Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2010 … Your Magic Number?

Magic numbers … we all have them, don’t we? You know, those pivotal numbers that radically change our lives? Dorothy clicking her heels 3 times or 3 husbands for Scarlett before she finally gets a clue. Or in my case, 28the magic age before some poor slob would finally marry me (sorry, Keith!). Or even 14the number of kids I wanted to have to break my mother’s record of 13. Sigh. Fortunately for me, my second child would dispel that notion quickly enough with another magic 13the number of calls I made to Poison Control before she reached the age of 3, convincing me once and for all that 2 children would be my “magic number."

Of course, as writers we have magic numbers, too, such as the numbers of books we write before we sell. The number of contests we enter before we win. Or, the most painfulthe number of rejections we receive before the novel of our heart is published. For me, it was 45the total number of No’s I heard on A Passion Most Pure before I finally heard one lonely Yes. But as you and I both know … it only takes one.

As an aspiring writer, nothing encouraged me more than knowing my icon Margaret Mitchell garnered 38 rejections on my favorite book of all time, Gone With the Wind. Yep, you heard right38 publishers who didn’t have the sense that God gave a goat to know that what they held in their hands was a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that would go on to be the highest grossing Hollywood film of all time (adjusted for inflation). I mean, come on, think about itwhat if Margaret had folded on the 37th rejection while her magic number of 38 waited in the wings? Brrrr … I shudder at the thought.

And what about Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, authors of the multi-million dollar Chicken Soup for the Soul series? Their magic number? How does 140 rejections sound on a book that would go on to become a 65-title series that has sold more than 80 million copies in 37 languages? Encouraged yet?

No? Well then, take a gander at the following list and see if some of these magic numbers and snarky rejections don’t help to take a bit of the sting out of some of your own:

Emily Dickinson, only 7 poems published during her lifetime"(Your poems) are quite as remarkable for defects as for beauties and are generally devoid of true poetical qualities."


Ernest Hemingway, regarding his novel, The Torrents of Spring"It would be extremely rotten taste, to say nothing of being horribly cruel, should we want to publish it."


William Faulkner, "Good God, I can't publish this!"


D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover“for your own sake do not publish this book.”


William Golding, Lord of the Flies—“an absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.”


Norman Mailer, The Deer Park—“This will set publishing back 25 years.”


The Diary of Anne Frank—“The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level.”’


Irving Stone, Lust for Life, rejected 16 times but found a publisher and went on to sell about 25 million copies—“A long, dull novel about an artist.”


Stephen King, Carrie—“We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.”


John le Carré, The Spy who Came in from the Cold—“You’re welcome to le Carré – he hasn’t got any future.”


George Orwell, Animal Farm—“It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA.”


Richard Hooker, M*A*S*H21 rejections.


Dr. Seuss, first book, To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street27 rejections.


Jack London600 rejections before he sold his first story.


John Creasey, English crime novelist753 rejection before publishing 564 books.


William Saroyanmore than a thousand rejections before he had his first literary piece published.


Whew! I don’t know about you, but I gotta tell youa long list of rejections are pretty much looking like a badge of honor right about now because to me, they scream something loud and clear. NO … NOT that you should hang it up because you’re a loser, although you will, trust me on this, get those whisperings in your ear more often than not.


Nope, it says you are a do-or-die fighter, a human being who refuses to quit, and one of the few people on the planet who aren’t just TALKING about their dreams, but actually DOING something to try and achieve them. That makes you unique, special, and stubborn as dirt. Because let’s face it, everybody TALKS about writing a book, but few DO it … and even fewer have the guts and stamina to go after publication like a pit bull after a mailman’s butt. Unfortunately in my experience, most would-be writers have a Chihuahua mentality—lots of yapping going on, but too much trembling and timidity to sustain a really good fight.


So, 2010 … your magic number? Maybe … and maybe not yet. But either way, there are some special magic numbers you don’t ever want to forget on your journey to publication. Like the 3 MOST IMPORTANT things needed to ensure success in your writing, whether published or nonthe Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. They are your agents, publishers and publicists all in one—LISTEN to them! Their timing, purpose and plans for you are flawless, something I have had to learn the hard way. In fact, if you asked me to reveal the NUMBER ONE lesson I’ve learned as a published writer so far, I would simply give you the same Scripture that the Holy Spirit gave me as my guidepost for 2010Proverbs 4:25-27:


Let your eyes look directly ahead

and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.

Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established.

Do not turn to the right nor to the left;

turn your foot from evil.


Translation? At least for me?


Keep my eyes fixed on God (not on getting published, selling books). Walk according to His precepts (putting Him first, praying for myself and others, keeping my heart free from sin such as jealousy, doubt, bitterness, fear, etc.), not looking to the right nor left (comparing myself to others via contests, sales, Amazon rankings, etc.) and finally, keeping my foot from evil by making HIM Lord of my life … not my writing, not my success and not the affirmation of peers, friends, family or fans. Him, and only Him.


Because I am convinced that only then will I experience the most magical number of all: the ONE way to ever find peace, joy and success as a writer.


105 comments :

  1. interesting post. I must say I never did like having to read Lord of the Flies!
    Oh and dont hate me but I didn't like the movie Gone with the wind.
    in fact If I ever have to watch it again I wont be held responsible for what I may do.
    Sorry to all the lovers of the movie.
    (I am obviously not a classic lover)
    Its amazing reading about Jack London I really love some of the books he wrote that became series and films. Loved the Alaskan ones.

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  2. I am so glad for many of those authors they finally got the yes they were looking for. As I read the list I could not help but think how grateful I was that they keep moving forward...with hope! To think Jack London had 600 rejections and now you read his books in school. Same with George Orwell or Emily Dickinson.

    This is an inspiring post...whether you are a writer or not :)

    I sure am glad you keep going sweet Julie! Having a friend like you is wonderful! And your books....icing on an already delightful cake!

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  3. Wonderful post! You're so right about God and joy. :-)
    I love these rejection letters. What an awesome reminder that one opinion is exactly that--one opinion. LOL
    Your second child sounds like my third. *shudder*

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  4. Forgot to say that the pic is awesome! Love the boots. :-)

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  5. Inspiring? I don't know... Hundreds to thousands of rejections. It feels a little like reading the book of Job. I know it ends well but I sure don't want to go through it. lol

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  6. Good Morning, All! First off, I want to apologize for the GIANT picture! I'm not sure anybody is ready for that first thing in the morning ... uh, at least I wasn't! You see, originally it was a teeny-tiny photo my talented artist husband created, so naturally I clicked on "large" status when positioning the picture. And trust me, it looked just fine in the preview, but HOLY COW!! I must have gained weight overnight because it's just a little too mammoth for me but I'm too chicken to try and fix it now, so y'all will just have to squint -- sorry!

    To make up for it, we've got my favorite desserts this morning as breakfast food because I know we are all on diets (or at least I am ... no sweets during the week!). There's warm peach cobbler with real whipped cream, white cake with strawberry cream-cheese icing, double-chocolate cheese brownies with frosting and my specialty -- apple-cranberry-pecan crisp cheesecake pie (and yes, I made it up and it so don't make fun of it because it won 2nd place in a baking contest!). Of course, since I always crave protein day or night, we also have platters of crisp, maple-cured bacon and lots of honeybaked ham. Dig in!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  7. Hey JENNY, it's SO great to see you here again! I never read Lord of the Flies, so I don't know, but any book with an insect in the title gives me the eebie-jeebies!

    And because I really like you, I will overlook your comments about GWTW because you're young and obviously stunted when it comes to true romance classics ... or maybe it was me who was stunted, but definitely in a very good way! And trust me, I won't be held responsible for what I may do when I watch it again either, but I guarantee you that there will be one hot love scene smoking on my computer shortly thereafter ... :)

    Thanks for dropping in from Down Under, sweetie!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  8. One thing about all those rejections...the writers persevered and ended up getting published.

    As deflating as it is to hear no, you stayed the course, too, Julie. Great testimony to those of us still trying to break into the market.

    Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Christy, you sweetheart, you! Either you got up REALLY early or went to bed REALLY late, but either way, thanks for stopping by!

    And you know, until you just said that about being grateful, I didn't fully realize how very right you are! Thank God for those diligent people who never gave up, writers or not. Margaret Mitchell, Harper Lee, Diana Gabaldon, Thomas Edison, the maker of Kleenex and Miley Cyrus ... uh, just threw her in to see if you were listening. :)

    As always, thanks for your support, Christy and especially your friendship.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  10. JESSICA!! Another earlybird! Thanks for the compliment about the pic. I put my poor husband through the paces every month with some crazy Seeker blog photo. I still haven't figured out why the guy doesn't just slap me across the chops and tell me to buzz off. Ah, love ... it's a wonderful thing! :)

    And you are SO right ... one opinion is just that ... one measly opinion of some disgruntled editor or reader who's crawling out of the slush pile or got up on the wrong side of the bed. Or as I like to say to those who give me a 1 star on Amazon, mentally imcompetent. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  11. LEE!!! But it DOES end well, right, and think of the character and faith Job developed in the process. Gosh, I just hope he was young enough to enjoy it ...

    And you probably won't have to go through it, Lee. Not every writer does and to be honest, I don't know many who have had rejections in the triple or quarter digits, do you? I mean at the ACFW 2005 conference when Brandilyn asked who had the most rejections in the room, there were only a few brave souls who raised their hands out of a room of 400-500 writers present. Of course, I was the poor slob waving wildly in the back of the room with 19 rejections at that time and shocked nobody could top me. I won the boobie prize that year for most rejections, but I'll bet dollars to donuts that 19 wasn't the high number.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  12. Hey, LISA, yeah, perseverance is a wonderful thing ... in pursuit of a husband, God or in writing! And again, as deflating as some of these numbers of rejections are listed in this blog, not everybody goes through that.

    In fact, I'd be really interested in having the published writers who are reading this blog let us know how many rejections they racked up before they sold. I know for a fact that there are those like Deb Raney who sell on the first query letter and garner a movie to boot, but as Deb is quick to point out, that is definitely NOT the norm.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  13. Ah.

    Jules up early and serving food.

    This has made my day, sweet thing. Food, great conversation, and a list of rejections longer than two arms strung together.

    Sweet.

    What a great reminder of perseverance and persistance.

    Patience.

    Prodding.

    Our "P" words. Wonderful, Jules.
    Just wonderful.

    Ruthy

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  14. Morning Julie, I love this post. It is so good to remind ourselves that rejections don't mean we are bad writers, just that we haven't found that editor who loves our writing style. YET.

    I had the privilege of listening to Jack Canfield at the Maui Writers conference and his story is amazing. He self=published because of no interest and sold out of the trunk of his car. He went on a radio show every day. Word of mouth spread and he sold so many books that publishers were finally interested.

    The entertainment business is so fickle. I'm sure publishers, movie makers, song writeres etc would love to KNOW the magic formula.

    And that is why the last part of your post is soooo important. For me anyway. It keeps me sane to know there is a plan.

    I'm so glad you held onto your dream. I love your Passion series. You've always been an inspiration to me, Julie girlfriend.

    And its been ages since I had peach cobbler. Yummy.

    I found another chocolate coffee. A dear friend gave me for Christmas that I'll share. Godiva chocolate truffle. Help yourselves.

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  15. Oooo, RUTHY, love the "P" words!! Let's throw in "painless," at least relatively so if God is front and center, persevere, plug away, pursue, popular (as in bestseller status) and finally pathetic ... as in my sad attempt to come up with "P" words!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  16. Fabulous inspiring post, Julie! A precious reminder that we writers must never give up pursuing our dreams! Yikes, the editors you quoted didn't mince words. Thank goodness none of my rejections were that nasty.

    God gave you the perfect verses for 2010! Do you mind if I borrow it? None of us can go wrong when we keep our eyes on Him.

    I made coffee/tea and Mexican omelets with salsa to kick start on our day. Far better than a kick in the pants rejection. :-) There's sour cream if you're not watching calories.

    Janet

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  17. Great Article, LOVE the picture of you!! You look like your having fun!!

    Blessings for 2010!!

    Sincerely,

    Nora
    Finding Hope Through Fiction

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  18. Oh, SANDRA, Godiva chocolate truffle -- don't toy with us, girl!! Wouldn't mind having the real thing right about now!

    WOW, I didn't know the full story on Jack Canfield, but that is AMAZING!! Kind of like a Mrs. Fields with books.

    And thanks for your kind words, Sandra. If falling flat on one's face over and over again is inspirational, well then, maybe I am. :) But no more so than The Seekers are to me, each in their own special way. We ARE a blessed group, no question about that.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  19. Thanks, JANET, and thank God my rejections weren't that nasty either, although I did get one where the editor scrawled across my very own query letter "no interest in this project." I think it was the fact that I wasn't even worth a piece of letterhead that bothered me the most.

    And sure you can borrow my Scripture verse for 2010 because as we all know, God's Word is like Him -- omniscient, omnipresent and powerful, a special word for each of us wherever and whenever we embrace it.

    Yum ... the Mexican omelets sound to die for ...

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  20. HEY, NORA, SO great to see your smiling face this early in the morning, girl!

    And fun? Uh, not for my husband NOR for me, at least not on this one. He originally wanted to take the picture outside for good light, but there aren't many places I can hang over a ledge, although we do have a 10-foot wall overlooking a patio. Problem is, there was a half foot of snow I had to sit on, and even though I had a rug, the snow got EVERYWHERE ... on my jeans, my black boots, you name it. Very wet and very cold, but also, I hope, very effective.

    Blessings right back at ya for 2010, my friend!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  21. Hey, JOSETTE, thank you, sweetie! Appreciate you dropping by.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  22. Julie,
    Thank you for that wonderful post. I had a tear in my eye and then dove into the peach cobbler, heck with diets!

    Jack London, I would have never guessed. Interesting and inspiring!

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...err that special agent, publisher, editor that can see your vision.

    Hubby did a great job with the picture!

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  23. Awesome, Julie! I especially like this: the 3 MOST IMPORTANT things needed to ensure success in your writing, whether published or non—the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. They are your agents, publishers and publicists all in one.

    You said it, Girl!!! I agree one hundred percent.

    And I thought my 32 rejections were bad! That's how many I got on the book that's being contracted now. And I do see my rejections as badges of courage. That's a good way to put it.

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  24. Oh, Julie, your pic is adorable! I love it!

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  25. KERRI ... girl, I'm glad somebody else had a tear in their eye because I felt like an idiot when I was reading it to my hubby and blubbering like a baby. A little too close to home, I guess. :)

    And, yeah, I am of the firm belief that peach cobbler is a cure for anything!

    I'll tell my hubby you liked the pic. The poor guy doesn't get much affirmation otherwise ... NOT!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  26. MELANIE!!! Thirty-two rejections??? Dang, girl, you're catching up with me and Margaret!!

    Gotta say, YOU getting published is one of the nicest things that happened to me last year. It's nice to finally kick such a sweetheart off my prayer hit list! :)

    And adorable?? I choose my friends wisely, apparently--kind, encouraging and full of the Blarney! Thanks, sweetie. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  27. You rock. You totally rock.

    What else can I say?

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  28. Julie, I love the picture! Very eye-catching and fun!

    What a fascinating collection of authors you shared. I couldn't help but notice how many of them actually changed the direction of writing in their time. Since writing is a constantly changing form of communication, we never know who will be the next one to change the course of the industry. Julie, your courage to write edgy fiction is certainly in that category!

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  29. Julie -
    This is a FABULOUS post! Very encouraging and filled with truth! May we all serve Christ with our whole heart in 2010!

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  30. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post...I stumble across it the day after asking for release from a publisher who first signed the book and then decided that they weren't that sure of it. *sigh* The last 24 hours I have been staring at the piles of manuscripts sitting unpublished on my shelves wondering why I bother. The "ear whisperers" were starting to convince me that writing, in and of itself, is enough, publishing is simply not worth the hassle. After reading your post, I now take a breath and move forward with looking for yet another publishing home...

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  31. Loved the article and your stats, Julie. I should be writing at this moment, but just had to pop in and say that I didn't even count how many rejections I got before Thomas Nelson picked up Sun King. It's just part of the process.

    And as we published authors know, the rejections don't stop with your contract. There's that little issue of revisions and rewrites :)

    You are so on spot, that God is our agent. It happens when it is in HIS timing. God is faithful!

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  32. As always, Julie, you are insightful in your wisdom : )

    Okay, eloquence aside, you are so right, girlfriend. We must all learn to turn our cheek to rejection and listen to constructive criticism, and then decide whether we want to incorporate it or not, LOL.

    When I look back over the years, waaaaay back to when I first started writing for publication, I can only realize now how the Lord had decided writing was my calling.

    After all, why in the world would a person subject themselves to (mumble) years of frustration, rejection and doubt if the Divine was not nudging a bit?

    I love your number concept, Julie. I'm so glad you didn't give up easily. You are living proof it was worth the ride : )

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  33. TEEENNNAAA!!! Honey, you already KNOW I think you "rock" more than the Grand Canyon, girl, and I am SOOOO grateful to be your friend! And I am STILL twitching with excitement over your first sale!! The first of many, I am VERY sure.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  34. I love this blog, though it makes my current diet harder.

    Another number - 2 - number of rejections already received in
    2010. Must keep at it.

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  35. LORNA, thank you SO much for your kind words!! And my hubby gets credit for the pic, although I DID sit on a wet, snowy ledge outside to get the right effect for the picture. If you look closely, you can still see the snow on the tip of my lower boot! :)

    And, you are SO right about many of the authors listed being the ones who changed the course of this industry -- definitely something to ponder. And like my husband always says, "If it were easy, Julie, everyone would be writing books." :)

    Have a blessed day!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  36. What an encouragement today!

    Thank you!

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  37. KIM!!! A hale and hearty AMEN to that, girl! Why does it take SO VERY LONG to learn this life-changing lesson? And WHY is it one of those things we have to learn over and over again? Are we really that thick??

    Nope, just human.

    Thanks for dropping in, sweetie -- I always love to see your smiling face!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  38. Okay, AKAI, your comment made me cry ... as if I hadn't cried enough while writing this post as it is! :)

    Honey, I am SOOOO proud of you!! Death to the ear-whisperers because they will NEVER win as long as Christ leads the way. Thank you for sharing your poignant story with us this morning, and please know that I am saying one for you RIGHT NOW that God will give you supernatural favor with the right agent and publisher. A divine connection that will change your writing life!

    You go, girl ... and you be sure to let us know when it happens ... because perseverence, patience and prayer are on your side ... and so are we! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  39. Quite an eye-opening post, Julie! And tell K he did a GREAT job on the photo. Of course, with you as a model, how could he go wrong?

    Okay, I'll chime in here. In the 25 years I was submitting novel mss. hoping for a contract, I racked up over 200 rejections.

    Here's a number for you. As I said in a comment the other day, it only takes ONE editor to see the merit of your work and decide to take a chance. If you give up too soon, you'll never find her.

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  40. Oh Julie,
    What a wonderful, wonderful post! Truly, we can't depend on the opinions of man. I think Gone With the Wind made a writer out of me:) It's one of the few books I've reread. This post should bring encouragement to so many, published or not. Bless you today!

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  41. GOLDEN!!! Oh, it's so FUN to see you here -- thank you for dropping by.

    And groan ... revisions and rewrites! How is it that sometimes they can be almost as painful as rejections? Let's face it, published or non, we ALWAYS need God to get us through, don't we? I honestly would give up right now if I didn't think I could rely on Him.

    And those of you who love Historical Romance, you may want to head on over to the Cornhusker Academy blog where Janna Ryan has listed her TOP 9 PICKS for 2009. Golden and I rub shoulders AGAIN and are giving away copies of our books. Hope to see you there! The link is:

    TOP PICKS 2009 FOR HISTORICAL ROMANCE

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  42. Hi Julie,

    Thanks for the encouragement! Funny thing about numbers. My magic number is 3 - it's a recurring theme in my life. And lately, almost every afternoon, I happen to look at the clock at exactly 3.33 pm! One day I got in the car and the odometer was at 3333.3. I'm thinking there's a message there somewhere! LOL.

    Take care, and hope 2010 is very good to you.

    Sue

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  43. AUDRA SAID:
    When I look back over the years, waaaaay back to when I first started writing for publication, I can only realize now how the Lord had decided writing was my calling.

    What a profound thought, Audra!! I mean think about it, your perseverance and longevity at turning the cheek IS proof that the Lord has called you to write for Him because NOBODY can keep that up unless God enables them to for a reason.

    And to be honest? I kind of think there's a little truth to hanging in there for the long haul even if it wasn't God originally planned. I mean, come on--He didn't put the story about the woman hounding the judge in the Bible for nothing, right? Something to think about ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  44. WALT ... grin, 2 rejections already and it's only January 13??? Hey, man, you are on your way!! You only have 43 more rejections to go if you're gonna catch up with me.

    But something tells me deep in my gut (maybe it's the fun blog you wrote a while back or your pithy comments), that you are not long for Unpubbed Island. Just a sneaky feeling I have. Of course that and $3.50 will get you a cinnamon dolce latte at Starbucks ... nonfat, of course!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  45. ERICA ... thank you, sweetie, not that you NEED the encouragement, from what I hear! Sounds like you are on a roll if the grapevine is to be believed. And I tend to take the vine VERY SERIOUSLY ... grapes or otherwise. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  46. Oh, MYRA, I was SO hoping you would throw out your statistic because the first time you told me that, my jaw sagged in shock. Talk about endurance!! I nominate you for the Queen of Perseverance for the year, unless somebody can come up with a better number. I humbly bow to your grit and tenacity, my friend--it's rewarded the world with a truly gifted writer!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  47. Aw, Julie, Seeker sister that you are, are you possibly a wee bit prejudiced? Personally, I am in awe of your stamina for producing such amazingly wonderful (and amazingly HUGE) novels one right after another! Margaret Mitchell herself would bow to your success!

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  48. LAURA!!!!

    Man, I knew I liked you right off the bat when you stopped me in the hall at ACFW to introduce yourself and give me a sweet comment.

    Then I read your book. Dear God in Heaven, Inspirational Romance at its VERY BEST, a la Francine Rivers and Liz Curtis Higgs -- God's truth!

    Now I discover you are also a Gone With the Wind freak?

    Friends for life, I swear!

    Thanks for coming by, sweetie -- you are really something special.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  49. Ooooo, SUSAN ... maybe three publishers fighting over your first book!! Or three contests that you win in a row!

    That's pretty cool and eerie about the 3s in your life! As long as you've only got one husband, though, you're cool.

    I've got three fingers crossed for you, girl, and hoping The Call comes in three shakes of a tail!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  50. Hi Julie:

    I really enjoyed the message in your post but your Hemingway selection hit my hot button.

    The criticism of “The Torrents of Spring” is dead right and totally justified. Horace Liverwright took a chance and gave Hemingway his big break when it published his first collection of short stories. However, Hemingway’s contract give Horace Liverwright the rights to his next novel: “The Sun Also Rises”. Hemingway wanted to go with the bigger and better paying publisher, Scrivener. Hemingway connived to break his contract.

    How? Hemingway quickly wrote a parody of Liverwright’s best selling and most beloved author, Sherwood Anderson. “The Torrents of Spring” was a mean spirited effort the cheat his publisher out of the right to publish “The Sun Also Rises”. Hemingway knew Liverwright would not publish the book.

    The book was written to be rejected. Hemingway wanted a rejection letter.


    However, for Hemingway to get out of his contract, the book, “The Torrents of Spring,” had to be published by another publisher. This stipulation was thought at the time to be sufficient protection for the original publisher. Of course, Scribner’s was happy to publish it, in a minimum press run, in order to get the rights to “The Sun Also Rises”.

    Hemingway went on to betray many friends and wives but it all started in 1926.

    The lesson here: sometimes the criticism is justified. : )



    Vince

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  51. WOW, VINCE, I had NO idea!!!

    Which is just one of the MANY benefits of having you frequent the Seekerville blog -- not only are your comments thought-provoking and often dead-on, but you lend a well-read viewpoint to the discussions AND a very interesting male perspective, as well.

    Thanks for keeping me honest. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  52. Great post, Julie. One I really needed to hear right now. Sometimes I feel like I have a permanant bruise from hitting that brick wall so many times. I haven't even counted how many rejections I have yet. It's kind of depressing and it's easier not to focus on that.

    Most of my rejections have been very kind. The one that really stood out though, was the agent who loved my voice and story, but wouldn't publish a novel that featured a plus sized heroine, because she didn't like them.

    Guess that was actually a good rejection, because who would want to sign with someone that rejects for that reason alone?

    As for GWTW, I hated it. I know I'm one of the few, but Scarlett drove me up the wall like nails on a chaldboard. (Don't string me up, Please?) I guess I'm more of a Jane Austen kind of girl. :)

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  53. When I feel discouraged reading about the distinguished group of authors who were over looked and finally picked up is uplifting.

    I must admit, after a twenty years of trying and just a few rejections, I kind of quit counting.

    That's so bad of me, but I know I can't count them on my fingers and toes together twice.

    The more books you circulate the more your chances for rejection or a contract.

    Now that I finally have two contracts for e-books, I still can't give up. I have too many stories in me. I'll keep my fingers crossed for more contracts and rest assured that I'll probably get some more rejections as well. And remind myself they are not a reflection of my writing persay, but more often than not a reflection of someone's taste.

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  54. Great list! Gives me hope with my numbers that anything is possible with God. :O)

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  55. Gosh, APRIL, I hear ya -- there were times when I had brick indentations in my forehead gouged with tiny bits of grout. Sigh. It's sure not easy, is it?

    Which makes YOU all the stronger, all the tougher, all the more respected because YOU aren't going to let a brick wall get in your way ... and neither will God!

    2 Samuel 22:30 -- For by You I can run against a troop; By my God I can leap over a wall.

    And, honey, I sense you have a really tender spirit, so it's no wonder you hated Gone With the Wind! Scarlett was abrasive, self-absorbed, cruel, brazen and pushy -- just the type of person who wounds normal, gentle people like you. I'm pretty brazen and pushy myself deep down, so I could take Scarlett on, which is why I liked her -- she was a challenge to me, to Rhett and to mankind.

    April, I sense the Holy Spirit telling me to put publication of your book on my prayer hit list, so consider it done, my friend -- sticky note written. Chin up and eye on that brick wall ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  56. Ah, Julie, you really are a sweetheart! I appreciate any prayer that's offered on my behalf.

    Your three top things really hit the mark with me too, because I've felt God reminding me of that lately as well. It's easy to forget why you keep persevering. Then I have to remember why I felt called to this to begin with. I think FOCUS is going to by motto for 2010.

    God bless, Julie. :)

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  57. TINA SAID:
    And remind myself they are not a reflection of my writing persay, but more often than not a reflection of someone's taste.

    PREACH IT, girl! You are dead-on! And SUPER CONGRATS on your two e-books, Tina, and here's to many, many more contracts.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  58. DESTRELLA ... I am SO glad my blog inspired hope in you! After all, God IS the God of Hope, Romans 15:13--

    "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

    I'm guessin' the God of Hope would want YOU to hope, too, putting your faith and hope in Him and the plan and purpose He has for your life.

    Go get 'em, girl! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  59. GINA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I laughed SO hard at your comment that Keith turned around and said, "What's so funny?" Thanks for the chuckle ... I needed it!

    Okay, I'll bite ... I'm guessin'108 is your total # of rejections on ... one book? Or several?

    Hugs,

    Julie

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  60. 108 is the summation of all the "numbers."

    Just typing the numbers makes me all giddy about LOST starting up again.

    Interesting comment you made to April about her tender spirit not sitting well with that bossy Scarlett. Since I'm not a Scarlett or GWTW fan (fell asleep during the movie), I'm guessing it's becuase my sweet, tepid, genteel spirit is more suited toward non-snarky, non-opinionated, non-quirky, ain't-got-no-calf-living-in-my-basement kinda gals who have no idea who Derek J is.

    Did someone eat all the scones?

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  61. Julie:

    After your comment about Myra's number, I had to go look. I had no idea how many rejections I've garnered, so I went through my files and counted what I found.

    It's less than Myra's at about 125, but that doesn't include any agents, only publishers. Over the years I've had quite a few of those as well.

    Along with all the rejections, I had requests for completes four times (two were returned when the lines were cancelled, the other two were almost-but-not-quite what an editor wanted).

    For the record, the very first one dates back to 1980.

    Helen

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  62. Oh, Julie, I forgot to add that in regards to rejections on books, I have no idea because I don't count. Well, I know how to count; I just don't pay the rejections any mind.

    Right now I'm only focusing on one number: 31 of Jan. That's my deadline to have the revisions done on the requested full manscript.

    Well, then there's 22 of Jan, the day Smallville shows a new episode.

    2 of Feb, the first new episode of LOST.

    6:18, which is the time I have to get up in the mornign to get the kids off for school, which also is the channel number for FOX News HD

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  63. Gina, I sense a numbers obsession. Do you happen to be obsessed with Numb3rs?

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  64. Julie you didn't miss anything by not reading Lord of the Flies. What was worse we had to watch the movie also! Now this was never my type of movie, book etc.
    It was a year 8 book too! I was still reading enid Blyton books at that stage!

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  65. They might have been right about Lord of the Flies, Lady Chatterly's Lover, and pretty much anything written by Hemingway (especially The Sun Also Rises).

    But I love this post! Love what you said about what rejections say about refusing to quit. Great inspiration for the start of the year, and one I shall bookmark for re-reading pretty much monthly.

    No rejections yet but my novel count and contest losses have begun. Looking forward to more...on the way to my magic number!

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  66. GINA SAID:
    Since I'm not a Scarlett or GWTW fan (fell asleep during the movie), I'm guessing it's because my sweet, tepid, genteel spirit is more suited toward non-snarky, non-opinionated, non-quirky, ain't-got-no-calf-living-in-my-basement kinda gals who have no idea who Derek J is.

    Grin ... you must have your pajamas on, girl, 'cause you is dreamin'!! I'll give you the no calf in your basement, but that's about all ... :)

    And I'm glad you can count, although not rejections. Probably safer to stick with contest wins ...

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  67. Whew, good to know, Jenny! Thanks for telling me ... I'll strike it from my TBR list.:) NOT!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  68. PATRICIA ... Haven't read any of those either, although I did start The Sun Also Rises but couldn't get into it, which is really rare because I'm pretty stubborn about finishing a book no matter what ...

    Thanks for your sweet comment about my post. And novel count and contest losses are good! I lost the first seven contests I ever entered until I gleaned all the judges had to say, and then look out, baby -- I nailed the next ten as a finalist, from honorable mention to 1st place and everything in between. But it was those nasty contest losses that taught me the most about the craft!

    And novel count? Go for it, girl! Sheesh, I only WISH I had that under my belt like Mary Connealy who releases a new book every other week because she had so many stashed before she sold.

    Waving at ya, Mare! Just received The Husband Tree in the mail today and honest to God, Keith asked if you have a book out every week! :) Can't wait to dive in, but Janet's The Substitute Bride comes first 'cause I got hers first!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  69. Hi Julie,
    I used these same rejection comments and numbers to give me hope and keep me persevering as n unpublished writer too. It is inspiring to know others have kept going and eventually found an editor who "got" their story.

    May I "borrow" your Bible verse and your translation? It really speaks to me and my present walk.

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  70. HELEN ... Whoa, baby, 125??? Girl, you would have won that booby-prize basket I received at ACFW one year for the most rejections! I guess I could still send it to you, but the candy's all gone ...

    Even so, four completes requested by an editor is HUGE!! Do you know out of all the rejections I garnered before I had an agent (39), NOT ONE requested a complete ... NADA! So trust me when I say that you should take that as an indication that you need to press on because one of those completes is going to turn into a sold, you mark my words.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  71. You bet, KATHRYN, borrow away! The Word of God belongs to the kids of the King. Which is one of the true beauties of God -- the Word can speak to us individually in a way that is unique to each of our personalities separately ... kind of like how God's love is unique to each of us one-on-one with Him.

    Onward and upward in 2010!

    Hugs,

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  72. Wow, I never imagined!!! This is one girl who is so scared of rejection, I am scared to write, even though I have wanted to since I was really young! You make me feel like it is better...to just try and not to worry about it! Because I have read some of your books.....I have to say also I did read GWTW and was so upset at the note it was left on. I didn't read non-Christian books so that was amazing I have read it then. I bet my mom did not know. Scarlett irritated me though too! Such a spoiled girl!! Anyhow, I have never watched the movie.

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  73. Great post. I really enjoyed it. Thanks.

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  74. Oh wow, Julie. What an encouragement!! (no surprise coming from you ;-)

    My rejections keep piling up and when I have time to sit and count them someday, I'll know what my number is ;-)

    But it's really nice to know, that while those of us who are aspiring authors, sit and wait for our number to be called, we're in good company.

    I guess as Christian writers, we have a great example for 'perseverence' in the Lord Jesus - who pursues us until He catches us with his love.

    He sees a masterpiece in us, whether we see it in ourselves or not. Definitely something to rejoice about and remember that he's got a plan...and the special number in mind just for us.

    THanks for the reminder, Julie.

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  75. Wonderful comments, Julie! Thank you for sharing them. My two verses for this year would be the one about "mounting on wings of eagles" and I could kick myself I don't remember the whole verse, but "letting tomorrow worry about itself" That has done WONDERS with my writing time, let me tell you!

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  76. Such a GREAT post Julie! Thanks so much for sharing!!! I have no clue what my magic number is... well, right now it's 4, because I'm on baby #4 and I know for sure we won't be going for #5... ever:-)

    Rejections... do you all count conference, "No thank you's"? If so.. Then I've had, um, 4 rejections. OHHHH, I see a trend! I was also born in April... 4th month... and on the 4th day of the month..

    Oh, I'm liking 4 a lot right now.

    I've had 2 requests for full's by agents... (still waiting on them) but that's half of four... so is kinda like 4 right? Or maybe since they were full requests and not partial, we can say they were like 2 requests each... so together would be 4.

    Hmmmm... Sorry, I'm a math/number's geek! LOL

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  77. Julie, what a wonderful post. Brought tears to my eyes--and gave me new inspiration. You're such a blessing! And such role model.

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  78. MARTHA ... oh, honey, the trick with Gone With the Wind is to KNOW that Scarlett becomes a better person and gets Rhett back!! That's the unfinished story that I ALWAYS believed would happen even before they did the "Scarlett" sequel where,in fact, that is exactly what happened (of course ... that's the first cardinal rule of real romance ... the happy ending!).

    And I am SO glad I encouraged you to tackle your own book. Truly, if you just sit down and start, you will be AMAZED at how quickly it will flow. In fact, I took a fiction-writing course as part of the things I did to pursue publication, and one of the MAIN exercises was to just sit down and WRITE nonstop for about 10 minutes, not thinking about what you wrote but just spilling whatever came into your head onto paper. The object is to write ten minutes straight WITHOUT stopping to think. And you know, it's really amazing how good some of that stuff came out, too!

    SO ... to get you a jump-start in the write direction, here is a little list I put together when people ask me what steps I took to get published:

    1.) Join ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers at http://www.americanchristianfictionwriters.com/), FHL (Faith, Hope & Love at http://www.faithhopelove-rwa.org/) and RWA (Romance Writers of America at http://www.rwanational.org/), both to get connected with other like-minded writers and to learn a lot about your craft.

    2.) Take a fiction-writing class or attend a writing seminar or conference.

    3.) Join a critique group (you can do that through ACFW).

    4.) Purchase and study writing books such as Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King or Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas, AND invest in a great thesaurus such as The Synonym Finder by Rodale Press (my writer’s bible!!).

    5.) Enter contests for invaluable feedback, growth, confidence, networking opportunities and to get your name out there.

    6.) Frequent websites/blogs that deal with writing, such as The Seekers (http://seekerville.blogspot.com/), a group blog that I belong to whose theme is “On the road to publication. Writing, contests, publication and everything in between.”

    5.) Go for an agent first, publisher second.

    6.) Then pray your heart out and put it in God’s hands.

    GO FOR IT, MARTHA!!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  79. CHER'LEY ... what an ununsual name! Very pretty.

    Thank you SO much for stopping by ... I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  80. PEPPER SAID:
    I guess as Christian writers, we have a great example for 'perseverence' in the Lord Jesus - who pursues us until He catches us with his love.

    Boy, Pepper, you sure know how to nail it in a couple of sentences. As a woman who can't write a book under 475 pages to save her soul, I take my hat off to you. Beautifully stated ... and brief enough that people will actually remember it. What a concept! :)

    Thanks for stopping in ... I always perk up when I see your gorgeous face!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  81. Btw Julie,
    I just purchased the Synonym Finder :-) Looks like a GREAT tool!!

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  82. CASEY ... Ah, yes, Matthew 6:34 --
    "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

    I LOVE that verse, too, so great way to kick off a new year, along with the wings like eagles Scripture -- both favorites of mine. But, YIKES, the idea that each day has enough trouble of its own is SO painfully true, isn't it, though? Thank God we only have to tackle it one day at a time.

    I pray God's abundant blessings on your writing and your life in 2010.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  83. KRISTA ... uh, grin, you need to hang with Gina because you both definitely got that whole numbers thing going on!

    And, oh man, I FORGOT about conference rejections!!! That would boost my number from 45 to 48. Uh ... let's not count them, okay? So you're zero right now, sweetie. Get busy and start racking up some R's just to build endurance!!

    Two fulls with agents? Well RIGHT NOW, I am praying for supernatural favor for you and that God would put you with the perfect agent for you.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  84. I've gotta say those guys who kept track and counted to 500 or 700 seem a little masochistic to me. At least OCD.


    I'm all for amnesia in these cases.

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  85. Mary, I couldn't bear to count mine until after I got the acceptance. THEN--and only then--did I go and count them all. I was thinking it was probably somewhere in the low twenties, but it turned out to be 32.

    But that was why I was saving them. So I could count them when it was all over. :-)

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  86. Uh, MISSY ... easy on that "role model" stuff because we wouldn't want Ruthy to gag. As it is, Keith is having trouble keeping his dinner down because HE knows the very LAST thing I am is a "role model." You obviously have never ridden with me in a car. Not pretty, trust me.

    But thank you for the kind words. You are a real blessing to me too, more than you realize.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  87. MARY!!! I was hoping you'd stop by, sweetie, but figured Elle was keeping you hopping. Hope you are having a fabulous time with that baby and getting some rest besides. Yeah, right.

    I'm with you ... I would stop counting at 100 at least ... I think. But then maybe not. After all, I did pipe dinner guests' initials into a twice-baked potato ...

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  88. MEL ... springboarding off Mary's comment, you're what I would call a "smart OCD" ... counting the rejections AFTER you're published so they don't weigh you down. Very smart. Or very paranoid ... one of the two. :)

    You know I love you!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  89. Great post.....I'm thinking about my magic number! :)

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  90. Thanks, WRITERGIRL ... hope your magic number brings you blessings galore in the year ahead ...

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  91. Julie, I just didn't want to get depressed! That's why I waited and didn't count them. :-)

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  92. G'morning Julie!

    It was a pleasant surprise to open my email and see your smiling face. :) Love the pic...your hubby is very talented!

    What an encouraging post, Julie! Even though I'm not a writer, you've encouraged me. Your advice could be applied to many different areas of our lives, not just writing. Thank you!

    It's great to see you! I hope you have a wonderful day...try to stay warm!

    {{hugs}}

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  93. Julie, SO GREAT! Love the pic too!

    Hugs
    Cheryl

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  94. MEL ... I certainly understand, sweetie. This biz is hard enough without battling that dark monster!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  95. LORI!!! Thanks, sweetie, for dropping by -- I really appreciate it and actually miss you when you don't! Your smiling face (via blog and e-mail) ALWAYS blesses my day. :)

    And, yes, I AM staying warm! Actually have a foot-warmer I tuck my toes in and a lovely ocscillating heater ... uh, not to mention the occasional kiss from my hubby who works two feet behind me! :) I AM a romance writer, after all!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  96. Hey, thanks, CHERYL ... oh, those talented husbands of ours! Where would we be without them???

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  97. Personally, I loved the big picture of you on the number blocks, way cool! And I enjoyed seeing your smiling, lovely face, and reading your very interesting article. Hugs, hugs and more hugs, my friend!!

    Miralee

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  98. Personally, I loved the big picture of you on the number blocks, way cool! And I enjoyed seeing your smiling, lovely face, and reading your very interesting article. Hugs, hugs and more hugs, my friend!!

    Miralee

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  99. MIRALEE!!! Girl, what a joy to see you here, my friend! Thank you so much for stopping by.

    Trust me, it wasn't pretty getting that pose of me on the box because my artist husband made me sit outside on a ledge encrusted with snow--very wet and very cold--but I guess it turned out okay. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  100. At the behest of Cheryl for a surprise coming up... Had to wander on over to see what the fuss is about.

    ACCK! Y'all have sold me already!
    MOSTLY, because you all are exclamation point kinda folks!
    WAHOO!!!!

    Had to add one of my favorite authors of all time (speaking of time) Madeleine L'Engle - was rejected 26 times before Wrinkle in Time was bought in 1962 and won all sorts of awards and is still in print.

    Looking forward to finding out more about everyone. This was a great post to get started, especially since receiving a rejection from literary agent #2 today! :)

    This one was quite kind to share some ideas so I'm very appreciative!

    Thx all! Be checking back in tomorrow!

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  101. OMIGOSH, KC!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HONEY, you ain't seen nothing yet when it comes to exclamation points!! I am SO thrilled you moseyed on over, and big hugs to Cheryl for leading the way! You are going to love, love, LOVE it here in Seekerville, girl, so a big mushy WELCOME to you! Looking forward to getting to know you.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  102. I'm 'home' already.

    Yippee!!! Glad to meet like-minded Christians who are LIVING it!

    Had a discussion on www.fanstory.com recently. An editor told one of the posters NEVER to use exclamation points.

    *gasp*

    So when responding to one another, we really got after it. Kinda fun. Since mine is middle grade fiction, SURELY they allow exclamation points... Either that, or self-publishing here we come.

    Thanks for the hugs - always appreciated. But I'd also enjoy some of those chocolate truffles mentioned earlier. YUM!

    ;D

    Bye for now!

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