Paths to Publishing: Believe in the Beauty of Your Dreams by Judy Ann Davis #amwriting

Paths to publishingEleanor Roosevelt said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” If I were to give one piece of advice to a budding writer, it would be to pursue your dreams, but be careful and wary of the critics.

Every writer in their career has experienced a bad review whether it has been on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble or on another book seller site. We live in a world where everyone who reads—be it a recipe, novel, back of a cereal box, or the newspaper—believes he or she has the skills and expertise to critically review a piece of written work. These individuals may never have written any fiction or nonfiction in their life. They may never have written a simple letter or read a classic author or an instructional book on writing. But in a world where dissension seems to overshadow the need for harmony and goodwill, you will encounter unpleasant folks who are eager to offer callous comments and opinions.

When I submitted my first novel, I received a letter from an agent telling me everything that was wrong with my manuscript. This person will never get stars for being positive, helpful, or polite. Needless to say, I was discouraged–since all my life I’ve been a writer and have written for radio, television, education and industry. So what did I do with the manuscript? I shoved it in a drawer to collect dust.

For ten years, I refused to return to novel writing, but instead continued to write short stories, many of which won awards and were published for decent money. Finally, one day, I asked myself: If I can write well enough to write short stories, why was I so horrendous with longer pieces? Or was I? I decided to buy some books on fiction writing and start a new novel. This time, I discounted all the negativity and decided to believe in the beauty of my dreams. Since then, I have four books published in historical and contemporary genres; and I’m working on my fifth.

Along the way, in this often tiring and tedious process, I learned rejection and constructive critique are part of the whole writing process. I learned to receive helpful comments without allowing it to destroy my ego. I discovered I can wallow in a gloomy mood and gobble down a chocolate candy bar when criticism strikes, but only for a brief moment. Then it’s time to move on and use or discard the advice. I also learned a writer should always, always, get more than one opinion of his/her work before deciding to trash it.

Remember to be wary. All criticism might not be noble or valuable. It may merely be from a disgruntled person who selected the wrong book. Maybe the buyer didn’t understand the genre or couldn’t identify with the storyline, characters, or plot. . .or maybe he/she might simply be a self-proclaimed critic who reads a lot of cereal boxes.


UnderStarrySkies_w8620_750Title:   Under Starry Skies

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Date Published: May 2014

Genre: Historical Western Romance

Word Count: 299

Hired as the town’s school teacher, Maria O’Donnell and her sister Abigail arrive in the Colorado Territory in 1875, only to find the uncle they were to stay with has been murdered.

Rancher Tye Ashmore is content with life until he meets quiet and beautiful Maria. He falls in love at first sight, but her reluctance to jeopardize her teaching position by accepting his marriage proposal only makes him more determined to make her part of his life.

When their lives are threatened by gunshots and a gunnysack of dangerous wildlife, Tye believes he is the target of an unknown enemy. Not until Maria receives written threats urging her to leave does she realize she might be the target instead of the handsome rancher.

With the help of Tye, Abigail, and a wily Indian called Two Bears, Maria works to uncover her uncle’s killer and put aside her fears. But will she discover happiness and true love under Colorado’s starry skies?


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Two Bears grinned. “And a sorry hide yours is, Tye Ashmore. You are getting careless. You leave woman with hair the color of mink all alone. You lose horse, rifle, donuts, and water. And you do not take dog with you.”

“If you keep insulting me, Two Bears, I’m going to take my rifle and wrap it around your greasy neck. Why didn’t you bring my horse?”

“Why didn’t you?” Two Bears asked. His mouth was tight and grim. “If I had moved the horse, anyone watching would know to follow me back to you or your woman.”

Tye nodded. “I figured the same. I decided we’d walk down to get it when it gets dark.”

Maria rose and stepped between them. She was weary, and she wanted to get home, take a bath, and soak her skinned arm and injured knee. “Why can’t we just start now?”

“Your woman is not happy.” Two Bears grunted. “An angry squaw can make sunny days seem like rainy ones.”

Maria glared at him.

“Maybe we’re both not happy since you’re eating our food,” Tye countered.

Two Bears thumped his chest and grinned. “I even ate the ones you dropped on the trail. Before any varmints could get to them. Come, I know another path to your horse. By the time we arrive,it will be dark, and you can take your woman and go the rest of the way safely.”

“I am not his woman,” Maria snapped. “I am not a piece of property. Stop saying that!”

Two Bears jumped back, away from her. “If you say so.” He looked at Tye with wide eyes. “Hair like a mink. Temper like a badger.”


Author Bio:

Judy for BlogsJudy Ann Davis writes both historical and contemporary romantic suspense as well as short stories.

She began her career in writing as a copy and continuity writer for radio and television. Many of her short stories have appeared in various literary and small magazines, and anthologies, and have received numerous awards.

When Judy Ann isn’t behind a computer, you can find her looking for anything humorous to make her laugh or swinging a golf club, where the chuckles are few.

She is a member of Pennwriters, Inc. and Romance Writers of America.


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Twitter: JudyAnnDavis4





11 thoughts on “Paths to Publishing: Believe in the Beauty of Your Dreams by Judy Ann Davis #amwriting

  1. A subject near and dear to my heart as a writer, a critiquer, and an editor. I delight in finding the best in a story. I am excited by sharing it. But not everyone keeps their motives within the confines of improving a story. Learned that lesson early in college. I gave an earnest critique to the only other genre fic writer in my group. I was so excited to see an SF piece. But we were all young and in class to learn, so none of us were ready to publish. This is all to say that because there was copious room for improvement in all our work, I had a lot to say (I usually do). When my piece came up, his critique was vitriolic. It was so hostile the teacher reiterated the rules of critique again for the group. Don’t know if that critiquer said anything worthwhile. I remember just shutting down. In the end, though it turned out to be a very valuable experience all the way around that has served me ever since. Thanks for the refresher course, Judy.

  2. Laura Berlin

    You just made a sale with your excerpt. I was young when we moved to an area where the Native Indians kept very much to themselves. We went to a pow wow that was open to the public… so they said. No one was in any way mean to us, but the white man jokes kept pouring in. We still laugh at our ‘white man fires’ when we have a bonfire. Your portrayal of the Indian Two Bears reminds me of that pow wow and made me smile. I can hardly wait to read the rest of the book. 😀

  3. I enjoyed the post. Most people don’t realize how much words can help or hurt and the layers upon layers of skin a writer must develop. Congrats on following your dreams 🙂
    P.S.- That quote is one my favorites!

  4. Thank you, Jennifer, for your astute parallel insight . If I can help one person from “giving up” on their writing because of unkind comments, instead of constructive ones, then I have accomplished a small goal. Have a great day!

  5. Laura–You’ll enjoy “Under Starry Skies,” if only for the humor alone. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Great reminder. It’s easy to be discouraged. But when you get knocked down, you must get back up. Success is just getting up more than you get knocked down.

  7. Maureen–I enjoyed your comment. Sometimes ( for those with sensitive inclinations), it takes years and years to develop those layers of skin that help you become a better writer. . .and many just give up. Good luck with all your writing endeavors.

  8. Melissa–Coming in a little late. But thanks for hosting me today on your blog!


      Hi Judy,
      Welcome to the Snarkology! I’m a little late also. I have a cough that has me going to bed early and getting up late.

      Thank you for sharing your perspective and the excellent insights into not letting the critics knock you down. 🙂

  9. Really enjoyed that positive message, Judy Ann – glad you turned around that initial response to your novel length fiction!

  10. Judy, It’s so funny. Just yesterday I was telling my husband that after I read a book I really enjoyed I was looking at the reviews for it posted on Goodreads. Several negative ones said the characters weren’t fully realized/developed. Several others said how much they loved the characters and how wonderfully developed they are. An opinion from one (or in this case many) is indeed virtually meaningless.

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