October was my turn with the Butt Glue, and I was excited to really get focused on Alaska Gold, my sequel to Alabama Angel. I had developed the outline of my plot and completed some solid research. I decided October was going to be the month to really kick the writing for Alaska Gold into high gear and make good headway.

Things started out well, and I added over 3,000 words during the first half of the month, which doesn’t include additional time I needed for some extra research. I’m sure you all face the same challenge. You start writing, and then you come across something you want to include, but it requires new research. I’m one of those people who can’t just put a little note in the manuscript. I have to at least get some basics of the research done, otherwise I’m not comfortable with what I write next. Will it be accurate or will my next chapter end up being a mess that I’ll need to delete and/or seriously fix later. Yes, I admit it. I’m a bit of a nitpicker.

In the meantime, Loretta Rogers offered to take a look at Trying for Par. This was the novel I wrote this year, finished in July and pitched at RWA2014 to Harlequin. Harlequin requested a full MS, and I was waiting for their response. However, in talking some plot/character concerns over with Loretta she offered to take a look at Trying for Par. I was thrilled to have her read it, and provide any comments, suggestions, whatever was necessary to make it better.

Now, if you don’t know, having Loretta critique your work is not for the faint of heart. She is incredibly thorough and doesn’t miss much in her review. I love a well done critique by someone who knows the writing craft. I received her comments with an apology, but I quickly told her no apology was necessary. Loretta is nothing, if not super detailed. She found things that I had missed, pointed out some flaws to my Heroine which I agreed needed changing, and helped me refocus certain areas of the manuscript that were potentially confusing to a reader.

After receiving her critique, I put Alaska Gold aside, and went back to Trying for Par. While I was editing/rewriting and incorporating Loretta’s suggestions into the manuscript, an email from Harlequin popped into my inbox. Sadly, not good news, as they were rejecting Trying for Par. Here is the reply:

“Dear Michele Fowler

Thank you for submitting Trying for Par to Harlequin Intrigue. In this tight market, we are forced to be incredibly selective. Unfortunately, your proposal isn’t right for us.

However, just because this book doesn’t work for Harlequin doesn’t mean it won’t work for another publishing house. I wish you the best of luck with placing your book and your writing career.

Please note that due to the volume of submissions this line receives, I cannot offer feedback or answer questions regarding your manuscript.”

After having received Loretta’s critique, I knew why Harlequin most likely rejected me. I am not upset in the least – but now more determined than ever to make Trying for Par a better manuscript. I intend to submit Trying for Par to other publishers in 2015.

Phew! What a month! What started out as an intention to move forward on Alaska Gold (which I did with some success), turned into a rejection from Harlequin and subsequent rewrite of Trying for Par.

In my opinion this was a very successful month, and one I will remember as a milestone in helping to make me a better writer. Thank you Butt Glue!

I wish the next person as much success with the Butt Glue Challenge as I experienced.



Mikki Cober

Mikki Cober

Blog Editor at SSRA
Mikki Cober was born and raised in Connecticut, just a train ride away from New York City. Her favorite past times growing up were reading gothic romances and mysteries. Mikki spent a lot of time with Julia, her BFF, writing romantic suspense novels and short stories, creating mock radio shows, and designing comic books. They spent many a summer day floating in a rowboat loaded with notebooks, pens, blankets and a transistor radio on the nearby river. The creative juices really flowed when the sun reflected gold off the water, the sky was a cloudless turquoise, and CCR rocked on the airwaves.

After college, Mikki put aside her writing for a while, focused on a career with a systems engineering firm, got married and had two wonderful children. Both are now grown and part of the workforce (halleluiah!) All that time, she felt the tug of a good story, and the desire to put thoughts to paper. After everyone else’s life was coming together, she once again began laying out romantic suspense plots that include love, murder and mystery.

Mikki loves to travel, and many of her current and completed works take the reader around the country to various locations like Washington D.C., Coastal Alabama, Alaska and Sarasota Florida.She currently resides in Citrus County Florida, is enjoying the warm gulf breezes, and sneaks away from the laptop a couple of times a week to play golf.
Mikki Cober

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