A few months ago, I met a representative of a big publisher at a pop culture convention. I told her a little about my book. She was interested. She gave me her card and asked me to send her a copy.

I knew that this was an amazing opportunity. I also knew it was my last opportunity. HTDC wasn’t gaining any sort of momentum, and I was almost ready to move on. I knew that if this publisher wasn’t impressed by my book, that I would stop trying, and move on.

The publisher responded a few weeks later and said that while they liked the idea, it just wasn’t commercial enough. It’s an understandable response. I couldn’t really disagree. So I packed up the little HTDC corner of my brain and put it away. I probably should have grieved for it, but I didn’t get the chance.


While on holiday over Christmas, I got a call from my mother telling me that Bernie, my most beloved little bird, had passed away. I’m not a good enough writer to adequately express how heartbroken I am.  She was my best friend. There will never be another bird like her and I will miss her and love her always.

To make matters worse, all of this happened at the same time that I decided to stop taking antidepressants. I’m still not taking them, but I don’t know if I’m going to be able to cope. We’ll see.

Now, everything feels a little uncertain. But a new story is forming in my head. It’s one that has been knocking about in my head for a few years now. I think it is finally time to begin writing it.


When I feel more up to it, I’ll write a little more about Bernie, too.


6 responses to “Endings

  • missalister

    Be careful, Miss Annika, in the suffering of your losses, that you don’t relate what you feel to your ability as a writer. Predominantly, the most traumatic happenings in a writer’s life may be too raw to ever express directly. But the heartbreak of losing Bernie will show itself richly as you get down that next new story and all the ones after that. Everything a writer has experienced (to include not getting that first deal) plays out in their work, as a means of searching for knowing, of making sense of being alive. In the meantime, I wish you healing. On my dog’s memorial paver are the words “forever alive in my heart” and that has been true and always will be.

  • Annika Howells

    I’m not being down on myself at all, I’m just being realistic. I’ve been working on the story for 8 years, shopping it to publishers for at least half of that. I’ve simply invested as much time as I can into this book and I need to move on otherwise I’ll never get the chance to write something new. HTDC will continue on, but it will do so on it’s own. Whatever happens to HTDC now will be because of other people stumbling onto it, talking about it and investing their own energy into it. That is out of my control. And I am ready to give up that control and begin new adventures. It doesn’t mean I’ve given up. it just means my baby has left the nest and there is little more I can do for it unless it drops by and asks to borrow money or get some laundry washed now and then.

    Thanks for your understanding about Bernie. I planted a rose over her, with flowers the same colour as her feathers. Losing a pet hurts in a way that no other loss does.

  • victoria

    Anni, in spite (or because of?) all that has happened there is a tone of certainty in this blog post that tells me you are doing the right things for you. I am so very sorry for your loss, I know how special Bernie will always be to you. I look forward to reading your next book – I thought HTDC was amazing.
    Take care of yourself and nurture yourself – you will know what you need at each step.
    Big love xxx

  • Andrew Toynbee

    Eight years – wow! I got frustrated after only 14 months. of rejections. Don’t keep your life on hold until HTDC is accepted by a publisher. They’re looking for the next billion-seller and most are not prepared to look at anything that not celeb-backed or sleazy. You’ve done the right thing by self-pubbing on Amazon (I just bought it from there – looking forward to reading it!). You will still reach people from there and maybe one day an agent or publisher will spot it when they are in a less greedy mood. Have you thought about listing it at Smashwords as well?
    Writing another book might be the catharsis that you need – an outlet for your feelings that your words seem to indicate is necessary.

    • Annika Howells

      I did list it on Smashwords for a while but got no sales. I took it down again so I could put HTDC back in KDP Select which is where I’ve had the most success.
      Rejection is just part of being a writer unfortunately. Everyone tells you to never give up, but sometimes it’s important to take a step back and re-evaluate things so you can persevere with a different approach.
      Thank you for buying my book. I hope you enjoy it 🙂

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