Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rejection hurts

I’m Barbara Edwards and I’ve been reading short novellas in an attempt to learn how to create one. Since most of my work has been over eighty thousand words, this is a whole new experience.

In case you didn’t know, I submitted a short Christmas Story to The Wild Rose Press for consideration.

I assumed since I am already published by The Black Rose this was a slam-dunk.

The rejection hurt.

Let me explain. I read the description of what they wanted. I wrote a decent story. The editor read it and said- not quite what we’re looking for. She sent a list of revisions she thought necessary.

I took a deep breath. And asked if I could resubmit? Hmm, yes, it has promise.

I hunkered over my keyboard. I read and reread the suggestions. I sweated. I typed. I deleted and tightened.

I resubmitted.


Sorry, rejected again.

Okay. Only the editor likes the story and will review it if I rewrite it.

Well, I like the story. I like the editor. I liked her suggestions. But I have a need to learn the skills necessary to create a fast-paced, romantic tales.

Romance in a longer book is easier. The glance, the touch, the first kiss are spread over many scenes. Short is not simple. Every word carries weight.

I’ve found I’m not the only one with a problem. A few I’ve read by indie authors show they need an editor. A few I read are great. The ones from The Wild Rose Press show the skill of the authors and editors.

So here I am. Sweating, typing, editing and tightening until I’m confident my Christmas story  is the best one possible.

Did I mention I’m also working on a short story set in Rhodes End?

So much to write, so little time.    

In Ancient Awakening, Police Officer ‘Mel’ Petersen investigates a death only she believes is murder. By disobeying direct orders from the Rhodes End Chief, she risks her career to follow clues that twist in circles to her backyard and lead the killer to her.

Her neighbor Stephen Zoriak is a prime suspect. Steve worked for a major pharmaceutical company where he discovered a weapon so dangerous he destroys the research. He is exposed to the dangerous organism. He suspects he is the killer and agrees to help her find the truth.

In the course of their investigation Mel and Steve find the real killer and a love that defies death.


“Don’t touch me, Mel, not unless you’re willing to do a lot more,” he warned as her hazel eyes flared golden.

“Don’t threaten me, Steve. You’re…”

He pulled her into his arms despite the alarm bells clanging in his head.

Danger! Danger! Danger!

Her widened eyes met his. Mel’s hands were trapped against his chest, but she didn’t push him away. Instead, her fingers curled into his shirt.

Her mistake. His mistake was to crush her mouth under his.

Mel’s soft lips parted. Need exploded. The taste of black coffee didn’t hide her sweet flavor. As her tongue tangled with his, her arms slid around his neck and her fingers burrowed through his hair.

Steve hungered to peel the starched shirt off her soft shoulders, lay her on the thick turf and ease his desire. He tasted her brows, her cheek, along her throat, seeking the source of her call. Her pulse whipped under his mouth, awakening another need.

His teeth gently closed on the vulnerable vein.

He wanted, wanted, wanted…

Cold alarm chilled his pounding blood.

Steve gasped for air. He’d forgotten his own ironclad rule. Mel’s eyelids flittered open to reveal the molten glow of desire but he forced himself free.

He had no right to touch any woman. Not until he knew he hadn’t become what he had set out to destroy.

Barbara Edwards

Please visit my Website:

Ancient Blood



  1. ((((HUGS)))) on the rejection. They all suck. Doesn't matter how much you know it isn't personal, it still feels like a stab in the heart. BUT...a revise and resubmit isn't bad. Because it isn't an outright no. She said it, the book has premise. So pat yourself on the back! This is a very good thing!

    I'm having the exact opposite problem. I've taught myself, years ago, to write short. Until I found TWRP, I'd read and wanted to write solely for category. So now I'm wanting to expand my horizons and write longer books. I'm finding learning to write them every bit as painful as you described. lol Good luck on writing short! Love the blurb and the except!

  2. I just had the same experience with a Christmas story, Barbara, but I wasn't invited to resubmit, since it was too close to the deadline for Christmas story submissions. This story was for one of the contemporary lines. I write for the American historical line and, although I've had a few novellas published in historical, they were a bit longer than this Christmas story. It can be difficult to get everything in when the story's so short.

    So, hugs on the rejection. We all get them no matter how many books and stories we already have out. Just revise and resubmit or go on to another project that calls to you.

  3. Every rejections hurts, so you have my sympathy! And my empathy because I can't say hello in 40K words!

    So we'll learn together since I'm working on two manuscripts right now. One full length and one short story. What a challenge to get all the action and emotion condensed. Whew!

    I love the Ancient Awakening except!

  4. Hugs on the rejection, Barbara. Sorry to hear, but at least you received constructive comments, and a thumbs up for the story overall. Perseverance pays off!

    Like you, I'm currently working on a novella. I've published historicals, but the novella is a contemporary suspense. My critique partners keep me on my toes, though, about the differences in pace, development, storyline, etc. Like you, I'm learning something completely new. It's like learning to write all over again.

    Loved the excerpt of Ancient Awakening. Sounds like a fast paced read. :-)

  5. Barbara--I completely understand. I thought stories only came in 90,000 words. For Wild Rose, I wrote a Free read--1500 w max. I ended up with 3,000, told the editor--this will have to do because I cannot shorten it. Yes, you can. No, I can't. She said it was a good little story and I delete half the words and still have a very good story..probably better. I worked and got it down to 2,000. I asked her if she do the rest for me. I know...she laughed. She said, no you do it and send it back until it is 1500 words.
    You know, I learned a lot from her and editing and writing short. I wrote two more and they're still on TWRP's website. I need to get those and do something else with them.
    Then I wrote a 40,000 W story for the Wayback, Texas Rodeo series. Again, it ended up way long. But the editor and I did get it down.
    I still tend to write everything long, but I've enjoyed writing these 20,000 word Dime Novels. You do have to make something happen fast...and sometimes a reader will take umbrage with that--"they met, and in five pages you had them...." Well, they don't have much time!!!
    Good luck with the story.
    I do have one rule for myself--if the editor doesn't like it as it is, and wants a rewrite plus editing...I say no. I cannot rewrite a story. For every one that happened to, every one is now published--well, except one, and I don't even like it myself.

  6. Barbara, if it's any help with the novella problem, why not try a course in short story writing? There are quite a few available and it helps to encapsulate ideas and the progress of a romance in subtle and more succinct ways.

    I know what you mean. I have a novella where my crit partners say that the 'love at first sight' thing is unbelievable. Sigh. Back to the drawing board.

    Love that extract, BTW.

  7. Barbara - hang tough! It's all about edits, isn't it? We have to be willing to take out that hacksaw and draw blood to make the book what it needs to be.

    The toughest thing I ever did was write a short (really short) romance for Women's World Magazine. I submitted 5 before one fit what they were looking for.

    You seem to have the will to make this work, so I have no doubt you will make that sale!

  8. Hi Barbara,
    Love the excerpt, very gripping. Sounds like to editor is really keen on your work, and it is only a matter of time before she accepts it.



  9. Loved Ancient Awakening! Great idea and like the excerpt. Also, I agree on how difficult it is to write a short story as I've been working on a query. Condensing an entire book into one page is so difficult!

  10. Hi Barbara,
    I haven't tackled a short for this very reason. Well, that's half true. I wrote a free short story about my golf mystery characters on vacation. Did I do it well enough to be published? That I don't know. But I do know that it was very challenging. In addition to keeping the romance high, I added a mystery to be solved. Whatever hair wasn't gray already morphed to pure white!

    Wishing you all the best with your edits and books!


  11. LOVED the Excerpt! Im adding this book to my TBB list now.

    Sorry about the Rejection on the Short. It took me a long time to be able to write a Short story, too. I have several Free ones now, and they get great responses, but I feel Im still learning to perfect the art of Short story writing....

    Anyhoo! Wishing you great Sales on your Books, and dont give up on that Short!

    hugs, Kari Thomas,

  12. Barbara, you're right. Rejection always hurts, and we've probably all been through that kind of pain. But if the editor liked your story enough to ask you to revise and resubmit, that's a gold star in your column, one that should take some of the pain away, even if the final answer is ultimately no. Writing short is one of the hardest things to do. It's something I still haven't mastered and probably never will. But, hon, be proud that you have the strength to still keep honing that story (as well as the other one you're currently working on). It means you're the kind of writer editors love to work with, the kind of writer who will definitely succeed. So yay, you!

  13. Not only are you right that rejection hurts, writing short is harder than anything I've ever done. When I wrote Home it took me nine months. 69 of the hardest pages I've ever sweated over. Why was it so hard for me? Because everything I'd ever wrote was 50K+, category romance length. But now that I did it, it seems to be a hit. My question is now- can I do it again? I'm trying to though it will ultimately be slightly longer, the ms I'm working on will still fall short of my comfort zone. I hear great things about how well readers think I did on Home- will I hit that mark a second, or a third time? That thought alone is enough to keep me procrastinating on writing! You can do it! I believe in you!

    That excerpt btw...HOT! Thanks!