What if…rejections just keep coming?

Toward the end of 2016, I completed my fourth book. A mysterious romantic suspense, set in Melbourne and rural New South Wales, it is a story of family betrayal, buried secrets, unrequited revenge and hope. Here’s a quick blurb…

On the brink of becoming a principal dancer with the Australian Ballet Company, Jessie Hilton is befriended by an ex-SAS officer, Brad Jordan, who is recovering from PTSS with the help of his faithful Border collie. As professional and personal circumstances conspire to expose Jessie’s long-forgotten family secret, BJ’s more recent suffering of losing his wife and baby daughter in a terrible car accident tries to hide. When they discover there are more than the shadows of their pasts, and a clear and present danger in the form of a stalker to overcome, their love blossoms and together they finally face their demons.

This manuscript was one of only five selected for the second round of the National RWA Emerald Pro competition… a presitigous honour. The final judging has yet to be decided, but despite where I place, I’m thrilled to have made the top cut.

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However, over the past months, I’ve submitted this story to dozens of publishers and received ten rejections to date, with possibly more to come, as some publishers don’t even bother replying.

My point is, rejection is the name of the game if you write and submit manuscripts. Some badly-written stories get published while other far superior works are never published. The key is not to take rejection personally. Just because publishers, even lots of publishers, reject my manuscript doesn’t mean it’s no good. I reassure myself there will be one publisher out there who is a fit for me and my fourth novel. A publisher with whom I can build a relationship and long-term career. Perseverance, patience and faith are the qualities needed most, particularly in creative professions…and a thick skin.

So, whenever the dark voice of self-doubt creeps in to ruin my day, I look at my beautiful Border collie who inspired the doggie hero in my fourth book. She loves and believes in me, so there must be a publisher out there who feels the same.

When have you overcome your self-doubt and forged ahead regardless?

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Insight…Don’t listen to the negative yammer-yammer in your head. Just keep believing in yourself until you succeed.

What if…I win again?

Imagine my surprise when on Valentine’s Day this year, I receive news that the other two erotic romances in my Dance of Love series won Luminosity Publishing Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Book and Best Cover 2016. Last year, when my debut novel, Dancing Queen, the first book in the series won Luminosity Publishing Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Book and Best Cover for 2015, I was stunned. Now, to have won the Readers’ Choice Awards two years running, is magic.

I cannot thank my readers enough for their support. To know that my work is entertaining and touching the hearts of other people is a blessing I give thanks for everyday.

Have you ever worked hard and then been rewarded for your efforts?

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Insight…Do your best and the rewards will take care of themselves

What if…inspiration doesn’t come?

I have always been a highly creative person and as such, I learned not to push my creativity. As 2016 came to a close, I had a number of new story ideas floating around in my mind, however none of them cheered loudly enough ‘write me, write me.’ So I let go and leaned into my inspiration. With regular meditations I asked for a clear omen as to what my inspiration, my (in) spirit (action) wanted me to write next. Then I practiced patience. Over the Christmas break I relaxed and enjoyed my family, furry and human, and all the festivities without stressing over what my next story line would be. I handed it over to my creativity, to my inspiration and waited for the omen which I knew resolutely would come. And it did! When I least expected it.
One day, when we were out boating on the glorious Gold Coast Broadwater (Australia) GENERIC BROADWATER another boat cruised past. IMG_1724.
This in itself was not unusual, but the name on the boat caught my attention. In that instance, the boat’s name triggered the title for my next novel and an entire story line flooded into my mind. Had anyone told me I would be writing a saga set in two parts as my next book, I would have laughed out loud. But here I am embarking on this story, trusting that my inspiration will guide me to do the story justice.
Have you trusted your inspiration to guide you deeper into your creativity?

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Insight…Letting more love into your life and leaning into the omens is the quickest route to your creativity.

What if…time slips away?

The second half of 2016 has truly slipped away. Crammed with so much inspiration and activity, I have repeatedly moved my blogging to my To-Do list week after week. But to scold myself would be counter-productive. As an author my first commitment must be to my writing, and I’ve been thrashing out my fifth manuscript – a contemporary women’s fiction with romantic and suspense elements. Moving into this mainstream genre has given me more scope to delve even deeper into my characters to elicit more emotion for them and the reader. Finally finished and edited, this manuscript has been sent off to a number of publishers, all of whom have different submission guidelines, which in itself is extremely time consuming. And now the wait begins again.
Even though my butt has been glued to the chair, I have taken some time out to celebrate…a critical enjoyment to living life to the fullest. My book launch for Dance to a Gypsy Beat was a wonderful success, with everyone enjoying the flamenco mood, champagne and excerpts from the book. To think that in twelve months, the Dance of Love series was published still awes me. As I slide into the finish line of this year, I am grateful for the still, small voice within that has guided me on this exhilarating journey. I know the best is yet to come.
When has time slipped away from you, while you’re hard at work making your dreams come true?
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Insight…Just keeping going, and trust all is right time, right place

What if…I publish three books in just over a year?

If someone had told me when I started this journey to be a published author, that I would have my first three books published in just over a year, I would have thought they were overly optimistic. But it happened!The third book in my Dance of Love series, Dance to a Gypsy Beat, was published on 4 August 2016. Like the other erotic romances I’ve written in this series, I loved writing this book as well. As in the others, the divine feminine appears to help the heroine on her journey. This time through the gypsy runes. Every throw of the runes in the book was what I threw in my office while writing the story. Whatever rune appeared guided the story and I must say, as usual, the magical hand of the divine feminine proved the perfect muse. Dance to a Gypsy Beat also ties off a fantastic familial link connecting all three books… in some ways, surprising me as much as the readers. For a first effort, the Dance of Love series has opened up a well of creativity and passion indwelling me. I know I will branch into other less erotic genres as I continue this journey, but ‘cutting my teeth’ on these three fabulous stories has been magical.
When did you achieve something greater that you initially conceived?

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Insight…Never limit yourself either before or after success

What if…it just bets better and better?

I learned a long time ago, that unless we expect magic and miracles to abound in our lives, they won’t. It is no accident why dreams come true… Dreams comes true because of the intention, attention and action taken on their behalf.
After completing the third book of my erotic romance series, Dance of Love, I placed all my intention, attention and action into writing the book closest to my heart for over two decades. A teaching memoir which is a combination of of biography, inspiration and methodology, tracing my sixty year quest for truth.
Calling on my background as a teacher, motivational speaker, stress and life skills therapist and successful businesswoman, I use the touchstones of my life as evidence that nothing happens in our lives by accident, but by intention — ours. The book shows the reader how to be more, and ultimately live healthy, wealthy and fulfilling lives. For me, this new writing career just gets better and better because I’m willing to look, listen and lean into the omens, to be inspired and journey along a road less traveled.
When were you inspired to make your dreams come true?

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Insight…Always follow your inspiration and life will get better and better

What if…I get it right?

The launch of my second erotic romance Tiny Dancer, Dance of Love, Book Two was so much fun. As Tiny Dancer is set in the Moulin Rouge Paris, a group of friends and readers joined me for the French-themed event, where we drank bubbly, ate delicious food and generally partied to celebrate. I love my book launches as it gives me a chance to interact with my readers. I love to hear how the characters in my books impact them – who they like, who they don’t like and what their favourite part of the story is. Some people had already read Tiny Dancer in eBook and one reader told me she loved it so much, she actually slowed down so she didn’t have to read The End. Now that’s what every author loves to hear. Others related to the situation in the story and thought I must have peeked into their own lives to write the plot. Many also commented on how they enjoyed I wrote the story by pulling my tarot cards which then ended up in the story as the cards pulled by Madame Lucette. In some cases, people went out and bought their first pack of tarot cards and began doing daily I-ching. What greater compliments can a writer receive?
When have you followed your heart and been thanked for it?

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Insight…Doing what you love can never lead you astray

What if…my stories are too out there?

As a woman who has always done things differently to most people, the question of being ‘too out there’ has been a constant in my life. Never one to back down from a challenge or to stand up for the rights of others, I have found myself on the leading edge when others falter. It is the eternal spirit within compelling me forward to express the truth of me, no matter how crazy the world may see me. The same can be said of my writing. Although I started my writing career with erotic romance, I had to include the spiritual side of life and love in my stories. Never one to understand why sexuality and spirituality are mutually exclusive, I have included the guidance of the divine feminine in my stories as I believe strongly in the serendipitous aspect of life. In my Dance of Love series, the hand of the divine feminine is always there and that’s what makes my stories a little out there compared to the usual erotic romance. The wonderful thing is, that readers who’ve read my stories are touched by this magic and find themselves compelled to explore their own spirituality. In my second book, Tiny Dancer, I actually work with the tarots cards and use their messages in the story. I love the interconnectedness of everything and if being ‘too out there’ helps in the evolution of human consciousness, then count me in….
When has serendipity led you to a wonderful event in your life?

Insight…Always listen within and follow the nudgings of your soul

What if…I get to meet my readers?

I love meeting and talking with people. And at the Readers & Writers Down Under Convention on the Gold Coast in March, I was in my element. My workshop Putting Eros into Erotic Romance gave readers and writers the opportunity to learn not just about creating successful sex scenes, but I also shared with them how I work with the divine feminine in my writing process. Another highlight was finally meeting some of my readers (and new ones) and having the chance to speak with them. Fabulous! It was inspiring to see some avid romance readers so prepared. With snapfish books they’d already paged and printed, they went to every attending author for autographs and photos. What is more rewarding than to see people not only reading, but who are thrilled by the stories we as authors offer them. If I could, I’d do these types of book signings every weekend.
Who are the people who inspire you to keep going with your passion?

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Insight… Always say thank you to those who inspire you.

What if…I can’t keep up?

On 1st March, Tiny Dancer, Dance of Love, Book Two was released. The merry-go-round spins once more. Gotta claim the book on all the Amazon websites, Goodreads and the rest. Spend more time sending out newsletters, Facebook posts, blogs etc, telling everyone about your new release. I’m on the never-ending promotion wheel for Tiny Dancer while simultaneously desperately trying to sell Dancing Queen. I guess what I learned is…I can’t do everything or be everywhere no matter how hard I try. Although, this revelation goes against what is expected of you as a writer/author in the publishing world, it is the bald-faced truth. Today, it is up to you as the creator of your work to promote and sell, promote and sell, even if you do have a publisher. It appears gone are the days where you have an enormous publishing machine supporting you. That only happens if you hit the big time fast. But if you work your way up, learn the craft and desire to write quality works in whatever your genre is, you’re pretty much on your own. Fortuitously I was born with the drive and I learned the discipline as a dancer it takes to succeed. So onwards and upwards to the next challenge.
Did you ever give up when the going got tough?

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Insight…It’s always easier to give up than continue.