This upcoming holiday season many of us will gather around tables with food lovingly prepared and spend precious time with loved ones. We’ll reflect on what we are thankful for. Family, friends, community, and good health, will likely top the list. As a writer, I have an additional list of items to include. As the months wind down and I move ever closer to publication—I have six months to go—it is easy for me to reflect on not only what I am grateful for, but who I am grateful for.
The Myrtle Baptist Church Book Club—These ladies have been my champions, cheering me on since the days when I would get an essay or short story published in an obscure online publication. They have been a rock of strength for me and seem just as excited as I am that my novel is being published.
GrubStreet—I have taken numerous classes at GrubStreet, one of the nation’s leading writing centers, and as a result have built up my writing credits. Because of GrubStreet, I’ve been able to become part of the Boston-area writing community and not feel isolated, as is the case for many writers.
Alex Reid—A few years ago, after my manuscript had been rejected by a literary agent, I was considering spending more than $100 an hour to have a consultant help me improve it. However, before I signed the contract with the consultant, I decided to ask my husband if he would take a look at it. He’s a veteran journalist who’d spent years as a reporter at The New York Times, Boston Globe, and Philadelphia Daily News. He had not only the talent to critique my book, but also the time. He did a great job, helping me to dramatically improve the work and didn’t charge me a penny. Without his insight, I might still be looking for an agent or publisher.
Angie Chatman—Angie is a fellow writer who I met at the Kimbilio fiction writer’s fellowship program in Taos, New Mexico last year. She encouraged me to get involved in storytelling. As a result, I took a storytelling course through MassMouth and have appeared on stage twice telling a story. Storytelling is great practice for when I’ll be talking up my book before audiences. Also, every time I’m introduced onstage, the emcee mentions my novel, so I get free publicity.
The Debutante Ball—It’s been so meaningful blogging with my fellow debut novelists and getting to know them virtually (we’re all in different parts of the country). I’ve also learned so much about social media through this program and thrilled to be able to bring attention to my book.