Thursday, August 11, 2011

I love a mystery

I love to travel and I love a mystery! That's why, whenever I go on vacation and visit a city that I've never been to before, I search for a local bookstore where I scan the shelves, looking for mystery/suspense novels by local authors. I do this for two reasons. First, I think it's important to support writers everywhere (maybe someday, someone will return the favor) and secondly, because, when I come home and return to my daily life, I can open the pages and escape to the place I've just been. It's a way to hang on to the "vacation" mode, I guess.

Two examples come immediately to mind. In 2004, I visited Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, my favorite of the three. I found a bookstore on Martha's Vineyard and purchased a mystery novel, Murder on Martha's Vineyard, by David Osborn, a local writer. Back at home, I read the book and really liked it so, eager to see if I could find more of his novels, I went to the library and was thrilled to see that they were available. I read them all and was able to stay on Martha's Vineyard a lot longer than my one week vacation allowed.

Another example, in 2009, a friend and I went to Wilmington, North Carolina where I bought two mystery novels by Wanda Canada. I found Island Murders and Cape Fear Murders to be very enjoyable reading. When I got home, I read both novels and felt as if I were still sitting on a pier, gazing out at the Cape Fear river, watching the boats go by. Delightful!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I wish

I try to be a realist but sometimes I can't help but wish for certain things, even though I know that my wishing won't make it happen. My Dad had a favorite expression, "Wish in one hand and &%$# in the other and see where you have the most." I lost my Dad in May and I miss him more than words could ever express but I believe that he's here with me now and that he always will be. Dad, try not to laugh too hard when you read this!

I wish, among other things, that all publishers accepted queries from first-time novelists. There, I've written it! The road to publication is a rocky, treacherous one and certainly not for anyone who is easily discouraged and/or can't deal with rejection. I understand that. What bothers me, what I wish for, is that every novel be given an opportunity to be judged on its own merit whether the writer has been published before or not.

It's a vicious circle. It's difficult (some might say, impossible) to get a literary agent to represent you if you haven't been previously published but large publishers will only consider queries from agents. You do the math! It seems that the only hope that we first-time novelists have of ever seeing our books in print is the small publishing companies. Thank God for them!

Monday, August 8, 2011


I've been reading a lot lately about the frustrations that many writers are experiencing these days. I feel their pain and I share it. We live in a society of fast food, instant messaging, etc. and we've come to expect everything we want to be delivered immediately. Unfortunately, that's not (and probably never has been) the story when it comes to getting published.

Still, we hope for a miracle; that we will be the exception to the rule. We write and rewrite endlessly until we believe we have the most "perfect" version of our novel possible. We compose our cover letter and synopsis following all the rules we've studied. Then, we begin the search for a publisher who will love our book only to discover that, while all of the above is crucial, we need to achieve an "online presence" in order to be taken seriously. It can be a bitter pill to swallow after all of our years of hard work. But, we adapt or we die!

To top things off, our friends and relatives, who have been waiting for years to read our published novels, don't seem to understand that being published doesn't happen overnight and so it's easy for us to become even more frustrated.

I've discovered that the most important quality writers need to possess, just as important as being a good writer, is perseverance. Fortunately, that is not the same thing as patience. Perseverance means trudging on no matter how frustrated and impatient we feel.

I personally believe that God put a dream in my heart and that He wouldn't have done that if He didn't intend to see it come true. I have to do my part and, if I do, I know that He will (and has) put people in my life who will help me along the way.