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Guest Blogger: Sabrina York
Monday, March 26th, 2012

The Art of Being Intractable

When I was five my Kindergarten teacher pulled my mother aside to tell her it was a damn shame her charming daughter was so retarded; she would probably never learn to read and certainly would never be able to write.

What the teacher failed to take into account was the fact that we come from extraordinarily stubborn stock, my mother and I. Immediately Mom began studying child development and brain patterns, researching everything she could about learning disabilities. She convinced me that my challenges were actually a gift—the ability to look upon the world through new, fresh eyes. I wasn’t stupid or weird, she told me. I simply marched to the beat of a different drummer.

The real gift I’d been given was a mother who refused to see limitations. She taught me to love a challenge and never give up. She taught me to dream bigger and hold tighter than common rationality would recommend.

These lessons came in real handy when I decided I wanted to be a writer. Not because I couldn’t tell the difference between a 3 and an E. Or a p and a q. Or an S and a 5. Or the fact that letters and numbers rarely had the courtesy to hold still long enough for me to make sense of them. I figured all that out by learning to memorize patterns. (A three rarely appears in a word, for example.)

Nope. Mom’s lessons on perseverance came in handy because writing—and the quest to be published—quite frankly, was the toughest challenge I ever took on. Tougher even than pushing out an eleven pound baby.

I wanted to be published, be an author, so bad I could taste it. But that brass ring seemed always just out of reach.

There were times, more than I can count, when I thought I was nuts for wanting such a thing or hoping for such a thing or dreaming of such a crazy crazy thing. There were times—when I found an idiotic mistake in a manuscript I’d read a hundred fricking times—when I thought, perhaps that Kindergarten teacher had been right. Doubt lived with me, every day. Steeped itself in my teapot. Soaked in my bath.

But I’d remember Mom, pushing me forward, encouraging me, daring me to try, and I’d keep going. And I’d roll another sheet into the typewriter (metaphorically speaking).

I read voraciously and when I wasn’t analyzing someone else’s prose, I was writing. Composing. Plotting. Experimenting. Creating. I wrote an epic fantasy novel (topping out at 175,000-words), a sci-fi horror, an animated children’s book, a middle grade about a dyslexic dragon, women’s fiction, men’s fiction, screenplays and romances by the score. None of them sold. Once I discovered it, a steamy Delilah Devlin in fact, erotic romance became my drug of choice.

Probably not what my mother intended, but there you have it.

I started entering contests. Started winning. Before long, I was addicted. Ironically, this didn’t increase my confidence as a writer, because I never sold, and all that really mattered to me was selling. But contests were fun. They made me feel like a writer. Like I was doing something.

I guess that’s all it takes sometimes. Doing something.

 If you read the Secret (and didn’t we all?), you understand that concrete action can set up ripples in the universe. And even if it doesn’t, it’s nice to think that it does.

It’s nice to think that doing something, does something.

And it does. It gives us a sense of power. A sense of control over the universe, or at least our tiny corner of it. And after a while, those little somethings we do in pursuit of our dreams pile up. Gain momentum.

I entered hundreds of contests in my career and, to the chagrin of my fellow contest whores, won a lot. (Sold not). But it only takes one. One winning lottery ticket, one dream come true. One editor or agent who likes the order in which you throw words onto paper.

In November of 2011, I got an e-mail from an editor at Ellora’s Cave asking, very politely, if she could please acquire my book, which she had received as the result of the Novella’s Need Love Too contest sponsored by the Celtic Hearts chapter of Romance Writers of America. (I said yes.) In December she bought the second book and in January, another. In February she snapped up the fourth.

Maybe my life is destined to be a feast or famine proposition.

I’m okay with that.

I walk away with another lesson. A new lesson: Sometimes mulishly pursuing your dreams feels like a folly. And sometimes, just every so often, it doesn’t. Every so often, dreams do come true.

And perhaps every so often is enough.

As long as you don’t quit.  Never give up. Never surrender.

Sabrina York’s very first novel ever comes out April 4, 2012 from Ellora’s Cave. It’s a hot & sexy erotic romance called Adam’s Obsession. Read an excerpt and check out the awesome cover at You can follow Sabrina on Twitter @sabrina_york.

19 comments to “Guest Blogger: Sabrina York”

  1. April London
    · March 26th, 2012 at 8:30 am · Link

    On a morning… when I am very seriously contemplating giving up… I read this.

    Thank you.


  2. Lea Barrymire
    · March 26th, 2012 at 8:31 am · Link

    Wow, what an inspirational story! There’s nothing like a parent that refuses to accept the decree of a teacher without a fight. Congrats on the debut novel!

  3. leann
    · March 26th, 2012 at 10:59 am · Link

    All it takes is hard work & faith! I love the fact that you have not given up, no-matter what anyone else did or haven’t quit, You continue to shine! 😀 Looking forward to reading ALL of your up coming stories. Thank You Ms, Delilah for having a new ‘friend’ come out to play with us… 😆

  4. Nichelle Y. Scott-Williams
    · March 26th, 2012 at 12:08 pm · Link

    Congrats on your success. I can relate to you in the fact that never giving up, produces results. I don’t have a release date yet, but my book has been picked up.

    Congrats again and many, many more release dates to you.


  5. Fedora
    · March 26th, 2012 at 1:35 pm · Link

    Wow, Sabrina. Good for you, good for your mom, and thank you for sharing your story to remind the rest of us to keep on! Thank you!!

  6. Roxy Boroughs
    · March 26th, 2012 at 3:30 pm · Link

    I have a similar story, Sabrina. Good thing you and your mother persevered. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Wendy Delaney
    · March 26th, 2012 at 3:40 pm · Link

    Every once in a while I sit and look at the mess of writing books and paper in my office and I wonder if I’m crazy to continue to pursue this dream. Am I just being stubborn? Or better, using your word, intractable? Sabrina, thanks for sharing your story with us intractable types who want to believe that all the little ripples we make really can lead to something very, very good.
    Looking forward to the debut of Adam’s Obsession. The cover is fabulous!

  8. Chantilly White
    · March 26th, 2012 at 5:25 pm · Link

    Sabrina, thank you for sharing your inspiring story. When I first started writing, everyone told me the biggest requirement for success was perseverance. You’ve proven the truth of that! May your successes continue to pile up until you can’t see over them. I’m looking forward to Adam’s Obsession (and I agree with Wendy, above – your cover is fabulous!)

  9. Chassily Wakefield
    · March 26th, 2012 at 5:39 pm · Link

    Congratulations to you, Sabrina! It’s so great when the hard workers, the ripple-makers, the intractables finally get rewarded. Good for you, and for your mom, and all the best with your first book. I wish you many thousands of sales and all the success in the world.

  10. Sabrina York
    · March 26th, 2012 at 7:40 pm · Link

    Gosh, ya’ll are awesome! Thanks for the sweet comments. You made my day!!!

    And thanks to Delilah for giving me a forum to share. Much appreciated, D!

    So you want a chuckle? I sent out an e-mail to my friends asking them to visit here and read what I wrote and I FORGOT TO SPELL CHECK. A HUGE no no for a dyslexic!! I hope to God they could figure out what I was saying…but then, they know me by now!

    Have an awesome day. I hope to see you on April 4th over at Ellora’s Cave!

    PS: If you like Adam, he has a brother.

  11. ELF
    · March 26th, 2012 at 7:43 pm · Link

    Congratulations on your success, truly an awe-inspiring post! Thank you for sharing and good luck with your releases.

  12. Cathryn Cade
    · March 26th, 2012 at 10:44 pm · Link


    Your story brought tears to my eyes, my friend. You are such a strong, charming, funny and unassuming woman who does so much for her chapter and for other writers.

    Wish I could go back in time and put new words in that teacher’s mouth. “Ma’am, your daughter has a learning disability. But, since she is so strong willed and intelligent, I know she’ll do great things.” So there.

    Thank the good Lord your mother didn’t wilt, and didn’t allow you to do so either!

    Can’t wait to read your stories, one and all.

    Cathryn 😀

  13. Celeste Deveney
    · March 26th, 2012 at 11:33 pm · Link

    I loved your story, Sabrina, and it came on the perfect day – Black Monday (the day the Golden Heart finalists were announced and my name wasn’t on that list.) Never give up! What a great sentiment for today, and every day.
    Think I’ll go write something…

  14. Cassiel Knight
    · March 26th, 2012 at 11:49 pm · Link

    Sabrina, congratulations on your debut! I’m so very happy for you! Your story was wonderful and I think it hits hard because many of us have been in your shoes. Sure, there’s some that start out hot right from the gate, but for most of us, we have to struggle so hard and deal with a lot of rejection and depression before finding our dreams. And ain’t it grand? Ride the wave, honey, and enjoy!

  15. Mary Preston
    · March 27th, 2012 at 2:47 am · Link

    I think we must have the same Mother. I come from ridiculously stubborn & determined & not to be intimidated stock. I can vividly recall my Mother standing up for me with the Headmistress. It made me feel not only loved, but empowered.

  16. N.J. Walters
    · March 27th, 2012 at 4:58 am · Link

    What an inspirational story. You and your mom are both amazing people! Congrats on making your dream a reality.

  17. Ann Charles
    · March 27th, 2012 at 7:00 pm · Link

    Hi Sabrina, your story is very inspiring, and I’m even more impressed now with your talent and ability to write so many books! Congrats on ALL of the contest wins. You rock! I can’t wait to read about Adam. 🙂

    Ann Charles

  18. Sabrina York
    · March 27th, 2012 at 10:11 pm · Link

    Again, you guys are so wonderful! Thanks for the encouraging and lovely comments. (Hopefully my head won’t explode from all the compliments).

    I have been very lucky and have an amazing support group of the most incredible writers. (I adore you all). I am excited to ‘expand my tribe’ as Ann Charles would say, to include you charming readers as well.

    Thank you for making my Virgin Blog an exciting adventure!


  19. Dani
    · March 27th, 2012 at 10:18 pm · Link

    OK… was so impressed with you before, and now I understand why… you truly don’t give up. You are always reaching for the fulfillment of your dreams and along the way achieving excellence.

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