Guest Blogger:Donna Shields- Do You Remember the First Book You Ever Wrote?

Happy Friday everyone. Don’t forget to visit me at the Scribes today. We have a special guest – Australian Visual Artist, Glenise Clelland. Be sure to leave a comment. One lucky person will win a copy of her book – LOVE FALLS IN LOVE WITH LOVE.

I also have a special guest blogger today. My fellow Soul Mate sister – Donna Shields. Donna will also be visiting the Scribes on 2/17 to answer our interview questions.

Take it away Donna!


Do you remember the first book you had written? I don’t mean the first published. I’m talking about that first completed story. The one you shoved under your mattress or stuffed onto a shelf in your closet never wanting it to see daylight again. So afraid to show your masterpiece to the waiting world.

After a while, you get brave. Maybe join a critique group or sign up for a writing workshop. And little by little, eventually you make connections and show off your baby. And that’s just the beginning of the nail-biting experience.

Secrets of Jenkins Bridge is my baby, my first love of writing. And just like your first child, you have a very hard time letting your story go. And that’s me. Even though I already have one published novella, it’s just not the same as this one. I have taken my time with Secrets of Jenkins Bridge.

My experience from the beginning was a bit backwards. I began writing it in the fall of 2007. Within six months, I had finished, edited it, and sent off a query letter to Harlequin. Mind you, this story was vastly different back then. It had only taken them two weeks to reply back requesting the full manuscript. I was over the moon! I sent it in and waited. And waited. About a month later, I received a reply. A semi detailed rejection. And being the first, it hurt. A lot. I did the worst thing a writer could ever do. I tucked it away and didn’t write at all for almost two years. Please don’t do this. I’m still kicking myself in the bum for wasting all that time.

But, I eventually began to write again. I joined a critique group whom I wouldn’t give up for anything now. I revamped the story and passed it along to my critique partners. They really helped in so many ways. I also joined Savvy Authors and took some workshops. And finally finished Secrets of Jenkins Bridge November 2011. My editor loves it. She can’t wait to see it published.

My advice to new and unpublished authors? Don’t ever give up on your dreams of writing. Keep going. Join a critique group. Take a workshop. Polish that baby and learn that eventually you will have to let it go and rejection is part of the process. Before you find the perfect home for your special story, you will go through a few rejections. But, you can’t become published if you don’t write.

You can find me:

At my blog:

On facebook:!/shieldsdonna

On Twitter: @Donna_Shields

On SMP’s Author Blog:

You can buy Secrets of Jenkins Bridge at:

Coming soon to Amazon and Barnes and Noble also.

Thanks Donna! 

How about you? Have you ever been tempted to give up your dream? Or even take a break for a while?

34 thoughts on “Guest Blogger:Donna Shields- Do You Remember the First Book You Ever Wrote?

  1. Have often been tempted to quit or take a break, but when I want something bad enough, it takes a lot to divert me.

    Good luck with your new release. If it is anything like your first book, The Swan Cove Murders, readers are in for a treat.

  2. Great blog post Donna! I entered a contest for harlequin about 8 years ago and never heard back from them. Sadly, that made me put down the paper and pen for a long time but I picked them back up and haven’t looked back.

    Swan cove murders was fantastic! I can’t wait to read Secrets of Jenkins Bridge!

  3. My first ms is still ‘under the bed’ but with the completion of that novel came an uncontrollable urge to keep writing. I can’t wait to read this new release!

  4. Great interview. I do remember my first book I ever wrote. It was under a tree during my son’s peewee football practice. It is so easy to give up in this business, but thick skin is a must:) Have a great weekedn!

  5. I have four of those “under the bed” mss. I saw them as educational experiences, and learned in the four years of writing them as I much as I would have getting an MFA. I’d still love that little piece of paper saying I had a degree, but I’m grateful every day that I didn’t give up. The process of writing and completing these stories has brought me to that 500,000 words of practice required to learn the craft of writing. The rejections just made me want to prove those agents and editors wrong. Stubbornness is sometimes good. Thanks for the motivation reminder, Donna. Good luck with your “baby”.

    1. Thank you! That’s a great outlook on it. I guess somewhere inside me, I was doing the same..wanting to prove them all wrong. And I did 🙂

  6. Hey Donna. It’s funny because I had planned to drag out my first book, and start the revisions on it today. I always loved the story, but like most first books, it’s riddled with POV issues, head-hopping, etc. I had great reviews on it from family and friends (don’t we all, lol–makes me wonder their opinion of me since they seemed so surprised I could even do this). Good luck with your books and future projects.

  7. Great post! I think we are all tempted to give up from time to time. Those negative thoughts are sometimes very hard to control. I do affirmations every day to keep my mind from succumbing to the negative.

    Best wishes with your book, Donna! It looks fabulous!

  8. I plan to pull my first book out from “under the bed” soon. I also wonder about the taste level of my family who praised it so.LOL

  9. Yes, I remember and yes, I did take a break. I graduated from college knowing I would write the next great American novel. Hah! Went back to school to become a nurse so I could eat (and feed my child). But I never walked away from writing altogether.

    1. Eventually that’s what I want to do. Go back to school that is. I was working my way through Pre-Med when family issues stopped me from continuing. But now, I think I’d go back to be a nurse 🙂

  10. I take breaks time to time, but even if I am not typing, I am reading and researching for the next story.

    Glad you gave it another go!

  11. I’m in the process of re-imagining my first manuscript. I can’t even call it a book since I never finished it. So I kept the heroine and threw out the rest.

  12. Hi Donna,

    Yes, I’ve been tempted to stop writing, but then another story idea pops into my head. I think writers are just people who find stories in their every day lives, and feel the need to share them with others. I admire what writers contribute – a chance to see the world from a different perspective.

    Great post!
    Dawn Ireland

    1. That’s me too. Sometimes I’ll have three or four pop up and I’ll jot them down. Usually I end up throwing away two of them, but that last one or two remaining are little gems waiting to be born.

      Thank you for stopping in Dawn.

  13. I’ll be here all weekend, so feel free to continue commenting.

    Thank you so much Casey for having me here. I love meeting new people.

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