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I knew I could write!

(Crossposted from Words of Gray)

Well, most days out of the week, I'm somewhat convinced. Kind of like most of the contestants on So You Think You Can Dance are pretty sure they're at least passably talented. It's a fair comparison, since I'm talking about Harlequin's latest contest, So You Think You Can Write.

As many of you know (and if you didn't, you do now!) I've been struggling with the motivation to write. A lot of people have said if you're meant to write, you will, no matter what. That seems to be the case with yours truly. Even if I'm not actively submitting or critiquing or getting off my butt and actually releasing books I've been talking about for ages (*cough* sorry Tybalt!), I keep picking away at projects. A little here, a little there. And every once in a while, I find something to reach for.

So when the opportunity to enter SYTYCW 2013 rolled around, I figured, why not? I've got a good book I could enter. Were it not for what I consider poor representation, it might have made it into HQN's hallowed halls already, but why dwell on that? I've given it a makeover, and it's not doing -me- any good hanging out on my hard drive, collecting virtual dust.

So, into the contest pool it went. Some of you read it. Many of you liked it. And, fortunately for me, so did the editors judging the first chapters submitted.

I am pleased to say that Of Shadow Born has been chosen to be one of the Top 50 Finalists for this year's contest!

So what does that mean for me now? It means I spend the next few days polishing the heck out of this manuscript. It means that the whole thing gets shipped off to the editors early next week. And then it means more waiting, finger-crossing, hoping and mysterious hoodoo-for-luck with the end goal of making it through the next gauntlet and onto the top 10 list.

There were 650 or so entries this year. The top 50 were pulled from 20 possible categories. I'm pretty gobsmacked that I've gotten this far, but I'm not ready to stop reaching for the stars yet.

Which brings me to the next even more important thing I have to say: DON'T GIVE UP!

Guys, S.L. Gray is me in my third incarnation. It's my second reimagining of myself. I have submitted books to, oh, most of the houses out there. The big ones, certainly, anyway. I have stacks of rejections from editors and agents alike. I've gotten so close to a yes, I've sworn I could taste it. And yes, I have had some successes. There are books out there with my (other) name(s) on them.

But this is a rough business and believe me, I know it can suck. It's perfectly understandable if you're disappointed or sad or angry if you don't get a contract or an agent or final in a contest. Heck, I'll even happily tell you you get 24 hours to eat potato chips and chocolate and cry if you want.

Just DON'T GIVE UP!

Because much as it might make you roll your eyes to read it again, the only thing that's going to keep you from succeeding is not trying in the first place.

So, (say it with me now) DON'T GIVE UP!

And if you want to see the chapter that got me this far, it's here: http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts-sytycw-2013/of-shadow-born/. One way or another, you'll see this book.

And Tybalt. I swear, Tybalt's coming. Just... not right now.