I have a birthday coming up in the next few weeks, but that’s not the reason for today’s blog title. That birthday happened almost 20 years ago. But I achieved another milestone yesterday when Pucker Factor, the 11th book in my John Lee Quarrels mystery series, went live on Amazon. This is my 50th book, and don’t ask me how I managed to do that, because I have no idea.
I still remember when I released my first novel, Big Lake, which I pretty much did just to get Miss Terry to quit nagging me about it. I figured I would put it out there, it would flop, and that would be the end of it. Boy, how wrong I was! I released it in late May of 2011, and I was thrilled when blog readers started buying it and telling me how much they enjoyed it and began leaving positive reviews for it. But I have to be honest with you, even then, I thought it was a fluke, a flash in the pan, a one-hit wonder, as they say in the music business. Then, that December, after changing to a much better cover, sales exploded. On Christmas Day, the e-book sold a copy a minute non-stop for 24 hours, and it made the New York Times bestseller list. Suddenly I was a novelist.
And it all began with a dream. No, not a dream of becoming a successful author. I never saw that coming. The dream was actually the plot of that first Big Lake mystery book, which I had dreamt over several nights, almost like watching a television miniseries in my head. But unlike so many dreams, when I would wake up in the morning, it was still crystal clear. I was telling Terry about it, and she told me I had to write it down, so one snowy three-day weekend in northern Arizona’s White Mountains, I did. Then I sat on it for 14 years because though I had spent many years of my life publishing small town newspapers, I had no faith in my ability to write fiction.
I was telling a friend about this a while back and about how surprised I was to find myself making a career change as I was turning 50, knowing nothing about the self-publishing industry. She reminded me that I didn’t know anything about starting a newspaper when I launched my first one at age 25 and wound up turning that into a small chain of seven weekly papers on the Pacific Northwest coast. I guess old dogs really can learn new tricks, can’t they?
With the new book out, I have to get my free author’s newsletter ready to send out to my subscribers, then get started on my next effort, Big Lake Drunk. That won’t be for a couple of days though because we have to go up to Jacksonville for an appointment Terry has at the Mayo Clinic today, and I have an MRI scheduled for tomorrow. But it won’t take me long to be back at my computer doing my thing once more.
Before I close today’s blog, I want to thank all of you who read my books and tell your friends about them and leave reviews on Amazon, as well as my many author friends in real life and the online community who have given me advice and encouragement along the way. Also, a big thank you to my great proofreaders, Judy Rinehimer and Roberta Jensen, as well as my past proofreaders. And most of all, to my wonderful Miss Terry, who believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself and takes the horrendously rough chunks of coal that I print out for her and begins the polishing process that eventually turns them into diamonds. Thank you, everybody. I love all of you.
Thought For The Day – At the end of the day, all you really need is someone who loves you and has your back.