As a writer I've heard this metaphor used so many times: your book is your baby and it hurts when they call it ugly. I find the metaphor not very accurate. Okay, I do understand what people are saying, and to some extent it is analogous, but honestly, if you can't view your manuscript objectively, you will never improve as a writer. You have to be able to see your weaknesses and learn from them and improve. Admittedly that can take time, sometimes years, to see your own work without a prejudiced eye.
I have loved every book I've written, but with the gift of time, knowledge, and ability, I can recognize which books are better than others. And this view is still very subjective. The book I believe is my weakest is my mother's favorite of all my novels. But from a storytelling standpoint, that book relies on the BIG MIS (big misunderstanding--a problem that could be easily solved with a conversation). Personally I like the big mis as a trope. It reads realistically to me. I've had big mis-es in my own life and I believe humans are prone to them, but for some reason they are a big no-no in romance these days. So that book, which does rely on the BIG MIS (with, I hope, good justification for it) and, objectively, I think I could have ended the mis earlier, but that would have ended the book sooner, thus is definitely my weakest.
Which leads me to the point of my title--the prettiest baby. I have some novels that are so special to me, that I believe are truly great, that have broken my heart because they didn't do as well as I believed they should, that should have launched me into a solid stable writing career (so I didn't have to even think about returning to teach to earn more money). AS YOU WISH was one of those. It was magical writing it, and so many elements worked in it. I have another manuscript that isn't published yet, a time travel, that was the same way. I'm still looking for a home for it.
And I want to mention one more. A Matter of Pride was my second published novel and my sixth manuscript. It is the second in The Destiny Coin series and was originally published in 2001.For me, it is probably the closest I will ever get to writing a perfect romance. All my other stories rely on a lot of adventure and derring-do in comparison, but for a classic, well-written (if I'm allowed to indulge in a little boasting), smart, and emphasis-on-romance story, Pride is wonderful. I have recently re-read it in preparation for releasing it as an ebook, and it holds up well. I made myself laugh, and it is smart. I love the characters. I love the plot, and the ending left me cheering. Yes, I know I wrote it, but it is good if I have any ability to judge books at all.
I hope you check it out. Book one, A Matter of Convenience, is also available, and book three, A Matter of Honor, will be coming out in about a month. Honor has its own secret that I'll share when I re-release it. (waggling eyebrows)
Books I'm reading now:
Something Wicked This Way Comes