Tuesday, November 16, 2010

GIVING THANKS

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away. Have you thought about what you have to be thankful for over the past year? I certainly have. It was just a year ago that editor Terri Bischoff offered to buy what has become my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series. In only seven weeks ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN, the first book in the series, will be on bookstore shelves.

Prior to last November, I’d been wallowing in a huge vat of self-pity and wasn’t feeling the least bit grateful to anyone. I’d made a professional decision several years ago that I still don’t regret making, but I never expected the impact of that decision to mean that it would be nearly two and a half years between the release of my last novel and the sale of my next novel.

In those two and a half years I had several near sales, each of which fell through due to circumstances beyond my control. An editor can’t buy a book, no matter how much she loves it, if her publisher folds the line where the book would have gone. I was beginning to think I’d seriously offended the Karma gods in some way.

So when Terri made her offer, I refused to let myself get excited. I held my breath. For a long time. Not until I had those signed contracts in my hands did I allow myself to get excited. Or even tell anyone about the sales.

So I’m extremely grateful to Terri for buying my books. I’m also extremely grateful to the rest of the Midnight Ink staff who had a hand in ushering my manuscript to printed book.

Two months ago I received my edits for ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN. It was now time to decide to whom to dedicate the book. I’d dedicated my first book to my husband and children. My second book was in memory of my grandparents. For my third book I knew immediately to whom I’d write the dedication.

In 2000 I began a critiquing relationship with a group of women. Over the next seven years I developed a very strong friendship with one woman in particular from that group. In all that time we never met in person; an ocean separated us. She lived in Germany where her husband ran one of the American schools. But thanks to the Internet we’d become as close as sisters. Until Karen entered my life, I never had a friend who was so much like me in so many ways. We shared many of the same life experiences, the same talents, the same likes and dislikes. We thought so much alike that it seemed we had to have been twins separated at birth.

In September of 2007 Karen and her husband were moving back to the states, and we were making plans to meet in person for the first time. However, right before Labor Day, Karen died quite suddenly. I not only lost a fabulous critique partner, I lost an amazing friend. I felt cheated. My grief overwhelmed me. Eventually, I realized that I’d been blessed to have nearly eight years of this extraordinary woman’s intellect, humor, and compassion. Many people will live their entire lives without being touched by someone like Karen.

So as I look ahead to Thanksgiving this year, I know I’m thankful for many things, the least of which is the friendship I had with Karen Davenport.

The dedication in ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN reads: In memory of Karen Davenport, amazing critique partner, friend, and Anastasia’s biggest fan.

15 comments:

Lisa Bork said...

Lois, I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. The dedication is perfect.

Jess Lourey said...

That's a beautiful dedication, Lois, and based on the reviews your book is getting, it's an amazing tribute to her. Best of luck this next year. I have a feeling it's going to be a fun ride for you.

Lois Winston said...

Thanks, Lisa and Jess! A fun ride would be most welcome, just as long as it's not on a roller coaster!

Terri Bischoff said...

Hey Lois - I'm honored to be a part of your publishing career. And I can't think of a more worthy or heartfelt dedication.

Lois Winston said...

Thanks, Terri! I'm thrilled you're on Team Lois.

Darrell James said...

Lois, one of the things I like about being an author is the chance to leave a lasting legacy behind. Your dedication is now part of that legacy. Very nice!

Lois Winston said...

Thanks, Darrell. I just wish that Karen had sold at least one of her suspense mss. before she died. Her writing was amazing. Having her own work published would have been a far better and more appropriate legacy for her.

Keith Raffel said...

Lois, What a tough break. I appreciated your heartfelt dedication to Karen.

Vicki Doudera said...

Lois, your reminder to be grateful resonates with me. Thanks for your post and for sharing your lovely dedication.

Carol Grace said...

Congratulations Lois, what a wonderful tribute to your friend.

Lois Winston said...

Thanks, Keith, Vicki and Carol!

Kathleen Ernst said...

What a lovely post. This business does feel like a roller coaster! Having both critique partners and understanding friends is indeed a blessing. Your friend, both at once, was obviously special, and I can't think of a better way to honor her. And I'm looking to reading the book!

Alice Loweecey said...

Beautiful dedication, Lois. And a lovely post.

Nezzy said...

What a loving tribute to dedicate this to your dear friend. I'm very sorry for your loss and my heart goes out to you sweetie.

Good luck...what a ride your goin' on!!!

God bless and have a most incredible week!!!

Lois Winston said...

Thank you, Alice and Nezzy.