If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

August Interviews

8/5 Lucy Burdette, The Key Lime Crime

8/12 Maggie Toussaint, All Done With It

8/19 Julie Mulhern, Killer Queen

8/26 Debra Goldstein, Three Treats Too Many

August Guest Bloggers

8/8 Leslie Wheeler

8/15 Jean Rabe

August Interviews

8/22 Kait Carson

8/29 WWK Authors--What We're Reading Now


Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Remembering the Dream

(My apologies for the lateness of this post. I ended up in the ER last night and came home sedated and missed posting this as I normally would have.)

I had a dream for many decades, a dream that I would write novels that would be published by a major publisher to great reviews and win many honors. And for many years I had to put that dream on hold for lack of time as I worked a demanding and fulfilling job while raising a family. I still wrote whenever I could and still had my dream.

Poetry was shorter so I started writing poetry in those bits and pieces of time I could steal, and eventually some was published and then more. Finally, I had two books of poetry published to good reviews and even some awards. I was happy, but… I wanted to write novels, too.

Ultimately, I had to leave my job for health reasons. After a period of getting my health stabilized, I had time to write, and I wrote a novel. This novel won a major competition and was published by a major Big Six publisher. It got tons of great reviews and is now winning some national honors. I was happy with my editor and publicist and loved my book covers. 

My publishers were happy with the sales—for a first book. It didn’t put me in line for the New York Times bestseller list any time in the near future. And my publishers even wanted more books, but they didn’t want to pay much in the way of an advance for them. The whole industry had gone this way of drastically smaller advances, it seemed. I began to fret about sales, following the BookScan numbers and Amazon rankings all the time. Even as everything in my dream came true, I became depressed and stressed about my sales and my future.

A good friend, a literary fiction writer who teaches in an MFA program, came to town on book tour, and my husband and I took him to dinner. As usual, we spent the night talking writing and the state of publishing. This is what writers tend to do, I’m afraid. He asked me about my book, and I told him about the Barnes & Noble Pick of the Month and the national book club selection and the reviews. But, I added, not wanting him to think I was more successful than I was, it wasn’t translating into real money. My friend looked at me and gently said, “Linda, what you’ve got is what every MFA student in America wants and most of the faculty, too.”

And he was right, of course. I had been phenomenally lucky. Instead of celebrating and enjoying all that wonderful good fortune, a dream come true, I had allowed myself to fall into the trap of moving the goal line until it was once more out of reach. I wasted all the goodness of part of that year with that silliness.

But I am determined to do no more of that. I’m living the dream I always wanted—my book in stores with great reviews, up for awards, and another coming out to good reviews and other great bonuses. I no longer care what the BookScan numbers are. I’m enjoying this dream come true right here and now.

I’ve decided that my focus needs to be on writing the best books I can and doing all I can to see they connect with readers. The rest is out of my control, so I can’t waste my energy worrying about it. I’m just going to be happy living the dream.

Have you ever found yourself moving the goalposts as you accomplish some desired goal or make some long-desired dream come true? Have you ever let the things you can’t control mess with your emotions to the detriment of the things you can? What have you learned in these kinds of situations?


carla said...

"the rest is out of my control" So very hard not to TRY controlling stuff you can't. Excellent advice!

Linda Rodriguez said...

Yes, Carla. *sigh* That's a lesson I continue having to learn.

Edith Maxwell said...

Congratulations on your success! Basking in the moment is always a good thing (and hope you're okay post ER!).

Michelle Pond said...

Thank you for sharing this part of your journey, Linda. It takes diligence to continually recognize the things we can't control.

Unknown said...

Brilliant post, Linda. It is so easy to forget where we started and how far we've come.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Edith, I hope you're taking the time to bask in your success with two books out from two different publishers within months of each other. :-)

Anonymous said...

Michelle, you're so right there. I don't necessarily think I'm a controlling person, but I worry and stress too much about things that I really have no control over.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Thanks, Sheila. Yes, it is easy to forget the distance we've come since we've lived it. Sometimes it can be helpful to have someone from outside your life say something that lets you realize how very far you've actually come and that maybe you ought to be grateful and stop bitching. :-)

Linda Rodriguez said...

I don't know why that one comment posted as Anonymous, but that was me, Michelle.


Warren Bull said...

Thanks for reminding us to value what we achieve. Goals are always shifting success at something makes us want success at another. That's not bad but it is wise to take a moment and reflect on what we have already done.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Isn't that odd, Warren? We'll want something so badly and work so hard for it, and then as soon as we've achieved it, we're looking for the next big goal--and why aren't we THERE yet? I'd call it childish, except a child has enough sense to sit and wallow in happiness and joy when he gets it.

Gloria Alden said...

When I was in first grade, the teacher asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. I said a mommy and a teacher. A few years later I wanted to be a rancher with hundreds of horses. Well the mommy part came true - four of them. Then in my late 40s I became the teacher. My next goal was to be the type of writer you dreamed off, but that was harder to achieve. I became the writer, but couldn't get a publisher. So I gave up that dream and instead self-published. Maybe I'll not ever be on the Times best seller list, but I'm quite content with the books I've sold and the compliments I'm getting. I don't need any more than to have books people seem to like.

Linda Rodriguez said...

But you're such a wise, balanced woman, Gloria. Some of us just aren't as smart as you are, and we make ourselves miserable with silliness when we're right in the midst of everything we always wanted.

Jim Jackson said...

As an admitted glass half-empty psyche, it took me more than a half century to learn to appreciate the liquid, not the size of the glass. However, if I am not careful, I too can take an overflowing glass and magically expand it so it’s half empty.

~ Jim

Linda Rodriguez said...

Jim, the funny thing is that I'm usually a very positive, optimistic person, not a glass half empty type at all. But sometimes I guess I just put blinders on myself to force myself to climb harder. :-(

Anonymous said...

Good points -- it is hard to be content, even once we have enough. Gratitude helps, but it may be our nature to always search for more . . .
I am trying to appreciate the ordinary sweet moments while holding onto some dreams. Meanwhile, I carry with me some of my unsold CDs to give to those who seem to need or deserve a little gift. A smile is pretty good payment as well . . .

Paula Gail Benson said...

Linda, thanks for this important message. Congratulations on your path. May you see many more successful days. Best wishes for your speedy recovery!

Anonymous said...

It's good to hear that so many people recognize that it's the journey, not the destination, that's most valuable. Congratulations, Linda, on reaching so many of your goals, and for reminding us all that we can get satisfaction from doing our best. And we can all do with a reminder to repeat our own version of the serenity prayer.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Well, Mary, you never know who among those you give the CDs to may someday be in a position to remember and offer you a great opportunity. Neil Gaiman said at the London Book Festival that he thought the model for an artist today needed to be the dandelion which throws its seeds to the winds in generous quantity without worrying which will land and grow, knowing that plenty eventually will.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Thanks for the good wishes, Paula. Had a pretty good day, but as the sun starts setting, the coughing and breathing troubles are starting up again. Fortunately, I have what I need to take care of them.

Linda Rodriguez said...

KM, yes, it's the journey, because every destination is just a part of the journey, a waystation along the path. If we don't enjoy and value them while we're on that path, we'll lose out on enjoying our lives.