All novelists can relate to these experiences

FreelyGiven-JScarbrough200x300Getting the call, which before self-publishing used to be more important than it is today.

Back in the day, editors were like gods. You didn’t cross them or you might get on their wrong side. This happened to me once. Above all, a writer must remain professional. Be on time with your manuscript and be courteous.

Not agreeing with your editor.

Sometimes you just have to stick up for what you believe. In Tangled Memories, the characters are concerned about keeping the baby’s fever down. I had to explain to the editor what happens if your child spikes a high fever. It had happened to me, so I knew from experience.

A rejection letter from an editor who “doesn’t love it as much as she thought she would love it.”

I once attended a workshop with a bunch of New York editors and came away extremely depressed. They told us they “read to reject” and sometimes don’t make it past the first page before going to the next manuscript.

A really pretty cover like Freely Given.

Some covers are just lovely. We like to put them on Facebook and on our website. If we receive a paperback, we like to hold the book in our hands and stare at the pretty cover.

Making a top 100 list on

For me, that is like being on the New York Times Bestseller list. My expectation are modest. I’ve been around long enough to know my limitations and my strengths.

Writing THE END.

Writing a novel may be some of the hardest brain work you’ll ever do. Getting to the end of a novel and being satisfied with what you have written is sometimes all the reward you’ll receive.

Getting to the sagging middle and not having a clue about what is going to happen next.

Once at a book signing, I asked Nora Roberts what she does at the “sagging middle.” She told me “kill someone.” Translation: Up the stakes and make something bad happen.

3-star reviews from a person who may not have read your book and certainly doesn’t “get” your book.

Sometimes you’d like to confront the reviewer face-to-face and ask what was wrong with the book. This is especially true with recent reviews complaining that they like the heroine, but didn’t know much about the hero. DUH! Timeless is a first person, modern Gothic romance. You are not in the hero’s head except through the eyes of the heroine. Note to self: Stick to third person, because readers like it.

A great AH-HA moment when your character says or does something unexpected.

This is the best. It’s like your channeling a second self with your characters coming alive on the page. I remember in Kentucky Groom when the hero turns out to be a virgin. I didn’t see that coming, and neither did the heroine!


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