Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Are You Stuck on One Book? by Shannon Taylor Vannatter

Last year at my local writer’s group meeting, a friend and fellow member was upset. We’ll call her Jane. She’d signed with an agent, then been dropped. Her book had been rejected several times and she wasn’t sure what to do next.

Over several years, I’d traveled to a national conference and roomed with her, as well as attended several writer’s meetings and retreats with her. During the entire time I’ve known her, Jane has tried to get this one book published. So as she poured out her heart and frustration at the meeting, advice bubbled up in me.

I’ve known several Janes. Tirelessly and doggedly peddling that one book that nobody wants right now. I was Jane. I pitched one book for four years. Even though at the time, I’d completed five, I was stuck on the one because it was the book of my heart.

Finally, I met Mary Connealy at ACFW. Once she got published, she had books coming out faster than I could keep up with. She said she kept writing books and pitching different ones because with each book, you learn and improve. By the time Mary got a contract, she had dozens of books ready to go. I wrote another, then another. And another.

Back to the meeting. I took Jane’s hand and gently suggested she write another book. I told her about Mary, about the book I’d set aside, and about learning and improving with each book you write. I shared that it’s hard to let the book of your heart go so you can move on. But I assured Jane that she didn’t have to give up on it. Just write more while waiting for a home for that first book.

I cried. Jane cried. A few months later, she did the devotion at our meeting about being a willing vessel for God. She gave us each a small lump of play doh and told us to make a vessel. Then she told us how sometimes you feel like you’re doing really well being a vessel, moldable and pliable to God’s will when someone, like Shannon, comes along and crushes your dreams. She brought her fist down smashing her play doh vase and looked at me.

“I’ve been waiting to do that for months.” Jane started laughing. I did too, relieved that she wasn’t really mad at me. Then she went on to share that sometimes when you think your dreams have been crushed, that’s when you find new purpose. She thanked me for my advice and shared that she’d started a new book and was loving it. And loving writing again.

Recently, a new opportunity opened up for the book of my heart. Once the book I’m currently contracted for is finished, I plan to revise that old book since I’ve learned much since then and see if it can find a home. If it does, I’ll be ecstatic. If it doesn’t, I’ll write another book. And another. And another. . .

I pitched one book for four years...because it was the book of my heart. via @stvauthor #SeriouslyWrite #amwriting


Award winning author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter writes contemporary Christian cowboy
romance and has over a dozen published titles. A romance reader since her teens, she hopes to entertain Christian women and plant seeds in the non-believer’s heart as she demonstrates that love doesn’t conquer all—Jesus does.
She gleans fodder for her fiction in rural Arkansas where she spent her teenage summers working the concession stand with her rodeo announcing dad and married a Texan who morphed into a pastor. In her spare time, she loves hanging out with her husband and son, flea marketing, and doing craft projects.
Connect with her: Shannon’s Website, Shannon’s Blog, Shannon’s Facebook, Shannon’s Goodreads, Shannon’s Pinterest, Shannon’s Twitter, and  Shannon’s Amazon Author Page. Sign up for her Newsletter to get a free e-book and behind the scenes info: Shannon's Newsletter

This cowboy has one more chance to make it right…

He already lost her once…

Now he’s fighting for her—and their daughter.

When Rance Shepherd takes a job stocking cattle for a local rodeo, he’s shocked that his new client is his ex-sweetheart, Larae Collins. Now he’s determined to prove to the single mother that he isn’t the restless cowboy she remembers. But when he discovers her little girl is his, they both must forgive past mistakes for a second shot at a future together.

Get your copy:

(Available at Walmart from mid-March until mid-June)

Blog Tour for Hill Country Redemption

Giveaway Details: Ten copies of Hill Country Redemption will be split among commentors on Shannon’s blog tour. Winner’s will be revealed on Shannon’s Blog on April 13th. 

March 1st - Becky Van Vleet’s Blog:
March 17th – Shannon’s Blog:
April 7th – Jennifer Hereen’s Blog:
April 6th – June Foster’s Blog:
April 2nd – Joy Avery Melville’s Blog:
April 7th – Catherine Castle’s Blog:
April 9th - Laurie Wood’s Blog:


  1. Great post, Shannon! Vivid illustration, and it's wonderful advice for us to always keep writing. I'm thankful you were honest with "Jane" and that she took your words of wisdom to heart. Congratulations on your success and blessings as you continue on your writing journey (and as you revise your older book; I highly recommend that since it's worked for me several times)!

    1. I critiqued Jane's 1st three chapters of her new book last week. It's a great story with great characters. She's submitting it to a contest with publication as the prize. I'm excited for her. I've revised several old books too with success. I've come to the conclusion it's almost easier to rewrite them. Congrats on all your success too.

  2. Keep writing. I enjoy your stories. :-)

    1. Thank you, Melissa. You made my day. As long as God allows my brain and fingers to work, I'll continue.

  3. Yes! It's so important to keep moving on. I pitched a contemporary romance for several years, and although it got some attention, nothing happened with it. So I spent the following six years writing a historical series and self-publishing them. Last year I took out the contemporary story again, reworked it, and self-published it - and I've been receiving awesome reviews/feedback from readers. I'm so glad I tucked it away until the timing was right.

    1. Good for you, Dawn. Kudos on being multi-genre capable. I've come to the conclusion that I stink at anything other than contemporary romance or women's fiction.

  4. Oh I like that play doh illustration! Finding new dreams & purposes from the ashes of the old is what God is good about bringing to life. When you make Him in control of your life, you know He always brings about good.
    Really good blog post, thanks for sharing!

    1. It was a really good devotion and illustration, Trixi. I love having a Christian writers' group. Before ours existed, the only ones around were secular. I belonged to two of them in the past, but they just weren't the same.

  5. That had to be hard to share with Jane, but it's good to know that she realised you were doing it with love & chose to grow with your advice. I know it had to feel satisfying for her to smash that play doh though. 😉

  6. I laughed til I cried over the play doh, Robin. What's really funny is my son said I
    crushed our cats dream a few years ago because I shut the door in his face and made him stay inside when he was recovering from an injury. As a family joke we decided Dream Crusher is my wrestling name. Even though we don't watch wrestling. Of course I had to share that story with Jane once her devotion was over.


We'd love to hear your thoughts! Please leave comments. We'll moderate and post them!