One Thing These Famous Novels Have in Common


As I await responses from various publishers on my novel queries, I’ve been reading reams of info on the publishing world. Learning what to expect in terms of selling your work can make you wonder if it’s worth it at times, when you think of all the love and effort you put into your project.

If there is one tidbit of advice I keep reading, it’s that you better be in it for the enjoyment and satisfaction of writing, and not for making a ton of money, or even a living. But that’s a topic for a future post.

I wanted to share this book list with you. It may give you more incentive to keep striving for that goal, to get your own work in print.

  • Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights
  • Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees
  • Harper Lee’s only novel To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Margaret Mitchell’s only novel Gone with the Wind
  • Boris Pasternak’s only novel Dr. Zhivago
  • Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones
  • Nicholas Sparks’s The Notebook
  • Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants
  • Daniel Dafoe’s The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
  • Kim Edwards’ The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

All of these ten wonderful works of fiction, are, of course, bestsellers. Some of them even won the Nobel and/or the Pulitzer Prize. 

But what is most interesting and inspirational to me about this list is this: they were all first novels. Yes, that’s right, these were debut novels that were wildly successful, and in fact there are many more ( I shortened the list). The older classics are known to still sell thousands of copies a year.

And many of them were rejected by numerous publishers before ultimately being signed.

As an example, Kim Edwards found great success with her first novel The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, the last one on my list, and the second to most recent I’ve read on the list. Published in 2005, it made it to #1 on USA Today’s list of bestselling books. As a result, in 2006 USA Today chose her novel as the Book of the Year. As they put it:

Book clubs and word of mouth helped send The Memory Keeper’s Daughter to Kite Runner heights, and once you’ve read this heart wrenching story, it’s easy to understand why it has connected with millions of readers.

On a stormy winter’s night in the 1960s, a doctor delivers his own twins. One is a perfect son; the other is a daughter with Down syndrome. He tells his wife the little girl died, and his lie reverberates across the years and affects every character.

Prepare for tear-blotched pages and a redemptive, hopeful ending that makes the tears easier to bear.”

I loved that book and loved finding out it was a first novel. So take heart, burgeoning writers. Perhaps your debut novel will make money. And if the stars align, perhaps it could be added to this list before long. Wouldn’t that be a dream realized? Stories like these are what keep me hopeful in selling and promoting my work.

You miss 100% of the shots you didn’t take. ~ Wayne Gretzky

What keeps you optimistic in your writing life?

Friday Bouquet #6


Misifusa’s Blog

With the spotlight on ALS this past week, I am reminded of how often we take for granted the wonder of our bodies and all they do for us.

Can you imagine what it would be like to lose all of those abilities?

Misifusa’s Blog: The Presents of Presence shares the gift of living a positive life in spite of adversity. And who among us hasn’t had challenges at one time or another? Yvonne is a breast cancer survivor who celebrates all that is praiseworthy in the world, and she has been an inspiration to me and many others.

In her own words:

Don’t berate your body for being overweight, not good enough or any other negative thought you may have about it.  Just breathe in and be with your essence of your body.  Hug your body like you would a sweet child who needs comforting.” 

I am highlighting the following post, because in spite of being at odds with our own physical afflictions, there is still so much to be grateful for.

Visit the link below, and don’t forget to tell her Jennifer sent you. :)

Love Your Body

by The Presents of Presence


Misifusa’s Blog

Comments are closed here in the hope you will leave a comment on her blog.

My One and Only

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.  ~ Albert Schweitzer

Nearly twenty years ago, I met my person. He came into my life at a time my “inner fire” had gone out, at a time I didn’t think I would ever be truly happy again. He gave me back my smile, made me believe in myself, and has been my best friend ever since.

Sixteen years ago today, I married him.


Thank you, Paul,  for everything you do for me, everything you mean to me, and everything you are. I love you. Happy Anniversary to the man who rekindled my inner spirit and will always be the love of my life.

Do you have a special person in your life you are grateful for?

* Friday Bouquet will return next week


Happy Monday, everyone. Here are a few images that made me smile with affection last week:

161When she can’t be in her master’s lap, Vivian will take possession of an article of clothing or anything that smells like him – even his sandal. Nice fit.

1209_54646295394_5546_nMy grandchildren, captured in slumber about six years ago.

171Nico before his haircut
photo 1 (5)…and after.  He is like a different dog!

What endearing images have caught your attention recently?

Once Upon a Time


Last week, while I was sifting through old papers, I found this piece of writing from nearly twenty years ago. Thankfully, we have all made peace since then…


Once upon a time, there was a girl from St. John’s.
At the age of fourteen,
she moved around the bay with her family.
She hated her curly hair,
adored her Persian cat,
and loved to get lost inside stories and songs.

When she grew older,
she fell in love and got married.
She was happy.
She had a beautiful little daughter.
Not long after,
she gave birth to a handsome son.
She liked to tease him and call him
her little “curly boy”
because he so much reminded her of herself.

A few times,
when she and the husband had terrible fights,
she had to take her girl and boy
to her parents’ house.
But the husband would always tell her
how sorry he was,
and she would go back because she loved him,
and wanted to believe him.

Eventually, she stopped believing.
She moved back to St. John’s
and started a new job and a new life.
She still had her beautiful daughter,
but she lost her curly-boy
to his dad.

She found someone
who reminded her of her love
for stories and songs.
She loves her cats,
still hates her curly hair, and
misses her son
with an ache that never goes away
and leaves her pillow wet with tears
every night.
Still, she knows
she is doing the only thing she can.

She hopes someday he will understand
how, once upon a time,
there was a girl from St. John’s
who couldn’t fight anymore,
and only wished for
a happily ever after.

~ Jennifer Kelland, 1995

*photo credit: getty images

Friday Bouquet #5

Happy Weekend, everyone!

Hey, who doesn’t love food? I know not everyone loves cooking, but Andrea of Cooking with a Wallflower sure does, and she does it with style. Her easy-to-follow, step-by-step recipes are a delight. I have been following Andrea for some time now, loving her recipe ideas and the gorgeous food photography that goes with it. In her own words:

I know that it’s sometimes difficult to find time to cook when you’re balancing so many other things in your life, but my hope is that you will find that cooking can be fun and relatively simple. I want my readers to be able to have fun cooking as well as enjoy what they eat. After all, what’s the point of eating if you don’t like what you eat? So just because I have certain ingredients in my recipe does not mean that you can’t substitute in some of your favorite ingredients. Have fun and enjoy yourselves.”Andrea

Try these:

 Basil Chicken Quesadillas

  Strawberry Apple Crumble

Feel the “food love” today by checking out her site, and let her know Jennifer sent you.

Comments are closed here in the hope you will comment on her blog.

Summer Lovin’

Summer in my province of Newfoundland and Labrador, compared to most of North America, is short but ever so sweet. What makes it so cherished, to my mind?

I love my home for its natural beauty,
its refreshing, rugged and
unspoiled charm,
for its clear and wide blue skies
without a whisper of smog.


I love the clean, sparkling water
and the glistening rocks adorning the coastline
that beg to be traced
and trod upon by eager footsteps.


I love summer in Newfoundland
for its breathtaking views
of seascapes and landscapes
when I embark on a hike.


Whether I traverse
its beaches of sand or
climb its rocky windswept hills,
I know my camera will find its aim.

I embrace it because
the bushes and shrubs,
green and lush,
are heavy with fragrance
and of wild roses in bloom…


…while in the gardens,
the planted perennials are brilliant with colour,
delighted at last
to spread their bright petals to the sun.



I love the hardy trees of Newfoundland
in summer…


…as they stretch
their ripe foliage to the sky.
Shot through with rays of sunlight,
a shimmering haze settles over the treetops
like a warm summer veil.


After a long winter and dismal spring
of cold, naked branches,
they, as I do,
breathe a sigh of gratitude
at the return of this warm and golden season.


Are you filled with Summer Lovin’ where you live?

Friday Bouquet #4


I have been following Simon Kindt for quite a while now, consistently inspired by his talent for creating poems full of imagery and emotion. In his own words:

I suppose I’m another one of those poorly ironed white collars that got halfway up the career ladder and realised it had left something behind. For me, that ‘left behind’ was writing which I returned to at the end of 2012 after a long time focused on other things.

The difficult thing about highlighting his blog is trying to single out one poem as an example of his work. I love them all!

This one resonated with me this morning:

 Up, up, up by Simon Kindt

If you love poetry like I do, you will want to follow his work. Please let him know Jennifer sent you. Have a pleasant weekend, everyone!

Comments are closed in the hope you will comment on his blog.

Weekend Family Fun

 Last Friday, we took a trip to Lead Cove, the little outport community where my children grew up.

193Time spent with fun-loving family…

10550980_10152529410910395_7292094118337443846_n…on a warm summer weekend, is high on my list of favourite things to do.

197 Around the bay, the pace slows down where time together is savoured and enjoyed.
(Our boy fell and skinned his knee after I took this one, but let’s not talk about that.)

206Nico explores with Poppy, making the most of his freedom from the leash.

Our little girl spends a pensive moment beside the sea.

214Nico joins her.

238Perhaps they are watching the fishing boat near the horizon.



When we return to the summer-house, our chef checks on the roast he is smoking with maple chips.


Nico finds a shady spot.



Pulled pork sandwiches with all the fixin’s. Yum!















Everyone loves it. <3






Nico is savouring every minute.




So nice to see the kids playing and spending quality time with their mom.


 Later, we light a fire and serve up spider wieners.

342 Happy girl.


What fire would be complete without s’mores? My first one in decades. :)

Relics of Rome

rome 075

Tuscan villa 048

rome 065

rome 064

rome 069

Seeing the above World Heritage Sites, the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain while in Rome, was unforgettable. Being able to get up close had an enormous impact on me. Have you ever been inspired by a work of art that is also a relic of the past?

See more here:  Scenes from Italy: Rome