by Julie, celebrating Valentine’s Day in Somerville
I am delighted to welcome friend of the Wickeds Michele Dorsey back to the blog today. I love this post by Michele, and the journey she took with her book, Oh Danny Girl.
NEVERTHELESS, SHE PERSISTED
“Nevertheless, she persisted.” A frequent quote from a male senate leader about a female senator who refused to be silenced. It was meant as a disparagement. It became a banner, one that I internalized as a writer.
Oh Danny Girl was the third full length mystery I had written and the first I considered worthy of publication. I had poured my heart, soul, and brain into the creation of a story about a young female lawyer, whose widowed mother decides to go to law school and then join her practice. Danny’s luck worsens when her hot shot criminal lawyer husband is found naked and shot to death next a woman in a Boston hotel on the eve of a huge cop killer trial. When the gun that killed them is found in Danny’s briefcase, she knows she is in big trouble.
I loved writing every word of this book, even when an agent insisted I rewrite it from the first point of view to the third. I loved the characters, I adored the setting, the relationship between the mother and daughter, and writing about how nothing is ever as perfect as it seems. Beta readers were super enthusiastic.
I felt on fire as a writer and was thrilled when a mega agent asked for a full manuscript after a conference. Three weeks later, her assistant scratched a standard rejection. “Not for me.” When a different agent signed me, she got responses that varied between, “Loved the characters, but not wild about the story,” to “Great story, not so much the characters.” She gracefully bowed out.
By then, I was deflated and had lost my confidence. I paid for a manuscript review by a curmudgeonly and brutally honest agent, who told me my agent had made a huge mistake mismarketing the book as a cozy rather than a legal thriller.
I got another agent, this time competent and not shy about being honest. While she loved Oh Danny Girl, it had been shopped everywhere and told me to move on. I had been working on other books and soon she sold two of them.
But I could never quit on Oh Danny Girl.
The book and its characters flickered in my memory as I wrote other books. I began talking to another writer about self-publishing books as I was about to revive a series I had started which had been traditionally published. I confessed that I was still mourning Oh Danny Girl and wished I had been able to share it with readers. My friend challenged me when she asked why I didn’t just publish the book myself. We began a series of conversations about who gets to decide what books should be available to readers and concluded that the reader, not the industry should decide.
I was liberated, unchained from the constraints I believed prohibited me from sharing a book I desperately wanted to bring into the world. Last March, Oh Danny Girl hit the shelves much to my delight. It had taken almost twenty years. I may be as stubborn as I am persistent.
I have been gratified by the reception by readers of Oh Danny Girl. One wrote, “I started reading Oh Danny Girl late at night and didn’t put it down until 6am when I needed to sleep. I picked it up again as soon as I could and read it to the end.” Mark Baker’s review in Carstairs Considers underscored the reason I wanted Oh Danny Girl to find its way to readers. “This is one of those books you can’t wait to finish to find out what happens but at the same time don’t want to end because you are enjoying it so much.”
When has persistence paid off for you, dear readers? I will send one commenter a copy of Oh Danny Girl.
About the book:
Attorney Danny O’Brien thought her biggest problem was that her middle-aged widowed mother went to law school and insisted on joining Danny’s law practice.
Until Danny heads to court for an uncontested divorce trial and a gun is found in her briefcase.
Until the gun is linked to a murder trial in which her hotshot criminal lawyer husband represents an alleged cop killer.
Until her husband is found dead, naked with a woman in a hotel room in Boston.
Life can only get better.
Until Danny unearths her husband’s clever secret life and starts to question whether he is alive and stalking her.
About C. Michele Dorsey:
C. Michele Dorsey is the author of Oh Danny Girl and the Sabrina Salter series, including No Virgin Island, Permanent Sunset, Tropical Depression, and Salt Water Wounds. Her latest novel, Gone But Not Forgotten will be published by Severn House in July 2023. Michele is a lawyer, mediator, former adjunct law professor and nurse, who didn’t know she could be a writer when she grew up. Now that she does, Michele writes constantly, whether on St John, outer Cape Cod, or anywhere within a mile of the ocean.
I love your persistence, Michele. This book on my Kindle is my Puerto Rico reading this week!
I’m honored, Edith! Enjoy the wedding in paradise!
Persistence is what keeps my career as a performer going. Rejection is just part of a an artist’s process and an opportunity for reflection and growth.
Ann Marie, that’s the kind of attitude any artist needs. Just part of the process.
Investment in persistence pays excellent dividends. Kudos, Michelle. I’m looking forward to reading Oh Danny Girl.
Thanks, I hope you like it!
What a great story, and lesson for us all, Michele! Cheers to you for never giving up on Oh Danny Girl.
Thanks, I appreciate the validation. There are things you just don’t quit on, right?
So glad you persisted, Michele! Congrats!
Thanks, Liz. I feel good about not giving up on Danny.
I feel a bond with Danny’s mother – I returned to college in my 40’s, a newly divorced single mother with a mortgage and a low paying job. It wasn’t easy, but I persisted & earned my BA & MA while my son finished elementary & middle school. Now I’m happily retired from my teaching job, reading mysteries and knitting. Look forward tobreading your legal thriller!
Welcome to the Wickeds, Michele. It is so great to have you here. Oh Danny Girl sounds fantastic. Persistence is the trait writers need more than any other.
I agree, Barb. Not just once or twice, but for the long haul. It’s a long winding road with lots of hills and pot holes.
Judith, the next book in the series (coming soon) features Nora and her struggles. I think you may like it. It’s titled No, No, Nora.
I’m so glad you persisted, Michele. I loved Danny and her mom and I really enjoyed the book.
Thank you, Catherine. I value your opinion given what a good writer you are!
Welcome back, Michele! I love that these amazing characters wouldn’t leave you alone. Well done!
Sherri, that’s exactly how it was. Almost like Danny was nagging me to be set free!
At the risk of sounding pathetic, my persistence paid off the most when I married my husband. He’s ten years older than I am. I met him when we moved here from St. Louis County before my senior year in high school. I fell for him right away. I had so many people tell me to forget it, he was too old for me, he wasn’t interested in having a girlfriend, all he wanted to do was farm, and so on and so on. Eventually we started dating. The discouraging comments continued. Even he told me he didn’t want to ever get married, he just wanted us to be friends, I wasn’t in love with him – I was in love with love. All of this, from start to finish took place over 10 years. I knew I was in love with him and I never gave up. Like I said, some people thought I was pathetic. I knew what I wanted. After 10 long years he told me he was in love with me and his whole life plan had changed because of me. This year we will celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary. My sister has been married 3 times and engaged 4 times. I found my perfect match, my soulmate and never gave up on him or us and I got the grand prize. Pathetic? Maybe. Persistent? Absolutely. Happy? You bet!
Laurie, I love your story of persistence, especially on Valentine’s Day. Happiness is the best revenge.
Michele, I actually picked u the sized engagement ring on Valentine’s Day ❤️
This sounds like an excellent book. Persistence can be tough, but the rewards are worth it. Hopefully I’ll be seeing them one day.
Alicia, don’t give up! You have to believe in yourself if you want others to.
So glad you persisted! What a wonderful, and inspiring, story!
Thank you. You make me glad I shared it.
In high school, I had the most difficult time learning to type!! It was a full year course, and I was failing by the Christmas break. I spent the entire break practicing on my family’s old Royal typewriter. It was the manual kind, and it came in a suitcase. (Yes, I am THAT old!) By the time I returned to school in January, I was much improved. I ended the course with a passing grade and was able to type 30 words a minute, which was enough. Whew! Funny thing is that I have been able to maintain my typing skill over the years. It was difficult to learn, but it was well worth it.
Thanks for quoting me! Yes, this is a fabulous book. Don’t miss it. (And, obviously, don’t enter me in the giveaway since I already have a copy.)
I loved this book but was unaware of its complicated history, Michele. Kudos to you for persevering and believing in a great story. Now I’m really looking forward to the sequel!
Think it pays off to be persistent. For years, I had worked side by side with hubby on a side job. Often I was asked “why” was I out there in the field. I stayed on course to prove them wrong and to prove to myself that I could. Although I might have never needed it, it was very satisfying when I became the first women in Arkansas to be licensed as a Designated Representative. This meant I was licensed to do perk test, design septic systems, lay them out and to submit plans to the health department to be approved giving property owners a way to add a legal sewer system to their new homes or for them to do the needed repairs on their existing one.
Since hubby retired, I’ve also became very interested in photography and improving my skills. I’ve gone from a point and shot camera to knowing how to take photos in the manual mode. It also means I’m persistent in learning more about the critters in order to capture them better as well as getting the next best shot. Then I set a goal for the next thing I’m trying to capture and move on. Persistence isn’t being unhappy with something, but rather the drive to go on and to improve it for the next time.
Thank you for the chance to win a copy of “Oh Danny Girl”, which sounds absolutely fabulous. I’ve already added it to my TBR list. Love the cover! Can’t wait for the opportunity to read and review it. Didn’t get to post yesterday because I traveled an hour and a half away very early yesterday from home to have a back procedure. By the time I got home and the meds started to wear off causing me to sleep all day, it was bedtime. 🙂
2clowns at arkansas dot net
Michele love hearing about all your successes
Hope to see you at the next Faulkner gathering
my thinking is that even baby steps count!
I am 74 and still here.
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