Friday, November 6, 2009

She Can't Take Much More of This, Dammit

When I first began forming an opinion about this book I just finished reading called Damn The Rejections, Full Speed Ahead by Maralys Wills I briefly considered waiting until I had the chance to read some of her other books. Wills, as it turns out, is quite an accomplished author; a self-proclaimed genre-hopper who has been published eleven times, each book somewhat different than the last. In addition to this self-help guide to getting published, her resume includes romance novels, several memoirs, children's books, a techno thriller, and even a book on adult party games.

I know this because throughout Damn The Rejections Wills is constantly and shamelessly plugging her own work as if she had written a 241 page advertisement intended to drive her readers to

If this is indeed true, then Mrs. Wills has succeeded. Upon putting the book down upon completion I promptly placed three of her works (Higher than Eagles, Scatterpath, Save My Son) in my shopping cart with the intention of covering those books in my review of this one. Those reviews will have to wait for another day however, because Damn The Rejections - marketing tool that it may be - stands on its own as a captivating, interesting read not just for those dabbling in the craft, but also for anyone trying to succeed in a tough cruel world.

Cynicisms aside, referencing her own material gives Wills immediate credibility with her audience. It’s easy to grow discouraged in a society that teaches us to expect instant gratification and publication often comes only through a lot of hard work and perseverance, an experience that the author experienced first hand and has the scars to prove it. This is not a cookbook with a magic recipe for publication, but rather an engaging story of trial and error with lessons for the reader peppered into the tale to be harvested like rice in a flooded paddy. This is about the journey foremost, and all are invited, writers and non-writers alike.

Perhaps that’s what makes this book such a fun read, even for someone as arrogant as myself, one who believes they already know the ins and the outs of what it takes to get published. Years as a mother and school teacher have instilled in Wills a nurturing spirit, a wonderful sense of humor, and a natural encouraging demeanor that comes through in her friendly narrative. Other books of this nature encourage the reader to jump around from chapter to chapter extracting only the information they are looking for. But DTR reads like a warm letter from your mother. Her prose invites you in for dinner so tasty that you never want to leave, and I found myself reading chapters whose subject I was already familiar with just so I could go on the ride with Maralys.

Damn The Rejections, Full Speed Ahead is about so much more than trying to write a good manuscript and get published. It’s about life and the constant struggle that comes with getting the things we want out of this journey. Although writing is the subject material, these lessons could be applied to just about anything. This is an American story about keeping at it until one day, Success! Should you decide to go on this journey with Maralys Wills you will learn a few things about writing and a few things about life. Just be warned though: After you have finished the last page don’t be surprised if you head over to the computer, log on to, and throw a few things in your cart.

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