Category Archives: Road to Publication

Slapping yourself into realizing: “You did it.” – Accepting that you’ve achieved a goal.

About a week ago, I was planning on writing an article about coming to terms with failure. By failure, I mean not achieving a goal.

In this case, the goal was finishing writing ASHES IN THE SKY: Book two of FIRE IN THE WOODS on time. I entered last weekend still reviewing beta comments, and completing the tail end of an overwhelming content edit that changed most of the second quarter of the book… with the manuscript due on Sunday.

I know. Impossible.

I needed to read ASHES from front to back, FOR THE FIRST TIME, over the weekend. Yes, to my shame, I had not read the book in its entirety yet. I had no idea if it “flowed”— especially with the sweeping changes. (Suggested by beta readers — the only ones who HAD read it front to back)

PKO_0001507 tired pink robeFriday night, I completed the content edits and sent them off to a very critical beta reader… Someone who I trusted not to baby me or fan-girl. I told her to be straight with me… that I was planning on asking for an extension anyway.

And then I collapsed into bed.

Everyone asks for extensions, right?

PKO_0007393 Yipee Wahoo Jump Pink RobeSaturday morning I popped out of bed to the sounds of pelting rain. Score! Thank you God! (Because soccer had been cancelled… Sorry kids, but now Mommy has four extra hours of editing time.) So I made the kids pancakes, and settled down for a marathon read through.

A few hours later, I’m thinking, “damn… either I’m tired, or this is pretty good!”

In early afternoon, the critical beta comes back suggesting minor changes. Easy breezy.

I make the changes and keep going. In the back of my head I keep thinking about all those reviewers who read FIRE IN THE WOODS in one or two days. I can’t read that fast, but I was delving into the world of the power-readers… those who pick up on pacing and plot errors, because they read a book in one sitting. It gave me a more critical eye, and helped me to tighten.

At 6:00 Sunday night, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and said: “Yes, it’s done.”

Manuscript submitted with six hours to spare.

I sat back, confused and drained, unable to believe I’d done it.

I’d come up with a concept, written a novel, completed a content edit and line edit, and submitted something respectable (I hope) in four months and two weeks.

I gave myself a week off, wanting to distance myself from Jess and David a little, but I was only able to do so for a few days. By Wednesday, the new deadline was hanging over my head.

PKO_0010650 pink robe clockEMBERS IN THE SEA has an even tighter deadline than the second book.

I had four months and two weeks to write book 2.

I have exactly four months to hand in book 3.

And I just wasted a few days “resting”.

So, after writing this, I will be starting book three.

Time to take a deep breath, and restart the clock…


Jess & David Double base BASE ONLY coverBecause the world just can’t seem to keep out of trouble without the help of a few teenagers. [Wink]



My First Rejection Letter

Okay, it had to happen sooner or later. After three publications, I’ve finally received the inevitable “slap” of a rejection.  When I opened it and started reading, the email could have gone both ways, and then it slipped into…

“We are no longer able to reply to each query individually, but please be assured we consider every submission very carefully.  Unfortunately, your manuscript is not a good fit for us at this time.”

Okay, well, it was a “nice” rejection.  They didn’t say it stunk. They even asked to keep them in mind for my next project (yeah, it’s a form letter, but it was nice, and I will still keep them in mind.  They are a great publisher.)


I understand what people talk about now.  Since this was an all-encompassing form letter, I have no idea WHY it was rejected.  In fact, I don’t even know if they got past the query.

***I don’t know***

Are they glutted with Paranormal Romance right now?  I don’t know.

Was the story too short? I don’t know.

Have they seen the plot before?  I don’t know.

Was in not “Romancy” enough? I don’t know.

Did they not see the value of it as a continuing series? I don’t know.

Did they laugh at my inadequacy? I don’t know.

Honestly, when I first read it, I was not disappointed, even though I was really interested in that publisher.  My reaction was more like.  “Oh, okay, I’ll just look somewhere else”

But then those questions above started sinking in. I started questioning myself.

After a little while though, I dusted myself off.  I like the story, and I have it out at a few other publishers as well.  Someone will like it.

But while I’m waiting, I don’t want my cute little egg sitting in one basket.  I’m actively seeking a few more publishers.  One that I’ve found, I actually think I like MORE that my first pick.

We’ll see how it goes.  No tears, no disappointment, just onward and upward.

It’s just the business, right?

How do you feel about “form” rejections?


Why might you find me running around wearing sunglasses and a black suit?

Wouldn’t I look great in a sexy tailored black suit? Why would I need one?

It’s all part of the Official Release of “Make Believe”!

That’s right, baby.

You heard it.

I am officially a PUBLISHED AUTHOR.

So, do you want to hear more about that suit? Hop on over to Julie Reece’s blog to find out about my need for a fancy get-up as she hosts day-one of the Make Believe Blog tour.

Julie Reece’s blog

Don’t leave me hanging! Be sure to stop by.

First book signing !

I just came back from my first book signing for “Tall Tales and Short Stories”. Wow!

Thanks to everyone who came out. Overwhelming!

I had to pull my kids in– one made the sale and another piled up speed-signed copies and handed them out when it got too busy to handle one at a time.

I also got to read from “Connect the Dots”. I’ll report more another time and post pictures but I want to thank everyone again for making this such a huge success.

Next one this Thursday at 6:30 pm Audubon Library in Audubon NJ

Coolness abounds! :-)

–posted from my iPhone–

Oh No! Please tell me it’s not too late to fix that!

Cripes.  A typo.  Happens to everyone, right? But I just found one in the final edited version of “Connect the Dots” that I already signed off on weeks ago, and is due to release in eight days.

You know how I found it?  It’s really dumb.  I was calling up a random six sentences for Six Sentence Sunday.  I used an internet based randomizer, and dernit if that thing didn’t land right on the typo!

I stared at it three times.  No!  That’s not possible!  Am I looking at the wrong file?  No?  Oh, Crud!

I placed a panicked call to my publisher, who got back to me today with some valium a smile on her face and said they were able to catch it in time.


Darlene is my new favorite person in the whole wide world!

Have you ever had a close call like that?

Road to Publication #25 – One week to Release Day – And the Reviews are in…. Deep Breath

I think I’ve mentioned that people have contacted me to say that they liked the story.  Yeah, that gave me the grins and giggles.  But the actual reviews have now started to pop up on Goodreads. (Amazon is not live until the actual release date.)

When I heard, my hands shook.  “Nope, not going to look.”  I was a wreck.  Then I got a nudge from a friend telling me that I should definitely look.

Here are the reviews of “Make Believe” so far on Goodreads… cutting out just the parts that mention Last Winter Red. Links are included in case you want to see the full review.

Brook – 4 Stars

Last Winter Red was probably my most favorite story. I am really into dystopian literature and this definitely had that underlying theme. I loved the world building that went on. And I liked the separation of the “classes” in the two different worlds, which is something you see in all dystopian novels. I could definitely see this story sprouting into a book or even a series. And I loved the twist to this story, it was one I was not expecting!

Jill – 4 Stars

Last Winter Red by Jennifer M. Eaton … was an interesting story. It reminded me a little of Brave New World. We have to civilizations living apart from each other both thinking the other is diseased and living a strange lifestyle. This follows a girl that is moving from one civilization to the other and the discoveries she makes about her life and herself. This is one of the top stories in the anthology.

Danielle Villano – 4 Stars

This was such a great premise for a story! “Last Winter Red” had a significant dystopian feel that was not present in the other pieces, and so it stands out in my mind. While Emily is a bit whiny as a main character, her personality is completely justified: her upbringing has her believing that she is entitled to a certain way of living, and a certain caliber of privilege. As she leaves the boundaries of the Red and enters the world of the Gray, she is faced with the fact that she is “different,” and not cut out for the hardened Gray lifestyle. The twist in this story was very well-done and I enjoyed it immensely.

Rachael Morgan – 4 Stars

MAKE BELIEVE is a magical collection of short stories. Just the right size for someone like me who falls into bed too late every night and doesn’t have much time (or energy) left to read! It was a pleasure to escape into so many diverse fantasy worlds, some completely different from our own, others familiar but with a dash of the paranormal. All the stories were well-written, but I think my favourite was LAST WINTER RED, followed by BIRTHRIGHT. Those two captured my attention the most, and kept me clicking through the pages when I should have been switching off my light and sleeping! Overall, an enjoyable escape from the real world. Fantasy-lovers should definitely check this one out.

Jen – At Random – 5 Stars      (Loved it overall and didn’t comments on any story specifically.

Aimee Lane – 5 Stars

Last Winter Red by Jennifer M. Eaton 4/5
Another self-sacrifice story, but one mixed in with selfishness (on some people’s parts) and a totally different world in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic setting. I liked that this was totally different than the rest with its settings and purpose.

Sans – 5 Stars on Amazon

Last Winter Red by Jennifer M. Eaton
This one is a kind of dystopian tale in that Terra is surrounded by a wall to keep out the “diseased”, the people inside are known as Reds. Reds are supposed to marry and have many children to increase the population as they all seem to die young. Outside the people are known as Grays, or vermin. The two are not supposed to mix ever. There’s a “red” doctor trying to help the grays and give them health care as they seem to be living to older ages and have age related ailments that need medical help. Emily is a Red besotted with the doctor who ferrys the doctor supplies from Terra to Outside. Emily’s husband died before they have children so she now needs to find a new husband and begin having children to contribute in Terra and be considered a good valued Red.
I enjoyed this as the dystopian genre is one of my favourites. I would also love
to read more about these characters too. Maybe this short story could be the
start of a series?  So I would give this story a 5/5 I want more!

Wow.  Ya gotta love that!  But I’m a realist, so I will now stop reading them again until someone nudges me.

This really helps me moving forward, though.  Maybe I should step out of my comfort zone more often!

How about you… have you had success with something that was far different from anything you’ve done before?

Road to Publication #24: – The tinglies are here, and I’m dreading when the slapping will start.

Yeah, this was supposed to post Monday.  I’m a delinquent.  I just can’t keep up right now.  Ever been there?

The funny thing is I almost went to bed without posting this one, too… and All I’ve done tonight is blog posts for guest appearances.  Funny–I forgot my own.

Back to the Road to Publication …. I just received another email from someone who’s read an Arc (Advance Reader Copy) of Make Believe.  They said that “Last Winter Red” was their favorite story “by far” and they wanted to do an interview with me.  Can I hear a squee?

Now, I am not vain enough to think that the other authors are not getting similar email responses to their own stories…. But this is the third response like this I’ve received, and it feels good.  So so so good.

But creeping in the back of my brain is knowledge that the day will eventually come where someone will pick up the Make Believe Anthology and love every story EXCEPT mine.

It’s inevitable, isn’t it?  Not every story will resonate with everyone.  I listen to other authors complain about reviews… and I’m trying to tell myself that I won’t read any reviews at all.

Ugh.  Maybe you guys can screen them for me and just tell me about the good ones?

I don’t know.  I’m pretty thick skinned, and I do not expect EVERYONE to like my story.  I really don’t.  I just hope when that dreaded day comes that they have a little mercy and chock it up to “this is not my cup of tea” rather than “this chic stinks beyond reason”.

How do you think you will react to your reviews?

For those of you who have gone through this already, how do you handle the good and the bad?

Road to Publication #23: – Never Ending Edits

Well, I submitted the Arcs, and like I thought, a few of the things I asked for were turned down. Basic mistakes like punctuation and spelling were all a no-brainers and fixed (I hope).

Wait — OMIGOSH!  I just looked at my countdown button and there are only 21 days left until I am officially published!  Holy freaking cow!

**Ahem** Sorry… Shaking off the freak out.  Back to business…

Okay… those final edits… Here’s what happened.

The Chapter Headers, which I wanted in Edwardian Font, were changed to an awkward Arial Bold that just made me cringe… So if you read it on kindle, imagine that being beautiful scrolling letters that make you feel like you are outside. Funny thing is, The PDF version looks fine, so it might be different depending on the E-reader.

I also was turned down on the Ellipses. I knew they would say no, because I am reading another one of J.Taylor Publishing’s novels now, and I found exactly the same problem in that novel.

In a closing ellipsis, JTP’s standard format is a space before and after… no-matter where it falls on the page. This means that if you have the sentence, “I tried to do it but …” the “…” could very well drop to the next line, and appear all by itself. To me, that completely ruins the mood of what you might be trying to do, but that is the publisher’s choice. They want all their novels in the same format. I need to understand and live with that.

One section of the book had part of the scene removed in editing, and I had to “bridge the gap” because it was obvious there was something missing. It was easy… just added a scenery sentence, but in doing so I accidentally repeated the word “eased” in two back to back sentences. They asked me what I wanted to do and I changed one “eased” to “settled”. Good catch JTP. Thanks!

Finally: A single word came in to play again. The editor had changed one word in a scene that I really liked. I tried to get my original word back, but they declined. The word that they choose just didn’t work for me, but after asking around for suggestions, I found another word that we could both agree upon and BAMO! Yay! We are finally done.

So, I guess they weren’t completely unending. They just felt that way for a little while.

The Arcs are now complete, and the next time I will see Last Winter Red it will be published as part of the Make Believe Anthology.

Ahhhh. Published. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Big Publishing House, Small Publishing House… Red Fish, Blue Fish. What the Heck do you do?????

Help me think through this, ‘cause it’s driving me nuts. I’m finishing up my novel, Fire in the Woods. I felt pretty cozy about it going in to the beta process. Now, rounding to home plate, I’m really excited.

I’m excited because, as authors, we always think what we’ve written is great. The Beta Process is usually a slap in the face as reality sets in. For me, the slap was not so hard. Yes, it needed tweaking, but every single beta reader is just as excited about this novel as I am. Wow… it’s a pretty great place to be. (Ten beta-readers, in case you were wondering)

So now I am sitting here with a novel that I am reasonably sure is good enough for a big publishing house. No brainer, right? Send it on out!

This is where I hit a snag. Am I a patient person, or an impatient person?

The truth is, that the big houses that I am interested in… Baen, Daw, Tor, Random House, Entangled (a little smaller) are now — are you ready for this –


Wowzers! No need to take a year to find an agent, and then wait another year to get your stuff read. (If you can get by without an agent-there are pros and cons to this)

Anyway, the problem is that many of these houses do not accept simultaneous submissions. That means they expect you to send your manuscript to them… and only them. Now, this would not be a problem, but all of them, in their submission requirements, give themselves a HUGE timeframe to review novels. I understand that they get a lot of submissions, but you want me to take a year before I even hear back from you? And then if you decide to pass, I’ll need to wait another year to hear back from the next one?

My goal is to have Fire in the Woods traditionally published in printed copy format. I want the perks of professional editing and layout and cover design (etc) However, there are plenty of small houses out there who will read your query in a day, and read your manuscript in a month or so.

So, what, I wonder… other than prestige… would I direct myself to a big house when I have the possibility of getting my novel in the hands of readers in a year, as opposed to two to three years or more?

Hmmm. I think typing this just made things more clear to me.

Anyway… what are your thoughts?

(Self-publishing is not of interest at this time. I don’t have the time or money to do it right)