Monday, May 3, 2010

Little Things

I have looked forward to doing my recommendation this week on Novel Works. As I have written before, I had an absolutely great time at the conference I attended a while back. You may wonder why the little things make me so happy. I guess I could remind you I have three children. Mind you, I don't think I ask for much, but it would make me happy if my sixteen year-old daughter made her curfew without making a lame excuse why her boyfriend can't get her home on time, 'he had to get gas,' 'he had to help his dad' or 'they asked him to give a lecture at the UN on World Peace!"; my freshmen in college would call without the first words 'Can you let me have a little more money?' and my eldest when asked to do anything-anything at all- and he would do it without uttering the word tomorrow in his sentence. But I digress...the conference, recommendation, Brenda Novak.

I was fortunate to have met Brenda Novak, a New York Times Best Selling Author, at a conference that I attend not long ago. I love her books. She has written Super Romances for Harlequin, historical romance, but for me when I think Brenda Novak, I think mystery and suspense. Attending her workshop at the conference, I immensely enjoyed her perspective on writing. At one point she was talking about describing a scene and read an excerpt from one of her books, a vivid illustration of the adage 'show don't tell'. This week I'm starting mystery and suspense week with her series, The Last Stand.

But we also talked about her auction for diabetes and the reason she is doing it- her son has juvenille diabetes. She has run the auction for six years now I believe. I'm certain this is her method of giving back and also helping her take control of a situation in which you have little control. Diabetes is a disease that hopefully can be controled but at the moment there is no cure. That fact, though, is the goal by supporting research to find that elusive cure. I can only imagine how much time and effort this auction takes. I admire her not only because she is a gifted writer, but she has taken her time and volunteered to help others. I admire anyone who does so. I believe it speaks volumes on a person.

This year she is dedicating the auction to Kate Duffy, an editor at Keningston Books, who passed away last fall. Although I had never had the opportunity to met Ms Duffy, I did have one interaction with the lady. If anyone has read my blogs, it wouldn't be hard to discern that I've never had much luck with getting an agent's attention. I'm not a writer by profession. I work in the medical field. As about a million other people, I have always had the desire to write. For me, writing was a lot harder than it looked. I love the stories about a person who decides to become a writer, sits down, bangs out a book and becomes an overnight success. God Bless them, truly. Because when I sat down a little over ten years ago to write my best seller- I was bad...real, real bad. But never let it be said that I'm nothing if not stubborn. I took every rejection, every word of crititism and learned from it...at first. Over time, rejections get to you. Some agents and publishers don't bother getting back with you; others don't know your name; and still others can't even bother with their own paper, taking your letter and writing no thanks. On a whim a few years ago I wrote to Keningston Publishing and to be honest I had no idea who Kate Duffy was at the time. I sent her a proposal for a historical fiction book. My first book I wrote ten years ago that I had revised. To my surprise, she responded personally back to me. Yes, it was a rejection, but it was personal. The letter was typed out with my name, my real name, not dear author. She explained nicely and professionally why she wasn't going to accept my manuscript although she thought it held promise. She was right. It needed work. I can't say that I felt great about a rejection, but I felt good, because I felt I was almost there. I pulled out the letter yesterday. Yes, I still have the rejection letter. And no, I don't usually keep rejection letters, either they are recycled or deleted with a little button on my computer. I keep this letter as a reminder to keep striving to write that best seller.

And the manuscript- it was revised once more. Patriot Secrets will be released later this year by Wild Child.