All of us have those years we wish to forget, and this year is one of them for me.
This year began with a series of deaths. It started with my sister-in-law. Then my husband’s brother (who was married to the sister-in-law mentioned above) passed away along with the sudden death of a reporter colleague of mine and ended with the cancer death of a woman who did a lot for Special Olympics.
She left behind a husband and two adult daughters – one has Down Syndrome. This mother hosted a wonderful dinner for the special education students before they went to the high school prom. I remember my youngest autistic son enjoying this meal and his excitement at seeing how lovely the girls looked in their Cinderella gowns.
However, the good-byes continued when I learned my dear friend and writing partner was moving far away. We have done so much together not only in the writing arena but in trips to restaurants and just spending good times together. I will greatly miss her.
But besides family and friends, good-byes also occur in writing. Years ago I had to learn how to transition from journalism to fiction writing. A writers critique group taught me techniques to do this. Also, I learned a lot by attending writing conferences, where editing and promotional techniques were taught as well as learning what a writer’s life really is like.
One of the first things I learned was when an author receives an “advance” from a publishing house if that book does not sell out that “advanced” money, the author must return the sum for those not sold. I was shocked at that because I thought once your book was out there you were on easy street. Boy was I mistaken. I pictured authors typing out their stories in their pajamas. I also was surprised to find out authors actually had to promote their own work. This still happens in some cases but by in large in today's world most writers must do their own work.
When my first book, Seasons of the Soul, was released, I had a book signing at the local library. I envisioned lines around the library waiting for people to buy it. I had a good book signing but not what I pictured.
Years ago I had lots of book signings at Barnes and Noble when my first book was out. The customer service representative was anxious to have me come. She encouraged me to stay as long as I wanted. However, years later when my historical romance, Lockets and Lanterns, was released times had changed. The representative actually told me to leave after a couple hours. What made the difference? The e-book revolution took its toll on Barnes and Noble’s profits. So I had to say good-bye to those days of the past.
I will truly miss my dear friend. She, though, needs to go where God leads her family, and we still will stay in touch by phone, e-mail, write anthologies together and attend conferences. However, it will not be the same. So enjoy your time with others because nothing on this earth lasts forever. I turn to God to sustain me through these "life" good-byes.
Now I must say good-bye. But God willing and the creeks do not rise, another post will appear next month. God bless.