Please contact E. B. Davis at for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for October: 10/5 Carolina Crimes: Rock, Roll and Ruin 10/12 Alicia Beckman, Blind Faith 10/19 J. Woollcott, A Nice Place To Die 10/26 Carol J. Perry, High Spirits

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Two Weeks, Two Firsts

Hello and Happy Mother's Day, WWK bloggers and readers! I’m honored and excited to be joining your ranks on this special day. I’ll be blogging every other Sunday, alternating with Jim Jackson. I just hope I can be half as entertaining as Jim.

Unlike Jim, I’m not a published novelist yet, but I am published in nonfiction and I’m also a professional book editor. I’m proud of my accomplishments, which include coauthoring a travel book and ghostwriting two health books, but I’ve wanted to publish in fiction since I was old enough to understand what that meant.

Why fiction? When I was a kid, my family consisted of two brothers married to two sisters, all living in the same house and working at the same family business. I was the only child in the family, and when the fighting broke out—between the spouses, siblings, in-laws, or business partners—I learned to block it out by crawling into my imagination.

As college approached, my guidance counselor steered me into journalism, feeling that I could make a better living as a reporter than a fiction writer. I did make a decent living, first as a newspaper feature writer and then as a commercial book editor, but the desire to write fiction never left me. Instead, it grew.

Last week, I attended Malice Domestic, and one of the things I did there was pick up my author copy of Fish Nets, the second Sisters in Crime Guppy Chapter anthology, which includes my first published short story. When I held the book for the first time, it took massive willpower not to dance around the dealer room, whooping and hollering and turning cartwheels. What I felt holding the three nonfiction books I authored and all the books I’ve edited combined did not compare to the joy and satisfaction I experienced holding that one anthology.

Which is not to say that my story in the anthology is an award winner. It most certainly is not. But it has given me a taste of what it feels like to write something from your imagination, have it accepted for publication, and then see the final product, feel its heft, smell the ink, hear the binding crack as you flip through the pages. Not only can I not go back now, but I’m determined to conquer the next step.

If you’re a writer, have you been published yet? What did you feel the first time you held your first book or the publication containing your first story or article?


Jim Jackson said...


I was glad to meet you at Malice and wlecome you to Writers Who Kill as a blogger.

I have to admit that the short stories and essay I had published did not bring me all that much satisfaction. They should have, but like you, I wanted to have a novel published.

Before that happened ONE TRICK AT A TIME: How to start winning at bridge was published by the world’s largest bridge book publisher. That experience helped me realize that I wanted the validation provided by the publisher risking money on me that what I had done was good.

This week on Facebook I forwarded a message from the Dali Lama that I need to keep in mind about enjoying the moment. I'm glad you enjoyed yours and I hope next time you will do your Snoopy dance; who cares what the rest of the world thinks.

~ Jim

Gloria Alden said...

Elaine, I was sorry I didn't get to talk with you at Malice, but looking at your picture on this blog, I realized I had seen you there without realizing who you were. It was hard making connections with 600 or more people there.

I understand your feelings when actually holding a book with your short story in it. I felt that way about FISH TALES when I had my first story published in book form. I'd had one in a magazine, but it wasn't quite the same.

I was even more excited when I had a very successful book launch of the first book in my series, THE BLUE ROSE. I self-published it and I'm always pleased when I get positive comments from those who have read it.

E. B. Davis said...

Disbelief. It was an online publication in which a short story of mine was published. Being old-school, I wondered if being published online was different or less authentic than being published in print. Of course, now I know that was my anxiety coming through, but at the time, I had doubts. The next time, I was published in print. Holding the anthology I have to admit gave me more satisfaction.

So glad you decided to blog with us Elaine. Welcome!

Lourdes Venard said...

Congrats, Elaine. I look forward to reading your story.


Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Elaine, I believe you will get that novel published. On my website, there are photos of me celebrating the launch of my first mystery on my sixty-fourth birthday at the Mysterious Bookshop--hard evidence that I was radiant.

Kara Cerise said...

Welcome to WWK, Elaine!

When I was in advertising I wrote a 30 second public service announcement and later heard one of my favorite DJ's read it on the radio. I was so excited but had to settle for a mental cartwheel since I was driving a car at the time.

Elaine Will Sparber said...

Jim- I had three nonfiction books, either coauthored or ghostwritten, published, as well as numerous newspaper feature articles, but what did it for me was a piece that came totally from my imagination and was attributed to me. The length almost didn't matter. :-)

Gloria- I hope we can talk at next year's Malice.

E.B.- I love my Kindle, but physically holding the anthology did make it better.

Lourdes- I hope you enjoy the story.

Liz- I remember your launch, and I remember how thrilled you were. A little pitch here: Liz's first book was Death Will Get You Sober, which is available from Amazon.

Kara- Thanks! And good that you kept that cartwheel mental. ;-)

Linda Rodriguez said...

Welcome to Writers Who Kill, Elaine!

I've been publishing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for a long time, so I'm not sure I can remember how I felt with the first. But last year when I held my first novel in my hands, I was ecstatic.

I'll bet you'll have your chance at that feeling one day soon.

Elaine Will Sparber said...

Thanks, Linda. I hope so.

Toby Speed said...

Congratulations, Elaine! It's such a powerful feeling, isn't it? Like you're in charge of the world. And, in a way, you are. There is no going back, and there will be much more to come.

I remember how it felt to publish my first children's story in Highlights -- just like you described. But, I think, for me it's felt like that every time.

I look forward to reading your story.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Congratulations on your two firsts. I remember how excited I was when my first kids' book, And Don't Bring Jeremy, came out in hard cover, and, shortly after, I learned that a book club would be offering it in paperback. The glowing review in Publishers Weekly had me ecstatic for weeks.

Kathleen A. Ryan said...

Congrats, Elaine, on both firsts. Very exciting news! Thrilled for you :-)

I've had several pieces published, and it has always been a thrill!

Elaine Will Sparber said...

Thanks so much, Toby, Marilyn, and Kathy!