The Biggest Roadblock Along the Road to Publication

IMAG0609I’ve been thinking a lot about the writing process these past few days. As I sifted through some older writing files and reread some of my stories that had been published in literary magazines, I was reminded of that time when publication was only a dream—a dream that felt so very far away.
Yet a dream I was sure would come true…
…one day


Over time, as the rejections mounted, as the dream began to look a little fuzzy, I came to a realization about my writing, something that writers don’t often want to admit:

The biggest road block, the thing that was keeping me from being a published author was me.

Yup, that’s right, little ole me.

While there were things I was more than willing to work on—my writing being one of those things—something else was preventing me from being published. I was inadvertently placing road blocks in the way, not because I didn’t want to be published (Lordy, but I wanted it) but because, on some level, I was afraid of it. Fear is the one thing that has the power to hold us back, to keep us from realizing our dreams, and no matter how badly we might want something, we’ll allow that very same fear to put obstacles in our way and keep our dreams from coming true.

I think of these fear-based obstacles as roadblocks because they do just that—they block our path and prevent us from continuing our journey toward publication. When the obstacles show up along the road we can either let these roadblocks stop us or we can figure a way to get past them. And in order to do that it’s important to recognize these roadblocks when we come up against them.

Here are a few of the road blocks I’ve encountered in the past, ones that I unknowingly placed in my path.

1.Procrastination: Believe me when I say I can procrastinate with the best of them. I’ve had plenty of practice, too. There is always something else to do. That something else might very well be important, like spending time with my family or friends, or it could be something as insignificant as watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory. If you want to be published you need to make writing one of your priorities. REPEAT WITH ME. “If I want to be published I need to make writing one of my priorities.” You may not be able to write each and every day, but you need to make an effort even on those days when you don’t feel as though you have a literary bone in your body. Even ten or fifteen minutes of writing are better than no minutes. Remember, if you can’t publish what never gets written. No one’s going to publish blank pages. Sounds like a no-brainer to me!

2. Believing that you are not worthy of publication: This is a biggie. Too many of us struggle with this. While there are a few writers out there who have unrealistic goals, like signing a million-dollar book contract prior to publication when their writing needs much more work to make it publishable, many more writers struggle with the belief that their writing will never be quite good enough for publication. I’m here to tell you, in order to succeed in writing you have to believe that you are worthy of success. REPEAT WITH ME : “In order to succeed in writing I have to believe that I am worthy of success.” If you’re inner dialogue is constantly telling you something different, you need to give yourself a good talking to. Nothing good is ever accomplished beneath a cloak of negativity. Believe you are worthy because you are. Why wouldn’t you be?

3.Not owning it: If you’re a writer, admit it. Don’t gush over the fact, stammer and stumble to get the words out, own up to it. When I say, own it, I don’t mean for you to shout it from the rooftops because that would just annoy the heck out of everyone, I mean accept once and for all that you are a writer. Forget all that once-I’m-published-I’ll-be-a-writer nonsense. Every published writer was once an unpublished writer. They didn’t become a writer the moment their words were printed, they were writers before that. REPEAT WITH ME: “Every published writer was once an unpublished writer.” Did you think all writers were born with publishing credits? No sir, not a one. They worked at their writing until it was good enough for publication. But here’s a little truth, sometimes even publication isn’t enough to make you feel like a writer. I know, sounds silly. Certainly to be published is to be a writer, right? Yet I can tell you that I had several stories published before I finally, finally admitted that I was a writer. So do yourself a favour and admit it before publication, that way it won’t come as such a shock when you’re holding that first published story in your hands.

4. Saying you’re a writer but not really feeling it: Feeling that you’re a writer means much more than simply saying the words, “I’m a writer.” Anyone can do that, writer or non-writer. Don’t get me wrong, while it’s good to say the words, important even, it means very little if we simply do not feel it. REPEAT WITH ME: Feeling that I’m a writer is more important than just saying it. The day I actually felt like a writer, really and truly felt like one, was the day something momentous happened in my writing life. More and more of my stories were accepted for publication but, more importantly, the rejections that came afterward stopped stinging. I came to understand that rejection wasn’t necessarily a commentary of my work, but simply a story that didn’t catch the attention of the right editor on the right day. Finally, I stopped taking those rejections so personally.

While some of these may or may not be roadblocks you’ll encounter along the way, I feel as though we often underestimate our own self-worth. And when we’re not at a particular place in life when we want to be, we often end up beating ourselves up because of it. Maybe we even decide that it’s just too hard, that we’ll never get there. But we all take our own time getting places–that’s all part of life. Some stories take longer than others to polish. It’s always important to have someone in your corner. Isn’t it only fitting for you to be that someone?

What are some of the roadblocks you’ve encountered along the road to publication

Guest Post–Christi Corbett

Christi Corbett Picture for Bio-1Today, I’m thrilled to have award winning author Christi Corbett as a guest on my blog. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure to watch Christi go from unpublished author to published author. Christi’s first book Along the Way Home has been described as “epic romance inside of an epic Western adventure.” Her second book Tainted Dreams was released on May 12th. Christi is the winner of the 2013 RONE Award for Best American Historical novel and lives in a small town in Oregon with her husband and their twin children. The home’s location holds a special place in her writing life; it stands just six hundred feet from the original Applegate Trail and the view from her back door is a hill travelers looked upon years ago as they explored the Oregon Territory and beyond.

Without further ado, here’s Christi.

First, I’d like to thank Laura Best for hosting me on her blog today! I really appreciate her generosity and willingness to share her readers with me as I talk about support systems.

Writing is a solitary endeavor and once a writer has spent months, or more likely years, honing every word to perfection, they’ve only just begun. The publication process is filled with more ups and downs than a roller coaster, so it’s very important to have a network of supporters. After all, who else will understand what you’re going through when you get three rejections in one day? Or when a famous best-selling super author releases a book with the same title you slaved over for months and is perfect for your next book? Or when you finally have to shove your first novel in a drawer because even after you’ve made every improvement you can think of, it’s still not working?

I met Laura years ago, and while the details are fuzzy how exactly that first virtual meeting came about, I do recall it centering on her book trailer. We chatted at great length about it, and have kept in touch ever since. I’ve cheered from my desk chair as she’s shared her details of publication with cover reveals, excerpts, and release day news.

I’ve been a published author since June of 2013, and I’m so very grateful to all those who’ve helped me on my path to publication. From critique partners to beta readers, from bloggers to members of writing groups, I’ve gotten to know hundreds of writers, and I’ve been fortunate to call many of them friends. I cherish every one, and rejoice in their successes, and cringe right along with them when they suffer setbacks.

It’s also important to have a supportive network of family and friends, who aren’t going to complain or try to talk you out of writing sessions. My immediate family is very supportive of my career, for which I’m very grateful. Rest assured, it took years for them to fully appreciate my need for writing time, and cooperate, but now they understand and are (usually) happy to oblige when I say I need to be with my imaginary friends who live in my imaginary world. Or, when I say I need to do book marketing. In fact, my husband is currently handling dinner preparations for our twins so I can write this post. And while “handling dinner preparations” actually means he’s taking them out for pizza, the end result is still the same—they are giving me some much-needed quiet time to write.

How about you? What is your support system like? Is there anything you wish your family and friends did differently to support your dreams?

Tainted Dreams

Back cover copy:
TaintedDreams_1600x2400 FINAL2-1Sometimes, the end justifies the means…
Kate Davis arrived into Oregon City transformed from a pampered daughter of fortune into a determined woman with a plan–fulfill her father’s dream of starting a horse ranch in Oregon Territory.
She quickly discovers a harsh truth–even thousands of miles from home, on an unsettled land America doesn’t yet own or govern, gender still takes precedence over ability. Refusing to be ruled once again by the stifling laws and societal norms she’d escaped by leaving Virginia, Kate begins creatively claiming what is rightfully hers.
Until a visit to the land office changes everything.
Jake Fitzpatrick guided Kate across the Oregon Trail, and fell in love with her along the way. Now he wants to marry her and build a life together, but a ruthless man from Jake’s past threatens to reveal a dark secret, and destroy everything he’s worked so hard to achieve.

To find out more about Christi check out her





Amazon Author Page

Tainted Dreams  is available for purchase on

Barnes and Noble




Who Says You Can’t Go Back?

These past few months I’ve gone back to submitting some of my short stories for publication. Maybe to some it seems like a step back, but I’m content with the  short stories I write. I really am. Becoming distracted by novel writing these past five years or so, I allowed several finished and unfinished stories to fall to the wayside. I wish now I hadn’t. Last winter I submitted a short piece to Understory Magazine and it was published in their Winter Issue. The story was titled “The Old Queen Rains.” For those of you who might not have already read it I’ve added the link. HERE. I can’t deny it’s a wonderful feeling to have someone say they want to publish something I’ve written. These acceptances are so few and far between when writing novels. I’m a SLOOOW writer. But slow and steady as they say…..

I just received word on the weekend that another short story I’d submitted to TRANSITION , a magazine published by the Saskatchewan Mental Health Society , has been accepted. I’ve had work published there in the past. If you click into the “Publications” tab,  at the top of the page, and scroll down you’ll find some of these issues online. The link won’t take you directly to my story but, rather, the issue of the magazine. You’ll need to scroll through the magazine to find mine. I know, it’s a lot of work!

It seemed a shame to know that I had competed stories just sitting there in files on my computer. A story that sits idle will never find a home. I’m happy to know this particular story will be published. It deals with the issue of euthanasia, a very controversial topic. I like controversy in writing, it’s so, I don’t know, controversial. I enjoy writing stories that make people stop and think or perhaps show them a different viewpoint. Having an open mind, considering something you’ve never stopped to consider, is never a bad thing in my opinion.

So, yeah, I’m going back to submitting short stories. It doesn’t mean I won’t continue to work on novels, because I will. I’m keeping an open mind. The writing will find me one way or another. I don’t pick the story I want to write, but rather, the story picks me.

So here’s to going back, to keeping an open mind, not setting a straight path, but following a path that sometimes meanders a little bit. Sometimes the best things happen when we least expect them, and often when we don’t have anything particular in mind.




Just in case any of you are wondering, I haven’t gone any place. I’m just having some computer issues and it’s making my life most challenging these days. I’m hoping to set up a time to take my computer into the shop. But until then I’m very limited as to what I can and can’t do online. I’ve been reading a few blogs but I can’t leave comments and  only the text is coming up. So if you’ve you’ve posted any photos I can’t see them. Facebook is even worse. It looks pretty bare bones. And although “Flying with a Broken Wing is available for pre-order on, all the clicking in the world won’t let me see the cover of my book on the site. I know it’s there.  but I can’t even add the link here on my blog. NO fun..

Publication is a little over three months away. Time is closing in, and I’m started to get excited. In other news, a brand-spanking new Advanced Reading Copy arrived in my mailbox a few days back. You’ll have to take my word on it since — you guess it—I can’t add a photo. Oh bother. Here’s hoping I’m able to get back up and running at full capacity before too long.I miss you all.

Hope you’re having better luck than I have been.

Busy, Busy Beaver

On the property across from ours, the beavers have been extremely busy as you can see from the photo. It’s rather amazing to know that these small creatures aren’t afraid to tackle something so large. This urge to chop down trees is something that comes natural to them. Funny, how they don’t shy away from such a big undertaking. We see plenty of evidence of the beaver’s work, but we’ve never caught them in the act. I think much of their work is done at night.


Writing a novel is also a big undertaking. One that writers enter into willingly, regardless of the work involved. Rarely can an author say they whipped a novel up in a matter of a few weeks or months…(Yes, I know, some can, but many can’t.) For many authors it may take many months, maybe even years until their book is ready to be read by an editor. But once a book has been accepted for publication it doesn’t mean a writer can sit back and wait for those royalties to start rolling in. For those not involved in the industry, it’s difficult to understand what takes so long for a book to come out. I hear from people all the time, anxiously wondering why, if I’m working on edits for the book now, it isn’t coming out until next fall.

The whole idea behind the edits is to help make that story shine as much as possible. A writer often becomes immune to seeing the flaws in our stories and it takes another set of eyes to point out the imperfections and make suggestions as to how the story can be improved. We all want that book to be the best it can be, right?


So this is where I am at the moment. No, I don’t mean I’m cutting down trees….The edits are going well and I’m pleased with how the story is evolving even further. It’s always exciting to discover something new in your work, something you overlooked while you were getting the story down the first time around. Did I say the first time? I guess I should say the first several drafts.

Christmas might be creeping up on me, but I’m very hopeful that I’ll have the manuscript sent back before then. What is it about Christmas that makes us want to accomplish certain goals? I can remember, as a child, that rooms were painted before Christmas or new flooring laid.—always before Christmas, regardless of how close to the big day that it happened. So long as it was done by then everyone was happy. Anyway, I’ll use Christmas as a deadline to have this round of edits completed. I’m pretty sure that I won’t get a whole lot of writing done once a certain little someone arrives anyway.

How about you, is there anything you’d like to accomplish before Christmas comes?

All Aboard the Bandwagon

Ah the bandwagon, that gloriously wonderful place to be. Toot your horns and play your trombones ‘cause the circus is coming to town. Add some razzmatazz (God, I love that word) to the mix, some decorations and away we go!

Back in the day, the bandwagon paraded through the streets when the circus came to town. The purpose was to attract the public, peak their interest, and drum up a little business. I mean, it was the circus, how often did it come to town? Of course there were never any circus’ coming through good old E. Dalhousie, and certainly no bandwagons, at least in that sense of the word.

In the late 19th century, politicians picked up on this form of attracting a crowd and began using bandwagons when campaigning for office. (I googled all this because I really wasn’t sure where the term bandwagon originated.)

Today, we speak about someone jumping on the bandwagon we generally mean they want in on what’s trendy, because let’s face it, trendy means popular and who doesn’t enjoy popularity?

We hear about trends in book publishing, and what’s hot at the moment. Hot means books sales, and books sales means well:

Book sales  + Popularity = Every author’s dream.

Back when I was a fledgling writer with no real direction, no clear idea of style or voice, just an urge to express myself with words, back when I was furiously trying to figure it out, figure me out, figure the world out, while figuring my kids out, I thought the bandwagon was the place to be. It was fun, it was popular, there was razzmatazz. Not only that, if I wanted to catch a publisher’s eye I had to give them what they wanted and sure as heck they wanted trendy.

I tried writing what I thought would get me published. The problem was, what I thought would get me published had nothing to do with being true to who I was as a writer and as a person.  Now, don’t get me wrong, if trendy is who you are through and through, and is not simply coming from your need to write what will sell, then you’re on the right path.

I wasn’t. Not in the beginning. I couldn’t even see the path because I wasn’t even looking in the right place.

So I was a baby taking baby steps along with my two year old at the time. I was trying to find my way in the dark, with no guidance and no helping hand. I made wild stabs in the dark, first this way, then that. It’s called life, and we all make our share of wild, uncontrolled stabs in the dark while trying to find our way.

My first steps were wobbly. Not only that,  I was as clumsy as elephant. I saw where I wanted to be and I headed straight for it, crushing everything in my path. I thought I was going to get the peanut that way, and boy, was I mistaken.

But don’t cry for me and don’t feel sorry. We all travel the path that is meant for us. Some of us tread lightly, others stomp our way through.

I’ve always been stubborn and independent, always figured I had to discover these things for myself. It’s not that I didn’t want the help of others, there just were no “others” out there to offer it. The path looked mighty deserted. Not to mention that, in the beginning, I was on a secret mission. But secret mission or not, in the very beginning, I climbed up on that bandwagon for a spell. Trendy look pretty good from where I was standing. In fact it looked about right. It was going to get me published.

I would never advise anyone starting out to follow my footsteps. Our footsteps are unique, the path we choose is the one we need to travel. We need to make our own mistakes and find our own way.

The moment I read that we should write what we know, an idea came to me. I knew what I could write about. I was a bit nervous. Up until then I’d been writing what I didn’t know because I just didn’t know any different. And then my first story was published and I felt immediate joy. I had found the path that was right for me.

Would the path lead me to popularity? Would publishers immediately snap up every morsel I wrote, eager to get my words in print?

What do you think?

But I had learned a valuable lesson.

I learned to stop looking over my shoulder. I learned to write the story that was uniquely mine. I found the path that was meant for my footprints. And this is where I want to be, this is where I have found publication.

So have you ever climbed up on the bandwagon? If you have was it the right place to be?

I’m Still Writing

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.~~ Albert Schweitzr

Good old Albert had a point, don’t you think? Loving what we do should bring the smile to any old grouch’s face, unless they’re simply being contrary. I’m not going to say that never happens.

In my world, nothing makes me happier than sitting at the computer and hearing the clicking of the keyboard. Okay, maybe not so much clicking since my typing skills are atrocious, but even the hunt and peck method  can sound musical when thoughts are flowing and you’ve got a great idea by the tail.

Back when I was writing short stories there always seemed a time when I had work forthcoming, but I haven’t written a short story in a very long while. I’ve simply been too busy working on longer pieces. I don’t seem to write nearly as fast as some of the writers I’ve come to know, but as they say, “slow and steady wins the race.” Truthfully, I can’t say I’ve missed writing short fiction. I think it’s a matter of moving forward, and graduating into writing longer, more complex pieces. I’m not going to declare my short story days are over because one thing I know I’m not good at and that is predicting the future.

Anyway, the point behind this post is to mention a short story I wrote a number of years ago that appeared in the Nashwaak Review this time around. My copy arrived before Christmas, and although I took the time to read it (I always read my work after it is published) I didn’t take time to mention it to anyone except in passing to my daughter. The truth is, each story that we have published is just as important as the others considering how we toil over our words, pouring our hearts and souls into our work. The story I wrote is title Balloon Man it is told by a five year old boy whose mother has abandoned the family. His mother’s story, published by Transition a few years back, is available to read online and takes us quite far into the future. Transition published an earlier story told by the same character with the title, Mad Money, unfortunately that one can not be found online so far as I know. If you’re interested, you can check out the “publications” tab on my blog and click on: There’s This Thing About Leaving. It will take you to the issue in question. I can’t remember what page my story is on now, but scrolling down is always a good way to find something.

But enough about me, what’s new with you and your writing? Doesn’t have to be writing related, just anything you’re just dying to tell, and while you’re at it enjoy your weekend.

Am I Really Jinxed?

There’s the phenomenon that my children used to joke about when I was sending short stories out for publication. If you want to go out of business accept work from Laura Best. They used to say I was jinxed, and I guess there were times when it kind of felt that way.

Come in a little closer, what I’m about to tell you is not a secret but did in fact  happen to me more than once (okay maybe five or six times to be truthful.) I would receive an acceptance from a literary magazine saying they wanted to publish one of my stories. Great. Woohoo! Music to any writer’s ears. But that’s not where the story ends. Before my work ever had time to grace their pages, the magazine would cease publication.

Gone without a trace…Zippo!

Add to that the fact that my work has appeared in the last issue of about three more literary magazines over the years, and I began to wonder if my kids didn’t have a point.

So it’s no big secret that literary magazines struggle to keep going, and quite often they are forced to cease publication for various reasons. It’s a sad truth but a truth nonetheless.

I feel jinxed when it comes to blogging sometimes too. I find a blog I decide to follow, add it to Google Reader, everything goes along great, and then all of a sudden the blogger stop posting. Gone without a trace…Zippo!

This evening, as I was catching up on some blog reading, I realized that my Reader has quite a few blogs that haven’t updated for many, many months. It makes me wonder if they’ve abandoned their blog or simply taking an extended blogcation. Life sometimes becomes complicated and blogging simply isn’t an option for us. We can all understand that.

I resist the urge to unsubscribe to these seemingly abandoned blogs because well…they may start blogging again. I’m loyal if nothing else.

Bloggers come and go as do blogs. Usually, we begin a blog with a certain objective in mind. Sometimes we stay true to that objective and never stray far from it, while other times our blogs change, and become something totally different over time. So while I know it’s ridiculous to think I’m in any way jinxed, I’ll keep hoping that some of those wayward bloggers will feel inspired in the New Year and pick up their blogs where they left off.

How about you, has your blog stayed true to itself or has it shifted and changed over time? If you’re a blogger, have you ever abandoned a blog to start a totally different one? If you’ve subscribed to a blog where there hasn’t been any activity for a long time do you unsubscribe or do you stay loyal to the end?

Hope Whispers

When the world says, “Give up,”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”~Author Unknown

This quote hits home for me. I often hear hope whispering, even those times when I hear my practical side telling me otherwise. I’m one of those people who hang fast to hope by the tiniest thread. If it were not for those glimmers of hope in my life, I’m sure I would have stopped seeking publication many years ago. Hope is what urges me to pick myself up each time that I vow I’ll never write another word, never put myself through the pain of another rejection, never struggle to find the proper words. I sometimes think it would be much easier to simply walk away from the writer’s life but I can’t. At least not yet.

Where would we all be without hope in our lives? Today, I’m over at a Hopeful Sign. Please pop on over and say hello.

The Brevity of Roses

“That book does not exist.”

Those were Ed’s words the day I drove out to his bookshop to order The Brevity of Roses written by blogger friend, Linda Cassidy Lewis.

Ed thought he was being clever, that I wouldn’t have a clue what he meant by that, but I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck, Ed. I know what print on demand means. (It actually seems like a very good idea, although I’m sure Ed might not agree seeing how he likes to stock books on his shelves.)

So many bloggers were writing wonderful reviews of Linda’s book, raving about it in fact, and for awhile I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to get my hands on a copy. Luckily, I discovered there’s a bookshop a little less than an hour from home that would order Linda’s book for me. All I had to do to get my hands on Linda’s debut novel was to prepay. No sweat. I could do that! So you see, even if you don’t own that little piece of plastic you don’t have to deprive yourself. There’s always a way around everything. (Okay, so the lack of a credit card is a personal decision, one that I’ve been rethinking lately.)

This past while, I’ve followed Linda on her journey to self-publication and, I won’t beat around the bush, I’ve admired her initiative, all the work that went into getting her book out there. She’s a determined kind of gal and I’m all for determination.  (She even designed her own cover! How cool is that?)

If you haven’t already checked out Linda’s book, you might like to slip on over to her blog out of my mind, and check it out. You’ll find two sample chapters of The Brevity of Roses to read on the sidebar right under the book cover, and if you like what you read they can print you off as many copies of that “non-existing” book as you want. Non-existing! Oh Ed, I do beg to differ.

Linda’s writing speaks for itself. Oh yeah, the lady can write! For me the mark of a good book is one that leaves a lasting impression on the reader and, I have to say, I thought about Jalal, Meredith and Renee after the book was read. Bravo!

I also feel moved to mention that when Bitter, Sweet was released in the US last year, Linda was right there to support me as a debut author. What some people might not realize is that, as authors, we truly do appreciate all those people who buy our books. Without them, our words would not reach a larger audience. And it is for the reader that we put our selves and our work out there,  knowing that there will be those who will rave about our efforts, and those who may be less enthusiastic about it. We just can’t satisfy every reader. It is not an easy business to be in, and yet here we are.

So, congrats, Linda, on a job well done. Enjoy your time as a debut author, you deserve it!

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