I love anniversaries. I love them because sometimes I’m absolutely amazed that I have actually made it to a certain date in my life. Wedding anniversaries mean that I kept on truckin’ through the bad times as well as the good–not that “keeping on” is always a good thing, mind you.
My husband and I try to remember to celebrate the day we met, as well as the month and year my first book was published, and the month and year he was ordained into his first church. I’ve been published now for thirty-two years. June will be the thirty-third anniversary of my first novel.
Along the way, one of my favorite career achievements? The writer friends I met and kept. Twenty-six years ago when we moved to Ohio from Louisiana, where my career began, I was afraid I’d never find friends as good as the writers I’d met there. And then I was asked to critique a few manuscripts for the NEORWA, the Northeast Ohio Romance Writers of America chapter.
I don’t critique anymore, but back then I was given a manuscript by one of their unpublished members, Connie Laux, and almost immediately I knew I was looking at not “unpublished” but “prepublished.” Because this woman knew what she was doing, and would go on to do it professionally very soon.
Of course she did. In romance, women’s fiction, mystery–both paranormal and cozy–young adult and spooky kids books.
This month is Connie’s (aka Casey Daniels and Kylie Logan as well as others) twenty-fifth anniversary of publication. In commemoration she shared with her readers twenty-five ideas about the writing life. She’s given me permission to share them with you, as well.
Connie-Casey-Kylie is one of my brainstorming buddies, and we start every weekday with a quick email to each other about what we’re doing that day. All those years ago I wouldn’t have known that a casual critique would turn into a lifetime friendship.
I am so glad it did.
So without further adieu? Here she is. Afterwards, check out the page for her latest book, a new entry into her Pepper Martin mysteries series. A hint? Pepper solves mysteries for ghosts, which explains the photo here.
In her own words:
This month marks an anniversary for me–it’s 25 years since I published my first book. That book was a historical romance called “Twilight Secrets” (still available on Kindle). A lot has changed over the years. Here, in no special order, are 25 ideas that occur to me about the writing life:
- Fiction writing lets you tell the stories that are floating through your head.
- Though I’ve published nearly 60 novels in many genres, I prefer mystery. I love the twists and turns, the clues and red herrings.
- Research. I love research.
- How many of us are lucky enough to work at home?
- Sure, you can set your own hours, but that’s not always a plus. How many times over the years have people assumed I’m available for car pooling/committees/child care, because I “don’t work.”
- Words are wonderful things.
- It’s not always easy to be disciplined and sit butt in chair.
- The dogs are happy to have companionship all day long.
- Sometimes after spending so much time at home alone, it’s actually a chore to convince myself to get out in public.
- Publishing has changed so much over the years, none of us could have imagined it back in the “old days.”
- Many of my really good friends are the people I’ve met through writing organizations.
- Writers are talented, funny, generous.
- Some of them are also very odd.
- Writing gives you an excuse to be nosy about anything and everything.
- Thanks to writing, I’ve had a chance to travel to places like Bethesda, Maryland and Ann Arbor Michigan and Jamestown, New York.
- Booksellers are wonderful people.
- Librarians rock!
- Editors work too hard.
- Cover art can be wonderful . . .it can also be a surprise, and not always a good one.
- There is nothing better than a friend who can look at your work objectively and offer sound advice.
- Readers are the bedrock of this business, and I appreciate each and every one of them.
- And speaking of business, this isn’t a business for sissies. It’s tough. It’s a grind. You’re only as good, not as your last book, but as the numbers on your last book.
- A good agent is priceless.
- A bad agent can crush your spirit and destroy your career (at least temporarily).
- This doesn’t apply so much anymore since no one wears pantyhose, but for the longest time, my favorite part of this job was never having to wear pantyhose to work.
Thank you Casey for sharing your writing life with us.
Are you reading along in one of the reading challenges I mentioned last week? So far I’ve read 9 books in 2017 toward the 50 I vowed to read. Plus I’ve read my first book in the Better World Books 2017 Reading Challenge. I finished Zane Grey’s Riders of the Purple Sage for the category “a book with a color in the title.” You can read my thoughts about it on Goodreads.
So what’s your progress? Comment below.