I am so excited about this four part series that will run through December!
I will be featuring published authors and their journeys to publication! We will explore the ups and downs, the trials and tribulations, the heartbreaks and the celebrations! Please join me in reading some wonderful stories!
My guest this week are:
And I wanted one!!
I’d promised myself that it would be the only way I would publish again. Writing fiction is time-consuming. If I was going to take all that time away from other pursuits—like my husband-I wanted more than a handful of people to read the story.
I went to a conference and they said that e-books were the wave of the future (and boy were they right!) After the conference, I researched various publishing houses, found the one I wanted-White Rose Publishing—because they published in e-book format and print books.
I submitted to them and they wanted to see a full manuscript.
Happy dance time!
Within the month, they emailed with a rejection. But it was a good rejection. It had detailed information and an invitation to resubmit which I did.
Another rejection. Another invitation.
This went on for several months. I was encouraged but cautiously encouraged.
Two days before Christmas, I received yet another email from them. By then my cautious optimism had turned to pessimism. I read the first few lines.
Again, same old thing. This needs changed... and we think the story would be better if you....
I closed the email. I was done! I couldn’t take any more rejection! I went to sleep that night feeling sooooo....discouraged.
The next morning, I opened the email to read the particulars of what they thought needed changed. At the very end of the email, they offered me a contract if I did the two minor changes!
What! I guess I should have read the whole email the night before. But what a terrific Christmas present I received!
The book was published in July and my second book with the company will be out soon!
God Has a Plan
We daydream, contemplate our future and make plans. But the plans of man are questionable at best. We decide what we believe is right, but God knows better and sometimes he says, “No. I have a more excellent way.” Jeremiah 29:11-14 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you, says the Lord.”
In May of 1991, after being highly encouraged by an author who’d taught at a writers’ workshop, I drove home with my head full of ideas about my writing career. But God had another plan. And if I’d had a choice I might well have said, “No.”
A few weeks following the workshop I drove my van up a winding road near my home. A loaded log truck approached from the opposite direction and barreled around a corner where he tipped over in front of me and then slammed into my van.
In a moment my life changed. My grand ideas disappeared like a morning mist.
I spent the next year and a half with doctors, every kind of therapist, loss of mobility and loss of spirit. No matter how much I longed for the old me I couldn’t reclaim it.
One day, hopeless and desperate I asked God to give me something to do that mattered. He heard my prayer. He always hears our prayers.
One step at a time he led me forward and flung wide every door toward writing and publishing. All he asked of me was to trust and to step through his opened doors. Two years following my horrific accident I sold my first novel, The Journey of Eleven Moons. I’ve since written and published seventeen more.
I live with pain and disability, but God gave me a great gift—servant to the Most High God.
He has a plan for you—all you have to do is walk through his opened doors to discover what it is.
My writing journey began when I realized how much I like to make up stories and live in a fantasy world where I could create the perfect family, especially after my parents’ divorce. I made up stories for my paper dolls and my dolls using them as the characters. I wrote short stories as a teenager and my first novel as a freshman in college, still using it to escape into my “ideal” life.
Rejection after rejection disappointed me, but I kept on writing. I met DiAnn Mills at a writing conference, and she took me under her wing and mentored me. She also convinced me that joining ACRW would really help me improve my writing. I took her advice and it’s the best thing I could have done. She formed a critique group with Myra Johnson, Kathleen Y’Barbo and me as members. Later Janice Thompson joined the group then Marcia Gruver and Linda Kozar.
Through ACRW and then ACFW, I met Brandilyn Collins, Lena Nelson Dooley, Deb Raney, Lynn Coleman, and Rebecca Germany as well as my agent, Tamela Hancock Murphey. The most important lesson I have learned from them is patience. Giving God time to work on His schedule and not mine was difficult for me to do because I’ve always been a “take charge” sort of person. It didn’t take long for me to realize that catching the eye of an editor was more than being in charge.
DiAnn, Kathleen, Janice and I collaborated on a novella anthology, Sugar and Grits and submitted it in 2001. Patience paid off as we waited and left it with Barbour until 2005 when we were offered a contract for it. When it was published in 2007, I thought now I would be on my way. Two years later I still didn’t have another contract, but I didn’t give up.
I adopted Galatians 6:9 as my writing verse because I knew if I didn’t give up on what I believed God wanted me to do, I would reap a harvest. Then in 2009, Tamela called me with the news that Strang was interested in Becoming Lucy. They first sent an offer letter then a contract for one book with an option for three more. I started working on the manuscript and after I turned it in, a got another email from them saying they were ready to contract the next three in the series. In September of 2009 I signed the contract to finish out the Winds Across the Prairie series.
Since then I have signed for four books in a new series and a Christmas novel for 2012. When God opened the door, He kicked it wide open with five books in one year. Unbelievable.
The road has not been easy, and the hundreds of rejections hurt. But I learned from the rejections. I paid attention to what my critique partners and judges in contest said. Of course some of what they said made me a little angry, but then I settled down and began to think things through.
Detours, bad roads, hazardous conditions, stop signs and other road difficulties with pop up to distract and take you away from your writing. The key is to keep on with your writing. However, we sometimes have to put our writing aside for a season because what is happening in our lives is more important than a manuscript.
Spend time with the Lord, and He will direct your paths in the right direction. Listen for His instructions and follow Him in all that you do. Be patient because our time tables are not God’s and seldom do they match. If it’s to be, it will be, when He ordains that it’s time.
Martha Rogers is a freelance author of both fiction and non-fiction and a speaker. Her stories and articles have appeared in a number of compilations and magazines. Her first fiction novella was released in 2007.
Thank you to everyone who stopped by to read about the journeys of each of these wonderful authors. My hope is that it inspires you to not give up on your dream and to trust that God will light your path!
Come back next Wednesday as we continue with more uplifting stories of 1st publications!