Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"The word of God is the best medicine you can take"

I come to you from the world of potato chips and chocolate, the world of rejected writer-dom. Yes, my book was not chosen as a semi-finalist in the ABNA contest, but don't cry for me, world wide web, the truth is... I'm alright. In fact, I feel like this contest-- shoving my baby out into the world and getting feedback (mostly positive feedback, at that! Mostly...)-- it's a great springboard for me as an author and for my book. I feel more confident about myself and more confident about sending A Wife for Miles Bradley out for a few more pilgrimages until it finds a home in the hands of a willing publisher.

The fact is, going from one out of ten-thousand to one out of five-hundred in this contest really isn't a bad thing. So, I'm not one of twenty-five, I'm sure the books that were chosen instead were well-deserving. I give them my heartfelt congratulations.

Anyway, as I eat more chocolate and nurse my self-esteem, I'll tell you why my book was rejected.

Here's what Publishers Weekly says:

Early settlers in a marriage of convenience trust in God to get them through a harsh life in Montana territory in this novel full of Christian messages. It’s 1864 and Caroline is on a wagon train to Oregon as a nanny to her 3-year-old cousin. When he dies in a wagon accident, her aunt and uncle blame her and kick her off their wagon. Widower Miles Bradley proposes a marriage without love, an arrangement that gets him a mother for his two children and Caroline a place to live, as they head for Montana territory to work on a ranch with his brother. They struggle with the arduous daily chores of early settlers, they are threatened by attacks by Indians and the white townsfolk who don’t like the fact that they have befriended other Indians. All this is a backdrop for two years of marriage in which Caroline grows to love Miles while her somber, taciturn husband still aches for his dead wife. This novel is slow to start, and when there are action scenes, they end with a sputter. Characters rely heavily on their faith in God to get through life -- with the overwhelming theme that “the word of God is the best medicine you can take.” Quotes from scripture abound, often at the beginning of chapters. It may seem heavy handed for a general fiction reading audience.

In short, my book is too Christian, and the actions scenes are a drag. I can live with that, but Caroline's cousin was not three, he was seven. Where did three come from? And could you make my story sound a little more boring, please? Can't you just imagine that review in Sour Bill's voice (from Wreck-it Ralf)? "They kick her off their wagon"... as if they're riding along and one-day *punt* "LIEK GET AWF!" (I'm not bitter, honestly, I'm just having fun with this).

I like the Amazon Expert Reviewers better; they liked my book. They said nice things like,
"The strongest aspect of this excerpt is the author's ability to draw the reader in to the story right away. The premise for the story is interesting and I felt involved from the first page. I felt like I was watching a movie, the way I was able to visualize the chain of events." and "The author’s writing competently placed the reader at this historical scene, and the tragedy sufficiently placed the two protagonists in a bind that can only be solved by reaching out to each other." I think I'll invite these guys over for tea and Pirouline.

So, yeah, there's still hope for my story. It'll get published someday. In the meantime I'll keep writing for Encouraging Word (they still love me) and planning my wedding (he still loves me). So... yeah.

Yours truly,

ARose, the heavy-handed