festival.

In ancient times tribes has storytellers to entertain and keep the history of the people.  In today’s modern world, our storytellers are writers.  Whether the story is fiction or non-fiction, it begs to be told and writers bow gracefully to its demands.

I’m looking forward to next year’s Enid Author Fest.  The library is already gearing up for the next festival and we hope to see you there.

Thanks to Martha Draper and Carolyn Leonard for allowing me to use their photos.  I was too busy to take many. I got home about 6:00 pm and sat down on the sofa.  It wasn’t until then that I realized how tired I was.  It had been a long day with tons of fun.  I spent the evening eating Chinese food in my sweat pants reveling in the day.

Did you go to the Enid Author Fest this year and who was your favorite author? Leave them a review!

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2019 Life-long Learning: Learning to Relax

    I find more each day just how retired I am.  I think back to when I worked, and sometimes fell in bed at midnight exhausted, I realize just how happy I am that I don’t have to anymore.  I have to admit, I still wake up in a sweat dreaming that I’ve started a new job and can’t find anything or do anything right.  Then I wake up and think what is wrong with you?  Can you not let go of stress?

February is my birthday month.  It is also my daughter’s birthday month and we got together yesterday and treated ourselves to a massage with a woman who takes good care of her often.  It was wonderful! 

Today I met a friend for lunch to celebrate my birthday and the beginning of a new adventure for her.  She has a new job coming up and will be moving away.  We met at a little Italian place and sat and talked for two hours.  I know they thought we would never leave.  We ate too much and talked forever and had a great time. Then I came home and had a nap.  That is what you do when you eat too much! I don’t think I’ll want supper.

I could never do such things when I was working.  I had more disposable cash, but I didn’t have time to spend it – at least on me. But that is what birthdays, weekends, and friends are for.

I need to do laundry and the dishes.  I will heat up some soup that is in the frig for my husband’s dinner. Suddenly I realized I had still not written my blog.  It is a lazy weekend.  A weekend from what, I really don’t know.  I love being retired.

I should be writing.

How was your weekend and what did you accomplish?   

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10 Things to do When Your Novel has Been Rejected by an Agent

Uninspired Writers

Morning all, I hope your week has been full of success and happiness.

I’m querying at the moment, which means I am receiving rejections in interludes, from agents I’ve submitted to. It’s such an odd experience, and I wanted to share some tips of how to handle your novel being rejected.


1. Allow yourself to be sad
Writers are constantly advised to develop a thick skin, and I agree. It’s a tough industry, one where we will come up against rejection, negative feedback and criticism. This doesn’t mean you can’t feel sad though. Allow yourself the negative emotions that come wit a rejection; sadness, disappointment, frustration, worry…go through them, but do not dwell on them for long.
“i give myself a good cry if i need it. but then i concentrate on the good things still in my life. i don't allow myself any more self-pity than that 2. Treat yourself
You should only treat yourself when you’ve had success, right? Wrong! Writing, editing, revising and re-writing a novel is a gruelling task and a huge achievement. Crafting a submission and…

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