News can be good and bad, both at the same time. I discovered this last week as I sobbed over my email and blog entries about a rejection that I'd just received from an agent. Rejections don't normally make me cry. I feel a bit low, think it over, fix what I can, and move on. Not this time.
I felt I'd been so close to acceptance with this submission. The rejection was so nice, so carefully worded. Wonderful compliments, and an offer to submit future work, but essentially the agent didn't like my heroine. In a romance, that is instant death. Heck, it's the heroine's journey, if she's not likeable who is going to stick around for 350 pages?
I'd taken huge risks this time. I'd started to wonder if my voice was too old. I deliberately wrote my heroine younger, made her sassier, made her what I thought would sell. Big mistake. I wrote against my normal voice. Against what I feel in my heart that it is to be a woman. When I reread the manuscript, I could see instantly why she wasn't likeable. Talk about a revelation coming too late, hindsight is indeed 20/20.
In the midst of my little session on the pity pot, a multi-pubbed author emailed me privately and said, "I make this offer infrequently but never lightly. If you would like to send me your manuscript, I'll critique it." I offered to pay her for her time. She wrote back, "Nope -- no fee. Someone did this for me early in my career, this is paying it back." She made me cry all over again. I only hope I can get published so I can do the same thing for someone else.
Then I thought of all of the people in my life who were dealing with personal tragedy, ill health, death of a loved one, chemotherapy. It put everything into perspective. I'm so grateful for what I have achieved so far. I'm grateful for my family, my friends, my health, and my humor. If this is not my time to be published, maybe the universe has something bigger in store for me. I can believe, and I can wait.
So, I went out and bought fresh flowers, new candles for the coffee table, chocolate, a nice bottle of wine, and I made myself a lovely dinner. I raised my glass and made a toast to karma. Send out a plea for help to the universe, be open to receive, arms outstretched, and you never know what will fly into them.