Thursday, July 23, 2020

How My “Big Mouth” Helped Me Achieve A Lifelong Dream by Rhonda Starnes

I’ve known that I wanted to be an author ever since I was in middle school, and over the years I’ve shared that dream with a lot of people. However, I didn’t start writing and actively seeking publication until seven years ago, after my children were grown and life had settled down a bit.

Even though I’d always been vocal about my dream, I only told a handful of people when I submitted my first manuscript to an editor. After all, if the editor hated my writing, I didn’t want everyone to know I failed. My husband, Mountain Man, wasn’t as hesitant to share, and he told several people that I was going to be published. I tried to tell him that getting a book published wasn’t as easy as he tried to make it sound, but that didn’t stop him from believing in my ability to write a book an editor would love. Mountain Man’s confidence spurred me on and soon I was telling everyone that I’d written a book. I was even sharing the information with my 7th and 8th grade students. Of course, telling them I’d written a book was a lot easier than having to tell them when I received the rejection. The editor liked my characters and said I did a good job conveying the emotion but my writing needed “a bit more work on structure and pacing.” All in all, it was a very kind rejection letter.

A year later, I participated in a pitch opportunity titled The Search for a Killer Voice that was hosted by Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line. Like the previous time, I wasn’t planning to tell anyone. I had learned my lesson. There was no way I wanted anyone to know if I failed, again. Only, this ‘contest’ was being conducted in four rounds, and after I made it to the second round, I could not contain my excitement. So, I opened my big mouth and soon everyone knew I was writing another book. My students cheered me on and were almost as excited as I was when I made it all the way to the final round. Then I received a revision request, followed by another and eventually a rejection. For the next four years, I found myself in a similar cycle. I’d enter a contest, sharing that information with my students, only to eventually end up with a rejection.

You may be wondering why I would continue to share my writing journey with so many people, especially my students. That’s really very simple. After I had shared the first time, there was no taking it back. Whenever I saw a former student (whether it be at the grocery store or if they stopped by my classroom) they would always ask me if I had sold a book, yet. I knew that my response to these rejections would teach my current and former students how to handle their own setbacks in life. If I wanted them to work hard to achieve their dreams, I had to be willing to work hard, too, even if there were times that I really wanted to give up.

Honestly, knowing that they were watching to see if I would stick it out long enough to become published was a pretty good motivator for not giving up. And, it’s a good thing, too, because this past September (six years and four manuscripts later) I received the call I’d been waiting on. Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line wanted to publish my book.

My debut novel, Rocky Mountain Revenge, released this month.

Honestly, knowing that they were watching to see if I would stick it out long enough to become published was a pretty good motivator for not giving up.



ROCKY MOUNTAIN REVENGE 

To survive her deadly homecoming, she’ll need to trust a man from her past… Temporarily home to help at her family’s vet clinic, Grace Porter has no intentions of staying—but someone’s determined she won’t live long enough to leave. With both Grace and her sister in the crosshairs, her ex-boyfriend, Police Chief Evan Bradshaw, must protect them. But can the single dad lawman uncover the truth about why a killer’s out for vengeance before time runs out?

Buy Links:

Amazon - https://amzn.to/2Zgb4h7

Barnes & Nobel - https://bit.ly/3eLAyti

Walmart - https://bit.ly/3dK9skW

Target - https://bit.ly/3eGFTSH

Kobo - https://bit.ly/2VG39c9

Google - https://bit.ly/2BWWQd4

Apple - https://apple.co/2VFOVrA


Rhonda Starnes is a middle school language arts teacher who has dreamed of being a published author since she was in seventh grade. She lives in North Alabama with her husband, who she lovingly refers to as Mountain Man. They enjoy traveling and spending time with their children and grandchildren. Rhonda writes romantic suspense with rugged heroes and feisty heroines.

27 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your new book! :-) Patience and perseverance definitely pay off.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rhonda, what a great reason for telling people you are writing a book! #nofear #nevergiveup

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm so looking forward to reading it. Congratulations my friend. I believe many more wonderful books with your name on them are coming soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Cindy! I sure hope to have more books publish. I will admit the pandemic has upset my writing schedule a bit.

      Delete
  4. Good morning, Rhonda!

    Your story is so inspirational to me. I thought four years was a long time to wait for my book to be published. I guess that’s the nature of this business. I can’t wait to read your book. Congratulations!

    Yvonne Weers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Yvonne! One thing I learned long ago is not to compare your journey to anyone else's journey. I've known writers who sold their first or second book, and I've known writers who kept writing and seeking publication for thirteen or more years before they sold a manuscript. Just keep writing!

      Delete
  5. Good morning, Rhonda!

    Your story is so inspirational to me. I thought four years was a long time to wait for my book to be published. Persistence pays off. Congratulations!

    Yvonne Weers

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you, Melissa! You're so right! Thanks for stopping by.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Congratulations! I'm encouraged to keep plugging along.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Deena! I'm so glad my story can offer encouragement to others. Keep writing!!

      Delete
  8. Congratulations on your book and thank you for sharing your journey! Your perseverance is inspiring.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for sharing your journey, Rhonda, and I am SO proud of you for not giving up! :)
    I'm also thrilled that your debut novel just released, and it's on my TBR stack (but I might skip ahead and read YOUR book next!).

    Happy Hugs, Patti Jo

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love this! An excellent example for your students and for all of us. Congrats on your book!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Rhonda,
    My husband wasn't shy about telling others either. Yay for supportive husbands, and yay for you!I love Rocky Mountain Revenge, and I'm so happy for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jackie, we're blessed to have husbands who nudge and encourage. :) Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  12. Rhonda, I love that your journey is a witness to your students to follow their dreams! Congratulations on your wonderful debut!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks for sharing your journey, Rhonda! So inspiring and uplifting. Congratulations!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Good for you, Rhonda, and what an example for your students.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Rhonda, congratulations on your first published novel with Love Inspired Suspense! I’m waiting on Amazon to deliver my copy.

    I love so much about this post: your perseverance, your husbands belief in you, and the way you used your journey to teach your students.

    Thanks for guest blogging on Seriously Write today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Terri! I appreciate you asking me to share my journey today. :)

      Delete

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