Meet Jenny…Submissions can be sanity savers!


As the Manager of Digital Content for the Internet & Digital Team, Jenny Bullough helps to bring new projects and business ventures to fruition while maintaining production workflows for the current digital businesses. She is a passionate fan of TV, movies, and reading both digitally and print, and indulges in each whenever she can – though raising two girls under 5 takes up most of her spare time!

So, how was your holiday season? Good, I hope. Mine was pretty much the worst Christmas ever. You see, at midnight on Christmas Eve our 11-month-old baby girl became suddenly and violently ill with a nasty viral infection that immediately settled in her lungs and GI tract. By Christmas morning she was in such bad shape I took her to the ER and she was admitted immediately and hooked up to an IV. So, my Christmas Day and Boxing Day were spent at her bedside in hospital. Definitely not the way I envisioned spending her first Christmas!!

Thankfully, she was discharged after 36 hours and as I write this now, 10 days later, she is almost completely recovered. As you can probably imagine, I am counting my blessings these days, and living with a renewed perspective on what the holidays really mean!  Once the initial panic over our baby’s health subsided, I was awash in overwhelming feelings of gratitude for so many things: that we live near a major hospital; that we have family nearby who took care of our 5-year-old girl so we could be at the hospital with the baby; that we are rich in friends who offered support spiritually, emotionally, and practically; that we live in a day and age and place where these kinds of illnesses can be fought and conquered with the best medical care.

I’m also very grateful that just before Christmas, “Santa” delivered to me an early present: a Kindle. Before I left the office for the holidays I loaded it up with Carina manuscript submissions and a few choice PDFs of Harlequin, MIRA, and HQN titles from our company archives. When I left the house to take the baby to the hospital, I grabbed just two things: the diaper bag with all her necessities, and my Kindle. During the long hours at her bedside, when all I could do was sit and hold her tiny hand and pray (I think any parent can understand that sleep was, for me, out of the question during this time), reading kept me sane.

As I have so often in life, I turned to the greatest escape – fiction – to lift me out of the stress and anxiety I was feeling at the time. Through the words of writers published and not-yet-published, I entered other worlds far away from the concerns of the present. By following the journeys of fictional characters, I was prevented from dwelling on unpleasant thoughts and fears, and each time I set down my Kindle I felt refreshed and renewed and more able to deal calmly with the situation I was in. Best of all, the Kindle is so light I could hold it in one hand while I rocked my feverish baby to sleep in my arms.

I can’t tell you how many books and manuscript submissions I burned through, but I can tell you this: if your submission was one that I read, THANK YOU. No matter what happens with your submission, whether it ends up acquired by Carina Press or another publishing house or winds up being reworked into something else, please know that your words, your story, saved this mother’s sanity during a very scary time! A story doesn’t have to be published to touch a reader’s heart, and to make a meaningful difference, even if it’s just to one person in this big world.

22 thoughts on “Meet Jenny…Submissions can be sanity savers!”

  1. Carrie Lofty says:

    *sniff* That was really sweet, Jenny. We were sick over the holidays, too, but nowhere near so violently. I’m glad all worked out for you and your little one. Best to you for 2010!

    Spamblocker: Hospital phones :)

  2. Sara Nash says:

    I’m so sorry you had that kind of Christmas and glad that your daughter is almost completely recovered. It’s so scary when our children are sick. We had a Christmas just like that, but my daughter was 13 months old. I couldn’t even read. I couldn’t even pray properly. In the end, I just settled on repeating the Lord’s prayer.

    Fiction is such a wonderful escape. Stories have been such a comfort to me at other time.

    Fortunately, your daughter won’t remember it. I hope that the remaining stress and anxiety recede quickly for you and that your baby is fully well very soon.

  3. Dear Jenny, So glad to hear that your child has recovered. Your story was touching in two ways, first that Christmas isn’t always about gifts and parties, but about receiving the love and support we humans need to survive. Sencondly, that reading helped you through a difficult time. Books/stories, regardless if bound and smelling like printed parchment, or hand-held on a digital device, can chase away real life and draw us into another place, time or world where we can read in hope that there will always be a happy ending.

  4. Kindly read over my typo’s. Damn my befuddled fingers. :)

  5. wonderful to hear she made a full recovery!

  6. Bernita says:

    “when all I could do was sit and hold her tiny hand and pray (I think any parent can understand that sleep was, for me, out of the question during this time), reading kept me sane.”
    Woman, you made me cry.
    Books were my own salvation this past year.

  7. Amy Ruttan says:

    Jenny, I’m glad she’s okay.

    I understand completely. My second child (who is now 4 and healthy) almost didn’t make it and spent the first month of his life hooked up to machines to help him breath. Kindle didn’t exist then, but I had a huge TBR pile and those authors kept me sane as well.

    My last baby only spent a week in the hospital after his birth, not hooked up, but he swallowed fluid so he had a pneumonia. Again some old stand bys helped me pass the times I couldn’t hold him. :)

    It really puts things into perspective when it happens to you.

    I’m really glad the outcome was good for you and she’s on the mend.

  8. What a stressful holiday! Glad your baby is alright, that you had family to lean on, and a Kindle full of reading to occupy your thoughts while you waited. I’ve been considering getting one, too, and your blog entry might have tipped the scales in favor.

  9. I’m so glad your baby’s home and well. And thank you for sharing that, it was exactly what I needed to read just now.

  10. Lynn Crain says:

    You bring tears to my eyes. As a woman who has two grown children and with my older son expecting a set of twins,I can understand just what you went through.

    I an also relate to reading keeping you sane. Some days I think that about writig as well.

    I am happy to hear that all is now well with you. Here’s wishing you the very best in this new year.

  11. Lynn Crain says:

    Geesh…I really do know how to spell writing…LOL!

  12. Angelina Barbin says:


    I’m so glad your baby is better. My first son had breast-feeding jaundice and had to stay under the lights in an incubator for 24hrs and I thought it was the most horrible thing in the world. I’m a wuss because you had to go through something so much worse.

    How generous of you to thank those that submitted to Carina for helping you through your crisis. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  13. Andrew says:

    Very touching! Here’s to your daughter’s full recovery!

  14. Jenny Bullough says:

    Thanks, everyone, for your comments and good wishes! Just to update everyone, our baby girl is now completely recovered and has a clean bill of health from her pediatrician, and is busily toddling around and getting her hands into absolutely everything! We had a Christmas “do-over” on New Year’s Day and felt that we had extra reason to celebrate, with a fresh start to the New Year.

    Meanwhile, thanks to all my anxious bedside reading, my Kindle is getting emptier — so keep those submissions coming!!

  15. EC Sheedy says:

    It is so terrifying when a child is sick!

    Jenny, I am so glad to hear your little girl made a rapid recovery. And thank you so much for your kind words about fiction writers. This was really a lovely post to read at the beginning of another story-writing year.

  16. Loni Emmert says:

    Proves that good health is the greatest gift that one can receive. God bless your baby and family and I’m so glad that another little future reader (and probably author) is doing well.

  17. Patrick Doris says:

    I understand your feeling when one of my sons was a baby had had a serious case of pneumonia. I held him on my case while he slept so i would instantly know if his breathing changed

  18. Rellis says:

    I, too, had a scary experience when my baby boy was admitted into Childrens Hospital in October. A hospital room with a crib in it is an eerie sight, one which no mother should ever see. Here’s to good health in 2010!!!

  19. You poor angel! So sorry – got a bit behind with looking at blogs and missed this. Glad things are improving but I can only begin to imagine how exhausted you must be.

    Take care,


  20. Tracy Sharp says:

    What a wonderful post. I’m so glad your baby is doing better. My little bean will be two next month, and I know, as every mother (parent) does, how terrifying it can be when you baby is sick.

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