Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Christmas Spirit

Our Christmas tree... and littlest angel in germ-free times
It’s Christmas Eve in our home, and all is quiet.

Not because we’re waiting for Santa Claus, but because our older children are spending the holidays with their mother and my babies are sidelined with fevers and congestion. They spent most of the past two days coughing and cradled in my bed. Though I miss the noise and naughtiness their normal activities create, Mommy has had plenty of time to write and relax.

Hello, silver lining.

But it is Christmas Eve, and as I’ve spent the past few weeks inundated with holiday commercials and the like, one phrase keeps grabbing my attention.

“The Christmas Spirit.”

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Yeah, about Nano...

Image Courtesy of thaikrit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
So I was supposed to return here December 1st with my post-Nano post, full of anecdotes about my success and lessons I learned during the month.

But I ran into a snag.

Rather, a snag ran into me.

Since November 30th I have had numbness/iciness/tingling in my body, most acutely in my left arm and leg, and my energy level has been compromised. Assorted tests have revealed nothing so far, but I am not worried. I know I am healed in every respect… just waiting for my body to get the memo.

Thus I was in the hospital sans laptop for three days, and as my fingers were disinclined to cooperate, I was unable to post. Had they felt differently, this is the gist of what I would have said:

“I did not complete Nano this year, and failing has never felt so good.”

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Nano at the Midpoint

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitialPhotos.net
Heidy-ho, all!

So yesterday was the halfway point of this year’s Nano, and uh… well…

The kid ain’t lookin so good.

I started off strong, clocking 6,859 words the first weekend. Motivated, excited, and well-paced to follow the Reverse Nano word count guide and have but one word to write on November 30th.

Over the next week, I added another 13k to that total, though in less spectacular fashion.

Then life caught up with me.

My four-year-old caught a random flu-like virus complete with fever, listlessness, congestion… really fun stuff. Then in her innocent generosity, she shared her bounty with me, and I was felled four days.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Winning Nano, Part Two: Don'ts

Image Courtesy of arztsamui / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Last week, I shared my Five Do’s for winning Nano. And with Friday’s start date a few days away, let's quickly examine some Don’ts before returning to our outlining and research.

Because that's exactly what I've been doing lately...
1.      Don’t focus on the word count.
I know. It’s ridiculous to suggest you not think about the 50,000 words you need to lay down by November 30th. But when you sit down to write each day, focusing on how many words you have to go is the easiest, fastest way to cripple your progress and short-circuit your creativity. So though it might be tempting, do yourself a favor—don’t do that.

And by the same token…

2.      Don’t delete anything.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Winning Nano, Part One: Do's

On October 31, 2011 at 5:30 p.m., I made a life-changing decision.

I decided to do Nano.

For the uninitiated, Nano refers to “National Novel Writing Month,” a contest in which writers are challenged to write a minimum 50,000-word novel in 30 days, from midnight November 1st to 11:59 p.m. November 30th.

I had nothing beyond a thin semblance of a story outline and no clue where I would get 50,000 words in 30 days. But I had the will to begin and a brand new laptop, and that seemed like enough. And so armed, I compiled 50,461 words in just 27 days.

“Mini-wave in celebration of me. A-whoo-hoo!”

Two years later, I am poised and excited to do it again. This time, I feel prepared. Not just because I gave myself more than six-and-a-half hours to prepare, but because my first experience taught me a thing or two about what to do and what not to do for a successful Nano.

Let’s start with the Do’s.

1.      DO tell your housemates what you’re doing.
Based on your living situation, this might be anything from unnecessary to a major risk, but I told my husband about my commitment to Nano the night before I began. I wanted him to cheer me on, sure. But I really wanted him to understand how this decision would affect the household. Once we settled a few minor issues, he was all the way on board and encouraged me every day.

Speaking of which…

2.      DO take daily advantage of adjectives and adverbs.

Friday, October 18, 2013

From Write Divas: Romance in the Spotlight

Special Feature on Genre: Romance (via http://writedivas.com)
…and they lived happily ever after. Trite though it may sound, according to Romance Writers of America, a happy ending or “an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending” is one of only two requirements for a story to be classified under the…

Monday, October 14, 2013

Divas on Writing: Brand Name Dropping (via http://writedivas.com)
Brand Name Dropping Are name brands necessary in fiction? Everyday name brands like Coke and Kleenex have made their way into all kinds of fiction, and most readers don’t blink an eye when one appears. The focus for today is the more exclusive name…

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Fan Fic Flash Fic Weekly Winner!

Every Thursday, Fan Fic Flash Fic provides a writing prompt--a song, an image, a quote, a funny gif. Inspired by the prompt, writers have until Thursday at 11:59 p.m. to write 100-200 words.

This week's winner, I'm proud to announce, is yours truly.

Image Courtesy of Fotolia / MS Office 2010

*Flourish... confetti... applause*

I have never won anything before, so I am stunned and stoked. Doubly so, as this was my first attempt at flash fiction. Many of my writer friends participate in such contests all the time, but they always slip below my radar until it's too late.

But not this time.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Who I Am

Image courtesy of posterize / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I know myself pretty well, could describe myself in myriad ways.

I am an overachieving perfectionist in recovery, an avid reader, and a shameless whore for my husband’s gravy. And his lasagna and beef stew and barbecue ribs and chicken alfredo and…. Okay, I’m a whore for my husband’s anything.


But this past week, the last few really, I have discovered some new truths about myself. I covered my hard-headedness last week, but here are four more.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hard-Headed Hoodie

My husband has a navy blue zipped hoodie with a white lining. I will not include a photo to protect the innocent, but remember the white lining.

It's important.

He likes this hoodie for its simplicity and functionality, and it is his go-to outer layer from spring to fall.

Rather, it was… before I ruined its lining in the wash last night.

I am not inept at this favorite chore. But Hubbs does not want me taking the initiative with his laundry. Never has. He is particular about his clothing, and though he will give me items to add to a certain load, he prefers to do his own laundry to avoid accidents.

Like my ruining his blue hoodie in the wash.

Hubbs often calls me hard-headed, and I usually smile. Laugh even. But this week I’ve realized how snugly that shoe fits.

And hurts.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Facing the Inevitable

My son’s godmother texted me at 4:15 Monday morning and wrote, “My mom passed.”

“My mom passed.”

Three words, three simple, monosyllabic words that blew her world apart.

Image Courtesy of phanlop88 / FreeDigitalPhotos.com
I don’t know the exact cause of death. I don’t know when or how my dear friend was told the news. But I do know her mom passed and nothing will be the same in her world again. Ever.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Am a Frustrated Writer

Image Courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I am a frustrated writer.

I promised to continue blogging as I marched toward my goal of finishing my draft by September 30th, that if I could post weekly to my fanfiction story, surely I could do as much for my blog.

That was two three weeks ago.

And my fanfiction story has been updated but once.

Double sheesh.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Goodreads Review: "The End of All Things" by Lissa Bryan

The End of All ThingsThe End of All Things by Lissa Bryan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"The End of All Things" has everything: action, suspense, heartache, romance, and humor, expertly blended into a compelling, cohesive, and wholly enjoyable story that leaves you thirsting for the sequel.

But for all it has, its most prized possession is its heart, a stubborn, courageous, tender heart so large it needs be divided among a man, a woman, a horse, a wolf, and a cat.

No, that's not a typo.

But rest assured: this is no wacked-out Animal Farm-esque traveling roadshow. This is a story about survival, about finding the will to rebuild as the world you knew crumbles around you in virus-riddled heaps on the side of abandoned roads. It’s about following your instincts and developing new ones as the old ones fail. And it’s about discovering the true definitions of society, freedom, life, and love.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A New Season

When we last saw our fearless writer, she was at 40k in her manuscript, still in Act One, and very encouraged.

My, my… what a difference a month makes.

Today is September 1st, the end of the Second Round of my self-imposed Nano.

The good news is I am a few hundred words from the 70k mark.

The better news is I am in Act Two of the book.

The surprising news is I have switched manuscripts altogether.

That’s right: I’ve put away my former book and picked up another work-in-progress.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

With Miles to Go

Today is August 1st, the official end of my self-imposed Nano.

(Sidebar: Didn’t know there was a Camp Nano in July in which I could have participated. I’ll keep that in mind for next year.)

I started this Nano on June 12th at 17k with a goal to finish my novel.

I am at 40k and still in Act One.

Believe it or not, this is good.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Word Count Wednesday

Image Courtesy of kjnnt / FreeDigitalPhotos.Net


I have had this blog for almost three months.

A blog dedicated to the completion of the redraft of my original novel and its subsequent publication.


I am a few words shy of 17,000 in my redraft with no real idea of when I will finish.

I recognize the folly in using word counts as an accurate measure of progress. But I also recognize that unless I buckle down and focus, this novel will idle in a perpetual state of redraft for the foreseeable future.

And that will not do.

So I—along with my Moo Sisters, Jess and The Ghostwriter—am beginning a self-imposed Nano today, 30 days of working on my novel without interruption. I am also giving myself a few weeks of cushion to fully complete the draft, giving me a prospective end date of August 1st.

The good news is I smoked Nano when I did it two years ago. And with a 17,000-word head start, I am practically guaranteed a workable finished product.

The… uh, other news is... in order to do this, I am suspending my blog until August 1st.

I’m sure there are those who could it all: take care of her children and husband, write her blog, blitz her draft, keep house, and kick a field goal without batting a perfectly curled eyelash.

But I am not she nor do I pretend to be.

So I invite you to meet me back here on Thursday, August 1st where I will share the news of my success!

Thank you for your support thus far and in the meantime.

See you then, my friends! xoxo

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Reflections: We Are Each Correct

Image Courtesy of winnond / FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

I apologize for being a day late with my Reflections. Last Friday I shared that I was writing from jury duty but did not mention my selection for a civil trial which lasted five days.

There were two defendants—the plaintiff’s attorney had been named a co-defendant by the first defendant—and we the jury found both defendants negligent in the matter before the court, though to very different extents.

When the judge came into the Jury Room yesterday, after thanking us for our service, she discussed her views on the proceedings. What struck me as most interesting was her assertion: “You are each correct in your interpretation of the facts.”

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Word Count Wednesday!

(It's still Wednesday, so this still counts.)

Last week I decided not to use the word count as my primary measuring stick for progress, noting however the desire to see that number inch higher and higher.

But I did set a goal of getting my MC back home for the incident which leads into the story’s main conflict.

So how’d I do?

That depends on how you look at it.

See, I haven’t written a single word in the manuscript or other related documents since last week.

Not a jot or a tittle.

Or for the visual learners...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Reflections: Jury Duty

(From Friday, May 31, 2013)

I am handwriting this post with a freshly sharpened No. 2 pencil in a spiral notebook instead of typing it on my laptop because I must meet my civic responsibilities.

That’s right: I have jury duty.

Image Courtesy of jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

Sleepiness and hunger aside—I didn't have time for Second Breakfast—my inclusion in this sacred process aptly caps my week. For on different occasions and for various reasons, I have found myself in two seemingly polarized positions.



To be clear, I am not involved in any litigation at present… though I have half a mind to sue Ms. Shonda Rhimes for slaying me with that Scandal-lous season finale two weeks ago then leaving me hanging on the edge of summer with no new episodes until September.

Surely there exists a law against such cruelty.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Word Count Wednesday!

Image Courtesy of africa / FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

Yesterday I had an epiphany.

Although an important indication of progress on a writing project, word count alone is insufficient. As anyone who has participated in NANO knows, a certain number of words does not necessitate cohesion or usability, to say nothing of the other literary components which make a novel worth the read.

This caveat is especially true here. Though technically a revision, this go-round with my novel is more like a deconstruction, a remix if you will, so I can take nothing for granted as I proceed.

As my MC reminds me every time we meet.

So I no longer set arbitrary weekly word count goals, choosing instead to focus on my MC's whereabouts and activities.

But I do want a steady uptick in that number in the lower left-hand corner. It makes me smile.


Wednesday, May 22: 11,157 words

Wednesday, May 29: 16,280 words

Weekly tally: 5,663 words


Monday, May 27, 2013

In Memoriam: My Old Crabapple

Today is Memorial Day, the day our country sets aside to honor and mourn those brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. And I won’t trivialize their selflessness by waxing poetic about the death of a character or favorite plot thread.

Today I honor and mourn someone I lost, someone who slipped from this life without my immediate knowledge, someone whose death I didn’t understand right away because I was too busy being selfish.

My Old Crabapple, my Triple E.

My first friend.
Image Courtesy of sattva / FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

She was my courage, my aggravation, my whimsy. Though seldom philosophical and rarely stationary long enough for serious dialogue, she could knock you on your ass with her dead-on observations and wit.

And she died two years ago from a breast cancer whose encore she neglected to mention.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Reflections: The Cost of Choice

Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

I am a chronic allergy sufferer, scrambling for tissues and attempting to scratch the inside of my ears from the moment I awaken. So loud is my nose blowing, my youngest daughter covers her ears in her sleep whenever I start. It’s that bad.

To combat this issue, I took two antihistamines on Sunday—one at a time, more than four hours apart, as taking them together renders me useless and lethargic. Nevertheless I was asleep Sunday night by 9:00 p.m.

The real surprise came Monday morning at 3:00 a.m. when I found myself wide awake and full of fun as my Grandmom used to say. I should have gone back to sleep, should have decided it was too early for active consciousness and tried again in a few hours.

But where would be the fun in that?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Word Count Wednesday!

Image Courtesy of jdurham /Morguefile.com

This blog serves many functions—it encourages, examines, enlightens, and entertains (I hope).

But its core purpose, the impetus for its conception, is singular: To chart my journey to publishing my first novel.

And as such, I must begin with the book itself, one I have yet to complete since deciding to revise it.

And the need for completion gave me an idea.

To stay honest and tether myself to the goal of completing a very rough first draft by July 1st, I hereby institute Word Count Wednesday. On this day every week, I will reveal my word count on this project from the previous Wednesday until the end of a writing session started on Tuesday—that final caveat allowing me to include Tuesday evening activities that roll on past midnight—and the word count for the entire story.

“Oh, aren’t you the brave one?” my Moo Sister Jess remarked when I shared my idea.

“Am I?” I wondered. “We’re about to find out...”

Monday, May 20, 2013

Do I Know You?

Image Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

I have been working on my revised manuscript off and on… okay, mostly off… for a few months now. And a strange thing is happening with my protagonist.

She has changed.

I don’t mean that after implementing the post-rejection suggestions she’s different. If I did, that would be silly and indicative of a bigger issue. 

Namely that I’ve lost my mind.

No, I mean when I sit down to let her in, her voice is different. Her mood and perspective are different. It’s as if she's a different person altogether.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Reflections: What I Need To Do

Image Courtesy of Mattox / sxc.hu

(Grammar people, the “to” is capitalized intentionally, so bear with me.)

I have several friends living their dreams: hair consultants, fashion stylists, educators, and more.

One such friend recently cited Jim Rohn as one of her influences, particularly his adage, “Don’t start the day until it is finished," decide today what you will do tomorrow, beginning with the end in mind.

Armed with that sage advice, I tackled the first two business days of this week and accomplished more in those two days than last week altogether.


But sometime Tuesday evening, I met with an unfortunate side effect of all this industry.

I was cranky and overwhelmed, unable to decide what to do next.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bad Blogger

Image courtesy of bigjom / FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

My name is Denise, and I have been a bad blogger.

(Hi, Denise.)

Nearly three months ago, I started this bloggerific journey with little idea of the time, commitment, and creativity it would require. I was just excited to find a viable use for my first novel’s rejection.

But enthusiasm is a poor substitute for a plan, given its tendency to evaporate under pressure and prompt you to chose relaxation over rewriting.

Thus too many weeks and an embarrassing number of days have passed since my last entry. And with each post-free day, I thought, “No one cares about my blog/my work/me anyway”—best way to talk yourself out of something, bar none—“so I can skip another day. No one will know the difference.”

And though I know that isn't true—You’re here, after all—a greater truth resounded.

I would know.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Danger of Procrastination

A few weeks ago, I took a few weeks off from writing to do something I haven’t done in quite some time.

I read a book.

Not a blog. Not fanfiction online. Not an eBook.

But an actual book: a shiny, hard-copy of a novel with tangible pages printed with black ink.

And I know eBooks are books too, so please don’t misunderstand me. But I didn’t grow up in the digital era, and as a reader, my heart prefers the book I can touch to the one on a touchscreen.

(Though as an author, I look forward to seeing my name on both)

Anyway, I read not only a novel but a memoir as well. And I relished them both. They somehow knew what I needed and satisfied my soul in a most delicious way. I could not wait to tell you about the insights and life-changing nuggets I derived from them.

But I did wait.

And wait and wait and wait.

And now I have a problem.

I’ve lost the magic.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dear Rejected Manuscript...

Image courtesy of mack2happy / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


I haven’t been avoiding you. Really. It’s been a busy time for me. What, with the start of spring, my new blog, and all that.

Oh, sorry. Let me introduce you. 

Book, this is Blog, the place I created in your honor. Blog, this is Book, the manuscript I've been telling you about. I'm thinking you two can help each other.

Anyway, you seem well. Pages properly numbered, double-spaced as always. I noticed a few typos in my recent read-through, but those aren’t important right now.

You know, Book, over the years we both have changed: shifted focus, gained and lost weight, added and deleted characters from our lives, even changed our names. And by now, you should know how much I admire and believe in you. I know greatness lies within you, longing to be unleashed.

With that in mind, we need to discuss the editor’s recommendations.

Namely, what I plan to do with them.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Woman With Words Within

Image courtesy of anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today is Good Friday, the day Christians remember the death of Christ. We remember this essential act of humility, his seminal sacrifice. We remember the deep love and commitment which held him to the cross and the life-changing affect it has on us today. We remember and we celebrate.

What does that have to do with writing?


The modern writer has so much to think about she might forget she’s a writer. For she is also an editor, a blogger, a self-critic, a publicist. She is a seeker of structure, an avoider of clich├ęs, a stickler for grammar.

But beneath it all, informing and fueling it all, is a simple truth.

She is a woman with words within.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Another Time, Then?

Image Courtesy of dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…. a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.”

-          Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7b

That phrase interests me—“keep silence.”

Not “silent” the adjective but “silence” the noun, an object to be grasped and coveted. A tangible gift.

And a gift it is, this gift of silence.

Recent technical difficulties rendered me unable to check my email on my phone for a few days. From my laptop, I finally logged into the first account and was dismayed by the congestion in my Inbox. Of the twenty-some-odd messages, less than a handful were person-to-person and most of the rest were undesired.

“Why am I getting updates from randomwebsiteIvisitedonce.com? How did this happen?”

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What Have I Written Myself Into?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So I have started a blog.

(You know that. You're reading it now...) 

And though I am excited and proud of myself for adding my voice to the blogosphere chorus, a small yet insistent part of me wonders, “What on earth have I written myself into?”

You see, blogging is no longer—if it ever was—a cute little way to indulge your interest in or ire toward a subject. Blogging, for the writer especially, is critical for a successful career. It provides a platform for your perspective, gives your readers insight to your slant on life, and proves your marketability beyond the opinions of your mom, best friend, and collection of house plants.

And here I thought I was blogging for fun.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

8 Book Marketing Tasks to Tackle BEFORE Your Book Is Published

A terrific and essential pre-publishing to-do list for any writer. Hang it on your fridge, tape it to your bathroom mirror, and bookmark it to your browser's favorites so you always know where it is.

Happy Thursday, all!


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Cassandra Lowery's New Story: "Only by Moonlight"

As some of you know, I am an avid reader and writer of Twilight fanfiction. And the reader in me is delighted to announce a new story by dear friend and fellow Twiwriter Cassandra Lowery entitled Only by Moonlight :

"Due to some serious roommate problems, Bella Swan has to find new student housing mid-semester and fortunately finds a room to rent in a lovely Victorian home near the University of Chicago campus. But a set of mysterious circumstances set Bella on edge, challenging her beliefs about the afterlife...and love."

I am doubly excited about this story not only as a fan--"Evening Star" was the first Twilight fanfiction I ever read on Fanfiction.net--but because I have been blessed with the task of pre-reading her story, giving me the inside scoop and the privilege of previewing. Whoo-hoo!

I have loved everything Cassandra has written since Evening Star, and I know you will too. So check out her blog post then boogie on over to her page for some of the best Twilight fanfiction out there.

And tell her Denise sent you :-)

Cassandra Lowery: New Story: Only by Moonlight

Friday, March 1, 2013

Find Your Writing Voice in One Step

In a recent blog post, “7 Things Confident Writers Don’t Do,” Kristen Lamb first advises

            “Find your own voice and tell your own story.”

As we would be wise to do anything Kristen says, allow me to explore this first suggestion a bit more.

Find your voice...stand out from the crowd.
Image Courtesy of tigger11th / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

With the need to divide your time between actual writing and the business of Facebooking, tweeting, and blogging, the notion of finding your voice might like one more task for which you hardly have the time.

And more to the point, how do you know when you’ve found your own voice? Is it a matter of diction or genre? Is it what comes naturally or an elusive something requiring countless hours and several drafts to unearth?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Novel Matters: Why You Shouldn't Talk About Your Novel

Perhaps a bit paradoxical to post this to a blog dedicated to my novel-in-progress. But I have never looked at this issue quite this way before, and her reasoning makes profound sense.

Novel Matters: Why You Shouldn't Talk About Your Novel: I was talking to a writer friend of mine recently and one of the many subjects we touched on was what happens when a writer talks about his/...

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Plot Thickens

Remember me sharing that after my novel was rejected, I received some helpful feedback from someone at the publishing company?

Well… that helpful someone was fired a week ago.

Now I admit it: until I heard the official reason, I assumed she was fired because my novel was just that bad and her superiors lost faith in her judgment because she dared waste her time trying to salvage my horrible manuscript.

Who knew rejection would wreak such paradoxical havoc on my ego?

Me? Not in the least!
Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sunday, February 17, 2013

"Do You Know What Today Is?"

Today is my sixth wedding anniversary.

And though the occasion is not strictly related to my publishing dreams, there is a novel-in-progress about the love I found with this yummerific man o' mine. So this post is at least marginally appropriate.

Besides which, myHubby himself is most definitely blog-worthy. If I had my druthers, I would dedicate an entire blog to him and my ardent attempts not to smother him with my love and attention.

But he would denounce and veto such an endeavor, so I shall settle for posting this original poem...

For now ;-)

Happy anniversary, Babe.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Opportunity? You Look So Different...

The day had come.

The day for which I had waited six long weeks.

The day on which the second publisher to which I sent my novel finally replied to my inquiry.

(Sidebar: A few years ago, a different publisher read an earlier draft, and though it praised the novel’s “strong memorable characters and gorgeous turns of phrase,” it declined to publish my book. Don’t get me started on figuring that one out)

Anyway, the day had come.

The email had hit my Inbox.

I took a deep breath, glanced at Horace for strength, and opened the document.

(Let's just get to the good part, shall we?) 

The email said: “We regret to inform you that your book does not fit our needs at this time… We sincerely hope that you continue writing, and please feel free to query us with future projects.”

But I read: “You suck. Your book sucks. And no one will ever have any use for you or this monstrosity you call a manuscript. Please cease and desist with this notion of publishing it because you are only embarrassing yourself.”

Pretty much sums it up.
Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net