cb-clarkLike many authors, my path to publication has been a long and rocky one. When I finished writing my first story, I immediately sent the manuscript to several publishers, certain I’d written a best seller. I was devastated when the rejection letters arrived. Some were form letters addressed to ‘Dear Author’, and others were terse statements stating the manuscript was not what they were looking for. One editor even scrawled the word ‘No’ in red pen across my query letter.

One particularly dark moment occurred when I was at a conference attending a session where writers anonymously submitted the first page of their work. If selected, the moderator read the page as a panel of editors listened. If they didn’t like what they heard, they raised their hands. If two editors raised their hands, the reading stopped. This was the most-attended session at the conference. It was like watching a car accident as writer after writer was jeered and critiqued by the editors, and the audience nervously laughed.

I held my breath as my page was selected. Almost immediately, one of the editors raised his hand. After several more paragraphs, another editor’s hand went up, and the reading stopped. The editor who’d raised his hand first explained that while the writing was good, the story was pulp. As he said it, his mouth pursed as if he’d eaten something sour.

After I bandaged my bruised ego, I wrote another story. This time, aside from the form rejections, there were a few encouraging words. I attended conferences, joined the Romance Writers of America, participated in an on-line critique group, entered contests, and revised, revised, revised.

Then came the day I pitched the story to an editor. She loved it and requested I send the manuscript in as soon as possible. A month later, The Wild Rose Press offered me a contract for ‘My Brother’s Sins’. Now my second romantic suspense, ‘Cherished Secrets’ has been published, and I’ve signed a contract for my third.

I’m glad I didn’t quit. Writing is what I do and who I am. Never stop doing what you love. Believe in yourself. Writing is subjective, and what one person dislikes, ten others will love. Your dreams of being a published author can come true. Mine did


cherishedsecrets_w10633_750Twelve years ago, sixteen-year old Carrie Ann Hetherington, pregnant with the child of a murder suspect, fled the small town of Cooper’s Ridge for the anonymity of Seattle. Now, faced with a family dilemma, she must risk her carefully reinvented life and return to her childhood home.

Eighteen-year-old Declan McAllister’s prom date is found beaten and strangled to death, and he becomes the prime suspect accused of the grisly crime. Now this successful Dallas businessman returns to Cooper’s Ridge to find the true murderer and finally lift the cloak of suspicion he’s faced all these years. In his quest to prove his innocence, he must join forces with the woman who shattered his heart to find a devious killer who will stop at nothing to protect a shocking truth.

Caught up in a menacing web of secrets, deception and danger, they struggle to overcome past betrayals and present danger. Can they tear down the barriers they’ve erected around their hearts and rediscover true love.

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