September 30, 2011

Made It Moment: C.J. West

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 8:24 am

The End Of Marking Time

I’ve waited a long time to have C.J. to the blog because his visionary novel was one of the more unusual, intriguing ones I read last year, and it’s interesting that his reason for delay was a belief that he hadn’t made it yet. No one ever does! We’ve had international bestseller Sophie Hannah appear in this column, Edgar winner Stefanie Pintoff, Edgar nominee Tim Hallinan, and Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery winner Gerrie Ferris Finger, among many, many others–and none of them seem quite sure of the idea.

C.J.’s piece speaks to the reality that fans, movie options, and even being included in a school’s curriculum won’t be convincing. What then does constitute inarguable success? C.J. leaves us with a clue I’ll be thinking about for a long time to come.

C.J. West

I’m an optimist. Since most of us can make more money mowing lawns than writing novels, it takes an optimist to keep churning out pages day after day. When asked to write this column a year ago my answer was, “But I haven’t made it.” I haven’t reached my writing goals yet, but I have had some great moments along my journey that encourage me to get up each morning and rush to the keyboard.

My first moment came three years after I released Sin & Vengeance. A screenwriter contacted me and in a few months we signed a contract for a film option. The owner of a small production company loved her screenplay and we optioned it into development. We were just $3.5 million away from a finished film. Sadly, we are still looking for an investor, but the project convinced me that my work had spark.

I’ve had many moments with fans, but one really stands out. I was invited to a Christmas party by a woman who read my books and shared them with friends. When I arrived a man I didn’t know grabbed me by the arm (literally) and raved to me for an hour about Sin & Vengeance. At my next book launch, he bought 16 books and mailed them to friends.

My latest moment came when a university criminal justice professor emailed to tell me he wanted to use The End of Marking Time as part of his curriculum. Having my work used by students was a tremendous honor and it left me feeling that my work had merit.

These three moments tell me my work is resonating with readers and it is only a matter of time before I reach enough of them to get where I’ll believe I’ve made it.

C.J. West is the author of the thrillers The End of Marking Time, Sin and Vengeance, A Demon Awaits, Gretchen Greene and Taking Stock. Sin and Vengeance, the first book in C.J.’s Randy Black series, is currently in development for film with Beantown Productions, LLC (screenplay by Marla Cukor). C.J. also hosts a Blog Talk Radio show which features interviews of contemporary thriller and suspense writers. Find C.J. at or at

September 29, 2011

Made It Moment: Nancy Means Wright

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 8:45 am

The Nightmare

Nancy Means Wright promises us a moral with her Moment, and by gum, she delivers. She also delivers a tightly written, edge-of-your-seat pace–if she can do this in a Moment, I can’t wait to read one of her books! Every time I was sure Nancy had made it, she pulled the tablecloth out from under me, leaving all the dishes level and drinks untouched. Table shaken, meal still standing. In the end, I suppose that’s the moral Nancy was getting at all the time.

Nancy Means Wright

Made it Moment with a Moral or Two.

Well, friends and writers, my outraged mother threw out the first mystery I wrote, age ten, about the kidnapping of a pesky older brother—and it was all uphill from there.

Later, my husband and I lived in a boys’ school where the headmaster wouldn’t let me teach English because it was a “man’s subject.” So I wrote a novel about a faculty wife in a boys’ locker room who slowly anesthetizes herself with sherry. When Ace Books accepted it, my man was away, kids in bed, so my neighbor and I emptied a bottle of vodka to celebrate. But omigod, the cover: a hairy hand pulling back a translucent shower curtain to reveal a curvy nude–not my feminist protag! Embarrassed, I sent friends and kids to buy up copies, and convinced it had a bestseller, the bookstore kept ordering more. It was my Mad moment!

But I wanted to write the great American novel, and two years later I thought I had. Until my agent ran out of places to send it and quit his agency to run a used bookstore. The mice in my upstairs closet turned the manuscript into a shredded nest.

I next wrote a YA about a wild party my daughter gave for 200 kids while hubby and I were away; the unagented novel was rejected by several houses, including Dutton. Three years later I resent it to the same editor who’d earlier rejected it—and she took it! She allowed how she might’ve had a belly ache the first reading. (Moral: Don’t Take No for a Final Answer.) But I still hadn’t published a hardcover novel for adults.

Finally I wrote Mad Season, a mystery set in Vermont, inspired by a pair of assaulted farmers. The perps were caught because the cash they threw about reeked of barn. I turned my teacher husband into an agent, made up stationery, wrote cover letters, and after two rejections we had a call from editor Ruth Cavin at St Martin’s Press. My man negotiated while I hissed in his ear: “Tell her I’ve published other books. Try to get more money!” Well, the advance was small, but heck, I’d made it (sort of). This time we downed two bottles of vodka, and as pay off, I took my husband out for a lobster dinner.

After ten years with SMP I was let go because the sales people said I wasn’t bringing in $20,000 a year, their new cut-off number. For a time I was devastated, and Cavin allowed she’d lost some good writers. But this month my second historical mystery is out from my wonderful new publisher, Perseverance Press, and I’m feeling fulfilled.

How apt a word for all of us struggling writers: Perseverance! Shout it out: Per-se-ver-ance!! (End of morals.)

Nancy Means Wright has published 17 books, including 5 mystery novels from St Martin’s Press, and most recently two historicals: The Nightmare: A Mystery with Mary Wollstonecraft (Perseverance Press,’11) and its prequel, Midnight Fires,’10). Her children’s mysteries received both an Agatha Award and Agatha nomination. Short stories have appeared in American Literary Review, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Level Best Books, and elsewhere. Longtime teacher, actress-director, and Bread Loaf Scholar for a first novel, Nancy lives with her spouse and two Maine Coon cats in Middlebury, Vermont.

September 27, 2011

Made It Moment: Joe Rinaldo

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 8:38 am

A Spy At Home

Sometimes you get a Made It Moment that just tells it like it is. Joe Rinaldo’s is that. I recommend that anyone considering independent publishing read this Moment–and then contact Joe to ask more (you might want to read his novel first–just to see the level of quality the e world can boast). As writers we have hopes and dreams that would make presidents, leaders, and dictators cringe at our hubris. But in the end it’s about writing, not dreaming, and that’s what making it turned out to mean for Joe. Read on.

Joe Rinaldo

Whether I have made it at this point is debatable. However, some moments have made me feel like I’ve made it. When reviewers post
well-written, thoughtful reviews, I feel like I’m on top of the world. When A Spy At Home moves up in the Amazon rankings, I feel loved and

Those are the external events, but writing is really something you judge for yourself. I feel important or like I’ve made it when I read
a book by some author with a big fancy New York publisher that isn’t as good my book. Regardless of the resources behind a book, I look
forward to people judging mine on its merits. That’s the beauty of ebooks. They level the playing field so a talented guy with no connections can put his book for sale on Amazon and let the readers decide. That feels good and gives everyone a chance to make it.

By day I work as Credit and Financial Manager for a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning distributor. When I first started writing, I thought being a numbers guy would make me an oddity as an author. That’s proved to be wrong. The more people I meet in this industry, the more I run across accountants and CFOs. Apparently, creativity infects a variety of people. Of course, I have the same dream as other writers. I hope my book sells a million copies and becomes a smash hit movie. Selling ebooks isn’t the get-rich-quick scheme I thought it was before being published. It’s been a lot of work.

September 21, 2011

Why Murphy’s Oil Soap is Not Like a Novel

Filed under: The Writing Life — jenny @ 8:56 pm

The other day I went to clean my kitchen table and I noticed a sticker on my bottle of Murphy’s.

“Derived from 98% Natural Ingredients” it said.

I’m not sure what this sticker was supposed to make me feel–or rather, I am pretty sure. I was supposed to feel like I was putting good, organic stuff down on the table (which my kids *are* willing to lick if a particularly appetizing tidbit falls off their fork). I was supposed to feel like I was doing my part for a greener planet.

I was supposed to feel like Murphy’s Oil Soap was something I wanted to buy.

What’s the problem with that? Well, first of all, none of it is true. “Natural” is a totally unregulated, if not meaningless, term. Cyanide is natural. So is uranium. That doesn’t mean I want them in my kitchen.

Second of all, between 98% and 100% lies a lot of space. If 2% of the ingredients *aren’t* natural, isn’t that an awful lot of unnatural muck I might be cleaning with? 2% of, say, red dye is a lot. Or cyanide.

But we don’t have to critique the oil soap advertizing industry. What matters for my purposes is the connection I saw to books.

I think that the oil soap people are trying to get us to buy Murphy’s by saying stuff that seems good, whether it’s really true or substantive or not, and I think that we writers are sometimes put in a similar position.

We all have to market these days. That is a given. (Except when it’s not–and kudos to self publishing pioneer, MJ Rose, for saying so).

But assuming that those of us without MJ’s confidence (or following) do plan to market in some way, shape, or form, how do we keep from promising something more than 98% naturally derived ingredients?

Well, there are a few things I figure we don’t want to do.

  • Don’t send around a mass newsletter that masquerades as personal. You know the ones–they lead with a Hi [first name]! But if you’re not on a first name basis with the person who’s sending, you know it’s fake. Actually you know it’s fake for other reasons–the content is clearly intended for a mass mailing. I’m not saying don’t send a newsletter–some people write terrific ones. I’m saying if you do have a newsletter, be genuine about it. Open with something like “Hi Readers & Prospective Readers” and go on to say, “There’s a time for personal emails and a time for announcements. This will be an announcement…”
  • Don’t put people on your email list without asking them first. ‘Nuff said. My addy has been harvested by dozens of people. In general, I’m glad to receive the updates and posts. But I still think it’s more polite to ask. (Maybe it wasn’t ’nuff said :)
  • Once you have an email list, be careful what you use it for. If people get too many announcements and updates–no matter how dazzling–they’re going to become inured to seeing your name. So be careful. Maybe that awesome review in your hometown paper made you sing (I know it would me). But if a starred review from PW comes in next, that might be the one you want to send word of. On the other hand, it might not. So my final ‘don’t’ before turning to something more uplifting is–
  • Don’t fall prey to the marketing machine. You know the one. It prioritizes things like starred PW reviews. And of course these are terrific things indeed–imagining one can make me see stars. But if what really tickles your fancy is seeing your photo in your hometown paper–the place where no one in high school was exactly voting you most likely to succeed–then share news of that.
  • Oh, and here’s one more don’t. Don’t feel badly if you do or have done some of these things. First, they may work for you, based upon the readership you’ve built up or the particular ways in which you implement them. And second–who hasn’t hit the send button in an ecstatic burst when that first reader anointed you with 5 stars (who cares that it was Aunt Sally)? By the time my book is out, it will have been about 14 years since I started writing seriously. Watch me bug you with every word of praise *my* Aunt Sally offers :)

In my next post I’m going to focus on some ‘do’s’ of marketing. But I want to close with something less grim than the mistakes we writers sometimes fall prey to in our attempt to navigate through these woods. And it’s actually pretty simple.

Be true to yourself when you go to market your book. Speak in your genuine voice–that’s what readers want to hear, why they’ll be reading your book. If a strategy makes you uncomfortable, avoid it. If it’s not you, it will likely not work. And there are plenty of things to do that are you and will communicate to people that you have wonderful, wonderful news.

In the end, that’s what marketing is really all about.

Sharing some wonderful news.

September 15, 2011

Made It Moment: Beth Groundwater

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 8:01 am

Deadly Currents

As I type, Beth Groundwater might be cascading down a Class IV rapid in Utah. Actually, it’s two hours earlier in Utah, so she is probably asleep. But the point remains–Beth writes a most unusual series that blends mystery, whitewater, and river ranger sleuth Mandy Tanner–while being a most unusual person herself. Please read on to learn Beth’s unique experience with making it.

Beth Groundwater

I’ve had many significant moments in my writing career that defined me as a multi-published mystery author. Some that come to mind are signing with my first literary agent, signing my first book contract, holding a copy of that first published book (A Real Basket Case) in my hands, being short-listed for a Best First Novel Agatha Award, and obtaining good reviews from all four of the Big Four review publications for one of my mysteries ( Deadly Currents).

However, my true “Made It Moment” occurred fairly recently, on June 18th of this year. On that day, I was honored to be the Parade VIP in the parade for the FIBArk (First in Boating on the Arkansas river) whitewater festival, the nation’s oldest and boldest whitewater festival that takes place annually in Salida, Colorado. You see, my March release, Deadly Currents, is the first book in my new Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventure series starring whitewater river ranger Mandy Tanner.

Mandy lives in Salida, and the story features FIBArk events. The festival planning committee knew about my book and some members had read it, so they made the logical decision to invite me to be that year’s parade VIP.

You know you’ve “made it” when you get to sit on the back of a PT Cruiser convertible and wave to crowds lining the streets! I could hear the townspeople saying to each other, “Oh, that’s that author,” as I went by. They knew about me because the local bookstore, The Book Haven, had been displaying copies of Deadly Currents, the Salida Citizen had published an interview with me, and I’d been interviewed the day before on the local radio station, KSBV, The River Rat.

I was famous (at least in Salida)!

I can barely describe the thrill of those few minutes, the shivering elation I felt at being honored for my writing. As I smiled and waved at people and they returned my waves, my heart was truly almost ready to burst from pride and happiness. It was an absolutely amazing experience, especially when we pulled into the heart of downtown, where the crowd was 4-8 people deep, and the parade announcer introduced me. And it’s an experience I will remember and savor for years to come.

Needless to say, my book signing that afternoon was a huge success.

The icing on the cake was when the Shelf Awareness email newsletter, which is delivered to librarians, booksellers, publishers, agents, and thousands of other members of the book trade, accepted my husband’s photo of me in the parade for their Image of the Day, with the title “ Groundwater Is Whitewater Star.” Man, oh man!

You know, I’m not even sure hitting the New York Times bestseller list would top that moment. (But I’m game to try! ;-)

Beth Groundwater writes the Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery series (A Real Basket Case, a 2007 Best First Novel Agatha Award finalist, and To Hell in a Handbasket, 2009). A Real Basket Case will be re-released in November in trade paperback and ebook. Beth also writes the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventures mystery series starring whitewater river ranger Mandy Tanner. The first, Deadly Currents, was released in March, 2011, and the second, Wicked Eddies, will be released in May, 2012. Beth enjoys Colorado’s many outdoor activities, including skiing and whitewater rafting, and loves talking to book clubs. Please visit her website at and her blog at

September 12, 2011

Made It Moment: Jeffrey Marks

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 8:20 am

Under Investigation (US Grant mysteries)

It’s not all the time that I get to welcome an author to the blog who has had a pivotal effect on my writing life. Jeff Marks is the founder of a listserv where I spend time every day. It’s a collegial, colloquial group of writers who come together over marketing advice–but stay together as writers. I have met people there whose work I love; I have made friends. What on earth would the guy responsible for bringing all these talented people together have to say about making it? Well, for reasons that will become obvious as you read, let’s just say that I could relate. Read on.

Jeffrey Marks

Probably telling you that my “Made It” moment happened in a hotel room is going to make some people stop reading about now. But it’s not that kind of story.

At the Bouchercon in Philadelphia, I was waiting anxiously for the arrival of Canine Crimes. I had gone early to the book dealers’ room, but no one had any copies of the book. I was crushed. I’d come all this way only to find out that the event was days before the release of the book.

Fortunately, Ballantine was able to drop ship a box of books to the conference for me. As a result, I stood in my room with approximately 60 copies of Canine Crimes, my first anthology. While I still get a thrill every time I see a new book come into print, it was all I could do not to scream like a little girl that morning.

I took the books down to the bookroom and gave them to one of the booksellers there. I wandered around the room, coming back about every 5 minutes to see if any more copies had sold. Finally, I gave up the pretense and stood at the dealer’s booth, handselling copies of the book. Within 90 minutes, I’d sold them all.

I had to wait another 10 days to get my copies in the mail at my home, but being able to touch and sell copies of my book to mystery fans made it that type of moment. There have been a few since then: being nominated for an Edgar, and winning the Anthony, and every time I get a book accepted for publication. However, there’s something special about seeing a book in print.

Jeffrey Marks is a long-time mystery fan and freelancer. After numerous mystery author profiles, he chose to chronicle the short but full life of mystery writer Craig Rice.

That biography (Who Was That Lady?) encouraged him to write mystery fiction. His works include Atomic Renaissance: Women Mystery Writers of the 1940s/1950s, and Criminal Appetites, an anthology of cooking related mysteries. His latest work is a biography of mystery author and critic Anthony Boucher entitled Anthony Boucher. It has been nominated for an Agatha and fittingly, won an Anthony.

He is the long-time moderator of MurderMustAdvertise, an on-line discussion group dedicated to book marketing and public relations. He is the author of Intent to Sell: Marketing the Genre Novel, the only how-to book for promoting genre fiction.

His work has won a number of awards including the Barnes and Noble Prize and he was nominated for a Maxwell award (DWAA), an Edgar (MWA), three Agathas (Malice Domestic), two Macavity awards, and three Anthony awards (Bouchercon). Today, he writes from his home in
Cincinnati, which he shares with his partner and two dogs.

September 11, 2011

May Peace Be With You–and Also You

Filed under: Great Reads — jenny @ 4:45 pm

On this day of memorial and remembrance, I offer sorrow for those who lost loved ones on September 11th, 2001. And I offer humble admiration and thanks to all those people who charged forward instead of back in the act of helping others.

Greenpoint Press is the brain child of my mentor and New York Writers Workshop co-founder, Charles Salzberg, and it has published a book every American–every citizen of the world–has cause to read. Dr. Benjamin Luft collected interviews with many of the 9/11 first responders, interviews which Dr. Luft turned into a book and a film, and which the Smithsonian Institute is now archiving in its permanent collection.

Many of the people who helped on 9/11–the ones who went forward instead of back–are sick with aftereffects now. They carry memories no human being should have to live with.

This is their burden because they showed us the best of what it means to be human.

September 9, 2011

Made It Moment: Roger Hudson

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 9:06 am

Death Comes by Amphora

Roger Hudson’s story is less a Moment than a lovely, pearly string of them–the dips and turns that make up this life of writing. As you follow each one in the post below, with all their lovely British-icisms, which fired up my spell check, but which I just had to leave in–you get a sense of how the need to write is an eternal flame. It can be muted–even snuffed out for a while as Roger’s was in a Pink Floyd-esque encounter with a teacher–but never entirely damped. That’s how we know we’re writers. Maybe that’s even how we really know we’ve made it.

Roger Hudson


Not exactly a moment – more a long, long story. I was an avid reader, when a kid, of both comics and books. I was quite good at essay writing at school but, strangely, when the English teacher set subjects that allowed fictional imagination, he tended to pour scorn on the results. That probably put me off the idea of writing fiction a bit.

An aged aunt gave me an even more aged one-finger typewriter with the characters revolving on a little drum and I used it to tap out a science fiction story. It was highly derivative and was inevitably rejected by the one British science fiction magazine then in existence. I think I tore it up. I also attempted short articles and submitted them with photographs I had taken to a few magazines but with no success.

At college, I wrote a few autobiographical short stories (this was the Alan Sillitoe/Stan Barstow era) but, again, a few rejections and they were tucked in a drawer to disappear in one of countless changes of accommodation in subsequent years. But I also worked on the college newspaper, though more on the editing than writing side.

After that, there was journalism for a monthly institutional newspaper in my first job, for press releases and newsletters in publicity jobs, feature articles for theatre and film magazines, writing for careers booklets and videos, in fact, making my living from writing. But this was all non-fiction, much of it interview based. All the while I had a feeling I was no good at writing dialogue and so did not attempt it.

Until I hit a period of slack freelance employment and tried my hand at a humorous science fiction novel a la Douglas Adams. It didn’t work out but came to life enough to persuade me I was within striking distance.

Two house moves and another country later, with house-sale proceeds in the bank, I tried my hand at a film script, a Western believe it or not. It was awful. The characters cardboard, their speeches long and turgid. But the next script, for some unknown reason, suddenly the characters were communicating in short, snappy, colourful, humorous dialogue. If there was a breakthrough moment, that was it.

I still don’t know what worked the change and it didn’t breed immediate success but it meant that when I tackled the next novel the characterisation and dialogue worked fine, I could handle the description and narrative from years of observation and writing for non-fiction, and the research in many and diverse fields of commerce, industry and communications gave me masses of material that transposed quite easily across the centuries to Ancient Athens. So experience does have its benefits for a writer.

Why Ancient Athens you ask? And that points to another significant moment way back when I was at school. That moment is the assassination of the politician Ephialtes in Athens in 461BC. Studying Ancient History, I learned that he had recently brought in the radical democratic reforms that snatched power from the aristocrats (and possibly motivated the assassination), which then led to the rise of Pericles and the Golden Age of Athens. But that was the sum total of information about him, despite his obvious importance.

He stuck in my mind, wondering if maybe the historians were covering something up, so that many years later I said to an agent friend that I would like to write a book around it, thinking that would allow me to research it further. His answer swung my thinking, so that the result is my novel Death Comes by Amphora. “If you want to get it published, better make it an historical detective story,” he replied, “and a young hero would be a good idea.” And so it ended up as an historical mystery featuring 18-year-old Lysanias and his elderly slave Sindron. And the truth about Ephialtes? I discovered that the ancient Greek historians whose work has survived did not cover this period in any detail, so there really is very little information about him. Which is fine for a novelist but not so good for a fascinated schoolboy who would really like to know.

Roger Hudson is the author of Death Comes by Amphora, a historical mystery novel set in Ancient Athens, and is working on a sequel. He also writes poetry and has directed documentaries and distributed art movies among much else. He lives in Drogheda, Ireland, with his wife Sheila. Visit Roger on the web at

September 8, 2011

Made It Moment: Cindy Sample

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 9:12 am

Dying For A Date

Cindy Sample

I have waited a long time to welcome Cindy Sample to the blog for a post of pure fun–and a little mystery. The added element of Cindy’s writing is that she’s able to be all that, and also say something truly meaningful. Read on.

Preparing for this blog post was a walk down memory lane, a windy and occasionally hilly path. My first literary “moment” occurred when I received an A plus on a third grade spelling assignment I turned into a 16 page novella, “Cindy Parker and the Haunted Mansion.” It could have been a full length novel but my mother made me go to bed at 8:30. That grade was all it took to hook me. I wanted to be an author when I grew up.

Little did I know it would be 40 years before my next literary masterpiece was published. Since I needed a “real” job (or at least one that could support a family), I was hired as a receptionist for a real estate office. That position led to a career as CEO of a nationwide mortgage banking company. I have thirty years of wonderful memories of working with incredible people, culminating in me receiving the APMW Boss of the Year Award.

That was a fabulous honor but I already knew that my thirty-year corporate career was just a stepping stone to the path I had chosen in third grade. At 51, I retired to embark on the next stage of my life.

When I began writing DYING FOR A DATE, the first book in my mystery series, I envisioned the glamorous life of a published author. Interviews with Regis and Kelly. Sitting on a sofa chatting with Oprah.

I did not envision trudging over cow patties at the state fair rolling a suitcase full of books and marketing materials. But, I sold 47 books!

The life of a published author has more high and lows than the stock market. The highs occur when a new fan tells you how much she loves your work. The lows appear during the editing process when you’re positive everything you’ve written is drivel.

Fortunately the highs far exceed the lows. Oprah and I are not BFF’s (yet) nor have I received a seven figure advance, or even a four figure advance. But my favorite “Made It” moment remains an email I received from a recently divorced woman who stayed up all night reading DYING FOR A DATE. She wrote that it was the best thing to happen to her in a very traumatic year.

If I can provide laugh-out-loud moments to brighten someone’s day, then I’ve achieved the type of success I envisioned long ago. I’ve made it!

Cindy Sample is a happily retired CEO turned mystery author. Her first humorous romantic mystery, Dying for a Date, was released in June, 2010 by L&L Dreamspell. Her sequel, Dying for a Dance, a ballroom dance mystery, will be released in October. Both books are set in the California gold country and Lake Tahoe.

Cindy is a former columnist for the Gold River Newspaper and a frequent speaker in the Sacramento area. Cindy is past president of the Sacramento chapter of Sisters in Crime. She has served on the boards of the California Mortgage Bankers Assn., the Sacramento Opera, the YWCA, and is co-chair of the 2012 Left Coast Crime Convention, which will be held in Sacramento from March 29-April 2, 2012. Contact her at

September 7, 2011

Made It Moment: Gerard de Marigny

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 9:01 am

The Watchman Of Ephraim

Gerard de Marigny’s Made It Moment is different from many we’ve had here on the blog–and also in some deep way the same. It goes right to the heart, not necessarily of this writing life, but of life in general. Gerard has faced trials on the path to success, and below he shares with us what making it really means.

Gerard de Marigny

My “Made it Moment” happened the day my four sons ran to the mailbox and opened the box with the hardcover proof for The Watchman of Ephraim in it. I stood there looking at them examine “Daddy’s book” and quietly said a prayer of thanks to my Father in Heaven for saving me both physically and spiritually … all glory goes to Him!

I was a man who spent most of his life searching for my reason to be. From the time I was very young, I felt that there was something … something special, at least to me, that I was meant to do. My problem though, was that I didn’t know what that ‘something’ was.

Yet, while I spent my whole life searching for that something, I found other things along the way.

  • I found my faith on my road to Damascus.
  • I found that I could accomplish things like going back to school – I quit when I was 16. In 2009, I earned my college degree. I’m working on #2 now.
  • I found out how important every single day is … through my experience with cancer. In 1996, I was diagnosed with a sub-type of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
  • I found that I could survive something even more devastating than cancer … the death of my Dad. He was my best friend.
  • I found my soulmate … my wife Lisa! God blessed me with her a week after my last radiation treatment – I looked like a dead man walking when I met her. My first words to her were, “You’re not catching me at my best!”
  • I found that even though the doctors told me that my radiation treatments would make me sterile, that, with God, all things are possible … He blessed Lisa and me with four beautiful sons!

By 2009, those discoveries led me to believe that perhaps I wasn’t meant to find that ‘something’ after all. To paraphrase a prayer, I said to myself “… if only those things and nothing more, it would be sufficient!” But once again, God showed me otherwise!

One day, after coming home from a job that I hated but felt grateful to God for having, my wife Lisa said to me, “g, you’re miserable. You need to quit your job and write that novel you always wanted to write!” My wife was blessed with a promotion that year and so, after her prodding, I took her advice. I’d been writing stories down my whole life but I’d only let my wife read them. She was the one that said, “You need to publish your stories!” One year, to the day, after she told me that, I published The Watchman of Ephraim. What’s more I found the ‘something’ I was meant to do – write!

Silly me … it was there all the time!

Gerard de Marigny is living proof that it’s never too late to discover what you’re meant to do in life. He’s been a guitarist for a heavy metal band and successfully owned and operated businesses in the music, manufacturing, transportation/logistics and financial industries – but he found that those things were what he did …writing is who he is! Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, he now lives with his wife Lisa and four sons in the beautiful foothills surrounding Las Vegas, NV.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress