August 05, 2010

On Being a Practically Paid and Published Author...and Stuff

A while back, I wrote about an outing I took with my stepdaughter, Ruth. You can read it here.

Then, fellow blogger Becky Povich posted about a call for submissions for an anthology for women of a certain age.

I put the two thoughts together, did a little editing magic (and subtracted ten years from my age) and voila! - I submitted something for Mozark Press' anthology, A Shaker of Margaritas: Hot Flash Mommas.

As soon as I send in my email giving them the go-ahead, my story entitled "Women Seldom Behave Like Ladies" WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE PUBLICATION!

And I'll earn a big $10...The sky's the limit, baby!

No, really - I am pleased and mystified that my FIRST SUBMISSION ANYWHERE was selected for publication. Who'da thunk it?

I wrote to Becky, telling her it was all due to her encouragement - and she encouraged me to write something for High Hill Press, the publisher of her upcoming book.

They have pictures on their site that are to be used as inspiration for writing. Just write, send it to them, and they may just post it on their site!

Here's what I wrote last night for them:

Background on my story:

It is mostly true. A woman we knew in our neighborhood was murdered; a man confessed.  And maybe I could have prevented the murder - but we'll never know that for sure.
Oh, and The Boy is not named Ethan.

Reading Habits

Had Steven Womack been a bestselling author in Pittsburgh, Ann Schmidt might still be alive. Instead, news of her brutal murder was the leading story on the local news stations.

Hmm, so her name was Ann Schmidt. I always thought of her as "the Book Lady". I knew something really BAD had happened in our usually quiet neighborhood as I watched policemen walking through my yard. When I asked them what they were looking for, one grim-faced officer replied, "a murder weapon".

Just a few weeks after the attacks that occurred on September 11, our neighborhood (and our nation) was still exhibiting the anxiety that comes from not knowing who among us may be the enemy; this crime only heightened that feeling. My six-year old son, Ethan, soon traded his search for terrorists to that of the man (we assumed it was a man) who killed our favorite used bookstore owner.

We'd never again walk the two and a half blocks to The Book Rack (with an additional stop at Potomac Bakery for a muffin). As we walked past the bar, Ethan and I would joke with each other about the whoppers that were being told in The Liar's Club (his mostly consisted of superheroes battling impossible-looking adversaries).

We went to the bookstore at 3:15 every Friday that Ethan had a good week at school - those used books were earned like badges of courage. Kindergarten was tough for him, his behavior was all over the place (ADHD, at the very least) any string of more than two days of positive behavior warranted a Friday trip to the bookstore. Reading since the age of four, he devoured each and every book he picked out. He was already working on chapter books, even though his classmates still didn't know their alphabet.

"The Book Lady" always greeted us with a smile. She seemed to commit to memory which authors were customer favorites - and she'd set aside any books that came in that might be of interest. Weekday afternoons were not her busy time, so she might actually accompany customers to the shelves to point out her latest treasures. Sometimes, when we'd drive past the store on our Saturday morning errand run, we'd see her store filled with customers buying and selling books.

That Friday, I was going to make an exception to our behavior rule if I received a call (she said my book would be in no later than lunch time) saying that Murder Manual had been brought in for sale. That was the Steven Womack book I sought - I needed my fix of stories of Nashville private eye Harry James Denton. Every time I got lost in one of his books, I was back in my beloved Nashville.

If only Ethan had had a good week, our presence in the store might have been enough of a deterrent to the drifter who fractured her skull with a railroad spike. Police were sure the spike came from the light rail system that ran down the middle of our street.

Maybe I should have stuck with reading Stephen King.

Here's a picture of The Book Rack - doesn't it fit in with the picture above?

This story is also my prompt for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop: - If I Could Do It Over Again - I'd sure as heck go to that store. Her body was found at 4:36 that day.



  1. What a story, congrats on the publication! Strange how this happens cause this did or didn't happen.

  2. Congrats on the publication and it's a good story, but I have to wonder if you'd been there, would you have been a deterent or would you have been attacked too?

  3. All I can say is "wow!" What a terrific opportunity for you and what a fantastic outcome! Congrats on being published, and also for writing such a great story.

    I love Mama Kat, but I keep hitting a wall when I try to write about one of the prompts. I'll try again next week!

    Great post!!!

  4. Great story! That's wonderful that you got something published at the first try! I'm visiting from Mama Kat's!

  5. How wonderful that you will officially be a PUBLISHED woman! Congratulations!!

    Hearing the story makes my heart heavy. The "what ifs" would just consume me, I think. This must have been (and maybe still is?) a hard event to wrap your head around. One the up side, if there is one, you and your son were out of harm's way.

    Very deep post. Well written. Awesome.

  6. Congrats on the publication! Fascinating story! A little sad that it has to be true. You may or may not have been a deterent or like someone else said just another victim. Even if you were a deterent that day it may have happened another. Too many ifs.

  7. Great story, and congrats on the publication!

  8. Congrats on publication...always glad to hear of a success story!

  9. Congrats on your first publication! How exciting!!!

  10. Great job! And congrats on your first freakin' publication!


  11. And I can claim that I knew you clear back when!

  12. Great great story, very well written. I must say, though, that my first gut feeling was fear and relief that you WEREN'T there with your kiddo. Maybe he didn't care who was there and would have done something to you all.

  13. First of all, WOO HOO! Keep on submitting ... and remember me when you become a big-time author! I'll review your book on my book blog!!

    And your story gave me the shivers.

  14. Take that $10 and get you a latte and a scone and keep writing!
    Congrats on your first submission and I hope your story makes it as well!
    Tapping into publication is virtually impossible, so, props to you for getting a pinky toe in the door. May your whole foot follow!


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