Rejection: Confession of an Aspiring Author

So I had intended to post my review of Yours Truly, Thomas this week, but God woke me up at 2:30 in the morning and wouldn’t let me go until I wrote this…and I think it will apply to everyone out there on some level.

So in case you are feeling rejected, unworthy, and unwanted, you’re not alone.

Yesterday I received a rejection on my manuscript…again. The simple answer is I only need one “Yes” to move me from “aspiring” author to “published” author, but the reality is the “No” still hurts.

And it hurts no matter what form it comes in, whether it be a rejection in a relationship, career, or long awaited goal…because deep down, we all want to be accepted and loved by our peers. I know God wants to be King of our Heart and that we should not value other’s opinion of ourselves (or our writing) above HIS opinion. But the human condition, such as it is, struggles and still hungers for the approval of others.

Maybe this is just the revelation of my sinful heart. In fact, I know it is. But the first step in changing is accepting you have a problem, and so I stand here before you saying I have a People Problem. I’m a people pleaser. 

Yet, I’ve always felt like the square peg trying to fit into the round hole. Oh, everyone likes me well enough, but I never seem to quite fit in. When everyone was reading Harry Potter (I did try people) and romance novels, I was reading stories like The Three Musketeers, Treasure Island, War of the Worlds. When romance authors today do polls of their favorite romance movies or novels, I’m woefully ill-equipped. I’ve not seen most of them, and the ones I did see were snarky and sarcastic (Ten Things I Hate About You). The only classic romance novels I read were Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and a few required reading at school. While I enjoyed them well enough, it’s the adventure stories that draw me. 

I love the action of battles between good and evil. The romance of the hero rescuing the girl, or even the girl rescuing the guy. I like complex stories that engage the mind. Movies like Now You See Me and The Tourist.

Kiss scenes gross me out. I seriously cannot watch them…and I’m a married woman, for heaven’s sake! My husband is the romantic one, and while I love it, I don’t seem to have the same knack for it as him. And I feel awful, because it doesn’t mean I love him any less, I just am not good at creating surprises for him that are romantic. 

I feel so woefully out of place in this world, and yet, I’m supposed to market myself? Get people interested in what I have to say? There is a quote I wish I could use from a dear friend’s manuscript here, but since it’s yet unpublished I can’t. Suffice it to say, she taught me, it’s not the words I have to say, but the words Christ has to say through me.

May the stories that well up from within me come from His precious place. Because I am not enough, and I think that is the point. 

We are not enough…without Him.

We are not good enough, because only He is.

My words will fail and be forgotten, but His words have stood the test of time, crossed barriers they should have never crossed, and been spread across the world and cultures despite strong suppression in many places.

I’m still hurting. I still have no idea where I fit in this marketing world. I still feel like my crazy story ideas are square pegs trying to fit into round holes. But I’m choosing to rest in His words. 

Specifically, in Psalm 139. 

So if you are like me, and you struggle to find your worth, whether it be in the midst of a relationship or career rejection, or just in the midst of living everyday life, this Psalm is for you. It was written with YOU in mind. And even if you have read it a million times, slow down, read it out loud word for word, and really soak it in.

Any emphasis below is my own, but I encourage you to pray over it. To write His words on your heart.

Because no matter what the world says about you, Jesus wants you. Wants you so bad that he choose to suffer to rescue you. His story is the greatest romance story ever written, and you are His CHOSEN bride.

Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

1 You have searched me, Lord,

and YOU KNOW me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;

YOU PERCEIVE MY THOUGHTS from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;

YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH ALL MY WAYS.

4 Before a word is on my tongue

you, Lord, know it COMPLETELY.

5 YOU HEM ME IN behind and before,

and you lay your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

too lofty for me to attain.

7 WHERE CAN I GO FROM YOUR SPIRIT?

WHERE CAN I FLEE FROM YOUR PRESENCE?

8 If I go up to the heavens, YOU ARE THERE;

if I make my bed in the depths, YOU ARE THERE.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,

YOUR RIGHT HAND WILL HOLD ME FAST.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;

the night will shine like the day,

FOR DARKNESS IS AS LIGHT TO YOU.

13 For YOU CREATED MY INMOST BEING;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I AM FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE;

your works are WONDERFUL,

I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place,

when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;

ALL THE DAYS ordained for me were written in your book

before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!

How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,

they would outnumber the grains of sand—

when I awake, I am still with you.

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;

test me and KNOW MY ANXIOUS THOUGHTS.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting.

The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®

Big Writing News

We take a break from our usual book reviews and author interviews for THREE big announcements… with a Rafflecopter Giveaway to celebrate at the end. CASSANDRA IS THE WINNER – PLEASE CHECK YOUR EMAIL.

Crystal signed with an agent!

Yep, that’s right! I am so blessed to have signed with Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency to represent me and my work. Writing has been and is a sacrifice for my family, so the picture below is me signing my contract surrounded by the wonderful support of my household. Never let anyone tell you writing is a solitary journey. There may be solitary aspects, but it certainly takes a village of support.

Hubby, Youngest, MIL, and Eldest. 🙂 I am so blessed by them all.

Tamela Hancock Murray is a bestselling author of over thirty novels, novellas, and nonfiction books, and won an RWA Inspirational Readers Choice Award (follow this link for a complete list of her books). Although her current writing for publication is limited to the Agency blog, because of her experience, Tamela brings the perspective of a working writer to her role as a literary agent. She represents many top authors and continues to develop new talent.

Crystal is teaching at the Kentucky Christian Writer’s Conference

If you or an interested teen are near Elizabethtown, Kentucky June 20-22, 2019, I invite you to register for the Kentucky Christian Writer’s Conference. I am so blessed to be teaching the first ever Teen Seminar on Saturday. Kentucky Christian Writer’s Conference was where God first called me to pursue publishing, so it is always a conference I recommend. You never know what God has in store for you. If you go, let me know so I can be sure to connect with you.

For more information, visit https://kychristianwriters.com/ .

The Write Call has reached 100 followers!!

That number may not seem very big to many, but to me it is amazing! I pray that you are exposed to lots of great Christian Historical Fiction books to add to your TBR piles and new authors you may have never seen otherwise.

Let’s celebrate with a giveaway!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Rafflecopter giveaway, but these announcements are too big to just let slide by!

Click here to enter.

Entries are open until midnight (EST) on April 30th. Print prizes limited to United States, if an international winner, a $10 Amazon Gift card will be substituted. Open to all participants 18 and older where allowed. Rafflecopter will randomly pick the winner.

One winner will receive a print copy of Traces of Mercy by Michael Landon, Jr., a journal, and a spattering of bookmarks from various authors.

At the war’s end, a young woman suffers an accident that leaves her unconscious and alone. Waking with amnesia, she takes the name Mercy and wants more than anything to find out the truth of her past. But then a handsome stranger arrives, who may hold the key to everything she has forgotten. What he knows could devastate her future, and even end her life.

Thank you for celebrating with me! In the comments, tell me one thing you are celebrating this week.

You’re Invited to Join the Journey

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Are you interested in an author’s writing journey? Do you want to interact and be a part of that journey on a regular basis?

I have created a Facebook group called Crystal’s Creative Cohorts so that I can be more interactive with you on a regular basis. While blogging and my newsletters are great, they are often one-sided and I really want to interact and get to know you.

So what will Crystal’s Creative Cohorts do? Give input on current works in progress–like character names, descriptions, quirks, story ideas–, be the first ones offered a chance to be beta readers and members of my eventual street team, get a glimpse into the real life of an author and sneak peeks at my writing, and have access to exclusive contests. Because who doesn’t like a good contest?

In fact, my first giveaway will happen when the group reaches 50 members. Want a sneak peek at the prize? I thought so…

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So what are you waiting for? Come join the party and become a Creative Cohort.

Writer’s Fodder: The Flooded Ohio River

Living on a river exposes many people to the challenges of rising spring waters, and this February has been no different. Many areas around the country are dealing with floods and the aftermath. Ludlow, Kentucky is one such area, which happens to be where my brother lives.

 

 

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A pano of my brother’s front yard and street, just before the Ohio River crested at 60.53 feet on Sunday, February 25, 2018.

 

 

Bless his soul, not only does he have to deal with a flooded basement that forced him to cut power and gas to his house, he also has a writer as a sister. A writer whose current work in progress ends with the second highest flood in Cincinnati recorded history.

 

 

My story ends with the 1884 flood, which crested at 71.1 feet on Valentine’s Day, and if a disaster has to occur it couldn’t have occurred at a better time for this little writer. I am editing the scenes where that particular flood has a critical impact on my characters. (Do not take that to mean that I am not deeply grieved for those who are impacted. Disasters are no joke and I would never wish them upon anyone and am praying for those affected.)

 

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Skatepark – 2/25/18

 

 

After texting pictures, videos, and questions back and forth, he finally just told me to come on over so I could see the flood first hand. Since this was the worst flood since the 1997 flood, I brought my boys along, because, hey! It’s history, right? Interspersed throughout are photos I took on my phone while walking only two or three blocks away from my brother’s house around sunset.

 

 

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Some poor kid’s playset. Debris pushed against a tree. 2/25/18

 

 

So what was I looking for beyond the damage inflicted? This flood crested 12 days after my story’s flood, so believe it or not, water temperature was something that intensely interested me.

 

 

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No, I did not let him get in. But we did touch the water. 2/25/18

 

 

You can’t interact with a flood and not get wet, so just exactly how cold did it feel? Cold enough that if you fell in you’d probably take a sharp breath and inhale some water. Cold enough that an extended stay in the water could most definitely lead to hypothermia – although perhaps not as quickly as I thought.

 

 

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Someone else (not anyone I know) kayaking through the park. 2/25/18

 

 

When I saw this person kayaking around the park, I got way too stinking excited. As soon as they beached, I bombarded them with questions.

  • How bad was the current? Not bad, but don’t go past the fence. The current really picks up and becomes dangerous.
  • Did they have trouble controlling the kayak? Not here. There is a little current, but not much more than a pond or lake.
  • If they fell in, did they feel they could swim back to safety? Here the water was shallow enough they could stand up and walk back if needed.

 

In 1884, extra officers were on duty as well as extra regiments brought in to not only protect the people from danger, but also from themselves. Floods bring out the crazies (and I probably fall into that category, too). True then and true now. The picture below is of a young man who inflated a raft with a leaf blower and then proceeded to paddle his way out to the skatepark with a guitar. Yes, I said guitar.

 

 

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It is zoomed in a whole lot, so not easy to see, but when he climbed on the top of a ramp, he proceeded to “play” his guitar. 2/25/18

 

 

Whether it be due to drugs (very rampant in our region) or just a goofy young adult, he made for an interesting night. He did make it back to shore and when my kids approached him (TMNT Momma was close and watching, don’t worry), he gave them the guitar and said it came from Johnny Cash. My youngest son asked him why he paddled with the guitar. His response? “Because it helps him train and stuff.” Oh my, but it is a memory my kids will have. Oldest wants to mount the guitar on his wall.

 

 

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Busted but cool. 2/25/18

 

 

Despite the destruction and turmoil the flood is still causing and did cause, it produced one of my favorite pictures ever. Just like the rough times in our life can be overwhelming, there can also be moments of beauty.

 

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Island House – They built it ready for a flood, but who would have guessed they’d test that out in the first year. 2/25/18

 

While getting some hands-on research was fun, it was sobering to see the damage and to watch my brother deal with the aftermath. His damage is limited to the basement, and many others have so much more they have to deal with. My prayers are with all.

Do you have any flood stories? Any experiences you would wish to share? I am always on the lookout for first-hand accounts. Connect with me in the comments.

What to Write Next?

As I approach the end of editing my first book (EEK!!) I am looking to the next book. What will I write? Will I continue with the next book in the series? Or will I write a different series I already have in mind? Or should I begin something new and completely stand-alone?

 

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I will be honest, my mind creates books in series of three. Each is a stand-alone novel in its own rights, so not a trilogy, but the characters are all connected and revisit one another. Those are the types of books I read and that seems to be how my mind writes as well. 

 

In fact, I have the next two books in the series already outlined and playing in my mind. However, some wise sage of the publishing world recommended that unpublished authors not write the next book in a series until they have a contract to do so. Otherwise, you will have wasted your time.

 

I am still praying that one through, because ultimately, God lets me know what is a waste of my time, but I am playing around with other new ideas.  My current inspiration comes from some fun pictures my family took over Christmas break in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

So here is a peek at the ones that inspire a story in my mind:

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Don’t you dare cheat with crack-shot Donovan Marshal at the table.  The hardened, undercover Pinkerton agent isn’t fooled by tricks, but when Cassie Granger plays the trick of her life, will they both be fooled by what really is at stake?

 

 

 

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Former Confederate soldier, Elias Blake, just wants to put the war behind him and rebuild his farm. Upon returning his ramshackle home, he finds the enemy has moved in and taken claim on his land and possibly his heart.

 

 

 

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Escaping the law has always been a challenge she enjoyed… until she accidentally married the law.

After a robbery gone wrong, Emily Hoppe is injured and mistaken for a mail-order bride. Not one to turn away a built-in cover, she intends to go along with the ruse until she is well enough to hightail it out of town.

U.S. Marshal Dirk Burn knows something isn’t quite right about his bride, and his instincts never fail him. Determined to sniff out the truth, he gets more than he bargained for when her outlaw family comes to her rescue.

 

 

Okay, so some really high-level ideas, but just maybe one of them will be my next story.

What about you? If you are a writer? How do you choose what to write next? If you are a reader, what makes you decide what to read next? Did any of our goofy pictures inspire you with story ideas? I’d love to hear them!

 

By the way, the winner of Cynthia Roemer’s signed copy of Under this same sky is: 

JANET ESTRIDGE

 

While we did purchase the rights to these pictures, I want to give credit where credit is due. Out of the 22 Old Time Photo places in that tourist-heavy area, we used Old Time Photo #5. Yes, the number is part of their name. You can visit them here if you are interested in checking them out. Our photographer was great.

 

 

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