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Defending Genre

So, I made a decision to go back to school–finish what I started all those years ago and all that. There is a long list of convoluted reasons for my actions, but the why isn’t the important thing here. The important thing is the what.  English is the what.  I decided to major in English. It made sense since most of my credits were already allotted to that discipline. I started the endeavor feeling particularly excited to enter this world  of likeminded individuals–until I realized that they weren’t all as likeminded as I’d imagined.

I’m a fiction writer. Apparently I imagine too much.

I needed a few days off class so I could speak at a science fiction and fantasy symposium and took the opportunity to discuss my class absence with my professor. It was the first time I’d mentioned anything about being a professional author. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but usually when people find out what I do for my day job, they are usually excited about it. Okay fine, I do mean to sound arrogant. I make books, and it’s freaking awesome. I make a living doing what I love. And not that I expected her to bow or ask for my autograph or anything, but she acted like I’d opened up a can of lutefisk on her desk. She gave me “permission” to go, which is hilarious. I am 42 years old (the meaning of life the universe and everything thank-you-very-much). I am a professional writer and public speaker. And college is something I PAID to do, which technically makes me my professor’s boss. Permission or not, I was going. I’d already committed to speak at this conference, and my word means something. But as I was gathering up my laptop, my professor said, “There’s a place for science fiction and fantasy in literature, I suppose. It’s a safe environment for a person to escape reality.”

Yeah, I wish I was making that up. She really said that. To my face. After I’d already told her I WROTE science fiction and fantasy. She probably would have slapped my forehead and screamed, “Demons be gone!” if she found out I wrote fractured fairytales and romance as well.

Science fiction and fantasy are somehow supposed to be the equivalent of safe?

Totally ticked off, I SEETHED over her flippancy throughout my entire conference and then, in par with the idea of the writer always getting the last word, I wrote my research paper on why genre fiction is as important, if not MORE important, to society as literary fiction. Of course my paper started off with examples of so-called literary fiction that started as genre fiction. The Bard wrote about witches, romance, fairies, and ghosts. Charles Dickens wrote about time travel and ghosts. Mary Shelley created the Frankenstein who created the monster (an interesting aside, Mary Shelley was married to Percy Shelley. Who had better staying power? The novelist who wrote about monsters, or the poet who wrote self-inflated literature?). Don’t get me wrong. I actually love a great many literary works. I’m a fairly eclectic reader: from Dr. Seuss to Shakespeare and all the stuff in between. I just don’t buy into the star-bellied-sneetches approach of one discipline or genre being better than another.

Interestingly, genre fiction is important to society because when children enjoy reading they put out the effort to learn how to be good at it. Did you know they can predict how many prisons they will need in the future based on how many ten and eleven year olds can’t read? Kids who are not given the freedom to choose their own literary tastes are far less motivated to practice reading and are more likely to drop out of school than kids who developed an early love of reading FOR FUN. Kids who read for fun grow up learning greater empathy and have better relationships than those who don’t.

Much of today’s technology began in science fiction books and movies. Kids who stayed up late reading “nerdy” books are now driving the world into the future, making their favorite fictional stories a working reality.

But forgetting even the importance of literacy and technology and overcrowded prisons and all of THAT.

She called science fiction and fantasy safe?

Right. Characters dealing with apocalyptic environments, wars, betrayal, death, loss of innocence, fighting for humanity–and not just the life of humanity, but the inside parts that make us human, the honor, love, respect, joy of being a person. I said I was defending genre fiction, but really, genre fiction is the defender of our humanity. Neil Gaiman quoted GK Chesterman in his book Coraline: “Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

Part of being human is being afraid of the shadows lurking beneath the bed, the clawed fingers slipping through the cracked-open door, and the dragons–both real and imaginary–casting shadows on our lives. But the greatest part of being human is shedding light on those shadows, closing the doors on those clawed fingers, and slaying those dragons.

Genre fiction is not safe. But because it empowers us to face our real lives, it makes the real world a safer place to live.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a tough one for me. It is a time for me to reflect on all the stuff I do wrong both as Mom and as Daughter. That is a lot of reflection, folks, because I do a LOT wrong. But I look at my kids . . . the people they are and I can’t help but be proud of what I see. They are amazing humans. They are fun to be around, to converse and laugh with, to have at your back when things get tough. So then I wonder if maybe I wasn’t so bad because how do they grow up so awesome if I sucked more than a Hoover vacuum cleaner? Maybe they grew up that way in spite of me? Either way . . . Mother’s day is hard. I had several years of infertility where I hated the day out of principle and then I guess it just became a habit to hate it. But today I am trying to enjoy the day for what it is. My boys made me breakfast this morning, going to the trouble of replacing a fortune in a fortune cookie so that my fortune read “You are so lucky to have great kids who make you breakfast. Merry Christmas . . . or whatever holiday this is” I laughed. And then my daughter wrote me a note that made me cry (a good cry, not the other kind) and I think maybe I did okay. Maybe. Or maybe God knew how emotionally unstable I was, so he sent me the best he had to help me out. Regardless of how they became to be my personal superheroes, I’m glad for them, grateful in ways I can’t explain. And, based on the example of an old high school friend, maybe today isn’t the day to hang on to our guilt for all the things we mess up on as moms and as children of moms, and to simply be glad we have other people in our lives who know our faults and yet still manage to say the words I love you to us.

Have a great day everyone!

 

Cover Reveal and Coauthoring

I wrote two books in the Newport Ladies Book Club series along with Heather Moore, Josi Kilpack, and Annette Lyon. The series will be completed at nine total books. Each of us wrote two and then we all coauthored the final book together. It was a great process and something I am so grateful to have participated in. The final book will be coming out within the next month.

A few things I’ve learned about coauthoring through this experience:

  • Ego has no place in a collaborative project.

What I mean by this is that egos are enormous. They manage to fill whatever space they’re given completely. You know the old saying, “give ’em an inch, and they’ll take a mile?” Well,  if you give an ego an inch, You’ll end up with world domination. There just isn’t enough room in a collaborative effort for anyone’s ego.  Egos are not creative spaces. They do not foster growth. They do not make things run smoothly. They never meet deadlines. If you want to work with someone else in a creative endeavor, you need to leave your ego at the door–or better yet, out in the trunk of your car. Choose to work with people who are willing to do the same. The most important element of my collaborative efforts with Heather, Josi, and Annette was that we put the project first, each other next, and ourselves last. As soon as an ego is involved, the project gets shoved aside and takes a smaller and smaller importance until the project fails altogether. Our project worked and was successful through nine books because we put the series first.

  • Choose like-minded individuals with equal talents and skills so that no one person is carrying the entire project on their own, and so that no one person is weighing the project down.

It helped a lot that The four of us ladies were all pretty equal writers. We’ve all won awards, we’re all bestsellers. We all LIKE and ADMIRE each others work. Granted, we’re not all the same. We have strengths and weaknesses, but our level of writing is even. None of us are beginners. We all know how to meet deadlines. We all know how to adapt storyline and weave dialogue and exude emotion. If one of us was a beginning writer who’d never finished a novel before, things might have been different. It made a difference that we were all balanced in skill.

  • Know which part is yours.

During the outlining stages of the Newport Ladies Book Club series, we divvied out parts. I knew who my characters were. I knew which book club group was mine to write. I had a basic idea where my characters would come together with other characters. This was all hammered out in the beginning so that we knew how to begin and how to keep going without stepping on each other’s toes. And even when we decided to snag someone else’s character for a brief scene, we had a general feel for that character, for their tone, for their feel, so EVEN THEN, we weren’t stepping on each other’s toes.

  • Never be the last one to show up to writing group because chances are good your plot and character will get roughed up. 😉

This happened a couple of times (alas, always to me . . .) but because my ego was left in my trunk, I went with it. Those few plot changes altered my story by quite a bit. And guess what? They made my plot BETTER. If I’d been a grumbler, I might not have rolled with the new ideas and would have missed out a much richer, fuller story as a result. And honestly, showing up to find my character suddenly has grandchildren and that her mother was dead added to the fun of creation. The creative process needs to be open to new ideas if it’s going to work.

  • Love the project

Because if you don’t, the readers can tell. If a writer writes to catch a trend, or because they’re sure something will sell rather than because they love it with their whole souls, their words give them away. You gotta love it. Otherwise, why are you doing it?

And now this collaboration project is done. It makes me a little sad because I love the ladies, love the characters, and love the worlds we’ve created together, but I think the last book will really leave the readers satisfied. It’s a great ending to a great series. Here’s the cover:

Tying the Knot

Tying the Knot

Writing Excuses

I FINALLY finished my seventeenth novel! It took longer than I’d hoped and life got a little in the way, but it’s done, and it’s pretty awesome. The title is Shell. I’m pretty much in love with it. I love the way it feels when I look up from a creative work, blinking in the harsh light of reality, and feeling that exhilaration of creative completion. It’s not always easy to finish a project.

I have all kinds of excuses for not writing when I’m supposed to be writing. Some of them are valid, and others . . . not so much. One way to get rid of the excuses is to stoke the creative fires. A good way to do that is with the podcast Writing Excuses with Dan Wells, Brandon Sanderson, and Howard Tayler. They are some genius writers giving genius advice. I’ve been invited to be a guest speaker on Writing Excuses a couple of times. It’s always a delight to be part of their show, merely because they are super fun guys and good friends. My favorite episode  where I co-guested (is that a thing?) was the one with James Dashner. SO. Much. Fun.

So in honor of completing my seventeenth novel, Shell, and in honor of the beginning of my eighteenth novel, Daughters of Air, I give to you Writing Excuses–the one place you can go to be entertained, inspired, and educated all at the same time.

http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/06/20/

I will be at the storymakers conference this weekend hanging out with many of my beloved friends and presenting the class “How to Take the Suck out of Success.” Hope to see you there!

xoxo

 

LTUE 2014

“Use Grammarly’s plagiarism checker because a copy cat always will be declawed!”

I have been attending the LTUE fantasy and science fiction symposium for well over a decade. I attended my very first LTUE with James Dashner. We were both so new as authors, so intimidated and awed by everyone else.  A lot has happened since then, what with James becoming JAMES and me having just published my ninth novel, but I confess . . . there still is a good amount of awe to be had.

Some fun bits of advice I gleaned from my peers while speaking with them on panels and while hovering in the background of their classes as well as from my own personal experience:

  1. Never trust people you only met yesterday with embarrassing information when they will be speaking on a panel with you and will have access to the microphone *cough cough Peter Orullian!* (that might literally be the first time I’ve ever blushed)
  2. Just because you are up to date with the TV series Once Upon a Time, doesn’t mean everyone else is. Refrain from revealing spoilers, such as certain characters getting killed off, just because you have a point about how well written that particular scene was. The collective gasp of several hundred people nearly knocked me off the dais. I am sure I will receive hate mail. I am *so* sorry!
  3. A real hero makes sacrifices–Peter Orullian (who I’m quoting even though he isn’t to be trusted)
  4. Heroism has a sliding scale from little sacrifices to life altering sacrifices–Robison Wells
  5. Make sure your characters are individuals. Your twenty year old hooker will have  different speech patterns, diction, tones from your forty year old housewife.
  6. The difference between a hero and a protagonist is that the protagonist is the point of view, but the hero is the guy who gets the job done. They can be the same person, but they don’t have to be.
  7. Every novel is an act of faith–Larry Correia
  8. The most interesting character is usually the guy who has the most to lose.
  9. Making new friends is the point of conferences for writers. Hi Chad Morris! Oh, I guess hello to you too, Peter . . . 😉
  10. And connecting with old friends is like the sigh of relief that comes at the end of a very busy and stressful week. It was so good to see my dear friend Lee Modesitt. I’ve really missed that guy. I didn’t get to say hi to everyone or really talk to everyone the way I would like, but I so loved seeing you all.
  11. Sleep well before conference and plan on good sleep after conference. Do not plan on sleeping during the conference. Because if you’re sharing a hotel room with Amber Argyle and Krista Jensen, you will giggle until 4 am and end up dragging your barely warmed over corpse to the panels where you’re speaking the next morning (which might account for the lack of judgment on confessions to new friends)
  12. Jeff Savage is my hero because he uplifts everyone he comes in contact with. I wish I had that kind of personality.

The highlight of my symposium was going to lunch with Larry Correia and hearing him order a “sensuous sandwich” and then hearing him giggle like a ten year old girl. If you know Larry, you know why that’s adorable.

Do Over

I have been writing for most of my life. I started my first novel when I was fifteen. Obviously there has to be a learning curve when you’re starting out so young. It took several years to find my writer’s voice, but before that actually happened I had two books published traditionally with a small niche publisher. The books did well and were best sellers in their particular spheres, and I really doubt I would have continued to write if those first few stepping stones hadn’t been placed before me.

But I grew as an author, finally found my voice, my style, and worked on the craft. I took classes, attended conferences, and read books on writing books. I was picked up by a much larger publisher and my career became something respectable. The problem was that those first two fledgling attempts at novel writing were still out there. I’d grown. I was better than that original author, and I cringed when people told me they read one of my first two books.

It was a beautiful day when the books went out of print. It was like a phantom from my past had finally been excised, and I could rest easy. But then people began writing me–librarians who wanted their old, worn copies replaced, fans who wanted to let other people read their books but who were afraid to loan out their copies because they couldn’t get new ones.

So I decided to maybe have a do-over with the second book (the first is beyond repair and I am going to let it be). The second one, however, had good bones–not great bones–but good. It just needed a makeover. So I opened the old document for the first time in twelve years.

It was kind of like opening a crypt filled with horrors. I rolled my eyes at my past author self so much I became dizzy. I shouted at myself as I came across phrases that were so bad, I wanted to hide for the sheer shame of them. I wondered where the adverb police had been during the creation of that book.

I learned a lot about writing in comparing my present author self to my past author self. I saw where natural raw talent trumped actual skill and allowed me to get published in the first place. But I also saw the glaring mistakes, the repetition, the lack of character motivation, the fingernail thin plot.

It was a huge overhaul and a lot of work. I truly believe it would have been easier to write a new book than it was to resurrect an old one, but the book reemerged from the ashes to be something so much better than its humble beginnings. It’s still not the quality of my current writing ability (remember good bones, not great bones), but I’m not sorry I took the time to have a do over. The education was well worth it.

A wonderful, classy designer  by the name of Crystal Liechty reimagined my cover and did such an amazing job that I nearly wept with joy. My previous cover wasn’t exactly lame but close enough.

I guess the point of this rather long ramble is that it’s important to be stretching and improving–no matter what your “thing” is. My thing is writing. Yours might be music, photography, theater or science. Whatever your thing is, it’s nice to look back and see progression and growth. Take the classes, read the books, get the education necessary to thrive in that one thing that fills the measure of your joy. And when you look back, you’ll have a journey worth talking about.

Here is the new cover for Loved Like That. (I really love it!):

Loved Like That

 

LTUE Because Life is the Universe and Everything

Don’t panic, it’s just that time of year where I get to be with *my* people–the lovers of science fiction and fantasy. I am super excited to go this year because I moved so far away from my writer friends that I haven’t seen many of them in the last year or longer. If you want to write in, or take part in the artistic endeavors of, the science fiction and fantasy genre, you need to be at LTUE this weekend, February 13-15, 2014. Orson Scott Card is the guest of honor along with other guest being: Brandon Sanderson, Larry Correia, L.E. Modesitt, Dave Wolverton, Jessica Day George, (a gazillion other friends that I can’t name right now because I am on a DEADLINE that must be met), and ME! If you want to hear me speak feel free to join the fun. Here’s my schedule:

Friday, February 14, 2014

  • 10:00 am–Classic Juvenile Fantasy
  • 6:00 pm–How to Write a Hero
  • 7:00 pm–Co-authoring Dos and Don’ts

Saturday, February 15, 2014

  • 9:00 am–Character Development
  • 6:00 pm–Author’s Think Tank Podcast

And here’s a link with full schedules and further information on the symposium:http://ltue.net/

See you there!

Chasing Madness

My son wanted to go to his friend’s house which is on the other side of the city. He doesn’t ask this favor very often so it’s a no-brainer. I grab Mr. Wright, figuring we can use the time out to run other errands, grab my purse and we head out. We drop Smerks at his friend’s, and Mr. Wright takes a back way out of the neighborhood. In front of us, a car drives off the side of the road. At first, we think he’s a teenager just screwing around, but he comes dangerously close to a few intense drops on that side of the road, and we’re shaking our heads wondering how this kid ever got hold of his parents’ car keys.

He acts weird when we get to the red stoplight, braking, lurching forward, braking again, like he’ not sure what he’s supposed to be doing. His head is lolled to the side as if he’s been drugged and he can’t hold it up. I frown and say, “I think something’s wrong with him.” Mr. Wright agrees. He makes the turn but turns into the outside lane of traffic, slamming into the cement meridian and losing control of the vehicle. Smoke and the acrid smell of burning rubber fill the space between our vehicles. Yep. The guy has definitely got something wrong with him.  I grab my phone and dial 911. In my panic, I confess it takes a few seconds to figure out how to use my phone. I’ve never been good in a crisis situation.

The driver regains control of his car though I have NO idea how. I’m now shouting directions to the 911 dispatch officer while Mr. Wright gives pursuit. We chase him through the city. I have no idea what his destination might have been as he takes a rather circuitous route. He’s weaving all over the place, into oncoming traffic and all the way back to the other side of the road where cars are parked near businesses. At one point a truck on the side of the road opened his door and the driver appeared as though he was getting out. The drunk driver veered straight toward that open door.

It’s an awful thing to think you might be forced to watch someone die and be incapable of doing anything to stop it. Life passes before your eyes–not yours, but the stranger’s life–the faceless, nameless person who has no idea they’re in danger. Maybe it’s just because I’m a writer, but I imagine this stranger with a family, a wife, children, a dog. And I imagine him not coming home. I imagine school plays, graduations, and weddings never attended. And I can’t fix it. I can’t stop it. I can only watch and scream at dispatch to hurry the officers faster to us.

The drunk driver veered back into the wrong side of the road (where luckily, no one else was driving). The man in the truck lives and will likely never know.

He turns down one street, and onto another, zigging and zagging, his head always lolling in a way that feels maddening. Kids shoot out across the road on their bikes. You can see they timed the traffic so they know where they can shoot the gap. But they didn’t time for a driver like this guy. It’s like he’s trying to hit them as he follows them across lanes to the other side of the road. I think I scream. Babies. He’s going to kill a child–SOMEONE’S BABY. And we’re following so close, we’re going to get sucked into the wreckage. I send out a prayer while begging dispatch to hurry with the police. The driver somehow misses the kids. Seriously. I have no idea how.  The driver finally stops at a red light and slumps over his steering wheel. I think maybe he’s passed out. I hope he’s passed out. He sits through the red light and when it turns green, he sits through that too. I’m more calm now as I update dispatch on our location.

When the light turns red again, he lifts his head as though not sure how he got there. Then he lurches into traffic even though his light is red, manages to not hit anything and disappears around the corner. I think we might have lost him. We can’t go through the red light too because hello??? Traffic! When we’re finally able to make the turn, there is a squad car up the road at the other light. Our drunk driver has made another left hand turn, but the police have spotted him and join the chase. They’re able to pull him over within a couple blocks.

Dispatch tells us to pull in behind the police and be ready to give an eyewitness statement. We watch as they take him through a battery of sobriety tests–all of which he appears to be failing epically. Obviously he’s arrested. We fill out our reports and we go home on an adrenaline high. I hug my kids a little tighter.

Today I found out the driver has a previous DUI with homicide. He’s already killed someone with his lolling head and his stupidity of getting behind the wheel when drunk. How does he still have a car after killing someone? How does his conscience allow him to be stupid all over again after already costing a life? I have no answers. The whole thing was madness.

So . . . anything exciting happen with everyone else?

Author Copies!

It’s super fun when the doorbell rings and I am still in black yoga pants and a t shirt with my hair pulled into a bedraggled sort of ponytail. Feet are bare. Teeth are not brushed. Yes, it is after ten in the morning. Thank you for asking. It is that moment when I wonder, “Do I dare answer? What if it’s important? What if my dog bit the pool guy while I wasn’t paying attention? Or what if it’s a random stranger selling girl scout cookies?” At the thought of the cookies, I actually get up to answer the door. The pool guy can take care of himself. I have homeowner’s insurance. The cookie salesman, however, waits for no one.Curses! It wasn’t the cookie salesman. I swear the Girls Scouts of America do not try hard enough to search me out and sell me calories I don’t need but desperately want. Happily, it wasn’t the pool guy missing appendages either. What it was instead was a box on my doorstep. Our postwoman always rings the bell when she’s leaving a package. She is terribly considerate that way.

Inside the box were my author copies of my latest book Victoria’s Promise! HOORAY! The Newport Ladies Book Club series marches ever onward. I love this book. It’s super fun, filled with heart and all those aching love-sicky feelings that a good romance should have. I dedicated it to my ever-inspiring editor, Kirk Shaw, who ditched me to go be a lawyer. He is so lucky I love him and haven’t used the voodoo doll I bought of him when he told me he was leaving me. Actually, I am super proud of him for making good choices for his family and am so grateful that he helped me be the writer I am. Victoria’s Promise turned out really well. I am pleased with my finished written product. Feel free to go see the nice reviews on Amazon. I love people who leave nice reviews. We won’t talk about how I feel about those other people. Didn’t their grandmothers teach them not to say anything when they didn’t have anything nice to say? So sad they missed out on a valuable education. Actually, there’s a lot to be learned in the not-so-nice reviews as well. Anyway, I digress.

The point is that I have my author copies and books in the mail is always super fun. Speaking of Super and books in the mail, my dear friend Marion Jensen has a new book out as well. His title is Almost Super! Legit funny book! Buy it. Read it to your kids. Laugh yourself sick! And feel free to buy my book too. I may not be Lord Byron, but I’m infinitely more entertaining.

Author Copies!

Author Copies! And as a fun aside, my book has a doppelganger. The first person to discover the title of my book’s doppelganger will receive a prize. Hint . . . it has something to do with the red bike. Leave a comment with the title to win cool prize.

 

 

A Lesson for Those who Feel Less Than

Strap in. This is a long entry.

I am an author. I am published in a niche market with a niche publisher. In the beginnings of my career I dealt with something very real: prejudice. Other authors who were published with big publishers in big markets assumed they were better than me (and they were right about that at the beginning). Not all of the big authors in my social sphere acted this way–in fact, most didn’t. But I, being young and insecure, assumed they all felt this way.

In the beginning, I didn’t know much. Character motivation, plot movement, story arc, setting–none of that meant anything to me. I wrote a story because I had a story to tell. I became published. So I wrote another story. The publisher acquired that one too.  I learned a lot, edited, became better–much better. I sent my third book to the largest publisher in that niche market and was accepted. It was exciting because I knew the book was good. It thrummed all those emotional strings. The characters were well-developed and the dialogue sang. But I was still in the niche market. And I felt inferior to those published in their huge markets. The thing was that there was a  stigma about writers in my niche not being any good. The rumors were that only hacks wrote in that genre. To be fair to the rumor mill, there were a lot of crummy books put out back then (my first two among them), but there were a lot of great books too. I decided to be part of the solution. I was in with a guild of authors and we decided to change the stigma by raising the quality of literature in our market. We did that through conferences, mentoring, and classes. We did a lot of good. And I wrote more books. And grew in the craft with every one of them.

I was traditionally published.

And felt inferior.

I made the top ten best sellers list in the entire market.

And felt inferior.

I sold out of my first print run and went to a second printing.

And felt inferior.

I had radio, magazine, and newspaper interviews.

And felt inferior.

I won awards.

And felt inferior.

And then one day at a science fiction and fantasy symposium, I met Orson Scott Card. I’m a huge fan of his–always have been. I stood in his line to get my stack of books signed. I became too awed to do much aside from slide the stack to him when it was my turn. He tried to engage me in conversation. I think I might have drooled in response. But the person behind me said, “She’s Julie Wright. She’s an author too.”

He stopped signing my first edition of Speaker for the Dead and looked up at me. “You’re published?”

I dug my toe into the tile floor and ducked my head into my shoulders in the shrug gesture you can only manage to pull off when you are desperately insecure.

He must have taken that as a yes because he then asked, “What do you write?”

I dreaded answering, knowing the prejudice among authors, but I replied that I wrote a lot of things but was only published in my niche market.

He frowned. “Did I hear an apology in that answer?”

Which made me hit the mental brakes.

And then he said something that changed me.

“Didn’t you choose to write in that market?”

“Well . . . yeah, but . . .”

“And you’re published in the market you chose to write for. There’s no shame in that. Who’s your publisher?”

I told him and he actually looked like he might reach across the table to smack me. “So you’re trying to tell me that you chose to write for a particular market, you’re published with the top publisher in that market, and you’re apologizing?”

It sounded so bad when he put it like that.

I don’t feel inferior any longer, and not just because Orson Scott Card demanded I feel better about myself. I don’t feel inferior because I know I am good at what I do. And I finally realized my previous insecurities were not because those big authors were looking down their noses at me. I felt inferior because I hadn’t accomplished all that *I* wanted to accomplish *YET*. It wasn’t them making me feel small. It was me making me feel small. So this lesson for me has been learned. This was all several years ago. So why am I writing about it all now?

Because whispers like wind shaking leaves have come to my attention of other authors feeling small and insignificant because they chose a different publishing path. They’ve achieved great things. They have succeeded in the spheres where they have ventured. They have sales, fans, some have awards. And they feel inferior.

This post is my request for them to stop apologizing for their accomplishments simply because their accomplishments are different from someone else’s. They have found success in the very thing they set out to do. Forget stigmas. And if you have goals not yet realized, that’s okay. To be going forward, stretching, becoming your best you . . . well, isn’t that what we’re here for?

As Rob Thomas says, our lives are made in these small hours, these little wonders. So make those small hours wonderful. Be happy.

xoxo