Success Makes Success
This was a good week for my writing friends. On Monday, a friend’s first book was released. Jennifer Trethewey writes fantastic historical romances located in Scotland. Also, the print version of another friend’s third story will be released tomorrow. Barbara M. Britton writes Biblical fiction with amazing details. Both of these ladies work very hard at their craft, and deserve to have much success. What’s even better is that these are not the only authors I know in my area with recent releases. When I look at the list for November, I see an astonishing eleven books listed!
I am tremendously happy for all of these women, and for the rest of our writing group as well. Our RWA chapter is quite tight-knit, and seeing someone else’s success seems to be good for the rest of us as well. Not only because we are genuinely happy for them, and that always puts all of us in a better mood. But also, from what I have observed, their success begets our success.
What do I mean by this? Seeing people we know succeed after years of effort encourages the rest of us to keep trying. I suppose this is true in any career, but for writers who so often work in isolation, I believe it is especially important. Hearing someone else’s excitement as they announce their first sale and later seeing their book cover reinforces my conviction that if I keep working and submitting, one day I will be the one revealing a cover and asking for reviews.
So, yes, this was a good week to be happy for all of my author friends. I wish you all much success. And I hope you don’t mind if I use your achievements to keep myself motivated.
On Giving Thanks
When it comes holidays, I am a traditionalist. I believe Thanksgiving is a day we should set aside to be thankful for the blessings we have. While we undoubtedly would be better off if we expressed gratitude every day, I hope we all spend a little time on this one day a year thinking of our family and friends and reflecting on the many gifts and opportunities we have all received. (And personally, I don't think ignoring the holiday to spend the day Christmas shopping demonstrates gratitude or a thankful heart. Sorry, but it doesn’t.)
What am I thankful for this Thanksgiving? Many things. Here is a partial list:
What are you thankful for? I hope you can find a few quiet moments today to pause and reflect. The Pilgrims stopped working and building and harvesting to give thanks for what they already had and for the bright future God had provided for them. My Thanksgiving wish is that we all find time to put down the drumstick or mute the football game to do the same.
Serendipity? I'll Take It
My personal life and writing life intersected in an unexpected way this past weekend. As many of you are already aware, I love old houses. I love the history they absorb into their very foundations, and the stories they could tell – you guessed what I am about to say – if their walls could talk.
I spent this past weekend at the former home of one of the Ringling brothers of Ringling Brothers Circus fame. Once they all started making serious money from the circus, three of the brothers built large homes in the town of Baraboo, Wisconsin. This was where they started the circus, and where they returned with the circus each winter to rest up the animals and prepare new acts for the coming year. One of the homes was destroyed and another is now a museum. But the third home stayed in the family for over 100 years, and was only recently sold to someone else. It is now a B&B (http://ringlinghousebnb.com), which is how I was able to stay there.
Aside from being a gorgeous old home, I soon realized it also would be the perfect inspiration for the home my hero lives in with his mother and younger brother. They are also a wealthy family, so would also have a large house. Plus, the age of the house is about right. As a result, I spent a good portion of the weekend looking at the various rooms in the house and visualizing my characters there. As a bonus, the property also includes the original carriage house/stable, the barn, and even a cottage Charles Ringling built for his mother-in-law. It is a perfect example of how a Midwestern estate in the early 1900s might have looked.
Our hosts at the B&B were very gracious and gave us a tour of the home, from the walk-in safe in the basement to the unexpected fine woodwork inside the carriage house. The house has been very well preserved and still has all of the original woodwork and huge pocket doors from when it was built. And let me say, the library at the back of the house, with its bow window and built in mahogany bookcases, would be the perfect place to sit and write. Or, since I can’t do that, I can at least imagine my hero sitting in there working late at night.
All in all, what started as a weekend spent with friends became much more than that. I now have great pictures (mental and physical) for the home which is the primary location in my current story. And I had a great time exploring a historic old house in the bargain. Life doesn’t get much better than that.
I write historical fiction, and I invite you to share the journey to published author with me.