Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Giving Advice is Easy, Walking the Walk is What Matters.

The lie - I'm a nationally ranked chess player (although I used to play a mean game)
The truth - I ran for public office

Never give up! That's what I tell every aspiring writer who asks for advice. And it's true. You have to have tenacity. Stick to your ultimate goal like superglue. Never, ever give up.

But one day I did. Murder Passes the Buck had been shopped by an  agent, nobody wanted to take a chance on a story about the Michigan Upper Peninsula (NY didn't know where it was) or a hunting theme (although I made fun of hunters and didn't kill one single animal). I'd already finished half of book 2, when that fateful day arrived. I chucked the whole thing. Gave up. Let go of my dreams of becoming a published author.

Now what? What could I do with my life. I loved making up stories (BTW, my next protagonist's name is Story). After much thought, light bulbs (more like strobe lights) went on in my head. I would run for public office! I could still make up stuff! I filed the papers, pounded in signs, shook hands door-to-door, really put everything I had into the campaign.

And lost. Thank God. Because before it was over, at least one of my two male opponents was sending death threats. "Be careful opening your mail box," his main supporter told me. Next, they had a debate and forgot to invite me, although for the audience's sake, they pretended like I just hadn't cared enough to come. Then things got really nasty.

After the election, I picked up my bruised and discouraged body and went back to finish Murder Grins and Bears It.  That body Gertie finds in the woods with arrows jutting from his back? Guess who that is? Yup. One of my opponents. The other is the killer.

Since then, remarkable things have happened to me - won an important contest, found a dynamite agent, and I'm three series into a real career as an author. I had a temporary melt-down. We all do. But I came back and walked the walk.

Are you?