Connections, Novel, Novelette

Firsts — How do they affect you?

When pondering your life, do you ever think back to the firsts you’ve experienced. Firsts, such as:

  1. The first time you ate ice cream?
  2. Whom did you kiss on the lips the first time?
  3. How about the first time you thought you were in love? Or, the first time you lost someone you loved?
  4. Do you remember the first time you wondered about your future? Or, your life in general?
  5. When did you first understand the word ‘failure’?
  6. Where were you when you first knew you had figured out what you wanted in life?
  7. What did you think of the first person you ever met that spoke differently than you?
  8. Do you remember the first person that ever encouraged you to do something you were afraid to do? Was he or she your first mentor or hero?

Firsts are fun to ponder and to reflect upon. I remember my first blind date. I remember my first dance, my first birthday party, and my first funeral. Each first I’ve encountered I find I have a mixed reaction. Sometimes those firsts are joyous from start to finish, such as my first wedding, which, so far, if the Lord is willing, will remain my first. We’re on thirty-six years and counting. But, I digress. I also remember the first car wreck our daughter found herself involved. Thankfully, the only thing hurt, was her car. Her car was fixed and we went on. Sadly, she was recently involved in her second car wreck. Thankfully, once again, she was not hurt. But, this time her car was a total loss.

Sometimes, firsts are good to repeat. Such as the first time I wrote a book was in 2009. It was a writing project that I enjoyed for the most part. I wrote as a co-author with a dear friend, Rosa Lee Jude. Prior to this project, she and I had not written for a book publishing company. We learned we didn’t want to do so again. The joy of the project was working with Rosa. The trouble with the project was that it involved people at the book publishing company that came across as though they didn’t care about our work as much as we did. It made it hard to want to promote our book. It made it harder when we learned how little in return (royalties) we would receive.

Next, came the learning curve of self-publication. My first adventure there was with my book, The Letter: A Page of My Life. I not only learned about the publishing process through CreateSpace and using Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, but I learned a lot about myself. I learned what I needed to do in order to work to complete a writing project by myself. I had to learn to muster up the gumption to see it through. This was not my first book publication, but it was my first writing project by myself, for myself, with only myself to blame. It was also nonfiction. It was a first that has led to another first.

This past August, I released my first novel. The Fire Within is book one of The Marine Letsco Trilogy. I’ve been very excited about how it has been received to date. Besides learning about book signing events, I’ve learned there are other methods an author may do to promote his or her work. Last week, I had another first to go along with the release of my book. It was a Facebook event put on by friend and author K.R. Thompson. K.R. offered me the experience to take part with her along with a group of authors, readers, and friends to celebrate in the release of her new book, The Wolf — a prequel to her Keeper Saga series. The guests at the Facebook event were all there to share in the joy of K.R.’s first novelette. In the process, I met a lot of new people and enjoyed establishing connections with them.

This particular first taught me to continue thinking positively about my writing. To be willing to share my experiences with new connections. It taught me that the secret to self-publishing is believing. To believe so strongly that the only way I would fail was by not showing up.

Now, I’m in the midst of beginning another first. I’m starting to write Book Two – Murder on the Blue Ridge (working title). I’m a little nervous as I’ve not written a book sequel before. So, I have to be sure that I am doing all the things that successful authors before me have shared. Successful authors, such as

  • J.A. Konrath — his blog A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing (I especially like this post though the entire thread is wonderful. Not to mention, I love his Jack Daniel’s series. Who am I kidding? I love all his books!
  • Hallie Ephron — her book, Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel: How to knock ’em Dead with Style. This book is pure gold for any aspiring writer, not just those interested in mystery. I use it like some folks use a bible with a writing group that I belong. I have it dog-eared, marked up, and post-its everywhere.
  • Elmore Leonard — Oh, how I miss him. I never got to meet him in person. If the chance had been given to me, I’m not sure I’d been able to speak to him for fear my dialogue would not be authentic. He was that good at writing dialogue. I’m reading Rum Punch for the thirtieth time hoping above all hopes my dialogue will morph into his style. You can read any of his books and see for yourself what I mean by great dialogue.
  • Karen S. WiesnerWriting the Fiction Series: The complete guide for novels and novellas is a must have and a must read. Don’t just buy it. Read it and study it. Karen does a wonderful job sharing so many points that I find in many book series lacking. I hope I’m able to use her suggestions well. I’m working on it. Thanks, Karen for writing this book! Actually, thanks for all your books! You’re a gem! I so love your work!
  • Herbie Brennan — his first book, Faerie Wars, caught my eye in 2003 because of the butterfly on the cover and the use of the word ‘faerie.’ I knew I’d love the story. I was right. What I didn’t know is that it was a series; one that I fell in love with from the turning of the first page. Herbie demonstrates in this series what an author must do to hook a reader. Herbie does it well. I’ve just learned of his latest non-fiction work, Whisperers: The secret history of the spirit world (published in 2013). His website says, “…first major non-fiction work in more than a decade presents a stunning analysis of how the spirit world (whether you believe in it or not) has determined the course of human history for millennia.” Even his description causes me to want to read it!

What firsts have you done lately or thought about? Write to me, connect with me, join with me on my writing journey!

Write on!
(One day I’ll learn how to script my signature!)

To take part in connecting with me, you have several options: