Not only is Ellis Vidler published by one of the more exciting small presses out there–one I can confidently recommend any writer seeking publication submitting to–but she writes suspense with just the perfect lick of romance. If that’s your genre, check out Ellis’ work–you’ll be glad you did. But first, read Ellis’ Moment. From exchanges we’ve had, I know that some readers of this blog are caught in a stage I remember all too well. One where you don’t feel entitled to call yourself a writer and you’re questioning this dream of ours. It applies to people who aren’t writers, too–anyone who’s ever doubted the legitimacy of his or her devotion. Ellis knows what that’s like. And she knows what happens when the sun comes out and you finally get past it.
I remember this one well—the moment I felt I’d made it, that I was a real writer. I’d been going through my usual guilt over the time I took from my family and responsibilities while pecking away at my IBM Selectric. I was so proud of that typewriter, my first big purchase especially for writing.
Another big step was going to my first writers conference, the South Carolina Writers Workshop. We all sat in a large meeting room, listening to wonderful and often funny speakers, chatting, sharing experiences. Then they announced the contest winners. Third, second, . . . and first place to Ellis Vidler for “Restitution.” I just sat there, unsure of what I’d heard. It’s sort of the same way you react to an obscene phone call—it takes a minute for the message to sink in. Then my friend Bobbie Christmas poked me and I woke up.
It’s difficult to describe all the feelings I had. Shock, joy, and then the one that changed everything—justification. I won $200, and it made me believe in myself, that I could do actually it. I’d only entered for the feedback, never expecting anything more, but I’d won. And so my family was condemned to a life of sandwiches, doing their own laundry, and all the other things I ignored so I could write.
These life-altering moments don’t necessarily equate to success, as in getting published. That took another ten years, but not even the letter from Silver Dagger offering me a contract did as much, though I have to say that was a fantastic experience.
Sometimes its very hard to believe in yourself when you constantly hear that the odds are so against you. Everyone considers your writing a time-sucking hobby, an excuse to avoid housework (okay, maybe sometimes), and a hopeless dream, but it’s also a release and a joy, even if you’re never published. I believe though, if you seriously work at your craft and keep improving, if you make an effort to learn the business, you’ll get there. It may be a long time coming, but if you really love writing, don’t give up.
May the force be with you!
All of Ellis Vidler‘s stories have some degree of romance and a lot of suspense. Her first book, published by Silver Dagger Mysteries, was Haunting Refrain. Cold Comfort is her new romantic suspense from Echelon Press. The second was The Peeper, a suspense novel co-authored with Jim Christopher. Her collection of three short Southern stories, Tea in the Afternoon, is available on Kindle.