Sometimes, the answer is no

For several years, I have wanted to raise chickens. I daydream about feeding them, holding them and collecting their tasty eggs. I can’t wait for the day when I too can call myself a chicken farmer.

So now that we are no longer living in Alaska and don’t have to worry about bears coming into our yard to eat our chickens, and possibly eating our 5-year-old son, it’s time. I can have my chickens. Well, no. I can’t.

We are renting a house, and according to the homeowner association’s website, the only chickens allowed are the ones on a barbecue grill. Now, that’s where my chickens may eventually end up, but only over their dead bodies. Sorry, bad joke.

For now, the answer is no. I cannot have chickens.

Last week, I submitted my recently completed manuscript, The Celebration House to six publishers. Yes, I’m one of the 3% of people who actually finish writing a book. The soonest I can expect to hear back is 30 days. At the other end of the spectrum, the editors at Harlequin will let me know if they are interested in 12-14 weeks.

It’s likely that since I am an unpublished author and my book is a little unorthodox for a paranormal romance (the heroine dies at the end), that most if not all of these six publishers will tell me no. Thank you, but no.

As a writer, I’ve got to make my peace with rejection. It’s part of the life I want. But I take comfort in knowing that I am not alone. Some pretty amazing writers have been rejected. A lot.

Dr. Seuss’ first manuscript, And to Think that I saw it on Mulberry Street, was rejected 27 times.

One of my favorite books, The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, was rejected 60 times.

Dune, by Frank Herbert was rejected 20 times.

Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, sold 14 million copies and won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Pretty impressive for a book that a rejection letter describes as “an absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.”

Animal Farm, by George Orwell: an American publisher told Orwell that “it is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA.”

I know as soon as those rejection emails start rolling in, feelings of discouragement will likely come with them. But that’s okay. I’m prepared. I already have Plan B.

If Harlequin rejects The Celebration House, and I suspect they will, I can submit the manuscript to Carina, Harlequin’s e-publisher.  But only if Harlequin rejects it. There’s also the possibility of self-publishing the book. I just need a winning lottery ticket.

Now, as far as a Plan B for the chickens, who of my neighbors would rat me out to the homeowner’s association if I just, you know, went ahead and got them? The chicks would live inside for the first eight weeks anyway. We plan to move in the summer of 2014. Hmm. Maybe I can make this work.

Hands and arms inside the cart. Next: my office on wheels.



Illustration by Margie B. Segress. Doesn’t she capture perfectly the image of hope with this little character? To see more of her work, go to

1 thought on “Sometimes, the answer is no

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s