Donna Ball on Rejection — guest post and giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Donna will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

On Rejection…

Rejection letters, as everyone knows, are part of being a writer, and I’ve certainly had my share. But my top five favorite rejection letters were all on the same book! I mean, really, how bad could it have been? Here are excerpts from the letters the publishers sent my agent:

Publisher # 1

Dear Emmy,
Thank you so much for sending me Deja Vu by Donna Ball. While I thought the characters were vivid and engaging, I ultimately found the plot weak and derivative…

Publisher # 2

Dear Emmy,
Thank you for allowing me to look at Deja Vu by Donna Ball. What a brilliant, original plot! But unfortunately, the characters were cardboard and the style completely off-putting…

Publisher #3

Dear Emmy,
I return herewith Deja Vu by Donna Ball. Although I am a huge fan of her style and find her voice original and compelling, I just can’t see this as a fit for our list…

Publisher # 4

Dear Emmy,
I must reluctantly pass on Deja Vu by Donna Ball. As you know, we have been looking for a book in this genre to complete our fall list, and I had great hopes this might be the one. While I thought the plot was very clever and the characters rich compelling, I found the writing style dull and unsophisticated…

Publisher #5

Dear Emmy,
Enclosed please find Deja Vu by Donna Ball. While I agree Ms. Ball is a very talented writer, and she certainly knows how to make characters come alive inside a taut, well-constructed plot, I honestly just didn’t like this book. I can’t exactly say why. Please keep us in mind for future projects….

Talk about not being able to win for losing! Deja Vu continued to be returned by publisher after publisher with such alacrity that you might’ve thought the envelop in which it was mailed contained toxic waste. Eventually I moved on to other projects, and asked my agent not to forward rejection letters to me any longer. They were just too confusing. But I like to use this experience as a cautionary tale to other writers who place too much emphasis on the opinions of publishing professionals. Sometimes editors just don’t know what they want (or don’t want, as the case may be).
But seriously! How bad could it have been??

Almost two years ago the sleepy little community of Dogleg Island was the scene of one of the most brutal crimes in Florida history. The only eye witnesses were a border collie puppy and a police officer. Since that time Flash has grown from a puppy into a vital part of the Dogleg Island Police Department, and has lived happily with the two people who rescued him on that horrible night: Deputy Sheriff Ryan Grady and Police Chief Aggie Malone.

Now the trial of the century is about to begin. The defendant, accused of slaughtering his parents in their beach home, maintains his innocence. Aggie and Ryan, the top witnesses for the prosecution, know he is lying. But only Flash knows the truth.

And with another murder to solve, a tangle of conflicting evidence to sort out, and a brutal storm on the way, the truth may come too late… for all of them.


Enjoy an excerpt:

If the call had come four minutes later, Aggie would have missed it. This close to end of shift, no one would have blamed her had she ignored it and headed on in, and in fact she considered doing just that. She glanced at her dashboard clock: 6:56 A.M. Then she saw the street sign coming up she muttered, “Crap.” She punched the radio mike. “Unit four, responding. ETA, thirty seconds.”

The radio crackled again. “Hey, Aggie, you still beachside?”

It was Ryan Grady, her morning relief for beach patrol. Relief was of course a relative word; he’d been nothing but a pain in the ass since she’d joined the Murphy County Sheriff’s Department eighteen months ago. She worried what it said about her that she was actually starting to get used to him—and worse, even to enjoy his inanities. Secretly, of course.

She switched on her flashers and made the turn onto Harbor Lane. The swirl of color bounced off the early morning fog, painting tree trunks and the tangled jungle of vacant lots in eerie explosions of blue. “Amazing powers of deduction, Sherlock. ETA now twelve seconds.” And she wasn’t even hurrying. The one thing she loved about Dogleg Island was that there was rarely any need to hurry. Very little was more than ten minutes away in any direction.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Donna Ball is the author of over a hundred novels under several different pseudonyms in a variety of genres that include romance, mystery, suspense, paranormal, western adventure, historical and women’s fiction. Recent popular series include the Ladybug Farm series by Berkley Books and the Raine Stockton Dog Mystery series. Donna is an avid dog lover and her dogs have won numerous titles for agility, obedience and canine musical freestyle. She divides her time between the Blue Ridge mountains and the east coast of Florida, and lives with a variety of four-footed companions. You can contact her at, or follow her on Facebook at Donna Ball Author Page.

FLASH is available at Amazon and other retailers:


a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. It must have been so upsetting and tiring to try to understand what the editors really want. But eventually, Donna can prove to them that she is a great writer

  3. momjane says:

    This sounds like a complicated but fascinating mystery. I loved the excerpt.

  4. Thanks for hosting me today! I’ll be around off and on to answer questions.

  5. Rita Wray says:

    Great excerpt, thank you.

  6. the excerpt’s nice

  7. Patrick Siu says:

    I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

  8. Cali W. says:

    Thanks for the giveaway. I like the excerpt and cover. 😉

  9. It was nice chatting with you all today! Thanks for hosting and good luck to everyone on the giveaway.

  10. Stacey Grantham says:

    Great excerpt! It makes me want to read it.

  11. Nikolina says:

    Really enjoyed reading the excerpt, thank you!

  12. Nikolina says:

    Really enjoyed reading this entire post, thank you!

  13. Amanda Sakovitz says:

    Thanks for the chance!

  14. Thomas Murphy says:

    sounds like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway.

  15. I enjoyed reading this entire post. Thankyou

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