Casey DanielsI 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I don’t critique anymore, but back then I was given a manuscript by one of their unpublished members, Connie Laux, and almost immediately I knew I was looking at not “unpublished” but “prepublished.”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:

  1. Fiction writing lets you tell the stories that are floating through your head.
  2. Though I’ve published nearly 60 novels in many genres, I prefer mystery. I love the twists and turns, the clues and red herrings.
  3. Research. I love research.
  4. How many of us are lucky enough to work at home?
  5. 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.”
  6. Words are wonderful things.
  7. It’s not always easy to be disciplined and sit butt in chair.
  8. The dogs are happy to have companionship all day long.
  9. Sometimes after spending so much time at home alone, it’s actually a chore to convince myself to get out in public.
  10. Publishing has changed so much over the years, none of us could have imagined it back in the “old days.”
  11. Many of my really good friends are the people I’ve met through writing organizations.
  12. Writers are talented, funny, generous.
  13. Some of them are also very odd.
  14. Writing gives you an excuse to be nosy about anything and everything.
  15. Thanks to writing, I’ve had a chance to travel to places like Bethesda, Maryland and Ann Arbor Michigan and Jamestown, New York.
  16. Booksellers are wonderful people.
  17. Librarians rock!
  18. Editors work too hard.
  19. Cover art can be wonderful . . .it can also be a surprise, and not always a good one.
  20. There is nothing better than a friend who can look at your work objectively and offer sound advice.
  21. Readers are the bedrock of this business, and I appreciate each and every one of them.
  22. 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.
  23. A good agent is priceless.
  24. A bad agent can crush your spirit and destroy your career (at least temporarily).
  25. 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.

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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.

9 Comments

  1. Casey Daniels on January 25, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    Aw shucks, your blog brought tears to my eyes. Yes, friendships are the best part of writing, and I value yours, Emilie! Thanks for sticking with me through thick and thin.

    • Emilie Richards on January 25, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      Easiest thing I’ve ever done. So glad I went to NEORWA that day!

  2. Carrie on January 25, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Well said, well shared, well done. Congratulations on your milestones!…and Casey’s also.

  3. Kathryn Trask on January 25, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Lovely to celebrate all those important life milestone. I had a peek at your Zane Grey review. When I was young in the ‘fifties/’sixties there weren’t that many books around and no library but I did find some by Zane Grey around and they fed my romance addiction. He always seemed to have his hero end up somewhere out in a canyon with a woman. So have fond memories.

  4. marsha markham on January 25, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Loved reading this and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate talented writers!

  5. Jane Dougherty on January 26, 2017 at 8:14 am

    I just finished reading The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin. I think that might cover two challenges—a book about immigrants and a book set in a forest (well an orchard). The mental health issues left me drained by the time I finished the book. We lost a son to mental health problems and therefore the book became very personal.

    • Emilie Richards on January 26, 2017 at 8:36 am

      I’m finding a lot of books could fulfill more than one category. I hope the book added something important to your own experience, and I applaud you for continuing to read it when it became so personal. But are you like me and find it tough to quit anything in the middle? I’m trying to learn to close a book and say, there are many more to read, so this is okay. Harder for the challenge, though.

  6. Leigh on January 26, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Congratulations to both of you! You have proven that you are empathetic enough to understand human nature and portray it in your books; and tough enough to persevere, survive, and thrive in a grueling and sometimes heartbreaking business. I am so proud to know and love both of you. And your books!

    • Emilie Richards on January 26, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      Another wonderful writer friend checks in!

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